October 2023 Wrap-Up

Here is what I read/posted/won/received/bought in October.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.

Books I Read:

Books Reviewed:

The Parachutists by R.L. Minnich—review here (4 stars)

Tantalus Depths by Evan Graham—review here (4 stars)

The Intern by Michele Campbell—review here (4 stars)

A Cold Highland Wind by Tasha Alexander—review here (4 stars)

Love in Winter Wonderland by Abiola Bello—review here (4 stars)

A Traitor in Whitehall by Julia Kelly—review here (4 stars)

Overdue or Die by Allison Brook—review here (3 stars)

Last Word to the Wise by Ann Claire—review here (4 stars)

Stalking Around the Christmas Tree by Jacqueline Frost—review here (4 stars)

In the Wick of Time by Valona Jones—review here (3 stars)

The Captain by A.R. Alexander—review here (3 stars)

Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews—review here (4 stars)

Mary Not Broken by Deborah L. King—review here (4 stars)

Love Interest by Clare Gilmore—review here (4 stars)

Sanctuary Motel by Alan Orloff—review here (4 stars)

The Puzzle Master by Danielle Trussoni—review here (4 stars)

Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig—review here (4 stars)

Murder by the Seashore by Samara Yew—review here (3 stars)

Friends Don’t Fall in Love by Erin Hahn—review here (4 stars)

Books I got from NetGalley:

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

Giveaway Winners

Reading Challenges:

Sit…Stay…Beg by Roxanne St. Claire (2023 TBR Prompts)

Mind: The Beginning by Jenn Nixon (Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge)

Books I bought:

Perilous Trust by Barbara Freethy

Shadows Over Innocence by Lindsay Buroker

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

Ice Cracker II by Lindsay Buroker

Solstice Day Gifts by Lindsay Buroker

Mortal Weather by K.P. McCarthy

Forbidden Proposal by T.K. Leigh

Royal Creed by T.K. Leigh

Bride of Fire by Glynnis Campbell

Triskelion by Avril Borthiry

Jurassic Resort by Brent Reilly

Jurassic Resort 2 by Brent Reilly

Jurassic Resort 3 by Brent Reilly

Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

Kiro’s Emily by Abbi Glines

March: FCBD Special by John Lewis

Fall by Tiffany Noelle Chacon

Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen

Her Best Match by Tamie Dearen

Ghost Clan by Heather Walker

The Beauty by Claire Delacroix

Link’d Up by Harley Stone

Crimson Dagger by Morgan Rhodes

Whispers of You by Catherine Cowles

Keep Me by Stacey Kennedy

If She Lives by Erik Therme

Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan

Javier by Fiona Murphy

Blister by K.J. Kalis

Introductions by C.L. Stone

Meeting Sang: Kota by C.L. Stone

Touch of Mischief by C.L. Stone

Sound of Snowfall by C.L. Stone

The Crown & The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh

The Mirror & The Maze by Renee Ahdieh

Curse of Stone by Veronica Shade

Terrifying Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Orphans of Bliss: Tales of Addiction Horror by Mark Matthews

Royally Raised by Emma Chase

Her Master by Quinn Marlowe

Sullivan’s Secret by Robin Murphy

Pilot Error by Dan Moren

Showdown by Dan Moren

The Lord Next Door by Gayle Callen

Freedom of a Highlander by Katy Baker

Fated Immortals: The Complete Shifter Romance Series Collection by Vera Rivers

Don’t Give a Damn About My Plaid Reputation by Caroline Lee

How it All Began by Fiona West

Shade by Shayne Ford

A Vengeful Realm by Tim Facciola

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

Flawed Justice by Tibby Armstrong

Grave Mistake by Nikki Landis

Haunting Chaos by Nikki Landis

The Cartel by E.G. Manetti

Mayaette’s Catharsis by Jack E Mohr

I Know You by Erik Therme

I Know You: A gripping suspense thriller with a heart-stopping twist by [Therme, Erik]

4 Stars

Publisher: Bookouture

Date of publication: April 12th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find I Know You: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

Sisters Bree and Alissa Walker share a special bond. Neglected by their parents, they have always looked out for one another. But one day, sixteen-year-old Alissa goes missing. When Bree discovers her green backpack with all her belongings, abandoned on the steps of their run-down trailer, she knows that something bad has happened …

Then she receives a chilling text message. Someone has Alissa. But Bree will have to give up something very precious in exchange.

Desperate to save Alissa, Bree looks at everyone close to their family. She’s sure that Alissa’s best friend is keeping something back about her little sister and a boy at school, and why has their estranged uncle, who they’ve not seen in years, been hanging around again?

It soon becomes clear that the person behind the message knows a lot about the dark truths within the Walker family and will go to any lengths to get revenge. And as the search for Alissa continues, Bree discovers something about her brother Tyler that she wishes she hadn’t, a dangerous secret, which is also the key to bringing her little sister back home …

My Review:

I am a huge fan of thrillers. I love being kept on edge while reading a book and not knowing what will happen next. When I read the blurb of I Know You, I knew that this was going to be a good book. My expectation of the book was met and then some.

The plotline of I Know You was frightening. When Bree sees Alissa’s backpack sitting on the steps of the trailer they live at, she has a feeling something terrible happened. Her feelings were confirmed when she gets a text that tells her Alissa has been kidnapped and not to go to the police. The kidnapper wants Bree to do one thing. She needs to find her brother, Tyler, and bring him to the kidnapper. As Bree searches for Tyler and Alissa, she learns that each has secrets. It is Tyler’s secrets that have an impact on her search. Will Bree find Alissa? What is Tyler’s secret? How will if effect Bree’s search?

I Know You was a very fast paced book. The plotline flew from the minute Bree got that text to the end. There were a few times where the plotline lagged, but the author was able to pull it back on track.

The characters in I Know You were dysfunctional. They were not likable. That is what made this book such a great read. Even though I didn’t like them, I could relate to them. These characters are like people that I deal with daily. That relatability made the book a good read for me.

I wasn’t surprised that Tyler was somehow involved in Alissa’s disappearance. I didn’t like him. Something about him grated on me. He reminded me of people I have known in the past.

I liked Bree. She was as tough as nails, and she was doing whatever it took to get Alissa back.

The secrets in this book were the backbone. Everyone had secrets. Each secret was worse than the last one.

There were a couple of twists in the plot that made me go huh? The first twist involved why Alissa got taken. It made zero sense to me until the second twist was revealed. That’s when I went “It makes sense now.”

The end of I Know You was great. The author didn’t hold back anything when everything was revealed about why Alissa was kidnapped. I felt bad for the kidnapper. The only thing I didn’t like was the very end. It made me go “Why?” when I read it.

I would give I Know You an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would reccomend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread I Know You. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Have you read I Know You?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know!!

Keep Her Close by Erik Therme

Keep Her Close

3 Stars

Publisher: Bookoutre

Date of publication: December 5th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find Keep Her Close: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Someone took your daughter. And nobody believes you …

Three-year-old Ally was found alone in a parking lot. 
She was barefoot and dressed only in a yellow sundress. In the middle of winter. 
What kind of person would abandon their daughter? 

Fifteen years later and Ally has a new family. 
But her real father has sent her a letter. 
And now Ally is missing.

A gripping twist-filled thriller that will have you looking over your shoulder. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Teresa Driscoll.

My review:

Ally was found in a parking lot of a mall at 3 years old. With her was a sign that said “Free to good home” and nearby was the body of a woman who had committed suicide. Ally was adopted shortly later by the couple who found her. 15 years later, Ally is 18 years old. She receives a letter from a man claiming to be her biological father. Against her father’s wishes, she goes to meet with him. Only to disappear. Now her parents are frantically searching for her. Where is Ally? 

I have reviewed for Erik Therme before and I generally like his book. So when he emailed me and asked me to review Keep Her Close, I said: “Why not“. Usually, his book are solid and a good read. Then I read Keep Her Close and came out disappointed.

The book started off well enough and it was focused until Ally disappeared. At that point, the book started going off on tangents that made no sense to the original plotline. Like when Cal was tied up at the hotel. Did I need to know who Tucker was? Did I need to know who Gary was? I didn’t need to know the background between Tucker and Gary. It had no bearing to the plot at all. There were a bunch of scenarios like that in the book. It took away from the plotline. If the book had stuck to one main plotline and one or two sub-plotlines, I would have been alright.

I could not connect to any of the characters. Dan’s anger issues made his character unlikable.  Holly seemed co-dependent and useless. Cal gave me stalker vibes. And Nick was scum. Ally got on my nerves.

There were parts of the book I did like. I thought that it was well written. There was a good suspenseful element to the book also. I liked the relationship that Dan, Holly, and Ally had. I also liked the relationship that Cal and Maddie had.  

I didn’t like how the book ended. I don’t like it when books end in cliffhangers. So when the book ended the way it did, I went “Whaaaaat!!!“. I ended up rereading the last few chapters of the book to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Which I didn’t. It frustrated me to read that. I wanted to know what was in that letter!!

I gave Keep Her Close a 3-star rating. I was disappointed in this book. The plotline was all over the place with unneeded tangents. The characters were not likable. And there was a huge cliffhanger ending. There were elements of the book that I did like. I thought it was well written. There was a good suspense element to the book. I also liked the family relationships that were shown.

I would give Keep Her Close an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is violence. There is language. There are trigger warnings. They are child abandonment, kidnapping, the death of a child, stalking and suicide. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Keep Her Close. I am also on the fence if I would reccomend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author and Bookoutre for allowing me to read and review Keep Her Close.

All opinions stated in this review of Keep Her Close are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Have you read Keep Her Close?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Roam by Erik Therme

Roam by [Therme, Erik]

Title: Roam

Author: Erik Therme

Publisher: Thecker Books

Date of publication: February 21st, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Number of pages: 244

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (via Goodreads):

Three strangers, each searching for something out of reach.

Sarah Cate, celebrating her twenty-first birthday, is pushed over the edge after car trouble strands her in the middle of nowhere with an angry, unstable boyfriend.

Kevin Reed, a troubled adolescent abused by a loveless father, roams the night in his black Camaro, looking to pay forward one of the few acts of kindness he’s ever received.

Scotty Mason, plagued by profound guilt and completely detached from his world, is haunted by the unshakable fear that something inside him is dangerously broken and cannot be fixed.

When their lives intersect in an unsavory hotel with a bloody history, all three will struggle to exorcize their personal demons, unaware that a bigger threat is looming . . . and waiting for the right moment to strike.

Like Joshua Gaylord and Daniel Kraus before him, author Erik Therme explores the angst of disconnected youth in his enthralling and powerful Roam. Therme’s darkly tinged novel is an unforgettable tale of three errant souls brutalized by life’s cruel circumstances, and a remarkable night of discovery and violence that will change them forever.

My review:

I like mysteries/thrillers/suspense books that carry all the way through the book (ie they don’t fizzle out by the halfway point) and Roam certainly does that. From the first page, when we meet Sarah and Marc to the very last page where a surprise twist is revealed, Roam kept me on my toes, wondering what was going to happen next.

What I enjoyed about this book was that the characters were real. Sarah was in a relationship where her boyfriend was slowly isolating her, Kevin was abused by his father and Scotty was dealing with some pretty serious issues that were affecting him mentally.

I will admit that Sarah kinda annoyed me at first. She was super impulsive (hello, getting into a car with people she doesn’t know) and made emotional decisions (the confrontation with her mother). But the more I got into the book, the more I started to not only like her but felt bad for her at the same time.

Kevin, I actually liked. He was such a sweetheart. I mean, who would take a girl that he barely knew on a mission to find her long-lost friend? Plus, he was tough. I mean, he took on 3 people outside a bar and barely got hurt. When I read that, I thought to myself “Dayum. Sarah, he is a keeper”.

Scotty scared me. But at the same time, while he frightened me, I felt really bad. He was dealing with so much and it seemed like no one in his life, even his girlfriend could care less that he was hurting and that there was something going on with him mentally. The more his story went on, the more fragmented it became if that makes any sense.

The climax of the story (not the end, the climax) was very frightening and the author did a great job hiding the identity of the mystery man. I wasn’t surprised at who it was but I was surprised at what happened (want to know what happened….read the book).

Now the end of the book took me by surprise and I went “No way”. All I am going to say about that!!

How many stars will I give Roam: 4

Why: This book is truly one that will keep you guessing until the end and then some. The ending was a huge surprise and to be honest, it is what made the book!!

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sexual situations, language, and violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Mortom by Erik Therme

Mortom by [Therme, Erik]

4 Stars

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Published: April 28th, 2015

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets–and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise–arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him.

Revised edition: This edition of Mortom includes editorial revisions.

My review:

I am not one to be creeped out by a book. To be honest, the last book that genuinely creeped me out was “It” by Stephen King. So, I wasn’t expected to be as creeped out as I was by Mortom. It wasn’t scary but any means but Andy’s actions and his obsession creeped me out. By the end of the book, all he thought about was getting the prize.

The story starts off with Andy Crowl and his sister, Kate, traveling to the town of Mortom to settle the estate of their late cousin, Craig. Craig had died a couple of weeks earlier what many people, including Andy and Kate, considered an accident. He drowned in a local lake. While they are waiting for the bank manager to show up, they explore the house. While in the kitchen, Andy discovers a huge rat, dead under the refrigerator. When he pulled it out from under the fridge (it stunk), he discovered that it had a key stuck down its throat with a note wrapped around it. All the note said was “Follow Me”.

From this point on, Andy is following the clues left for him and is growing increasingly erratic in his behavior and his obsession with following the clues to whatever prize it at the end. According to a note that Andy found, as part of a clue, Andy has until Friday to find the prize. They also discovered Craig’s death wasn’t accidental….that is was planned because….Craig had a brain tumor, it wasn’t operable and he wanted to die on his own terms.

I did feel bad for Kate after this point because of how Andy was acting. He was becoming more and more obsessed with finding whatever Craig hid. He was assuming it was money. Also, Kate was dealing with her own issues but you really need the book to find out what.

Andy annoyed me. He was acting like a man-child and would throw fits when Kate tried to talk sense into him. His obsession with finding the prize did almost have some disastrous consequences for him and for Kate. But does he realize that? No, he doesn’t and he keeps at it.

The suspense that built throughout the book was great. I knew that the book was heading towards something bad but I didn’t know what, where, who or why. When the climax did happen, it happened with a bang and definitely didn’t let me down. I was sufficiently creeped out by Andy by the end of the book.

Speaking of the end of the book, oh boy did what was revealed take me by surprise. Now, I will say that looking back, there are hints dropped throughout the book but they kinda took a back-burner to the main story.

I would give Mortom an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Mortom. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Resthaven by Erik Therme

Resthaven by [Therme, Erik]

Publisher: Thecker Books

Date of publication: April 12th, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror, Suspense, Mystery, Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery Thriller

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | AbeBooks | Alibris | IndieBound | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

The last thing fifteen-year-old Kaylee wants to do is participate in a childish scavenger hunt–especially inside the abandoned retirement home on the edge of town. When she finds a bruised, deaf boy hiding inside one of the rooms, she vows to lead him to safety . . . only to discover the front doors are now padlocked, and her friends are nowhere to be found. Kaylee is about to learn that not everything that goes “bump in the night” is imaginary, and sometimes there are worse things to fear than ghosts.

Have you ever read a book that is so creepy and unsettling that it stays with you afterward? A book that invades your dreams and gives you nightmares?

Well, this is that book.

It starts innocently. A sleepover at a new friend’s house. It turns sinister when the new friend throws a scavenger hunt in the nursing home.

The doors to the nursing home are mysteriously padlocked. Locking Kaylee, Sid, Anna, and Wren inside with an elderly man who is insane. When Kaylee found a 5-year-old abused deaf boy in a closet, my pulse level went through the roof!!!

I could not put this book down and read it in one sitting. Like I said above, it gets under your skin, and you wonder what will happen to the girls and the boy at the end.

Speaking of the end, I enjoyed it. Kaylee did the right thing. I

I would recommend Resthaven to anyone over 16. There is mild violence, mild language, and no sexual situations.

If you enjoyed reading Resthaven, you will enjoy reading these books