Thriller Thursday Reviews: Lying Beside You & The Angel Maker


It’s Thursday so you know what that means. Another Sharon edition of Thriller Thursday!   This week I am reviewing the latest books by two must read authors for me.  Michael Robotham’s, Lying Beside You and  Alex North’s, The Angel Maker. Both of these books were in my top anticipated reads for  2023, so I was very excited to read them and happy that they lived up to the hype I had set for them.


Thriller Thursday Reviews: Lying Beside You & The Angel MakerLying Beside You Goodreads

Author: Michael Robotham

Publication Date: February 14, 2023

Publisher: Scribner

Lying Beside You is the third book in Michael Robotham’s Cyrus Haven series.  I fell in love with Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac in the first book Good Girl, Bad Girl and my love for them grew in the second book When She was Good, so I could not wait to reunite with them. In this third installment, a man is murdered, and his daughter, Maya Kirk, is missing.  Cyrus is called in to help profile the killer and piece together Maya’s last hours. Not long after Maya’s body is found, another woman goes missing and Evie is the only person to get a glimpse of the man that has taken her. Can Cyrus find this man before it is too late for this other woman, as well as Evie?

There is so much I loved about this book. I will start with the mystery of who killed Maya. Robotham did an excellent job of creating suspense as we follow the police and Cyrus as they try and solve this mystery. He gives us just enough breadcrumbs to follow without giving anything away until the very end. I loved watching as the police and Cyrus tried to piece together the evidence they had. There were a lot of layers to unravel to find the killer and what his motive was. It was not until the end that I started to piece things together, and I never figured out who the killer. I was on the edge of my seat when everything came to a head.

While I love the mystery Michael Robotham created, my favorite part of the book was seeing Cyrus and Evie again. I love these characters so much. They are both still flawed and broken characters, and I loved watching them try to navigate their lives. Evie is still trying to find her way in the world and interact with people. At Cyrus’ insistence she gets a job and she had me smiling as she stumbles along. I love the relationship between Cyrus and Evie, they have a father-daughter/brother-sister relationship, and I loved watching them try and navigate this.

Cyrus is also dealing with the fact that his brother, who killed their parents and twin sisters nineteen years ago, is about to be released from the psychiatric hospital and will be coming to stay with him and Evie. Cyrus loves his brother and has forgiven him, but he is still dealing with all the pain his brother caused him. He wants to help his brother reenter society. Evie on the other hand cannot understand how Cyrus could be so forgiving and does not trust his brother at all and lets him know it.  This just created another layer to a well written story.

Robotham does a great job of giving the backstory on both Cyrus and Evie, so this book could be read as a standalone, but I would really recommend reading the first two books in the series first as I think that would give more depth and feelings to this book.

Lying Beside You was everything I hoped it would be and more. I really hope we get more books in this series as I am not ready to let Cyrus and Evie go.  4 ½ stars


Thriller Thursday Reviews: Lying Beside You & The Angel MakerThe Angel Maker Goodreads

Author: Alex North

Publication Date: February 28, 2023

Publisher: Celadon Books

Alex North’s latest novel The Angel Maker is a dark thriller that follows Katie Shaw as she searches for her estranged brother, Chris, who has gone missing and Detective Laurence Page as he searches for the killer of a distinguished professor who was brutally murdered. As evidence is uncovered, it leads to two old cases, an attack that happened to Chris when he was fifteen and a serial killer that could see the future.

Katie Shaw was always expected to watch out for her brother Chris, and she always did, except for one day when she was seventeen years old, and that will be a day she regrets for the rest of her life. Instead of walking her brother home from school, Katie went off with her boyfriend, and Chris was brutally attacked. Years later Katie is happily married with a child of her own. Chris had a hard life after the attack and turned to drugs and living on the street. Katie has not seen Chris in two years, but when she gets a call from their mother saying that Chris had turned his life around but is now missing, Katie knows that she has to be his big sister once again and this time she is determined to keep Chris safe.

I really liked the parts with Katie as she searches for Chris. She is carrying a heavy burden when it comes to Chris. The last time she saw him he stole money from her, and she called the police on him. But even still, when her mother calls and tells her that Chris is missing, that sister/brother love is there, and she will do anything to protect him this time. I loved her determination and mother bear persona that came out.

Alan Hobbes is a wealthy and distinguished philosophy professor who has been brutally murdered, but before he was murdered he let his staff go and got all of his affairs in order. Almost like he knew he was going to die. As detective Laurence Page investigates the death of Alan, he discovers that this case is somehow connected to the attack on Chris as well as a serial killer named Jack Lock, who is long since dead but was known as “The Angel Maker”.  These chapters were very dark, especially as we learn more about who Jack Lock was and what he did.

This book had a lot going on in it, with multiple characters and timelines and it did get a bit confusing at times, but I loved the mystery of how everything was connected. This was definitely a book that needs to be read slow to take in all the information and keep things straight.  While I did like North’s other two books, The Whisper Man and The Shadows better, I still enjoyed The Angel Maker3 ½ stars



Hey everyone! I hope your week is off to a great start.  At this point, I’m just hoping mine will be better than last week. I spent most of the week fighting a sinus headache and then someone on my team at work resigned so there way chaos and drama galore.  Between not feeling well and being tired of the drama, I pretty much laid on the couch like a blob every night from 5pm on.  Needless to say, no blog hopping happened so my apologies for that.  Anyway, enough of that, today I’m back to share some rare thriller reviews from me.  Alex Finlay and Robert Dugoni are two authors that have been on my list of authors to try for years now, and I decided it was time to finally make that happen.  Today I’m reviewing each of their newest releases.


Reviews:  HER DEADLY GAME & WHAT HAVE WE DONEHer Deadly Game Goodreads

Author: Robert Dugoni

Publication Date: March 28, 2023

Publisher:  Thomas & Mercer

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


My favorite legal thriller reads are those that offer up a perfect balance of police procedure, courtroom drama, and well developed characters.  Robert Dugoni’s latest standalone thriller, Her Deadly Game, delivers in all those areas and more.

The story follows Keera Duggan, a prosecutor in Seattle who has to leave her job for personal reasons. She ends up working at her family’s once successful but now failing criminal defense law firm.  The family firm’s reputation has taken a hit since Keera’s dad’s alcoholism started to impact his performance in court. When Keera is retained by Vince LaRussa, a successful investment advisor accused of murdering his wife, Keera hopes that her return to the firm will help to restore its reputation, give her own career a jumpstart, and most importantly, help to repair her relationship with her dad, which has also become strained due to the alcoholism.

The LaRussa case itself was fascinating and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I loved following all elements of the investigation, from the crime scene unit gathering evidence at the scene all the way through to the courtroom action once the case goes to trial.  All of these scenes were so detailed that I truly felt like I was there watching the case unfold in person.  I’m also always a big fan of underdogs, so I was Team Keera all the way.  Keera is up against not only the fact that in cases like this, the killer often is the husband, but also the fact that the prosecutor on the case is none other than her ex-boyfriend who would love nothing more than to take her down in court.  There’s also an anonymous tipster that has Keera chasing down possible leads in an intricate cat and mouse style game.

As riveting and twisty as the LaRussa case was on its own, the complicated family dynamic of the Duggan family was what really made this book a standout for me.  Patsy Duggan, the patriarch of the family, built his firm from the ground up, earning himself the reputation as ‘The Irish Brawler,” along the way.  Now that his drinking has made him unreliable, it’s up to Keera and her two sisters to keep the firm afloat.  The sisters of course love their dad, but there is definitely tension and resentment that they can’t count on him.  Some of my favorite scenes were those where Keera and her dad were working together on the case, with Keera holding him to his promise that he wouldn’t drink or let her down.  I became so invested in their relationship and was rooting for Patsy all the way to keep his promise and not let his girls down.

Her Deadly Game was my first time reading one of Robert Dugoni’s novels, but it definitely won’t be my last! 4.5 STARS


Reviews:  HER DEADLY GAME & WHAT HAVE WE DONEWhat Have We Done Goodreads

Author: Alex Finlay

Publication Date: March 7, 2023

Publisher: Minotaur Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


What Have We Done is the latest thriller from Alex Finlay.  This was my first time reading anything from this author and I have to say it was a pretty wild ride!

This twisty story follows five seemingly different characters who on the surface have little in common – Ben is a federal judge, Donnie is a mostly washed-up rock star, Nico is a television producer, Jenna is a former assassin turned housewife, and Artemis is a wealthy entrepreneur.  What these five do have in common is that 25 years ago, they all lived at Savior House, a group home for orphaned teens.  While Savior House was meant to be a safe place for these teens, instead it was an environment of abuse and neglect and also a place where several teen girls that lived there mysteriously disappeared.  The home is eventually shut down and the teens all eventually go on to lead successful lives, although they all still have painful memories from their time at Savior House, as well as a deadly secret.

When one of them is killed, and attempts are made on the lives of the other four, it leads the now-grown Savior House kids to have a reunion they never expected to have.  It surely isn’t a coincidence that all of them have been targeted and they need to get to the bottom of who is after them after all these years and why.

I love a good twisty thriller so I really enjoyed how this novel was structured. The story unfolds primarily from the perspectives of Jenna, Nico, and Donnie, who were best friends while at Savior House.  We follow each of them from the moment the attempt is made on their lives and get their perspective on everything as they try to piece together what is going on, first solo, and then as a team once they finally meet up.  The story also alternates between past and present so that in addition to following these characters as they try to figure out who is after them, we also get flashbacks to when they were teens and therefore get a bird’s eye view of all of the horrors that took place at Savior House.

While I really enjoyed the story overall, I did have a couple of issues as I was reading, the first being that I didn’t particularly like any of the characters.  I was definitely sympathetic to what they were going through and how terrifying it must have been, but that was the end of my connection to any of them.  I also found myself preferring some of the perspectives over others, Jenna’s was much more interesting than the others so I found myself skimming through their chapters to hurry up and get back to hers. Overall, I enjoyed all three perspectives, but this did make for an uneven read for me. The skeptic in me also found all of their career choices to be somewhat farfetched – entertaining yes, believable not really.

Even with those few issues, I would still say I enjoyed my first Alex Finlay novel. I liked the suspenseful build up to the reveal and that the closer we got to the reveal, the wilder the ride became, and I definitely loved that the story kept me guessing until the final pages.  If you like twisty reads filled with dark secrets from the past, you’ll want to check out What Have We Done3.5 STARS



Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that Daylight Savings Time hasn’t thrown you too off kilter.  Today I’m back with a couple of great new March releases from Berkley.  I originally planned to post reviews for these later in the month, but I flew through them both so quickly that I just couldn’t wait any longer to share my love for them.


Reviews:  THE LOVE WAGER & THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF TANNER & LOUISEThe Love Wager (Mr. Wrong Number, #2) Goodreads

Author: Lynn Painter

Publication Date: March 14, 2023

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


Lynn Painter is one of my go-to authors when I’m craving a hilarious and heartwarming read and her latest rom-com, The Love Wager, is all of that and more.

When the story opens, Hallie Piper is working at a wedding, tending bar.  When Jack, the sexy best man, comes up to order a drink, Hallie hits it off with him, a little too well apparently, because they end up in a hotel room together. Hallie ends up belly-crawling out of the hotel room in a desperate attempt to avoid an awkward post- one night stand encounter, and she decides at that moment that it’s time to make some major life changes. She creates a profile on a popular dating app, hoping to meet her true love, and who does she see almost immediately as she’s scrolling for possible matches?  Yep, you guessed it, Jack! Hallie messages him through the app, mainly just to mess with him, and the two of them end up actually becoming friends and actually putting a little friendly wager on which of them will find love first.

This story was just so much fun!  Friends to lovers is a trope I enjoy anyway, but Painter really leveled it up when she added the one-night stand into the equation to make it more along the lines of a lovers to friends to lovers romance.  Hallie and Jack were also both so likeable and had tremendous chemistry (no matter how many times they each tried to remind themselves that they were only platonic friends).  I loved how they would set up their respective dates at the same place so that if things didn’t go well, they could give each other an out and escape to go get tacos together. The taco “not dates” were adorable and it was so much fun to watch these two clearly grow more and more attracted to each other, and more concerned for each other’s happiness and well-being, the more they hung out together.  At one point, Hallie takes Jack to an event as her fake date and I was practically giddy watching the two of them interact because they had more chemistry than any of the real couples who were there.  I was rooting so hard for them to see what I was seeing and just get on with it already, haha!

The Love Wager is a romance filled with heart and humor that has once again cemented Lynn Painter’s place on my list of auto-buy authors. 4.5 STARS


Reviews:  THE LOVE WAGER & THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF TANNER & LOUISEThe Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise Goodreads

Author: Colleen Oakley

Publication Date: March 28, 2023

Publisher: Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley was a must-read for me because it contains two elements that I love and don’t come across often enough, an older protagonist and an unlikely friendship.  Throw in a cross country road trip and this book was simply irresistible to me!

The older protagonist is Louise Wilt, a sassy octogenarian who, at her children’s insistence, finds herself in need of a full-time caregiver after falling and fracturing her hip.  Louise hates being old, hates the way people treat her because she is old, and she has lots of other opinions that she isn’t afraid to share at any given moment.  The irony is that while she doles out her honest opinion to anyone who will listen, it turns out she’s hiding a boatload of secrets and has lived a life wilder than anyone could possibly fathom.  Oakley has created an incredibly rich, well drawn character with Louise and I really loved getting to know her and learning about her secrets and what motivated her to do what she does in this story.

Tanner is the other protagonist in the story and she’s a 21-year-old woman who has been forced to drop out of college because of a career-ending soccer injury that cost her a full-ride scholarship.  Tanner feels like her life is over before it has even begun. She’s angry at the world and lashes out at her family to the point where they kick her out.  Desperate for cash and a place to live, Tanner takes the caretaker job and moves in with Louise.  Tanner is just as much a complicated character as Louise is, and it was interesting to peel back her layers and learn more about her as well.

My favorite part of the book was the unlikely friendship that develops between Tanner and Louise once they get past the initial awkwardness of a 21 year old and an 84 year old being roommates.  An unexpected but urgent cross country road trip is actually the catalyst for their friendship to really blossom and it’s a wild ride. I don’t want to give anything away about the road trip, aside from to say that it’s directly tied to all those wild secrets Louise is keeping. What I will say about the road trip is that it really provides the opportunity for Tanner and Louise to bond.  They have some moving heart-to-heart talks, and I loved that they were both able to learn from each other.  The trip was a wonderful time to gain some perspective for each of them, particularly Tanner, so that she could forge a new path forward for herself.

With its sassy protagonists who shouldn’t be underestimated, unlikely friendships, epic road trip, and a mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise is a gem of a book that has a little something for everyone. 4.5 STARS

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Mothered & What Lies in the Woods


Hi everyone! Sharon here, back with another edition of Thriller Thursday.  This week I am reviewing 2 awesome books. Zoje Stages’s, Mothered and Kate Alice Marshall’s, What Lies in the Woods. Zoje Stage is a must read author for me and Kate Alice Marshall is a new author to me. I was looking forward to reading both of these books and I am so happy that they both lived up to the expectations I had set.


Thriller Thursday Reviews: Mothered & What Lies in the WoodsMothered Goodreads

Author: Zoje Stage

Publication Date: March 1, 2023

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

I fell in love with Zoje Stage when I read her first book Baby Teeth and I have loved everything she has written, so I was very excited to read her newest book Mothered and I have to say this one is my favorite so far.

Mothered takes place during Covid-19 and follows Grace, a hairdresser who bought her first house before Covid struck. Now that she is not working, due to businesses being shut down, Grace is finding it hard to pay her mortgage and other bills. When her recently widowed mother, Jackie, calls and asks if she can move in with Grace, Grace is apprehensive as she and her mother have a strained relationship, but Grace agrees since having her mother there will help Grace out financially. Not too long after her mother moves in, Grace starts having nightmares about her childhood and her twin sister who died when she was a teenager. These nightmares have Grace questioning what is real and what is not, and she starts to spiral into madness. When Jackie accuses Grace of an unthinkable act, Grace starts to question everything she thought she knew. The ghosts from her past and her mother cause Grace to spiral further into madness and the outcome will be deadly.

All I can say about this book is, WOW! Stage did an amazing job of creating a story that made me question what I was reading. When Grace started having her nightmares, she became such an unreliable character and I loved that. I was not sure what was true or made up in Grace’s mind. I also had a lot of sympathy for Grace as we learned about her childhood. Her twin sister had Cerebral Palsy and it was mostly Grace that took care of her. She loved her sister so much, even though her sister was not very nice at times.  There were so many times I just wanted to give her a big hug.

What to say about Grace’s mother, Jackie? There were a few times I thought Grace was being a bit hard on her, but then she would go and do something, and I was like nope. LOL! Jackie clearly liked to cross boundaries, like rearranging things in the house, and when Grace’s best friend, Miguel, was able to come over, Jackie would tell embarrassing stories from when Grace was a child. So yeah, I had a love/hate relationship with her.

Mothered had my adrenaline on full speed with all of the twists and turns, as well as the claustrophobic atmosphere with being in lockdown during Covid-19. I had forgotten what it was like to not be able to leave the house and Zoje Stage did a great job of bringing all those memories back.  Mothered was one of my most anticipated books of 2023 and I am happy to say it did not disappoint!  4 ½ stars


Thriller Thursday Reviews: Mothered & What Lies in the WoodsWhat Lies in the Woods Goodreads

Author: Kate Alice Marshall

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Publisher: Flatiron Books

I have never read anything by Kate Alice Marshall, but when Goodreads suggested What Lies in the Woods as a book I would like, I decided to give it a read since it sounded right up my alley. And I am very happy to report that Goodreads was right, I loved this book.

Eleven-year-old Naomi and her 2 best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, loved to spend their summer roaming in the woods playing a game they made up called the Goddess Game.  But one day Naomi was attacked and stabbed seventeen times. She miraculously survived and the testimony of all three girls put away a serial killer. They were considered heroes, but they were really liars.  Twenty-two years later, the man they helped convict dies in prison. It should be a happy time for them, but the lies they told all those years ago start to unravel. Olivia wants to tell the truth and Naomi wants to find out the truth about what really happened in those woods. But telling and finding out the truth will have a very dangerous outcome.

I loved how broken and flawed Naomi, Olivia and Cassidy were. Their lives were never the same after that summer. Not only did Naomi have physical scars from the attack, but she also had emotional ones as well and rightly so. She was such a strong character. Naomi does not really remember the attack, and even though she identified her attacker, she is now starting to have doubts. As she starts to dig into what happened, she uncovers things that make her doubt everything she thought was the truth. I loved how determined she was in finding out the truth, even if doing so could potentially land her in jail.

During that summer the girls found some bones in a ditch hidden under a boulder. They never told anyone what they found and named these bones, Persephone, the Greek Goddess. Olivia has always had emotional problems, and the events of that summer just escalated them. Olivia figures out who the bones really belong to, and she wants to tell the authorities, but Naomi and Cassidy are against that. Olivia keeps pushing this issue, she has lived with this and the truth about that summer for too long and she just cannot take it anymore. But revealing the truth will put Olivia’s life in danger. I had such sympathy for Olivia. She was just so broken and I just wanted to give her a big hug.

Cassidy was probably the more stable of the girls, but boy did she have secrets. I never warmed up to Cassidy and I didn’t trust her.

I loved the dark creepy atmosphere of this book, as well as all the twist and turns. I thought I had things figured out and then a plot twist would happen to take me in another direction.  The ending had me on the edge of my seat and my head spinning as things were revealed. I loved What Lies in the Woods and I definitely want to check out more books by Kate Alice Marshall.  4 stars




Hey everyone! I’m back today to share two reads that were both just so much fun.  If you like witchy rom-coms and road trip books, you’re definitely going to want to check out both of these.


Reviews: A WITCH’S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING A DEMON & OFF THE MAPA Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon Goodreads

Author: Sarah Hawley

Publication Date: March 7, 2023

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


As a fan of all books with witchy vibes, I knew I had to read Sarah Hawley’s new romcom A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon. I mean, who can resist that fun title?!  Well, I’m happy to report that the story itself is every bit as fun as the title and had me laughing out loud from start to finish.

The story follows Mariel Spark, a young witch who is prophesied to be the most powerful witch seen for centuries.  There’s just one problem – Mariel is a train wreck when it comes to actually using her magic.  If she tries to cast a spell, you’re going to want to duck and cover because it’s probably going to be a disaster.  Mariel’s mother seems to thrive on pointing out what a failure and a disappointment she is, which only adds to Mariel’s frustration and makes her spell casting even worse.  While Mariel’s spell mishaps are hilarious, Mariel is still a very sympathetic character because her mother is just the worst.  It is during one of these spell mishaps that Mariel accidentally does something that will forever change her life – she summons a soul-bargaining demon, Ozroth the Ruthless.

Ozroth the Ruthless, as his name implies, is a legend in the demon world when it comes to bargaining for mortal souls.  Only here’s the thing, Ozroth the Ruthless isn’t exactly ruthless anymore. He had a mishap of his own during a bargaining session with a warlock and now Ozroth has a mortal soul in his body.  That soul has not only made it more difficult for him to trick mortals into giving him their souls, but it also makes him catch feelings easier, which has all but destroyed his reputation for being ruthless.  When Ozroth lands in Mariel’s kitchen, he finds himself in quite a predicament. He can’t leave her side until he secures her soul, but since Mariel accidentally conjured him, she has zero interest in giving up her soul, which leaves them at a hilarious impasse.

This might be the most unique use of the forced proximity trope and I loved every page of it!  The chemistry between Mariel and Ozroth was fantastic, even though neither one wanted to admit that they were starting to catch feelings for each other, and their banter as Ozroth tried and failed repeatedly to get Mariel to give him her soul had me just cackling away, as did their attempts to hide Ozroth’s demon identity, both with comical costumes and by pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend.  As funny as they were together though, what actually captured my heart here was that they were each the main one who saw the other’s personal worth.  Ozroth saw Mariel for so much more than a failed spell caster, while Mariel saw Ozroth as so much more than a failed soul bargainer.  The connection that blossomed between them as they try to build each other up just warmed my heart and had me very invested in them finding a way to break this deal so that they could willingly be together.

I would recommend A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon to anyone who enjoys paranormal romances and anyone who loves their rom-coms to be heartwarming, a little steamy, and laugh out loud hilarious  4.5 STARS



Author: Trish Doller

Publication Date: March 7, 2023

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


I’m a sucker for a good road trip book so I was thrilled to learn that Trish Doller’s new novel Off the Map would feature a road trip across Ireland.  As if that wasn’t irresistible enough on its own, I was sold as soon as I saw that cover with the couple sitting on top of an upside down SUV, literally promising me a wild ride!

Off the Map follows Carla Black, who has traveled from Florida to Ireland to attend her best friend’s wedding.  Readers of Doller’s Beck Sisters series will recognize Carla’s best friend and her fiancé right away, Anna and Keane from Float Plan.  Once Carla arrives in Dublin, the plan is for her to meet up with Keane’s brother Eamon, who will drive her across the country to the wedding destination.  That plan goes a bit off the rails, however, when Carla and Eamon hit it off better than anyone else could have anticipated and their trip across the country takes quite an unexpected and possibly life changing turn.

Carla is a bit of a free spirit and has been traveling around the world on her own for the better part of a decade now. She returns to Florida to work just long enough to save up enough money to bulk up her travel funds and then heads out again.  Carla doesn’t do relationships and she never goes home.  What I love about Doller’s characters though is that they’re complicated and messy. It turns out that Carla doesn’t go home, not because she doesn’t want to, but rather because her beloved dad, who has dementia, has asked her not to.  He wants her out there living her life to the fullest, not watching him slowly forget who she is over time.  So she’s out there on her own, trying to keep her promise to him. I loved Carla’s free spirit, but it definitely broke my heart to learn the real reason behind her extensive traveling.

Eamon is just as complicated and equally as lovable as Carla.  He is struggling because he feels like his life has just stalled out. He makes digital maps so other people can travel, but yet he has been nowhere himself.  He is also tired of always being the responsible one in his family and really just wants to cut loose and go on an adventure.  Meeting up with Carla turns out to be just the right person at the right time as she encourages him to throw caution to the wind and show her around Ireland rather than driving straight to meet his family.

I really adored this journey for both characters.  There were of course lots of fun, shenanigans, and sexy, steamy moments to be had along the way, but the best part was the conversation.  Carla and Eamon opened up to each other about their hopes, dreams, fears, and so much more. I enjoyed watching them grow close and I loved that they were each able to get some things off their chests that it seemed like they had been holding in for a long time.

Off the Map is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys humorous romantic adventure stories balanced with weightier, more emotional topics like dementia and loss.  4 STARS

Review: ON THE SAVAGE SIDE by Tiffany McDaniel

Review:  ON THE SAVAGE SIDE by Tiffany McDanielOn the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel
Published by Knopf Publishing Group on February 14, 2023
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 464
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Bookshop

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.



On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel is not for the faint of heart.  Set in an Ohio small town and inspired by the real-life unsolved murders of six women known as the Chillicothe Six, On the Savage Side explores how heroin addiction can rip apart a family and a community and how predators are lurking everywhere, just waiting to snatch up the pieces.  It’s both a disturbing and haunting story, probably one of the darkest I’ve ever read.

The story follows Arcade and Daffodil (Arc and Daffy), twin sisters who are born to heroin-addicted parents.  As their parents struggle with their addiction, life is pretty rough for the family, and when their dad dies from an overdose when the girls are six years old, things go from bad to worse.  The one bright spot in their lives is their beloved grandmother, Mamaw Milkweed, who showers the girls with love and affection and teaches them the lesson that life has both a savage side and a beautiful side and that the key to life is to make the savage side beautiful.  Mamaw Milkweed uses the underside of a crochet square she is working on to illustrate her point, tidying up the dangling strings to make both sides of the square beautiful.  Arc and Daffy take this message to heart, and using their vivid imaginations, they try to find the beautiful side of every savage thing they witness in their young lives.  Some of the loveliest moments of the book are those scenes between the girls and their grandmother, and those moments where the girls are weaving together imaginative stories to try to make life seem a little less horrific.

McDaniel makes it so easy to fall in love with Arc and Daffy and to mourn the loss of their innocence as their mother sinks further and further into her addiction with each passing year, even turning to prostitution to help pay for drugs.  It’s absolutely heartbreaking when the girls start to follow in their mother’s footsteps, both in terms of drug use and prostitution.  When a serial killer starts dumping the bodies of young women into the local river, the story takes on an even more ominous tone.  I loved that Arc makes a vow to keep her sister safe – their bond is another one of the beautiful moments in the book – but at the same time, I couldn’t help but feel like the odds were stacked against them, especially when their town is filled with predatory, sadistic men, any of whom seemed like a likely suspect, and no one in the town seemed all that invested in finding out who the killer is.

The story is filled with twists and turns and I don’t want to give any of those away, so I’m going to pivot from the plot to talk about the writing.  This may be one of the darkest stories I’ve ever read, but it’s also one of the most beautifully written.  I loved the balance between the beautiful and the ugly moments of the story, and found McDaniel’s storytelling to be truly captivating and downright poetic at times.  In particular, there are several chapters sprinkled throughout where the river itself becomes a character in the story, describing the women’s bodies as they are dumped into the water.

Filled with just about every trigger warning imaginable, from drug abuse and sexual abuse all the way to animal cruelty, On the Savage Side won’t be for everyone.  But if you like a haunting and emotional read that takes a raw and unflinching look at a dark subject matter, On the Savage Side is a must-read.  I know it’s a book I won’t be forgetting about anytime soon.


Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Drift & Find Her


Sharon here with another edition of Thriller Thursday.  Both of the books I am reviewing this week take place during a snowstorm and since it is winter and cold here, they were the perfect settings to read while curled up on my couch under a blanket. 🙂    Here are my thoughts on C.J. Tudor’s, The Drift and Sarah A. Denzil’s, Find Her.


Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Drift & Find HerThe Drift Goodreads

Author: C.J. Tudor

Publication Date: January 31, 2023

Publisher: Ballantine Books

C.J. Tudor is a must-read author for me. I have loved every one of her books and her newest book The Drift is no exception. Set in the dystopian future, there is a highly contagious and deadly virus ravaging the world and it is winning, but atop a ski resort is “The Retreat”, a chalet that has been converted into a scientific center that is working on vaccines to combat the virus.  The Drift is a story of survival that follows Hannah, Meg, and Carter as they try and survive long enough to reach The Retreat.

This story is told from the POVs of Hannah, Meg, and Carter. Each has their own survival story, all set during a snowstorm. I could not wait to find out how and when their stories would merge. When I found out how they merged, I was blown away! Tudor did an amazing job in laying out these three different settings, all the while keeping me in the dark on the outcome.

Hannah and some of her exclusive boarding school classmates were on their way to The Retreat, to keep them safe as the virus started infecting people at their school, when the bus they were on crashed. Hannah and a handful of others survive the crash, but they are trapped inside with no way to call for help. Even if they do manage to escape the bus, there is a storm raging outside and evil lurks in the woods. To survive they need to work together. I loved Hannah. She was a strong and very smart young woman. Her father is a scientist who is working at The Retreat, but we soon learn that her father is not a loving family man.

Carter works at The Retreat, but the generators have started to act up and with each waver the safe confines of The Retreat are threatened. When we first meet Carter there are only a few people left at The Retreat and the number dwindles quickly as the virus and the evils from the outside world penetrate the walls. I loved Carter as well. He was another strong character. He is not without his faults though and he did some not-so-great things, but the reasons he did what he did make up for it.

When we first meet Meg, she and five others awaken in a cable car suspended high above the ground. At first, they do not know where they are but then they remember they were on their way to The Retreat. As the temperature in the car drops, this group needs to figure a way out before they all die. And yes, I loved Meg too. Meg is a former police officer who lost her daughter to the virus ten years ago. She has had a tough time since her daughter died and I had so much sympathy for her.

Tudor did a great job of creating three separate settings and bringing them and the characters to life. This book had twists and turns that kept making my jaw drop. There were some gruesome and bloody scenes, so if you are squeamish be advised. The Drift is a wild ride of survival, that will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing to an amazing ending.  4 ½ stars


Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Drift & Find HerFind Her Goodreads

Author: Sarah A. Denzil

Publication Date: November 1, 2022

Publisher: Sarah Dalton

I liked the premise of Sarah A. Denzil’s newest book Find Her, an isolated hotel hosting three weddings during a snowstorm on Christmas day, three missing brides and three dead bodies. Yup my type of read and I am happy to say Find Her lived up to the hype I created in my mind.

Lucy is engaged to Henry, whose first wife died after falling down a flight of stairs. His teenage son Jacob does not like Lucy and is looking for any opportunity to get rid of her.

Mila is engaged to Rafael and their life together has been perfect, until his parents started insisting that Mila sign a prenuptial agreement which she is dead set against. Mila has an end game, but her past is starting to catch up to her and her plans need to be altered and fast before anyone finds out who she really is.

Claire is engaged to Adrianna and they cannot wait to get married, but someone is stalking Claire and making both of their lives miserable. Claire served on a jury for a gruesome murder and now someone is sending her photos from the crime scene, and she is sure it is the brother of the man she helped convict.

This book is told from multiple POV’s that lead up to the wedding and also the POV of one of the brides that is missing during the day of the wedding. I think Denzil did a great job of presenting so many views without having things get too complicated. I loved how she was able to bring each character to life and smoothly jump to each POV. Each of the characters had some sort of secret and I loved getting the bits of information on them and then trying to figure out what was going on. I especially liked the chapters from the unknown bride and trying to figure out who she was.

Out of all the characters Mila was my favorite. She was the more complex of them all. I also felt she was the strongest of the brides. I liked Claire and Lucy, but I did think they were a bit whinny at times. Yes, Claire had a psycho stalker after her and Lucy had a weird stepson following her, but I wish they could have been a bit more assertive. I think Mila jumped out at me more because she had more of a mystery to her and I couldn’t wait to find out what her end game was.

I know I didn’t say much of what went on in this book, but I don’t want to give anything away. Find Her starts off as a nice even paced read and by the end of the book the tension and pace picks up to full steam full of twists and turns.  4 stars



Hey everyone!  I hope your Monday is off to a good start.  My family and I are all getting over a nasty stomach bug, so I’m feeling fortunate to wake up today feeling much better than I have been.  About the only good thing that came with not feeling well was that I could just lay around and read and no one gave me grief about it, haha. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on two of the fun romances I read while I was recovering.

Romance Reviews: BEST SERVED HOT & THE NEIGHBOR FAVORBest Served Hot Goodreads

Author: Amanda Elliot

Publication Date: February 21, 2023

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


In Amanda Elliot’s new novel Best Served Hot, Julie Zimmerman dreams of becoming a restaurant reviewer for a major newspaper. Right now, however, she’s working as an executive assistant and only has an unpaid side gig as a food influencer on Instagram.  She applies for a restaurant critic position at the prestigious New York Scroll, but loses out to rich society guy, Bennett Richard Macalester Wright.  Julie hates everything about Bennett, from his obnoxious name all the way to his haughty attitude toward social media influencers and followers. When a public argument between them on this subject goes viral, Bennett’s boss loves the chemistry between Julie and Bennett and decides it would be fun to have a collaboration between the two of them, an old guard (print journalism) vs. new guard (social media) approach to reviewing the same restaurants.  Julie is torn between being appalled at having to spend time with Bennett, while  at the same time, knowing that this could bring her a lot of exposure and open doors for her.

I love a good rivals to lovers story and am also a fan of the forced proximity trope, so Best Served Hot was right up my alley.  I loved the chemistry between Julie and Bennett, especially the transition from those early awkward, borderline hostile scenes, to those moments when Julie realizes that maybe hanging out with Bennett and eating delicious foods isn’t the worst way she could be spending her time and that maybe he isn’t as pompous and entitled as she originally judged him to be.  I also just really liked watching them work together, how different their styles were, and how they actually learned from each other.

The vibrant food descriptions were of course a hit with me and practically had me drooling on my kindle, and I also loved the entire cast of secondary characters, especially Jada, another foodie social media influencer who reaches out to Julie during her competition with Bennett, and Alice, Julie’s bestie and a talented coder who has grown frustrated working with obnoxious, arrogant men. I loved the sense of community and sisterhood between these ladies.  Emerson Leigh, a rich girl who is oblivious of her privilege but who also has a heart of gold, also turns out to be a gem of a character.

If you enjoy foodie romances as much as I do, you’ll definitely want to check out Best Served Hot! 4 STARS


Romance Reviews: BEST SERVED HOT & THE NEIGHBOR FAVORThe Neighbor Favor Goodreads

Author: Kristina Forest

Publication Date: February 28, 2023

Publisher: Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


I absolutely adored The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest.  Is there an actual trope for bookish characters and bookish settings?  Because, if not, there really should be!

Lily Greene is a lifelong book lover who works in publishing.  She’s not quite where she wants to be, which is to work as a children’s book editor, but she’s trying to get there.  One day she decides to email her favorite fantasy author, N.R. Strickland, and they begin a months’ long correspondence that becomes the highlight of Lily’s days. They have wonderful conversations and really open up to one another, to the extent that it has Lily imagining what life could be like if she were to meet him in person, a new friendship or possibly more?  That is until he abruptly ghosts her and deletes his email account with no explanation.  Shocked and a bit heartbroken, Lily moves on with her life.

I loved Lily.  She of course scored points with me immediately by virtue of being a book lover, but I also just really admired her determination to keep going after her dream job, as well as her perseverance when it came to taking control of her love life.  Up until N.R. Strickland (or Strick as she called him) ghosted her, Lily had been caving in to her sisters’ endless attempts to set her up her dates that went nowhere, but after getting burned by Strick, she decides it’s time to bring her sisters’ meddlesome matchmaking efforts to a halt. I also very much related to her social awkwardness and loved that this awkwardness is what actually ends up driving the plot of the story because in order to find a date, she turns to her new neighbor, the sexy and charming Nick Brown.  He’s not looking to date anyone but is happy to help Lily find someone and get her sisters out of her hair.  Unbeknownst to Lily, her new neighbor is actually N.R. Strickland.

I honestly wanted to hate Nick for ghosting Lily, but the more we get to know him, he has very real reasons for doing what he did even if he went about it the wrong way.  I went from wanting to hate him to very much wanting him and Lily to see that they were perfect for each other.  I also enjoyed getting the glimpses into Nick’s journey as a reclusive author trying to complete a sequel to his best-selling fantasy novel, which also happens to be Lily’s all time favorite book.

The chemistry between Nick and Lily is wonderful and I enjoyed all of their scenes, from fun and silly ones trying to buy Nick furniture at IKEA to more poignant and heartfelt ones as Lily tries to help Nick deal with some long-standing issues he has with his father.  And don’t even get me started on the adorable bookish dates they go on.  Be still my book loving heart!

This was my first time reading a novel from Kristina Forest and I very much look forward to reading more from her because The Neighbor Favor was just a pure delight! 4.5 STARS

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Last Invitation & No Place To Run


Happy Thriller Thursday! Yup, it’s me Sharon.  This week I am happy to share my thoughts on Darby Kane’s, The Last Invitation and  Mark Edwards’, No Place To Run.  Both of these books were fast paced thrillers that kept me on my toes.


Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Last Invitation & No Place To RunThe Last Invitation Goodreads

Author: Darby Kane

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Publisher: HarperCollins

“They meet the second Tuesday of every month and vote…and then someone dies.” That line in the synopsis of Darby Kane’s latest book, The Last Invitation, really grabbed my attention. I love a good thriller with a bunch of power-hungry women who think it is up to them to provide justice when the courts don’t.

The Sophie Foundation is made up of seven powerful women, who meet over cheese and wine and review the files of men who have behaved very badly, but never got the justice they deserved. Over the past few years some very prominent men have died via a series of fluke accidents and suicides.

Jessa Hall is a lawyer who is at the lowest point of her career, so when she receives an invitation to join The Sophie Foundation she jumps at the chance. Jessa is more than ready to make the bad guys lose.  But Jessa soon realizes she may not be ready to go as far as the foundation expects her to go and that trying to leave the group is dangerous and could cost her her life.

Gabby Fielding’s ex-husband has just died from an apparent suicide. Gabby does not believe he would commit suicide and when she starts to push for an investigation into his death, she finds out that there is more to the story. As she pushes forward to find the truth she puts herself, her daughter and brother in-law in danger. Gabby and Jessa are frenemies but realize that to take the Foundation down, they need to work together.

There is so much I want to say about what happens in this book but cannot without spoiling things. I had a love/hate relationship with both Gabby and Jessa. They were both badass, strong women. I liked Gabby more; she was determined to get to the bottom of her ex-husband’s death, even though their divorce was anything but amicable. I didn’t warm up to Jessa until the end. She was a bitch. LOL!  She didn’t play by the rules and crossed the lawyer ethical line a lot of times and always found a way to justify it. I really enjoyed watching both Gabby and Jessa work together when they teamed up. Neither trusted the other one, which made for some very tense moments. I really hoped that they would be able to overcome their differences and reveal the truth about the foundation, as well as survive the process. They also had a lot of great back and forth banter that made me chuckle at times.

The Last Invitation was a fast paced read that had a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing. There were a couple of twists at the end that made my jaw drop and also put a tear in my eye.  4 stars


Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Last Invitation & No Place To RunNo Place to Run Goodreads

Author: Mark Edwards

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Mark Edwards’ latest novel, No Place To Run, follows Aidan Faith in his search for his missing teenage sister, Scarlett. Scarlett went missing two years ago when she was visiting Aidan in Seattle. There was no trace of her, and the case went cold, but Aidan never gave up. When an older woman sees a girl running in a forest clearing in Northern California, she is certain it is Scarlett. After this woman contacts Aidan, he heads to the small town in California, where he meets Lana, who is searching for answers to her brother’s death. As Aidan and Lana start to uncover clues as to what happened to these two teens, they are met with locals who will do anything to keep them silent and protect the truth about what is going on.

I really loved both Aidan and Lana. They were both determined to find out what happened to their siblings no matter what. Aidan is wracked with guilt over his sister’s disappearance; he was supposed to be protecting her and he feels like he failed. I loved the brotherly bond he had with Scarlett and the fact that he never stopped searching for her. Lana’s brother died in the forest fires that were sweeping through California a year ago. Lana does not believe for one minute that her brother would have been in the forest while they were burning, and she is determined to find out what really happened to him.  Lana was one tough cookie; she did not take any crap from anyone, and she was not afraid to push buttons if it would get her to the truth. She also had me chuckling a few times with her witty banter.  I also really liked the chemistry between Aidan and Lana. You could tell they were attracted to each other, but they did not give into any temptations because they had a higher purpose in finding their siblings. The whole time I was reading I was hoping they would both make it out okay so they could pursue a relationship.

I don’t want to say too much about what happened to Aidan and Lana’s siblings, but I will say that if you add lots of gun fire, car and foot chases, drugs, and cult like activities, you get one fast paced read with lots of twists and turns.

While I did think the conclusion was a tad over the top, I still really liked No Place To Run and think that Mark Edwards did a great job on creating a story that kept my adrenaline running throughout the book.  3 ½ stars



Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you all had a nice weekend.  It was freezing here so I pretty much stayed inside and read all weekend.  Today I’m back to share my thoughts on two books that will hit bookstore shelves this week.  If you’re looking for some fun and romantic reads as we close in on Valentine’s Day, you’re going to want to check out both of these!


Reviews: NOT YOUR EX’S HEXES & JUST MY TYPENot Your Ex's Hexes (Supernatural Singles, #2) Goodreads

Author: April Asher

Publication Date: February 7, 2023

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press, St Martin’s Griffin

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


The only thing better than having lots of great witchy reads to devour during spooky season is having lots of great witchy reads to enjoy throughout the entire year. I’m especially loving the witchy rom com trend and so couldn’t resist requesting a review copy of Not Your Ex’s Hexes, the latest installment in April Asher’s Supernatural Singles series.

Not Your Ex’s Hexes is a sexy, magical, grumpy-sunshine delight! It follows Rose Maxwell, a sassy, headstrong witch who, after having recently stepped down from the Supernatural Council, is now trying to find her path in life.  All she knows at this point is that she is not looking for love.  Sex, yes. Love, no.  She goes to a bar and sets her sights on Damian Adams, a sexy half-demon who is the perfect candidate for a one-night stand.  Once her sexual needs have been attended to, the next item on Rose’s to-do list is to rescue some abused horses she saw in a field. What Rose doesn’t learn until she is caught by the police, is that the abused horses had actually already been rescued.  The field she saw them in was part of an animal sanctuary that is run by none other than Damian Adams, her one-night stand who also happens to be a veterinarian. To make matters even more awkward, Rose is sentenced to community service at the sanctuary so she’ll have to work in close quarters with Damian.

You guys, this was such a fun read!  I loved both Rose and Damian.  Rose is smart, sassy, and just brimming with energy and enthusiasm, especially when she learns the sanctuary is in financial trouble.  She makes coming up with ways to save the sanctuary her mission in life, even if she drives Damian crazy in the process.  Damian is a sexy, broody guy who is very much trying to keep his inner demon at bay.  He may be grumpy and gruff on the outside, but deep down, he’s really just an animal-rescuing cinnamon roll.  Like Rose, Damian is also not looking for love, primarily because he was hexed by a former girlfriend and literally cannot let himself fall in love or he will lose his soul.  Damian is attracted to Rose though so when she suggests the two of them engage in a no-strings continuation of their one-night stand, Damian readily agrees.  Will the two of them be able to keep things casual? If they can’t, what about Damian’s curse?

Filled with sexy, steamy scenes, magical hijinks, demon hunting, and an array of adorable rescue animals, Not Your Ex’s Hexes has a little something for everyone!  4.5 STARS.


Reviews: NOT YOUR EX’S HEXES & JUST MY TYPEJust My Type Goodreads

Author: Falon Ballard

Publication Date: February 7, 2023

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


I’m a sucker for a good second chance romance and Falon Ballard delivers a great one with her latest novel, Just My Type, which follows two high school sweethearts who are reunited under contentious circumstances.

While they were dating in high school, Lana and Seth had big plans for the future, all of which revolved around them attending the same university and moving in together.  When their plans fell through, Seth breaks up with Lana because he doesn’t want to hold her back from her dreams of becoming a journalist.  When Seth then goes on to reject Lana at their high school reunion a few years later, Lana is embarrassed and hopes that she’ll never see Seth again.  When Seth later takes a job as a journalist at the same media outlet Lana works for, Lana is in utter disbelief, especially when her boss, sensing the tension and still simmering chemistry between them and smelling a potential ratings explosion, puts forth a writing challenge for the two of them, a series of relationship advice articles. Whoever’s writings are the most popular with their audience will win a highly coveted spot as a columnist where they can write about whatever they want.

The competition was such a fun backdrop for Lana and Seth to work through their own personal relationship issues – Lana bounces from one relationship to another, while Seth apparently can’t commit to anyone, as well as to work through their issues with one another.  I loved that one element of the competition involved them choosing relationship-related activities for each other to take part in, and that another caveat of the competition forced them to occasionally team up on these activities.  It was such a great use of the forced proximity trope to get Lana and Seth talking again and to eventually work their way up to talking about their past, what happened after high school and especially what happened at that reunion.  Some of the conversations were painful and emotional, but they were necessary and the more that was revealed about what happened, the more I became invested in the two of them finding their way back to each other, especially since it was clear the love was still there.

I enjoyed the balance of humor with the more emotional moments in this story. There’s a wonderful secondary cast of journalists and their often hilarious group chats are interspersed throughout, providing a bit of comic relief. I also loved that we actually got to read each of the articles Seth and Lana were writing.  The author did a great job of incorporating all of these elements into Just My Type, creating an entertaining and moving read that I didn’t want to end. 4 STARS