Truth, Lies, And Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson

Captain Ava Capp, pilot extraordinaire, is known for her witty comebacks, an enjoyable no strings attached love life and oh, saving the lives of all on a plane which she was not even piloting when the actual pilot became incapacitated. She enjoys her life and enjoys her job.

But Captain Ava was not always that confident. Ten years ago her best friend Danielle was savagely murdered just after Ava had left her to continue on with her day. Rocked by guilt, the murder took its toll on her and she ended up in a rehab and never looked back.

Now on the tenth anniversary of Danielle’s death a memorial is being held in their hometown in Minnesota, a memorial which she does not jump at the chance to go. But David, Danielle’s twin brother pleads with her and she agrees. After finding the memorial service trashed on day two, yes there was a day two, nobody can quite understand why anybody would want to wreck a memorial.

And believe it or not, this is when the story gets even funnier! Ava meets medical examiner Dr. Tom Baker, who turns out to be her match in more ways than one. He as been following the murder of Danielle for quite a while and has come to Minneapolis to solve the case. Even Ava is on his list of suspects and some other unmentionable rosters. And Dr. Baker comes with his crazy, a young niece who is a snarky genius and her grandfather. He also comes with some other baggage the reader should find out about by reading the story!

As they begin their investigation Ava begins to have some health issues and Dr. Baker feels these are not just health issues, but someone causing Ave to become ill. And then when she is suddenly sidelined from flying, it becomes all too obvious someone is trying to kill or sabotage her. But why? Do they think she knows something about Danielle’s death, or perhaps maybe it is something more sinister. Maybe she was the intended target that day years ago and not Danielle. If so, what could she have possibly done to cause someone to hate her so much?

The closer Ava and Tom get to each other and to the truth about what really happened back then, the more comedy ensues! The witty dialogue reads like a Gilmore Girl’s episode and funny scenes throughout the story make for quite the enjoyable romp, (pun intended). And remember this is a mystery!

Truth, Lies, And Second Dates is a fantastically funny mystery with wit, humor and charm. Quirky characters and a satisfying ending round off this lighthearted puzzler . I hope we have not seen the last of Ava and Tom!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #MaryJaniceDavidson #Truth,Lies,AndSecondDates for the advanced copy.

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

In the follow-up to the bestseller The Magpie Murders, we find Susan Ryeland, publishing editor extraordinaire, living in Greece with her boyfriend Andreas and running a hotel. After almost being killed while solving the Magpie Murders, Susan wanted to get away from London and live somewhere she could relax and unwind. But with their hotel barely making any money and stress creeping back into her life, she begins to long for her former life.

When a couple arrive at the hotel looking for her specifically to ask for her help locating their missing daughter, Cecily, back in London, Susan at first hesitates. But they too are hotel owners, and although she has no history with them, the mystery of their missing daughter may have something to do with her past client, the infamous Alan Conway, writer and creator of the detective Atticus Pund mysteries. Oh, and they agree to pay her a fortune for her time! With Susan missing London, she agrees.

The couple is unsure if their daughter’s disappearance has anything to do with a murder at their hotel years ago. A man named Frank Parris was brutally murdered on the day of their daughter’s wedding. And although one of their employees confessed to the murder at the time, Cecily disappeared the day after calling them and telling them that after reading Conway’s novel, Atticus Pund Takes the Cake, she believed the wrong person was charged with the murder.

Susan discovers that after the Parris murder, Conway had gone to stay at the hotel while he began writing his new book. He seemed curious about the murder and began asking questions. Although he promised not to use any of the information he was given, or use anyone from the hotel as characters in his novel, when the book came out, they realized they had been duped and he had not kept his word.

Susan realizes that she had edited the infamous book now in question, and with Conway gone, she must begin the interview process from the past murder all over. Is it possible that this long ago murder could have anything to do with Cecily’s disappearance? And what did she read that would have lead her to draw the conclusion that the wrong person has been jailed this whole time?

She decides she needs to reread the book not only to refresh her memory, but to see if she can find any clues as to if Conway knew the real killer of Frank Parris. If he did know, why did he not tell anyone at the time? So within the the novel Moonflower Murders, we all get to read, along with Susan, Atticus Pund Takes the Cake. She begins to realize Conway really did know who the killer was and perhaps there really were clues to this mystery within the story. What did Cecily read?

As she begins to sort out the clues between the book and the information she receives from all the interviews, it seems someone begins to feel she is getting too close to the truth. Now in danger, Susan must expediently solve this mystery. But with so many suspects, will she be able to find the real murderer before she becomes one of their victims?

Moonflower Murders is as brilliant as The Magpie Murders. There are clues everywhere, and you may find yourself going back to the book within the novel to see if you can find them. The ending, which fits all the pieces of the puzzle together is masterful. There is only one word to describe this novel…genius!

The Woman Outside My Door by Rachel Ryan

The Woman Outside My Door is Rachel Ryan’s first novel. It is a chilling story with ghostly undertones which creates a uniquely suspenseful story and will keep you guessing as to the outcome with many twists and turns in between.

Georgina, who has recently lost her mother is trying to create a bit of new normalcy in her life. She, along with her husband Bren and young son Cody, and with her widowed father are all trying to pick up the pieces to their lives. On top of this Georgina and Bren had been having problems just as her mother began her downfall. Now, they must begin to sort out their relationship as well as help their son heal from losing his grandmother.

So when Cody comes home after playing with some friends with candy and tells Georgina his New Granny gave it to him, she is beside herself. Bren feels this is Cody’s way of processing his grandmother’s death, by pretending she is still here. But as Cody begins talking to his New Granny on the phone, when the phone has not rung, Georgina feels he’s taken this imaginary friend to a new level.

Then Georgina begins to see and hear things. She believes someone has followed her home. She sees someone staring at her through their window looking into their house. Her husband feels she perhaps should go and see someone, as Cody tries to convince them that he no longer sees New Granny. But Georgiana knows deep in heart New Granny is not imaginary. She is real. Who could she possibly be? What does she want with her family?

She feels she needs to protect her family. But from who or what she is unsure. As her life begins to spin out of control, she believes perhaps she does need some help. And as the situation goes from disturbing to deranged, Georgina realizes she is in the fight of her life to save her family.

Although The Woman Outside My Door is Ryan’s first novel, with the fascinating and gripping plot, surprising moments and compelling ending, I am quite sure it will not be her last.

Thank you #GoodReads #GalleryBooks #TheWomanOutsideMyDoor #RachelRyan for the advanced copy.

Ink and Shadows (A Secret, Book and Scone Society Novel) by Ellery Adams

Nora Pennington, our beloved local Miracle Springs bookstore owner seems to have settled down quite nicely into her new town. Her store, with help from her new employee an older gentleman named Sheldon, is doing a brisk business. Her relationship with Jed seems to be going well and her friends in the Secret, Book and Scone Society are…well, as Sheldon says “the magical women of this town.”

But none of that will last very long.

With Halloween fast approaching, Nora and Sheldon must decide what type of outdoor window display they want to create. Usually the town appreciates the creative displays, but this year one of the mother’s from an organization has decided the display is unacceptable. Her group decides to cause quite a scene in the town by boycotting the bookstore as well as other shops she feels are inappropriate. With ads placed in the newspaper, picketers outside and vandalism, the stores begin to suffer.

One of these businesses is a new shop named Soothe which sells CBD oils and other products, along with many healing herbs. The new shopkeeper Celeste and her teenage daughter Bren have just moved to Miracle Springs. Celeste is hoping to start a new life for them both while Bren unfortunately is only angered by the move and seems to resent her mother.

When Bren dies suddenly on Nora’s property and she finds pages with symbols on them which seem to have been torn out of a very old book left under her doormat, she begins to think this is may not be the accidental death the coroner has claimed.

So as they do, the Secret, Book and Scone Society jumps into action by assisting Celeste in her shop as she grieves for her daughter. But when Nora finds a threatening postcard addressed to Celeste, she realizes Celeste must be hiding secrets from her previous life with Bren from their former town.

As for those pages with symbols, Nora knows someone who could decipher them. But that would mean calling a person from her own past, a past she would rather not revisit, and friends she has had no contact with since she fled her own former life. But Nora feels responsible in some way for Bren’s death and must make peace with the idea of exposing her new present to someone from her past. What could these pages possibly mean? Where is the book they were torn out of? And how do they connect to Celeste and Bren?

In Ink and Shadows there is murder, mystery, mayhem, chaos and wonderfully empowered funny women who have all gone through major life crisis and who have come out on the other end with a great sense of passion for life and sympathy and understanding for others in this wonderful town Ellery Adams has created.

And finally, just another reason to love Adams, throughout the story she places her own book selections with an appendix at the end of the book. So know that while you read this mystery with a town full of loving and caring people…well most of them, you can perhaps find your next read while trying to solve a murder!

Thank you #NetGalley #Kensington #InkandShadows #ElleryAdams for the advanced copy.

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

When a group of people who don’t know each other get invited to vacation on a beautiful secluded tropical island for free to review some of the owner of the island’s products how could they not accept? But in what I would consider a terrifying updated version of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, the invitation should have come with a dire warning.

Within a twisted plot, the group are horrifically killed off one at a time, with a nod to a sci-fi novel as they are forced to be implanted with something called a memory tracker which when activated displays memories of horrible deeds they have done which all can see.

With this tracker, they are also allowed to think of something they want and it appears. But, they can also wish for something to happen to someone and unbeknownst to them, it will happen!

But one of the guests, Amelia is not fitted for the device. She seems to be exempt from the scathing memories the other’s seem to endure looking at. As the group makes their way to the house where they will be staying, they are not only tortured by their own memories, but by the island itself. They seem to all notice Amelia’s exemption and don’t understand and start to become resentful of her.

Amelia begins to have memories which seem to have been hidden deep in the recesses of her mind. This island looks somehow familiar. But why? Could she have been here before? And as her recollection becomes even clearer she thinks she could possibly be the reason they are all here. And for those who make it to the house to enjoy the last supper, they are in for a terrible surprise.

Who is behind this and why are they torturing this group who did not know each other until embarking the plane? What is it that Amelia knows that could kill them all, and why? What kind of a monster would take joy in terrorizing people?

The Last Resort is a wonderful thriller in which the answers to questions come only after a terrifying climax. The story is so very well plotted out you may want to go back as I did to look for the missing clues the reader was given during the story!

Thank you #NetGalley #Thomas&Mercer #TheLastResort #SusiHolliday for the advanced copy.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

The Other Einstein is another incredible Marie Benedict novel which once again sheds light on another unsung woman way ahead of her time but who would unfortunately never get proper credit for her true genius. A woman whose husband not only was jealous of her insightful creativity, but quite frankly punished her for her ability by intimidation.

Mitza Maric was a highly intelligent girl whose father saw the promise and potential for her to become a scientist, regardless of her gender. As a young woman she never felt pretty, as she had limp and her parents had always felt no one would ever marry her. Her father sent her to a University in Zurich for science during the 1800’s, something unheard of back then. The only woman in classes, Mitza kept her head down and excelled, much to the surprise of her teachers and classmates.

This caught the eye of one of her classmates, Albert Einstein, who developed a crush on Mitza. As he attempted to court her, she was torn between her love for science and her love for him. He promised her she could have both and she believed him. Against her father’s wishes and sadness, Mitza leaves the University without her degree.

Her love for Einstein takes many twists and turns with Mitza always giving in to Einstein’s wishes, believing him when he would say she makes it all about her and with him always promising to give her the recognition she deserves. And then Einstein deliberately leaves her name off of a paper whose concept was her idea. This paper catapults Einstein into celebrity and solidifies Mitza’s changing relationship with him.

Their romance seems to deteriorate further, perhaps due to Einstein’s jealousy of Mitza, or his own guilt for what he did, but he begins to treat Mitza as someone whose only purpose is to cater to his needs, even having her walk steps in back of him when they are out with others.

By this time, Mika’s life is filled with anger, rage and sadness. She cannot tolerate the mistreatment of this man who had once promised her a world of science and discovery in which they would create together equally, only to be made to feel not only unworthy of her intelligence, but an unacceptable partner to this man she once thought her soulmate.

As in all of Benedict’s books the research is impeccable and the storytelling mesmerizing. Stories such as these shed light on just how far women have come and brings to light the sadness and abuse women who had any intelligence endured with their only flaw being a brain.

The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

Two sisters vie for the the ultimate $100,000 prize in a restaurant food competition and come out of the experience with a renewed sense of family, life and love.

Years ago two sisters created a chicken restaurant. As in some families, there was jealousy and fighting. The two sisters decided to go there separate ways and establish two restaurants…Chicken Mimi’s a down home chicken and biscuit place and Frannie’s a more upscale (they sell mozzarella sticks) chicken and biscuit place.

Amanda Moore who works at Frannie’s and is the daughter-in-law of the owner, decides to apply to a food reality show called Food Wars. Her idea is for them to come to their small town and taste both Frannie’s and Mimi’s chicken and decide which is better. Her logic being that exposure to their restaurants and the prize which Amanda is sure Frannie’s will win will have people from all over coming to the restaurant. She just has to get her sister Mae on board. You see while Amanda works at Frannie’s, Mae’s loyalty is to Mimi’s, their mother’s restaurant.

Mae, who lives in New York has a chaotic lifestyle with her two children and handsome husband. She is an organizational master with a best selling book and is not very interested in Amanda’s idea. That is until she gets let go of what was suppose to be a promising television career. Mae decides to go back home to their tiny town in Kansas to get a bit of exposure from the television show in hopes of reviving her career.

What neither sister ever expects is that the reality show, in order to create as much drama for their viewers as possible, begins to pit the two restaurants against each other, as well as the two sisters who have not been very close in quite a while. Mae and Amanda begin to turn on each other and in the process out long hidden family secrets, much to the other family member’s distress and embarrassment, but to the joy of the producers of the reality show.

Then Mae’s husband Jay, who always thought Mae lived in Kansas City, not a small town, and her family restaurant was a fancy establishment, not a chicken and biscuit joint, sees an embarrassing video going around and decides to come to the town to find out why Mae has been hiding her roots all this time.

With all this swirling around them, Amanda and Mae must come to some sort of understanding. Amanda, who is tired of running a restaurant and Mae who is tired of always trying to be perfect must learn who they really are not only to each other, but to their families and more importantly to themselves. Who will win the food war? Is it really worth winning?

The Chicken Sisters is a funny, warm-hearted story of the love and hate between families and about picking up the pieces (of chicken) and putting a generation separated family back together if possible.

Thank you #Goodreads #G.P.Putnam’sSons #KJDell’Antonia #TheChickenSisters for the advanced copy.

Thank You, Next by Sophie Ranald

Zoe is just beginning to get over the heartbreak of losing the love of her life. A chef, she and her cat Frazzle live upstairs from the bar she cooks at aptly named The Ginger Cat.

She starts to get a bit of pressure to begin to date again from the other chef, Ronnie, who seems to have no problem finding trysts. He insists she at least put herself out there on one of the many dating apps that exist. She does and after her first date, or no show date, she decides she can’t find love this way. But then she discovers a dating astrology app, which partners love compatibility through your signs. Zoe thinks she has hit the jackpot! She signs up! Let the love match begin!

And then it doesn’t go as well as anticipated. She finds one match to be perfect! So perfect that not only do they never go on another date, but he blocks her! Then there is another date which after serenading her for one hour has her married with children! Finding Mr. Right may be very wrong for Zoe.

Then the stars align, not on the app but accidently and she literally falls for someone. She seems to think she has met “the one”. OK, so he’s not that great in bed, that will get better, and he does not have a real job but that could change right? and he is a bit of a slob, but at least she can clean up after him. It’s still a boyfriend and she can stop dating.

As Zoe debates the pro’s and con’s of being in love, what she seems to miss are the goings on at the bar and how sometimes you may not need an an astrology app to see the vision right in front of you. Perhaps sometimes the only help you really need when looking for love is no help at all.

Thank You, Next is an enjoyable, funny story as are all Ranald’s books. This book will take you away from the toil of one’s life and plunge you into a world of lightness, wit and of course, love.

Thank you #NetGalley #Bookouture #SohieRanald #ThankYou,Next for the advanced copy.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

In a sleepy retirement village in England, a group of seniors meet every Thursday in their clubhouse to discuss old unsolved mysteries. They call themselves the Thursday Murder Club. Until one day a local developer is found dead. And now they have an actual murder they can investigate themselves. And they are very excited!

We are introduced to these comical, intelligent, octogenarians as they seem to bumble through the investigation, but quietly actually begin to piece together the clues. One must never underestimate the power of a senior citizen able to manipulate a situation! We have Elizabeth, who seems to be the ring leader with a mysterious past who has many former friends in law enforcement, Joyce, a retired nurse, who through her written humorous yet informative daily journal gives us more detail into the goings of the club members, Ron, whose son is a celebrity boxer turned reality star and Ibrahim, a former psychiatrist.

As the group begins to investigate and tackle the murder, they are hindered as more bodies start to pile up, some from years ago. With the help from their friends…but in reality are the police investigators Donna De Freitas and Chris Hudson, who they seem to be able to manipulate into unknowingly (or knowingly) pass them information during hysterical tea visits. Suddenly, the case takes a strange turn…could the killer or killers be one of them? Will this group be able to piece together the clues, and masterfully solve the case?

But the Thursday Club not only solves murders. We see the love they have not only for each other, but for spouses both past and present as well as others who live in the retirement community. They take care of each other, no matter what that means. No matter what needs to be done. No matter what needs to be left unsaid. Their bond is unbreakable.

The Thursday Murder Club is an extremely funny mystery with ingenious clues and a perfectly executed ending. One can only hope Richard Osman writes a second.

Tell Me My Name by Erin Ruddy

When Ellie and Neil Patterson finally vacation without children at their newly purchased cottage, they believe it will be a chance for them to reconnect and try to get back to where they once were. It seems their relationship has stalled and neither knows really what to do.

But they may never get that chance. Ellie is kidnapped by their next door neighbor, a George Clooney look-a-like. He tells her that they knew each other from long ago. He explains to Ellie that she will be given only three chances to guess his name. With each wrong answer Neil, who has also been abducted and is in the next room, will have extremities chopped off. If she fails to remember him by the third name, Neil dies.

Ellie then must begin a difficult walk down memory lane, with situations she never wanted to remember, including the tragic death of her beloved sister Bethany after she was involved in a horrific car accident. But those memories are nothing compared to what this mysterious psychotic man has in store for her and her husband. And what Ellie will learn will tear her world apart forever.

As the police try and track Ellie and her captor by the bodies he leaves in their wake, will they be able to find her before she too becomes one of his casualties? Will both Ellie and Neil come out of this alive? Will Ellie be able to make peace with what she discovers about her captor, a murderer with mommy issues, or with her husband after she uncovers an explosive secret he as hidden from her all these years.

Tell Me My Name is an intense psychological thriller with so many twists and turns you never see coming, and shocking revelations which intertwine in the storylines brilliantly.

Thank you #NetGalley #Dundurn #TellMeMyName #ErinRuddy for the advanced copy.