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Book review debut novel fiction humorous fiction reading Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) – Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

My book club’s choice for September was “Lessons in Chemistry,” the debut novel by Bonnie Garmus. This book is a GMA book club pick and is coming to Apple TV in 2023.

Elizabeth Zott wants to do one thing-perform her research at Hastings Research Institute. The problem is, it’s the late 1950s-early 1960s and she is a woman.

When she meets Calvin Evans, a Nobel-prize nominated, grudge-holder at Hastings true chemistry results. They even adopt a dog, “Six-Thirty.”

Things really heat up for Elizabeth when she finds herself not only a single mother to her daughter, “Mad,” but also the reluctant star of the cooking show “Supper at Six.” Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) has everyone talking, and, some not in a good way. Because Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook, she’s capacitating change.

A funny plot with quirky, well-developed, supporting characters and lots of chemistry. Garmus brings in some serious themes and grief, but the overall plot of the story – you can’t keep Elizabeth Zott or any determined woman down resonates and stays with the reader. This is an easy read. Kudos to Bonnie Garmus for writing this book.

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Book review fiction reading

Read and Review (R&R) – The Seven Husband’s of Evelyn Hugo

This month’s read for my book club is “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Has anyone else read this book?

A fictitious story about a Hollywood icon’s life and loves during her rise to stardom from the 1950s through her glamorous career and marriages. Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell her story to the world. She picks Monique Grant, an unknown journalist who cannot believe she is being given this opportunity. The actress is adamant that she wants to tell the story of her true self, her move to LA in the 50s, the glamorous and not-so-glamorous parts of her career, and her marriages. As Evelyn’s story comes to an end, and Monique learns everything she needs to write the actress’s biography, it becomes clear why she was chosen for the job and the truth changes Monique’s world forever.

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Book review crime fiction mystery suspense thriller

Read and Review (R&R) – “Playing Nice” by JP Delaney

This month my book club selected “Playing Nice,” by J.P. Delaney

This well-written story is told in dual points of view – Pete and his partner, Maddie.

I found this book to be a very gripping, emotional page-turner and the short chapters made this 400 page book an easy read.

What if you found out that your family isn’t yours at all?

Pete Riley answers the door one morning and lets in a parent’s worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, a stranger who breaks the devastating news that Pete and his partner, Maddie’s son, Theo, isn’t actually their son – he is the Miles and Lucy Lamberts’ – switched at birth by an understaffed hospital while their real son was sent home with Miles and Lucy. When the four adults decide to try an amicable agreement to share the children, things quickly unravel. What secrets lie beneath the surface of these two families?

Buckle up for a suspenseful domestic/psychological thriller which stirs up ethical questions – What is in the best interest of the child? Nature verses Nurture? How far would you go to protect your family?

My only wish concerning this story is while the characters were well-developed, relatable and flawed, I would have liked to read more than a sprinkling on Pete and Maddie’s biological son, David. Everything centered on Theo, the rambunctious two-year-old biological son of Miles and Lucy, who doesn’t display any signs of learning setbacks from his premature birth.

If you read “Playing Nice,” be prepared for a roller-coaster ride of suspense!

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Book review crime fiction mystery reading

Read and Review (R&R) – Fatal Reunion by Annette Dashofy

Zoe and Pete are back! The latest Zoe Chambers Mystery, Fatal Reunion, is packed with action and plot twists that will keep you turning pages and wanting more Zoe and Pete when the book is done!

It’s Zoe’s 20th high school reunion and a lot of former classmates are back in town. When a young girl is found brutally murdered, the resemblances to the Monongahela Serial Killer case that was assumed closed years ago when Zoe and her best friend, Rose were seniors in high school is brought to the forefront of Zoe’s mind. In the capacity of the County Coroner, Zoe is in the middle of the investigation and the closer she and Pete get to solving the murder, the more personal the case becomes.

Dashofy’s characters are so well developed.  Her experience as a paramedic and her research into law enforcement, and the coroner’s office shine through in her writing.

Another complex, suspenseful mystery by Annette Dashofy.

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Book review fiction mystery reading suspense Uncategorized

Read & Review (R&R) – “Dead Man’s Leap” by Tina de Bellegarde

It’s another intriguing and suspense-filled, character-driven mystery for Agatha Award nominee, Tina de Bellegarde. In her latest mystery, “Dead Man’s Leap,” the flood waters are washing away more than material possessions. In the tiny town of Batavia-on-Hudson, relationships are put to the test, a dead body, bones and long-buried secrets from the past all threaten to alter the quaint village life.

This is the author’s 2nd book of her series “Batavia -on Hudson Mystery,” and while it is not necessary to read her first book “Winter Witness,” it is helpful as you are familiar with the characters.

Her main character, Bianca St. Denis is teaming up again with Sheriff Mike Riley to solve the mystery. De Bellegarde vividly sets the scene, beautifully portrays love and loss and writes characters that jump off the page and into her reader’s hearts. I am looking forward to reading the next Bativa-on-Hudson Mystery.

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Book review crime fiction mystery psychological thriller reading suspense thriller Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) “Survive the Night” by Riley Sager

Riley Sager weaves a masterful tale of psychological suspense.

When Charlie’s parents are killed in a car accident, she turns to movies as a way of escaping real life. At college, Charlie becomes best friends with Maddy. But, one horrific night changes everything. Maddy has been killed by the “Campus Killer.” A serial killer who has killed three times before. Charlie can’t get over Maddy’s death and decides to leave campus before Thanksgiving accepting a ride from a male stranger who she meets at the ride-share board. As their ride ensues, Charlie begins to doubt the sincerity of the man. Could he be the campus killer or is her mistrust a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

This book takes place in the 1990’s, when pay phones were the only way to check in with someone or call for help. No cell phones, no texting. The premise of a girl getting into a car with a stranger and things going wrong is nothing new and Sager presents it with a road trip story that is filled with twisted, unbelievable characters. To Riley Sager’s credit, I couldn’t put it down. It kept me on the edge of my seat with tension, intense emotion, and danger around every turn. I had to find out – would the campus killer be revealed? What would happen to Charlie?

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Book review crime fiction history mystery reading suspense

Read and Review (R&R) – “The Lessons We Learn”

“The Lessons We Learn” by Liz Milliron

Betty Ahern – the bold, risk-taking PI with moxie, wit, and heart!

It’s March 1943, and Betty Ahern is back and taking on a case that is very personal. When Betty’s best friend, Lee is jailed for the murder of his father, Betty must prove his innocence and get justice for her friend.

Betty and Homicide Detective Sam McKinnon team up and together they investigate Blackie Thomas, a numbers and illegal gambling boss, and the men and women who do his bidding. Tracking down Buffalo’s seedy and corrupt characters is a challenge, but Betty is determined and will stop at nothing to question them in brave Betty style so she can solve the case before Lee’s court plea date.

“The Lessons We Learn” is story three in Liz Milliron’s Homefront Mystery Series. Milliron immerses you into the time period and holds you there. Her characters jump off the page – some into your heart, and some into the river.

A page-turner filled with mystery and history.

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Book review fiction reading

Read and Review (R&R) – “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover

Our book club selection for this month is “It Ends With Us,” by Colleen Hoover.

If you are on BookTok, you already know there is a lot of buzz about this book.

I think the following words tell everything without posting spoilers in my review:

Powerful, inspiring, heart-wrenching, honest, raw, real-life, tough decisions, beautiful, unforgettable!

Colleen Hoover masterfully covers hot romance, devastating heartbreak, mental health and domestic violence in one novel.

“It Ends With Us” is a memorable read that I want to tell all my friends to pick up and I can guarantee, you won’t put it down.

Lilly Bloom is an unforgettable character and Colleen Hoover does an excellent job of bringing the readers along on Lilly’s journey. You discover the truths right alongside Lilly.

When I read the title, I was curious as to what it meant. When you read the book, and you get to the part where that is revealed, you will agree, it is the perfect title for this riveting book.

This book will leave a lasting mark on your heart.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book

That’s what fifteen minutes can do to a person. It can destroy them.
It can save them.

“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”

Lastly, fingers crossed for the rumors that this book will be made into a movie.

Categories
Book review crime fiction humorous fiction mystery reading suspense

Read and Review (R&R) – “The Man Who Died Twice” by Richard Osman

“The Man Who Died Twice”
Richard Osman

This book was given to me in a book exchange with my local “Sisters in Crime” group. What a wonderful read. I loved this book and its characters, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim.

What happens when four septuagenarians who live in the Cooper’s Chase retirement community band together and form a crime club (aka The Thursday Murder Club)? A heartwarming friendship, and a book filled with laugh-out-loud humor.

“I am learning that it is important to stop sometimes, and just have a drink and a gossip with your friends, even as corpses start to pile up around you.”

The narrative is split between all the characters mentioned above, but Joyce and Elizabeth play the largest roles.

With diamonds, Elizabeth’s ex-husband, the MI5, a cocaine dealer, crooked businessman, the mafia, local thugs, and piling up bodies, the members of the Thursday Murder Club have their hands full.

This is the second book in this series. The first is called “The Thursday Murder Club Mystery.”

Richard Osman has created a wonderful story line and I am anxiously awaiting the next novel with these characters.

Categories
Book review crime fiction mystery reading suspense thriller unreliable narrator

Read and Review (R&R) – “We Were Never Here” by Andrea Bartz

When two best friends travel, what could go wrong? How about a hookup turned violent and deadly? Not once but twice – I guess lightening can strike more than once.

If you enjoy psychological thrillers, this book may interest you.

I enjoyed the travel and psychological twists and turns. The friendship element drew me in, but then really it creeped me out. Gaslighting~there was a lot of it. The inner monologue was a bit long and the boyfriend a bit too sweet. So as not to put a spoiler, I will simply say, I would have enjoyed a different ending.

I agree with several reviewers who pointed out that this would make a good Netflix movie.

And…, what is up with the last line of the book? No way could it happen again…