Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries (A Camper & Criminal Cozy Mystery #1) by Tonya Kappes

camper

Pages: 286

Published: May 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I can’t believe it took a round of book bingo to get me started on this series. It’s perfect for me as it takes place in a campground, set in Kentucky, and is a cozy mystery.

I laughed so much while reading. Mae West is a breeze of fresh air. She may be a little clueless but she definitely provides entertainment.

I was shocked by the murderer. I had it wrong all along. I’m trying to figure out what clues I missed.

Book two is definitely in my near future.

Goodreads: Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal.

Mae West, a far cry from the Hollywood actress, has been thrown for a loop. Her plush lifestyle in the big city of New York comes to a screeching halt after the FBI raids her mansion and arrests her husband, Paul West, for a Ponzi scheme that rips people out of millions of dollars.

Mae finds herself homeless, friendless, and penniless. All hope isn’t lost…the only thing Mae got to keep that the government didn’t seize is a tourist campground, Happy Trails, in Normal, Kentucky, and an RV to live in. One problem, Mae’s idea of camping has room service.

By the look of the brochure, Happy Trails has plush Kentucky Bluegrass, a crystal clear lake, a beach chair with her name on it, and thoughts of how much money it could bring her after she sells it. Mae figures she’ll take a couple weeks vacation with her toes dipped in the lake. Things aren’t always as they appear. The Kentucky Bluegrass is nothing but dirt and the crystal clue lake is murky with green slime on top.

Mae quickly finds out that Happy Trails and the citizens of Normal were also victims of Paul’s schemes, making her lower than the lake scum in the residents’ eyes. Mae doesn’t think things could get much worse, but as luck would have it, Paul West has escaped from prison and is found dead, murdered, floating in the Happy Trails mucky green lake.

Mae is the number one suspect on Detective Hank Sharp’s shortlist. After all, Mae has the perfect motive as a kept wife who has been scorned to ashes, embarrassed to death and seeking revenge.

Time is running out for Mae to prove that she’s innocent and nothing like her husband. If only she could get someone to believe her and talk Detective Sharp into looking at other residents who’ve lost all their savings to Paul’s Ponzi scheme before the curtain is closed on this Hollywood namesake.

How to Save a Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

how

Pages: 301

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: It is a sign of a good book if I am interested from page one on a genre that I am not normally interested in, magical realism. I have found I am liking it more and more and this book solidified that thought. I could not put this book down and only because I had to be an adult did I.

The story of Dom and Mia is tragic, to say the least, and you pretty much know what is going to happen each Thursday (Groundhog Day) but you still find yourself hoping and pleading for a better outcome.

I loved the message at the end of the book.

A quick read that will have you hooked immediately.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Lake Union Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: The bestselling authors of The Good Widow deliver a modern, suspenseful twist on Groundhog Day that asks the question: How far are you willing to go to save the life of someone you love?

Dom is having a very bad day—one he literally can’t escape.

When Dom bumps into Mia, his ex-fiancée whom he hasn’t seen in almost a decade, he believes they’ve been given a second chance and asks her out. When Mia dies tragically on their date, Dom makes a desperate wish: to be given the chance to save her life. And when he wakes the next morning to the shock that she’s alive, he thinks his wish may have been granted. But day after day, no matter what he changes about their time together, she still meets a terrible fate.

Dom frantically searches for answers to save his beloved Mia and rekindle their former love. But the further he digs, the more obsessed he becomes, making him realize that slowing down time may be the only way to see things clearly. As he’s forced to confront the truth about himself and those he’s closest to, Dom vows that he’ll watch Mia die a thousand times if it means he can save her once.

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

regret

Pages: 365

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Published: December 10, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Wow, I did not realize this was a young adult novel until after I read it. I did not get that vibe while reading and I love that fact. Now knowing that it is a YA novel, I love one of the underlying messages so much more. Don’t assume you know what is going on in someone else’s thoughts or lives. Ask before judging. A lesson I think young adults and older adults need to remember. So many conflicts and hurts could be avoided if we just talked to one another. And I mean talk not text or message. Good face to face talking.

The alternating chapters between mom and daughter were interesting and keep the pace of the story moving quickly. I did not find any confusion moving between the alternating viewpoints as the author kept the plot at the same point. For example, if Mom was worried about daughter missing school the next chapter was daughter explaining her viewpoint of why she missed school.

This is not what I considered a clean read. There is pre-marital sex, drug use, and cursing.

This was my first Colleen Hoover book and it will not be my last. I am intrigued by the author’s writing.

Goodreads: From #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us comes a poignant novel about family, first love, grief, and betrayal that will touch the hearts of both mothers and daughters.

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal

mermaids

Pages: 348

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 16, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: My friend recommended this book and I am so glad she did. It was excellent. A very strong drama with a lot of heartaches. Beautifully written. Strong female characters.

Goodreads: Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news…

Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It’s what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit’s world. Live coverage of a club fire in Auckland has captured the image of a woman stumbling through the smoke and debris. Her resemblance to Josie is unbelievable. And unmistakable. With it comes a flood of emotions—grief, loss, and anger—that Kit finally has a chance to put to rest: by finding the sister who’s been living a lie.

After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives.
Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything.

Christmas by the Lighthouse by Rebecca Boxall

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Pages: 236

Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK

Published: September 12, 2019

Rating: 3 (maybe 4) stars out of 5

My Review: Hmm… can you like a book but at the same time not like it? I’m not even sure why I don’t like it except it seemed so far fetched it was ridiculous. If you put that aside it was a sweet love story.

I found the title very misleading. Christmas played a very minor role in the story. By the title, I would have thought it would be rampant throughout.

In my opinion, read as a book not to take seriously and one as a relaxing read. I give it 4 stars because I liked the story just not the delivery and the outlandishness of it.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Amazon Publishing UK, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Happy-go-lucky journalist Summer has always managed to focus on the silver lining. But nothing in her life has prepared her for her husband Seth’s recent revelation: he wants a six-month break from their marriage.

Determined to stay positive, Summer decamps to Jersey to spend six months by the sea, where every passing week makes Seth more of a distant memory. Then she meets sweet, charming Jude, whose life seems to be on permanent hold even before he receives devastating news of his own. To both of them, their chance encounter feels like fate, and with Summer’s encouragement, Jude embarks on a bucket list of experiences that seem to bond them for life.

When they’re together, the world is alive with possibilities, but as Christmas approaches, their time is running out in more ways than one. Will they return to the lives they left behind – or take a chance on an unknown future?

Summer of Suspense: Sixteen Tales by Some of Christian Fiction’s Most Poplar Mystery and Suspense Authors

sixteen

Pages: 911

Published: August 6, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

Summer of Suspense: Sixteen Tales of Suspense

Amazon:
Start your summer off right with 16 gripping and never-before-published tales of Christian suspense from today’s most popular mystery and suspense authors.
Join Mary Alford, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Vannetta Chapman, Mary Ellis, Debby Giusti, Rachel J. Good, Ruth Hartzler, Shaen Layle, Ruth Logan Herne, Loree Lough, Elizabeth Ludwig, Nancy Mehl, Serena B. Miller, Samantha Price, Alana Terry on a dangerous journey filled with mystery, suspense, and faith that that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

My Review:

I enjoyed most of the stories but there were a few I didn’t. The ones I did not enjoy were stories I wouldn’t normally read. They were good just not my cup of tea.

My favorites: Vannetta Chapman (takes place in Shipshewana and involves an Amish man and a lady FBI agent), Christy Barritt (part of her Lantern Beach series, which I have put on my TBR list) and Rachel J. Good (Amish Twins – one good and one very bad seed. I’m still shivering at the thought of being confused with an identical twin).

I have found several new to me authors that I will be looking to read in the future.

This is the perfect book for the person who likes to read but has a busy schedule. You can read a story in one sitting and not worry about stopping in the middle of a book and forgetting what is happening by the time you get back to it.

The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

lila

Pages: 315

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 23, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.

Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.

My Review:

An intriguing, fast-paced read.

My BFF called me on release day and said you have to get this book immediately. So of course, I did and I promptly finished within 24 hours.

I enjoyed the chapters alternating between Free and Captured. I felt it added to the suspense of the train wreck of Lila’s life. I could imagine this being made into a movie. I think it would capture the attention of the audience right away.

If you are sensitive to coarse language (F word) then beware as it is present in this book. It does not feel excessive though. Don’t let that stop you from reading this intriguing book.

A perfect read for the last few summer weekends at the beach or lake.

Shattered Mirror by Sarah Price

shattered

Pages: 265 (eBook)

Publisher: Waterfall Press

Published:  July 24, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A powerfully written, eye-opening fiction novel that could be the real story of a neighbor or ourselves.

Kelly has been fighting for years to keep her fractured family together. Meaning she has been trying to keep life as normal as she can for her two children after her divorce from their verbal abusing drunk of a dad. Unfortunately, her son, Zach, has been self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Kelly has gotten Zach help in the past but when he OD’s in his bedroom she realizes he needs professional help. Fighting her ex-husband, close family, a school system with their heads in the sand and a society that refuses to acknowledge the epidemic killing our kids Kelly pulls strength from deep within to find the help her son needs.

I cried, screamed and cringed while reading and listening to this book. The story had me so entranced that I finished it in less than 24 hours. I found myself waking up at 3am just to read more. Sarah Price has described a situation that is killing our young at an alarming rate with so much truth and grit. Too bad every parent in America is not required to read this before their children hit their teenage years. What will it take for our nation to wake up and see the young need our help in fighting the war on drugs. This killer knows no boundaries. It affects every social and economic class.

I will be recommending this book to all my friends, teacher colleagues and anyone who will listen.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterfall Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions are entirely my own.