Mini Reviews – December 2022

Let’s face it, this will be the only way I’m going to be caught up before the first of the year, and I’m alright with that. The week between Christmas and the New Year is almost always chaos in some way – end of the year for most businesses gets busy and shipping everything takes longer. I consider it a win that I’m at least getting caught up in some way!

Thanks to the mentioned publishers and authors for any gifted copies

Mini Reviews – December 2022:

THE INGENUE – Rachel Kapelke-Dale (Released December 6th, 2022 – Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the copy)

My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen’s Gambit in this new novel of suspense about the bonds of family, the limits of talent, the risks of ambition, and the rewards of revenge.

When former piano prodigy Saskia Kreis returns home to Milwaukee after her mother’s unexpected death, she expects to inherit the family estate, the Elf House. But with the discovery that her mother’s will bequeathed the Elf House to a man that Saskia shares a complicated history with, she is forced to reexamine her own past––and the romantic relationship that changed the course of her life––for answers. Can she find a way to claim her heritage while keeping her secrets buried, or will the fallout from digging too deep destroy her?

Set against a post #MeToo landscape, Rachel Kapelke-Dale’s The Ingenue delves into mother-daughter relationships, the expectations of talent, the stories we tell ourselves, and what happens when the things that once made you special are taken from you. Moving between Saskia’s childhood and the present day, this dark, contemporary fairy tale pulses with desire, longing, and uncertainty, as it builds to its spectacular, shocking climax. 

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars – Not gonna lie, I saw the cover and the piano and was drawn to it. By no means was I even close to being a prodigy but I did start playing the piano in about 2nd or 3rd grade and continued into middle school until my instructor moved states. I also loved that this was set in the Midwest – Milwaukee isn’t that far from Minnesota! Ok, now the story. Right off the bat, the writing is lyrical and beautiful and there was something mesmerizing about Saskia and her story. There was enough mystery and intrigue throughout the book and it culminated in such a surprising yet perfect way. I highly recommend picking this one up and I clearly need to pick up The Ballerinas by this author.

THE WIDOWMAKER – Hannah Morrissey (Released December 6th, 2022 – Thanks to Minotaur Books for the copy)

A wealthy family shrouded in scandal; a detective tasked with solving an impossible cold case; and a woman with a dark past collide in Hannah Morrissey’s stunning new Black Harbor mystery, The Widowmaker.

Ever since business mogul Clive Reynolds disappeared twenty years ago, the name “Reynolds” has become synonymous with “murder” and “mystery.” And now, lured by a cryptic note, down-on-her-luck photographer Morgan Mori returns home to Black Harbor and into the web of their family secrets and double lives. The same night she photographs the Reynolds holiday get-together, Morgan becomes witness to a homicide of a cop that triggers the discovery of a long-buried clue.

This could finally be the thing to crack open the chilling cold case, and Investigator Ryan Hudson has a chance to prove himself as lead detective. If only he could stop letting his need to solve his partner’s recent murder distract him. But as Morgan exposes her own dark demons, could her sordid history be the key to unlocking more than one mystery? 

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars – I’ve already ordered Hello, Transcriber so I can read that ASAP. I absolutely love when a book is just as addictive as the cover is stunning, and this book is the best example 😍 I think I read this in two sittings and I feel like the house would have to be burning down or a teen break a bone to make me stop reading it towards the end. Did not want to put this one down! If you need something dark and atmospheric, like really dark, then you need this in your life. Don’t trust me? Check out the perfect casting by @gareindeedreads and @crimebythebook reviews!

WE KNEW ALL ALONG – Mina Hardy (Released December 6th, 2022 – Thanks to Crooked Lane Books for the copy)

Writing as Mina Hardy, New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart, delivers a twisted tale of domestic suspense where no one is what they seem—and the skeletons in the closet are all too real.

Blame the booze, her shaky marriage, her troubled son, or a thousand other things. Jewelann Jordan has one thing on her mind when she attends her class reunion, and that’s making sure her old crush Christian Campbell sees exactly what he lost all those years ago. A late night, a hotel room, a rekindled flame that burns even hotter than it did back then. What could go wrong?

Everything.

The night with Christian isn’t the first secret Jewelann has kept from her husband Ken, so one more shouldn’t be much harder–except that Christian shows up without warning, seemingly determined to do his best to mess up Jewelann’s life in any way he can. Worse than that, he seems to have his sights set on charming her son, Eli, and befriending her husband. Revenge isn’t so sweet when it bites you back, but Jewelann is determined to keep Christian from ruining everything she’s worked so hard to keep safe, including her son.

Fighting to keep it all from spiraling out of control, Jewelann discovers Christian is not the man he claims to be. When darker secrets emerge, even closer to home, Jewelann takes the chance to turn the tables on him. The more Jewelann digs for the truth, the uglier–and the deadlier–it gets.

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars – While reading this, I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to finish it. There were some incredibly unlikable characters and plenty of drama going on but I didn’t feel entirely entertained or really grabbed. BUT then suddenly I couldn’t get enough. I’m not sure what switched in the action but wow that last half of the book – I couldn’t go fast enough! Loved Hardy’s other book, After All I’ve Done, and I’m anxious to see what she releases next!

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