Home by Harlan Coben

*Kaceey’s Review:

My favorite of the series so far. Actually, upon further reflection, this is my favorite Harlan Coben book, period!

Myron and Win are two of my all-time, most entertaining book characters! Together again, their magic just sparkles! An outstanding book by one of my favorite authors. Ok enough gushing! (For now!)

The plot unfolds when ten years ago, two boys, Rhys and Patrick are kidnapped. Both families are left in shambles. One of the boys just happens to be the son of Win’s cousin.
Now 10 years later, Win receives an email out of the blue that may just lead him to one of the boys.
Naturally, questions arise as to where they had been all this time. But more importantly, where is the other boy?

The witty banter is nonstop throughout this book. I read from beginning to end with a permanent smile on my face. Harlan Coben makes it seem so easy. The words just flow and the storyline is seamless.

I was concerned that the intensity of this book wouldn’t hold till the end – hoping that I wouldn’t be let down in the end. I needn’t worry! The ending meshed perfectly to the book as a whole. I was left with a big ole’ grin on my face and tears running down my cheeks.
Well done, Mr. Coben!

This book earned a place on my shelf of all-time favorites.

Also Published on Goodreads.

*Susanne’s Review:

Win, or Windsor Horne Lockwood, III, has always known exactly where home was. He just hasn’t been there in a while. Home is where his best friend Myron Bolitar is. Myron is Win’s true north. Always has been. Always will be.

In Home, by Harlan Coben, Win needs Myron’s help, not the other way around. While in London, Win sees a boy, one who looks like one of two young boys who went missing 10 years prior (Patrick Moore). The other young boy (Rhys Baldwin, Win’s nephew) is nowhere to be found. In trying to rescue Patrick and find Rhys, Win knows he can’t do it alone. He knows he needs help from his best friend and the only person he can trust in this world: Myron. Together, they make a formidable team. In trying to solve this mystery, and find the boys and bring them home, Myron and Win enlist the help of Esperanza, Big Cyndi and even Mickey Bolitar, Ema and Spoon, because, well, they are better together.

I won’t spoil this for anyone who has not read it, but let me just say, that I devoured this book and loved every second of it. I don’t recall having read a Myron Bolitar book where Win’s point of view was in the first person, but I really enjoyed it and felt liked I was getting to know him more intimately. While I adore Myron, I will admit that Win is my absolute favorite character, simply because he loves Myron unconditionally.

Harlan Coben out did himself with this one. This is without a doubt his best novel to date and is his best Myron Bolitar/Windsor Horne Lockwood III, novel. It had heart and soul and was a great mystery to boot. I laughed, and cried, more than once. I absolutely loved it and loved that Myron and Win had to get the team back together in order to figure this one out. Big Cyndi was prominently featured and was a hoot as always. What was obvious from the first chapter was that these characters are the heart and soul of Harlan Coben and they have never left him, and neither will we.

Thank you Mr. Coben, this was worth the wait!

Also Published on Goodreads and Amazon

If You Dare (Deanna Madden #3) by A.R. Torre

*Kaceey’s Review

And here I find myself at the end of my much loved erotic thriller series! 😩

Deanna our adorable and lovable serial killer finds two detective knocking on her door. She knows she is guilty of many things but fails to ask the ever important questions…”why are you here? What do you think I’ve done?”

But more importantly where is Jeremy? And why won’t he pick up her calls?

This is book three of the Deanna Madden series. I have torn through this series like no other and am heartbroken to reach the end.

Though this last book lacked the heat of the first two it delved a bit deeper into Deanna herself and her love for Jeremy.

The ending is left with just a small open crack that there may be another book on the horizon.🙏🏼
I hope so! I need more of Deanna! And what about Jeremy? Is this the end of the road for him…for them? Maybe love doesn’t conquer all.😢

Once again the narrator Jorjeana Marie did a fabulous job bringing A. R. Torre’s characters to life.

I highly recommend this series! Definitely start at the beginning! And if you enjoy audio…definitely choose that option.🎧

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

*Susanne’s Review

Endearing and Wholly Entertaining!

“Nothing to See Here” is one wild novel that will capture your heart from the get go.

Lillian is a gal who has always felt like she was an outcast. Unfortunately for her, life did not exactly turn out the way she imagined.

The day her dear old friend Madison calls in a favor, Lillian can’t say no, even though it’s the most absurd thing Lillian has EVER heard.

Madison is in need of a governess for her two stepchildren, Bessie and Roland, who just recently lost their mother. It turns out however, that Bessie and Roland aren’t like most children. Whenever they get anxious, mad or upset, they well, spontaneously combust. The problem of course is that it happens often and Madison’s husband Jasper, is an important politician and no one can know about their little problem. This is where Lillian comes in.

A brilliantly plotted, character driven novel, which I found to be refreshing, sweet and quirky, “Nothing to See Here” immediately drew me in. How could it not? Lillian, Bessie and Roland’s interactions were so heartwarming and real (regardless of the fact that they burst into flames), I couldn’t help but feel for the characters. To say I love these three is an understatement!

While I couldn’t help but compare this book to Joe Hill’s “The Fireman” a novel that is a cross between fiction, science fiction and fantasy, (which I loved) about a superbug known as “Dragonscale” that’s highly contagious and causes those who catch it to burst into flames (and which fully explains the reasons why people spontaneously combust), I was able to suspend disbelief in “Nothing to See Here” and simply enjoy this fictional story for what it was, even if I wasn’t given all of the answers I needed.

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and must give mad props to Marin Ireland for her stellar narration. Ms. Ireland, you are becoming one of my favorite narrators and your work in this book was outstanding! This was my first novel by Kevin Wilson. It will not be my last. 4.25 stars.

A huge thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this audiobook to borrow.

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.