Monday, November 23, 2020

Random Things Tours - The Chalet


TITLE: The Chalet
AUTHOR: Catherine Cooper
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers UK
PUBLISHING DATE: November 12, 2020


Four friends. One luxury getaway. The perfect murder.  
French Alps, 1998 
 Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns. 
20 years later 
Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting. 
Someone knows what really happened that day. 
And somebody will pay. 

When I first discovered The Chalet, I noticed it contained so many of my favorite elements.  A dual timeline, a snowed-in setting and secrets.  And man, did this book ever deliver!

Twenty years ago two brothers, who often didn't get along, took their girlfriends skiing.  However, only one of them returned. Now a group of people once again gather at the chalet for a vacation but this time a snowstorm is wrecking havoc and the only road has been blocked.  The four individuals also have ties to what happened twenty years ago and when a body is discovered in an avalanche, everyone is left to wonder how and if it ties in to the death so many years ago.

This book is a perfect winter read and I hope plenty of people find it beneath their Christmas trees because I can think of nothing better than diving into this on winter holiday.  Cooper sets a dark and foreboding atmosphere and I could almost feel the walls closing in on our characters.

Speaking of characters, I didn't really like them but man, they were fun to dislike!  They were all full of themselves but as the book progresses, they are fully fleshed out and the reader at least understands them all a tad better.  And finally the mystery. I've complained several times this year about books I loved which were ruined by the last sentence.  The Chalet is another one of those last sentence book but this time I loved it.  If you love Lucy Foley or basically what amounts to a close-circle mystery, then this is the book for you!  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CATHERINE COOPER is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines, specializing in travel. Most recently she has written several ski pieces for the Guardian and is currently compiling a 50 best family holidays round up for the Telegraph. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives in France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

2 Bloggers 1 Book - One for the Books (Library Lover's Mystery #11)


This month we chose a book both Stormi and I chose a book from our favorite series.  I turned her on to this one and I'm so glad she fell in love wit it like I did.  So read on for my thoughts and then head to  Stormi's at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see her opinion! And I'm pretty sure we're both going to be gushing!

TITLE: One for the Books (Library Lover's Mystery #1)
AUTHOR: Jenn McKinlay
PUBLISHING DATE: September 1, 2020


Love is in the air in Briar Creek as library director Lindsey Norris and boat captain Mike (Sully) Sullivan are finally tying the knot. The entire town is excited for the happy day, and Lindsey and Sully's plan for a small wedding evaporates as more and more people insist upon attending the event of the year. 
When Lindsey and her crafternoon pals head out to Bell Island to see if it can accommodate the ever-expanding guest list, they are horrified to discover a body washed up on the rocky shore. Even worse, Lindsey recognizes the man as the justice of the peace who was supposed to officiate her wedding ceremony. When it becomes clear he was murdered, Lindsey can't help but wonder if it had to do with the wedding. Now she has to book it to solve the mystery before it ends her happily ever after before it's even begun.... 

MY THOUGHTS: I really don't want to give a lot away as this is the 11th book in the series but even the first sentence tells you that Lindsey and Sully are finally getting married.  Boy am I glad because it's been a long yet enjoyable ride for them to get to this point.  That being said, I knew it wouldn't go off easily.

Sully's friend, and the individual who was to conduct the ceremony, ends up dead after a holiday party.  This time around Sully is completely on board with helping Lindsey find out what happened because he wants their wedding to be able to proceed without a cloud hanging over it.  And while all this is going on, they have to find someone else to marry them on short notice and around the holidays.

All the regulars are present in this novel and I've grown to love Briar Creek and someone like Hallmark is really missing the boat not adapting this series for TV.  The mystery in this installment really had me going and McKinlay did a great job making several suspects quite viable.  And once again, Lindsey's adorable dog Heathcliff makes a few appearances which always makes me smile.

If you love cozy mysteries, then why haven't you read this one yet?


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (298)

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

FROM GOODREADS: For fans of Wilder Girls and Ninth House comes a dark, twisty, atmospheric thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past.

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I admit it was the cover that initially caught my eye but after I read the synopsis, I added it to the wishlist right away!


FROM GOODREADS: One dog. Two strangers. An unfurgettable romance.

Wanted: someone nice, normal and trustworthy to housesit a beautiful cottage in the Lake District while the owner is away on a business trip. Must like dogs.

Wanting to escape from crap bosses and useless boyfriends, Becky jumps at the chance of being a dog sitter and the perfect escape – rest, relaxation and a very cute pooch called Bella.

But looking after Bella comes with a catch, namely gorgeous, brooding, Chris Hemsworth-worthy Ash James, who claims Bella is his dog and will stop at nothing to get her back!

Becky’s not about to hand over lovely Bella to any Tom, Dick or Ash.  She’s determined to watch every move Ash James makes…even if it gets her very hot under the collar.

WHY CASS CAN'T WAIT:  I think Mom would make a good dogsitter but I don't want to share my time with her.  So she can read about it instead.  I hope Bella gets the best owners ever!


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Bookish Pet Names


The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish they  handed over the reins to That Artsy Reader Girl who can be found HERE.  Each week she will focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading.

This week we are looking at books and characters who would make good pet names.  You know I love my pets and I should be able to breeze through this pretty fast (considering I probably have my next three dogs named before I even have them)!

Hands down Stoker will be one of the pets in our house one day!

I love Jinx as a sidekick and actually think it would make a cute pet name.  No surprise since I call Apollo Binx half of the time anyway.

I think Enzo is a perfect name for a dog.  And apparently Garth Stein thinks so too!

We've never had a female pet but honestly, I think Khaleesi is a wonderful name.

If I ever had a black cat, I'd name her Lilith.

I sort of like the name Curran... or maybe I just like the character.  This one's a toss-up!

I think the name Socrates is perfect - especially for a Basset or a Bloodhound.  

I know right now Mr. Barb would never go for it but I LOVE the name Jughead!

We almost named a dog Bishop once and while it wasn't after Diana, I'm counting it.

And finally, there's Ghus from Saga.  Imagine him as a white fluffy mutt - PERFECT!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Flame Tree Press Blog Tour - Mondo Crimson


TITLE: Mondo Crimson
AUTHOR: Andrew Post
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: November 2020

FROM GOODREADS: When Melanie, a car thief, is sent to find a certain vehicle only to discover it’s owned by dangerous hit-woman, Brenda, the two begin to wonder if their fateful encounter wasn’t just pure coincidence. It turns out they both work for a man named Felix Eberhart, who may or may not have had the hopes that Melanie and Brenda opened fire the second they laid eyes on each other. Melanie learns that Felix’s network of car thieves, fixers, and drug runners have all been set against one another. But why? Business was going so well... 

MY THOUGHTS: Andrew Post has quickly become an auto-read author for me.  This is the third book I've read by him and whenever I see an invitation to a blog tour and his name, I automatically sign up.  I'm so glad I discovered him when I read Chop Shop because I've been loving his books ever since. 

Mondo Crimson centers around four characters - Brenda, Mel, Felix and Merritt.  In the beginning, we learn that Melanie has gotten in over her head financially and is having to work off her debt by doing jobs for Felix, a creep on even his good days.  She is sent to Minnesota to steal a car but when she does, she meets Brenda.  Brenda also knows Felix and it isn't exactly accidental that the two run into each other.  Brenda is a badass and even though she secretly kills people for a living, she was easily my favorite character. 

So throughout the novel Post takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of dirty deeds and manipulation.  everyone seems to have their own agenda and as the climax built, I had no idea how everything would play out.  I ended up reading most of this book late one night when I was restless and it was a great payout.  I quickly lost myself, and my growing Playstation 5 frustrations were left behind - at least temporarily.  If you love dark gritty tales and complex characters who live in what I like to call "morally grey world," then Mondo Crimson is the book for you!

Bring on the next book Andrew!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew Post was born in Erie, Pennsylvania (imagine Eraserhead but in color). While he was honing his craft as a writer (those early stories were awful) he worked in a gift shop in one of the scuzziest hotels in the Midwest, he cleaned rental cars (also gross), he was a butcher (despite being a vegetarian),and in 2013 his first novel, the cyberpunk thriller, Knuckleduster, was published. No one really seemed to care much but he kept at it and has since published a handful of other works to varying degrees of resulting public interest with a few seeing translations and one almost became a movie (that lit agent has since been fired). 

Andrew lives in a sleepy river town in Minnesota where he may or may not be planning aquatic "accidents"to befall the many other authors who live in the area and he has been mistaken for Rob Zombie on no less than ten separate occasions. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Flame Tree Press Blog Tour


TITLE: City of Angels
AUTHOR: Kenneth Bromberg
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: November 2020


The year is 1924. Sam Lacy, a tough-as-nails homicide detective, follows his own code of conduct within the racist and corrupt Los Angeles Police Department. Sam's beautiful ex-girlfriend has been murdered and a sadistic predator is assaulting young Chinese women. Are the crimes connected and can Sam stop the killers before powerful forces stop him? Sometimes, a good detective can't let the law get in his way. 
Sam navigates L.A.'s seedy underbelly with help from an unlikely trio: Sam's partner, Lonnie, a handsome detective whose cavalier attitude conceals a troubled past outside of the law; Sam's friend, Edward Bixby, a brilliant man whose crucial forensic work is performed off the books since the LAPD would never hire a Black man for a murder investigation; and Susan, Sam's sister and moral compass, a war widow and mother who pursues leads of her own. The story takes place in the movie capital of the world, a city that attracts wide-eyed innocents and cold-hearted killers; a City of Angels.

MY THOUGHTS: This book is a very atmospheric read and I really enjoyed being transported back to the 1920's.  As mentioned in the synopsis, Sam Lacy is investigating the death of his ex-girlfriend, along with assistance from a very unique group of characters.  Bixby is Sam's friend and a very intelligent Black man who does excellent forensic work.  Then you have Lonnie, Sam's partner, who has a colorful past of his own.  Finally, there is Susan, Sam's sister, who also works for the department. All of these characters play important roles and the author definitely has a talent for character development.  Although the plot jumps around a bit and I had to really focus in a couple of areas to make sure I was connecting everything, I still very much enjoyed the tale.

I also have to address the seedy side of Los Angeles which Bromberg shares.  He is not afraid to address issues of racist behavior, human injustice and corruption, not only within law enforcement, but with the movie industry as well.  Susan is in herself a refreshing character because while the book delves in abuse of women by men in power and human trafficking and money laundering, she is a strong character who doesn't want to be defined just by the fact that she is female. And it was painful to see the lengths Bixby's wife Velma goes to in order to keep her husband safe.

City of Angels was a great read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes noir mysteries.  Just be prepared for some hard-hitting topics which are made all the more sad because many of them still exist of 100 years later.  Bromberg is an author to watch and I'm amazed at the talent Flame Tree Press has managed to secure.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kenneth Bromberg grew up in the beach cities of Southern California with a passion for tennis, American history,and literature. His first novel, American Dreams, is based upon stories told by his grandmother, who emigrated from a small Jewish village near Kiev in the first years of the 20th century

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Flame Tree Press Blog Tour - Human Resources

TITLE: Human Resources (Anders Nordvelt #2)
AUTHOR: Robin Triggs
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: November 2020


The sequel to Night Shift, praised by Crime Review and Cemetery Dance. 
Antarctica. A city on the edge of nowhere. 
Anders Nordvelt is chief of security in this frozen land, so, when a prominent member of a dissident group is murdered, it is his job to find the killer. Unsatisfied with the obvious explanation, Anders keeps pushing until the body of a colleague turns up in his apartment. 
Could Anders really be the killer? Why does he half-remember wielding the knife? And why are the whispers of a fabled Human Resources black-ops team getting ever louder? As for Anders, he’s about to enter a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a ruthless killer.  

MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely adored Night Shift and even rated it 5/5.  I wanted to love this sequel just as much and I almost did.  However, the first one had the whole trapped-in-the-snow-and-might-die vibe which happens to be one of my favorite tropes and it wouldn't make sense for this to be exactly the same thing right?

Anders is now Chief of Security and in fact, all the survivors of the last novel show up in some fashion, which I enjoyed because the reader gets to see bits of what happened after Night Shift ended.  Anyway, a group of individuals have been sent to help build the new community and some aren't so happy.  In fact, a group of them advise they really had no choice and don't want to be there.  Little things start happening in the colony and someone is found dead.  Anders is in charge of figuring out the mystery, but when another body shows up in his apartment, he's left to wonder what role he played in the deaths.  

I really enjoyed watching the mystery unravel and while I won't go as far as saying the book was action-packed, it did have a pretty energetic pacing.  I'm not sure I really like Anders but I also don't feel my uncertainty made me like the book any less.  The only thing I'm sure of is that I would never hire Anders for anything because death and disaster sure have a way of following him around.  I also have to admit that the author did a good job of stumping me on the culprit because as soon as I had a suspect in my sights, my theory would get blown and I would have to develop another one.

I don't know if this is a planned series but if so, I'll definitely be picking up the other.   Definitely a solid choice for anyone who like me, loves snowy mysteries.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robin was raised in a Bradford library but now lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and freshly-minted small person. Trained as an archaeologist, he now works as a proofreader when not wrangling tourists at the Bodleian Library.