One Two Three by Laurie Frankel

*Susanne’s Review:

“One Two Three” by Laurie Frankel is unlike any book I’ve ever read before. It is wholly originally, complex, compelling, profound, quirky and brilliant.

When I saw this book on Netgalley, I knew I had to read it, as I loved Laurie Frankel’s prior book, “This is How it Always Is.” This novel is completely different though it is also utterly compelling.

Triplets Mab, Monday and Mirabel are teenagers who live in the town of Bourne. Raised by their single mother Nora, the four of them are as close as can be, even though all they have ever known is struggle. The same goes for every other resident who lives in Bourne.

Bourne isn’t an ordinary town you see.

Years ago, Bourne was polluted, the water unsafe to drink, all because a chemical company screwed up and then closed up shop. Nora has been fighting for justice ever since.

What is amazing about this novel is that the story could have been depressing but somehow told through the eyes of Mab, Monday and Mirabel, (also referred to as “One Two Three”) who are kind, funny, and utterly captivating, it became something else entirely. Sweet, funny and charming, these three characters stole my heart for reasons you will have to find out for yourself. How this book about environmental contamination, birth defects, cancer, and a legal battle evaded being wholly depressing, I cannot begin to explain except to say that Laurie Frankel’s characters brought this story to an entirely new level. The characters are adorable, quirky and deftly written and they will stay with me for a while. This novel made me laugh a lot (yes, I know that sounds strange considering) and tear up a bit but all in all I enjoyed it immensely. While this novel was a tad bit long and drawn out in a few places, I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to those who enjoy character driven fiction.

Thank you to NetGalley, Henry Holt & Company and Laurie Frankel for the arc.

Do Not Disturb (Deanna Madden #2) by A.R. Torre

*Kaceey’s Review

After finishing book one of the Deanna Madden series The Girl in 6E, I couldn’t wait for the follow up. Happy to report it did not disappoint! So good in fact, I enjoyed it just as much! (How often does that happen?)

For the safety of everyone even remotely in the vicinity of dear Deanna, she’s still locking herself in her apartment. (Thank you again, Deanna). But that may not be enough. What happens when trouble comes knocking on her door?

This book had it all! A terrific premise for all you thriller lovers plus plenty of heat for those that like it hot!🔥 Deanna and her special UPS delivery man Jeremy were heating up the pages. (well, in my case my earbuds.) I love how much she desperately needs him, yet can’t fully let her guard down…for his safety and both their hurting hearts. Jeremy has grown to love her completely, flaws and all! And I think we can all agree…being a stone-cold killer is a fairly substantial hic-up to overcome. Ah, young love…what can you say?💁🏻‍♀️

Once again the narrator nailed it! And brought the characters to life. You are taken into Deanna’s frightening world as she fights the eternal battle between the good and evil that lie within her soul.

And yes! I’ve already started the audio for the final book in this series.

The Searcher by Tana French

*Susanne’s Review

“The Searcher”: A novel you feel in deep recesses of your bones, kind of like changes in the weather.

“The Searcher” is a character driven novel, first and foremost. The characters are brilliantly plotted, and written to absolute perfection.
 They are rich, dynamic, difficult and stubborn. Having undergone life’s trials and tribulations, they are strong, resilient and unrelenting. Some are good, kind and hard working, others not so much. In this novel, the characters are what drew me into the story immediately.

This novel is a slow burn wherein the story builds and builds. Then there are the gorgeous descriptions of the vivid landscape, the weather (yes, the weather), home remodeling, and of course, the characters, always the characters. Let’s not forget the element of suspense and the unofficial investigation that ensues involving two unforgettable characters and the relationship that evolves between them.

Cal Hooper is a former Detective with the Chicago PD who moves to Ardnakelty, a small town in West Ireland to start over. His plans from here on out are to fix up his new home, fish, hunt, rest and relax.

When thirteen year old Trey begins terrorizing his homestead, Cal realizes that Trey has an ulterior motive. Several months ago, Trey’s older brother Brendan went missing and no one in the village has done anything about it. Now that Cal has arrived in town, Trey wants Cal’s help in finding out what happened.

Cal is driven, hard working, funny, kind, intuitive and smart. Trey is assertive, attentive, inquisitive, scared, sweet, poverty-stricken and wise. More than anything, Trey wants to find his brother and he knows that Cal is his best bet. At first, Cal agrees to investigate, simply because Trey won’t let up and then it becomes clear that there may in fact be something to Trey’s story. The camaraderie that develops between the two is sheer brilliance. Cal becomes a friend, and perhaps a father figure to Trey and it is the relationship between them that makes this novel wholly special.

The investigation into what happened to Trey’s brother, while a huge part of this story, took second place for me. The armchair detective in me realized at the outset what happened to Brendan and who was responsible, though it in no way took away from my enjoyment of this book. I loved the characterizations, the development of all of the characters’ relationships and the investigation that took place. I felt every ounce of this story and I savored it.

In short, I adored “The Searcher” for exactly what it was: a character driven plot which included a suspenseful storyline.

Tana French is a prolific author and remains one of my favorites. I love her writing style and I am a huge fan of her characters. Someday, I would love to see her return to the Dublin Murder series and the characters of a) Rob Ryan (I need to see what has happened to his character after all of this time!) and b) Stephen Moran (who I still have a huge crush on (even though I’m twice his age)).

For those of you who love brilliantly plotted character driven suspense novels, read Tana French, I promise you will be rewarded.

The Girl in 6E (Deanna Madden #1) by A.R. Torre

*Kaceey’s Review

Here I go again… boldly stepping outside my protective reading bubble and trying something new. An erotic thriller!🔥

Deanna is a responsible sociopath! She knows she’s dangerous and has a passion to kill. So, as any responsible murderer would do, she takes precautions. (Thank-you, Deanna.) She’s directed her neighbor to lock her in her apartment at night so she can’t get out, since this is when her temptations are worst. It seems to be working. It’s probably been years since she left her apartment. Everything she needs she orders from the internet for delivery. So much so, she even has her own special UPS delivery man … Jeremy. Who happens to have more of an interest in her than just customer deliveries.

How does Deanna support herself if she never leaves home, you may ask? Well… Miss Deanna is an online sex worker. And these little trysts are her only human contact with the real world. (So to speak.)

What will it take to lure Deanna out of her self-imposed lock-down? And of more concern…given her notorious little hobby, will anyone be safe out there if she does step out?

I can’t say enough about this book! I loved it! I listened to the audio and the narration was fabulous! I devoured this entire audio in just a few sitting. Something I rarely do!

When I finished I was pleased to learn this is just book one of a series! I already have book two queued up!

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter

*Susanne’s Review

Well Played Karin Slaughter, Well Played.

Oops You did it again
You played with my heart..

My oh My.. what a wild, crazy, heart stopping, laugh out loud, tear-filled ride “The Silent Wife” turned out to be. Going in, I had no idea what to expect. What I got was Jeffrey. My Jeffrey. Jeffrey Tolliver. Be Still My Heart.

Sara Linton, is now an Atlanta resident, where she is the medical examiner at the GBI and the girlfriend of Will Trent, who is an investigator with the GBI. Sara, however, was once a resident of Grant County, when she was married to the Chief of Police, Jeffrey Tolliver, before he was murdered.

When Will Trent, his partner Faith Mitchell and Sara are called into investigate a crime at a prison, old cases of Jeffrey’s are called into question: murders of young women at Grant Tech. His reputation and that of the Grant County PD are on the line. Unfortunately for Will, Faith and Sara, the only officer who can shed light on the situation is a very pregnant Lena Adams, now a Detective with the Macon PD. Can you say Meow?!

To make matters much worse, the GBI discovers several other victims with the same MO whose deaths have occurred in the years since the original murders, leaving the team racing to find a serial killer in their midst.

Told in both the Past (with Jeffrey) and the Present (with Will and Sara), what happens here is seriously intense. Heartstopping, thrilling, terrifying and sometimes, extremely violent. Karin Slaughter knows how to scare a girl. Although I guessed the who and the why fairly early on, it did not detract from my enjoyment in any way whatever.

Then there’s Jeffrey. A huge part of me loved revisiting Jeffrey. How could I not? He has my heart and he always will. That said, this Karin Slaughter novel tore me in two. I really like Will Trent. A lot. I love his partnership with Faith and laughed hysterically at their antics in this novel. I also like Will with Sara, although, I personally don’t think she’s good enough for him. (Sorry NOT Sorry!!). That said, I absolutely LOVE Jeffrey Tolliver. Yes, I am one of those women. When he died my heart was RIPPED OUT of my chest. It is something that I have not gotten over to this day. When I started reading this book and realized that Karin Slaughter was drudging it all back up AGAIN, with Will, Sara, LENA and JEFFREY.. My stomach churned and turned and I felt ill. I finished this novel two days ago and I am still a mess over it all and will be for a long time. It is to Karin Slaughter’s credit that she is able to pull all of these emotions out of me.

“The Silent Wife” is a spellbinding, intense, mystery thriller that is a must read for Karin Slaughter fans. I personally suggest reading all of the Grant County and Will Trent novels in order before reading this so that you can experience the characters and the raw emotions that Karin Slaughter brings to the table. Kudos to Ms. Slaughter for slaying me yet again.

Thank you to my book buddy Kaceey for being there for me throughout. I started bingeing this series last September and she has been there for me every step of the way. She has laughed and supported my love and utter despair over Jeffrey, my anger and frustration at Sara, my adoration of Will and Faith and my defense of Lena. I would not have gotten through this series without you. We read this one together and it was the best!

Thank you to HarperCollins, William Morrow, Edelweiss and Karin Slaughter for the arc.

*Kaceey’s Review

I have been reading Karin Slaughter’s books for years. I was a huge Jeffrey Tolliver fan! (I mean who wasn’t?)💁🏻‍♀‍ but grew to love Will Trent as he tried to fill Jeffery’s shoes and our hearts.

But what happens when worlds collide and we have both Will and Jeffery in one book!? You say it can’t be done? Well only the very talented Karin Slaughter delivers the goods flawlessly!

I love all the characters Ms. Slaughter brings to life and this series has not faltered in the least over the years!

If you are new to this author or this series I recommend going back to the beginning and reading all her intertwining series in order. It’s so worth it.

These are not light thrillers either. There is always a dark edge to each but fits the storyline perfectly.

A buddy read with Susanne that we both devoured!

Thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC to read and review.

Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger

*Kaceey’s Review

I’ve been a long time fan of Lisa Unger, I think I’ve read every book she has released. And I have to say this might be her best to date!

Do you believe in coincidences?

A chance meeting in a train. Selena sits down next to a stranger. Soon she finds herself telling this unknown woman her darkest secrets. I mean it couldn’t do any harm right….? Wouldn’t you?

Did Selena just open Pandora’s box? Now she keeps receiving texts from this woman. Did she give out her phone number? 🤷🏻‍♀️ She doesn’t remember doing that.🤔 Yet the texts continue to arrive.

“It’s Martha, by the way. From the train …”

What a fabulous twisty tale Ms. Unger wove bringing all the pieces together ending in a perfectly completed puzzle.

Highly recommend!

A buddy read with Susanne that we both devoured in only a few sittings.

Thank you to Edelweiss and HaperCollins Park Row.

*Susanne’s Review:

“Confessions on the 7:45” is dangerous, delectable and absolutely wild!

Sometimes a seemingly innocent conversation is anything but.

Such is the case for Selena, upon sitting down next to Martha, a young woman on the train, who appears to be lost in thought, and struggling with her own issues. When Martha divulges a secret (an affair with her boss), Selena does the same (her husband’s affair with their nanny).

What made you think you could trust a mere stranger? Tsk, tsk, Selena!

From that point on, Selena’s life unravels faster than a spool of thread.

Chilling, thrilling and oh so intriguing, “Confessions on the 7:45” is brilliantly plotted. Told from several POVs, this is one captivating tale! A character driven mystery suspense that will keep you guessing until the very end.

This mystery/suspense is also one of Lisa Unger’s best thrillers to date and is reminiscent of her earlier novels!

A fantastic buddy read with Ms. Kaceey!

Thank you to Edelweiss, Harper Collins – Park Row, and Lisa Unger for the arc.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

*Susanne’s Review

Wil Wheaton is Back! And that my friends, made the geek in me one very Happy Girl!

Another day in the Oasis, brings on another contest for Wade Watts and his friends. This time, it’s to find the “Seven Shards of the Siren’s Soul” hidden by none other than Kira, Og’s late wife.

Time however, is of the essence. Most folks now get into the Oasis with new ONI headsets and unfortunately for them, Anorak, Halliday’s avatar has hacked the system such that, when their daily time limit for using them runs out, so do they.  

While the quests are in fact easier, this go round, with either one of the High Five, knowing how to find and solve them or with the team getting a little help from some friends, there was one quest that I personally found to be quite brilliant, given my love for 80’s movies.  

It takes place in a fictional place, known well to John Hughes fans:   

Shermer.   

(Yes, that, Shermer.)

At that point, I might have squealed with joy. (Honest, truth.) For me, that quest was sheer perfection.

While entertaining, the other quests weren’t as imaginative as the original quests in “Ready Player One” or as the Shermer quest, though I enjoyed having the team back together.

In its entirety, “Ready Player Two” may not be quite as good as its predecessor, and it may have started off a little slow, but it is in my opinion, a worthy follow up and frankly, I could listen to Wil Wheaton, all day, any day.  (Baaahhh!!!)  3.7 Stars.    

Published on Goodreads on 12.6.20.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

*Susanne’s Review:

FanFRAKKINGtastic!

So, I’m a nerd and I always have been (in case it wasn’t already clear to all of you). I’m pretty geeky in a myriad of ways and I’m proud of it. I’m now sure how, but somehow I missed the boat on reading “Ready Player One” until now (what planet have I been on exactly?!). The only good thing about that is that I only have to wait a few more weeks until the sequel “Ready Player Two” comes out. (Maybe I lucked out after all?!). So I started out reading this book and then heard that Wil Wheaton narrated the audiobook and I immediately switched. As a teenager I had a HUGE crush on Will Wheaton (thank you Stand By Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation) and so I was pretty stoked to hear he narrated the book. Can I just say that his narration was stellar?!

Now let’s get to the story!

The year is 2044: Everyone spends their time playing OASIS, an online virtual reality game where kids go to school and most in fact prefer to spend their time. OASIS was created by James Halliday – who, upon his death unleashed a contest within the OASIS, something that is hidden deep within it for everyone to find, an Egg: the person who finds it first will win the biggest prize imaginable.

Wade Owen Watts is a High School Student. His life isn’t exactly exciting, hence why all of his time is basically spent inside of the OASIS. It is here, where he finds glory as Parzival.

Thrilling, terrifying and hella fun, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline made me nostalgic for the 80’s: video games, music, movies and more.

To say that I’m excited for the sequel is an understatement!

I highly recommend! Thank you to Ernest Cline for writing a brilliant novel and Wil Wheaton for narrating! I can’t wait to buy “Ready Player Two” and listen to Wil Wheaton’s audio narration of the sequel!

Published on Goodreads on 11.8.20.

Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass

*Kaceey’s Review:

Dr. Faith Finley has achieved the level of success she’s always dreamed of. Not only does she host a radio spot dispensing advice, she’s also penned a self-help novel, all but guaranteed to launch her career even further.

So what happens when a former client accuses her of the unthinkable? Will all she’s accomplished go down in flames? Who’s willing to chance standing by her side? Her publisher? The radio station bigwigs? How about her husband?

Not enough problems for poor Dr. Finley? Okay, maybe just one more little issue to deal with… her husband has suddenly vanished.

This was a very clever, well developed thriller that held me right to the end. Filled with lots of surprises and twists, this book will keep you on your toes!

Looking forward to more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing – Graydon House.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

*Susanne’s Review:

“Anxious People” is a thought provoking, heart-wrenching, comical novel that leaves you in wonderment. It’s Fredrik Backman at his best. At its heart, this book deals with human connection and the impact people have on each other. It showcases Mr. Backman’s talent in an entirely new way and it is another reminder as to why he is one of my favorite authors.

Fredrik Backman is an author who has an innate ability to capture the human spirit, get under his characters’ skins and relay his characters thoughts and feelings in a way that makes us feel as if we know them, as if we are friends with them and at times, as if we are them.

“Anxious People” is different from Backman’s other novels, there are no quirky curmudgeons like Ove or Britt-Marie and there are no Benji’s. This story features a Bank Robber, a Hostage Situation, a Real Estate Agent and an entire cast of other extremely complicated characters. This is a character driven novel and it delves into the trials and tribulations of each individual whose lives are affected by the situation that they are in. I had no idea what I was in for when I dived in – what I will say is that each and every character will steal your heart. It’s that thing called human connection.

Within just a few minutes of reading this, tears pricked my eyes and I knew from that moment on that this book was special. It is wild and crazy and unlike anything you’ve ever read. At times you will be exasperated and yet you will keep reading. One minute you will be laughing and the next you will be in tears. For me, it happened and happened often.

Once again, Fredrik Backman does something special here and I’m so very grateful for it.

“Anxious People” is a must read and will most certainly be on my Goodreads Best of List for 2020. This novel reminded me that everything I do can potentially impact others and therefore, I must think before I act. It also reminded me how important human connection is and how grateful I am for the relationships I have built with all of you. Though times are difficult right now, I am thankful that we have each other. I wish you all good health, peace and safety. Namaste.

A huge thank you to Ms. Ariele Friedman at Atria Books and NetGalley for the arc. Thank you also to Fredrik Backman for continuing to write such incredible words. You inspire me.

A re-read/buddy listen with Kaceey in November 2020, which I enjoyed immensely.

Published on Goodreads

*Kaceey’s Review:

I believe we’re all more than familiar with the overused but much loved quote,” Live…Laugh…Love.”
But those three simple words fit like a glove, perfectly describing this book!

A group of strangers thrust together in a most peculiar, desperate of situations. Case in point?
For the group of strangers, a bank robbery becomes a hostage situation followed by what else…how about a pizza party?💁🏻‍♀️

This book will go down as one of my all-time favorite. It touched all emotions for me. Tightly gripped my heart. Softly touched my soul. Had me laughing till tears streamed down my face. Had me deeply reflecting on my own life.

And most importantly in a favorite book? After all this time it continues to linger with me. I ask…What more could we possibly want than that?!!

The narrator of the audio version Marin Ireland did a superb job bringing color and life to every character.
Okay, I’m gushing. But I just can’t say enough great things about this book.
I hope it’s on your list… and I hope it touches you as much as it did me.

A buddy read with Susanne. Though this was a reread for Susanne I can now see why she so willingly joined me to listen to this book once again.

Thank you to libro.fm for an advanced 🎧