Review: The Girl in the River (Detective Ellie Reeves #7) by Rita Herron

Detective Ellie Reeves should be enjoying the wedding of her dear friend Mia Norman. But instead of celebrating, she is frantically searching for the missing bride. Something is terribly wrong—just hours ago, Mia was blissfully happy. Why would she suddenly vanish?

Bursting through the dressing room, Ellie finds it in disarray—chairs overturned, a perfume bottle shattered. Hiding in the bathroom is Mia’s six-year-old daughter Pixie, curled in a ball and sobbing her heart out. The little girl says she was locked inside when she heard a man’s voice, and her mother crying. “I just want my mommy back,” she pleads. Ellie vows to make that happen.

Turning the venue upside down, Ellie’s blood turns to ice when she reaches the riverbank. Someone is dead in the rippling water, floating beside a white veil. Ellie holds her breath as she turns the body over. It belongs to Tori, Mia’s bridesmaid, a gunshot wound in her back. Near the murder scene, Ellie discovers a button from a man’s shirt, and her friend’s engagement ring. The race is on to find Mia—before it’s too late.

When forensics come back, the investigation takes a dark turn. DNA proves that Mia was actually Jesse Habersham, a woman who went missing five years ago. Ellie is certain that Mia was running from someone. Did her past finally catch up with her?

Review

A wedding goes tragically wrong and ends with a missing bride and a body near the river. I was immediately intrigued and had questions about what happened to the bride. How can a seeming beautiful day with so many happy people end up with murder? Ellie was at the wedding and quickly began the search for answers.

I have grown to really like Detective Ellie. At first, her character absolutely annoyed me. I didn’t like her style of working or the choices that she made in her personal life. However, I am now a fan of both. I like how scrupulous she is in her investigations and how well she works with her team. Her personal life also has me captivated. This installment actually ends with a cliff hanger on her personal life and I can’t wait for the next book already.

This was a complex, multi-layered case that also found a way of tugging at my heartstrings. My heart broke for the husband left at the altar but more so for the little child whose mom was missing. On the other hand, the case takes us to another creepy, little town on the mountains. I mean, Ellie’s town is weird. Its small but crime-filled. Nonetheless, Red River Rock was weirder. A small town full of secrets that people were willing to die for? Colour me, hooked!

This was yet another great installment to the Detective Ellie Reeves series. Intense, fast-paced with twists at every corner. I was gripped to the last page.

WWW: Jan 25th

 

This weekly feature was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. To participate, just answer the three questions below.  

What are you currently reading?

The Girl in the River (Detective Ellie Reeves #7) by Rita Herron – I have always enjoyed this one. A few chapters in and I am hooked.

That Night at the Beach by Kate Hewitt – I have always loved Kate’s books. I started reading a few chapters but was in the mood for a faster-paced book so I set this one aside but will get back to it.


A Spell of Good Things by Aỳbámi Adébáỳ – I requested this ARC not really expecting to be approved. I was super stoked when it showed up on my NetGalley shelf this weekend. I loved the author’s debut novel so I went into this one with very high expectations. Although the writing is as beautiful as I expected, the pace is quite slow so far but I still have high hopes.

What did you recently finish reading?

Her Deadly Promise (Detective Gina Harte #) by Carla Kovach

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am in the mood for cop procedural so I’ll probably ready one of these titles:

I am slowly getting back into reading but at quite a slow pace. My goal for this month is to read 4 books, I have read 2 so far so I am almost there. I have been watching some good shows though. I just finished binge-watching 2 seasons of Ginny and Georgia and I absolutely enjoyed the show. I also watched the latest season of The Circle and totally loved it and I might just have found my favourite winner yet.

So, what have you been reading and watching? Let me know in the comments section. Have a lovely week.

Review: Her Deadly Promise (Detective Gina Harte) by Carla Kovach

Four-year-old Kayden has been sitting alone on the little patch of tired grass outside his house for hours. His cheeks are wet with tears as he waits for his mother’s warm embrace. But she’ll never arrive to pick up her darling boy. She’ll never be seen again…

Church Road is a quiet corner of suburbia where happy families play in the local park and neighbours smile as they pass in the street. But behind the bright red door of number 8 lies the body of Billie Reeves, a young mum who just took her last breath.

Serena is Billie’s sister. When she found out her boyfriend had been obsessively calling Billie, she’d all but cut her from her life. But not before vowing she would make Billie pay for ruining her relationship…

Shaun is Billie’s ex-boyfriend. He left her the moment she fell pregnant. When he turned up at Billie’s door, demanding to see Kayden, she refused to take the risk of him hurting her precious son. He’ll do whatever it takes to get his little boy back…

Nadia is Billie’s best friend. Their kids attended the same school and Billie often opened up to Nadia about her struggles as a single mother. She knows Billie’s deepest, darkest secret. She promised never to tell, but that was before the argument…

When police investigate the quiet little street, they discover everyone was whispering about Billie’s late-night callers. What was going on behind the closed door of Billie’s small home? And if someone was prepared to kill her, what do they know, and who will be next?

Review

I have always enjoyed this series. I fell 3 books behind and didn’t get the ARCs but I have bought them and can’t wait to read them soon. Luckily, having read 8 books in the series so far, I was able to fill in the gaps as far as the characters’ lives and quickly get up to speed.

Gina Harte is dealing with a personal issue and is more alone than she has ever been. However, there is no time to dwell on her personal misery as she is quickly drawn in to a complex case filled with twists and turns. Billie is a single mother found murdered in her home. She lives in a small community with a circle of friends so its hard to imagine anyone targeting her.

I love small towns as settings for thrillers. The secrets and scandals have never failed to hold my attention. There is always so much drama that makes me happy that I live in the city. In this story, there is a group of school mums whose circle is broken by the murder of one of them. Then the secrets started coming out. Ooooh, they were juicy and scandalous! I was rubbing my hands in glee as each twist dropped. This was such an exciting read.

I have always loved Detective Gina Harte. She’s grown as a character and has had her ups and downs. It was fun to reconnect with her in this fast-paced, twisty, jaw-dropping case. I truly enjoyed this one and cannot wait for the next book in the series.

2023 Reading Goals

Hi everyone (if there is still anyone sticking with this absentee blogger lol).

In the rearview mirror

Happy New Year! I trust that you are having a great year so far. 2022 went by so fast, it was a blur. I truly enjoyed it and had such a wonderful year. For the first time, I travelled out of East Africa, visited the United Kingdom and ended the year in Ethiopia and Ghana. Truly grateful to have a job that allows me to travel. Honestly, it still feels surreal especially as I had always assumed that I’d never afford to travel. My reading and blogging suffered though. I had a goal of reading 90 books in 2022. This is something that I had previously done with ease so it didn’t seem like a crazy goal. In the end, I read 26 titles, most of which were continuing series.

Looking Ahead

I hope to get a bit more reading done this year. My goal is more realistic, 24 books. This means 2 books per month. Sounds manageable, right? I have already completed my first book for the year so things are looking up. Here are some of my upcoming reads.

Currently reading

Her Deadly Promise (Gina Harte #12) by Carla Kovach – This is an interesting read so far. I am 6 chapters in and enjoying it. Admittedly, I have skipped a few books in the series but I still feel like I am able to keep up with the characters.

Reading Next

Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza – I absolutely enjoy this author. Never had a miss with him so I can’t wait to delve into this one.

NetGalley Backlog

My NetGalley shelf is a crime scene filled with books long-published. I really feel guilty about falling behind so much but I hope to catch-up and clear my backlog this year. Below are some of the books that I am excited to get to:

This is it for me! Did you achieve your reading goals for 2022? Do you have some for 2023? Have a lovely year and happy reading.

Gone to Her Grave and Catch Her Death by Wendy Dranfield

Review: Gone to Her Grave by Wendy Dranfield

Detective Madison Harper is pulled away from Thanksgiving preparations when a local care worker, Terri Summers, is found dead in her home on the outskirts of Lost Creek, Colorado. Terri’s inconsolable mother can’t understand who would hurt such a kind soul who had dedicated her life to helping others. But analysis of the blood spatter at the scene indicates Terri knew her attacker, that she looked them right in the eye before her life was taken.

The awkward way Terri’s body is positioned catches Madison’s attention. Carefully moving her, she finds a bracelet—possibly a child’s—with a single red bead clenched in the woman’s fist, as if she was hiding it. It’s the lead Madison so desperately needs, but the sudden death of one of her own team sends the investigation into a tailspin.

With her coworkers crumbling around her, Madison must work day and night to trace the bracelet and crack the case. But when she’s dragged back into the disappearance of a woman and child from years ago, and finds a link to someone in her own family, can Madison stop this twisted killer before another precious life is taken? And at what cost?

Review

This still remains one of my favorite police procedural. Detective Madison is back. This time, she’s called to the scene of a homicide where a lone woman lies dead in her bed. There is an immediate suspect but this turns out not to be open and shut case that everyone expected. The case gets complicated when a cop is found deceased and the two deaths are connected.

I absolutely adore the lead detective, Madison Harper. I enjoy her background story and how it has shaped her character in this series. I ofcourse like her ‘sidekick’, Nate and how their histories are similar, yet very different. Madison’s son is another character that I liked from the get go. I enjoy how Madison works the cases and how Nate is her unofficial partner.

This was a multilayered case and the connection of all the pieces left in awe. I don’t know how the author did that. The past and present came clashing in a way that I couldn’t have predicted. Buried secrets from the past came to the surface and some of the unsolved mysteries in the series were finally solved. A lot of heartache along the way but the conclusion that we all needed though might have wanted.

This is yet another belter from Wendy Dranfield. This was yet another complex, captivating case that I enjoyed reading.

Review: Catch Her Death by Wendy Dranfield

As snow falls on the small town of Lost Creek, Colorado, a three-year-old boy is found playing quietly in his car seat, his mother, cold as ice, slumped against the steering wheel in front. Tearing herself away from reconnecting with her special agent father who abandoned her for his career, Detective Madison Harper is haunted by the fear in the boy’s sky-blue eyes, and vows to find justice for this innocent child, left motherless just days before Christmas.
Madison works around the clock on her only clue: a perfect circle of clean glass found on the car’s rear window. But she’s stopped in her tracks the moment another mother is found dead outside a church during Midnight Mass, her young boy left sucking his thumb on the frozen ground beside her. It can’t be a coincidence.
The need to spare the children might hint to the suspect being a woman, but the deeper Madison digs, the closer she gets to a serial killer her own father spent a lifetime chasing. Has the killer followed her father here? Could Madison, single mother to a son herself, be next?
As a blizzard closes in, wreaking havoc on the investigation, Madison hits the same dead ends her father did all those years ago. But when her closest friend goes missing, Madison must dive into the mind of this twisted soul and risk it all to stop another heart-shattering tragedy. But will she make it in time?

Review

This was yet another captivating, fast-paced, twisty installment in the Detective Madison Harper series. I have to admit though, it is the darkest one yet. I have met some pretty, twisted unsubs but this one was super cold, heartless and their crimes and motives were just something from a horror movie. Their modus operandi will haunt me for a while. All these made this quite a fascinating, memorable read.

A woman is found brutally murdered. There is one eye witness at the scene, a traumatized little child. The detectives can’t get much out of the child. They also don’t want to cause further trauma to an already broken child. Everyone is wondering why someone would have killed an innocent mum like that and subjected a child to such horrors. Madison’s team is equally disturbed and worried that the crimes might recur.

The case unfolds through chapters narrated by Madison, Nate, Bill Harper and the unsub. Each of the POVs was equally interesting. Madison leads the case with the tenacity that has become her signature. She leaves no stones unturned. Nate is haunted by his past and present. Bill Harper is Madison’s father, a retired FBI agent back into his daughter’s lives after 2 decades away but he has his own secrets.

This was a fast-paced, heart-pounding, engrossing case with a lot of heartbreak and jaw dropping twists along the way. I can’t wait to find out what lies ahead for the detective.

Reviews: The EX by S.E Lynes

The love of your life… or your biggest mistake?

It’s hard, meeting your ex after so much time apart. You remember the hurt, the tears and accusations, but you try not to show it. You smile politely, even while your heart beats faster.

You watch as he looks down into the stroller, at the beautiful blond-haired blue-eyed baby kicking his little legs in the sunshine, whose innocent smile lights up your world.

You see his face change. You know what he’s thinking.

The next day he calls. His voice is shaking. He wants the truth. Is it his child? You hesitate, your throat dry, good and bad memories swirling in your mind. You’ve missed him so much… but can you ever trust him again?

After a sleepless night, you arrange to meet, agreeing that the most important thing is doing what’s right for baby Tom. But months later, when the sirens wail in the night, you have to admit: you never thought either of you would go this far

Review

I have never come across a book by S.E Lynes that I didn’t enjoy. This is why I couldn’t pass up on this one despite the fact that I haven’t read a psychological thriller in quite a while. Luckily, this turned out to be another captivating, fast-paced read.

Sam and Naomi broke up during the first lockdown. Their relationship wasn’t working out. However, the timing of the breakup seemed to be what Naomi took hardest about the ordeal. She felt that Sam was inhuman for leaving her and letting her go through the lockdown alone. After the lockdown, the 2 bump into each other. Sam is surprised to see Naomi with a little boy. She first says he belongs to a friend but a date later, she finally admits that the baby is Sam’s. This is where everything changed for Sam.

The story is mainly narrated by Miranda, Sam’s friend and employer. Through the chapters, we also get POVs from Sam, his grandmother, Joyce and Naomi whose narration is through letters to Sam. Right from the beginning, there was a dark cloud, a sense of foreboding that implied that things weren’t quite as rosy as they first seemed. Naomi seemed much different than the mean, manipulator that Sam walked out on. Had she really changed though?

The first half of the story moved a little slowly. However, things got dark pretty soon and the twists started dropping, each one more shocking. I fly through the second half of the book and was excited to find myself thinking about the book when I wasn’t reading it. I actually got up early and finished it before work today. It felt good to be excited about a book after such a long reading slump.

I love S.E. Lynes’ books and this is another title that I highly recommend. What an exciting, gipping thrilling!

Review: Hidden Bodies (Detective Ellie Reeves) by Rita Herron

In the small town of Crooked Creek, where the Appalachian Mountains climb into the clouds, nineteen-year-old Mandy’s Spring Break takes a sinister turn. Detective Ellie Reeves races straight to the scene, driving through the winding roads to the abandoned orphanage.

Ellie saves the teenage girl but discovers human remains that have been there for thirty years, ever since the home for children closed down. Her heart shatters at the thought that they might belong to the helpless orphans.

Working day and night on the case, Ellie searches for the orphanage’s files, but they have been stolen—somebody is clearly trying to cover their tracks. As she interviews the residents of the mountain community, Ellie finds out that almost everyone connected to the children’s home has disappeared.
Then a woman is found dead, her body marked with a strange symbol. When Ellie learns that the victim used to work at the orphanage, it’s clear that a twisted killer is trying to stop the truth coming out.

Ellie vows to solve this case that spans decades and, when her research into the meaning of the symbol leads her to a local business at the heart of recent controversy, she’s on the right track. Can she bring the secrets to light before another innocent person is murdered? And when she gets too close to uncovering the truth, will she survive?

Review

I have always enjoyed the Appalachian Mountain as a setting for this cop procedural. It sure has kept Detective Ellie Reeves busy. With each new installment, the mountains bring forth even more darkness.

The premise of this story is a cold case. However, the past now haunts the present as there is someone hellbent on ensuring that secrets remain buried. Old bones are discovered and then bodies start piling up with witnesses being silenced forever. Ellie and her team have to solve the old mysteries in order to catch up with the killer in the present time.

This was yet another gripping read. Detective Ellie has truly grown on me. As I have previously mentioned, I didn’t like her in the first installment but now, she is one of my faves. Her character development grows stronger with each new book and I enjoyed working on this case with her.  

With lots of twists and turns, this was undoubtedly another belter. I can’t wait for the next installment.

Checking in

Hi guys, I hope y’all are doing well. I am okay. I have been trying to read and blog this year but its just not working out quite as it used to. I still read whenever I can but it takes weeks to get through each book and now it takes just as long to write reviews. I read this particular title almost a month ago. Anyway, I am taking it all slow and not stressing about it. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying this journey (reading/blogging) much more than I am. Hopefully, I will someday get back to this community ❤

Review: The Girl on Wildfire Ridge (Detective Kay Sharp #4) by Leslie Wolfe

On a hot summer’s day, the sleepy town of Mount Chester is thrown into turmoil when a seventeen year old local girl, Jenna goes missing. Within hours, the case takes an agonising turn when her body is discovered in the isolated mountains.Detective Kay Sharp rushes to the scene, hiking for miles to the base of Wildfire Ridge. From the markings on Jenna’s body, it is clear she had been murdered. Near the body, Kay finds a butterfly shaped hair clip with a set of fingerprints that could be a vital clue.
In the search for truth, Kay turns the small town upside down. She learns that Jenna changed dramatically over the past few months, no longer the popular girl who wore a smile on her face. Kay is certain that whatever happened to Jenna recently must be the key to her death.
With the clock ticking and every minute critical, Kay is up against the toughest case of her career. Can she risk everything to confront the past that she’s been running from, and save another innocent girl before it’s too late?

Review

I love this series but I must admit that this installment was hard to read. The writing was great as usual, the case complex just as I like them, the characters quite well developed… You may ask, what was the issue then? The details of what happened the victim turned my stomach. They were not graphically portrayed but its just a sensitive subject that I struggled with.

Jenna was reported missing just a few hours before her body was discovered. She had been brutally murdered. Shocking details emerge on the weeks leading up to her death. A young, beautiful, vibrant social butterfly had turned into a recluse. She didn’t want to socialise anymore. Something had happened to dim her light. And then details of the bullying she went through came up.

I was curious to know who has killed her. At some point, I thought it was obvious but I should have detected a redd herring when I saw one. The bullying that Jenna had previously gone through was hard to read about. I was curious as to why she was being attacked. I wanted to know who was behind it and couldn’t wait for justice to be served.

Detective Kay’s character gets better with each new installment. In this case, she had to confront her past even as she struggled to resolve current issues. I enjoy her relationship with her partner, Elliot, and the ME. I can’t wait to find out what lies ahead for Kay.

This was a dark, fast-paced, captivating read despite the heavy themes. What a gripping read!

Review: Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde

1941. Steven Katz is the son of prosperous landowners in rural California. Although his parents don’t approve, he’s found true friends in Nick, Suki, and Ollie, sons of field workers. The group is inseparable. But Steven is in turmoil. He’s beginning to acknowledge that his feelings for Nick amount to more than friendship.

When the bombing of Pearl Harbor draws the US into World War II, Suki and his family are forced to leave their home for the internment camp at Manzanar. Ollie enlists in the army and ships out. And Nick must flee. Betrayed by his own father and accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he turns to Steven for help. Hiding Nick in a root cellar on his family’s farm, Steven acts as Nick’s protector and lifeline to the outside world.

As the war escalates, bonds deepen and the fear of being different falls away. But after Nick unexpectedly disappears one day, Steven’s life focus is to find him. On the way, Steven finds a place he belongs and a lesson about love that will last him his lifetime

Review

I am always in awe of how beautifully Catherine Ryan Hyde writes. She can write any genre or time period and still create a masterpiece. As you can already tell, I am certainly a big fan of this author.

Steven was a bit of a loner when he met Nick, Suki and Ollie. The 4 friends are from different worlds. Whereas Steven’s parents are farm owners, his friends’ parents are farm workers. However, these 3 guys had a major impact on Steven and the man that he became. This friendship brought him a lot of tears, sorrow but in the midst of chaos, Steven also found himself. I must say, I was truly proud of the man that he became.

The main time period in this story is the 1940s. So much was going on then. There was a war and young men were enlisting. On American soil, the Japanese were no longer welcome and they were taken away into camps. When I think of camps, my mind goes to the Nazi regime. However, the horrific profiling of nationalities was not just restricted to German occupied territories.

This is a beautiful, emotive story about friendship, family, loss, acceptance and personal growth. As always, Catherine brings characters and settings alive, she flawlessly did that again in this story.   I was captivated and flew through the pages like I haven’t done in quite a while.  What a thought-provoking, poignant read! Highly recommended!

Review: Her Frozen Cry by Carolyn Arnold


When beautiful wife and mother Alicia Gordon is found dead in a remote woodland cabin, Detective Amanda Steele is shocked to discover that she knows the husband. Amanda hasn’t spoken to Tony since she lost the love of her own life seven years ago, and seeing tragedy tearing her old friend’s family apart brings back so many painful memories.

Alicia was alone when she died, but she was so young, and Amanda can’t help feeling suspicious. Then she discovers that Alicia’s sleep medication had been tampered with, slowly poisoning her over several days. Amanda wants to trust that the sorrow on Tony’s face is real, but the more she digs into his marriage, the more it seems that he had opportunity, and motive…

Interviewing one of Alicia’s old colleagues, Amanda is shaken to her core when the woman suddenly collapses in her arms, dying in seconds from a lethal dose of the same poison that killed Alicia. But what could link this woman to Tony?

With her partner blaming Amanda for not arresting Tony immediately, she needs to prove that he isn’t the killer, or accept that the second woman’s death could be on her hands. She’s running out of time and leads when she discovers threatening messages sent to both victims. It’s the final clue to unmasking the most twisted killer Amanda has ever come up against, and to stop them she’ll have to risk everything…

Review

I am finally getting my reading mojo back so I have decided to catch up with my favorite police procedural. Detective Amanda Steel is definitely one of my faves. Amanda and her partner, Trent, are a great team and their cases are always interesting.

Amanda is called to a crime scene in a cabin in the woods. The deceased is found alone and although the crime scene does tell a story, what happened is not immediately clear. What Amanda doesn’t know at the time is that the deceased is a business mogul and she is married to a friend of hers. Needless to say, this complicated the investigation and made it quite personal for Amanda.

Amanda’s character continues to grow on me. Her character is so well developed in both her personal and professional life. I like her working relationship with Trent although I hope it develops into something more as they have such good chemistry. However, I know that might not be ideal for their working relationship. I continue to enjoy Amanda’s life outside work just as much as I love seeing her head the investigations.

This was indeed a complex case. I couldn’t figure out what had happened to the victims until the reveal was made. I enjoyed how twisty the plot was and all the little reveals that built up to the climax. Well-paced, thrilling to the last page and an unsub I couldn’t guess. What a page-tuner!