Monday, May 27, 2024




Rise and shine. The Evans women have some undead to kill.

It’s 1999 in Southeast Texas and the Evans women, owners of the only funeral parlor in town, are keeping steady with…normal business. The dead die, you bury them. End of story. That’s how Ducey Evans has done it for the last eighty years, and her progeny―Lenore the experimenter and Grace, Lenore’s soft-hearted daughter, have run Evans Funeral Parlor for the last fifteen years without drama. Ever since That Godawful Mess that left two bodies in the ground and Grace raising her infant daughter Luna, alone.

But when town gossip Mina Jean Murphy’s body is brought in for a regular burial and she rises from the dead instead, it’s clear that the Strigoi―the original vampire―are back. And the Evans women are the ones who need to fight back to protect their town.

As more folks in town turn up dead and Deputy Roger Taylor begins asking way too many questions, Ducey, Lenore, Grace, and now Luna, must take up their blades and figure out who is behind the Strigoi’s return. As the saying goes, what rises up, must go back down. But as unspoken secrets and revelations spill from the past into the present, the Evans family must face that sometimes, the dead aren’t the only things you want to keep buried.


I can not tell you when the last time I enjoyed a " horror " book more than I enjoyed Bless Your Heart by Lindy Ryan.

When I sat horror, I say it loosely, sure it has vampires, and murder, and morticians, and all that other creepy stuff, but more importantly, it has laughs, this is a fun horror story and I could not get enough of it.
Being a Southerner I love any book that has a Southern voice. Those voices, many times, are women and Bless Your Heart is no different. It takes place in a small southeast Texas town ( to  be honest, more than half my family live in East Texas, and I read the whole book in their thick accent ) Also, I listened to it part time also, the narrator was a great reader and help make the audio.

The Evan's women Ducey, Lenore, Grace and teenage Luna, own the towns only funeral parlor. Soon people start dying and they realize they are rising, this is where the fun begins.

There is a lot to like about this story besides the vampires . The women in the book are strong and the family is dynamic, the characters are likable and humorous. There are times when I think it could have had more mystery and suspense , but the dark was there, lurking underneath all the fun.

This is so fun, I recommend it to anyone who wants a quick and enjoyable read.

P.S.-- Bless Your Heart is the first of a new series and even me, a non series reader can't wait for the next one!



Louise Manson is the newest student at Highfield Manor, Dublin’s most exclusive private school. Behind its granite walls are high-arched alcoves, an oak-lined library...and the dark secret Lou has come to expose.

Lou’s working-class status makes her the consummate outsider, until she is befriended by some of her beautiful and wealthy classmates. But after Lou attempts to bring the school’s secret to light, her time at Highfield ends with a lifeless body sprawled at her feet.

Thirty years later, Lou gets a shocking phone call. A high-profile lawyer is bringing a lawsuit against the school—and he needs Lou to testify. Lou will have to confront her past and discover, once and for all, what really happened at Highfield. Powerful and compelling, When We Were Silent is a thrilling story of exploitation, privilege, and retribution.


When We Were Silent is Fiona McPhillips debut novel and it is a winner!

I love Dark Academia, and I am always looking for the newest book in the genre to hit the shelf, so finding When We Were Silent was a thrill.

The story is told in two time periods, the past, which takes place at an elite high school in Ireland, and then also in present day. Louise, the main character, is from a normal working class type of family, she is a scholarship student at a high school that is full of privileged and rich students, both the school and the students are full of secrets, for instance, Louise's best friend Tina, who commits suicide after an incident with a teacher.

When you are reading the present timeline, Louise has a family, she is happily married, and struggles with her troubled teenage daughter. Soon Louise is called to testify in an abuse case that happened at the school and she has some hard choses to make.

McPhillips has put the dark in Dark Academia with When We Were Silent. It is dark, it digs deep into the #metoo movement, along with other difficult subjects like class struggle and mental health, but she does it with dignity and compassion.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Book Review: If Something Happens To Me by Alex Finley


For the past five years, Ryan Richardson has relived that terrible night. The car door ripping open. The crushing blow to the head. The hands yanking him from the vehicle. His girlfriend Ali’s piercing scream as she is taken.

With no trace of Ali or the car, a cloud of suspicion hangs over Ryan. But with no proof and a good lawyer, he’s never charged, though that doesn’t matter to the podcasters and internet trolls. Now, Ryan has changed his last name, and entered law school. He's put his past behind him.

Until, on a summer trip abroad to Italy with his law-school classmates, Ryan gets a call from his father: Ali's car has finally been found, submerged in a lake in his hometown. Inside are two dead men and a cryptic note with five words written on the envelope in Ali’s handwriting: If something happens to me…

Then, halfway around the world, the unthinkable happens: Ryan sees the man who has haunted his dreams since that night.

As Ryan races from the rolling hills of Tuscany, to a rural village in the UK, to the glittering streets of Paris in search of the truth, he has no idea that his salvation may lie with a young sheriff’s deputy in Kansas working her first case, and a mobster in Philadelphia who’s experienced tragedy of his own.


I will always pick up a book by Alex Finley, ever since I first received an advance copy of Every Last Fear, I have been hooked. I know when I pick up a Finley book I am usually in for a great thriller that will keep me reading and on my toes.

If Something Happens to Me, was good, not as good as previous books in my opinion, but it did keep me reading. It was face paced and twisty and I always appreciate that, and I believe Finley can tell a story that is well written, in-depth, and entertaining.

The audio book, which I listened to had three point of views and all three narrators, Paul Dateh, Helen Laser, and John Piralla, did a great job with their parts.

I went into this one blind, which I really enjoy doing on thrillers, so I wasn't sure what I was getting into. There were at times I felt like the plot was a little over the top, but as always Finley has written a heart pounding mafia type thriller that will keep all thriller fans reading until they reach the end.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Book Spotlight: The Marriage Sabbatical by Lian Dolan

Special thanks to William Morrow/HarperCollins for sending this one my way! The concept is definitely intriguing, and I look forward to reading it, hopefully soon!

Publisher Description

What if you could take a vacation from your marriage? A couple decides to give it a shot in this fun, adventurous novel by Lian Dolan, the popular author of The Sweeney Sisters and Lost and Found in Paris.

After twenty-three years of building careers and raising kids together, Jason and Nicole Elswick are ready for a break from their daily lives. Jason has spent years planning his dream sabbatical—ditching work for a nine-month-long motorcycle trip through South America. Problem is, that’s Jason’s dream, not Nicole’s. After years working retail and parenting in Portland, Nicole craves the sun of the Southwest and the artistic community in Santa Fe, where she wants to learn jewelry design.

A chance encounter at a dinner party presents a surprising—and intriguing—way out of their dilemma. Over a little too much wine, Jason and Nicole’s married neighbors sing the praises of the 500 Mile Rule: their policy of enjoying themselves however they wish—and with whomever they wish—when they’re temporarily far apart. It seems like the perfect solution: nine months pursuing their own adventures—with a bit of don’t-ask-don’t-tell—and then a return to their shared lives. It’ll be a sabbatical from their marriage as well as their day jobs.

As Jason bikes his way across a continent and Nicole reclaims the art she’s long neglected, they discover the pleasures and pitfalls of the 500 Mile Rule, confronting temptations of all kinds, uncomfortable truths about themselves, and gaining new perspective on their partnership.

But all sabbaticals come to an end…then what?

Monday, May 6, 2024



In scenic Granite Harbor, life has continued on―quiet and serene―for decades. That is until a local teenager is found brutally murdered in the Settlement, the town’s historic archaeological site. Alex Brangwen, adjusting to life as a single father with a failed career as a novelist, is the town’s sole detective. This is his first murder case and, as both a parent and detective, Alex knows the people of Granite Harbor are looking to him to catch the killer and temper the fear that has descended over the town.

Isabel, a single mother attempting to support her family while healing from her own demons, finds herself in the middle of the case when she begins working at the Settlement. Her son, Ethan, and Alex’s daughter, Sophie, were best friends with the victim. When a second body is found, both parents are terrified that their child may be next. As Alex and Isabel race to find the killer in their midst, the town’s secrets―past and present―begin bubbling to the surface, threatening to unravel the tight-knit community.


Granite Harbor, the new thriller by Peter Nichols was one of those books that I started one night, put it down after just a few pages because I got busy, and then a week later picked it up and was hooked from that moment one.

I am always up for a thriller, it is probably my favorite genre, but when you add in a serial killer, there is no way I will pass it up. Granite Harbor gave me my serial killer, along with some gruesome murders, and a setting of a small town in coastal Maine, which I always seem to imagine being isolated. Personally I don't know this, I have been just over the border into Maine, but in my mind all the coast of Maine is isolated ( yeah I know Kennebunkport is hardly small or isolated, let me have my imagination )

The murder of Shane, a highschooler in Granite harbor shocks the town, and new Detective Alex Branwen is tasked to find the murderer. The murder does take on a bit of a personal note with him, when he finds out his teenage daughter is friends with Shane. 

Alex's personal life is a bit of a side story with his daughter and his ex wife, it breaks up the thriller at times when you might need it.

I absolutely loved the murder, or I should say how the murders were done. It was something I had never heard of before, so for me very original. I am not going to tell you any more about it to keep from spoiling, but it was definitely a first for me and very interesting.

There are quite a few people that have roles in this story, both major and very small parts, and I am usually a bit confused by a lot of characters, my ADHD mind, has a hard time keeping track of them all, however, Granite Harbor was very well written and it was never a problem with me as I read along. Mainly the POV is Alex's but there are several chapters in the book that gives us the killers POV, especially on his past. These chapters give us a look into his mind, yet are written so he or she's identity is not given away. All the characters here were well written and their place in the story was well thought out.

The beginning can come off as a bit slow, but I find a good built story usually is to an extent. Getting to know the characters and the world they live in is important to me, but I will tell you that the end picks up and is more fast paced. I had a hard time putting the book down toward the end.

This book is dark, disturbing, and gruesome. It has a lot of trigger issues, including animal cruelty, so please take note. BUT...its a great read if you can get past those.

Thank you to Celadon Books for this great read.