Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Opportunist by Elyse Friedman

Which one of the Shropshires is the biggest opportunist and liar?

The choices are Kelly, Martin, Alana, Teddy, and Ed - the father.

What will they do to keep their father's fortune when Kelly the 28-year-old nurse to their father is going to marry him.  They know she only wants his money.

We meet all these characters on Ed Shropshire's West Coast Island retreat and ponder about which character is more devious than the other.

THE OPPORTUNIST is a bit confusing as it goes back and forth in time, but the wicked characters don't change in either time frame.

There unfortunately are some disturbing, shocking things revealed about a few of the characters that I never saw coming but are the "meat" and reason for what happens.

Could we say the worst "character" is money- the root of all evil?

I say yes, but I also picked out a character that I thought was the worst.

They all are despicable, but there was one in particular for me.

As the book came to a close, another surprise popped up, and I had to change my mind.

I will be curious which character you will choose as the most devious and cunning when you read this book.  4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Net Galley for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights by Kitty Zeldis

Bea, Alice, and Catherine.

What is their connection?

What are their stories?

Bea had come from Russia, moved to New Orleans, and had met Alice there.  Bea found something out from her past that was in New York so she and Alice moved there.

Bea and Alice opened a dress shop and met Catherine the day she stopped in.

Bea was acting very odd when Catherine paid for her purchase. 

Catherine never came back into the shop because Bea had frightened her.

Catherine found out what caused Bea to act so oddly the day they met by accident.

THE DRESSMAKERS OF PROSPECT HEIGHTS takes us from Russia to New Orleans and then to New York and is a beautiful read about family and forgiveness.

Find out the stories and the secrets of these three women in this lovely read that will have you turning the pages and joining in their sorrows and joys.

There are some agonizing moments, but many beautiful, endearing ones.

Seamstresses will adore this book as well as historical fiction fans and women's fiction fans.  5/5

This book was given to me by the author for an honest review.




New from Amazon bestseller and Target Breakout Author Kelly Simmons, whose work Booklist compares to Big Little Lies . . .a suspenseful novel that explores grief, friendship and the cost of keeping secrets in a small Pennsylvania town.



Readers who enjoyed Big Little Lies won’t be able to put this down.”
Booklist, starred review


“Beautifully dark, totally devastating and so riveting you might find yourself gripping the pages.”—Caroline Leavitt, NYTimes bestselling author 
“A rare novel that combines intrigue and suspense with so much heart.”—Sarah Pekkanen, NYTimes bestselling author 
“Twisty, psychologically deft and wildly original.” —Megan Abbott, NYTimes bestselling author 
“Electrifying. The perfect read for a stormy night.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Subtle, scary, yet almost gentle.” —New York Daily News
“A clever, nervy thriller.”—Financial Times of London



They each lost a daughter. Now if they could only bury their secrets and shame.  
The lives of three very different young mothers intersect in a parent Grief Group that meets in a local church. 
Still reeling from their losses and crimes committed against their children, the women are hungry for answers, understanding and purpose – and yes, for fun. 
But as their friendship grows, so does their questionable behavior -- and their suspicions about each other. 
Were any of them complicit in their children’s deaths? 
And are they lying to the Grief Group, or just to themselves? 
An emotional page turner from Amazon bestseller and Target Breakout Author Kelly Simmons, whose 8 novels have been sold in 12 countries.  





Kelly Simmons is a former journalist and the author of eight novels sold in a dozen countries, published by Simon & Schuster and Sourcebooks. 
She teaches in the Drexel University MFA program and is a member of The Tall Poppy Writers, WFWA and The Liars Club. 
Her serial fiction podcast, “Open the Window” is available wherever you listen to your podcasts, produced by Hollywood’s Speak Studio.  



Monday, December 5, 2022

Spotlight and Tour of Death On A Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews

Tour Dates: 
November 14 – December 19, 2022
No-nonsense Nantucket detective Merry Folger grapples with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and two murders as the island is overtaken by Hollywood stars and DC suits.

TITLE: Death On A Winter Stroll
SERIES:  A Merry Folger Nantucket Mystery (Book 7)
AUTHOR:  Francine Mathews
GENRE:  Traditional Detective Mystery, Holiday Reading
Soho Crime
November 1, 2022



“This fast-moving mystery packs in a lot, but never too much, and will work for fans of coming-of-age stories, police procedurals, and romance.” —First Clue

“Fresh, well-wrought prose brings the setting of Nantucket to life. Mathews consistently entertains.” —Publishers Weekly
“Christmas and death come to Nantucket . . . Plenty of fascinating characters and myriad motives make for an exciting read.” —Kirkus Reviews 

“Mathews consistently places relationships at the forefront of her mysteries, and Merry's unique blend of tenacity and humanity makes her a heroine to root for.”—USA Today bestselling author Karen Odden, author of the Inspector Corravan mysteries



Death on a Winter Stroll Expert 1

The first weekend of December had been Meredith Folger’s favorite time of year for as long as she could remember. People often say that about holiday traditions, of course, but Merry was convinced that nowhere on earth was the winter solstice heralded with such enthusiastic conviction as during the three days of Nantucket’s Christmas Stroll.

Anticipation started to rise all over the island in late November. The day after Thanksgiving, crowds gathered at the head of Main Street for the ceremonial lighting of the massive ever- green tree that shed its glow throughout the darkest hours of the year; the following weekend, Santa would arrive at the end of Straight Wharf by Coast Guard cutter.

Waving from the back of an antique fire truck, he’d follow the Town Crier and a drum section of grade-school kids who’d been practicing with Ms. Benton the music teacher for weeks, parading up from the harbor and winding through town. 

Everybody standing on the curb—islanders, tourists, daytrippers—would fall in behind and follow the truck with guttural cheers. Eventually Santa would be enthroned next to the lighted town tree and take requests from a long line of children. 

This was what gave Christmas Stroll its name. It had been going on for half a century now, and although imitated by towns all over New England, Nantucket’s weekend remained unrivaled. 

People who loved the island arrived each year by land and sea, from all over the country and the world, to celebrate.

Over time the holiday had morphed into three full days of permission to wander amiably around town with steaming cups of cheer and weird hats, bells jangling from the ankles of elf booties. 

Over ten thousand tourists crowded the sidewalks of downtown. The shops and restaurants were full. People laughed freely and called jokes to friends across the brick sidewalks and paused in the middle of the morning to sit on available benches. 

They bought things they didn’t need, simply because they wanted them, then gifted them to others without a thought.

Costumed carolers sang on street corners. Tourists took selfies in front of window boxes and beneath mistletoe balls. 

A few of them found someone to kiss. They jostled each other good-naturedly, butting armfuls of colorful bags, as they trailed down the streets in their red and green Stroll scarves. 

In lucky years, it snowed.

In less fortunate ones, it rained.

This year, the forecast was for Windy and Gorgeous. 

Uniformed members of Merry’s police force would be up early and out on Main Street Saturday morning with sawhorses, barricading the heart of town against vehicular traffic. They’d stand in the crosswalks and near the sundial planter that sat right in the middle of the cobble stoned street. 

The Garden Association decorated the urn each year with fresh greens and red bows and tiny white lights. The police were there to maintain order and most of the Strollers were orderly, except for the occasional drunken jerk who vomited without warning on the uneven brick side- walk. Merry had observed the rhythms of Stroll her entire life, she reflected, and usually it never got old.

But this year, she was clenching her teeth and grinding her way through the holiday. This year, she was struggling to find the Joy of the Season.

This year, she barely had time to care.

This year, she wasn’t merely another happy reveler hiding mysterious boxes on the top shelf of the spare bedroom’s closet, the scent of vanilla and cloves in her hair.

She wasn’t pausing to rub pine or spruce branches on her early morning walks, so that the resinous oil lingered on her fingertips, or losing track of time while she snapped pictures of festive window boxes. 

This year, she was the Nantucket Police Department’s chief of police. And Christmas Stroll, to be completely honest, was shaping up to be a royal pain in the ass.


Chapter 1, pg. 5-7

From Death on a Winter Stroll © 2022, Francine Mathews, published by Soho Crime



Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. 

Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. 

Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. 

But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly.

The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. 

Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. 

With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behavior is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up.

Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?

This latest installment in critically acclaimed author Francine Mathews’ Merry Folger series is an immersive escape to festive Nantucket, a poignant exploration of grief as a result of parental absence, and a delicious new mystery to keep you guessing.



Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. 

She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. 

She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. 

Since then, she has written thirty books, including six previous novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, Death on Nantucket, and Death on Tuckernuck) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the pen name Stephanie Barron. 

She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.









It's Monday - What Are YOU Reading? - 12/5/2022

I hope you had a great reading week.
This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at BOOK DATE!

Post the books completed, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish at some point.
Books Completed:
WHEN THE MOON TURNS BLUE by Pamela Terry - review will be on February 21, 2023.
Disappointed...loved her book, THE SWEET TASTE OF MUSCADINES.
This book was VERY confusing and all over the place with too many characters.
CODE NAME SAPPHIRE by Pam Jenoff - review will be on February 7, 2023.
Another Pam Jenoff not miss it!!
A MATTER OF HAPPINESS by Tori Whitaker - review will be on January 19.
Another lovely read that historical fiction fans, women's fiction fans, and vintage car fans will adore.
THE GIRLS WHO DISAPPEARED by Claire Douglas - review will be on January 16.
Another good one by Claire Douglas.
JUST THE NICEST COUPLE by Mary Kubica - review will be January 13, 2023.
It's a good one!!  Don't miss it!!
ONCE WE WERE HOME by Jennifer Rosner - review will be on March 14.
Another beautiful, but heartbreaking read by Jennifer Rosner.  Don't miss it!!
THE NIGHT TRAVELERS by Armando Lucas Correa - review will be on January 11, 2023.
A beautifully written, heartbreaking book.
ALL THE DANGEROUS THINGS by Stacy Willingham - review will be on January 10, 2023.
Don't miss this one - dragged a bit, but it is worth the wait for a brilliant, clever ending.
THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SALZBURG by Renee Ryan - review will be on December 27.
MARVELOUS, MARVELOUS, not miss this one.
A MOTHER WOULD KNOW by Amber Garza - review will be on December 13.
Disappointed...surprises and a great ending, but very confusing.  I have enjoyed other books by Ms. Garza.
THE OPPORTUNIST by Elyse Friedman - review will be on December 7.
Despicable characters but a very surprise ending.
THE DRESSMAKERS OF PROSPECT HEIGHTS - review will be on December 6.
THE SECRET OF MATTERDALE HALL by Marianne Ratcliffe - review is in the book's title.
A Gothic thriller that keeps you turning the pages.
THE PERSONAL ASSISTANT by Kimberly Belle - review is in the book's title.
Another Kimberly Belle book you won't want to miss.
THE WIDOW by Kaira Rouda - review is in the book's title.
Not a favorite.

Book Currently Reading:
WHAT HAVE WE DONE by Alex Finlay - review will be on March 7.

Books Up Next:

THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL by Meagan Church - review will be on March 8.
THE LOST ENGLISH GIRL by Julia Kelly - review will be on March 9.
THE LONDON SEANCE SOCIETY by Sarah Penner - review will be on March 21.
HANG THE MOON BY JEANNETTE WALLS - review will be on March 28, 2023.
THE SOULMATE by Sally Hepworth - review will be on April 4, 2023.
WHERE COYOTES HOWL by Sandra Dallas - review will be on April 18, 2023.

ONLY THE BEAUTIFUL by Susan Meissner - review will be on April 19.
FIFTH AVENUE GLAMOUR GIRL by Renee Rosen - review will be on April 25.
THE COLLECTED REGRETS OF CLOVER by Mikki Brammer - review will be on May 9, 2023.
ADRIFT by Lisa Brideau - review will be on May 10.
THE PARIS DAUGHTER by Kristin Harmel - review will be on June 6.
THE BOOKSHOP BY THE BAY by Pamela Kelley - review will be on June 7, 2023.

WHAT REMAINS by Wendy Walker - review will be on June 13, 2023.