Review: The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

One summer. One stranger. One killer…
Two bad things happened that summer:
A stranger arrived. And the first girl disappeared.

In the wake of the crime that rocked her community, Felicity fled, knowing more than she let on.

But sixteen years later, her new life is shattered by the news that a second girl has gone missing in her hometown.

Now Felicity must go back, to face the truth about what happened all those years ago.

Only she holds the answers – and they’re more shocking than anyone could imagine.

The heatwave is back. And so is the killer.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

The Heatwave publishes June 25, 2020. 

I’m a huge fan of Katerina Diamond’s DS Imogen Grey series and I was excited for her first standalone book. Though it meant I have to wait longer for more Imogen and Adrian, The Heatwave was an enjoyable book.

The story is told in past and present timelines. In the present, Felicity feels compelled to return to her hometown and investigate when she finds out another teenage girl has gone missing. In the past, Jasmine tries to discover what the strange new lodger her parents have invited to live in their guest house is hiding. I have to say that I found the past chapters much more interesting than the present. The characters were more fleshed out and I felt invested in what happened to them. I thought Tim’s character was intriguing and wanted to learn more about him. In the present, I just didn’t really care much about Felicity. She honestly didn’t really do much besides drinking and wandering aimlessly around town, talking to whoever she happened upon. I found it frustrating that she was so vague and all character development was really saved for the end.

There was a reason for the vagueness, though. Things needed to be that way so the twists and turns revealed towards the end have an impact. However, if you’re paying attention, you will guess one of the biggest surprises very early on in the story. I did, and found myself just waiting for it to finally be revealed and I think that hindered some of my enjoyment of the story. While I did figure out almost every other twist, it did take me a little longer.

Overall, The Heatwave was enjoyable. I especially liked the past chapters. I think if you’re able to just sit back and take everything as it comes, rather than trying to figure things out, you will enjoy this one.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2020

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Moment of Truth by Kasie West. Read March 3-5. 3 Stars

It makes me a little sad to say this, but I found this book really dull. I didn’t really start to enjoy it until about the last 25%. I expect a slow burn romance in West’s books, but it felt almost non-existent until close to the end. I also thought the big drama between Hadley and her parents was resolved WAY too easily. I almost gave this book 2 stars instead of 3, but I did really like Hadley and Jackson in the last few chapters.

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Wild at Heart (The Simple Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker. Read March 5-7. 4 Stars. 

I loved this. I think I enjoyed it more than the first book, actually. It’s extremely character-driven and not a lot really happens and if I was in a different mood, I could see where this might not have worked for me, but I really enjoyed it. I liked seeing Calla and Jonah work on starting a life together. There were lots of sweet moments between them and Jonah could be far more romantic than I remember him being. However, he still did lots of stupid things that made me frustrated with him, too. I liked the new location and the new characters, especially Toby and Roy. One negative thing, though, I thought there were a few too many sex scenes. None of them were that detailed and some were even more “fade to black”, but it just seemed a little excessive.

I would love a third Calla and Jonah book. I think I’m going to go back and re-read the first book now just because I don’t feel like being done with them quite yet.

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca. Read March 8-10. 2.5 Stars. 

I think I was way too hyped for this. Everyone I know that read this gave it 4 or 5 stars and I had really high expectations. I found it really lackluster, though. I didn’t really like the main character, I didn’t buy the romance, and wasn’t really impressed with the writing. There were a couple of cute or funny moments, but I just didn’t enjoy this one.

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Bennett Mafia by Tijan. Read March 22-24. 3.5 Stars

When I was having a hard time concentrating on anything, this one kept my attention. It was crazy and sometimes ridiculous, but addicting, which is what I expect from a Tijan book. It was just a little too long, though. Just when I felt like the story was coming to an end, the plot completely shifted. I almost felt like this could have been broken into two different books.

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The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. Read March 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I don’t know what all these lukewarm reviews are about because I really enjoyed this! I liked the home renovation show vibes and the slow burn romance. The two main characters were likable (except when James did a couple of super dumb things) and the “villains” were more of the love-to-hate variety. I could’ve used an epilogue, but this was a cute, fast read and I’m kind of sad that I finished it so quickly.

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The Assist (Smart Jocks #1) by Rebecca Jenshak. Read March 26-27. 3.5 Stars.

A little cliched, but after a rough start I started to enjoy this. I liked Blaire and Wes (Bless) and I liked that we got both of their POVs. I’ll probably give the rest of this series a try before my KU subscription ends.

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Fake It ‘Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy. Read March 28-29. 3.5 Stars

This was one of those crazy Romances where high school kids act like adults and everything is 100x more dramatic than it needs to be, but I was into it. I liked both Nico and Demi and I shipped them. I will probably check out some of this author’s other books while I still have KU.

*****Re-Read*****

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker. I liked this just as much the second time around – maybe even more.

*****Back on the TBR*****

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Open Book by Jessica Simpson. I didn’t make it past the prologue. Just wasn’t in the mood for non-fiction. I’ll try it again, though.

*****DNF*****

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By the Book by Amanda Sellet. DNF @ 5%. I try to go 25% before I give up on a book, but I couldn’t even make it through two chapters of this book. It was just trying way too hard. The main character was insufferable. I will say I’m also a lot older than the target audience for this book, so a younger, quirkier crowd may enjoy this much more.

Pretty Reckless by LJ Shen. DNF @ 7%. Whenever I sign up for Kindle Unlimted, I try a lot of books that I probably wouldn’t otherwise ever read and this book definitely fell into that category. I’ve seen so many great reviews of LJ Shen books and I wanted to see what the fuss was about, but I think it’s safe to say this author isn’t for me.

Doughn’t Let Me Go by Teagan Hunter. DNF @ 21%. Nope. Just can’t do this. I don’t really like either of the characters. Porter is way more skeezy than I can appreciate and I’m just rolling my eyes at Dory and her whole Pretty Woman “sex is fine, but no kissing” thing. I also am not a fan of the Single Dad / Nanny trope. I’ve enjoyed several other books by this author, but this one just isn’t for me.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter – 2 Stars

The First Date by Zara Stoneley – 3.5 Stars

The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond – 3.5 Stars

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson – 2.5 Stars

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett – 3.5 Stars

Admission by Julie Buxbaum – 2 Stars

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell – 3.5 Stars

WWW Wednesday: March 18, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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The First Date by Zara Stoneley and He Started It by Samantha Downing

What are you currently reading?

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Open Book by Jessica Simpson and The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

What do you think you’ll read next?

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Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

What are you reading?

My COVID-19 ARC TBR

How is everyone doing? I personally think the world is overreacting right now, but I’ll still stay home and follow the guidelines the government and health officials put forth. I mean, I’ve been practicing social distancing all my life, so it’s not really a big deal. I am on administrative leave / working remotely for at least the next three weeks so that means plenty of time for reading! I plan on working through my ARCs:

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Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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Admission by Julie Buxbaum

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By the Book by Amanda Sellet

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Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

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The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

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The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

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The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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The Bright Lands by John Fram

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The Vacation by T.M. Logan

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Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell

What’s on your COVID-19 TBR?

Most Disappointing Reads of 2019

I feel like 2019 was an overall disappointing reading year for me. There were several books I was really looking forward to and they just let me down. The following are the books I had the highest expectations for and ended up giving only 2 or 3 stars.

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Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

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Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

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Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond

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The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

What are some of your disappointing reads from 2019?

Review: The Woman in the Water (DS Imogen Grey #6) by Katerina Diamond

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Sunday Times bestselling author of The Teacher and Truth or Die is back with a new twisty crime thriller

I’m alive. But I can’t be saved . . .

When a woman’s body is found submerged in icy water, police are shocked to find she is alive. But she won’t disclose her name, or what happened to her – even when a second body is discovered. And then she disappears from her hospital bed.

Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey follow their only lead to the home of Reece Corrigan, and when his wife Angela walks in, they immediately recognise her. She’s the woman from the river, with her injuries carefully masked.

The more they dig into the couple, the less they understand about them.

Why have people in their past been hurt, or vanished?

And why doesn’t Angela want to be saved?

Smart, shocking and twisty – perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Karin Slaughter.

Praise for Katerina Diamond:

‘All hail the new Queen of Crime’ Heat

‘Deliciously dark . . . Keeps her readers guessing throughout, as she leads us on a very secretive, VERY twisted journey’ Lisa Hall, author of The Party

‘Packed with twists until the last page’ Closer

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Woman in the Water will be available November 11, 2019. 

I very eagerly anticipated the release of Truth or Die earlier this year and thought it would be another year before the next book in the series came out. I was super happy to discover that Woman in the Water was also publishing this year. While I did enjoy it, I have some mixed feelings about it, as well.

I don’t know if it’s because the book was maybe rushed to release this year or if it’s because of a new editor (in the Acknowledgments the author mentions a former editor, so I’m assuming the editor of this book was different than the others), but the quality didn’t seem quite as good as the other books in the series. The dialogue felt a little awkward sometimes, there was a lot of repetition, and the mystery left a little to be desired.

That said, I love Adrian and Imogen and I was just happy to spend time with them. I knew since they finally got together in the previous book that there would have to be something to throw a wrench into their relationship this time around. And there is. First, Adrian loses his head a bit during the investigation, as it brings up a lot of bad memories from his childhood. Then, he ends up having something very traumatic happen to him. It’s hard to talk about without having spoilers, but it was very hard to read and most the rest of the book focuses on him trying to come to terms with it. In true Adrian fashion, he deals with it in the least emotionally healthy way possible, which includes lying to Imogen and pushing her away. While that was frustrating, I do think Adrian’s reactions were authentic and it is definitely an important topic.

I thought the mystery was intriguing and had a lot of potential, but it kind of failed to reach it. We’re told over and over how evil Reece is and I kept expecting something big to be revealed, but he was kind of your run of the mill bad guy. We never really get the motivation behind his particular brand of villainy and the big reveal at the end seemed tacked on for shock value instead of being a satisfying or shocking twist.

Overall, I loved spending more time with Adrian and Imogen, but Woman in the Water was not my favorite book of the series. The subject matter of what happened with Adrian is important and I thought it was pretty well done, but I wish a little more development went into the central mystery. The story ends with some big changes going forward and I’m eager to see how those develop. Though I didn’t enjoy this book as much I hoped to, I’m still a big Katerina Diamond fan and can’t wait to read more from her.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda. Read July 30-August 2. 3 Stars. 

I liked this for awhile, but it kind of got old fast. It was really repetitive with not a lot really happening. You can tell right away that Jane is a sociopath, but she was still fun to read. It either says something about the writing or just how much I hate cheaters that I felt a little sorry for her when it came to her husband. But for real, he also wasn’t a good person. I had high hopes for a good twist at the end, but I guessed every single reveal well in advance. I also thought the last chapter was kind of lame and the book ended on a bit of a sour note for me. It might still be worth the read for fans of unreliable narrators.

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The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata. Read August 23-26. 3.5 Stars

A sweet story, but a little too long (like all of Zapata’s books). It involves my least favorite trope, but it didn’t end up being as frustrating as I thought it would be. I liked the characters and the romance.

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Mine by Courtney Cole. Read August 27-28. 4 Stars. 

Super addictive writing made this one hard to put down. I loved the alternating POVs and timelines. Both Tessa and Lindsey were pretty crazy and I was having a fun, if slightly horrified, time reading about them, but the last few chapters were kind of a let down. I expected a crazy twist or explosive ending, but it didn’t go that route. 

***SPOILERS***SPOILERS***SPOILERS***I don’t like that there’s no definitive answer to what Tessa decides to do with her marriage. It kind of sounds like she decides to stay with her husband and that’s frustrating to me. It’s one thing to try to work things out if someone makes a mistake and are sincerely sorry about it, but that is not the type of person Ethan is. He’s a serial cheater and liar and only apologizes if he’s caught. I also read that the author decided to write this book after finding out about her own husband cheating. I don’t know what the current status of her marriage is, but in the About the Author section it mentions that she lives with “her husband and kids”, so I’m assuming she decided to stay with him. I just hope he’s a much better person than fictional Ethan is.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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29 Seconds by T.M. Logan – 2 Stars

Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond – 3.5 Stars

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren – 3 Stars

WWW Wednesday: August 21, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

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You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle. I thought this sounded cute, but I’m not quite sure about it yet. The main character is very, very unlikable. I think she’s supposed to come off as funny, but she seems more like a sociopath to me. That said, there was one scene that did make me laugh a lot, so I’m going to give it a few more chapters at least. It’s a good book to be reading this week since I’m not too invested in it, as I’ve been really busy with packing. Moving day is tomorrow! And I have soooo much to do before the movers get here.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren and Woman in the Water (DS Imogen Grey #6) by Katerina Diamond. These were both 3 star reads for me, which was a little disappointing since I love these authors.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I just got approved for Lake Season (Bluebell Inn Romance #1) by Denise Hunter on NetGalley.

What are you reading?

Review: Truth or Die (DS Imogen Grey #5) by Katerina Diamond

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Their darkest secrets won’t stay buried forever…

The butchered body of a professor is found in a private office of Exeter University. It is the first in a spate of horrific murders that shakes the city to its core.

Who would target a seemingly innocent man, and why? DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles turn to his students for answers, but their investigation turns up no leads. Someone must know more than they’re letting on…

As the body count rises, the police have to look into the past to uncover the person responsible before it’s too late.

But are they brave enough to face up to the truth?

Smart, gripping, dark. The Sunday Times bestseller is back in a twisty crime thriller, perfect for fans of M.J. Arlidge’s EENY MEENY and Angela Marsons’ KIM STONE series.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

Truth or Die will be available July 11, 2019. 

The DS Imogen Grey series is one of my all time favorites and Truth or Die has been one of my most anticipated books of the year. Katerina Diamond once again came through with a compelling mystery that kept me glued to the pages.

Truth or Die felt like a little bit of a departure from the previous books in the series. The POVs were almost exclusively from Imogen and Adrian. There are a few chapters from a couple of other characters, but they were not as prominent as I have come to expect. This didn’t bother me at all, though. I love Adrian and Imogen and in some of the other books I felt like I didn’t get enough from them. I also thought their personal lives took more of a leading role than they have in the past. While their character development has always been strong, whatever was going on in their personal lives often bled into the central mystery, but it seemed more separate this time around. However, I was on board with it because there are DEVELOPMENTS in their relationship.

While I have loved Dean, his relationship with Imogen was always on borrowed time. In the most recent book, Adrian and Imogen’s partnership and friendship started to evolve into something more. In this book, we really dive into their complicated feelings and I was here for it. I already feel like I’m being too spoilery with even mentioning it, but it’s a large part of the book and as a long time fan of the series, I was extremely invested in it.

The mystery was well done, if not quite as intricate or dark as I might have expected. It wasn’t really built in a way that there would be big twists and reveals, but it was well plotted and intriguing. It also links back to a case from a previous book, which I really enjoyed. There is an added layer of Adrian wrestling with the gray areas of the sins of his past. My dear, sweet Adrian often makes a lot of stupid decisions, but his heart is always in the right place. That doesn’t mean there isn’t consequences for him and those around him, though, and I liked seeing him coming to terms with that. There was also a storyline having to do with false rape accusations that I felt was pretty relevant to what’s going on it the world today.

Overall, I really enjoyed Truth or Die. Though it was a little different than what I have come to expect from Diamond, it was still a compelling mystery with great character development that I could barely put down. Each book in this series just further solidifies it’s status as one of my favorites and I can’t wait for the next one!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Her Pretend Billionaire Boyfriend (Clean Billionaire Romance #1) by Bree Livingston. Read April 26-May 1. 3 Stars. 

This was suuuuuuuper cheesy, but it had some good moments, too. I got this as a free e-book because I am a sucker for fake relationship stories. I probably would never have read it otherwise, but despite the cringeworthy title and cover it was overall entertaining. Belle drove me crazy for most of the book. I’m definitely not someone who often stands up for myself, but even I wouldn’t have let myself be walked over as much as she did. It was a little much. I liked Tristan much better, though.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

(I read mostly NetGalley books that aren’t published until June or July this month)

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Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer – 4 Stars

Those People by Louise Candlish – 4 Stars

In the Darkness (Zoe Bentley Mystery #2) by Mike Omer – 4 Stars

Truth or Die (DS Imogen Grey #5) by Katerina Diamond – 4 Stars

One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase – 2 Stars

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan – 3 Stars

A Stranger on the Beach – 4 Stars