Sunday, August 07, 2022

Before She Disappeared


Before She Disappeared: A Novel (A Frankie Elkin Novel Book 1) by Lisa Gardner. New York: Dutton, 2021. 383 pages. ****

Frankie Elkin has made it her mission to find those who are lost and missing. A recovering alcoholic, Frankie goes from town to town researching cold cases and asking questions. Haitian teen Angelique Bodeau is missing from her high school and seems to have vanished into thin air. Frankie travels to Mattapan, a rough Boston neighborhood, and applies for a job as a bartender to get to know the locals and find Angelique. She soon discovers that no one wants her there including Angelique's family and the police. 
Being accepted is not necessary, however, discovering and uncovering secrets, draws Frankie into a world of drugs, fake IDs, counterfeiting and murder. Frankie has her own demons to fight, and her mission is complicated by her attraction to Detective Dan Lotham. Frankie has found 14 people prior to Angelique, and she is determined to bring her home alive. 

This is the first of two Frankie Elkin's novels, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it in two days. I needed to mentally escape, and Gardner's books always fill that vacuum. Frankie is raw, real, and determined not to fail. There is a certain sadness and desperation in Frankie that others can relate to and makes them believe in her and at the same time want to protect and unburden themselves to her.  Can she succeed and stay alive? Will this case bring her the closure she needs, or will she move on to the next missing person? 

The second book is One Step Too Far and I can't wait to read it.

Lisa Gardner, a #1 New York Times bestselling thriller novelist, began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has transformed her interest in police procedure and criminal minds into a streak of internationally acclaimed novels, published across 30 countries. 
Lisa lives in New Hampshire where she spends her time with an assortment of canine companions. When not writing, she loves to hike, garden, snowshoe and play cribbage.
To learn more about Lisa and to enter her annual “Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy” Sweepstakes, click here

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#suspensefiction #kidnapping 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Last Letter from Your Lover


The Last Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes. New Your, Penguin Books, 2010. 390 pages. ****
Reader's Guide, Questions for Discussion. 

It is 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes up in a hospital to discover that she has been in a car accident and has no recollection of the accident or her previous life. Everything feels wrong about her life, something keeps eluding her and no one wants to talk about it. While going through her things, she finds a love letter tucked away in a paperback novel that suggests a clandestine affair. Unsettled, Jennifer sets out to discover the identity of "B" and to reclaim her lost love.

In 2003, while researching a potential news story, Ellie Haworth finds the same letter in the newspaper archives. Ellie becomes obsessed with finding the lovers and learning their story. Did they eventually end up together and why is this letter filed with seemingly unrelated documents on asbestos? Trying to salvage her own relationship with a married man and her flailing newspaper career, Ellie searches for Jennifer and "B." 

I received The Last Letter from Your Lover as my July book in the Book Hive Book Club: Colony of Readers. One thing that I really love about this book club is receiving books to read that either I missed or probably would not choose on my own. This is one of those books. In addition to romance, this is a story of chance encounters and coincidences. Through their parallel stories, Jennifer and Ellie are survivors looking for love.

Moyes has a way with words that helps the reader understand her complex characters and their circumstances. We often read about tragic events that cause people to re-evaluate their life choices and are brave enough to change them. An excellent Book Club and summer reading choice. Many discussion points, or,  if you want to fall into a book and escape for a few hours. 

The Last Letter from Your Lover was released on Netflix in select territories on 23 July 2021, in the United Kingdom on 6 August 2021, by StudioCanal, and in Scandinavia on 30 July 2021, by SVENSK.

Jojo Moyes is a novelist and journalist. Her books include the bestsellers Me Before You, After You and Still Me, The Girl You Left Behind, The One Plus One and her short story collection Paris for One and Other Stories. Her novels have been translated into forty-six languages, have hit the number one spot in twelve countries and have sold over thirty-eight million copies worldwide.

Me Before You has now sold over fourteen million copies worldwide and was adapted into a major film starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke. Jojo lives in Essex. For more information about Moyes and her books, click here.

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#romancenovel #colonyofreaders #bookstagram 

Friday, July 01, 2022

The Secret Witness


The Secret Witness by Victor Methos. (Shepard & Gray Book 1) Thomas & Mercer, 2022. 301 pages. Kindle edition. ***

"This is Reaper speaking." Has the Reaper returned to continue his killing spree or has a copycat perfected his killing technique? Local Toole County, Utah, Sheriff Billie Gray realizes that she needs help stopping a killer. Solomon Shepard was an outstanding and dedicated homicide prosecutor until a defendant stabbed him in the back while in the courtroom. Solomon stopped practicing law and walks with a cane, however, his resolve at putting murderers behind bars has never left him. The two join forces to identify the Reaper, profiling him to find a missing teen. 

I received this book as an Amazon Prime free book choice.

The Secret Witness is a quick, fast-paced read. Methos kept me guessing with just enough hints thrown in to keep me reading. I have many books in my TBR pile, however, I wanted engaging and entertaining without too much thought. A perfect book for beach/summertime reading! 

At the age of thirteen, when his best friend was interrogated by the police for over eight hours and confessed to a crime he didn’t commit, Victor Methos knew he would one day become a lawyer. After graduating from law school at the University of Utah, Methos sharpened his teeth as a prosecutor for Salt Lake City before founding what would become the most successful criminal defense firm in Utah. In ten years Methos conducted more than one hundred trials. One particular case stuck with him, and it eventually became the basis for his first major bestseller, The Neon Lawyer. Since that time, Methos has focused his work on legal thrillers and mysteries, earning a Harper Lee Prize for The Hallows and an Edgar nomination for Best Novel for his title A Gambler’s Jury. He currently splits his time between southern Utah and Las Vegas. For more information -

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#mystery #psychological thriller #serialkiller

2022 Monthly Color Challenge - July


July  - Purple Sumac

Purple Sumac

What is sumac?

 Patterns by Jen provides the pattern each month and helpful techniques for completing it. 

Matching this color is a little more difficult than some of the others. I chose the purple on the left.

The purple fabric definitely photographs darker than the fabric looks.

I ironed the the pieces in half to match up the centers. I am also a Pinner.

I am not happy with the points on this block, when I have more time, I will remake it.

Check out the other bloggers this month!

Patterns by Jen

Lovingly, Lissa

Sunflower Stitcheries

Follow me on IG at kathy.nester

#2022monthlycolorchallenge #purplesumac #patternsbyjen #2022monthlycolorchallengejuly

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Mill River Recluse


The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan. New York, Ballantine Books Trade Paperback, 2011. 401 pages. A Reader's Guide. ****

Miller River, a sleepy Vermont town, represents hometown America. Everyone knows everyone, no one locks their doors and crime is thought nonexistent. Upon closer inspection, all is not as it seems. Beautiful, sheltered Mary Hayes grows up in Mill River with her father, training and breeding horses. Her life changes the day Patrick McAllister arrives at the farm to purchase his graduation gift, a Thoroughbred Morgan. Patrick, the future heir of McAllister Marbleworks is used to getting what he wants and one look at Mary and she is what he wants. Experiencing trauma in high school, Mary suffers from anxiety and marrying Patrick only adds to her fears. Mary retreats into a world of her own in her marble house on the hill.  Kyle Hansen starts over with his daughter in Miller River as a police officer following the death of his wife. Kyle sees what others don't -- threats, jealousy, arson, and greed. From a pilfering priest to a town benefactor, Miller River has many secrets to hide.


This is June's Colony of Readers Book Club choice, and I am so glad it is, I probably would not have picked it up on my own. Mary's story is one of sadness, acceptance, and finally, love. Chan is very adept at drawing the reader in and holding fast. There are two other books in this series, and I immediately reserved both at the library. (The Mill River Redemption and The Promise of Home) This is an easy read and will be perfect for vacation. 


Darcie Chan is the New York Times bestseller author. For fourteen years, Chan worked as an attorney drafting environmental and natural resource legislation for the U. S. Senate. She now writes fiction full-time and lives north of New York City with her husband and son.

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#millriverrecluse #millriverseries

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Lost Apothecary

The Lost Apothecary: a novel  by Sarah Penner.  Park Row, 2021. 319 pages. ****

"Rule #1 The poison must never be used to harm another woman." Nella is a woman in 1791 London, who runs an Apothecary catering to women who want to poison the oppressive men in their lives. She sells well-disguised natural poisons in a shop hidden from prying eyes. When 12-year-old Eliza Fanning comes to pick up a poison ordered by her mistress, Nella has a foreboding that this transaction may be her undoing. Meanwhile, in present-day London, Caroline Parcewell has traveled on a vacation that was supposed to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary until she found out right before she left that her husband was having an affair. Invited by a gentleman on the street to join a group of people who were mudlarking along the river, Caroline finds glass vial with a bear etched on it. Trying to find the origin of the vial leads Caroline to meet Gaynor at the Maps desk in the British Library. Becoming fast friends, the two embark on a journey to discover the mystery surrounding the vial and the dark secrets of a hidden Apothecary. 

This book is my Book Club's May choice. 

I found this book utterly fascinating and somewhat ironic in the face of current events, men wanting to  enact laws controlling women's bodies. What a diabolical concept, using natural ingredients to concoct a poison undetected by a coroner performing an autopsy in the 18th century. The fact that Nella recorded in her book what formula was provided and who ordered it and who the intended victim was added to the drama and fear of being caught. Women could murder the men who controlled them and never be held accountable for their actions, did anyone immediately regret what they did?  I'm still not clear on the purpose of recording the transaction, was it to cement the loyalty of those she helped? Verify the identity of those who died an untimely death? Cleanse her hands of the crime committed, was she merely the facilitator? I still want to know what was in the tincture created by Eliza. I can't wait until the discussion at Book Club, I'm sure it will be a lively one. 

This debut novel with its multi-faceted moral dilemma is a perfect choice for a book club. 

Sarah and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida with their miniature dachshund, Zoe. Penner offers a Book Club Kit filled with questions, Sarah's experiences mudlarking, and cocktails. To discover more about Sarah Penner,

For more information on mudlarking:

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#bookstagram #historicalfiction #mudlarking

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

2022 Monthly Color Challenge - April - Nigella Seeds

 April - Nigella Seeds - Black

Everything You Need to Know About Nigella Seeds

I had not heard of this spice before this Color Challenge. I am learning so much each month about spices and color. Looking for this month's pattern? Patterns by Jen provides the pattern each moth and helpful techniques for completing it.

I am loving how these blocks are playing together!

Check out this month's guest bloggers:

Lissa - Lovingly Lissa

Karen - Karen Bolan

Gail - Quilting Gail

Raylee - Sunflower Stitcheries and Quilting

Andi - True Blue Quilts

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#2022monthlycolorchallenge #aprilnigellaseeds