Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Review Books, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Dark Memento (Verona Bay, #1) by Katie Reus


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Title: Dark Memento by Katie Reus
Series: Verona Bay, Book 1
Narrated By: Heather Costa, Jeffrey Kafter
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook (7 hrs and 3 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Blurb: Welcome to Verona Bay, a small coastal town where the secrets just won’t stay buried—and people aren’t always who they seem.

She was the one that got away…

Eight years ago Serenity Washington watched as her twin sister was murdered. She was lucky to escape the same grisly fate. With her sister’s killer in jail, she relocated and tried to move on with her life. She married a man in the Air Force and started a family, but when her husband dies unexpectedly she moves back to the last place she remembers being happy—Verona Bay, FL.

Now that she’s come home, it’s all starting again…

Within months of Serenity’s homecoming, she receives a ‘gift’—a bracelet from her sister that was never recovered after her death—and a taunting note. Terrified for herself and her young daughter, she turns to the local sheriff for help. But there’s only so much they can do without proof that the gifts aren’t more than sick pranks. There’s been no DNA, no fingerprints left behind—nothing to indicate who’s leaving them. As the horrifying gifts arrive with increasing frequency, Serenity has no doubt that she’s the ultimate target. But with her sister’s murderer—a confessed serial killer—still behind bars, she has no idea who’s stalking her.

She turns to the one man she’s been trying to keep her distance from…

Former Marine Lucas Jordan has been hung up on single mom Serenity since she moved back to Verona Bay, but she’s made it clear she’s not looking for a relationship. When she’s targeted, however, all bets are off. He won’t sit by while she’s terrorized, and with her and her daughter’s lives in danger he’s prepared to stand his ground and protect them both. Together they face the impossible task of trying to figure out who to trust before they all wind up six feet under.

img_4544This book started immediately with a traumatic incident. Serenity and her twin sister Savannah Washington were kidnapped and tortured by the serial killer Michael Black. It was suspenseful and angst-filled in the first few chapters. Serenity escapes but her twin sister didn’t survive the ordeal but the killer was captured.

Serenity tries to build her life despite the PTSD, she got married and had a daughter. When her husband dies, Serenity moves back to her hometown of Verona Bay. She opens a business and begins to establish her life but Serenity begins to receive mementos taken from her during her imprisonment. It appears that she is being stalked again. She’s afraid and her high school friend Lucas Jordan wants to help her. But Serenity is afraid to let him into her life because people close to her are being hunted and murdered. Its not safe to be around her and she isn’t sure the FBI can protect her and her daughter. Lucas is determined to protect Serenity and young daughter Harper, but as more than just a friend. This one was a nail bitter!

It was really well written, suspenseful and I couldn’t stop listening. There was some darkness, but Serenity was a fighter. Her will to survive was undeniable. She wouldn’t allow the serial killer to break her and she was determined to win for herself and her twin who didn’t make it. This is a really good beginning to a new series.

*I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest opinion.

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Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Charlie (Cultivated #1) by Elin Peer


Charlie (Cultivated #1)Charlie by Elin Peer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLURB: Charles, the reserved, mysterious, and unattainable guy I had a major crush on in college, got tangled up with the wrong crowd. Being the heir to one of the largest business dynasties in the US made Charles a target for the narcissistic and cunning cult leader O’Brien. Now, I’m flying to Dublin to get him out. “

With degrees in both anthropology and psychology, twenty-seven-year-old Liv is convinced that she can resist being sucked into Conor O’Brien’s cult. But it’s been years since she and Charles last met; will he even remember her and will he trust her?

Charles and Liv are about to learn just how dangerous it is to go up against a possessive psychopath like Conor O’Brien.

Charlie is the first installment in Elin Peer’s contemporary romance series Cultivated, which offers suspense and drama. Like all her books, this one has a fast pace, lots of great dialogue, and it leaves you wanting more.


A fascinating story and masterful storytelling. This story had it all: action, suspense, intrigue, romance and redemption. What I love about Elin Peer’s stories is that I always feel I was treated to a story unlike the routine and cliche tropes that are so abundant in the romance genre. In this particular novel, we are treated to an insider look into the intense fear of family members when their loved ones are caught in the snare of a cult.

Charlotte Christensen aka Liv or Charlie met Charles Robertson at a coffee shop by accident. At the time they were both going by the nickname “Charlie”. There was a spark there, but nothing serious materialized from their college flirting. Five years later, Liv was contacted by Charles’ grandfather who wants a friend to help rescue Charles from a cult that was siphoning off his inheritance. This opportunity gave Liv another chance to reconnect with Charles, but he wasn’t the man she remembered. To save Charles, Liv had outmaneuver a sociopath a cult leader with Charles’ love and life as the prize.

I don’t know much about cult except what we see on the news but my nerves were jarred. I enjoyed the glimpse into a cult’s intricate layering in order to brainwashing people of various intelligence. It was a lesson on how masterminds sense esteem issues and use it to their advantage while gaining their absolute dedication and loyalty. It was a gently reminder that even the smartest person has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by devious people.

My favorite part of the story was Liv and Charles reconnecting. It felt like young love all over again and it added some pleasure and levity to this heavy situation. Liv and Charles were really nice individuals and they made a sweet couple. I was completely absorbed into this struggle for Charles. The author skillfully weaved an engrossing tale. What an excellent beginning to a new series.

*Thank you to the author for the advanced reading copy. My opinions of the book are solely my own.

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Audiobook, Book Club, Fiction, Monday Book Club, Reading Plan, Suspense & Thriller

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BLURB: How long can you protect your heart?

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

I didn’t love this story like others did. I did love this story as a testament to survival and human resilience. Kya Clark grew up in an abusive home with an alcoholic father who beat the mom and later the siblings. Eventually the mom and remaining siblings all ran away leaving a 7-yr old Kya alone with an alcoholic father. She managed to survive even after he dad, dodging CPS sent social workers and managed to live on her own at the marsh. She became friends with Tate and later with Chase, the murder victim. Both relationships have profound effects both positive and negative on her development and her life. But it was her relationship with Chase that landed her on trial for his murder.

The writing of the character Kya was interesting. I felt sorry for her for most of the novel, but she wasn’t a victim or maybe she started out as a victim but adapted to her circumstances. While she was lonely, Kya was able to actually thrive in her circumstances. I do think the author’s story became too unbelievable both in Kya’s abilities but in the apathy of the small community. I mean, No one cared that a little 7-year-old girl was by herself? She came to get groceries or books by herself and no one asked her how they could help her or if there was an adult around. I didn’t buy it. 

Nevertheless, this story wasn’t a love story but there was love, true love here. I saw this book as Kya’s Journey without much guidance from a mother or father, but learning to navigate society by spying from the outskirts. Learning how to be a woman from watching others etc.
That’s what I enjoyed most about this book.
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