Category: New Books

Bluff
April 1st, 2019 by diane92345

“Poker has its own moral universe. Lying is called bluffing. Deception is the norm.”—from the new humorous revenge thriller Bluff

Maud is convinced that her parent’s financial advisor, Burt, stole all their money. However, she cannot get anyone to believe her.

Broke, Maud plays online poker. Skilled at the game, she wins. When the online casinos are shuttered by the government, Maud turns to live games. Throughout it all, she continues to nurse her grudge with Burt.

One morning, she walks into the Four Seasons and shoots Burt. Luckily for Burt, he is able to shield himself with his lunch companion, and longtime friend, Sun. While Sun is in the ICU, his secrets begin to unravel leading to a domino effect on his entire social circle.

Structured like poker itself, Bluff manages to surprise at every turn. Plus it has many moves like tournament poker. Honestly, if you love thrillers where the motive is cunningly plotted revenge, you will love this tale as much as I do. 5 stars!

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Gluten Free Instant Pot Cookbook--Revised
March 31st, 2019 by diane92345

Containing a hundred delicious sounding recipes, the Gluten-free Instant Pot Cookbook—Revised is both a flavor booster and time saver for gluten-free cooks.

Beginning with a cheesy poblano frittata breakfast, savory creamy polenta and various soups like spicy butternut squash, this cookbook has a bit of everything. Who knew you could make gluten-free meatloaf in an instant pot? Or saffron risotto( no more endless stirring)? The dessert chapter sounds particularly yummy filled with tasty treats like rice and bread pudding plus a to-die-for double chocolate fudge cheesecake. There are also easy bone broths for the paleo fans.

Recipes are clearly labeled with other common allergens like dairy, egg, soy and nut. There are vegan and vegetarian recipes included too. The only issue I have is the total lack of nutritional information.

The recipes are surprisingly innovative. For example, the Shrimp and Grits uses the Pot’s sauté function to cook the aromatics first. The sauce is then covered with a trivet and bowl to cook the grits. After a short time, the grits are removed and the shrimp is added to the sauce for heating. It is very innovative to cook everything in one instant pot making this a perfect gift for a college student with an instant pot but little else to cook with in a dorm room.

The recipes are worth 5 stars. However, the complete lack of nutritional information brings my rating of Gluten-free Instant Pot Cookbook—Revised down to 4 stars.

Thanks to Fair Winds Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Blood Oath
March 28th, 2019 by diane92345

Blood Oath has a plot ripped from both the #metoo and the mysterious UK poisonings headlines.

NYC head prosecutor Alexandra Cooper and her police detective boyfriend Mike are investigating Lucy’s claim of being sexual assaulted at fourteen. Lucy states while she was serving as witness, the prosecutor, Zach, took advantage of her naiveté. Concurrently to Lucy’s case, defense attorney and Alexandra’s friend, Francie, takes ill on the street.

This is the twentieth book in the series but the first I’ve read. It works well as a standalone read.

There are many twists and coincidences in the bumpy ride to the conclusion of Blood Oath. Though the plot dragged a bit in the middle, the slam-bam conclusion was well worth it. My one complaint was there was no courtroom drama but it still is highly recommended for fans of the series. 4 stars!

Thanks to Dutton Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Murder Lo Mein
March 27th, 2019 by diane92345

Murder Lo Mein is the latest Noodle Shop Mystery.

Lana Lee is the new manager at her family’s noodle house. At the annual Cleveland’s Best Noodle contest, her restaurant wins day one of four. Later that day at the karaoke after-party, one of the contest judges is murdered. Lana decides to investigate.

In the meantime, Lana’s detective boyfriend Adam isn’t around much. Is he really too busy with work or is his interest waning? New Community Director Freddie might take Lana’s mind off of Adam.

A plethora of characters are introduced in the first few chapters. I was worried about keeping them all straight. However, as each got their turn in the plot spotlight, their different personalities made them easy to distinguish.

A possibly more serious problem is that not only the victims but even the perps are named from the two earlier books in the series. While this book can be read as a standalone, there will be no surprises if you read the previous books later.

If you liked Crazy Rich Asians or Straight Off the Boat, you will enjoy this look at a crazy Taiwanese family. While the mystery was easy to solve, the characters, humor, and unique setting make Murder Lo Mein a good afternoon’s entertainment. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

How to Write a Page-Turner
March 24th, 2019 by diane92345

If you want your readers to lose sleep because they can’t stop reading your book, How to Write a Page-turner will explain step-by-step how to it.

Beginning with the four types of tension (danger, conflict, uncertainty, and withholding), the book explains exactly how to add each one to the characters, plot, and wording of your book. With copious examples from books of various genres, it is easy to see how other authors have used the described techniques to good effect.

I have never read a Writer’s Digest Book that wasn’t a great tool. How to Write a Page-turner is no exception. This book assumes that you are editing your draft manuscript to ratchet up the tension. However, it would also be an interesting read for those still struggling to write that first chapter. 4 stars!

Thanks to Writer’s Digest and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Trouble on the Books
March 22nd, 2019 by diane92345

Trouble on the Books is the first in a new cozy mystery series, A Castle Bookshop Mystery.

Shelby takes leave from her job to help her Aunt Edie with opening her new bookstore after Edie’s knee replacement surgery. The bookstore is in a real-life castle on Blye Island in upstate New York.  Only one day before opening day, Shelby finds the obnoxious castle curator, Loreena, dead in a grotto on the estate. When the castle’s caretaker, Matthew, is suspected, Edie asks Shelby to investigate. Shelby thinks that smugglers could be using the grotto to smuggle in contraband. During her investigation, she meets the good looking Coast Guard investigator Zack Griffin.

Trouble on the Books was a good, but not great, cozy mystery read. I loved the idea of a castle on an island but this wasn’t developed much in this book. I loved the gentle romantic interests of some of the characters. However, the mystery was too easy to solve plus the book was a slow slog. No one needs so much description of everyday tasks, like shelving books and pouring wine, when the time could be spent describing the setting or adding more potential suspects. There are also many loose ends left at the conclusion of the book. 3 stars.

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Wild LA
March 21st, 2019 by diane92345

Who knew there is so much nature around urban Los Angeles? It really is Wild LA.

This guidebook contains something for every Los Angeleno (or visitor). There is a page of pictures, descriptions, and interesting facts for 101 species including birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, snails, mold, and plants. All are found in greater Los Angeles and each profile gives the best locations to find them. There are twenty-five field trips around LA described that include directions, maps, and things to see. Ways to turn your own backyard into a wildlife habitat are also included.

A comprehensive and useful guide to the nature that is all around Los Angeles. Wild LA is recommended for nature lovers around LA and those who wish to educate their children. 4 stars!

Thanks to Timber Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,

Someday is Not a Day in the Week
March 21st, 2019 by diane92345

It is important to remember that promising to follow a dream “someday” never works because Someday is Not a Day in the Week.

This book gives ten life hacks that can help you align your ultimate goals with your current reality. Are the life hacks new ideas that you have never heard before? No. However, the author has an enthusiasm for them that is contagious. The book is motivating! Unfortunately, it is aimed a bit toward the well-off members of society. For example, I can’t quit my job until I put in the 30 years necessary to get my pension plus I have to wait until I’m old enough for Medicare, which is a long time from now. I wish I could just jump off that cliff with the knowledge that my family will support me like a parachute. However, that is not reality and the book encourages thinking realistically about how to implement your goals. If you are in a position to take that first step to finding a job that brings you joy, Someday is Not a Day in the Week is the perfect book to motivate you to do it sooner rather than later. 4 stars!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Rolling Stones in Comics!
March 20th, 2019 by diane92345

I love comics and the Rolling Stones (sorry Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) so I had to read the Rolling Stones in Comics!

It tells the Rolling Stones story from its humble beginnings as a R&B cover band through its last tour. It details the issues between the band members, the drugs, the deaths, the music, and the groupies. The books states that Bill Wyman was the first person to coin the term groupies. The books is full of interesting tidbits like that.

The artwork is bright and clear. The book has an innovative solution to the usual problem of trying to stuff too much information in comic book speech balloons. It has a prose introduction to each chapter. Most are about three pages long and also contain pictures of the Stones at the time period referenced in the chapter. It worked for me.

Overall, the Rolling Stones in Comics! Is highly recommended for Stones fans and others who want to revisit the turbulent 1960s and 70s. 4 stars!

Thanks to NBM Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: ,

Run Away
March 19th, 2019 by diane92345

Simon is trying to find his heroin-addicted daughter, Paige. When he finds her, she is high and busking for change in Central Park. When he tries to talk to her, she runs away. Her boyfriend Aaron steps in to prevent Simon from catching her leading Simon to punch him in the face. The story goes viral and Simon is arrested. Thus begins Run Away, the convoluted latest thriller by Harlan Coben.

There is a lot of plot in here. I don’t want to describe it because the surprising twists are the best part of this thriller. Take my word for it, if you like twisty thrillers, you will enjoy Run Away. I took away one star because I figured out the climatic twist chapters before it appeared. 4 stars!

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

A Beautiful Corpse
March 19th, 2019 by diane92345

The victim, a 24-year-old law student and part-time bartender, is A Beautiful Corpse in the second entry in the Harper McClain series.

Harper is a newspaper crime reporter working the night shift. She is covering a murder in the tourist area of Savannah when she thinks the victim looks familiar. Harper had just seen the victim, Naomi, a couple of hours earlier working in The Library Bar.

The police have three suspects:

  • Naomi’s boyfriend, who has a criminal record and no alibi
  • Her stalker, the District Attorney’s son, with a solid alibi
  • Naomi’s boss, who had a run in with another young female employee two years ago and has no alibi.

Harper is investigating for her newspaper but she also disagrees with the person the police suspect. As she investigates, she is also battling a stalker who may or may not want to help her with the case.

Even though this is the second book in this series, it can be read as a stand-alone. When you begin A Beautiful Corpse make sure you have enough time to finish it in one sitting.  I literally couldn’t put it down. I was reading it on my Kindle and I bought the audiobook so I could listen to it on my drive to and from work. That’s how addicting this book was. I loved the innovative point-of-view of an investigative reporter doing basically police procedures because the police don’t or won’t. Harper is a great character and I was extremely invested in her success both with the case, her job and her love life. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. 5 stars!

Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Perfect Alibi
March 16th, 2019 by diane92345

A college athlete is convicted of rape based on his DNA. However, he has the Perfect Alibi when a second victim is also linked to his DNA while he is in prison. With a new attorney, he is set for a new trial and let out on bail.

Robin Lockwood is the first victim’s civil lawyer. The victim is convinced that the rapist is stalking her. In a parallel case, Robin is defending a person accused of murder by pleading self-defense.

I always love a fast-paced, twisty legal thriller and the Perfect Alibi is no exception.  Be aware you have to pay attention to keep up with all the clues and plots within this intriguing book. If you like suspenseful legal thrillers, you will also enjoy this book. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Between the Lies
March 15th, 2019 by diane92345

A romantic suspense tale wrapped in a psychological thriller, Between the Lies takes the domestic thriller in a new direction.

Chloe awakens after being in a coma for over a month. She had a severe head injury after surviving a car accident. Amnesia prevents her from remembering the accident and everything before it.

After leaving the hospital, she moves in with her family. Her father, an award-winning psychiatrist, tries to help her recover her memories. However, all it does is give her nightmares about a young boy, a rainy night, and a car crash into trees. Her family is evasive when questioned about the boy. Chloe vows to discover what really happened that night.

The twists are frequent in Between the Lies. All are fairly foreshadowed allowing amateur detectives to solve the mystery before Chloe. This book is recommended for fans of Nora Roberts and Alice Feeney. 4 stars!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with:

And Then You Were Gone
March 15th, 2019 by diane92345

And Then You Were Gone is an innovative psychological thriller that includes an inside look at mental illness.

Emily is a child psychologist. Paolo is an epidemiologist. They decide to take a weekend vacation on a rental boat. Paolo is an experienced boat captain and swimmer. Emily cannot swim. She takes anti-anxiety medicine for her fear of water. She is also bipolar.

Emily and Paolo anchor the boat in a remote part of the lake and drink a couple bottles of wine. The next morning Emily is hungover and Paolo is nowhere to be found. Soon, Emily is the number one suspect.

I love the flawed character of Emily. Her anxiety and bipolar diagnosis are innovative and elevate the plot. Her drunken blackout the night of the disappearance makes her an unreliable narrator.

And Then You Were Gone is highly recommended for fans of psychological thrillers looking for something different. It is a twisty ride! 4 stars.

15Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with:

Death by Dog Show
March 14th, 2019 by diane92345

Death by Dog Show is a cozy mystery set in a dog show that, unfortunately, disappointed this reader.

Perri Morgan sells leather pet products and attends the Big E Dog Show with her friend Babette, who has a dog in the show, to further her business. The first night, Perri and her journalist boyfriend, Pruett, find a body.  Despite the local police telling her not to investigate, Perri can’t resist.

I found some serious issues with this book:

  • I love dog shows on television and have watched many over the years. Therefore, I know that Best in Show is the last event. The prior events are based on dog group (i.e.; sporting group) and then the winners of the groups go on to the Best in Show event.
  • The names of the characters are silly. Wing, Roar and Alf being the worst examples. These are people’s names—not dogs.
  • The character of Perri is not likeable at all. She is both arrogant and insecure plus she appears to be incredibly horny all the time despite having a boyfriend for the past year. Note that Death by Dog Show has more sexual content than most cozies so if you are not into that, I would recommend giving this a pass.
  • The worst part was that the murderer was obvious from the beginning but we still had to continue reading to confirm what we already knew. There are no surprise twists here.

I believe this is this author’s debut book but I wouldn’t read anything else by her. Overall, I would give Death by Dog Show 2 stars.

Thanks to Lyrical Underground and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

All the Wrong Places
March 14th, 2019 by diane92345

Four women look for love in All the Wrong Places and one ends up trapped by a serial killer.

Paige is having a bad few months. First, she loses her high-profile advertising job. Then she catches her cousin Heather, who has always copied her life choices, in bed with her boyfriend. To save money, Paige moves in with her seventy-year-old widowed mother, Joan. Paige’s best friend, Chloe, gets an anonymous tip and discovers her husband has recently set up profiles on several online dating sites.

All four woman decide to join Match Sticks to find new men. One is shown trapped by a serial killer in his apartment as the book opens. But which one?

All the Wrong Places balances a serial killer thriller plot with an excellent chick lit tale. It even has a bit of comic relief with hapless Heather. The mixture somehow works well making this a 4 star read!

Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Romance Tagged with: ,