Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Maddie and Ian and their young son Charlie seem to be your average family. But no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors and in sick minds.

A chance meeting overseas when they were young, Maddie and Ian soon develop a mutual crush, even though Ian has a girlfriend. Maddie’s best friend Jo warns her that there is something off about Ian, but Maddie is not heeding the warning.

Years later Maddie and Ian reconnect after a few failed attempts, much to Jo’s angst and anger. Their relationship becomes strained and then ends with Maddie losing her best friend.

The couple move to Kansas and have Charlie. Both their worlds revolve around him. Although their worlds are very different from each other’s. During a family camping trip Maddie has a terrible accident. Due to a head injury Maddie begins to see a therapist and realizes she fears her husband and is frightened for their son Charlie.

Then there is a murder and a very suspicious police officer.

Not everything looks the way it seems does it? A story with twists and turns and an ending I never saw coming! Beautiful Bad is a psychological thriller you won’t be able to put down.
#NetGalley #ParkRowBooks

Thank you @NetGalley @ParkRowBooks @Annie Ward for the advanced copy. Beautiful Bad is available now.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Two things before I start. I was not, nor am I now, a fan of Star Wars. And, I was fortunate to receive a signed copy of Fisher’s last book The Princess Diarist weeks before she passed away.

I have always enjoyed Carrie Fisher as a writer, her one woman shows, her appearances in movies and television, and especially when she would be on the Graham Norton show which she happened to be just a few weeks prior to her death.

With all that said, The Princess Diarist is as funny and insightful as all her other books, filled with her honest opinions and hilarious storytelling. She explains how she happened to find her old diaries one day in her bedroom and began reading them. And then proceeds to show/compare her 19 year old Carrie Fisher to her 59 year old Princess Leia/Carrie Fisher.

The book (and diary) in part relay her secret affair with Harrison Ford during their 3 month filming of the first Star Wars movie in England. A bittersweet relationship with an older man whom she instinctively knew would end when their time in England ended and how a young 19 year old who unbeknownst to herself would be plunged into stardom would need to deal with it all.

She also gives hilarious accounts of meeting rabid fans at conventions and how the dialogue would flow between Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher and her fans.

Sadly, there are many references to her and her mother on passing away which are poignant and heartbreaking, not meant to be, I believe, while she was writing the book, which ironically was put together quickly, all quite significant in retrospect.

A quick funny read which I am sure all Star Wars and Carrie Fisher fans will enjoy. I am just grateful I get to keep the book in my collection forever.

Chocolate a la Murder (A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery Book 4) by Kirsten Weiss

Maddie Kosloski is the owner of a paranormal museum in San Bendetto. She is busy preparing for her Magic of Chocolate exhibit at the museum when she accidently finds the body of one of the owners of the chocolate store Reign dead, smothered in chocolate.

In the meantime her latest haunted museum piece is keeping her very “rattled”.

As Maddie searches for clues as to who would want to kill the chocolatier, the suspects keep adding up. As for her newest paranormal find, she needs to investigate its history to figure out why (and if) it is haunted.

She has assistance from her friends Adele and Harper as well as her boyfriend Detective Jason Slate. She perhaps gets her “extra sensory” help from her cat GD who keeps her on her toes.

This book 4 of the series and although there were references to the previous books (naturally) which went over my head, it was not a problem in understanding the story.

Chocolate a la Murder is a funny, cozy read on a snowy day (which I did) with a nice cup of hot chocolate!

The book has just come out. Thank you #NetGalley #Midnight Ink #Chocolate a la Murder #Kristen Weiss for the advanced copy.

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin is the most beautiful story of the beginning, middle and end of Maurice Hannigan’s life. It’s about what he loved, what he lost, how he loved and what he most regretted.

Over the course of one night, 84 year old Maurice Hannigan sits and drinks at a bar in a hotel he knows only too well, and toasts the five most important people in his life before he goes up to his hotel room to go to sleep for the last time. Through each of the chapters we learn of his all consuming love for his brother and his wife Sadie who he lost two years ago to the day. The story follows his life including the heart wrenching loss of his child, Molly, who although she died before being born has been his moral compass for most of his life. We feel the longing he has to be with the love of his life Sadie, and how proud he is of his only child, a son Kevin. We empathize with him when he questions if perhaps be could have been a better husband and father. We feel his unspoken hate and revenge for a family he feels destroyed his own. We understand him when he talks about regrets.

This is such a powerful book with so many lessons for one to take from it. You fall in love with Maurice and dread the book coming to its end, hoping there will be a different outcome. And then you cry. You feel as if you have lost a good friend.

A remarkable story which you will keep in your heart,

Thank you #NetGalley #When All Is Said #Thomas Dunne Books #Anne Griffin for the incredible read. The book will be out on March 5.

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries is a tale of murder, mayhem and with a ghost story thrown in for good measure!

English teachers are being murdered at Talgarth High School in England.

Clare Cassidy, an English teacher herself at the High School who is writing a book on Gothic writer R.M. Holland, the author of a short story entitled “The Stranger” and coincidentally the former owner of what is now the High School loves her job, her daughter Georgie and their dog Herbert, who is named after R.M. Holland’s own dog. She has had a case of writer’s block on her hunt for information on the reclusive Holland. Until now…

Then her best friend and colleague is murdered. Beside her body is a hand written piece of paper with a line from Holland’s short story. As the police begin to investigate, Clare, Georgie and even Herbert become embroiled in a murder mystery and ghost story which seems to revolve around Clare. She finds writing in her diary which is not hers, but matches the handwriting on the note found next to her friend’s body. Could she be the next victim? How did the writing get there? Everyone is a suspect, (except Herbert!). As the detectives try to put the puzzle together the story races to surprising conclusion.

I enjoyed the separation of sections in the book in which particular scenes are told by each of the main character’s perspective which gives the reader insights into what each was thinking and seeing as different situations occur.

Also, as a nice touch, Holland’s short story is told in increments as the book progresses. This gives the novel an eerie, haunted feeling. A Gothic thriller, The Stranger Diaries has twists and turns and mystery. It has ghosts and even witches. I hope everyone picks this book up!

Thank you #NetGalley #Houghton Mifflin Harcourt #The Stranger Diaries #Elly Griffiths for the advanced copy. The book will be out March 5.

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

Class mom is a ridiculously funny look at what it is like to be a class mom and what it is like to have to deal with the many personalities involved.

Jen Dixon is an “olderish” mom who led quite the life in her early 20’s and has two college daughters to prove it. Now married, she has a son going into Kindergarten. Having been a class mom years ago for her daughters, Jen is gently “pushed” into being the class mom for her son Max’s class by her best friend Nina. Jen thinks, been there, done that easy! Um…maybe not!

From the hilarious emails she sends to the parents (at least she thinks they are funny) to dealing with a young sexy kindergarten teacher who does not believe in “Hallmark” holidays or parties, Jen is in constant motion. To add to the chaos, her daughters are having their own crisis and her husband has become not so thrilled with her. Anyone who has ever been a class mom can identify with the different parental “personalities” as well as the land mines one has to avoid in order to keep the peace.

I laughed from beginning to end and I look forward to reviewing the sequel, You’ve Been Volunteered, which is coming out in July. @Goodreads #Class Mom

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hopefully you are all caught up in the Hannah Swensen series!

In Chocolate Cream Pie Murder we find Hannah in very unstable condition. Her marriage has been discovered to be a farce and she now must explain to the residence of Lake Eden what has happened and she feels the need to apologize and to make amends. Embarrassed and humiliated Hannah tries her best to pick up the pieces of her life and put the past behind her.

Until she receives a threatening visitor who frightens her to the point that the whole town unites in order to protect her. And then there is a dead body found in her bedroom. Hannah is falling to pieces! So many questions…will Hannah be next? And of course, who is the murderer?

I expected this to be another Fluke cozy mystery which I really do enjoy, but she surprised me with a shocking ending, and I mean SHOCKING!

Once again Fluke adds spice to both her story and the recipes which are included at the end of each chapter. I am glad to see she is branching out from just cookie recipes and including many more full dinner meals. And I love the crockpot recipes as well!

The book is a terrific quick read and all I really can say is please hurry and put out the next installment! I can’t wait!

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder will be out February 29. Thank you @NetGalley @Kensington Publishing @Joanne Fluke for the advanced copy!