Friday, October 29, 2021

Game On - Janet Evanovich

It was 1994 when Janet Evanovich released the first Stephanie Plum novel. Her latest Stephanie Plum tale is Game On: Tempting Twenty Eight.

I've missed a few along the way, but the Plum books are my choice for some escapist, light hearted listening that doesn't take itself serious at all. Familiarity is another draw for me - I know who, and what I'm going to find. 

Stephanie Plum is a bail bondsman in 'the Burg' - her neighborhood in Trenton, New Jersey. Her partner is Lula - a big hearted former hooker.  Stephanie's love life is an ongoing storyline with many choices, but she seems to have finally decided on who she wants to be with in this latest. Stephanie's long suffering parents and her Grandma Mazur make appearances in every book as well. I must admit that Grandma is my favorite - I like her take on 'aging gracefully'. There's a plethora of supporting characters that have been fleshed out over the years. And the descriptor quirky could be applied to any and all.

Stephanie's latest fugitive is computer hacker, Oswald Wednesday. She's determined to bring him in and he's determined to shut her down - perhaps permanently. Oh, and there's another agent from Stephanie's past after Wednesday as well.

Fried chicken and doughnuts, car wrecks, murder (without the gore), silliness (The Mooner), temptation on the love life front, snappy dialogue and more populate the pages. As does friendship, family and community. Game On was exactly what I was looking for. And I can't pinpoint it, but Game On seemed 'fresher' to me than the last couple of book. It was exactly what I had hoped to hear!

I was happy to find that Lorelei King was again the reader. She's been the voice of this series for many years. The continuity is wonderful as it feels like jumping right back into life in the Burg. King has a very versatile and expressive voice. She has created different voices for the characters and it's quite easy to know who is speaking. The voice for Stephanie is pretty calm, no matter what's going on. Lula however is always big and loud. Grandma Mazur's has a perpetually happy voice, always seeing the bright side. Each of the love interest have distinct voices as well. Babe. There's many more and they all fit the mental images I've created for all the players. King speaks clearly, she is easy to understand and her pace of delivery is just right. She brings the action, emotions and calamities of the plot to life with her voice, changing up the tenor and tone to match what's going on. A great performance. Hear for yourself - listen to an audio excerpt of Game On

Thursday, October 28, 2021

No One Will Miss Her - Kat Rosenfield

No One Will Miss Her is Kat Rosenfields' new suspense novel.

Lizzie Oullette has lived her whole life in the town of Copper Falls, Maine. Or I should say that in another way - she lived in Copper Falls, but now she's dead and her husband Dwayne can't be found. Detective Ian Bird is called in to investigate. He soon finds a connection to  Adrienne Richards who had been renting Lizzie’s lake house as a country getaway.

The story unfolds from beyond the grave, with Lizzie recounting her life in Copper Falls from her childhood to the present. Lizzie is the town pariah and Rosenfield really emphasizes that with Lizzie's life basically being hell. (There are some trigger situations gentle readers.) I started to grow weary of the ugliness that Rosenfield foists on Lizzie's shoulders. And I really wanted to know why the heck she stayed in town at all, give the treatment she receives from the townsfolk. 

Well, then Part Two came along ... and my perceptions did a quick about face! And this is where I mentally started to clap for Rosenfield's plotting. You'll find an excellent twist in Part Two!  And there's no way I'm going to spoil that for you so I won't say anymore. (But I did wonder if I went back and re-listened to the first part if I would catch any clues....)

There is a part three as well, that tidies up loose ends. Again, I thought there was going to be one outcome to only be (happily) fooled again. Kudos to Rosenfield for keeping me guessing.

I chose to listen to No One Will Miss Her. Cassandra Campbell, Sophie Amoss and Chris Andrew Ciulla were the readers for this title. I always enjoy a cast of narrators as the conversations seem more 'real' and it's easy to know who is speaking at any given time. Amoss reads the part of Lizzie and her voice suited the role. She's got a gravelly undertone to her voice. She captures the mindset and personality of her character, injecting lots of emotions into her reading. She speaks clearly and is easy to understand.  Cassandra Campbell is a perennial favorite reader of mine - I always enjoy her narrations. She reads the role of Adrienne, the rich woman renting the lake house. Oh, Campbell captures the snark and entitlement of this character perfectly! The condescension drips from the words. She paces her speaking well and is also very easy to understand. Ciulla reads the role of Detective Ian Bird. Ciulla has a measured way of speaking that suited a Detective. Calm, efficient. Again, very easy to listen too and well enunciated. Hear for yourself - listen to an audio excerpt of No One Will Miss Her.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

April in Spain - John Banville

I listened to award winning author John Banville's last novel, Snow, and really enjoyed it. Banville's newest novel is April in Spain. Banville writes a number of series. One is the Quirke books - he's a Dublin pathologist. Detective Inspector St. John Strafford was introduced in Snow and makes a return appearance here.

Quirke and his wife Evelyn are on vacation in Spain when a small accident sends him to hospital. It is there that he sees a young woman that has been declared dead for many years. It can't be her - could it? His daughter was friends with April Latimer as a teen. Quirke calls her and a chain reaction is set in motion. Strafford is sent to Spain and there's one more on the way as well - a hit man has been given a job in Spain...

Now, I chose to listen to April in Spain. Banville's characterizations are complex, detailed and nuanced. I found that listening to the book drew me deeper into the characters' mindsets, thoughts, deductions, plans, backgrounds and more. The level of introspection of each character makes for fascinating listening. 

Banville weaves Irish history, background and politics into his plotting. For me, the 'is it her' mystery took a backseat to the characters themselves. The answer to that question is up in the air until the final chapters. Some may find this unhurried mystery a bit of a slow burner, but I very much enjoyed it. Banville is a talented wordsmith.

I liked the reader of Snow and was quite happy to find that John Lee was also the narrator for April in Spain. He has a wonderful Irish accent that I loved - lilting, broad, rising and falling within a sentence. Lee's voice is so very expressive. He captures the characters perfectly and the voices used matched the personality and mannerisms of the players. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of April in Spain.

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Christmas Dress - Courtney Cole

Yes, more Christmas reading! This latest - The Christmas Dress - is new from Courtney Cole.

I love watching Christmas movies in the run up to the actual day - it's my not so secret vice. I can absolutely see The Christmas Dress as a movie!

Meg Julliard had dreams of making it in the New York fashion world. But, she's lost her job.....and her beloved father. She returns to Chicago and the apartment building he owned. Maybe she can sell it and use the money to set up her own label? Box 1 ticked.

But the building is old (as are the residents) and desperately needs lots of repairs. The handyman isn't old though - he's her age - and very attractive. Box 2 ticked.

The residents are a delightfully quirky crew.  Box 3 ticked. Meg quickly makes friends with Ellie, who is clearing out her possessions for an impending move. One dress captures Meg's attention. Its beautifully cut and sewn. The dress will figure prominently in this tale. You could say its almost magical. Cue Box 4.

Meg and the residents are determined to save their home and come up with some novel ideas. But will they work? The countdown is on and fingers are crossed. Box 5.

I quite liked the setting - the apartment building has lots of history. And setting the book's pinnacle moments around Christmas is perfect. Box 6.

There's heartache, heartstrings tugged, hope, friendship, love, loss and more. And you just know everything's going to work out in the end. Perfect seasonal reading. I quite liked it. Tick, tick, tick. 

Best read underneath a cozy throw with a mug of cocoa. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of The Christmas Dress.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Hunting by Stars - Cherie Dimaline

I was so excited to read Cherie Dimaline's new book - Hunting by Stars. It continues the story that began in her 2017 multi award winning novel, The Marrow Thieves.

In the not so distant future, a plague and natural disasters have decimated the world - and erased the ability to dream. Without dreams people go mad. Until...the government discovers that Indigenous people are still dreaming. And now they are being hunted for their bone marrow, as the government believes that's where the dreams are stored.

Seventeen year old French and his family have been on the run for years, hiding in the forests, determined to build their community, keep their language - and stay out of the hands of the Recruiters. But a single slip finds French in a cement walled unlit room - and he knows where he is...

There is a large cast of characters, with some being lost and some being found along the way. I've become quite invested in everyone's story over the two books. We come to know the stories of many characters through their own words. I love  the sense of community, the continuity,  the loves, the losses, the hopes and yes, dreams. And what family is.

Dimaline's world building is believable, well described and easily imagined as I read.

I started Hunting by Stars on September 30th, which seemed very fitting as the day was the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. There are many levels to Hunting by Stars. It's a fabulous, suspense filled page turner that you won't be able to put down. But it's also a narrative on the horrific treatment of  Indigenous people - fact, not fiction. Residential schools, horrific living conditions with no clean water, missing women on the Highway of Tears, racism and so much, much more. 

Gut wrenchingly good - absolutely a five star read! Dimaline is a consummate storyteller. See for yourself- read an excerpt of Hunting by Stars.  You'll want to read The Marrow Thieves first. I don't think this story is done - I'll be watching for the third book!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Our Class - Chris Hedges

Fiction is my favorite genre - it's a great escape to get lost in a book. That being said, I do also like to read non-fiction titles that challenge my beliefs, expose me to lives outside of my own perspective and have an impact on society. It is books about people that draw me in the most. Chris Hedges' new book, Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison is my latest listen - and its powerful.

Hedges is a Presbyterian minister, a former war correspondent and a Pulitzer prize winning author. In  2013 he started teaching in the college degree program offered by Rutgers University at the East Jersey State Prison. In that first class at the prison, the students started reading Black American playwrights, poets and leaders, with the goal being to write and stage their own play.

The students share their own histories, hopes, dreams and disappointments and these experiences form the basis of the play. Their recounting of life in the prison system are hard to listen to. The treatment inside the prison walls is degrading, cruel, racist, appalling and dehumanizing. The writing of the play, the learning, the discussion, the interior soul searching and being part of a dynamic group with the same goal, and the continued success  of those who took part is a testament to the program and the ideology behind it. And cathartic for the participants.

I enjoyed hearing each man's story - they are raw and powerful. Hedges weaves other articles, history and other leader's lives into the book. "It exposes the terrible crucible and injustice of America’s penal system and the struggle by those trapped within its embrace to live lives of dignity, meaning, and purpose."

I've said it before and I'll say it again - there are times when listening draws me deeper into a book, rather than reading a physical copy. Our Class is one of those cases. Prentice Onayemi was the reader and his performance was excellent. Onayemi has a rich, full, resonant tone to his voice that is so pleasant to listen to. His speaking is modulated and his pacing is perfect. There are many emotional elements to this audiobook and Onayemi captures them without losing that resonance or becoming strident. Instead, that low tone seems to underline and emphasize the work with quiet power. He was the perfect choice for the narrator. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Our Class.

Friday, October 15, 2021

A Season for Second Chances - Jenny Bayliss

A Season for Second Chances is Jenny Bayliss' new novel. 

I quite enjoyed last year's The Twelve Dates of Christmas and was eager to get lost in another escapist read.

Annie is forty four years old and is a successful restaurateur with two wonderful sons ... and a husband who is a serial philanderer. When she catches him, um... red handed it's the final straw. When she spies an ad for a seasonal caretaker for a wee cottage in a seaside town, she knows that it's just what she needs - to get away and reassess her life.

Ahh, I loved the setting. Living by the water in a quirky historical building sounds perfect! The rest of the town is also well drawn and I would happily sit in the pub with a pint, catching up with the latest.

Annie is a great lead character. I liked her being older (not that forty four is old!) and could connect with her. She's kind and friendly, as are the rest of the residents of Willow Bay. The supporting cast is eclectic and quirky as well. Annie easily slips into village life. 

Except for John - the nephew of the elderly lady who owns the building Annie is living in. He has his own plans for for it. But...he is rather handsome...

All the bits are there for a fun rom-com, will they, won't they read. And yes, this is a seasonal read. Willow Bay hosts a large number of festivals and events, with Christmas being the biggest hurrah. I wanted to put up my decorations right away!

I quite enjoyed A Season for Second Chances but ... yes, I have a but. There's a sex toy introduced in the book club that whole element just felt awkward, forced and not realistic. Frankly, it wasn't a needed piece of the story and I found it took away from the feel of the book. Other than that, a fun read in the run up to Christmas.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Wish - Nicholas Sparks

Get out your tissue box - Nicholas Sparks' new book, The Wish, has just released!

Do you remember your first love? Was it just a high school fling or the real thing? In 1995 for sixteen year old Maggie Dawes, Bryce Trickett was the real deal. 

It's now December 2019 and Maggie finds herself grounded in the gallery she runs. A sobering medical diagnosis has her reliving and recounting her past to the young man who is her assistant.

The past takes us to the North Carolina island of Okracoke - a real place I would love to visit. It is here that Maggie goes to live with her aunt and finish up her school year. She's fallen behind, so Bryce is hired as her tutor... Uh huh, they become friends and more. Sparks does a great job building the relationship in a thoughtful, caring manner. And it was easy to see how the two fell in love. The setting is absolutely wonderfully drawn as well. The supporting cast on the island are people you'd want to have in your own life - Aunt Linda especially. 

Sparks flips the narrative from past to present, with Maggie's story slowly coming to light. And just when you're totally caught up in either past or present, the time frame changes. A guaranteed way to keep me up late turning pages. Now, the present is not a static time. Christmas is around the corner and Maggie and Mark decorate and take in events and experiences, many of them based on Maggie's memories of Okracoke. Which made me want to start decorating already!

Now, you just know that Sparks is going to play on your emotions - and yes, I bawled my eyes out in the last few chapters. And I was pretty sure I knew what the final pages (and I was right.) But, I really enjoyed the journey there. Heartwarming and heartbreaking. 

Sparks is a consummate story teller and this newest only confirms that. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Wish.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Christmas by the Book - Anne Marie Ryan

Yes, the Christmas reading continues! Don't you love the cover of Anne Marie Ryan's new novel, Christmas by the Book

Bookstores are always wonderful, but even more so at Christmas - finding just the right book for a family member or friend. What about for someone you don't know? 

Nora and her husband, Simon have run a bookshop in their small British town for over thirty years. But as Christmas approaches, the writing is on the wall - and the bailiff at the door. The shop will close after the Christmas season. The pair are determined to thank the village for all their support over the years. Simon comes up with the idea of anonymously giving a Christmas book to those who might need a pick-me-up. 

I loved all the titles referenced throughout the book, but especially those seasonal titles. Ryan's love of books and bookshops is evidenced on every page. Now, those books are wrapped, so Nora simply drops one in each of the mail slots, not knowing who is going to get what title.

Here's the Christmas magic bit that I loved - each of the books is perfect for the recipient in one way or another and...... well you're going to have to read Christmas by the Book to find out the rest.

I loved Nora as a lead character. She's someone you'd love to have for a friend. Nora and Simon's relationship is lovingly drawn and is believable. The villagers are a lovely mixed bunch and are again, folks you'd love to have as neighbours and friends.

I know where I would be spending much of my time if I lived in this village - at the bookstore. I created vivid mental pictures of the shop with Ryan's descriptions. Cosy, creaky floors, a working fireplace, large easy chairs by that fire, a children's area, book clubs, events and so much more. Nora and Simon live above the shop - don't you think that would be a fabulous flat to live in! Oh, and there's a shop dog too. :0) 

Christmas by the Book was wonderful seasonal reading for me. Best read with a cup of tea and a quilt.Booklovers, I think this one might just fit in your stocking!

Fans of Jenny Colgan would enjoy this one. Jenny says "A heartfelt and lovely Christmas tale for book lovers everywhere!" I agree! Read an excerpt of Christmas by the Book.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Death at Greenway - Lori Rader-Day

Death at Greenway is Lori Rader-Day's latest book. 

WWII books are all the rage right now. Rader-Day has come up with a unique and different take on this genre. 

I was immediately intrigued when I read this descriptor from Harper Audio: "...a captivating suspense novel about nurses during World War II who come to Agatha Christie’s holiday estate to care for evacuated children, but when a body is discovered nearby, the idyllic setting becomes host to a deadly mystery."

I know what you're thinking - and of course I had to know. Christie did own a home called Greenway. And yes, children from London were evacuated to Greenway. There were two nurses to look after the children - and here's where Rader-Day makes the story her own. (Note that Christie's involvement in this book is very minor)

Bridey made a horrible mistake in her former hospital setting and has been terminated from her nurse trainee program. She is determined to make this posting a success, so she may reapply. But she hasn't shared that information with her employers. The other nurse is Gigi and she seems as lackadaisical as Bridey is devoted. She too seems to be harboring secrets. 

They're an odd pairing and Bridey is fascinated by Gigi. As a listener, I had my suspicions about her. Rader-Day slowly ekes out details about each woman's life, weaving a wide net that slowly grows smaller. When a body washes up on the shore near the house, it's deemed a murder, not a war casualty. And suspicions grow...

Rader-Day tells the story from not just Bridey and Gigi, but also from others living in the house - the nurses' employers, the Arbothnots, the butler and his wife and even one of the children. There are other village residents that make appearances and there was more than one I was suspicious of as well. The atmosphere is worthy of a Christie book, even more as we hear from those different points of view.

The mystery of the dead body is only one facet of a multi-layered story. Rader-Day provides lots of twists and turns on the way to the final chapters. And while I had guessed correctly at some of the outcomes, I was happily surprised by the others. Subplots include searching for a sense of self, relationships and friendships.

I chose to listen to Death at Greenway. The reader was Moira Quirk and she was an excellent choice. She created the perfect voices for each character and it was very easy to identify who was speaking. Bridey's starts off somewhat hesitant and unsure, but grows as the book progresses and she becomes more confident. Gigi's voice had a rich accent, dripping with ennui. When Gigi wants or needs something or someone, she uses her voice and her words to manipulate situations and people - and Quirk does a great job of bringing that to life. Quirk infuses each voice with lots of inflection. The voice for Mr. Arbuthnot, a self centered blowhard, is spot on. Mrs. Arbuthnot's supercilious tones aptly capture her high self regard. Quirk's speed of speaking is just right, she's easy to understand, has a lovely accent and enunciates clearly. I'm always amazed who a conversation is carried out between two or more characters by one reader. Quirk never misses and I would swear I was listening to more than one person. Quirk interpreted Rader-Day's work very well and turned in an excellent performance. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Death at Greenway.

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Party Crasher - Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella's newest  book is The Party Crasher. 

This latest is a stand alone. And it's also the perfect read for a dreary, rainy day. 

Kinsella always creates a lovable lead character. In this case, its Effie. Now, she is an adult, but when you find out your parents are divorcing and everything you remember about your childhood may not be true, and your cherished family home is up for sale, well, it's devastating. How can her brother and sister be so accepting of their father's new girlfriend Krista? When Krista decides to throw one last party at Greenoaks, Effie doesn't receive an invitation. But, that's not going to stop her from attending....

And this is how it begins - Effie sneaks onto the grounds, into the house, hides in cupboards, attics and most spectacularly - underneath the dining room table. I totally remember hiding under a table as a youngster, hidden by a long tablecloth! I laughed out loud so many times while  reading The Party Crasher. 

So, with all the creeping about, Effie hears her own name being mentioned - more than once. Her clandestine skulking offers up a different picture than she had painted for herself. Or does it?

At it's heart, The Party Crasher is all about families and friends - the good, the bad and the ugly. Kinsella explores those relationships with humor, candor and wit. Indeed, I'm sure each reader will find something or someone that they can identify with. And it wouldn't be a Kinsella novel without some romance! There's a lovely will they, won't they storyline that is written just right.

The Party Crasher was perfect escapist, laugh out loud, heartwarming read sprinkled with some truths we can all identify with. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Party Crasher. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Sleepless - Romy Hausmann

I enjoyed Romy Hausmann's first English novel, Dear Child (my review) and happily picked up her newly released novel Sleepless

The premise? From Flatiron Books:

"It's been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she's wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven--free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja's boss--kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can't seem to refuse.

The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer..."

Sleepless opens with a letter - the sender or recipient are not named. The letters continue throughout the book offering up a look at the past of the writer. I always enjoy epistolary entries in a book.

The time frames of Sleepless goes back and forth from chapter to chapter. Nadja's entries always have her name, but the other timeframes are identified only by date. A myriad of players populate these chapters. 

I found it impossible to connect with the lead character Nadja. I felt like I should because of her past, but she makes impossibly foolish decisions over and over again. There's another character called Nelly who appears at the beginning of the book in a past timeframe. Her I liked. As the book progressed I wondered how her story and Nadja would connect by the end of the book. But that connection ended up being only marginal and I questioned her even being in the book. Same goes for her counterpart Paul. He too only has a tangential connection with the main plot. Without saying too much, the epilogue was an odd add-on.

I liked Hausmann's premise, but felt the execution was lacking for me. The jumping timelines, the twists that defied belief and the disjointed feeling overall. I really had higher hopes for Sleepless based on Dear Child. I'm sorry to say this one was a bit of a disappointment for me. See what others thought on Goodreads.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Neighbor's Secret - L. Alison Heller

Cottonwood Estates is the place you want to live and raise a family in. Good schools, low crime - and wonderful neighbors. That's the setting for L. Alison Heller's newest novel, The Neighbor's Secret. I love this premise - it provides a wide open palette for the author's imagination. 

The Cottonwood Book Club officially meets once a month, but they've got numerous email chains on the go, keeping a close eye on their neighborhood. The monthly book club email reminder is priceless - quite witty. I quite enjoyed them. (And truth be told - it's a club I would join in a heartbeat)

There's a slew of club members, but the book focuses on three of them. Lena is an older long time resident of Cottonwood. She has closeted herself in her home, but is convinced to join the club. There's an undisclosed secret in her past, one she skirts around. And that only whetted my appetite for finding out what it was. Annie too has a secret she's tucked away. But her focus is on her teenaged daughter Laurel - her behaviour has become worrisome over the last few months. And last is Jen. Her son Abe is troubled, more than she lets on or acknowledges. A vandal is now targeting Cottonwood and scandals are simmering. 

Short flashbacks from the past gives the reader more of an idea how the present has been impacted. Heller does a great job of eking out bits of the secrets, dropping hints and clues that left me thinking I had figured out Lena's past. I'm happy to say that I was not completely right about the final reveals. I'm always glad when I can't predict endings.

The suspense was not as high as I had expected going in. Yes, there is some, but the focus is more on the relationships between mothers and children, wives and husbands, friends and acquaintances. 

The Neighbor's Secret is a well written, slow burning tale that will ask you - how far would you go to protect the ones you love? See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Neighbor's Secret.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Time Will Tell - Barry Lyga

Feeling the need for a fix of YA reading, I picked up Barry Lyga's new novel, Time Will Tell. The publisher's descriptor, "Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying" sealed the deal.

I quite liked the premise - four teenagers dig up a time capsule that their parents buried in 1986. And amidst the retro memorabilia they find a knife with what looks like dried blood along with a note. "I'm sorry. I didn’t mean to kill anyone."
So many places this tale could go!

I'm hooked on teen detectives and always wanted to be Nancy Drew. Lyga gives us four great leads, all very different personalities, each with their own strengths - and weaknesses. Liam and Elayah were the two I enjoyed the most and they have a stronger presence than the other two.  Lyga's characterization of the teens is spot on in my opinion. The angst and joy of being a teen is very believably portrayed.

Now, get those four characters cemented in your brain because...Time Will Tell is told in a past and present narrative! And the past belongs to the parents who buried the capsule. Those past chapters and characters are well portrayed. There's one player that I absolutely despised and it was very easy to draw on my memories of high school and visualize him. 

So, as the kids in the present are piecing together what may or may not have happened, we slowly begin to build our suspicions as to the whodunit from the clues and avenues in those past chapters. Clever, clever plotting. And some nice twists. I'm an avid mystery reader and Lyga had me guessing to the final pages.

Lyga weaves social issues through his plot - racism, sexual orientation, violence, mental health and more. Kudos to Lyga for utilizing sensitivity readers of ethnicities and orientations in his writing.

If you're a Nancy Drew or Riverdale watcher, you'll enjoy Time Will Tell. See for yourself - read an excerpt of Time Will Tell.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Last Girl Ghosted - Lisa Unger

I really enjoyed Lisa Unger's last book, Confessions on the 7:45. (my review) I couldn't wait to read her latest book Last Girl Ghosted.

"She met him through a dating app." That little sentence opens up a wealth of directions for a book to go...

Wren seems to have it all - and on the surface she does. When she meets Adam she thinks she's found the one. Until the day he leaves her with one last text and disappears. She's been ghosted. Instead of saying good riddance, Wren is determined to find him. Someone else is also looking for Adam - a private investigator looking for Adam's last girlfriend as she's gone missing...

I liked the premise, liked Wren, liked the PI and the possibilities Unger's plot held. Wren has a secret in her past and I really wanted to know what it was. She revealed it to Adam right before he left, but the reader has no idea what it is. Roughly halfway through the book Unger takes us back to Wren's childhood and we relive her past. Unger has come up with a background  that also offers up lots of possibilities.

As the book heads towards the final pages and resolution, that initial 'I'm behind you Wren' feeling started to dissipate for me. She made some choices that I had a hard time with and honestly couldn't believe anyone would make. The ending was a bit too much and tied up a bit too pretty for me. 

Unger is a talented writer and I will be picking up her next book. Last Girl Ghosted was good, but not great for this reader.