April 2023–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

The Yoga Store Murder by Dan Morse (Length: 384 pages) This is an excellent true crime novel published in 2013 (ie, it may be a bit more difficult to find online). The crime concerns the incredibly brutal murder of a Lululemon employee Jana Murray along with the aggravated assault of her coworker. The author covers the murder, the investigation and ultimately covers the trial. This book was recommended by one of my favorite podcasters, Meredith of Currently Reading as her favorite true crime book ever written. I do agree that it’s an excellent non-fiction account of a crime, written in an engaging narrative format. I grew up reading trade paperbacks by Ann Rule and this reminds me of her books, with the level of detail of everyone concerned. I figured out the killer immediately and I’m sure you will too, but this isn’t a mystery, it’s a humanizing account of a tragic murder, and of everyone who was affected by this homicide. I absolutely recommend this one!

Book #2:

The Wife Upstairs by Frieda McFadden (Length: 422 pages).  This is my third audiobook by this author–I didn’t realize she’s so prolific, but now that I’ve discovered these easy to listen to psychological/mystery thrillers, I can’t stop downloading them for my daily commute. These are mindless entertainment in my opinion; easy to stop and restart without losing the thread of the plot. The premise of this book is a bit unbelievable in that the protagonist, Sylvie Robinson, is hired to essentially hang out with a wife with a TBI (Victoria Barnett) all day in a beautiful home in a more isolated part of upstate New York. This absolutely has Colleen Hoover’s Verity vibes (as well as the classic novel Rebecca), so there’s nothing original about it. Sylvie even reads Victoria’s diary so we, the reader, also hear from Victoria as the story progresses. This is VERY formulaic and the “twists” are ridiculously easy to figure out, but again, it’s a fun ride and I listened to the end. I did read that this author is a practicing physician who specializes in brain injuries which explains a lot of this. On the whole I do recommend this if you’re looking for an easy to listen to (or read) thriller but don’t expect more than a 3 star experience.

Book #3:

Meet Me in Paradise  by Libby Hubscher (Length: 350 pages). I heard that this rom-com is well-written and it will make you cry. I do agree that it’s well-written and the characters are memorable. The premise is that Marin flies to a small island in the Caribbean called Saba, to meet her sister Sadie who was missed their flight and was supposed to catch the next flight. Sadie ultimately doesn’t join Marin, so Marin is “forced” to let go and have fun, and not be the protective older sister she’s always been post their mom’s tragic death when they were in high school. I loved the descriptions of the island and its inhabitants. The romance central to this novel is a bit rushed so the chemistry between Marin and her lover isn’t really developed in a way that hooks the reader in (ie, don’t read this for the romance), but it’s more about the relationship between the two sisters. I do enjoy a good cry once in a while, and this one delivered on that. Overall I’d give this a 3.5 stars.

Book #4:

The Perfect Son by Freida McFadden (Length: 373 pages) This book is considered by many of this author’s fans to be one of the best she’s written, so again, I downloaded this from my local library to listen to. It’s very easy to follow and the premise is fascinating. A suburban mom, Erika, has suspected her teenage son Liam is a sociopath based on his behaviors since he was 4 years old. The pacing in this psychological thriller is excellent, and the author maintains the tension of the plot throughout. The action is believable, and the characters are interesting, so all of these factors made this one of my favorites of her novels. I did figure out the “twist” almost immediately, but I enjoyed the entire ride. Definitely check this one out! I’ve already recommended it to a friend who devours audiobooks, and I can’t wait to hear what she thinks too.

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