Spring Book Reviews

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Spring has already left us and I’m a tad behind. Spring is another season that is perfect for reading due to allergies. Here are a few of the books I read this spring and my thoughts on each one. My Spring Book Reviews!

Stone Maidens by Lloyd Devereux Richards 

Lloyd Devereux Richards skillfully builds layers of psychological suspense and terror into a compulsively readable whodunit. 

Stone Maidens

Goodreads Description: 

As the chief forensic anthropologist for the FBI’s Chicago field office, Christine Prusik has worked her fair share of bizarre cases. Yet this one trumps them all: a serial killer is strangling young women and dumping their bodies in the steep, forested ravines of southern Indiana.

With each victim, the killer leaves a calling card: a stone figurine carved like the spirit stones found among the primitive tribes of Papua New Guinea — the same tribes from whom Prusik narrowly escaped a decade earlier while doing field research. The similarity is eerie and, frankly, terrifying; Prusik still carries the scars from the tribesmen’s attack. But is the connection real? Or have the dark details of Prusik’s nightmares finally wormed their way into her waking life?

I love a good crime mystery. This book is the king of psychological, suspense, and terror for a thrilling mystery. The detail throughout the book was superb. I would through Richards in the same category as James Patterson and John Grisham, he is that good. 

Pursik is the ultimate badass forensic anthropologist. She leaves you on the edge of your seat with each twist and turns in the case. At first, it’s hard to grasp all the characters’ points of view. It changes between the main characters, Christine Pursik, Rodger, David Claremont, Sheriff McFaron, and Donald Holmquist. Make sure to keep who is who straight. You have to read the prologue for the white story and the epilogue to make sense. It’s all connected. I could not put the book down. I felt like I was watching it all unfold in front of me. It gave me The Outsider vibes but 10 times better. 

To wrap it up without giving any details away. Do you think there could be a serial killer trait passed down from generation to generation? 

Their Captive Bride Series by Julia Skyes 

A trilogy of dark contemporary romances. 

Book 1 – In Their Hands

My father sold me to the devil: an arranged marriage with Dante Torrio, sadistic capo and would-be usurper. But before their bargain is complete, I’m stolen away by Luca Vitale, heir to the Vitale crime family. I’m a pawn in a brewing mafia war, a captive bride in a power play between two cold-blooded monsters.

I hate Luca for forcing me into marriage, but he’ll do anything to mold me into his obedient wife. The longer I remain trapped with him, the more I come to crave the dark pleasure my unyielding husband offers me. He is fiercely possessive and jealously guards me. He protects me from his enemies, especially Dante, who is determined to steal me back. Which fate would be worse? To belong to the ruthless mafia prince or to the devil himself?

Book 2 – In Their Power 

I’m a captive, a pawn in a power play between two ruthless men—my husbands… Dante wants to be the Boss of our criminal organization, and he’ll do awful, dark things to make Luca bow to him. He promises he’ll use me to break him. As we both suffer in his hands, I find myself falling for Luca, bound to him by pain and fear. But Dante is fiercely possessive, and in his own twisted way, he seems to care for me. Outside of our gilded cage, a growing threat from the Bratva puts us all in danger. Both men swear to protect me from their enemies, but who will protect me from them?

Book 3 – In Their Hearts 

The Bratva broke me, but my fierce husbands will do anything to put me back together again. Luca loves me, and I love him. Dante’s obsession with me is darker, but he’s no less possessive. He’ll even find it in his black heart to share me with Luca if that’s what brings me peace. As my men help me heal, I find myself falling for both of them. But the Russians aren’t done with us, and my brutal husbands will have to work together if they want to end the monsters who tormented me. I can’t choose between my fierce protectors, but maybe I don’t have to. With every possessive touch, they make it clear that they will give me anything I desire, even if that means loving them both…

This series follows a mafia princess, Nora in her crazy life of being stolen by not one but two men and forced into marriage with both. She falls in love with both in her forced marriage and captivity. The problem is she can’t just choose one to be in her life. The one problem they are sworn enemies. The only thing they can agree on is keeping Nora safe and happy. 

Warning that this series includes themes such as BDSM and MFM. 

I’ll Stop the World by Lauren Thoman 

I'll Stop the World

The end and the beginning become one in a heart-pounding coming-of-age mystery about the power of friendship, fate, and inexplicable second chances.

Goodreads Description: 

Is it the right place at the wrong time? Or the wrong place at the right time?

Trapped in a dead-end town, Justin Warren has had his life defined by the suspicious deaths of his grandparents. The unsolved crime happened long before Justin was born, but the ripple effects are still felt after thirty-eight years. Justin always knew he wouldn’t have much of a future. He just never imagined that his life might take him backward.

In a cosmic twist of fate, Justin’s choices send him crashing into the path of determined optimist Rose Yin. Justin and Rose live in the same town and attend the same school, but have never met―because Rose lives in 1985. Justin won’t be born for another twenty years. And his grandparents are still alive―for now.

In a series of events that reverberate through multiple lifetimes, Justin and Rose have a week to get Justin unstuck in time and put each of them in control of their futures―by solving a murder that hasn’t even happened yet.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy through Amazon. As a Prime member, you can pick one free released ebook every month from the editor’s picks. This was my April pick. After reading the synopsis I was intrigued, but honestly, who wouldn’t be? It was a slow start but as the story continued I fell in love with the story and its characters. Rose is my absolute favorite character I have read in a while. She is one that you will never forget. 

The storyline was a bit hard to keep up with going back and forth between two years. I think the confusion could have been avoided if the year was put on the chapter title. The details throughout the story are unlike any other book I have read. The specifics of the history and time points were greatly written. The author sheds light on different parts of history, such as racial problems back then that are still relevant today. 

Justin has a unique story. He time travels back to undo the murder of his grandparents, but that might not be the only reason he is there. This book is full of second chances and reminds us not to take anything for granted. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery with time travel incorporated. I’ll Stop the World, contains depictions of emotional abuse, alcoholism and excessive drinking, underage drinking, smoking, racism, discussions of homophobia, and violent bullying. Read at your own discretion. 

A Cruel Arrangement by Tijan

The second book of the Kings of New York series is an intensely passionate story of a man trying to make amends and the woman who makes him want to keep his promises.

A Cruel Arrangement

Good Reads Description: 

This was my place. My business. Easter Lanes. Then a guy comes in, trying to rob me, daring to take it away from me. My home. My life. Hell no. I won’t let my livelihood be threatened. No one knows what I’ve done to build this life for myself. Except he might.

Ashton Walden, a man I remember from when we were kids. Even back then I could tell how dangerous he would be one day. He’s now the head of the Walden mafia family, and my father is so in debt to them that they practically own him. My dad and I are estranged and I want nothing to do with him or his debt, but the day after the attempted robbery, I don’t wake up in the hospital. I wake up in Ashton Walden’s home. And he drops a bomb on me. If I want my livelihood back, I need to earn it back. And thus begins our cruel arrangement.

I loved the first book of the Kings of New York series so of course I had to read the next one as soon as it came out. This story follows Molly and Ashton who were introduced in the first book. Molly is a strong-willed and independent young woman who owns her family’s bowling alley and is friends with Jess. Ashton is best friends or should I say brothers with Trace, not to mention business partners.

Molly’s life has never been an easy ride for her but one new information comes to light and Ashton steps into her life it gets even crazier. She becomes in danger after her father sets on a mafia mission. Not to mention the fact she has been hanging sound the king of the mafia Ashton Walden. He will do anything to keep her safe, Jess will do anything to keep her out of the mafia lifestyle, and Molly she will do anything and everything to keep her family business and find out who killed one of her best friends. 

The sequel was just as great as the first. I was worried at first when it wasn’t a continuation of Jess and Trace. There was no indication of an Ashton and Molly potential relationship in the first book unless I missed something. It was a blindsider for sure. Don’t worry though Jess and Trace still make multiple appearances in the second book. As normal the spice was great throughout the book. When they revealed the killer I was completely shocked. I was definitely going a different way with who I thought did it. This book did have a lot more action than the first so if you are into thrillers along with a spicy romance this book is perfect for you! 

Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks 

Dreamland is a love story about risking everything for a dream—and whether it’s possible to leave the past behind.


Good Reads Description: 

Colby Mills once felt destined for a musical career, until tragedy grounded his aspirations. Now the head of a small family farm in North Carolina, he spontaneously takes a gig playing at a bar in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida, seeking a rare break from his duties at home.

But when he meets Morgan Lee, his world is turned upside-down, making him wonder if the responsibilities he has shouldered need to dictate his life forever. The daughter of affluent Chicago doctors, Morgan has graduated from a prestigious college music program with the ambition to move to Nashville and become a star. Romantically and musically, she and Colby complete each other in a way that neither has ever known.

While they are falling headlong in love, Beverly is on a heart-pounding journey of another kind. Fleeing an abusive husband with her six-year-old son, she is trying to piece together a life for them in a small town far off the beaten track. With money running out and danger seemingly around every corner, she makes a desperate decision that will rewrite everything she knows to be true.

In the course of a single unforgettable week, two young people will navigate the exhilarating heights and heartbreak of first love. Hundreds of miles away, Beverly will put her love for her young son to the test. And fate will draw all three people together in a web of life-altering connections . . . forcing each to wonder whether the dream of a better life can ever survive the weight of the past.

This book gave me flashbacks to Safe Haven hardcore, till the ending. I will warn you it is very confusing how the two stories relate to each other but Sparks ties it all in a nice pretty bow in the end, per usual. Unpopular opinion alert! This was the first book I read that had TikTok and other pop culture references. I know a lot of readers hate them but I didn’t mind it at all. It will be eventually in history books so why should it not be in books we read for pleasure? This is the ONLY Sparks book that didn’t have me crying for thirty minutes afterward, only about fifteen. As always Nicholas Sparks will forever be the king of romance novels and I can’t wait for his next one to be announced. 

Kill Joy by Holly Jackson

Find out where it all began for Pip in this prequel to the best-selling A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Kill Joy

Good Reads Description: 

Pippa Fitz-Amobi is not in the mood for her friend’s murder mystery party. Especially one that involves 1920s fancy dress and pretending that their town, Little Kilton, is an island called Joy. But when the game begins, Pip finds herself drawn into the make-believe world of intrigue, deception, and murder.

But as Pip plays detective, teasing out the identity of the killer clue-by-clue, the murder of the fictional Reginald Remy isn’t the only case on her mind …

Not many thoughts on this book as it’s only 130 pages. It’s a cute one-sit read. Gives you an insight into how Pip’s mind works before you get thrown into the AGGGTM series. I would suggest if you are looking to start the series to start with this book then read on. If you read the series already you aren’t missing much, you can skip this read.

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