adult, ARC, Four Star Book, Memoir, true crime

Behind the Murder Curtain ARC Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Post Hill press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

When Veterans Hospital patients on the road to recovery suddenly die in increasing numbers, it’s up to VA Special Agent in Charge Bruce Sackman to find out why. His shocking discovery rips open the hidden world of what goes on behind the bedside curtains when a killer doctor or nurse decides a patient must die.

Behind the Murder Curtain is the true story of Bruce Sackman, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. Sackman’s main responsibilities had been investigating white-collar crimes such as embezzlement when he is drawn into the macabre world of doctors and nurses who murder their patients. Sackman evolves from an investigator of routine cases to the world’s leading expert on Medical Serial Killers—MSKs—doctors and nurses who ply their evil trade hidden behind the privacy curtain at a patient’s bedside.

Behind the Murder Curtain tells how this dedicated investigator brought down four MSKs in Veterans Hospitals while developing the RED FLAGS PROTOCOL, which is now taught to investigators and forensic nurses throughout the world as a tool for stopping an MSK. 

– Goodreads

I was super excited to get an ARC of this true crime, and I am so sad it took me so long to get to! I am a huge true crime fan, especially when it comes to medical crimes, so this was right up my alley!

This is Bruce Sackman’s memoir about his time spent with the VA. He started out investigating fraud cases, but then got called to investigate a suspicious doctor. This turned into a lifelong journey in learning the best ways to catch MSK – Medical Serial Killers.

As a nurse, it amazes me that people can go into this profession with intent to harm. I remember how upset I would get if a patient of mine died. I cannot imagine killing them on purpose! And the doctors and nurses were usually well liked among their comrades. Just goes to show you never really know a person.

I loved seeing how Bruce’s process changed from his first case to the last. He even created a manual that they use to teach today! MSKs beware!

I recommend this to any true crime fan, especially if you are in the medical profession!

What is your favorite true crime book?

Until next time..

adult, ARC, blog tour, thriller

👭 Sister Dear BLOG TOUR 👭

👭 Title : Sister Dear
👭 Author : Hannah Mary McKinnon
👭 Publisher : MIRA
👭 Publish Date : May 26, 2020
👭 Genre : Mystery, Thriller
👭 Pages : 400

Thank you to MIRA for an invite to the blog tour!

In Hannah Mary McKinnon’s psychological thriller, SISTER DEAR (MIRA Trade; May 26, 2020; $17.99), the obsession of Single White Female meets the insidiousness of You, in a twisted fable about the ease of letting in those who wish us harm, and that mistake’s dire consequences.

The day he dies, Eleanor Hardwicke discovers her father – the only person who has ever loved her – is not her father. Instead, her biological father is a wealthy Portland businessman who wants nothing to do with her and to continue his life as if she doesn’t exist. That isn’t going to work for Eleanor.

Eleanor decides to settle the score. So, she befriends his daughter Victoria, her perfect, beautiful, carefree half-sister who has gotten all of life’s advantages while Eleanor has gotten none.

As she grows closer to Victoria, Eleanor’s obsession begins to deepen. Maybe she can have the life she wants, Victoria’s life, if only she can get close enough.

– MIRA

The premise of this book sounds SO GOOD! It starts off with secrets and they seem to get deeper and deeper! Can’t wait to dive into Sister Dear? Here’s an excerpt!

Chapter 1

The police didn’t believe me.

A jury wouldn’t have, either, if I’d gone on trial, and most definitely not the judge. My attorney had more than a few reservations about my story. Ms. Allerton hadn’t said as much. She didn’t need to. I saw it in her eyes, could tell by the way she shuffled and reshuffled her papers, as if doing so might shake my lies clean off the pages, leaving only the truth behind in her inky, royal blue swirls.

After our first meeting I’d concluded she must’ve known early on—before she shook my hand with her icy fingers—that I was a liar. Before she’d walked into the room in shiny, four-inch heels, she’d no doubt decided she’d heard my excuses, or a variation thereof, from countless clients already. I was yet another person claiming to be innocent. Another criminal who’d remained adamant they’d done nothing wrong, it wasn’t their fault, honest, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary, a wall of impending doom surrounding me.

And still, at the time I’d believed the only reason Ms. Allerton had taken on my case pro-bono was because of the amount of publicity it gave her firm. Reducing my sentence—for there would be one—would amplify her legacy as a hot-shot lawyer. I’d accepted her help. There was no other option. I needed her knowledge, her expertise, saw her as my final hope. I now know her motivations were something else I’d miscalculated. All hope extinguished. Game over.

If I’m being fair, the judgements Ms. Allerton and other people had made about me weren’t completely wrong. I had told lies, some, anyway. While that stripped away part of my claim to innocence, it didn’t mean I was entirely guilty. Not of the things everybody said I’d done. Things I’d had no choice but to confess to, despite that being my biggest lie of all.

But I’ll tell you the truth. The whole truth and nothing but. I’ll start at the beginning, and share everything that happened. Every last detail leading up to one fateful night. The night someone died because of me. The night I lost you, too.

I won’t expect your forgiveness. Our relationship—or lack thereof—will have gone way beyond that point. No. All I can hope for, is that my side of the story will one day help you understand why I did the things I did.

And why I have to do the things I’ve not yet done.


Excerpted from Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2020 by Hannah McKinnon. 
Published by MIRA Books

Do you need more Sister Dear right away? Click below to buy!
Harlequin | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Books-A-Million | Powell’s

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors and Her Secret Son. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.

Have you read Sister Dear? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, ARC, blog tour, contemporary, fantasy, mystery, New Adult, Romance, Sci-Fi, thriller, ya

🌞 May Wrap Up 🌞

Guys I am so proud of myself this month! For the first time ever, I finished all my arcs releasing this month! This is giving me a huge boost of motivation to keep it up!

I competed in both Words & Whimsy Reading Challenge and the Bookemon Readathon. I finished criteria in WWRC, which I’m always excited about. I ended up reading 12 books again this month! I also read a few books over 600 pages, which is kind of unheard of from me!

My favorite read this month was From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout. I couldn’t put it down. My least favorite was probably The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea. I just had a lot of trouble with the pacing and found myself getting bored.

Here’s what I ended up reading this month!

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞
Great conclusion to the series! It made me sob in the shower.

The Stone of Sorrow by Brook Carter
🌞🌞🌞
I still can’t get over this cover.

Sisters of the Perilous Heart by Sandra L Vasher
🌞🌞🌞
The virus in this book was SO interesting!

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞
This was a second close to being my favorite read of the month!

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
🌞🌞.5
I wish I liked this one more than I did. I really wanted to.

This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf
🌞🌞🌞🌞
My fave thriller of the month! It got CRAY!

Breath like Water by Anna Jarzab
🌞🌞🌞🌞
This book was so beautifully written. The descriptions were swoon-worthy.

Out Now by Saundra Mitchell
🌞🌞🌞🌞
Such a fun grouping of LGBT short stories!

The Dark In-Between by Elizabeth Hrib
🌞🌞🌞🌞.5
This is an AMAZING debut! I loved it!

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout
🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞
The only way to describe my fave read this month : 🔥🔥🔥

Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon
🌞🌞🌞
Blog tour excerpt coming June 2!

Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally
🌞🌞🌞🌞
Super cute, quick contemporary!

🌞 Stats 🌞

🌞 Goodreads Goal : 53/120. I am FOUR books AHEAD of schedule! WHAT?!
🌞 I read 12 books again, same as last month, but I read 5025 pages! Almost 1k more than last month. I had some chunkers! My average rating was also up from last month – 3.88!
🌞 Genre wise, I read six fantasies, two contemporaries, and two thrillers, and one each of scifi and anthology!
🌞 This was a very YA fantasy heavy month – 5 of them! In total I read 9 YAs, two adult and one new adult book.
🌞 And my ARCs! I am so proud to say I finished all eight May arcs! I have 10 next month. I think I can do it!

🌞 Yearly Goal Check In 🌞

🌞 Goal of 10 books a month : I passed this again with 12! I hope to keep up the momentum!
🌞 TBR Posts : I missed last Sunday! I’m still trying to figure out a system for blogging and working out and cooking all with a three year old. My husband helps, but let’s face it. My kid is a momma’s boy! I’ll get there eventually!
🌞 Words & Whimsy : I got to chat with a great MG author this month, Sarah Mlynowski! It was so much fun and she was so knowledgeable!
🌞 Words & Whimsy Reading Challenge : Team Gaia won the Broken Worlds edition! Next month is a theme everyone is sure to love – be sure to check it out!
🌞 Mithah Reads : This poor little blog. I have so much to catch up on! I’m going to make more of an effort this month, I pinky promise!

What did your May reading month look like? What was your favorite read? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, book meme, book tag, contemporary, Erotica, mystery, Romance

🧛 Down the TBR Part 24 🧛

Sheesh I don’t know what happened this week. I’ve joined a workout/nutrition accountability group and it’s been hard to work that into my routine along with everything else! It also didn’t help I was going to sleep before 8pm every night. ONE DAY I will figure out how to stay up like an adult. One day.

So I chose the vampire emoji today because 8/15 books we are looking at today are vampire books! I loved Crave recently, so maybe I’ll find another series to keep!

We are starting at 1790 books. Let’s see where we end!

✔ What I Kept ✔

Obsessed by Susan Andersen

An ER physician stalked! It’s two of my favorite things – medicine and crime! Not that I do crimes. I just like reading them.

Marked by PC Cast and Kristin Cast

I had this marked as read, but I have zero recollection of it. Apparently I read it 4 years ago. It sounds good, so I’ll give this series a go.

Body Work by Fiona Brand

A novelist doesn’t know where her inspiration came from – real life events she has blocked. Now the killer wants to silence her. Yesssss.

Lust by Violet Blue

Set of sexy short stories. I’m remembering this for when I have my next slump!

✘ What I Deleted ✘

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse #4. I’ve read the whole series previously!

What Stella Wants by Nancy Bartholomew

It’s listed as romance/mystery, but just didn’t catch my attention.

The Silken Web by Sandra Brown

Sounds too much of a chick lit romance.

You’ve Got Male by Elizabeth Bevarly

The synopsis was a little weird. Seems very chick lit.

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

I’m not a huge fan of his. Just not my style.

Well we are ending at 1782! Slowly but surely making it through the pile. I’m excited for the new vampire series I found. I hope it lives up to my expectations! I will say they are high after reading Crave!

What did you think of my choices? Would you have done anything different? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, ARC, blog tour, Four Star Book, mystery, review, thriller

🤐 This Is How I Lied BLOG TOUR 🤐

🤐 Title : This Is How I Lied
🤐 Author : Heather Gudenkauf
🤐 Publisher : Park Row Books
🤐 Publish Date : May 12, 2020
🤐 Genre : Mystery/Thriller
🤐 Book Form : E-ARC
🤐 Pages : 336
🤐 Dates Read : May 14 – May 16
🤐 Rating : 🤐🤐🤐🤐

Thank you to Park Row books for an invite to this blog tour and a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books; May 12, 2020; $17.99) is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later.

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.

Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little… off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve.

Guys. I could NOT put this book down! This is one of the ones I was trying to sneakily read at work. It was so twisty. I had to know what was happening next! This was a Grade A thriller!

Maggie is a detective following in her dad’s footsteps. She’s 7 months pregnant and about to tell her boss she wants desk duty until the baby comes. She goes in for a meeting and is surprised to find out they are opening up a cold case from 25 years ago – the murder of her BEST FRIEND!

This story is told in a dual timeline – what is happening now and what happened that fateful day 25 years ago. I loved reading Eve’s POV. It was so interesting to know what happened to the victim and what evens lead to her murder.

Literally everyone in this book is suspect. Maggie, her husband, Eve’s sister, Eve’s boyfriend, the neighbors. I even suspected Maggie’s dad at one point! You can trust no one in this story.

I flew through this book. I had to know who really killed Eve. I remember texting my friend saying “I’m at 89% and I cannot believe anything that is happening!” I was so surprised at the whole ending. The last 10% had me on the edge of my seat!

I fully, 100% recommend this book to any thriller lover. You will not be disappointed!

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.

Can’t wait to get your hands on This Is How I Lied? Buy it here!
Harlequin | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Books-A-Million | Powell’s

Is This Is How I Lied on your tbr? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, book meme, book tag, contemporary, fantasy, Nursing, Romance

👩 Down the TBR Part 23 👩

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! I am so excited to spend the day with my son. He will be three on Tuesday and I just can’t believe how fast time is flying!

Today we’re starting the TBR at 1800. I keep adding more books! I can’t help it, they all sound so good! Hopefully we can weed some out today!

✔ What I Kept ✔

A Crack in Forever by Jeannie Brewer

This isn’t something I’d normally keep, but the MC is a doctor, and it;s written by a doctor, so I’ll give it a go.

Tending Lives by Echo Heron

I love nonfic about nursing. Love it!

✘ What I Deleted ✘

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Real by Neta Jackson

I’ve deleted the rest of this series.

Being Elizabeth by Barbara Taylor Bradford

The synopsis just didn’t grab my attention.

Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown

Just didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. A cop goes after who he thinks is a crooked lawyer.

The Witness by Sandra Brown

Another legal drama that just seems eh.

Leaving Normal by Stef Ann Holm

Just seems too chick lit for my tastes.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Removing because I’ve read it already! It’s been a while, but the longer the series went on the less I liked it, so I don’t think I’ll do a reread.

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse #3

We got down to 1792! It helps that I read a series I still had listed as ‘Want to Read’. We still have a long way to go but I’m so excited to weed out all these books I won’t read!

What did you think of my choices? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, book meme, book tag, contemporary, mystery

🤔 Down the TBR Part 22 🤔

Another week to clear this forever long TBR! I did go an make sure a lot of my arcs were on my TBR, so we’re starting at 1794, which is more than last week. Let’s get right into it!

✔ What I Kept ✔

French Silk by Sandra Brown

I’m kind of a sucker for stories set in New Orleans. Plus this is a woman who is falling in love and trying to prove her innocence but has secrets she has sworn to take to the grave!

The Chamber by John Grisham

I said I didn’t like legal thrillers, but this is set in MS. And I’ve read another Grisham book and liked it, so I’ll give this one a go.

A Time to Kill by John Grisham

Another legal thriller, but this is also set in MS and by Grisham so I’ll give it a try.

It’s Not Easy Being Green by Jim Henson

I got this book when I graduated nursing school as a gift. I should probably read it.

✘ What I Deleted ✘

Texas Heat by Fern Michaels

I’ve deleted the others in the series.

Pursuit by Karen Robards

The synopsis just didn’t stick out to me.

A Whole New Light by Sandra Brown

Just very chick lit romance. Eh.

The Crush by Sandra Brown

The synopsis seemed kind of convoluted, so I feel like the story may be the same way.

Unspeakable by Sandra Brown

A psychopath escapes prison and tries to kill a deaf mom and her kids. No thanks.

Smash Cut by Sandra Brown

Not a huge fan of legal thrillers, and this is like a mix of that and a normal mystery with some romance thrown in? I’m going to pass.

We are ending the TBR at 1788. Not too bad! I’m so ready to get through all these books and get a true TBR!

What did you think of my decisions? Would you have made any different ones? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, book meme, book tag, Romance

😷 Down the TBR Part 21 😷

I hope everyone is staying safe out there! I’m still working a reduced schedule, which I love! I don’t know what I am going to do when I go back to working full time. I have gotten so much reading done! I am for sure going to miss by 12-4 hours.

This week, we are starting the TBR at 1785. I am going to do a quick one today, looking at 10 books. My toddler is occupied for now, but I never know how long that’s going to last.

✔ What I Kept ✔

The Nosy Neighbor by Fern Michaels
This one seems cute, along with some intrigue! I’ll usually give it a chance if the FBI is involved.

Hot Ice by Nora Roberts
This one sounds so good! I love a romantic suspense.

✘ What I Deleted ✘

Seasons of Her Life by Fern Michaels
This one is just too chick-lit for me.

Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
This one just didn’t catch my interest.

Black Rose by Nora Roberts
This is book #2 to Blue Dahlia.

Texas Rich by Fern Michaels
I thought I already deleted this from my TBR. I know I deleted the others in the series.

Texas Heat by Fern Michaels
Maybe I deleted books 3 and 4. I know I deleted Texas something!

Private Scandals by Nora Roberts
This one also sounds super chick lit.

Listen to Your Heart by Fern Michaels
Another super chick lit romance.

Kentucky Rich by Fern Michaels
I am fairly certain I have deleted the other books in this series.

I ended this one pretty well. Only kept 2/10. We are ending the week at 1778! I am going to go through and make sure all my ARCs are on my TBR, so the number may be a little different next week!

What did you think of my selections? Are there any I should have kept? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time….

adult, ARC, mystery, review, three star book, thriller

🤫 Deny Me ARC Review 🤫

🤫 Title: Deny Me
🤫 Author: Karen Cole
🤫 Publisher: Quercus
🤫 Publish Date: April 2, 2020
🤫 Book Form: E-ARC
🤫 Pages: 368
🤫 Genre: Thriller, Adult
🤫 Dates Read: Apr 11 – Apr 14
🤫 Rating: 🤫🤫🤫.5

Thank you to Netgalley and Quercus for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

Thirty-two-year-old Jessica is newly divorced and has returned home to live with her parents whilst she puts the pieces of her life back together. But Jessica isn’t the only one with problems, as her mother, Jean, has recently been diagnosed with dementia.

Shortly after Jessica’s arrival, one of the neighbours falls to her death, in what appears to be a terrible accident. However, Jean claims that the woman was murdered by her husband and that she witnessed the whole thing.

With Jean’s memory rapidly deteriorating, her family dismiss her story, believing Jean is confused. But when Jessica learns that the couple next door’s marriage may have been in trouble, she begins to wonder if her mother did see something after all.

Jessica is determined to discover the truth, but soon uncovers much more than she bargained for…

– Goodreads

I was super interested to read this book. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s, so I was excited to read about an MC with it. It’s an awful disease, but I wanted to see how Karen Cole would spin the character. I thought Jean was very believable. I saw parallels to what my grandpa went though. You never know what to believe in those early to mid stages. Sometimes they seem fine, and sometimes they aren’t. It was heartbreaking.

Jessica was a great protagonist. She was smart, questioned everything, trusted the wrong people. It made for a very compelling story. I was gripping my seat at the end! There’s a surprise hero and a ton of action.

I was a little disappointed that the beginning mystery ended up not being the mystery that was investigated. The one that was investigated was compelling, but I wanted closure on the first mystery! I was left with questions and was a little disappointed.

The mystery that was investigated was full of family drama and secrets, one of my favorite things in a thriller. You were left questioning everyone and everything. The ending shocked me! I think I audibly gasped when I realized who the villain was! I did not see it coming.

I would definitely recommend if you are a thriller lover! I was invested from the get-go.

Is Deny Me on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, book meme, book tag, dystopian, fantasy, ya

#5OnMyTBR

I’m so excited to be taking part in this meme! I originally saw this over at KBBookReviews and it was created by Local Bee Hunter’s Nook!

This is a post where you show 5 books on your TBR! It happens every Monday. This week’s prompt is Hype From the Past!

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

So, I’ve never read an Anne Rice book. Shame, I know! After reading Crave by Tracy Wolff, I need more vampires!

Release date: April 12, 1976

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

This was a series that I missed back in the day. I have heard such good things about it recently. I need to move it up the list!

Release date: March 10, 2009

No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz

I actually had copies of this book back in the day but never read them! The covers always intrigued me, so I still want to give them a try!

Release date: May 29, 2012

Everless by Sara Holland

This is another one I keep hearing good things about! This came out during my reading break, so I need to see what the hype is about!

Release date: December 4, 2018

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I cannot wait for the prequel to my favorite series! The Hunger Games is what got me back into reading and ignited by love for YA. I am very impatiently waiting!

Release date: May 19, 2020

There you have it! My top 5 Hype from the Past books! What are yours? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…