Brenda’s review

The Pretty Little Wife here has had enough, and she is not to be underestimated. When she finds out what her husband has been hiding, she takes matters into her own hands. Things get complicated for her and us in more ways than one.

When Lila’s husband goes missing, she is under suspicion, of course. Lila is one smart woman, and so is the detective on the case, Ginny. They are not going to let the other one outsmart them. This added some fun dynamics and banter between the characters, and I had to chuckle to myself a few times. I didn’t know who to root for as each one was entertaining. I also enjoyed their inner banter with the men in the story who thought they were smarter than the women.

Darby Kane brings us one twisty domestic thriller here with enough unlikeable red herrings to keep you guessing right up to that entertaining, action-packed climax to the story. I was a tad bit disappointed with how Darby Kane to wrap things up, however, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. She doesn’t just use red herring to throw us off-track or rely on layering those clues. She held back some details, and that left me a bit unsatisfied with the ending. The ending requires some suspension of disbelief, but that added to the story’s entertainment for me.

There is a bit of a feminist side to the story here with the strong, stand on their own women here; however, the ending did kind of take away from that. lol

Overall this is a fun, entertaining twisty page-turner. I highly recommend it when you need to escape the world with a thrilling story.

This was a Traveling Sister read and made for a fun one to discuss those red herrings!!

Lindsay’s review

Lila’s husband, Aaron, teaches at the small town local high school where a student went missing. Months later Aaron disappears without a trace. Lila was the last person to see Aaron. Police investigate to determine if there could be a link between the disappearances.

This one started off strong! I loved Lila’s character and what her perspective brought to the story. The writing and storyline gripped me initially and had me curious to see how it would all play out. The podcast was a fun added element.

Something seemed to change around halfway. The writing lost its spark and took an unfortunate turn into unrealistic territory. I lost my connection with Lila’s character and I wasn’t as invested in the outcome of the storyline.

Overall, it was an entertaining, fast paced and easy read that was good but not great for me.

We received a copy from the publisher on EW

Brenda’s review

Hot Popping Dang! Literary popcorn! J.D. Barker describes his writing as literary popcorn, and I am not sure what that means, but that popcorn was popping all over the place here in this convoluted, dark, twisted horrifying action-packed psychological thriller with more twists and turn then I could keep up with. If I were holding a bowl of popcorn while reading this one, it would be flying all over the place with those graphic violent details.

With authors like James Patterson and J.D. Barker, I knew I was in for one “deeply deranged killer with a dark and twisted appetite” well, dang, this was some deeply twisted psychological sh*t going on here!! I am one picky reader when it comes to delving into psychology and twisting it for the plot and twists to the story. At times I was worried I would end up disliking this one, and that overthinker was going to come out in all her nastiness. However, I was in some skillful hands here, and only talented authors like this could make up this level of dark and twistiness and make it work for this picky overthinker!

It’s all about the action here with this twisty ride coast to coast, and at times, it’s was so intense I had to get off and take a mental break before getting back in this ride. I listened to this one, and with 560 pages and 14 hours of listening, I have to admit I was ready for this road trip of terror to end, but those deranged twists keep coming right up to that last page.

Now that ending left me thinking you got to be kidding me! They weren’t!!!

I received a copy from J.D. Barker through NG.

Brenda’s review

The Exiles explores a part of history I had no idea about. Christina Baker Kline brings us a well-researched powerful, emotional story that weaves history, real-life people, and fiction as she captures the hardship of four women set in 19 century Australia.

The story centers around three English female convicts being transported to a prison in Australia by boat and an orphaned Aboriginal girl Matthina. An English governor’s wife takes her in out of curiosity to see if she can turn a savage into a proper lady.

It’s all about the strong female characters here as we follow them as they struggle to leave behind their old lives and adapt to the new ones that are forced on them. There are many well-layered themes of social justice, oppression and survival quietly weaved into the beautiful story. At first, I struggled a bit with the story, and I needed to quiet my mind to focus on the themes. Once I shut the noise in my head, I was consumed with the journey of these unforgettable women. My heart broke for them with vivid details of the conditions they lived under, and at times I had to look away and let my mind skim over it. It’s not all dark as there are themes of hope, friendship, motherhood, and loyalty.

The story explores social justice here for women, at a time in history when women were seen as “less than” and a society that was entitled to discriminate against indigenous people. We don’t see much of Matthina’s story, but she captured my heart and pulled at my heart strings with the way she was seen and treated.

The story takes a brave, bold, and sudden turn that left me thinking did that just happened, and I almost didn’t believe it did. I had to go back and reread it, and Christina Baker Kline shows us just how talented she is by pulling off that turn to the story.

It’s inspiring stories like this that remind us how strong women were at a time when they were grounded by men and a society that viewed them as lesser. They faced fear and survival not by looking away but by facing it head-on. It’s an empowering story that celebrates women’s strength, courage, and resilience that we can carry over today. I highly recommend it.

Lindsay’s review

This novel follows several brave and inspiring women on a journey that weaves their lives together in unexpected ways. It is a story about the strength, determination and endless drive found deep within a woman’s soul. It is a powerful depiction of how women hold each other up in this world.

Told through multiple perspectives, I was invested in every character from start to finish. I loved what each character brought to the storyline, each narrative added a deeper layer of intensity and detail which all brilliantly weaved together in unexpected ways. These characters will stay with me a long time.

The elegant and beautiful writing pulled me in completely. Many powerful sentences made me stop and think. This is one of those books that I so thoroughly enjoyed reading that I didn’t want it to end. I truly cherished and enjoyed the experience of reading every single word.

Orphan Train, by this author, is one of my favourite books and while this was not an intense as Orphan Train, it was equally impactful. It is a quiet but captivating story. Not gripping or suspenseful, but beautifully unique and unforgettable.

This novel has confirmed my love for this authors writing. I absolutely must read A Piece Of The World soon.

We received copies from the publisher on EW

One book, Three Challenges!

I love to listen to audiobooks while multi-tasking especially when I am cooking. It makes those chores around the house a little easier to get to, however I still find ways to avoid doing them. I often listen and read the same book but then I usually end up reading most of it and never finishing the audiobook. So this year I have decided to join an audiobook challenge and set a goal to listen to those audiobooks from start to finish. Maybe if I only listen to a book it will motivated me to get those chores more often.

#2021AudiobookChallenge

My Level

Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15

The first audiobook on my list is The Nowhere Man (Orphan X, #2) by Gregg Andrew Hurwitz. I also decided to join a challenge to finish those series I have started but haven’t finished. When I decided to join the challenge this one was not on my list however I am now going to add to it. I am also going to use this one for my action thriller in my sub-genre thriller challenge if it’s exciting, suspenseful, keeps my attention from start to finish with it’s action packed thrills.

2021 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge #FinishingTheSeries2021

This challenge is focused on finishing those series that you’ve started but not yet completed. I have decided to go with C-List Series Finisher- Complete 1-4 series.

The series on my list to complete

  • Orphan X by Gregg Andrew Hurwitz
  • DI Kim Stone by Angela Marsons
  • Kate Burkholder by Linda Castillo
  • Grant Country/Will Trent by Karin Slaughter. I feel like that is pretty ambitious of me since I am only on the second book in the Grant Country series.

Interested in joining the 2021 Audiobook Challenge? Check it out at That’s What I’m Talking About or Caffeinated Reviewer.

Interested in joining 2021 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge? Check it out at Celebrity Readers

Hello Friends! It’s that time of year when I reflect on my reading year and look ahead at what I want to read. I usually like to keep my goals low and fly by the seat of my pants and emerge myself in my book chaos. It’s how Lindsay and roll. To add to my chaos, I have decided to take on some book challenges I have created for myself and some I discovered from my friend Jonetta Blue Mood Cafe either from her groups or blog posts.

Last year I challenged myself by reading better and more diverse. I reached out of that bubble and read a few books to challenge my thoughts. I spend hours looking up information to understand better what reading better and diverse meant and decided what it means to me. I read many books I felt were better reading and diverse or tackled social justice, and I wanted to blog about it all. I spent hours making notes and planning blog posts, but the words didn’t come together for me, and I didn’t get those posts done. This year I hope to make those posts easier to do by breaking them down by the challenges I have joined in Goodreads groups or created for myself. In 2021 I want to continue my challenge to read better, find books with diversity, tackle social justice, and represent genders better from what I have come to expect. I am planning a diversity challenge for myself.

I am making 2021 a year to celebrate authors and their past and new work. Another goal I have for myself is to read more books from authors I have enjoyed and discover some I haven’t read anything by. I want to celebrate their passion for their work and characters.

Today I am going to talk about a fun challenge I have joined. While I have joined it in a GR group, I changed some of the prompts and not added all of them. I really do have issues with following any kind of structure. lol, The challenge is to read different sub-genres of thrillers. Some are sub-genres I read often and some I don’t. When I first started reviewing books I thought all thrillers had to dark, twisty, thrilling, and chilling; however, not all are meant to be. The goal of any thriller should be to generate excitement, suspense, and interest from start to finish however each subgenre has different elements to it. To keep with my challenge to read better my goal is to be pickier and celebrate that overthinking I love to do and delve into those elements. Only the books that I feel are better at creating excitement, suspense, interest and capture the subgenre’s elements will count towards my challenge.

Here are the prompts for my sub-genre thriller challenge. I have taken some and broke them down even further.

  • Suspense
  • Domestic
  • Mystery
  • Crime
  • Psychological
  • Action / Adventure
  • Spy or Assassin
  • Medical
  • Disaster
  • Eco
  • Legal/Courtroom Drama
  • Supernatural
  • Techno
  • Horror
  • Historical
  • Cozy
  • Lock Room
  • Race Against Time
  • Cat and Mouse Game

Whether you set goals or challenges for yourself I wish you all a great reading year!!

Lindsay and I have been trying to knock some of those titles that have been sitting on our NG and EW shelves so when Lindsay told me she was reading The Survivors I decided to join in. Halfway in, we started chatting about the characters, and I had no idea what she was talking about. Then it hit me, we are reading two different books. Well, that added some laughter to our day, and I decided to add both our reviews today on this post for two different books called The Survivors. Yes you guess it Lindsay was reading The Survivors by Jane Harper.

Brenda’s review for The Survivors by Kate Furnivall.

The Survivors by Kate Furnivall focuses on the aftermath of the fall of Hitler’s regime. Klara and her daughter flee Poland to a camp for Holocaust survivors -Graufeld Displaced Persons Camp. She recognizes a man from her past, Oskar Sholz, and decides she needs to kill him before he kills her.

Kate Furnivall creates a thrilling story full of tension and suspense with historical details, romance, and an exciting cat and mouse game. This one is best described as a historical thriller with compelling, entertaining characters that create some suspense with who to trust and who not to trust. There is plenty of action that had me on the edge of my seat with twists and reveals that shocked and surprised me. The ending wraps up well, and I enjoyed the different pace the thriller element brought to the story.

I received a copy from the publisher on NG

Lindsay’s review for The Survivors by Jane Harper. Expected publication date is Feb 2, 2021

Chilling. Engrossing. Mysterious. Atmospheric.

Jane Harper knows how to write intensely atmospheric stories. She builds foreboding tension and suspense from the very start that keeps you captivated and hanging on until the very end. This book was no exception in that regard and it finished with a twisty, intense and unexpected ending which left me a satisfied reader.

The part that was lacking for me in this novel was the characters. I didn’t particularly like any of them which negatively affected my overall investment in the story. I was curious to see how things would come together but I didn’t truly care what happened and wasn’t rooting for anyone. It also took me a bit to understand “who was who” for the first portion of the book.

I’ve read and loved every one of this authors books. While this was a good read that I would recommend, it’s my least favourite of hers.

Thank you to Flat Iron books for the eGalley.

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