Wish Upon a Cowboy (Cowboys of Creedence #4) by Jennie Marts

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source: free ARC via NetGalley/Sourcebooks
title: Wish Upon a Cowboy (Cowboys of Creedence Book 4)
author: Jennie Marts (twitter)
pages: 384
published: November 26th 2019
genre: contemporary romance
first line: The crisp mountain air bit her cheeks as Harper Evans stepped off the Greyhound bus and gazed around the town where her son had been living for the past two months.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Hot on the ice and tall in the saddle…

Rancher and hockey coach Logan Rivers’ attempts to hire a housekeeper are hindered by women more interested in marriage than meal-planning. So when snarky Harper Evans arrives with zero romantic interest in him, he couldn’t be happier. But as he gets to know her, he finds himself hungering for more than her cooking.

Down-on-her-luck single mom Harper Evans came to Colorado with one goal: to find her son and bring him home. Temporary work for a local rancher seems perfect, but to keep the job she has to deny her feelings for the hot cowboy who’s heating up her kitchen.

Logan’s secret learning disability has caused a financial mistake that could cost him everything. With the holidays approaching and a storm closing in, he and Harper have to save his ranch and fight for her son. But can Harper trust the cowboy who is offering her both a home–and his heart?

Cowboys of Creedence series:
Caught Up in a Cowboy (Book 1)
You Had Me at Cowboy (Book 2)
It Started With a Cowboy (Book 3)
Wish Upon a Cowboy (Book 4)

my thoughts:
Wish Upon a Cowboy is book 4 in author Jennie Marts Cowboys of Creedence series. I  read and enjoyed the first book in the series,  Caught Up in a Cowboy, a few months ago so I happily dove into this installment.

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The Phantom Prince by Elizabeth Kendall

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source: purchased
title: The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy, Updated and Expanded Edition
author: Elizabeth Kendall and Molly Kendall
genre: memoir/true crime
published: January 7th 2020 by Abrams Press (first published September 1981)
pages: 210
first line: In May 2017, I learned via the Internet that a new Ted Bundy movie was being made, and the story was going to be told from the perspective of Bundy’s long-time girlfriend.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
This updated, expanded edition of The Phantom Prince, Elizabeth Kendall’s 1981 memoir detailing her six-year relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy, includes a new introduction and a new afterword by the author, never-before-seen photos, and a startling new chapter from the author’s daughter, Molly, who has not previously shared her story. Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history and one of the most publicized to this day. However, very rarely do we hear from the women he left behind—the ones forgotten as mere footnotes in this tragedy. The Phantom Prince chronicles Elizabeth Kendall’s intimate relationship with Ted Bundy and its eventual unraveling. As much as has been written about Bundy, it’s remarkable to hear the perspective of people who shared their daily lives with him for years. This gripping account presents a remarkable examination of a charismatic personality that masked unimaginable darkness.

my thoughts:
I finished reading The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy, Updated and Expanded Edition yesterday and I am still thinking about this uncomfortable and morbidly fascinating memoir.

Elizabeth Kendall wrote her memoir in 1981 and it has been out of publication for some time so when I saw this updated edition was coming out I had to read it. It is hard to say that I enjoyed reading a true crime story like this because it is based on horrific and sad subject matter but it was fascinating to get a glimpse into what was going on with the woman who loved Ted Bundy. One thing that struck me while reading is how naive Elizabeth Kendall was. She was a single mom in her twenties when she met Bundy while out drinking. And she got so drunk that night that she brought him home then passed out with him in her apartment. It is hard not to judge and I know the times were different back in the 1970’s but come on, that is still really risky behavior.

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

thenshesource: personal copy
title: Then She Was Gone
author:Lisa Jewell
genre: crime thriller/mystery
published: April 17th 2018
pages: 359
first line: Laurel let herself into her daughter’s flat.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?

my thoughts:
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is my first read of 2020. I happily kicked off my new reading year with a great crime thriller. This is my first foray into this author’s work and it won’t be my last.

The book centers around Laurel Mack whose daughter Ellie disappeared ten years ago. Since then Laurel’s marriage has ended, her other two children have moved out and she lives in a small apartment alone and works part time. When a few more clues are found concerning the case, Laurel finally tries to move on with her life. She meets a single dad named Floyd. He lives with his daughter Poppy.

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A Crafter Quilts a Crime (A Handcrafted Mystery #3) by Holly Quinn

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source: free ARC via NetGalley / Crooked Lane Books
title: A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery
author: Holly Quinn
published: Crooked Lane Books (February 11, 2020)
genre: cozy mystery
first line: Sammy Kane clutched the navy scarf closer to her neck, hoping to rebuff the frigid air threatening to penetrate any air pocket in her winter coat.

blurb:
Perfect for fans of Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton, Holly Quinn’s third Handcrafted mystery aspires to wrap you in its warmth.

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane must piece together a patchwork of clues when a “live” mannequin ends up stone-cold dead.

Snowcapped pines and glittery dusted sidewalks adorn tranquil Heartsford, Wisconsin, while residents cuddle beneath heirloom quilts in front of cozy wood fires. But come the next day, the below-zero temperatures won’t keep the locals away from Heartsford’s annual Fire & Ice event. To boost customer traffic at Community Craft’s one-night-only sale, Samantha “Sammy” Kane persuades a few of the craftspeople who sell their wares at the store to participate in a live mannequin window display contest.

Local quilter Wanda Wadsworth emerges as a favorite to win the contest, as she manages to not move a muscle for an unusual amount of time. Onlookers outside the window try everything to get her to crack–tapping on the glass and making funny faces–but nothing disrupts Wanda’s stillness. When the eagle-eyed spectators realize Wanda isn’t breathing, a blanket of grief and fear descends upon the wintry town.

Detective Liam Nash can’t seem to piece the clues together. Fortunately, Sammy’s cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, are on hand to reconvene their detective team, S.H.E. They set out to solve Wanda’s untimely death before the case grows as icy as a sub-zero Wisconsin winter. But they are all too aware that the killer is too close for comfort.

my thoughts:
A Crafter Quilts a Crime is book 3 in author Holly Quinn’s A Handcrafted Mystery series. This was my last read for 2019.

In this installment Sammy Kane sets up a live mannequin display in her shop for the annual Fire & Ice event in her town. The event is a big deal and all the shop owners participate and the townspeople come out to see. Sammy sets up a live window display contest but one of the contestants, a quilter named Wanda Wadsworth, winds up dead in the display after being poisoned. Soon enough police discover Wanda’s husband is missing and this makes him a prime suspect in her murder. Sammy decides to do some investigating along with her sister Ellie and her cousin Heidi.

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Seed by Ania Ahlborn

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source: purchased
title: Seed
author: Ania Ahlborn / Twitter
published: July 17th 2012
genre: horror
pages: 241
first line: The Saturn’s engine rattled like a penny in an old tin can.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
With nothing but the clothes on his back—and something horrific snapping at his heels—Jack Winter fled his rural Georgia home when he was still just a boy. Watching the world he knew vanish in a trucker’s rearview mirror, he thought he was leaving an unspeakable nightmare behind forever. But years later, the bright new future he’s built suddenly turns pitch black, as something fiendishly familiar looms dead ahead.

When Jack, his wife Aimee, and their two small children survive a violent car crash, it seems like a miracle. But Jack knows what he saw on the road that night, and it wasn’t divine intervention. The profound evil from his past won’t let them die…at least not quickly. It’s back, and it’s hungry; ready to make Jack pay for running, to work its malignant magic on his angelic youngest daughter, and to whisper a chilling promise: I’ve always been here, and I’ll never leave.

Country comfort is no match for spine-tingling Southern gothic suspense in Ania Ahlborn’s tale of an ordinary man with a demon on his back. Seed plants its page-turning terror deep in your soul, and lets it grow wild.

my thoughts:
After having read Brother by Ania Ahlborn this past October I knew I had to read more. I chose Seed because on reading the blurb it sounded terrifying . “Country comfort is no match for spine-tingling Southern gothic suspense in Ania Ahlborn’s tale of an ordinary man with a demon on his back.”

Was it scary? Yes. I read this one in two sittings. This was just good old fashioned horror. The story centers on Jack Winter who grew up poor in backwoods Georgia and left home at a very young age. He has not been back home since. Jack is now married and works a day job and is a musician as a side job with his best friend Reagan.

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