Thursday, January 4, 2024

Books 47-53

 The Shell Shop by Cindy Nichols

One missing shell. One quirky family. One chance to save the Shell Shop. Julia and her husband started the shell shop in the Florida Keys decades ago, before their now-grown children were born—he sold the rare shells he found on diving trips around the world and she raised their kids among the balmy breezes and waving palm trees. But John died in a diving accident and now it’s all up to Julia. Her adult kids are busy with their own lives, and Julia has to dig deep to figure out a way to keep the shop—and her home—afloat. When a world-famous shell collector expects a rare shell that her husband promised to deliver, can the Montgomery family rally together and figure out the method to John’s madness? Find the shell John died trying to find and keep the shop in business? 
This is a cozy mystery so it's pretty obvious what is going to happen-probably in the next book.  I did enjoy the story.

Black Ice by Brad Thor

The new Cold War is about to go hot.
#1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and #1 Publishers Weekly bestselling author Brad Thor is back with his most intense thriller yet.
Scot Harvath is having his best summer ever. With a cottage on the fjord, a boat, and his beautiful girlfriend Sølvi, he’s got everything he could possibly want. But out of vacation days and long overdue back home, America’s top spy has a decision to make—return, or submit his resignation.
When his deadly past comes calling, though, he’ll be left with no choice at all.
Leaving his favorite Oslo café, Harvath watches as a ghost climbs out of a taxi—a man he killed years ago, halfway around the world. How is he still alive? And what is he doing in Norway?
In a race against time that will take him high above the Arctic Circle, Harvath will be tested in ways he has never imagined and pushed to a limit few human beings could ever endure.
If he succeeds, he’ll walk away with everything. If he fails, the United States and its allies will be at the mercy of one of the world’s most dangerous actors.
I really enjoyed this book.  Lots of action, pretty ruthless in parts and a good story.

Private Island by  M. J. Hardy

Only the invited get to stay.
Only the lucky ones get to leave.
When Katrina Darlington lost everything, she turned to a stranger for help.
Desperate and grieving, she trusted the hand of friendship and travelled halfway across the world to a very private island.
Blue skies, blistering sunshine, and luxury on a scale way beyond the average person’s means.
The perfect place to start again, surrounded by warm and friendly people who have your best interests at heart.
Or not!
Catalina Island is paradise hiding a sinister secret.
Will Katrina become just another one of its victims, and after having lost everything, discover she still has even more to lose?
Desire creates lies and deception, but is having it all worth losing your humanity?
Were the people you trust most in the world the ones you should have feared all along?
It’s time to find out.
When you lose everything, the only thing left to find is yourself.
This book was kind of weird and scary at the same time. The ending wasn't expected so that's always good!

The Serial Killers Wife by Robert Swartwood

How far would you go to save your child?
Five years ago Elizabeth Piccioni’s husband was arrested for being a serial killer. Her life suddenly turned upside down, she did what she thought was best for her newborn she took her son and ran away to start a new life.
Now, living in a quiet part of the Midwest with a new identity, Elizabeth is ready to start over. But one day she receives a phone call from a person calling himself Cain. Cain somehow knows about her past life. He has abducted her son, and if Elizabeth wants to save him she must retrieve her husband’s trophies — the fingers he cut off each of his victims.
With a deadline of one hundred hours, Elizabeth has no choice but to return to the life she once fled, where she will soon realize that everything she thought she knew is a lie, and what’s more shocking than Cain’s identity is the truth about her husband.
I didn't finish this book so I won't count it into the years number.  I just couldn't deal with a four year old child blindfolded, tied down and a bomb strapped to his neck. This is all revealed about 100 pages in so I'm not giving anything away.

Death at Hazel House by Betty Rowlands

Years ago, Sukey was hoping to become a detective but life took a different turn. Now she’s happy to be involved with the local police force, as long as she still gets to work the occasional murder case...
When Sukey arrives to photograph the body of Lorraine Chant, the beautiful wife of a wealthy businessman, she’s baffled. At first, it looks like a botched burglary, as the huge family safe has been left wide open and empty. But why does Lorraine’s rich husband claim nothing was taken? And what is he not telling the police?
Deciding to do a little investigating of her own, things take a darker turn for Sukey when she is set upon by a shady figure. What do they think she knows? As Sukey finds herself in the firing line, can she expose the true killer before it’s too late?
We the readers know more of what is going on than the characters do.  It's interesting how they discover what is going on and there are a few surprises.  There is the typical love line but that will be explored infuture books.

Saltwater Cove by Amelia Addler

Second chances...and the secrets that sabotage them. At 48 years old, Margie Clifton never expected to be starting her life all over again. But when her brother gifts her a property on San Juan Island, that’s exactly what she decides to do. After all, it’s the perfect place to start a new business venture, provide a second home for her adult children, and recover from her nasty divorce. And if her new life happens to involve the town’s gruff and ruggedly handsome Chief Deputy Sheriff? All the better. The last thing Hank Kowalski wants is an emotional entanglement. It’s only been two years since his beloved wife passed, and there’s no way his daughter is ready to accept him dating anyone new. Still, there’s something about Margie’s quiet strength and beauty that draws him in, making him wonder if maybe a fresh start—and possibly a new love—is exactly what he needs in his life. But Margie is harboring a secret—a dark one that threatens to destroy the new life she’s worked so hard to build. Can Margie and Hank find the courage and faith to overcome all that stands between them? Or will their second chance at happily ever after be lost forever?
Well this was interesting.  Lots of twists and turns and a scumbag ex husband. all seems to be sorted out until, of course, the next book comes out!!

The Downstairs Neighbor by Helen Cooper

From her downstairs apartment in suburban London, Emma has often overheard the everyday life of the seemingly perfect family upstairs–Steph, Paul and teenage daughter Freya–but has never got to know them. Until one day, she hears something that seizes her attention: Freya has vanished and the police are questioning Steph and Paul about their life. Do either of you have any enemies? Anyone who might want to harm or threaten you?
The effects of Freya’s disappearance ripple outward, affecting not just her parents, but everyone who lives in the building, including Emma and local driving instructor Chris, who was the last person to see the teenager before she went missing. Each character’s life is thrown into sharp focus as devastating mistakes and long-held secrets are picked apart and other crimes come to light–including a child gone missing 25 years before, and a shocking murder–that make clear that the past never stays where we leave it, and that homes can be built on foundations of lies.
I liked this book but it took a long time to tie everybody together, and the events of the past to the present. there was lots of deception, family secrets people making terrible choices.  I would read another book by this author.

The Resistance Girl by Jina Bacarr

Two women. One heartbreaking secret.
Paris, 1943.
Sylvie Martone is the star of French cinema, adored by fans and on the good side of the Nazi officers who swarm the streets of Paris. Chosen as one of Goebbels’ select few, she is torn between her duty to her country and her desire to survive.
As she walks the city arm in arm with an SS Officer, her fellow Parisians begin to turn against her. But Sylvie has a secret - one she must protect with her life.
Paris, 2020.
Juliana Chastain doesn't know anything about her family history. While her mother was alive she remained very secretive about her past.
So when Juliana discovers a photograph of a glamorous French actress from World War Two amongst her mother's possessions, she is in shock to find herself looking at her grandmother - especailly as she is arm in arm with a Nazi Officer...
Desperate for answers, Juliana is determined to trace the journey of her grandmother. Surely there is more to the photograph than meets the eye?
But as she delves into Sylvie's past, nothing can prepare Juliane for the tales of secrets, betrayal and sacrifice which she will uncover.
This was a really good read. This is the story of a grand daughter desperately trying to find the truth about her grandmother during WW11 and whether she was a nazi sympathizer. 

Well, that's the final group for 2023.  There were some really good and some not so good books read.  Far fewer books than last year but still a decent number I think.


  1. Definitely a good number of books read. I'm happy if I finish one a month - book club meets every 6 weeks or so which helps.
    I don't think I've ever read any Brad Thor book, but it sounds like it would be something I would enjoy. The other one would be the last one in your list. I've read a few books, fiction mostly, about WWII and the Holocaust in particular, so this book would appeal.

  2. Yikes, more reading to add to my list. You did read a pretty good number of books.

    God bless.

    1. About one a week so I guess that's not too bad!