A GOOD DAY FOR CHARDONNAY by DARYNDA JONES

A Good Day for Chardonnay (Sunshine Vicram, #2)

Ms. Jones is back with our bigger than life heroine, Sunshine Vicram. In this second mystery we see Sunshine is still running a small-town police force in New Mexico.

You would think that would be pretty cush, but for Sunshine, not so much. She hasn’t had a day off in forever and her diet of coffee, donuts and wine aren’t cutting it. She needs a break.

Alas, that isn’t going to be happening any time soon. Called out for a bar fight that ends badly, Sunshine is face to face with the love of her life. Levi. Levi comes from trouble. But oh is he a looker. The boy your momma told you to stay away from. But when has Sunshine listened to anyone?

With daughter, Aurora, getting together a teen detective service with her friends, Sunshine is about to have her hands full at home and at work. Also, throw in the mix her memories are beginning to return. Who was the man who rescued her?

This cast of characters are hilarious. Even her smart-mouthed daughter! “Snitches get stitches”. Not to mention all the horrible people in town. And there are some sketchy folks. All suspects.

There are more sub-plots as well, which I like. I laughed so hard with this one. Can’t wait for the next.

NetGalley/St. Martin’s Press July 27,2021

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Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

THE SINFUL LIVES OF TROPHY WIVES by KRISTIN MILLER

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives

Welcome to the exclusive and gated community of Presidio Terrace in San Francisco. Small but very exlcusive. Home to rich husbands and their trophy wives.

Brooke is a mystery writer and also the newest trophy wife. Her hubby is a tech billionaire named Jack who is twenty-two years older and fresh as a daisy. So it seems. She demurs to her husband’s taste and desires. Or so it seems, but there is a lot more to this wifey. I mean, she is a mystery writer. Published.

The new place comes with an HOA with rules that are insane, to say the least, and the most neurotic of their neighbors, Erin, a local news anchor, is the head of this tightly controlled cul-de-sac.

Erin is married to Mason. Who is a liar and a wife beater. Erin is a control freak. And when she goes too far on live television, she gets the boot. Since she has made her career her life, she has little of her marriage left. In fact, she thinks her hubby is sneaking around so they go to therapy.

Erin’s BFF is Georgia “The Black Widow”, whose first two husbands died shortly after marriage. People whisper about her but no one is brave enough to challenge her to her face. Now Georgia is about to marry Robert, who loves her dearly until he disappears and the police come knocking on the exclusive community.

During the first part of the book, I was picturing a 90’s thing going on but then it became a puzzle to figure out. By the end of the book no one was what I thought they were and I was happy!

NetGalley/ July 20th, 2021 by Ballantine Books


THE THERAPIST by B.A.PARIS

The Therapist

Alice and Leo are moving. Into a newly redone home in the exclusive and gated community of The Circle. It seems perfect.

Alice sets out to meet her new neighbors but people are giving her odd looks. When she finds out that a woman was murdered in the house suddenly the price becomes understandable. The woman, Nina, was supposedly killed by her husband.

Alice lost her own sister, Nina, a while back and has her own secrets to hide about that. But she becomes more than obsessed with why her own husband didn’t tell her someone died here. The agent knew, the neighbors knew, but for some reason Alice seemed clueless.

Alice digs into this murder and is soon grilling the neighbors, who all have their own shady dealings going on and aren’t answering her questions.

I am a fan of this author. This main character though was hard to follow because she was just so clueless.

I’ll still read her next one though!

NetGalley/ July 13th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

STEEL FEAR by BRANDON WEBB AND JOHN DAVID MANN

Steel Fear

From the first chapter, I was hooked! This was a thrill ride from the beginning to the end. With no pauses!

I suspected everyone and I was wrong every time!

Navy SEAL, Finn, has just stepped foot onto the USS Abraham Lincoln, supposedly to catch a ride home after a particularly bad hitch in the Persian Gulf area. Details are sketchy, even to him. He knows something is off the minute he is onboard.

There is no leadership or communication. Morale is awful and getting worse. Just a few weeks before one of their helos crashed and everyone died. Monica, a helo pilot has lost friends and is losing more.

It appears there is a serial killer on board and the man in charge is oblivious. So with Finn and a few well -chosen allies begin to investigate, more people die. Of course, Finn is a suspect. Even in his own mind.

Only someone who has lived this could write a book so real you can hear the whine of the engines and smell the fuel of jets. And it appears these two have themselves a new career!

I can’t wait to see what is next!

NetGalley/ July 13th, 2021 by Bantam RHPG

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

Songs in Ursa Major

Songs in Ursa Major is a love story set in 1969 through today. It is about so much more than the music industry in the ’70’s. Although that is a story that never gets old.

Jane Quinn lives on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. She sings with her band along with her friends. She lives with her Grandma Elsie and her Aunt Grace. Where her mother is is quite a mystery.

When Jane meets folk singer Jesse Reid who is recovering from an accident at the facility her aunt works at she begins a relationship that will push and pull them for years. Jesse’s star is on the rise and the nasty record company has decided Jane will be his girlfriend and her band will open for him. Fine, looks good. Until it isn’t. Jane wants to sing her own songs in her own way and she will sacrifice love for that.

When she discovers Jesse’s dark secret she is out of there. Black balled by a nasty producer, she returns home and tries to make peace with all of the secrets in her own life. Starting with her mother.

Obviously the music industry is cutthroat. The record company owns you and your music. What Jane does is brave and I love her character. This was a book for music lovers. The lyrics, the emotions, the love, the sacrifice! Oh my I loved this book so much!

NetGalley Review/22 June 2021 Knopf Doubleday

the Cape Doctor by E.J. Levy

The Cape Doctor

The fascinating novel based on Cape Town’s infamous Dr. James Barry, born Margaret Anne Bulkley, an Irish girl and who changed her name, lived as a man, and revolutionized medicine in the Western world.

“She died, so I might live.”

A lot of people have never heard of this brilliant physician. I had read another book on him and quite enjoyed it.

Starting out as a child in Ireland, Margaret Bulkley, her sister and parents are not well off. But Margaret has ambitions and her mother leaves home with her to study at Edinburgh’s medical school. With a wealthy patron behind her there is only one problem. Women are not allowed in medical school.

It was a problem, but one that was easily and willingly solved by getting rid of Margaret and becoming James Barry. And he did it well. Of course there were dangers of being found out. And there was a lot of talk. There was a lot of tragedy.

Dr. Barry was simply brilliant. She served in military hospitals, she brought female medicine out of the dark ages, even performing the first C-Section in Africa! He was a strong advocate of equal access to medical care and the treatment of leprosy.

It must have been a lonely life with few to confide in. Even after the first woman graduated from medical school, he stayed James.

The ease with which he embraced James was interesting to me. He was comfortable with himself and maybe he was trans.

Of all the magnificent achievements he made, after death his secret was laid bare on an autopsy table. A man, born a woman who had delivered a child at one time.

Very controversial in that time and to be honest in this one as well.

Well researched and written.

NetGalley/ June 1st, 2021 by Little Brown


FAR GONE by DANIELLE GIRARD

Far Gone (Badlands Thriller, #2)

Badlands Thriller #2

From the USA Today, bestselling author of White Out comes a story of two heroines with shattered pasts and a town with blood on its hands.

This thriller is the second in the Badlands Series. In North Dakota, where Detective Kylie Milliard in their peaceful little town. Only she knows it’s not what it looks like.

Kylie hasn’t worked a homicide in a long time, but when a couple is shot in their own home, with a baby sleeping yards away, she’s back in business.

She has two bodies, but no baby. Just a smear of blood on the basket where the baby should be. So either the killer took the baby, or someone else was in the house.

The DNA on the blood smear is shocking. It’s not a killers blood. It’s not the baby’s blood. But it is a familial march to a crime that involved a local nurse at the hospital, Lily. Ten years ago she was held captive for over a year. Raped and traumatized. Part of her brain has blocked a lot of that time for her own sanity. But things are about to get dangerous for the detective and the nurse.

As for the poor girl on the run from a killer who knows she was there, Hannah, is one of the bravest characters I’ve seen. And Lily. That poor woman had the backbone of steel.

Everyone in this story had secrets. Some harmless and embarrassing, and some downright murderous. Everyone wants to know the truth, but there are some people determined to not let that happen.

This author is always on her game. I’m pretty sure I bit a fingernail off reading this one. Which I count as a really good tale!

NetGalley/ June 15th, 2021 by Thomas & Mercer



RABBITS by Terry Miles

Rabbits

Rabbits is a secret, underground game. It is dangerous and people have died.

There is no easy way to describe this book. Is anything real? It was hard for me to be invested in any character since I wasn’t sure who or what was real.

It just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. That is not to say it was a bad read, it just isn’t a book I could relate to.

I can see gamers and coders liking this one.

NetGalley Review

June 8, 2021 by Macmillan

The Art of BETRAYAL by Kate Hamilton

The Art of Betrayal (Kate Hamilton Mysteries #3)

A Kate Hamilton Mystery #3

In Connie Berry’s third Kate Hamilton mystery, American antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s spring is cut short when a body turns up at the May Fair pageant.

Antique Dealer, Kate Hamilton, is still in England looking after Mr. Tweedy’s shop while he is recuperating. It isn’t much of a hardship spending May in Long Barston with her hunky DI Tom Mallory. The May Fair is in full swing with the pageant based on an old folktale about to take place.

Kate is horrified when a woman she recently met rushes the stage with blood pouring and mumbling about getting something right as she drops dead. She is more horrified when she returns to find the murder that took place in the shop and the priceless Chinese jar the woman had asked her to see is gone. Insurance isn’t going to cover this.

As Tom and his crew are busy tracking down who was where when the murder took place, Kate is sticking her refined nose in as well, which just could get her killed.

It’s always a good time with Kate and Tom. This is one of my favorite series. This truly was much like a Celtic knot and I loved unraveling all of it.

NetGalley/ June 8, 2021 Crooked Lane Books



The ESSENCE of NATHAN BIDDLE by J.William Lewis

The Essence of Nathan Biddle

Oh, the exquisite angst of young adulthood. Our MC Kit Biddle is a star. Smart and athletic he could have it all. The problem is Kit doesn’t even know if he is Kit.

This reminded me so much of Catcher in the Rye. So much tragedy and so much talking about it. Let me say the writing itself is beautiful. I re-read many passages.

I kept wondering who was who and what were they all so shady about? In the end, I had way more questions than answers. It felt incomplete.

Some of the relationships were not explained and while the writing was lovely the story was confusing.

NetGalley/June 1st, 2021 by Greenleaf Book Group Press


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