"The Haunting of Brynn Wilder" by Wendy Webb

After a devastating loss, Brynn Wilder escapes to Wharton, a tourist town on Lake Superior, to reset. Checking into a quaint boardinghouse for the summer, she hopes to put her life into perspective. In her fellow lodgers, she finds a friendly company of strangers: the frail Alice, cared for by a married couple with a heartbreaking story of their own; LuAnn, the eccentric and lovable owner of the inn; and Dominic, an unsettlingly handsome man inked from head to toe in mesmerizing tattoos.

But in this inviting refuge, where a century of souls has passed, a mystery begins to swirl. Alice knows things about Brynn, about all of them, that she shouldn’t. Bad dreams and night whispers lure Brynn to a shuttered room at the end of the hall, a room still heavy with a recent death. And now she’s become irresistibly drawn to Dominic—even in the shadow of rumors that wherever he goes, suspicious death follows.

In this chilling season of love, transformation, and fear, something is calling for Brynn. To settle her past, she may have no choice but to answer.

After reading it, I don't know what I initially expected from this book. I downloaded it as a free read many months ago and finally got to it recently. It turned out Brynn was haunted, or rather, her vacation place was haunted. The setting is lovely; the author did a good job making me believe I was there. There were some quirky characters. It left a lot of questions. The local authority's suspicion of Dominic never came to fruition. Many questions about Dominic were left hazy. Why did he save Alice if she was doomed to die anyway? Why Did he dive into the water that final fateful time? The ending filled in some details about Brynn and Jane Doe found dead in the beginning. That was the fascinating element of the book. When I finished and thought about it, I got a nice feeling. I want to believe in life after death, love that transcends time and space, and a commitment that lasts for eternity. 


"All The Right Things" by Stephanie Renee


The sexual content consumes this story. If you prefer that, you may like this book. After probably their fifth round, I started skimming these sections. Andi's life growing up in foster care, marrying the wrong guy, and then finding her knight in shining armor played out from within Andi's thoughts and dialogue. Most of this novel happened inside the characters' heads, switching between Andi and Jonas. Repetition of her self-deprecating thoughts and talk and his continually "saying the right things" had me waiting for a moment of conflict, something that would test their relationship. Although they had a fight at one point, and Andi left to handle some past business, it didn't seem that explosive. Even with Andi's past sad circumstances, I didn't grow invested in the story or the couple. Jonas and his family were the best part of the book, although most of their relationship was also explained through talk.

"Follow You Home" by Mark Edwards



It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down. But after a perfect start, an encounter with a young couple on a night train forces Daniel and Laura to cut their dream trip short and flee home.

Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what happened that night. But as they try to fit into their old lives again, they realise they are in terrible danger—and that their nightmare is just beginning…

Mark Edwards has a knack for psychological thrillers. "Follow You Home" lived up to its name. When Danny and Laura returned from a vacation that turned nightmare, the sense of evil waiting in the wings to reach out and snatch them made me believe it had followed them home from Romania. This book caused a rollercoaster of emotions, and when I couldn't believe how bad one person was, another came into frame that made the previous one look mild. I intended to read for thirty minutes or so when I got into bed, but I couldn't stop. Two hours later, I had to force myself to put the book down and try to sleep, although it wasn't easy after the chilling subject matter. Twists shocked me, and the final one left me questioning if the author took it too far; could he pull that off? Did he get away with it? I think he did!

"Cupcakes and Kisses" (Hot in Magnolia Book 1) by Minette Lauren



What does it take to make it Hot in Magnolia?

* One cup of sexy

* Two tablespoons of sizzle

* And a whole lot of heart

Magnolia, Texas, might be booming with single men, but as far as Melvina Banks is concerned, it’s a bust. Between her volunteer work with the Magnolia Blossoms, tutoring at the local library, whipping up cupcakes for the local firefighters, and working at her dad’s diner, she has no time for blind dates let alone finding “the one”. Melvina would much rather spend her precious downtime fine-tuning her plan to open a bakery. When celebrity chef, Riley Nash comes to town for a Blossoms fundraiser, Melvina hopes for a chance to pick Riley’s business-savvy brain. With Riley’s nationally acclaimed talents and his successful new restaurant, Braised, he just might be the one who can help Melvina whip her blossoming idea into a recipe for success. Trouble is, she can’t seem to keep her mind on business when it comes to Riley’s devilish good looks and sizzling charm. The heat is turned up when Magnolia’s handsome fire chief, Manny Owens, sparks an interest in Melvina. Torn between two of Magnolia’s hottest bachelors, she can’t help but feel the burn. Can Melvina separate her rising affections for both men, or will she end up with egg on her face?

Cupcakes and Kisses is the first book in the delicious new romantic comedy series, Hot in Magnolia, by award-winning author Minette Lauren. Set in the burgeoning town of Magnolia, Texas, this hot new series is brimming with laugh-out-loud moments and chock-full of endearing characters who will have you rooting for love and cheering for happy endings.

CUPCAKES AND KISSES charmed me. It was both comical and sometimes serious. Melvina's search for love had me rooting for her happiness. She had the attention of two good men; she had to choose one of them and remain true to her dreams. I liked that Melvina was a mature character that knew what she wanted and had real-life issues she'd dealt with such as maintaining a huge weight loss. Her best friend and her Pez dispenser were a little iffy. The Magnolia Blossom president was someone you could love to hate. Riley and Manny were each dreamy in their own way - a bonus. The happily-ever-after was sigh-worthy. I will definitely read more books by Minette Lauren.


"Kill the Messenger" by Tami Hoag


Jace's life is tough, but he keeps on trucking. He refuses to let the world keep him down because he's got a little brother that needs him. He shovels ice for a fish market first thing in the morning and then works as a bike messenger the rest of the day. One night, he's sent to deliver a package that lands him in the middle of blackmail and murder, and now he's holding the information that could cost him his life. This is an action-packed thrill ride. The characters are diverse. The mystery is twisted. Get ready for some surprises. Tami Hoag keeps you on your toes with this one!

This book was a Library loan.

"Night Sins" by Tami Hoag


A peaceful Minnesota town, where crime is something that just doesn’t happen, is about to face its worst nightmare. A young boy disappears. There are no witnesses, no clues—only a note, cleverly taunting, casually cruel. Has a cold-blooded kidnapper struck? Or is this the reawakening of a long-quiet serial killer?

Nothing bad happens in Deer Lake... until it does. A child abduction. A marriage in trouble. The guilt. The fear. The secrets and deceptions. Smart, sharp detectives: one still struggling with his losses, and one with a chip on her shoulder fall in love amid the madness. The ending wasn't an ending because there is a sequel, and I can't wait to read it!

"Murder On Kane Lane" Book 1 by KC Hadley




When a humiliating design reveal on HGTV becomes a viral sensation, Audra Sullivan moves back home to Las Sirenas Bay to start over. Everything is going as well as can be expected (she’s been reduced to cleaning grout) when the woman renting space in her design studio is found murdered.

That won't be good for business.

The first chapter started slow. It took a minute to get into the story. The citizens of Las Sirenas were unique and interesting, and the cast included an adorable surfing canine. There were a lot of cute plays on words.

The mystery aspect was muddled. The amateur sleuths did a lot of questioning and a lot of changing their minds about who the killer was. Theories based on unlimited rumors and hearsay without much evidence and not much actually happening after the murder. It felt like the sisters chased their tales interrogating and returning to question the same people every time someone pointed a finger elsewhere. The good news is that I did not figure out who the killer was until the end. But, there were no real clues throughout the book that would lead the reader to the conclusion. I was glad the sheriff redeemed himself at the end and proved the perception of his bumbling character incorrect. The book read quickly, an easy read, light entertainment. I would like to find out if Audra's gut feeling about her husband's death was accurate.


"Secrets To The Grave" by Tami Hoag

 Secrets To The Grave included some characters from the first book of the Oak Knoll series. I liked those characters. However, in this installment, some of their actions made them a little less likable. I have enjoyed several of Ms. Hoag's books. This one was not my favorite. As far as a sequel to the first book- I would have rather read (and the reason I wanted to read the sequel was to find out) what happened to Tommy Crane and his mother. Did she know what Dr. Crane had done? Was she an accomplice? Would murder follow her to another town? Hoag answered none of those questions. Dennis Farman, the evil young character's story, continued; his path was foreshadowed and expected. Dr. Crane still sits in jail awaiting trial. We don't know if he'll ever face trial for the serial murders. These things would have been a better follow up book. Maybe the author intends to address this in the next addition? I hope. 
 The new elements of the novel, the murder of Marissa Fordham, and the Bordain family's involvement in her life were a bit lack-luster. I figured out who the villain was and their motives very early on - but that had to be an extremely disturbed party to commit such an act, and Oak Knoll has nuts abound. Poor Anne is not a cop, not a superhero, and yet, the woman wards off attacks by two different maniacs. That was tough to accept. The author usually does a great job with multiple plot lines and bad guys. I give the book three stars because I enjoy the author's style. Straight forward and concise. And because I felt compelled to finish it even though I suspected the ending. I plan to read the next book in the series.


"Our Stolen Pieces" by James Hunt


Great cover and the excellent blurb pulled me in. I liked the building relationship and the development of trust between the two main detective characters. Their backstories were interesting, but Jim seemed too young for his part. Even though his troubled childhood had seasoned him as a person, I'm not sure that correlates with working experience and moving up the ranks. Their case promised to be edgy with the development of the love triangle amongst the victims' parents, but that turned out not to be pertinent to the story. I don't think therapists would volunteer as much information as they did in this book either. The children's' recovery seemed to happen extremely fast. A couple of days. Although, that did make the story move quickly. This book was okay; a quick and easy read with your firm suspension of disbelief. 


"Deeper than the Dead" by Tami Hoag


Tami Hoag has an incredible talent for painting evil characters of all ages. This book had more than one. She can weave a story with multiple plots and make them all important. A thrilling read. I subtracted a star because some of the points towards the end were left hanging. Then I realized this was a series. I will definitely search out the next books to see how those points play out later.