It’s been a minute (or two!) since I did a roundup of book reviews, so let’s see what I’ve been reading and listening to…
His & Hers by Alice Feeney was an audiobook listen because, frankly, Richard Armitage was one of the narrators and I. lurve. him. Nonetheless, this is another classic Feeney suspense novel with multiple narrators (and unreliable at that!), a murder, and will keep you guessing until the reveal. I don’t want to give spoilers, but this was another solid story from Feeney – I’m a fan!
Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown is about three sets of parents who adopted four biological siblings, and vowed to stay in touch and socialize often. But when the children’s birth mother is pregnant again, things get thrown into uproar and tensions rise amongst all the couples. This was a great premise, but I found it didn’t propel me forward like past Brown novels (but I was also traveling during the time and otherwise occupied). I still really love The Weird Sisters by her, though!
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center was another delightful story from this easy-to-read romance author, but she flips the script this time, making the bodyguard (female) Hannah, and the protectee superstar actor Jack. Of course there is tension, arguments, threats and a “pretend to be my girlfriend” storyline, but it’s just so fun and fast and satisfying. I’ll read anything Center writes!
The Shore by Katie Runde was an audiobook listen (with multiple narrators), and was an emotional story of the Dunne family who live and work on the Jersey shore as real estate rental operators, but all is thrown into chaos when patriarch Brian is diagnosed with a brain tumor. The caretaking of Brian, the maturation of daughters Evy and Liz, and the grief and impulse of matriarch Margot are told with sensitivity, humor, and warmth. This was a sad but hopeful story, and I really enjoyed listening to it.
The 12 Hour Walk by Colin O’Brady was a miss for me in the “self help” department. While I somewhat enjoyed O’Brady’s stories (climbing Everest! Rowing the Drake Passage! Being badass at every single thing he does, ever!), it all become a bit cloying and self-congratulatory for me. Eh.
The Hidden One by Linda Castillo is the latest in the Kate Burkholder series and features a murder a decade in the past, and a childhood friend of Kate’s standing accused of the murder. If you like this series, naturally you’ll enjoy this fourteenth novel in the series!
The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner was a nice “summer listen” for me. It features a sprawling family that got through the pandemic (with nerves frayed!) only to begin planning a wedding for daughter Ruby and her “pandemic boyfriend” on the family’s home on Cape Cod. This one has all the Weiner signatures – family, emotions, friends and lovers (or both), some secrets, confrontations, and a happy ending. One of the resolutions felt a *bit* too easy and coincidental, but overall, this was an enjoyable listen.
The It Girl by Ruth Ware is another in the current trope of “a friend was murdered in college, and now 20 years later we’re gonna solve it”, but set at Oxford, and the murdered girl was the bright sun in the galaxy of her friends. I enjoyed this suspense novel and how it unfolded, but man… at times it felt repetitious and like it went on… and on. It just felt like it was 100 pages too long for a Ware book.
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan was a cute read-in-a-day romance novel. Romance channel writer Nora is suddenly host to a film crew and the star, former Sexiest Man Alive Leo. Of course, sparks fly, conflicts arise, a happy ending is inevitable. 🙂
The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd was an audiobook listen that sounded compelling. We’ve got a murder at the NYPL cartography division, a spurned daughter, a cheap gas station map, and a swirl of family secrets. While I was initially drawn into the story, and hung in there as the magical realism took over more and more of the story, but about 2/3 of the way through, I stopped listening for a week because I was just… disinterested. I did finally finish (it felt, with a thud), but found it an “eh” at best.
Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering was a must-read after how much I enjoyed Too Good to Be True, but man, this didn’t deliver. I thought it would be another domestic suspense, but instead it was mostly a soap opera for ¾ of it with a teeny bit of suspense. It was quick and entertaining enough, but overall, a big disappointment for what I thought I was in for!
The Favor by Nora Murphy was a fun suspense audiobook with twists I didn’t see coming! Leah and MeKenna may live in the same town, but they never meet, never share their common secret, and never complain about their perfect husbands, wealth, and homes. But all is not as it seems. No spoilers, but this was a compelling domestic suspense novel that was quick to listen to!