Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2021

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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Eleanor & Grey by Brittainy C. Cherry. Read May 1-2. 3.5 Stars

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I feel like lately it’s been taking me a really long time to finish books, but I did not want to put this one down once I started it. I really enjoyed Eleanor and Grey’s love story, but there were a few things that made me not quite able to give it 4 stars.

The story is told in two parts – the first with the characters in high school in 2003-2004 and then the next in 2019. It felt like reading two different stories. I really enjoyed the first part and thought they were absolutely adorable together, but felt the time jump to be really jarring. Grey didn’t seem like the same character at all for a long time once the second part began. And I get it that they’ve grown up and he’s gone through a lot, but he seemed too different. I think maybe interweaving the timelines instead of keeping them in separate parts of the book might have helped.

Also, it’s never really mentioned, but based on the age of his oldest daughter, it means she would have been born his Sophomore year of college. It made me a little sad that he would’ve moved on with someone so quickly after leaving Eleanor. Which brings me to another point – I wish we would’ve seen some of his relationship with his wife before she passed. Without getting to see their love story, it made me just feel a little resentful towards him that he was with someone else and I wasn’t as patient with his grieving because I wanted him back together with Eleanor.

There were also a few things with the writing that threw me off. There’s a lot of the same words and phrases repeated a lot. I get what Cherry was going for, but it didn’t always work for me. I also didn’t like that the characters prayed to their dead relatives. And the last few chapters were way, way too sappy for my liking.

And I know this sounds like I didn’t like a lot about the book, but I did really enjoy it! It was sweet and funny and I loved what a booknerd Eleanor was and her introvertism. I loved that Grey read her favorite book so they could talk about it and I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

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Badly Behaved by Meagan Brandy. Read April 30-May 4. 3 Stars. 

I’m not really sure if this book is a little less crazy than the last couple books I tried by this author, or if my threshold for the ridiculous has changed, but this one was ok for me. It was over the top, but not all the time and I liked the friendship between the characters.

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It’s In His Kiss (Bridgertons #7) by Julia Quinn. Read May 2-4. 4 Stars. 

I loved this one! Hyacinth and Gareth’s banter was so much fun. While I did miss seeing some of the other Bridgertons, their absence wasn’t as noticeable as it has been in previous books since I loved Hyacinth and Gareth so much.

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Sunkissed by Kasie West. Read May 4-6. 3 Stars. 

This had some cute and funny moments, but ended up being just ok for me. It felt like there were a lot of things recycled from some of West’s other books – the songwriting from “PS I Like you“, the making a list of things to do to expand your horizons like “Life, Love, and the List“, the outdoorsy setting like “Listen to your Heart.” It was just kind of odd. I liked the main character well enough, but felt pretty ambivalent about everyone else, including the love interest. I also felt like she spent the whole book trying to become a better version of herself and then it happened all at once at the end. This probably isn’t one I would read again, but I’ll still look forward to the next Kasie West book.

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Hostage by Clare Mackintosh. Read May 8-10. 3 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, but not as much as I had hoped to. I recently read another book about a plane hijacking and couldn’t help myself from comparing the two. While this one did a much better job on character development and a giving a fresher take on who the hijackers were, it was not nearly as fast paced or suspenseful as the other one. Being a fan of Mackintosh, I knew to be on the look out for a great twist at the end – and we got it. However, there was a big clue into at least part of that twist throughout the book and I guessed it from a mile away. The epilogue was pretty great, though. I might have increased my rating by half a star due to those final few pages, but then my whole reading experience was brought down a bit by the condescending climate change lecture given in the Author’s Note.

*I received a copy of this title via a giveaway on Goodreads.*

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On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons #8) by Julia Quinn. Read May 13-16. 4 Stars.

I’ve seen some rather mixed reviews for this one, but I really enjoyed it! The last couple of chapters were a little on the ridiculous side, but I enjoyed the rest of the book enough to make up for it. I really liked Gregory and Lucy. I liked that there were some more Bridgertons around than the last couple of books had, but I wanted at least one scene where they were altogether since this was the last book in the series and was sad we didn’t get that. Still, though, this has been such a fun series that is outside the genre I usually read and I’m glad I gave them a try.

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Forbidden (Ward Sisters #4) by Karla Sorensen. Read May 22-23. 4 Stars. 

I’ve been waiting for Isabel’s story and while I found her much more frustrating than I expected to, I liked her and Aiden together. I wish we got a little more of Aiden’s POV and I wish there was more relationship development and less focus on physical fantasies. Still, though, it was a good end to the series that I sped right through. I liked that we got to see a good deal of the rest of the Ward family and that there was some closure with their estranged mother.

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The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (Bridgertons #1.5-8.5; 8.6) by Julia Quinn. Read May 23. 4 Stars.

I was able to read the 2nd epilogues for all of the previous books when I read them, so I got this just for Violet’s story. It didn’t go the way I was expecting it to, but I did like it. I really liked that we got to see some of her relationship with her husband, who never got to make an appearance in the series. And while I wish she would have found love again, I liked that she was still happy with her life without it.

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In the Now by Jennifer Ann Shore. Read May 23-24. 3.5 Stars

3.5 Stars. I picked this one up randomly browsing KU and it’s one of the better books I’ve found in that way. I liked the characters, but I wanted a little more from the romance. Noah bullied Olivia pretty hard in high school. Like, really mean things and I thought it was all just brushed past way too easily. Adult Noah was like a completely different character. There’s also a lot said about his family that I thought could have been explored a little more. Overall, this was a quick, enjoyable read and I might check out more from this author.

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Find You First by Linwood Barclay. Read May 25-27. 4 Stars.

I enjoyed this one. When it comes to character driven thrillers, Linwood Barclay is one of the best. The plot veered into the unbelievable a bit more than his books usually do, but it was entertaining.

*****DNF*****

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The Engagement Arrangement (Boots and Bouquets #2) by Jaci Burton. DNF @ 4%. I usually try to give books a little more of a chance before I decide to DNF it, but this is the second time I’ve tried to read this one and I still can’t make myself get past the first chapter. I thought the main character was kind of creepy and found myself saying, “that escalated quickly” several times – and it was only the first chapter! I think it’s safe to say that this book won’t be for me.

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Match Made in Paradise (Paradise, Alaska #1) by Barbara Dunlop. DNF @ 58%. I thought this had a lot of potential in the beginning, but I pretty quickly became bored with it. I didn’t think the “hate-to-love” was that well done – they had bad first impressions of each other and then lots of inner-monologues about how attractive they found each other. I never really felt any real chemistry or friendship between them. I didn’t like the main character and her “poor me for being so beautiful and rich” behavior. Since I was so far into the book I thought I should finish it, but once I got to the part where the main character and her cousin discuss shipping in models from LA to date the local Alaskan men, I just couldn’t take any more.

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Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron. DNF @ 14%. I don’t have anything bad to say about the writing, but after just a few chapters I felt like I had already read this story several times before and I was just not in the mood for it. I did skim through to the end just to see if there was anything new or surprising. There wasn’t. I have seen some very positive reviews on the book, though, so I’m sure it will still be an entertaining read for many.

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The Bookworm’s Guide to Flirting (The Bookworm’s Guide #3) by Emma Hart. DNF @ 6%. I thought this looked funny and cute, but it only took one chapter to know it’s not for me. That’s not to say that it won’t be funny and cute. There was some banter that made me smile, but I know that I can’t take a whole book in the main character’s head. I really did not care for her and the general tone of the writing.

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

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Win by Harlan Coben. I think I was in a weird mood when I started this and I only read one chapter that didn’t grab me. I put it down to try some other books and was never inspired to pick it back up. I do plan on requesting it from the library again in the future, though.

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

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Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda – 2 Stars

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish – 3.5 Stars

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian – 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: May 26, 2021

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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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In the Now by Jennifer Ann Shore. I came upon this one randomly when browsing KU and found it pretty enjoyable. I’ll probably try out more from this author in the future.

What are you currently reading?

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Find You First by Linwood Barclay. I always look forward to a Linwood Barclay book and I’m liking this one so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m not sure, but I think I’m going to get back to my ARCs with The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng.

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021.

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1. The Song Book of Benny Lament by Amy Harmon. Publishes March 16, 2021.

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2. Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson. Publishes March 23, 2021.

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3.  Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne. Publishes April 13, 2021.

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4. Where Secrets Lie by Eva V. Gibson. Publishes April 20, 2021.

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5. Sunkissed by Kasies West. Publishes May 4, 2021.

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6. Find You First by Linwood Barclay. Publishes May 4, 2021.

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7. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. Publishes May 11, 2021.

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8. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren. Publishes May 18, 2021.

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9. The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary. Publishes June 1, 2021.

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10. Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler. Publishes June 1, 2021.

What new releases are you looking forward to in the first half of 2021?

Streaming Saturday: The Stranger

We all love books here, but I thought I might start dedicating some posts on Saturdays to highlight one of my other loves – TV!

What I’m watching

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The Stranger on Netflix. 

Follows the lives of suburban families whose secrets and lies are made public by the appearance of a stranger.

Why I’m Watching

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The show is based on the book by Harlan Coben. Though I’m generally a fan of Coben, the book was just ok for me. When I saw him on book tour last year, he talked about working on the show and that made me want to watch it. He said that there would be some big differences from the book and he was fine with the changes as he thinks the watching experience should be different than the reading experience. I kind of disagree with that idea, but that’s ok. I’m only two episodes into the show so far and have noticed several differences. The stranger on the show is a woman instead of a man. The show is set in England rather than the US. And there’s a whole new sideplot introduced featuring the kids. 

Watch If You Like…

Lies by T.M. Logan

No Bad Deed by Heather Chavez

Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

What are you streaming right now?

Review: Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

“One hell of a suspense novel.” ⁠—Stephen King

The New York Times bestselling author of A Noise Downstairs and No Time for Goodbye returns with an edge-of-your-seat thriller that does for elevators what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for the beach—a heart-pounding tale in which a series of disasters paralyzes New York City with fear.

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its ribbon-cutting on Thursday.

With each diabolical twist, Linwood Barclay ratchets up the suspense, building to a shattering finale. Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

I received a copy of title tile via Edelweiss. It does not impact my review.

Elevator Pitch will be available September 17, 2019. 

Linwood Barclay is one of my favorite authors and I always look forward to his books. I’m happy to say that Elevator Pitch did not disappoint.

I thought the idea of malfunctioning elevators in a city that relies on them so heavily was really interesting and I thought Barclay did a good job of creating a really suspenseful atmosphere. I even avoided using the elevators at work while I was reading this. I thought the mystery aspect was pretty well done, too. There are multiple possible suspects and a few red herrings that had me second guessing myself and I liked that.

Barclay’s books are always pretty character driven and this was no exception. I really liked detectives Bourque and Delgado. I would really love to see more books including them. I also enjoyed Mayor Headley and his aides, Valerie, Chris, and Glover, as well as journalist Barbara and her daughter, Arla. There was also a perspective from a domestic terrorist group leader. While it was intriguing, I recently finished another book that had a similar group and I’m kind of over the whole politics angle becoming more popular in books.

Overall, I really enjoyed Elevator Pitch.  While I didn’t love the inclusion of politics and I felt the story was just a little longer than it needed to be, those were really my only issues with it. I loved the suspenseful atmosphere of the elevators and the characters. I am definitely looking forward to more from Barclay.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: August 28, 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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Mine by Courtney Cole. This isn’t quite what I was expecting, but the writing is addictive. I’m very interested to see where it goes.

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata. I actually won this in a giveaway on Amy Harmon’s Facebook page (it was for an ebook of my choice up to $5), which was very exciting. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite Zapata book.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay. I was denied for this on NetGalley, which made me super sad. I randomly decided to go on Edelweiss the other day, which I only do every couple months or so, and discovered that I had been approved for this one quite awhile ago! I never got an e-mail notification or anything. This is only the second book I’ve ever been approved for on Edelweiss in my 6 years of blogging (I for real don’t understand Edelweiss, but that’s a whole other blog post), but I’m definitely excited to get the chance to read this sooner than I  thought I would!

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019.

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1. Shamed (Kate Burkholder #11) by Linda Castillo. Publishing July 16, 2019.

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2. Dark Age (Red Rising #5) by Pierce Brown. Publishing July 30, 2019.

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3. Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins. Publishing August 6, 2019.

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4. The Killing Tide (Coastal Guardians #1) by Dani Pettrey. Publishing August 6, 2019.

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5. The Last Widow (Will Trent #9) by Karin Slaughter. Publishing August 20, 2019.

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6. Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay. Publishing September 17, 2019.

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7. Where Do I Begin? by Elvis Duran. Publishing October 1, 2019.

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8. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Publishing October 1, 2019.

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9. The Burning Shadow (Origin #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Publishing October 8, 2019.

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10. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. Publishing November 5, 2019.

What are your most anticipated releases?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Summer TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach (This can also serve as your summer TBR). I’m very much a mood reader so I find it hard to stick to a set TBR list, but these are all books I’m hoping to read soon.

36301023My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies (Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows). My Lady Jane was such a surprise hit for me and has become one of my favorite books and I have been looking forward to this one ever since reading it.36347470Dead Drift (Chesapeake Valor #4) by Dani Pettrey. This is the last book in this series and I’m really excited for it.35924499Our House by Louise Candlish. I got approved for this on NetGalley, but I also won a physical copy from a Goodreads Giveaway and I’m really looking forward to it.36502041Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. Slaughter is one of my favorite authors and I’m sure I will enjoy this just as much as I have her other books. I’m over 100 people on the wait list for this at the library, though, so I don’t know if I’ll even get it this summer, but fingers crossed!36620943Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins. I FINALLY got approved for a Kristan Higgins book on NetGalley, but I still haven’t read this yet. I’m really looking forward to starting it soon, though.35410511Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and I’m a little concerned it’s been over-hyped for me, but I’m still looking forward to it. It sounds super creepy – in a fun way.37793086Girl’s Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. I’ve never read anything by these authors and this one sounds really interesting. Plus, I love that cover!36461789A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay. Barclay is one of my favorite authors and I’m so excited for this one. I am also planning on seeing him when he’s in the area in July with my book buddy, Amanda!33413128Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman. I hear such amazing things about Backman, but I was never really sure of his books. However, Brandie from Running on Words and Wine recently read and loved this one and she let me borrow it, so I’m looking forward to finally giving him a try!36547961Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson. I’ve seen some really great reviews on this one and I am next in line for it at the library!

What books are on your Summer TBR? Do we have any in common?

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

This week on Good Reads is Mystery and Thriller Week, so I thought I’d celebrate by sharing some of my favorite books from the genre (links go to my reviews).

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Sharon Bolton is one of my very favorite authors and all of her books I’ve read have been great, but my two favorite books by her (and just favorites in general) are Daisy in Chains and Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1).

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The Imogen Grey series by Katerina Diamond is fantastic. Be forewarned that they are pretty dark, but they are so worth it!

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Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes #1) by Daniel Cole. This book completely lived up to the hype and I am dying for the next in the series.

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Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. A different take on the serial-killer novel, smartly written, and just look at that cover!

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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen totally lived up to the hype for me. I thought I had it all figured out, but that twist completely got me.

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Lies She Told by Cate Holahan. The story within a story really worked for me and I loved this.

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I would be remiss to have a list about my favorite mysteries without including a book by one of my favorite authors, Linwood Barclay. I really enjoy his Promise Falls books and The Twenty-Three really stood out for the panic-inducing atmosphere the book starts out with.

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Another favorite author I need to mention is Karin Slaughter. I really love her Will Trent series, as well as her standalone titles.

Ok, I’m going to stop myself here because I could go on and on with this topic. If you want to find some more great mystery titles, I am going to refer you to my favorite Mystery blogger: Annie @ TheMisstery. Several of the books I mentioned above I discovered because of her. I feel like almost every blog post she writes results in me adding another book to my TBR.

And lastly, I’m going to leave you with this fun little game that is over on Good Reads. What is the name of your mystery novel? Mine is The Stalker on Flight 42

What are some of your favorite mysteries and thrillers? What was the title of your mystery novel?