Quick Thoughts: THE LAST HOUSE GUEST by Megan Miranda


Publisher: Corvus
Release Date: May 2, 2019
Source: Borrowed from the Library
Rating: ★★★¼


Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of – but that’s just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.

Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable – until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother Parker, who blame her. Someone known more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.


Sadie and Avery are unlikely best friends, the former a girl from a rich family who summers in Littleport, Maine, and the latter a lonely local girl with a tragic past. Avery’s world is upset once again when Sadie dies of an apparent suicide, though Avery has her doubts. A year later odd occurrences and new clues make Avery want to figure out what really happened the night Sadie died.

I was drawn in by the premise of this book, and coastal Maine is one of my favorite settings. While there were a few interesting surprises & twists, the characters and suspense felt a bit flat — nothing quite grabbed me. I liked & was curious about the mystery, though the pace was slowish. Excellent location! Borrowed from the library.

Quick Thoughts: HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS by Raymond Fleischmann


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★½


The Dry meets The Silence of the Lambs in this intoxicating tale of literary suspense, set in the relentless Alaskan landscape, about madness and obsession, loneliness and grief, and the ferocious bonds of family…

My proposition is very simple: I am going to ask you for three gifts, and for each gift you deliver, I will take you one step closer to Jacqueline.

It’s been twenty years since Elisabeth’s twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Now thirty-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She’s in a loveless marriage and has a precocious young daughter she loves more than anything but who reminds her too much of her long-missing sister.

But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth’s sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if she fulfills his three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth can almost hear her sister’s voice saying, Come and find me. And so she will, even if it means putting herself—and her family—in danger.


This was my final selection from Penguin’s First to Read program. Unfortunately it is shutting down today! I’ve greatly enjoyed being a part of the program for the past few years. I’ve found many favorites through them, including this book, HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS.

A historical suspense novel set in Alaska in the 1940s was too tempting to pass up, and I got pulled into the story right away. A tiny, isolated town in the Alaskan Interior was the perfect setting for this eerie story. I was very intrigued by Elisabeth’s quest to find her missing sister, gone for 20 years, and the lengths she’d go to get answers. Alfred was a truly creepy character, and I was flipping the pages to find out what he knew! The author did a great job building up tension, and I was pleased with the conclusion. Haunting, riveting, and enjoyable!

Disclosure: A free copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THOSE PEOPLE by Louise Candlish {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


From the author of the international bestseller Our House, a new novel of twisty domestic suspense asks, “Could you hate your neighbor enough to plot to kill him?”

Lowland Way is the suburban dream. The houses are beautiful, the neighbors get along, and the kids play together on weekends.

But when Darren and Jodie move into the house on the corner, they donʼt follow the rules. They blast music at all hours, begin an unsightly renovation, and run a used-car business from their yard. It doesn’t take long for an all-out war to start brewing.

Then, early one Saturday, a horrific death shocks the street. As police search for witnesses, accusations start flying—and everyone has something to hide.


Lowland Way is the perfect neighborhood in every way. Family-oriented, quiet, upscale, beautiful homes and gardens. Perfect, that is, until those people move in and ruin everything.

Darren and Jodie simply aren’t Lowland Way material. Their used car lot in the front yard, loud music at all hours, and endless remodeling have enraged the residents on the street. They make sure Darren and Jodie know they’re not welcome, but what will it take to reclaim their perfect neighborhood?

THOSE PEOPLE was an entertaining, slow-burn mystery that really had me hooked from the beginning. Dealing with bad neighbors is something most people can relate to. Darren and Jodie were a nightmare, but even the seemingly perfect Lowland Way residents weren’t so flawless when you got beneath the surface. Lots of drama and tension there, which only gets exacerbated by the distressing situation.

I enjoyed this twisty, character-driven novel, and though none of the characters were particularly likable, I couldn’t look away. Satisfying follow-up to last year’s OUR HOUSE.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher thorough NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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THE BOOK SUPREMACY by Kate Carlisle {Review}


Series: Bibliophile Mystery, #13
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


In the latest in this New York Times bestselling series, San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright investigates a mysterious spy novel linked to a string of murders…

Newlyweds Brooklyn and Derek are enjoying the final days of their honeymoon in Paris. As they’re browsing the book stalls along the Seine, Brooklyn finds the perfect gift for Derek, a first edition James Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me. When they bump into Ned, an old friend from Derek’s spy days, Brooklyn shows him her latest treasure.

Once they’re back home in San Francisco, they visit a spy shop Ned mentioned. The owner begs them to let him display the book Brooklyn found in Paris as part of the shop’s first anniversary celebration. Before they agree, Derek makes sure the security is up to snuff—turns out, the unassuming book is worth a great deal more than sentimental value.

Soon after, Derek is dismayed when he receives a mysterious letter from Paris announcing Ned’s death. Then late one night, someone is killed inside the spy shop. Are the murders connected to Brooklyn’s rare, pricey book? Is there something even more sinister afoot? Brooklyn and the spy who loves her will have to delve into the darkest parts of Derek’s past to unmask an enemy who’s been waiting for the chance to destroy everything they hold dear.


THE BOOK SUPREMACY is book number thirteen in the Bibliophile Mystery series. This is a series I’ve wanted to read for a long time (I love book-themed cozies), so I decided to jump in with this latest installment.

Brooklyn Wainwright is a San Francisco-based book restorer, and she and new husband Derek are just starting married life after a romantic Paris honeymoon. Little did she know that a rare copy of The Spy Who Loved Me from a Paris street vendor would pull her into the world of international espionage.

I enjoyed the mystery in this book very much. It was interesting and multi-layered with a cast of intriguing characters. What began as a murder in a San Francisco spy shop turned out to be so much more. It did take some time for the action to get going, but once it did it was an exciting ride. Looking forward to catching up with Brooklyn & Derek’s backstory in the previous books!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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MURDERS AND METAPHORS by Amanda Flower {Review}


Series: A Magical Bookshop Mystery, #3
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


Niagara region booksellers Violet Waverly and Grandma Daisy sleuth the slaying of a sommelier whose book signing turned into her sayonara.

January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard—with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.

Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.

Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case in Murders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.


I’m thrilled that the Magical Bookshop Mysteries found a new home at Crooked Lane Books, because it’s one of my favorite cozy mystery series. With a little magic, a little romance, and a quaint bookstore setting, I was hooked.

How many bookshops have an enchanted tree growing right in the middle of the store? This ancient tree provides the store’s magic that helps Violet solve mysteries with messages through its books. This time around it’s Little Women that Charming Books wants Violet to focus on. Her good friend Lacey is in hot water after Lacey’s estranged sister is found murdered in a local vineyard. What clues are hidden in the passages of the classic novel that will point Violet to the killer?

I enjoyed this third installment in the series. It was fun to be back among the interesting characters of Cascade Springs. The murder mystery was solid and not easy to figure out. I liked learning more about Lacey and her family, and also learning about ice-wine! Before reading this book, I had no idea frozen grapes could be harvested and turned into a sweet dessert wine. Looking forward to the next in the series!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.