It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder by Maria DiRico

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (Catering Hall Mystery, #3)

Number 3 in the Catering Hall Mystery Series

Astoria, Queens, is decorated within an inch of its life for the Christmas season, and Mia Carina is juggling her job at the Belle View catering hall with a case of murder…

Can we all just stop and appreciate the clever title on this third installment of the Catering Hall Mysteries?

As we all know Christmas can be stressful. Mia is busy with the business. And the jobs she has lined up are not your typical parties. Sweet sixteen drama queen? Check. First- time parents looking to recreate the nativity scene? Check. Enough said. They are swamped. And to make it even more fun…her mother shows up! Oh my goodness I didn’t foresee that.

When Jamie finds out some news that rocks his world, Mia is there for him. While Jamie sulks and ignores his own family for this guy who is so obviously not his brother, Mia can only be patient and dig for more information.

When a body turns up by the neighbor’s Santa Workshop, Mia and friends go all out to find out who the killer is. Which could end up getting her killed.

This is one of my favorite series. I love every single character. Each one is unique and funny in some way. I hope we will see a new one soon!

NetGalley/October 26th, 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Oh William!

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author traces the enduring bond between a divorced couple in a poignant novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life.

The amazing Ms. Strout has brought us back to Lucy. Reading a book by this author is like having someone talking to you about their life. There aren’t a bunch of descriptions to clutter the simple, and beautiful conversation.

Lucy tells us about her first husband, William, in this story. Their relationship is what it is. They take each other as they are. Friends, parents and secret keepers. We see the story of how they met and how and why they divorced. There is no drama in the telling of infidelity. Again, it is what it is. And that empathy towards each other is what is so beautiful. There is no judgment. Just support given and received.

Secrets long kept come to light and I loved how these two handled them. Lucy learns quite a bit about herself as well. And how others view her. And she accepts this and adjusts. Again, no drama, no extra stuffing, just a crystal clear voice of calm.

I connected at once with her almost stream- of- consciousness style of writing. It was so easy to slip into her world. A story of life, love and ,a lot of empathy.

NetGalley/ October 19th, 2021 by Random House





MISS ELIZA’S ENGLISH KITCHEN by ANNABEL ABBS

Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Eliza Acton, Pioneering Victorian Food Writer

The story of two real-life women who together create a cookbook at a time when women were not expected to even venture into the kitchens. Eliza Acton and Ann Kirby become unlikely friends and brought forth the first cookery book for private homes. They were the first to list ingredients as well as cooking times. Later their work would be ‘borrowed’ for Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook.

The year is 1837 and Eliza Acton has no desire to be anyone’s wife. She is a poet. A very determined poet. But when her book of poems is rebuffed by her publisher, she is crushed. Especially when he suggests she write a cookery book. Eliza is furious. But then things go awry in her family with her father losing everything and fleeing the country. Leaving his wife to depend on Eliza alone to restore the family’s wealth.

As her mother leases a boarding house, Eliza needs to learn to cook. As she collects recipes she finds that she loves cooking. The flavors blending like poetry itself. But she needs help.

17 -year- old Ann Kirby has lived in poverty and uncertainty her entire life. Her mother is supposedly mad and is put in an insane asylum without her knowledge. Her father is a drunk as well as crippled. It’s a dark life and a hungry one.

When Eliza hires her to help her she knows nothing about cooking. However, she can read and write and her palate is spot on and her descriptions of the flavors are poetry itself. They take ten years to perfect their book. In that time they become more than employer/employee. They become friends. They make each other bolder, stronger, and better.

I enjoyed the back and forth viewpoints. No time hopping, just their own perspectives and thoughts. The descriptions of everything they create are much like poetry and I could smell the herbs and taste the tart lemon on my tongue.

After reading this I googled Eliza and Ann and their book. They introduced spaghetti! And Brussel Sprouts.

Very well written!

NetGalley/October 26th, 2021 by William Morrow Paperbacks




CARE FREE BLACK GIRLS by ZEBA BLAY

Carefree Black Girls

This book is a look and a celebration of black women’s identity and impact on pop culture by HuffPost critic, Zeba Blay.

Blay was the first person to give us the #carefreeblackgirls, in 2013 on Twitter.

This is a series of essays that took me longer than normal to read. This isn’t my story and I wanted to really absorb what she was saying.

Blay takes us on a journey to meet black women who were significant throughout history. Each in a different way. Starting with Josephine Baker, Michelle Obama and Cardi B and Lizzo!

She shares her own story and experiences as well as those women she writes about.

I think what I was left with in the end was a celebration of women who defy stereotypes. Women who stand up and stand out. Black women get things done. They are strong because they have had no other choice.

What a beautiful look at the women who changed history really.

NetGalley/ October 19th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin

THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR by TARA LASKOWSKI

The Mother Next Door

Big Little Lies has nothing on The Ivy Five. These women are pros. The only thing is they are now one short of five. What happened to the other member? Stay tuned.

Every year the Ivy Five have their annual block party on Halloween. Ivy Woods Drive is the place to be. The perfect cul-de-sac for the perfect families who live there. The envy of the town. But not for one person. This person knows their secrets and is about to spill them all.

When Theresa moves into the exclusive street, she is eager to fit in. To be accepted by these perfect women and their perfect lives. She finds herself volunteering or everything and soon she is one of them.

Then the threats begin. Secrets run deep in this town and especially in this group. They’ve done some pretty awful things and now someone is threatening to out them all. But who is it? Could it be the new girl?

While they all rush to cover their own backsides, Theresa has secrets of her own. Secrets that will intersect with the Ivy Five and may blow up all of their lives.

These were just despicable women. Which is a compliment. They were so horrible that you had to keep going to see who did what to whom and why!

This is a really good domestic suspense tale and I’m glad I read it!

NetGalley/October 12th, 2021 by Graydon House

MUHAMMAD, THE WORLD-CHANGER by MOHAMAD JEBARA

Muhammad, the World-Changer: An Intimate Portrait

I was very eager to read this book. It is so well-researched and easy to read. The topic is one I have long been interested in and yet everything I read was contradictory. Not this.

I am quite certain Muslim academics knew and understood the subject of Muhammad, the rest of us were a bit confused. Who exactly was he and what shaped his view of the world?

This was nothing like any other book I have read. It was researched and what came out of that was a man I could understand. Surrounded by women, some Jewish and Christian, He was inspired by the experiences he had and the people he met. I understood why there are no images of him. He truly was an inspirational man who believed in a world view and had a vision of what the world should look like.

Did he change the way the world moved forward? I would say he did. From his birth to his death he was a most remarkable man. With all the translations having different meanings, it is difficult to sort fact from fiction. This was an eye-opening work for me.

NetGalley/ October 12th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Essentials

THE LAST GUEST by TESS LITTLE

The Last Guest

I think my favorite character was Persephone. As she didn’t drone on back and forth.

I expected a locked room mystery but the dialogue was just too much. Actress Elspeth has been invited to her ex-husbands birthday party. She has made it clear she will only attend if their daughter is with her. When her daughter is a no-show, things get weird.

There were a whole bunch of odd people invited. Including her ex-husband’s current lover. They were having dinner and then drinks and then, lights out.

Elspeth wakes up to a dead ex and a room of sleeping guests. The police are suspicious of all of them. The story doesn’t make sense. And it really does not.

I honestly only liked the octopus. The rest of them were just self-involved.

If you are a fan of weird things, this is for you.

NetGalley/October 5th, 2021 by Ballantine Books

THREE SISTERS by HEATHER MORRIS

Three Sisters (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #3)

From the author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey, comes the latest from Heather Morris. Three Sisters.

The story of three sisters. Cibi, Magda and, Livia, who in 1929 Slovakia, make a promise to their father that they will always stay together no matter what comes.

It is years later when the youngest, Livia, is told to be at Temple the next Friday night to go work for the Germans. While Magda is in the hospital ill. Cibi is working with a group to get to Palestine and is shocked when she visits home and finds that her little sister is being sent to the German Camps. Remembering their promise to their father, Cibi volunteers to go with Livia. With Magda safe in the hospital, maybe she will be safe.

Loaded like cattle into box cars and stripped of all they own, the girls are only teenagers and have no idea that they are headed to Auschwitz to work for the Nazis. As they struggle to survive and stay strong, Magda is taken as well. The horrors they endure will make you weep. But when they find Magda, they make each other a promise. To live. No matter what they have to do and make it back home.

These girls fought everything the Nazis threw at them and they came out alive. Traumatized, but alive. Now their home is under Communist control and they decide to travel to Israel. To a new home.

This series of Historical Fiction with some facts, is one of the most heartbreaking you will read. But if they could live it, I could read it. I wept, I was so angry on their behalf. The courage of these girls and the unbreakable bonds they shared was inspiring.

With two of the sisters still in Israel with their families, they shared their story with Morris. While a lot of these people were real, and the unspeakable things that were done to them were real, this is Historical Fiction.

It is a wonderful thing when a book is so well done you feel as if you are there. You can smell the awful smells in the camps. You can feel the fear of the people treated so cruelly. While this book is full of heartache it is also full of love, courage, and determination.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ October 5th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press


Well-Offed IN VERMONT by AMY PATRICIA MEADE

Well-Offed in Vermont (Pret’ Near Perfect Mystery #1)

Stella and Nick are making a huge move. From Manhattan to small-town Vermont. To their own farmhouse. Stella isn’t quite sure she is cut out for this life, but Nick’s energy is infectious.

When they arrive they stick out like a sore thumb in their little Smart car. With a U-Haul full of their belongings they open their door to find their real estate agent has laid in some bubbly and a blow up bed. How sweet. Unfortunately it will be a while before they move in. As Stella gets a glass of water she is pretty sure it isn’t supposed to be red.

When they find a body floating in the well, they meet the Sheriff. Sheriff Mills is a good guy but it seems like everyone they meet is nice but a bit sketchy on the dead guy. Allen has rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way and the suspect list is long.

So while they wait to get back into their house they, and I mean Stella, decides they should solve the murder themselves.

Stella and Nick reminded me of the Nick and Nora series my dad used to watch. They were hilarious and so was this. I do hope this is only the first of many as this couple is a hit!

NetGalley/October 05,2021 Beyond the Page Publishing

LAST GIRL GHOSTED by LISA UNGER

Last Girl Ghosted: The latest gripping psychological thriller from international bestseller Lisa Unger!

Always a wild, dark ride with Ms. Unger. The Blurb:

Secrets, obsession and vengeance converge in this riveting thriller about an online dating match turned deadly cat-and-mouse game, from the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions on the 7:45.

Think twice before you swipe.

Dating Apps. The new thing in hunting victims. Pressured into at least trying one, Wren, decides to at least meet the guy. He’s a mysterious guy who is into the same things she is. Or so he says. The date goes so well she is excited about seeing him again. There is just this connection there. Or so she thought. Now, he’s just gone.

Did she scare him off? Was she too forward? The things we all think when we are being ignored.

Wren isn’t one to let things go so she starts digging. And she isn’t the only one who fell for his lines. But these girls are missing. And her digging is making people uncomfortable. But she has her own secrets and now he knows at least one. And that could be very bad for Wren.

Dark, Disturbing, and Believable! What could be more terrifying than knowing this is happening every day? Well Done!

NetGalley/ October 5th, 2021 Harlequin Park Row