April Book Reviews Part Two

Hey, everyone. I posted the first part of my April reviews last week. If you missed that post, you can find it here. Now for the second half.

Means to Deceive

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was my first time reading anything by author Alex Craigie. I’m glad I did.

If I had to summarize this book in one word, that word would be “wow!”

Gwen Meredith left her job and returned home in order to help care for her aging grandmother who is in the early stages of dementia. She takes a job as a learning support assistant in a local school. On the last day of the school year, she manages to make not only one but two, enemies. When a misinterpreted photo of her appears on social media, her problems really begin.

The situation quickly escalates—graffiti spray-painted on her car, weed killer used in her garden, dead goldfish in the backyard pond. Gwen also has a past event that has haunted her since childhood. She has support from her older brother Gethin, who comes to stay for a few days. There’s also a new neighbor, Ben, whom she becomes romantically interested in.

The book starts as a slow burn, but the suspense and tension increase until I didn’t want to put it down.

Although I figured out the culprit, the author threw in plenty of red herrings that kept me second-guessing. And the ending? You just need to read for yourself.

You can bet I’ll be reading more books from this author.

Amazon Link

Carolina Moonset

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After reading Mae Clair’s review of this book, I immediately went to Net Galley to request an advanced reader copy. The book releases on May 31.

I almost always enjoy stories when there is an unsolved mystery from the past, so I was drawn to this one. Carolina Moonset did not disappoint.

Joey Green returns to Beaufort, South Carolina to visit his aging parents. He immediately recognizes something is wrong with his father. Marshall Green has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. His short-term memory is practically non-existent, but he can remember things from long ago in vivid detail. Marshall is also starting to hallucinate, another symptom of the disease.

The stress of caring for her husband has taken its toll on Carol Green. When she has an opportunity to accompany a friend to Florida for a Pickleball tournament, Joey encourages her to go, saying he’ll care for his father.

But when a prominent citizen of Beaufort is murdered, police suspect Marshall may be responsible. He hadn’t tried to hide his dislike of the man and his entire family. What’s worse is that an antique gun belonging to Marshall turns up missing and police determine it’s the same type of gun used in the murder.

Carolina Moonset is not only a murder mystery, but there is also romance, family dynamics, and enduring friendships. Both the major and minor characters are well-developed. The mystery of the past probably intrigued me the most, but I also was eager to learn the identity of the present-day killer.

The book has a comfortable pace—not exactly a page-turner, but neither a slow burn. I found it just right for the genre and recommend it to anyone who enjoys not only a good mystery but also for the enduring family dynamics.

Thanks to Net Galley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for an advanced reader copy.

Amazon Pre-order Link

The Bones of Amoret

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Arthur Herbert is a new to me author. I learned of The Bones of Amoret after reading a review by Jan Sikes.

The book is set in a small west Texas town near the Mexico border and takes place in the early 1980s. Those two things alone were enough to pique my interest.

Noah Grady, the main character, is a doctor who is beloved by many. He has a good heart and does a lot to help the people of the community, particularly the Mexican immigrants. The story is told from Noah’s reflections forty years later in a conversation between him and an unknown reporter.

In 1982, Blaine Beckett, one of Amoret’s residents, goes missing. His burned-out Jeep was found in a dry creek near a box canyon outside of town. There is no sign of Blaine. The local sheriff investigates, and we soon learn that Noah has secrets, one of which is that he carried on an affair with Beckett’s wife. Because of this, he briefly becomes a suspect but is quickly ruled out. After all, there isn’t a body. Eventually, the sheriff surmises Beckett chose to disappear.

But in the meantime, there are plenty of events that keep a reader guessing. Besides his medical practice, Noah helps illegal immigrants cross into Texas. On one run, when a young man who is nearly dead of dehydration is found carrying drugs, it could cause a problem. Noah, with his good heart, can’t leave the man to die.

Shortly afterward, Noah and his family become targets of someone bent on revenge. Is it the drug cartel or is Beckett involved? The author lays out plenty of events that keep the reader guessing. Near the end, we learn Noah’s biggest secret of all, which came as a total surprise to me.

The book is well written, and the descriptions of the Texas landscape are superb. Herbert did a fantastic job of capturing small town life in the early 1980s. The characters are well developed. Of note, there are times when Noah jumps back to the present day in his conversation. The first time this occurred, it jarred me a bit, but once I realized what he was doing, the story flowed. After all, you’d expect an eighty-four-year-old to digress at times.

I’m confident I’ll be reading more books by this author.

Amazon Link

The Resort

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wrapping up my review for this month is a quick and fun read.

I picked up a free copy of this book after seeing a friend’s recommendation. The Resort is a fast read—perfect for the beach or a lazy afternoon.

Three couples, a single woman, and a single man are invited to spend a week at a brand-new resort with all expenses paid before it opens to the public. They are treated to a life of luxury—gourmet meals, spa treatments, and exclusive shopping excursions.

Told from the point of view of the four females, we soon learn that each of their lives aren’t what they seem. Some of the characters are likable, others are despicable, and one of them is downright creepy. The suspense builds, and the ending surprised me.

The book had mixed reviews—some readers liked it, others hated it, but I found it satisfactory—enough that I finished it in an afternoon.

Amazon Link

69 thoughts on “April Book Reviews Part Two

  1. Great reviews, Joan, and it’s fun to see where you find your next read. Word of mouth is so powerful. I’ve read Alex’s book and thought it was super, as all her books are. The other three also sound intriguing. I just love the atmospheric cover of Carolina Moonset. Thanks for the recommendations, and Happy Reading!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Joan! It’s blog reading catchup day and I’m glad I found this one. These book covers are gorgeous! Having dealt with dementia in my family, I’m intrigued to read a fiction story that involves it. I’m not sure I ever have before, so thank you much for sharing these with us. Great reviews too!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Years ago, I read a Mary Higgins-Clark book that had a minor character with Alzheimer’s. I thought she did a great job with the character. Carolina Moonset is the only other one I can recall. In both cases, the character’s diagnosis (and potential knowledge) fit the plot. Thanks, Mar.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember seeing some of these on Mae’s blog, and they intrigued me – especially the one set in Carolina since I lived there for so many years. Nice reviews, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve offered some great reviews, Joan. I’m looking forward to reading a couple of them for sure. Thank you for sharing and congratulations to each of the writers. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know what you mean, Judi. I’m pleased if I manage one a month at the moment – though the rate is picking up again whilst I let my WIP sit quietly before coming back to it to tweak it a bit.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for this huge boost, Joan! I love this review and am truly grateful to you for it and for including me with these other authors. You rock!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I love that you took the time to read The Bones of Amoret, Joan. I agree that it took me a minute to figure out an old man was telling the story, but as you say, after that, it flowed well. The biggest thing that struck me about it was the way he showed the setting in such a brilliant way. The Resort is on my list!! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad I saw your review of the book. BTW, the author commented on my Goodreads review, thanking me. He also indicated there might be a future book with the unknown journalist.

      His descriptions were wonderful. Very much captured what that part of Texas looks like.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve read three of these (Means to Deceive, Carolina Moonset, and The Resort). I positively loved all three. The final book sounds like it would be intriguing, too. Great reviews, Joan!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great reviews, Joan. I had to stop my NCW (New Computer Wrangling) long enough to let you know how much I enjoyed them, especially Means to Deceive. I agree with your thoughts on this one totally, and I know Trish will be thrilled when she reads it, too. I’ve taken note on the other reviews as well. Congratulations to every one of these authors, and thanks for such thoughtful reviews. 😊❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know how much hassle you’re having at the moment, Marcia, and to have you stop and add your comment here means more than I can say! Thanks from the heart. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Sorry you’re having new computer issues, but you’ll love it once you get accustomed to things. I loved Alex’s book. After seeing a couple of positive reviews, I knew it was one I’d like to read.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d be fine if I hadn’t lost so many of my favorite programs, most of which are no longer available. I’m spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find replacements, and I still can’t get my printer to work. But I’ll get there eventually, and then all will be well once more! I think. 😂

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I really enjoyed Alex’s book. I’ve lost a close relative to Lewy Body Dementia, so I don’t know that I want to revisit that painful decline, though the book sounds good. As do the final two. I hadn’t seen them around the web but am tempted to check them out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for the lovely comment, Staci. (I do understand your comment about Lewy Body dementia – my mother had it and the hallucinations became increasingly disturbing and often horrific. It became impossible to reassure her because she could see the things so clearly and my trying to explain them away made no sense to her. I’m sorry that you’ve been through it, too.)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m sorry to hear about your relative, Staci. I can understand your reluctance in reading a book where a character suffers from the same thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Alex’s book.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve read them several times now, Liz, and although they’re personal they’re also accessible and relatable and I found them very moving.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Music to my soul! I’m sure you can imagine how delighted I am with Joan’s review! Thanks for the comment, Jaye – very much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Right now, I don’t think I could be any happier! So many thanks, Denise – I’m still treasuring your review for Someone Close to Home. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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