Book Review: Mystery On the Isle of Skye

Hello Everyone,

I love these old covers! So neat!

Book Title: Mystery On the Isle of Skye

Book Author: Phyllis A. Whitney

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Fawcett Juniper

Page Count: 200

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense

Goodreads Summary:

Following instructions contained in the parting gift from her Grandmother when she set out for Isle Of Skye, would lead to startling surprises for Cathy MacLeod. She and her standoffish cousin Don, would be drawn in a search for answers to baffling puzzles. New friends and thrilling adventures wait for Cathy where she learned to love the mountains and legendary magic of her Grandmother’s beautiful isle. The greatest surprise of all came when she least expected it…

My Thoughts:

This was a wonderful little story of a girl going to the Isle of Skye by request of her dying grandmother. At times the story definitely read like it was meant for a much younger audience, but the story itself was intriguing and full of Scottish history, phrases, and words. I adore stories set in Scotland, England, and the surrounding areas so I was sure to love this and Phyllis A Whitney is one of my favorite authors. I dove right into this book, and finished it within a few hours (interruptions by family making it difficult to keep reading). I’m happy that the first read of the year is a high four star read. But onto what the book actually is about!

Book Review:

Catherine “Cathy” Macleod receives a mysterious box and quest from her ailing, dying grandmother to go to the Isle of Skye and follow through on various instructions to receive her prize. The book starts off with Cathy joining her aunt, uncle and two cousins Don and Punch on the trip of a lifetime. She’s swept away into learning all about Scotland and it’s people, especially her family the Macleod’s. I was pleased to note the Battle of Culloden being mentioned, the Sith, fey and magic also having mentions scattered in the book. But those mentions were brief and the story focused more on Cathy becoming friends with Don and Punch. I’m happy to add there’s zero romance in the book. It’s a straight up ya mystery with elements of suspense and a fun quest. While the ending felt abrupt it was a happy ending. The characters felt believable though some of the writing definitely felt dated in the “portly” aunt Bertha. Overall I’m happy to rate this 4.5 stars.

My Rating:

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That

Netgalley Review: Looking for Laura

Hello Everyone,

Title: Looking For Laura

Author: Ellen Shapiro

Series: Book One

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Indies United Publishing House

Page Count: 400

Book Summary:

Like most private investigators, Tracey Marks is just trying to pay off the mountain of bills that never seem to stop. So when a client hands her $5000 to find his missing wife, she jumps at the opportunity. Although it’s her first missing-persons case, she really does need the money and charges ahead into the investigation.

But things quickly go sideways, and the more answers she gets, the more questions that arise. Everyone seems to be holding back, or even outright lying…and even the missing woman has a sketchy past. As Tracey digs in deeper and deeper, she finds herself drawn into a web of deceit. With warning signs everywhere, will Tracey even live long enough to cash the check?

My Thoughts:

This was a smooth read, quick, simple and easy. Though our main character would beg to differ for it being her first missing persons case, I flew through the pages rapidly, eager to see how Tracy would solve the mystery. I’m pleased to say that I liked this one, with it being written by a woman who was a private eye herself, this was a new favorite, with plenty of mystery, action, and a lot of fun.

As a cozy mystery fan, I felt that this was well handled. I enjoyed the atmospheric writing, and the suspenseful buildup was great too. Tracy was a real, likable character, and I’m happy to add that there’s a sequel called Secrets Can Kill, that I definitely hope to snag. The mystery wrapped up nicely and I have a new favorite author to stalk. Highly recommend for fans of cozy mysteries.

My Rating:

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: The Kidnapping of Sarah Easton

Hello Everyone,

Title: The Kidnapping of Sarah Easton

Author: Erik Goddard

Series: Standalone (?)

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

Page Count: 400

Book Summary:

The morning it happened, Sarah thought little of the slight change in plans. By evening, she realizes the result of that decision: she is trapped in a remote cabin, where her captors force her to record a ransom demand aimed at her wealthy father. As the countdown to the deadline begins and Sarah looks for ways to escape her confine, she is unaware that a far more sinister danger lurks unseen as various parties plot and scheme their way to the ransom. With the clock ticking toward the deadline and these plots beginning to coalesce, Sarah realizes what’s at stake is far more than money.

My Thoughts:

It’s always so hard to review thriller novels. Any novel really, but thrillers I don’t want to spoil anything for everyone else. Did I enjoy this? Well, I read it through one sitting so definitely yes! However, fair warning. The main character in this is ridiculously stupid at times to the point I wanted to reach through the book and go “really? Why would you do that?!” as I was reading. IE: First chapter, she hands over her phone to a man that asked her for it. No threats. No intimidation, just can I have your phone please? Um, no. You don’t just hand it over that’s how my sister’s phone got stolen in St Louis. (It was recovered a month later by police thankfully.) But it’s constantly things that are common sense that she just…ugh. So frustrating!

The bad guys were interesting. At first they start out reasonably smart. Then they go into the “I’m in charge so I’ll make all the blatantly stupid decisions I can” mode about forty percent through the book.

But despite the stupidity of the characters at times the book itself is fast paced and I managed to read it in one sitting. It ties together at the end and though it’s a bit of a wide open ending it still resolved everything so that it surprised me here and there with how it played out. Highly recommend for suspense fans.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Books From My Kindle Graveyard: Snapped

Hello Everyone,

I decided to start actually reading the books in what I fondly call my “Kindle Graveyard” where I buy loads of freebies and then… never read them. I’m technically cheating as this is a recent purchase not an older one but I really was in the mood for a good thriller. And for those interested it’s still free!

~•~•~•~

Book Details:

Book Title: Snapped

Book Author: C. M. Sutter

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Mystery

Publisher: Self Published?

Purchased: Amazon

Page Count: 300

~•~•~•~

Book Summary:

Murder happens in Houston, but when the most recent murders take on disturbing similarities, local law enforcement officers fear a serial killer is roaming their streets.

Former sheriff’s department sergeant Jade Monroe has just graduated from the FBI’s serial crimes unit in homicide and is called to Houston with her partner, J.T. Harper, to take on her first assignment—apprehending the person responsible for these gruesome crimes.

With victims piling up and the clock ticking, Jade and J.T. need to intensify their search because there’s no sign the killer is slowing down.

After a late-night epiphany while she’s alone, Jade suddenly comes face to face with the killer, and now Jade is missing. The clock continues to tick—but this time it’s for her.

Note: All Jade Monroe books are standalone stories but since characters carry over, they are best read in chronological order.

Series One – Detective Jade Monroe Crime Thriller Series
#1 Maniacal
#2 Captive
#3 Fallacy
#4 Premonition
#5 Exposed

Note: The Jade Monroe FBI Thriller books follow on the heels of the conclusion of Exposed, Book 5 in the Detective Jade Monroe Crime Thriller Series.

Series Two – Agent Jade Monroe FBI Thriller Series
#1 Snapped
#2 Justified

~•~•~•~

My Thoughts:

As I said in my brief Goodreads Review, I liked it but I had issues with some of it. You really need to suspend belief for some of this, but overall this was enjoyable. It does keep to being a standalone rather well too. Jade was a good, strong character (I liked one scene of how she’s compared to Olivia Benson from Law and Order SUV as she definitely doesn’t seem like her apart from sharing the title of detective.) The other characters were believable, and likable. The plot was strong and had a good flow to it. Overall I enjoyed it but I don’t know when I will continue the series. I’ve barely been in a thriller mood lately and while this was good it didn’t wow me. It showed promise though, and I’ve definitely decided to keep this on my series to watch list.

~•~•~•~

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Netgalley Review: The Dead of False Creek

Hello Everyone,

Two Netgalley reviews in a month? Who is this girl and where has she been all this time? 🤔 Anyhoo…

The Dead of False Creek is a twisty murder mystery not quite involving time travel. I say “not quite” because no one actually goes back in time. Instead two people communicate through a journal and that premise intrigued me into requesting the book.

Book Title: The Dead of False Creek

Book Author: Sarah M. Stephen

Book Publisher: ? (I’ve searched on Google and Netgalley but am unsure of the publisher. If you know please let me know!)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Page Count: ?

Goodreads Summary:

He chases crooks. She dusts off maps. With important men vanishing, can one key document prevent death? Vancouver, 1897.

Jack Winston refuses to let his bloodline decide his vocation. Keeping his family connections secret as he joins the Constabulary, the rising detective works hard to make a name for himself on his own merit.

But when he investigates a missing young lawyer, he’s shocked to find his own journal connects him to a woman claiming to be from the future. Vancouver, 2017. Riley Finch adores history.

With life pulling friends and family further away, the archivist throws herself into her new position cataloging police files from the nineteenth century. And her excitement with her research bears thrilling results when she finds a way to contact a policeman from the past.

Despite his well-founded suspicions, Winston still struggles to wring answers out of his list of prime suspects. And as Riley risks her job to unearth useful information, she’s inexplicably drawn to Jack’s great-grandson but forced to keep both men in the dark. Can the pair forge a partnership across decades and solve an impenetrable crime?

The Dead of False Creek is the compelling first book in the Journal Through Time historical mystery series. If you like endearing duos, split narratives, and stunning twists and turns, then you’ll love Sarah M Stephen’s time-bending tale.

My Thoughts:

Set in 1800s Vancouver and present day, this story is told between a male detective and a woman archivist. They begin communicating through the journal, as the male detective searches for missing men. There is a bit of a slow burn romance building and the mystery itself wasn’t what kept me going it was the journal. Unfortunately I will have to wait until summer of 2022 for the next book in the series as it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. I really enjoyed it and I’m eagerly awaiting the rest of the series.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

History or Mystery? Top Six Books On My TBR

Hello everyone,

I’ve got quite the hefty tbr going and so I thought I’d share some that I’m looking forward to reading here soon (I hope!). In no particular order these books are high on my wishlist to read:

A historical fiction piece about a group of men surviving in Alaska while the leader’s wife makes her own efforts to survive.
After losing her husband to war, a woman begins to become a well known midwife and leads a revolution.
A married couple become separated by war and husband believes that his wife has died when a chance encounter shows otherwise a few years later.
A woman goes on a hunt for lost art, and becomes involved in a mystery a painting believed to have been destroyed might actually be around after all.
A woman homicide detective returns to Ireland after clues show up of a long ago missing woman.
A woman begins to question that the man she loves might be a serial killer.

Each of these have elements history or mystery that I’m eager to explore. Some are new releases, while others are are backlist titles I’ve been meaning to get to for ages. Are any of these ones y’all have heard of? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

New Release Review: Leave the World Behind

Book Summary from Goodreads:

A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another? 

Suspenseful and provocative, Rumaan Alam’s third novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis. 

My Review:

This book was weird. An ending that left it all hanging wide open. No questions answered, and no one technically dead. An apocalypse story but with few signs of the actual events shown. From the point of view of strangers stuck together at a vacation home in the middle of nowhere. The disjointed writing took a bit to get used to and I didn’t much care for Amanda or the rest though I was curious as to what would happen. A slow build of a plot that cuts off abruptly leaving you asking “wtf was that?!”

Trigger warnings: 9/11 discussed, kid sick/ill, missing child, and brief sexual scenes between husband/wife

Final Rating: 4/5 ⭐

Book Review: deep woods

Summary From Goodreads:

I was barefoot, sobbing, running for my life. But the men hunting me made one mistake: they chased me into *his* woods.

Cal Whittaker. Big, gruff and gorgeous, he’s made his home in the heart of the forest and has barely spoken to another person in six years. He deals with the men chasing me with a brutal efficiency that hints at a dark past. I should be scared…but when I look into his eyes, I feel a soul-deep longing I can’t explain. And the way he looks at me, like he just wants to push me up against a tree and tear my clothes off…

He offers me shelter on his smallholding. I’m used to the big city but I’ll have to learn a whole new way of life: a cow for milk, a wood stove for warmth and no one but the two of us for miles in any direction. I learn that Cal’s carrying a guilt that won’t let him get close to anyone…but neither of us can fight the attraction and in his tiny cabin, it’s impossible to keep our distance.

Even in the forest, though, we may not be safe. My escape has threatened a conspiracy so vast, so evil, that the men behind it won’t stop until they’ve silenced us. They know where we are. And they’re coming.

My Review:

Deep Woods was a fast paced, steamy romantic survival trope that I like. It’s got an adorable dog. An enormous giant of a man whose wildly protective towards our damsel in distress, as well as being the big, gruff, strong silent type-with a beard. The romance in this book was a bit of a slow build, though it felt a hint like instalove. The action in the book was…well. All over the place. You really need to suspend disbelief for a lot of it. It goes from action scene googly eyes action scene action scene googly eyes/wistful longing lots of action to backstory with hand holding…its pretty entertaining, but I definitely fiction.

That’s not to say I didn’t absolutely fall in love with the book. The characters were easy to like and get to know. Cal and Bethany are an awesome couple. Bethany wasn’t one of those annoying giggly heroines that’s To Stupid To Live, she’s smart and gutsy though she’s also a bit too weak compared to Cal. Cal was a tall, bearded, muscular man who was once a marine. Another perk for this romance novel. There’s surviving out in the woods. There’s guns, bears, cabins, and swoon worthy romance that’s a steady build into a solid relationship you believe in. I flew through the book in an easy two days, not wanting to put it down and only doing so because real life kept getting in the way.

For a brand new to me author? This was high on my list of favorites. I enjoyed this. A lot. It was full of romance, of action, of gruff alpha male heroes rushing to protect the damsel in distress.

It was as described-a wild, fun ride through the woods with a gruff grizzly of a man and his dog, taking down baddies one bad guy at a time. Definitely worth checking out for those who like that sort of thing. 4 out of 5 stars, and I’m definitely looking into the other works by this author.

Netgalley Review + Novella: Chili Cauldron Curse

ChiliNovella

Hello friends,

Chili Cauldron Curse by Lynn Cahoon is a delightful novella of witchiness, cozy murder mystery, and cooking all wrapped up in one. I don’t believe that I’ve read anything by this author before, but a short mystery from Kensington Publishers sounded like just the thing to read.

The story takes place with a chili cook off. Mia, our main character, runs the event in terms of cleaning up a food bank for her grandmother, whose a practicing Wiccan. Magic runs in the family, however Mia’s not near as powerful as her grams, though she tries. When she volunteers to assist in running the food bank to help feed the poor, with the chili cook off upcoming as an event, she doesn’t bargain on finding a dead body right before the event’s set to take place…the body belonging to Dorian Alexander, who happens to be her grandmother’s boyfriend.

Threats abound, magic occurs, and cats get inhabited by ghosts in this delightful cozy mystery. This was a fun paranormal mystery, with a spark of potential romance sideplot that was interesting to me as well. With a recipe in back for chili that I’m intrigued in trying one day during the winter holidays, I highly recommend this novella for those in the mood for a fun, light hearted read. I’m pleased to give this five stars, and I’m definitely going to keep reading more from this author in the future.

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book

Book Review: The Haunting of Hillwood Farm

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm

Hello friends,

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm by Kathryn Knight starts off with a strong opening, and is essentially  a ghost story set on a haunted farm, complete with horses and dark, edgy vibes throughout the story.  The story itself began with an opening chapter of a woman named Alice with a haunted kitchen, where a sugar jar moves by itself-and then explodes, causing her to call up a psychic that can hear ghosts speak-a gift that Callie never wanted. Arriving at the farm, more accidents and dangerous events unfold throughout both the farm, and her own place later on through the story. Ghosts, apparently, want her gone.

It’s thought that Alice’s husband, Henry, is the spirit causing the distress as he unexpectedly passed away. There was a lot of suspects throughout the story of who the ghost might be, some nice scenes with the horses, and a few clips of adventure where there’s a fire, a scattering of dangerous accidents, and even a romantic element thrown in with Alice’s grandson, Luke Turner. The three get together to buckle down, and solve the mystery…before someone else gets killed or hurt.

Overall, the writing was strong, and I quite liked all the characters. Everyone felt fully fleshed out and real, and I spent a solid three hours breezing through this story, as once you start, you don’t want to quit. I devoured the book in one sitting, and gave it 4.5 stars. I recommend it for those who enjoy a good ghost story during the summer, or even for Halloween, it would be a perfect read for that spooky atmosphere. The romance was also well handled, and I definitely find myself intrigued in checking out the author’s other works. This book was available through Kindle Unlimited, for those that wish to grab it for themselves, and I highly recommend it.

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book.

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