2017 Book #8 – Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

514djmp1kl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: Everything You Want Me to Be
Author: Mindy Mejia
Date finished: 1/29/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense/thriller
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.
High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.
Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about the murder of Hattie Hoffman, a high school senior less than two months from graduation who is found murdered in an abandoned barn near a lake in her very small town. The whole town is rocked by this grisly murder, and fearing that there is now a psychotic murder somewhere in their midst the town is demanding answers. Del is the sheriff, and although the mayor is putting a lot of pressure on him to find out what happened Del’s real motivation is his best friend Bud, Hattie’s father. Del is desperate to find out what happened to his friend’s sweet daughter, who he thought he knew well. But it turns out everyone can hide secrets if they’re dark enough, and Hattie’s secret is a doozy. The reader knows that it somehow involves Peter Lund, a teacher from Hattie’s school, before the book even gets going since he has such an important role in the book. And Peter is in fact somehow involved, but the ending, and the murderer, is something that the reader won’t see coming.
Overall this book rocked. I loved the way that the story was presented, with the three separate points of view. The story line itself was riveting and I loved the way the author wrote this book, there were so many passages that stood out to me and really just made me stop and think about how wonderfully this book was written. Hattie as a character jumps off the page and really just comes so alive for the reader. And the murderer really is just not someone that I would have expected at all, I loved the way the ending was done because it keeps the reader guessing until the last minute. The whole thing was just overwhelmingly sad but I loved that the author didn’t shy away from this either. The book includes not only the suspense of what happened and trying to resolve the mystery but also deals with the raw grief that comes from losing a child and of the community that is left to deal with the aftermath of the murder. I loved this book and I would highly recommend it!

Favorite quotes: 
“I took a step closer, compelled beyond reason toward this girl who kept shedding masks like a matryoshka doll, each one more audacious that the last, a psychological striptease that rached me with the need to tear her apart until I found out who or what was inside.” (Peter)

“It wouldn’t matter if I never saw her again, never hugged her. I would cut off my hands and feet just to know her heart was beating.” (Mona, Hattie’s Mom)

The bottom line: This book was awesome, I loved the plot and the way the story was presented with the three points of view. Though jumping back and forth between past and present can be hard to follow at times, I think it was absolutely the best way to present the story. This was a great thriller and I would highly recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #7 – The Girl Before by JP Delaney

51nt2d3zgwl-_sx327_bo1204203200_Title: The Girl Before
Author: JP Delaney
Date finished: 1/24/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense/thriller
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
JANE
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Jane Cavendish and also of Emma Matthews. The book outlines the lives of both these very different women, Jane in the “Now” and Emma from “Then”. Both women at their different times are looking for a new place to live. Both have recently suffered a trauma and end up applying to live at the same apartment in London. This house comes at a very discounted rent price but in exchange they have to agree to the “Rules.” These rules include not being able to bring much with them, participating in a sort of experimental data gathering, and no pets, children or any kind of mess.  The house is very high-tech and can read your personal preferences from the data that’s been collected and stored, such as what temperature you prefer your shower temperature. In fact you can’t even get in the front door unless the house knows you or you have a code on your phone to get in. And as both women fall under the spell of the building’s architect, their lives parallel each other very closely before veering off in other directions. As both women find themselves being threatened though, they will each have to fight for their lives.
Overall I really liked this book. I didn’t want to put it down and I thought that the alternating points of view made the story line really build with tension. I loved how closely the two women’s stories coincided at certain points. THere were a lot of plot twists in this book, almost too many at some points. I thought this was a good thriller though, with some great options for villains. I loved the technology aspect to this story as well. The house is constantly evolving and growing smarter and learning. It almost seems as if the house brain-washes the individual living in it. It definitely added an additional piece of the story that keeps the reader interested. I have to admit the villain definitely wasn’t who I expected it to be, and I thought the author did a great job with the surprise ending. I liked this book a lot and I would definitely recommend.

The bottom line: This was a really good book, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time waiting to find out what had happened to Emma. And I didn’t see a lot of the twists coming, which always makes for a good thriller.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Two Days Gone BLOG TOUR!!

Two Days Gone was released this past Tuesday (January 10th) and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book here. See below for more information about the book, an excerpt, a short author bio, and a GIVEAWAY! This was a very good read, I would definitely recommend checking it out! It was thrilling and interesting and I enjoyed it a lot. 

SUMMARY

The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now.
Thomas Huston, a beloved professor and bestselling author, is something of a local hero in the small Pennsylvania college town where he lives and teaches. So when Huston’s wife and children are found brutally murdered in their home, the community reacts with shock and anger. Huston has also mysteriously disappeared, and suddenly, the town celebrity is suspect number one.
Sergeant Ryan DeMarco has secrets of his own, but he can’t believe that a man he admired, a man he had considered a friend, could be capable of such a crime. Hoping to glean clues about Huston’s mind-set, DeMarco delves into the professor’s notes on his novel-in-progress. Soon, DeMarco doesn’t know who to trust—and the more he uncovers about Huston’s secret life, the more treacherous his search becomes.

BUY THE BOOK HERE

Amazon:  http://ow.ly/dr1j306TTQ3
Barnes & Noble  :http://ow.ly/eveI306TU15
IndieBound:  http://ow.ly/hupQ306TU93

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. His essays, articles, poems, and short stories have appeared in various online and print magazines. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Pennsylvania.

GIVEAWAY

The publisher is holding a giveaway for two copies of the book, enter to win!!

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Two Days Gone.   Runs January 10-31 (US & Canada only)

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EXCERPT

51fpei4tytl-_sx331_bo1204203200_First Chapter Excerpt

The waters of Lake Wilhelm are dark and chilled. In some places, the lake is deep enough to swallow a house. In others, a body could lie just beneath the surface, tangled in the morass of weeds and water plants, and remain unseen, just another shadowy form, a captive feast for the catfish and crappie and the monster bass that will nibble away at it until the bones fall asunder and bury themselves in the silty floor.

In late October, the Arctic Express begins to whisper south- eastward across the Canadian plains, driving the surface of Lake Erie into white-tipped breakers that pound the first cold breaths of winter into northwestern Pennsylvania. From now until April, sunny days are few and the spume-strewn beaches of Presque Isle empty but for misanthropic stragglers, summer shops boarded shut, golf courses as still as cemeteries, marinas stripped to their bone work of bare,splintered boards. For the next six months, the air will be gray and pricked with rain or blasted with wind-driven snow. A season of surliness prevails.

Sergeant Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop D, Mercer County headquarters, has seen this season come and go too many times. He has seen the surliness descend into despair, the despair to acts of desperation, or, worse yet, to deliberately malicious acts, to behavior that shows no regard for the fragility of flesh, a contempt for all consequences. 

He knows that on the dozen or so campuses between Erie and Pittsburgh, college students still young enough to envision a happy future will bundle up against the biting chill, but even their youthful souls will suffer the effects of this season of gray. By November, they will have grown annoyed with their roommates, exasperated with professors, and will miss home for the first time since September. Home is warm and bright and where the holidays are waiting. But here in Pennsylvania’s farthest northern reach, Lake Wilhelm stretches like a bony finger down a glacier-scoured valley, its waters dark with pine resin, its shores thick on all sides with two thousand acres of trees and brush and hanging vines, dense with damp shadows and nocturnal things, with bear and wildcat and coyote, with hawks that scream in the night.

In these woods too, or near them, a murderer now hides, a man gone mad in the blink of an eye.

The college students are anxious to go home now, home to Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukah, to warmth and love and light.Home to where men so respected and adored do not suddenly butcher their families and escape into the woods.

The knowledge that there is a murderer in one’s midst will stagger any community, large or small. But when that murderer is one of your own, when you have trusted the education of your sons and daughters to him, when you have seen his smiling face in every bookstore in town, watched him chatting with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, felt both pride and envy in his sudden acclaim, now your chest is always heavy and you cannot seem to catch your breath. Maybe you claimed, last spring, that you played high school football with Tom Huston. Maybe you dated him half a lifetime ago, tasted his kiss, felt the heave and tremor of your bodies as you lay in the lush green of the end zone one steamy August night when love was raw and new. Last spring, you were quick to claim an old intimacy with him,so eager to catch some of his sudden, shimmering light. Now you want only to huddle indoors. You sit and stare at the window, confused by your own pale reflection.

Now Claire O’Patchen Huston, one of the prettiest women in town, quietly elegant in a way no local woman could ever hope to be, lies on a table in a room at the Pennsylvania State Police forensics lab in Erie. There is the wide gape of a slash across her throat, an obscene slit that runs from the edge of her jawline to the opposite clavicle.

Thomas Jr., twelve years old, he with the quickest smile and the fastest feet in sixth grade, the boy who made all the high school coaches wet their lips in anticipation, shares the chilly room with his mother. The knife that took him in his sleep laid its path low across his throat, a quick, silencing sweep with an upward turn.

As for his sister, Alyssa, there are a few fourth grade girls who, a week ago, would have described her as a snob, but her best friends knew her as shy, uncertain yet of how to wear and carry and contain her burgeoning beauty. She appears to have sat up at the last instant, for the blood that spurted from her throat sprayed not only across the pillow, but also well below it, spilled down over her chest before she fell back onto her side. Did she understand the message of that gurgling gush of breath in her final moments of consciousness? Did she, as blood soaked into the faded pink flannel of her pajama shirt, lift her gaze to her father’s eyes as he leaned away from her bed?

And little David Ryan Huston, asleep on his back in his crib— what dreams danced through his toddler’s brain in its last quivers of sentience? Did his father first pause to listen to the susurrus breath? Did he calm himself with its sibilance? The blade on its initial thrust missed the toddler’s heart and slid along the still-soft sternum. The second thrust found the pulsing muscle and nearly sliced it in half.

The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now. Snap your fingers five times, that’s how long it took. Five soft taps on the door. Five steel-edged scrapes across the tender flesh of night.

2017 Book #3 – Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

51fpei4tytl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: Two Days Gone
Author: Randall Silvis
Date finished: 1/9/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense/thriller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Pages in book: 400
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now.
What could cause a man, when all the stars of fortune are shining upon him, to suddenly snap and destroy everything he has built? This is the question that haunts Sergeant Ryan DeMarco after the wife and children of beloved college professor and bestselling author Thomas Huston are found slaughtered in their home. Huston himself has disappeared and so is immediately cast as the prime suspect.
DeMarco knows―or thinks he knows―that Huston couldn’t have been capable of murdering his family. But if Huston is innocent, why is he on the run? And does the half-finished manuscript he left behind contain clues to the mystery of his family’s killer?
A masterful new thriller by acclaimed author Randall Silvis, Two Days Gone is a taut, suspenseful story that will will break your heart as much as it will haunt your dreams.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I also am participating in the Blog Tour for this book, you can see my post with an excerpt from the book and other information here. This book is about the murder of Claire Huston and her three children: Thomas Jr,  Alyssa, and little David Ryan. The small town is shocked and grieving, and Detective Ryan DeMarco is determined to find out what happened to the family. Ryan doesn’t believe his new friend Thomas, Claire’s husband and the children’s father, could really be responsible, but since he disappeared from the house the same night as the murders it’s hard not to consider him as a suspect. Thomas was a local college professor and a best-selling author, the pride of the local community and by all appearances a committed husband and father and part of a happy family. But as Ryan starts digging into the events that led up to the tragic event, he realizes there was darkness in Thomas’s life that no one knew about. And unless Ryan can find Thomas quickly, there is a chance that more will die.
Overall I really liked this book. The book is told through two alternating points  of view, Thomas and Ryan’s. I think the author did a great job of creating a well layered story line and an intriguing mystery. The story itself was so very tragic, even two days later I feel bad for everyone involved and I am still struck with sadness over the pain that these characters endured. The ending overall was very fitting for the story, just very sad. The only part that felt a little off to me was the additional party’s involvement at the end (I can’t really be more specific without giving away parts of the end). That part still doesn’t feel like it fit with the rest of the story line for me personally. Other than that though I really liked this book and I would recommend it, especially for anyone who likes a good thriller/suspense.

The bottom line: This was definitely a good book. I’m still recovering from how tragically sad it was but it definitely had an interesting/thrilling story line. I would recommend it, especially for readers who enjoy suspenseful novels. Just be forewarned, your heart will hurt.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #119 – The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

51y14thhoul-_sx326_bo1204203200_Title: The Twilight Wife
Author: A.J. Banner
Date finished: 12/17/16
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.
Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.
But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.
As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Kyra, a woman who was in a diving accident recently and now suffers from short term memory loss. Not only that but she can’t remember anything from the past 4 years. Thankfully (ha) her husband Jacob is there to help her and take care of her. During her recovery they’ve relocated to a remote island where Jacob’s parents  had a house. There Kyra starts to recover snippets of her memories from the past four years, and some of her memories are dark and don’t make sense with what her husband Jacob has been telling her about their life. Kyra starts trying to remember more so maybe she can piece together what her strange but realistic dreams are about. Jacob doesn’t seem to want Kyra to recover anymore memories, he says he wants to start fresh but what is he hiding from her?
Overall I really liked this book! It was a great thriller and there were a couple surprise twists at the end that I didn’t see coming. This book reminded me a lot of a book I read recently for book club, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, but it was a little less repetitive since Kyra could retain her memories from day to day. I didn’t want to put the book down, I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Kyra before the accident and what Jacob was hiding from her. I was distrustful of him from the beginning, he seemed too good to be true from the start and I knew he couldn’t be as perfect as he was making himself out to be. This was a great suspense so if you’re looking for a book to keep you guessing this is a great one to read!

The bottom line: This was a great thriller, I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Kyra and what her real story was. There were some great plot twists that I didn’t see coming, I would recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #114 – My Girl by Jack Jordan

51op6mfruvlTitle: My Girl
Author: Jack Jordan
Date finished: 11/28/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Publisher: JJP
Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Pages in book: 226
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house. Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death? Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets. But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me. From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Paige Dawson, a woman who has been broken by the hands life has dealt her: her only child murdered and her husband’s suicide. Paige spends all her time in a  drug and alcohol induced fog, not wanting to face reality in any way. She has multiple people who care for her though and who want her to get better, including her father, brother, and her husband’s parents. Paige starts having odd things happen to her, little things that at first she blamed on her drinking. But when every picture of her family has her husband’s face cut out of it, she starts to wonder if someone else has been in her house or if she’s truly just going mad. After the police have to get involved on two of her more recent drinking stints (including her driving into her husband’s gravestone and trying to kidnap a young girl in the department store), Paige is forced to get better or go to jail. Its around this time that Paige discovers she has alcoholic hepatitis, and if going to jail wasn’t enough of a motivation then keeping herself from dying is and Paige moves in with her brother for a few days while she transitions into being sober. And its there that Paige discovers a long held family secret that could destroy her.
Overall I really did like this book. Once I started it was impossible to put down, so it was good that it ended up being a quick read. Paige reminded me a lot of the main protagonist in The Girl on the Train, though the story lines weren’t exactly similar.  This book did get pretty dark and scary so I’d just like to forewarn the reader of that. There is a great twist in the story though that I didn’t see coming and while it was definitely creepy enough to turn my stomach it was also surprising enough that I gasped. This is a great thriller/scary read and I would definitely recommend reading it!

The bottom line: This was an awesome psychological suspense read, the only reason it didn’t get a higher score is it was just a little too dark/creepy/scary for me. There is some sick stuff that goes on in here. If you’re looking for a good thriller though I would most definitely recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #95 – Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

51ms72awqil-_sx328_bo1204203200_Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Date finished: 10/7/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand-alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.
Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.
Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Grace Angel, who is married to Jack Angel while she’s in her thirties. Grace’s sister Millie has Down Syndrome and after Millie graduates from her current school Grace will be responsible for her care and Millie will live with her. This is one of the main reasons why Grace hasn’t married yet, her previous boyfriends did not want to be responsible for Millie’s care. But Jack is different than all the other men, he really wants Millie to be a part of their lives. As the story unfolds, we are told parts alternating between the past and present, and towards the end of the book the past and present sort of overlap. Even from the first chapter the reader realizes there is something not quite right with the idyllic scene presented to us, though it takes a few minutes for us to put a finger on what’s wrong. As the chapters unfold though, our horror grows at what has happened to Grace’s life, and what may soon happen to Millie’s life as well.
Overall I really liked this book. I have to warn readers though, this book will turn your stomach. The abuse that Grace endures is not for the light of heart. This is definitely a book you will not be able to put down, and the ending will have you jumping and screaming at the suspense. Your mind may need a shower after this one though, the villain of the story is devious and undeniably evil. I was utterly terrified at the end, and because I was finishing it at 12:30am, I was afraid to close my eyes for the next half hour after I finished it. This is a terrifying book but it was a great read with an awesome ending. I would definitely recommend!

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this book. It was hard to get some parts of the story because of the abuse but the ending really knocked my socks off. I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page