Marching Into New Reads

I’m still going waaaaay down the rabbithole on audiobooks lately (loving it while I’m quilting or, more guiltily, playing Candy Crush!) so here are my reviews of my latest audiobook and traditional reads!

–Marissa

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano is the second in the series, and just as much madcap fun as the first! Author Finlay is once again drawn to the criminal element (along with her fantastic partner in crime and nanny, Vero) through no fault of her own as she discovers a hit has been put out on her ex-husband. Mob bosses, sexy cops, a younger law student, and various other characters make this lighthearted mystery series a light, funny ready. Just good fun!

Shadows of Pecan Hollow by Caroline Frost is not a book for everyone (trigger warnings from grooming, criminal acts and sexual content), but I really loved this story, told in the present and the past, of Kit Walker. At thirteen, she falls into the path of Manny Romero, who takes her under his wing – as a father figure, mate, and half of their crime duo. Years later, Kit and her daughter now live a quiet life in Pecan Hollow, but of course, it’s not going to stay that way. This novel delves into the complexities of love and power, choices and lack thereof. This debut novel in many ways reminiscent of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things and Where the Crawdads Sing. Great writing, propulsive story and complex characters – not for everyone, but I loved it.

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is another twisty, red-herring-filled psychological suspense novel featuring couple Marissa and Matthew who decide to try and fix their marriage by visiting therapist Avery (who’s lost her professional license and now does a sort of rogue counseling). In the course of their ten sessions, secrets and betrayals emerge, and everyone in the story is a suspect for one thing or another, and the reader won’t know who to root for or suspect. Though not as strong as The Wife Between Us, I enjoyed this novel from this duo!

The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman was getting all kinds of buzz as a romantic, psychological suspense novel, set in 1996 Europe, but mostly I just found it… boring as all hell. Pages and pages of descriptive text with no conversation, characters you don’t really like, a “mystery” I ended up not caring about at all… the only bits I liked were the descriptions of Prague, Vienna and Siena – not enough to hang a novel on! Maybe the screen adaptation will be better….

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza was such a compelling listen. The authors (one white, one black) have co-written a novel featuring Jen and Riley (one white, one black) who are lifelong friends. But, when Jen’s police officer husband is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, their friendship will be stretched to the limits. This novel delves into not only complex questions of race and identify, but also of female friendships. I loved these characters… I loved hearing their perspectives… I loved the relationship they had even when tested at its core. This was a fantastic read.

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka‘s co-written romance – about two writers who are collaborating on a new novel after four years of not speaking – was smart, sexy, an ode to the written word, and filled with perfect romantic tension. Katrina and Nathan were literary darlings when they published their first romance novel, but… no one ever knew why they never spoke again, until now when circumstances put them back together to write another. I LOVED the “behind the scenes” feel of this novel, the prose, the characters…. swoon. A great audiobook listen!

I also read Everyday Sisu by Katja Pantzar which was a nice little nonfiction distraction, and I’m working my way through Atomic Habits by James Clear. Onwards!

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