THOUGHTS ON BOOKS (#5): Wicked Plants (Audiobook) / An American Witch in Paris


Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical AtrocitiesWicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WICKED PLANTS was an Audible Daily Deal, and with that title and cover, I couldn’t resist downloading it. The book is a curious and often unsettling encyclopedia of plants that have caused harm in one way or another throughout the centuries. I don’t think a lot about plants being dangerous, but after reading this I definitely should. I was surprised that even some everyday foods can be harmful. (There’s a reason cashews aren’t sold in their shell.) However the most harmful of plants kills nearly 6 million people per year. (You can probably guess what it is.)

The audiobook was narrated by Coleen Marlo, and she did a fabulous job making each culprit plant seem down right sinister. I will say that I also checked out the hardcover of this book so I could see the illustrations and read the scientific names of all the plants. There were many presented and they moved by quickly, so it was nice to have a physical copy to reference.


An American Witch in Paris (Harlequin Nocturne)An American Witch in Paris by Michele Hauf
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A straight-laced vampire and a saucy American witch come together in Paris to save humanity. Vampire Ethan and witch Tuesday are memorable leads, with an intriguing supporting cast aiding their perilous mission. The world-building and conflicts were exciting. I haven’t read a paranormal romance in a long time, so this book was a lot of fun. One thing that didn’t work for me was some of what Tuesday was saying or thinking didn’t fit with a centuries-old witch. (Example: She would call troublesome men “Richards” instead of … well, you know.) AN AMERICAN WITCH IN PARIS is loosely tied to others Michele Hauf has published with Nocturne, though it can easily be read stand-alone. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a review copy of this book.


“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

THOUGHTS ON BOOKS (#2): The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Audiobook) / Don’t Let Go / The Night Mark


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book. It turned out to be so much more than I was expecting. THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO tells the amazing, wild, and often heartbreaking life story of the title character. Beginning in the 1950s when she arrived in Hollywood, the book covers Evelyn Hugo’s rise to fame as an A-list actress, and her many loves and losses along the way. She chooses a young journalist named Monique Grant to write her biography, and Monique is perplexed as to why Evelyn wants to spill her long-guarded secrets to her. What, if any, is their connection? I listened to the audiobook which was a wonderful experience and quite emotional too. I’m sure the neighbors wondered why I was sobbing as I was mowing the lawn. Definitely one of my favorite books of 2017.


Don't Let GoDon’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Second book by Harlan Coben I’ve read, and second book by Harlan Coben I’ve really enjoyed! In DON’T LET GO, Detective Nap Dumas finally gets a lead in the disappearance case of his high school girlfriend — well, it’s his own case as no one else is looking. Maura went missing 15 years ago on the same night his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were killed, supposedly hit by a train. Nap’s always wondered if there was more to the story, and of course, if Maura’s disappearance was somehow related. Now a clue from a crime scene in another town sets his investigation in motion again. DON’T LET GO is page-turning suspense with a complex mystery and relatable characters. I especially loved Nap’s sarcastic wit.


The Night MarkThe Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. THE NIGHT MARK is a unique time-travel romance set on the gorgeous coast of South Carolina. In present day, Faye Barlow feels lost, still grieving the death of her husband four years prior. During her latest photography job, she discovers an abandoned lighthouse at a place called Bride Island. She feels an inexplicable connection to the lighthouse, and in a strange twist of fate, she’s sent back to 1921 where the keeper is very much alive and very familiar. I thought the writing was beautiful, and the descriptions of the lighthouse and island were magical. While I loved the premise, ultimately I had a hard time connecting with Faye and feeling the chemistry in her new time-travel relationship. Their set up was a bit too odd for me. The character who stood out to me most was the priest — honestly I’d love to read his life story.


“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” ― Vera Nazarian

THOUGHTS ON BOOKS (#1): Bonfire / Snowfall on Haven Point / Our Little Secret


BonfireBonfire by Krysten Ritter
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Thank you to Penguin’s First to Read Program for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was impressed with Krysten Ritter’s debut novel. I’m kind of out of touch with TV & movies, so I didn’t realize the author was an actor until finishing. I quickly grabbed this title when I saw it was suspense and didn’t pay much attention to the blurb. Anyway, I enjoyed it.

Abby Williams is an environmental lawyer who’s returned to her tiny hometown to investigate possible contamination by a plastics company with a whole lot of influence in Barrens, Indiana. Abby hasn’t been home in ten years, not since her friend-turned-bully disappeared just after graduation. Barrens is full of bad memories for Abby, but her relationship with the town and people in it is unresolved, which is why this troubling pollution case is important to her.

I liked the author’s writing style and her ability to hook me with her flawed and not-so-likable characters. The overall atmosphere of the book is dark and foreboding, perfect for this gripping mystery/suspense. Looking forward to more from Krysten Ritter.


Snowfall on Haven Point (Haven Point, #5)Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a freebie from Harlequin on Christmas Eve. I was in the mood for a sweet small town holiday romance, and SNOWFALL ON HAVEN POINT was just what I was looking for. Sheriff Marshall Bailey is laid up with a broken leg at his sister’s house, recovering from a hit and run. With his family out of town, his sister’s friend Andie is saddled with caring for the stubborn, grumpy man. While Marshall’s wounds are physical, Andie is dealing with emotional ones, starting with the death of her husband two years ago. Along with the developing romance between Marshall and Andie are two intriguing side stories, including the mystery surrounding the hit and run. This is the fifth book in the Haven Point series. I read the first one a couple of years ago, and now I want to go back and read the rest. I love RaeAnne Thayne’s realistic, relatable characters and cozy small town settings. Enjoyed.


Our Little SecretOur Little Secret by Roz Nay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A woman is questioned by police after her ex-boyfriend’s wife disappears. Lots of great reviews for this book, but unfortunately it wasn’t for me. The story lacked suspense, and the characters didn’t grab my attention. I usually enjoy unlikable or unreliable characters, but not so much this time. I couldn’t understand the reasoning behind many things the characters did or said. Maybe if I was clearer about who the “our” was in the title, and also which “little secret” it’s referring to. I liked the final twist though.


“No two persons ever read the same book.” ― Edmund Wilson