General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Mystery

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small TownBig Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out January 14th!

I fell in love with Diane Chamberlain’s writing last year when I read The Dream Daughter. She has this way of telling a story that draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end.

I honestly devoured this book. Told in two timelines (one of my favorite formats), Chamberlain created a story that combined the past and the present in such a beautiful way.

1940: Anna Dale is an artist who will a mural painting competition in a small town in North Carolina. During the painting of the mural, she finds that living in the South with its prejudices is a different ballgame than living in her hometown up North.

2018: Morgan Christoper is a young woman who finds herself mysteriously being released from jail early in exchange for restoring Anna Dale’s mural. And she will end up engrossed in learning about Anna Dale’s history.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. It was a wonderful novel from start to finish with rich prose and descriptions that made me feel like I was in the story. It reminded me a little bit of Where the Crawdads Sing which was one of my favorite books in 2018. Overall, I would highly recommend this one to anybody who enjoys historical fiction with a touch of mystery.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Diane Chamberlain, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Thriller

The Truth Behind the Lie by Sara Lovestam

The Truth Behind the LieThe Truth Behind the Lie by Sara Lövestam

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely not what I expected (in a good way)!

I wasn’t overwhelmingly drawn to the cover of this book (which sadly can sometimes be a deterrent for me). But once I started reading, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

Man is trying to make money while he’s living off the grid. Advertises himself as a private investigator. Woman with missing child who doesn’t want to involve the police. Perfect combination. As they investigate the whereabouts of the missing child, we found out that things are not really as they seem.

I very much enjoyed the main twist at the end of the book and thought it was cleverly executed. I will say there were some pieces of the story that I felt lacked relevance. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really understand the very last line of the book and how it tied in to the rest of the story. As this is the first in a series, I’m thinking it may be further explained in future books, but it felt somewhat randomly placed in the context of this book.

As the book is set in Sweden, there were a few cultural elements that didn’t really translate for me. And I had a hard time envisioning the geography given my lack of Swedish knowledge. But it didn’t take away from the book for me.

Overall, this was a quick read and was enjoyable. I would recommend it to thriller/mystery readers.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Sara Lovestam, and Minotaur Books for the opportunity to review.-

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Holiday, Romance

Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle

Christmas AngelsChristmas Angels by Nancy Naigle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Looking for a super cute and light holiday read? Reading Christmas Angels was like reading a Hallmark or Netflix original Christmas movie. Now before you get the wrong impression (because we know these movies can sometimes be extremely cheesy), this was like one of your FAVORITE Hallmark Christmas movies. It was charming and light and authentic.

When Liz stumbles upon her grandparent’s old bed and breakfast going up for auction, she takes the opportunity to complete one of her life dreams. Owning the B&B and living in the quaint little town of Antler’s Creek. But when she discovers that the home has been essentially gutted and destroyed, the only thing to do is try to restore it to it’s original glory.

Along the way there is a man. Because there’s always got to be a love story in these types of things.

Was it the most original story? No. Was it a story that requires deep thinking? No. But was it the perfect light read to make you smile during the holidays? Yes.

If you find yourself hung over from some emotionally draining novel or a book that feels heavy and you’re looking for pure joy and happiness, here you go.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Nancy Naigle, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery

The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The Murder ListThe Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The cover of this book automatically drew me in. I love a good murder mystery. And this one unexpectedly was overwhelmingly more of a courtroom drama.

I enjoyed the plot of this book. A married couple, one a defense attorney and one a law student working for a prominent district attorney are on opposite ends of the fence during a high stakes murder investigation. It was interesting to see the investigation from both sides of the fence as most books primarily are written from one perspective or another.

I struggled a bit with the format of the book. While I generally enjoy books that alternate between past and present events, I felt like the way this book was written caused the story to be a bit disjointed. Until closer to the end I had a hard time seeing how the past and present timelines related and I felt like it was a bit confusing.

I also felt like the ending was a bit too abrupt. I would have appreciated a bit more closure.

Overall, this one was good but not great.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Forge Books for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Thriller

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

The ArrangementThe Arrangement by Robyn Harding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the story here. The idea of a young art student struggling in New York City and becoming a sugar baby to make ends meet was something I haven’t seen before.

Was the book the most exciting from beginning to end? No. It was actually on the basic side in terms of how the story unfolded. But it was a very fast read and kept my attention the entire time.

If I had to compare the two, I did like this one more than Robyn Harding’s last book Her Pretty Face. And although I saw the ending coming from a mile away, I still liked the thought the author put into the story’s final twist.

Overall, this was a successful thriller but nothing mind blowing. I would recommend it to my thriller readers out there. It’s worth the time investment.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Robyn Harding, and Gallery Books for the opportunity to review.-

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