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My Progress:

13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
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- California (5)
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- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (2)
- Canada (2)
- England (10)
- France (1)
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- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
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My Progress:

35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 50 books. 58% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

11 / 25 books. 44% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Close to Home Intriguing Start to Promising New Series

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

DI Adam Fawley knows that most domestic crimes are committed by people the victim knows, often those with whom he or she lives.  So, when 8-year-old Daisy Mason goes missing after a costume party at her Oxford home, he focuses first on her family.  With an obsessive, appearance-obsessed mum, a cold, distant dad, and a strange, moody older brother, Daisy's family certainly seems off, if not flat-out guilty.  One thing is for sure—they're all hiding something.  Did one of them kill the little girl?  Fawley is determined to find out.

While Fawley's got his own problems to deal with, rifling through the Masons' dirty laundry is bringing all kinds of disturbing secrets to light.  Questioning neighbors and acquaintances isn't helping make the Masons look any more innocent.  Still, the evidence isn't coming together quite enough to convince Fawley that he's found his killer.  What really happened to Daisy Mason?  If a family member didn't kill her, who did?  As puzzling as the mystery has become, it's going to get a lot twistier before the case is closed ... 

Close to Home is a debut novel by English mystery writer Cara Hunter and the first in her series featuring DI Adam Fawley.  Although it's not exactly pulse-pounding, the novel is tense, well-plotted, and suspenseful.  The Masons and their associates are almost wholly unlikable, but Fawley is sympathetic if not super original or exciting.  While I figured everything was not quite as it seems, the "unexpected" twist at the end of the book caught me at least a little bit by surprise. I enjoy a mystery that keeps me guessing; overall, this one did that.  I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to get my hands on In the Dark, the next installment (which comes out in July), but I'll definitely read it.  If the books get better as they go, I'm all in for this promising new author and series.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of British domestic thrillers by Gilly Macmillan, Erin Kelly, etc.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Close to Home at Barnes & Noble with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
Monday, May 28, 2018

Never That Far Tells a Poignant, Powerful Story of Loss and Love

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

I usually craft my own plot summaries, but Never That Far, Carol Lynch Williams' newest, isn't the easiest novel to describe.  The publisher's version says everything that needs to be said in one succinct paragraph, so I'm going to go with it:

After her grampa dies, the last place Libby expects to see him is sitting on the edge of her bed.  But that's what happens the night after his funeral.  Even more surprising is that Grampa has three important things to tell her: first, that she isn't alone or forgotten—"The dead ain't never that far from the living," he says; second, that she has "the Sight"—the ability to see family members who have died; and third, that there is something special just for her in the lake.  Something that could help her and her father—if she can find it.  Libby and Grampa try to help her father heal from his grief, but it will take all of Libby's courage and her gift of Sight to convince her father that the dead are never truly gone.  

Set against a lush central Florida backdrop, Never That Far tells a poignant, powerful story about loss and love.  Libby's heartbreak and yearning are so palpable that it's impossible not to root for her happiness.  Her actions and reactions feel authentic, making her a very real character.  This, plus an atmospheric setting; a rich, mystical vibe; and some important messages about faith, family, and friendship, make Never That Far a compelling read.  I enjoyed it.

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for difficult subject matter and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Never That Far from the generous folks at Shadow Mountain.  Thank you!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Odd, Disquieting The Doll Funeral a Meh For Me

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Ruby Flood is thrilled when the couple who has been raising her make a stunning announcement—they are not her birth parents.  Relieved not to share blood with the cruel, abusive couple, the 13-year-old runs away from their home, determined to find her real parents.  Ruby sets off into the Forest of Dean armed only with a suitcase and the otherworldly protection of Shadow Boy, her imaginary—and only—friend.  

Soon, Ruby comes upon a ragged group of siblings living on their own in a crumbling mansion in the forest.  Although not all of them are keen on having another mouth to feed, they take her in and make her part of their unconventional family.  The situation suits Ruby just fine, but it's not long before she begins to realize that not everything is what it seems in her surrealistic new life.  It's difficult to tell what is real and what is not in the woods; all Ruby desires is the truth.  Can she trust her new family to help her on her quest?  What secrets are they hiding from Ruby?  She's about to find out ...

It's tough to describe The Doll Funeral, an odd and disquieting novel by Welsh author Kate Hamer.  While it's compelling and lyrical, it's also dark, depressing, hopeless, and sad.  Although I appreciate its lesson about family not always being about blood, I didn't end up loving this story.  It was a pretty meh read for me.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, depictions of illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
Friday, May 25, 2018

Perfect Set Brings All That Mel Does So Well to the Net (with a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As a sports reporter, Bree Mercer has embraced a hard-earned truth—pro athletes do not make good dating material.  She sees enough of their inflated egos, childish temper tantrums, and slick-as-ice moves in her professional life; she wants none of that in her personal one.  So, when a pro beach volleyball player in her new singles ward starts chatting her up, Bree shuts him down.  Hard.  Athletes—even incredibly hot ones, especially incredibly hot ones—are simply not an option.  

It's only when she's assigned to write a feature article on the very guy she dissed that Bree begins to regret her rashness.  Kade Townsend is famously press-adverse; Bree's likely just screwed up her big chance to get the story out of him that she needs to prove her worth at her new job. 

Bree isn't about to give up, no matter how tough the assignment.  She knows Kade's career and golden-boy reputation took a big hit when a reporter "friend" betrayed him by selling photos of Kade partying to a tabloid magazine, but she's not interested in tawdry gossip.  Bree wants the truth. Who is Kade, really?  A reformed man, who now takes his testimony as seriously as his athletic training?  Or an unrepentant playboy who'll say anything to fix his tarnished image?  The more time Bree spends with Kade, the more desperately she needs to know, and not only for her article.  Allowing herself to fall for the handsome jock means risking not just her career but also her heart.  Is she willing to put everything on the line in a match she might not win?  When the truth about Kade comes out, she'll have to decide if it's game on or game over ...

Perfect Set, the newest LDS rom-com from Melanie Jacobson, sparkles with the author's trademark warmth and wit.  All the things that Mel does so well are here—a fun, upbeat setting; smart, spunky characters; bright, humorous banter; and a sweet, swoony romance.  Add in a singles ward full of faithful new adults who do real things like watch sports on Sunday, drink Coke (gasp!), flirt shamelessly, judge each other unfairly, even stab each other in the back (figuratively, of course), and you're pretty much guaranteed an entertaining read.  Perfect Set is certainly that.  Although I didn't love Bree and Kade could have used a stronger personality, I definitely felt the chemistry between the couple.  Jacobson always delivers a satisfying HEA, so although the plot is predictable, it's still exciting.  This isn't my favorite Jacobson novel (that would be Southern Charmed), but Perfect Set remains a light, enjoyable romance, the kind of well-written fluff that's made for beach reading and poolside indulging.  If you're a fan of clean, engaging love stories, then you're definitely going to want to dip in. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other rom-coms from Melanie Jacobson, especially Second Chances.  It also reminds me of romances by Brittany Larsen, Tiffany Odekirk, and Jenny Proctor)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for mild innuendo and references to illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Perfect Set from the generous folks at Covenant in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


Want more opinions on Perfect Set?  Follow along on the book's blog tour by clicking through the following links:

Want to win a copy of Perfect Set for your very own?  How about a $25 Amazon gift card?  Enter to win both using the Rafflecopter widget below:

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Abduction Novel Quietly Suspenseful, Unsettling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Keeping track of her "dreamy" daughter has always been something of a challenge for Beth Wakeford.  Now that she's newly divorced, she's even more worried that something will happen to Carmel, an 8-year-old who's easily distracted.  When her nightmare comes true during a trip to an outdoor festival, Beth is frantic with worry.  Has Carmel just wandered off in a daze?  Or has something sinister happened to the capricious child?  As hours, then days and months, go by without a sighting of the little girl, the police assume the worst.  Undeterred, Beth vows to find her missing child, in whose death she refuses to believe.  

When Carmel is first led away from the fairgrounds, she's delighted at the prospect of a novel adventure.  Soon, though, she realizes that things are not what they seem and that the likelihood of her being returned to her mother is slim to none.  As Carmel slowly comes to grips with her new reality, she longs desperately for her mum.  But as the years pass, memories fade, and some children forget who they really are ...

The Girl in the Red Coat, a debut novel by Welsh author Kate Hamer, tells a quietly unsettling story about every parent's worst nightmare coming to pass.  It's a compelling tale that kept me riveted throughout.  Although the reader knows what's happening (sort of) to Carmel from the get-go, the plot remains suspenseful because of its over-arching question:  Will Beth and Carmel ever be reunited?  As mother and daughter are both sympathetic narrators, the reader can't help but root for them ... but will they get the happily ever after they both desire?  Nothing is for certain in this disquieting novel.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Disappearance of James by Anne Ursu)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives), mild sexual content, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Monday, May 21, 2018

Flight Patterns Another Compelling Southern Family Saga From An Old Favorite

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After fleeing the small tourist town of her birth ten years ago, Georgia Chambers swore she'd never return to Apalachicola, Florida.  The 35-year-old has made a life for herself as an antiques expert in New Orleans, where no one knows about her wild child youth or the estranged family members she left behind.  Her past comes calling, though, when a customer brings Georgia an heirloom teacup with a unique pattern she knows she's seen before.  Although the bee motif doesn't appear in any antiques catalogs, Georgia recognizes it instantly—her mother owns a matching piece.  The item has always been shrouded in mystery and suddenly, Georgia is intent on finding out why.  Since "Birdie" no longer speaks, Georgia can't exactly call her mother up on the phone.  As much as she hates to admit it, a trip to Florida is the only way she can get the answers she needs.

To Georgia's surprise, her client—a handsome New York City real estate developer named James Graf—insists on coming along to investigate the history of his teacup.  Irritated, Georgia vows to make the road trip as quick as possible.  Of course, fate has other plans.  

As Georgia hunts for her mother's missing piece of china, she unintentionally uncovers a dark secret from her family's past.  Although she's warned to leave well enough alone, Georgia won't stop until she gets the answers she seeks, even if it means shattering her mother's fragile psyche and breaking the already-frail bonds that still tie her to her family.  When the shocking truth finally comes to light, Georgia will have to decide what to do with the newfound knowledge that could forever change everything, for all of them. 

I've long been a fan of Karen White's Southern novels, but some of them definitely appeal more than others.  Although it is compelling, Flight Patterns falls into the latter camp.  Since I know nothing about beekeeping or antique china, I found those aspects of the story intriguing.  The characters less so.  They are sympathetic certainly, but I didn't feel a strong connection to any of them.  Plot wise, the novel kept my attention, even though certain aspects of it seem contrived and far-fetched.  I appreciate, though, the story's themes of forgiveness and redemption and the fact that Georgia's life doesn't wrap up in a perfect, unrealistic way.  Overall, then, I liked Flight Patterns, but I didn't love it. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other Southern novels by Karen White; also of books by Joshilyn Jackson and Dorothea Benton Frank, although theirs tend to be more R-rated than White's)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence, scenes of peril, and innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Flight Patterns from Costco with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
Friday, May 18, 2018

Cambridge Mystery/"Thriller" Just ... Odd

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Drawn together while studying at Cambridge University, Americans Polly Bailey and Liv Dahl become friends.  They're both enamored of Nick Frey, a 24-year-old grad student in paleobiology.  The trio bond over a shared job, which entails helping a blind professor sort the papers of her novelist mother.  When Nick suddenly vanishes, however, it throws the friends' cozy relationship into a tailspin.  What happened to the charismatic Brit?  

When D.I. Morris Keene and his partner, DS Chloe Frohmann, start digging into Nick's strange disappearance, a tangle of secrets about all of the students start coming to light.  And they aren't the only ones with something to hide.  Gretchen Paul, the blind professor, will make startling discoveries about her own past, which will irrevocably change her future.  As the detectives strive to sort it all out, all the players will realize how little anyone can ever really know another.

I'm not sure what to say about The Whole World, the first installment in the Keene and Frohmann series by Emily Winslow.  It's a strange novel, in many ways.  The characters are almost wholly unlikable, the story plods along very slowly, and when plot "twists" do come, they seem outrageously far-fetched.  Unfocused and dull, The Whole World is just an odd, odd book.  I finished it, but I'm not really sure why I bothered.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, nothing is coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I (regrettably) bought a (cheap) copy of The Whole World from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New Romantic Suspense Novel Too Meh For Me (With a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Haley Wyatt is preparing to say goodbye to Grisa, her beloved 100-year-old great-grandmother, when a phone call from Germany rocks both of their worlds.  A relative informs them that a body has been found in an old, walled-in room in Baumdorf.  The remains have been identified as those of Ulrich Krauss, Haley's great-grandfather.  Grisa, who thought her husband abandoned her, has always told her family he died in World War II.  Both Haley and Grisa are shocked by the truth—Ulrich Krauss was murdered.  Desperate to honor the man she has been decrying for almost a century, Grisa begs Haley to travel to Germany in her stead and find out what really happened to Ulrich.

Almost from the moment she steps on German soil, Haley feels as if someone is watching her.  Even with handsome Joshua Davison—an old friend of her brother's—by her side, she can't shake the sinister feeling.  The more she learns about Ulrich Krauss' disappearance, the more certain Haley feels.  Someone doesn't want her digging into the past.  That someone will go to great lengths to stop her from finding out who killed her great-grandfather.  The closer she comes to discovering the reason behind his death, the more dangerous her trip to Germany becomes.  Can Haley find what she's looking for before it's too late?  Or will she be the next victim of a killer determined to keep the secrets of the past from ever coming to light?

Romantic suspense has never been my favorite, but there are definitely things I appreciate about the genre.  Like many of its fellows, Unforgettable by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen is a quick, clean read that shies away from graphic violence, language, and sensuality.  Although it deals with some disturbing subjects, overall its themes of hope, redemption, and love are what really shine through.  I also find the subject of Nazi-stolen art interesting, so I enjoyed that aspect of the story.  Unfortunately, Unforgettable also falls back on some of my least favorite genre staples—flat characters, insta-love, a far-fetched plot line, melodramatic prose, and contrived plot devices.  I didn't feel much of a connection with Haley or any real sparks between her and Joshua.  Also, because we already know "whodunit," there's not a whole lot of suspense to keep the novel interesting.  These elements took away from the story for me, making it pretty meh for me overall.  Still, Unforgettable is an entertaining enough tale, as long as you don't expect too much of it.  If you dig this genre, you might want to give it a chance.

(Readalikes:  I don't read this genre very often, so I'm not sure what would be an apt comparison.  Suggestions?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Unforgettable from the generous folks at Covenant.  Thank you!

Interested in more opinions of Unforgettable?  Follow along on the book's blog tour by clicking on the links below:

Want to win a copy of Unforgettable, plus a $25 Amazon gift card?  Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below:

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Just in Time for Mother's Day Comes a Heartwarming Story About the Joys of Motherhood ... Oh, Wait ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Desperate for a new start away from her controlling husband, Daphne Marist applies for her dream job as a live-in archivist for her favorite novelist—and gets it.  Not only does she know nothing about how to actually perform her duties, but she's also presenting herself with a false name and credentials that do not belong to her.  Sure she can fake it well enough to fool her elderly employer, Daphne heads to the Catskills with her six-month-old daughter, Chloe, in tow.  Waiting for her is a beautiful stone mansion surrounded by a lush landscape that makes the whole scene seem like something out of a fairy tale.  The lovely refuge is exactly what Daphne needs, even if the insane asylum that lurks behind the home sends shivers down her spine.  

As Daphne starts organizing papers for Schuyler Bennett, she becomes immersed in the author's story, especially her connection with the asylum.  In doing so, she's trying to forget her own troubles, the reason why she fled her home in the first place.  Yes, Daphne was diagnosed with Postpartum Mood Disorder after Chloe's birth and yes, it made her forgetful, clingy, even obsessive.  It didn't, however, make her a danger to her infant daughter.  No matter what, Daphne refuses to believe her husband's accusations—she would never hurt Chloe.  Never.  She doesn't know how to interpret the disturbing memory fragments tormenting her mind, but they can't be what they seem to be.  They can't be evidence that she put her own child at risk.  That would be impossible, wouldn't it? 

The longer Daphne is in the Catskills, the more she comes to realize that something did happen before she left.  Something awful.  It's up to her to mine her troubling memory for the truth before she finds herself the newest resident in an asylum that is conveniently close to her new home ...

Just in time for Mother's Day comes a heartwarming novel about the joys of motherhood ... oh, wait,  this is not that book!  As is indicated by its title, The Other Mother—the newest Gothic thriller by Carol Goodman—is indeed about motherhood.  It's about all the uncertainty, guilt, anxiety, fear, and fierce, mind-warping love that comes along with bearing a child, especially for the first time.  While all of those emotions are perfectly natural, this wouldn't be a Goodman book if those feelings weren't twisted into something decidedly more sinister than just a new mother's paranoia.  Goodman uses these heightened emotions to create a story that is chilling and can't-look-away compelling.  It's the kind of novel that keeps the reader constantly off-kilter, never knowing what is real and what isn't.  In doing so, however, the plot gets confusing and a bit contrived.  Still, it's a tense, twisty thriller that will keep you engrossed until the very end.  The Other Mother isn't my favorite novel by this author, but it's definitely another enthralling story that kept me turning pages long past bedtime.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a bit of Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a half dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Other Mother from the generous folks at HarperCollins.  Thank you!
Monday, May 07, 2018

"Modern" Pimpernel Novel Offers a Fun, Feminine Twist (With a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Lady Scarlet Cavendish, a wealthy English widow, wears many disguises.  At home, she masquerades as a feather-headed, fashion-obsessed debutante.  While in France, she plays a harmless hag, a clever seamstress, a guillotine groupie, even a soldier—anything to aid the innocent victims of the country's bloody revolution.  Her most secret identity, the one she guards with her very life, is that of the Pimpernel.  A daring spy, the Pimpernel is a "man" of mystery who specializes in whisking French aristocrats out of the country right under the noses of their accusers.  No one would believe a moneyed, well-bred society lady like Scarlet capable of such derring-do, which is the very reason she must pretend to be as incapable as possible.  Lives depend on her ability to act a part (or two or three).

When Scarlet rescues the handsome, charming Comte Matteo Durand, she finds the last thing she wants to do with him is pretend.  She would like nothing more than to act on her growing feelings, to allow herself to fall in love and settle down with the man who makes her heart pound and her soul swoon.  She can't be entirely honest with him, though; revealing her identity as the Pimpernel could put them both at great risk.  With powerful enemies and strong motivation to unmask the infamous spy, Matteo could be Scarlet's undoing—in every way possible.  Can she truly trust the man she's grown to love?  Can she risk the lives of innocent people by revealing herself to him?  Will the desire burning in Scarlet's heart cause the unraveling of the bravest, most fearless hero of the French revolution?

I barely know anything about The Scarlet Pimpernel—the fictional hero of a series of novels penned by Baroness Orczy in the early 1900s—but I still enjoyed Jen Geigle Johnson's Scarlet, a "modern" twist on the classic tale.  The story stars a likable couple, whose exploits are marked by action/adventure, humor, and romance.  Scarlet makes a convincing heroine, although her antics definitely get far-fetched.  Although it deals with serious issues, overall Scarlet is a fun, enjoyable novel that is both entertaining and compelling.  At just over 200 pages, it's quick, it's clean (besides innuendo and some passionate kissing), and it's captivating.  If you're looking for a light, romantic tale, definitely give this one a try. 


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence, sexual innuendo, and references to prostitution

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Scarlet from the generous folks at Covenant Communications.  Thank you!


Want more opinions on Scarlet?  Follow along on the book's blog tour by clicking on the links below:

Want to win a copy of Scarlet plus a $25 Amazon gift card?  Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

TTT: The Early Bird Gets the ARC

One of the perks of being a book blogger is gaining access to books before they become available to the general public.  This is especially exciting if a book's written by a favorite author and/or is creating lots of early buzz in the publishing world.  While ARC availability/distribution has changed a lot over the years I've been blogging, I still get a fair amount of them, which is one of the things that keeps this gig exciting!  I'm not the only one whose greedy little heart beats triple time at the thought of hot new ARCs on my doorstep, as is evidenced by today's TTT topic:  Top Ten Books I'd Slay a Lion to Get Early.

Before we get to that, though, make sure you head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to get the low-down on this fun weekly meme.  You're definitely going to want to make your own list every week and join in—it's always a good time, I promise!  It's a great way to spread the love throughout the book blogging community while adding to your TBR mountain chain (because you can NEVER have enough reading recommendations, amirite?).

I have to say first off that I wouldn't actually slay a lion for the following books because (1) I'm not into animal cruelty, (2) I'm a pretty big wimp (Simba would eat me long before I got anywhere close to him), and (3) I'm not that desperate.  I wouldn't be above begging for the following, though:

Top Ten Books I'd Slay a Lion to Get Early

1.  The Witch Elm by Tana French (available October 9, 2018)—Although details have been pretty hush-hush, Book Riot swears the Irish crime novelist's newest will be appearing in early October.  Supposedly, it's a standalone (French's first) about a boy (man?) who discovers a skull on his family's land while he's in town taking care of his uncle.  Honestly, I don't care if it's about how grass grows, I want to read it!

2.  The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton (available October 9, 2018)—Publishing on the same day as the above, is Morton's newest.  I adore everything I've ever read by her, so naturally I'd be stoked to get an early copy of this one, which appears to follow a similar dual-timeline plot as all her other novels. 

3.  A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult (available October 2, 2018)—I'm a long-time Picoult fan, so I'm excited about this one.  It's about a desperate gunman who rushes into a women's health clinic and holds the people inside hostage.  I'm down for what sounds like another tense, thought-provoking story from one of my favorite authors.

4.  The newest from Kristin Hannah—Yeah, yeah, I know Hannah just barely published The Great Alone.  I loved that book and The Nightingale, so I'm anxiously waiting for her next big, immersive novel.  I snagged an early copy of The Great Alone, so I'll keep my fingers crossed ...

5.  Al Capone Throws Me a Curve by Gennifer Choldenko (available May 8, 2018)—I had no idea there was another book in this fun series coming out until I got an email offering me an early copy of it.  Score!  It's on its way to me as we speak and I'm super excited.  If you haven't read Choldenko's excellent middle grade series about life as a kid living on Alcatraz during the 1930s, you really should.

6.  A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs (available August 21, 2018?)—It feels like I've been waiting decades for this one to come out and it looks like the wait isn't over yet.  Reichs just announced that, because of health issues, she's going on sabbatical and won't be releasing the book when planned.  Bummer.  I have to see what happens next to Tempe Brennan, my favorite forensic anthropologist, so an early copy of this one would be especially awesome!

7.  In Her Bones by Kate Moretti (available September 4, 2018)—This one certainly sounds intriguing!  It's about Edie, a woman who becomes obsessed with the families of her serial killer mother's victims.  When Edie is accused of murdering one of them, she launches a desperate search for the truth in an (probably futile) effort to clear her name. 

8.  When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica (available September 4, 2018)—Kubica's latest is about a woman whose social security number raises some surprising red flags.  As she tries to figure out what's going on, insomnia plays with her mind making her wonder what is true and what is not.  ARC, please!

9.  The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner (available August 28, 2018)—I've read a few books with this premise, but I still find it fascinating: a person who disappeared as a child returns suddenly as a young adult, leaving their family with more questions than answers.  I'm in! 

10.  White Elephant by Emily Raymond (available December 4, 2018)—This one's a heartwarming holiday tale about an intense white elephant gift exchange in which an ugly vase, which was once used as a murder weapon by one of the participants, comes up for grabs.  Who added the vase to the exchange?  What do they know?  I was just kidding about the "heartwarming" part, but still, this one sounds compelling.  I'd be happy to find an early copy in my mailbox!

So, there you have it, ten books I would be stoked to receive early.  Which ARCs are you most coveting right now?  For which others should I be begging my contacts?  Leave me a comment on this post and I'll gladly return the favor.

Happy TTT!
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