Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine



source: free copy via AmazonPrime reads
title: Stillhouse Lake
author: Rachel Caine
pages: 292 Kindle version
published: 2017
first line: Gina never asked about the garage.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

blurb:
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

My thoughts:
Stillhouse Lake is an Amazon Prime free read book that I downloaded last year and finally now made the time to read it. This is book 1 in a 5 book series so far.
At the heart of the story is Gina Royal. She is a housewife and mother who has been unknowingly married to serial killer Mel for nearly a decade. The garage was his “workshop” and the police discover a corpse hanging from the ceiling. When Mel is arrested, Gina is also initially arrested because they suspect her of aiding and abetting. She’s found innocent and goes into hiding with her two children daughter Lanny and son Connor.

Due to their being connected to a serial killer, Gina and the kids receive death threats and are harassed by internet trolls and stalkers. Gina is now Gwen Proctor and never stays in one place for long. She’s got disposable phones, takes shooting lessons and owns guns. Gina and the kids currently reside in an area called Stillhouse Lake. Just as they are finally getting comfortable and considering maybe staying there long term, a corpse turns up in the lake and Gina/Gwen looks very suspicious. She wonders if her ex-husband is pulling some strings from prison.

“Mel infected me like a virus, and I have an unhealthy surety deep down that I’ll never get completely well again.” p. 20, Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Well, you need to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy Stillhouse Lake. I get Gina leaving and starting over with the kids but I wondered about there there being that many online stalkers being that kind of a threat to their lives. These stalkers would have to of had FBI connections the way Gina was acting in order to avoid them from finding her. Their motive is that they think Gina was helping her husband with the murders so they want her dead.
Also, Gina’s serial killer husband’s workshop was the garage and neither Gina nor the children ever went into the garage? Gina was just okay with her husband having a secret workshop in the garage with a padlock on it that she was not allowed to step foot in?



I liked that Gina is a strong woman and mother. She’s different now after finding out her husband is a serial killer. She reflects on how manipulative and controlling Mel was and on all the signs she missed. Gina is extremely over the top with paranoia and at one point she even goes through the motions in her mind of possibly having to shoot a cop who came to question her at home. The paranoia made her a somewhat irritating character. The children are likeable characters and the struggles they were going through with having trauma over their father as well as trying to acclimate to always being on the run etc. were believable. Much of Gina’s thoughts are about wondering if their lives can ever be normal.

As the story flows, there’s a few other characters introduced such as Javi from the gun range and the neighbor Sam and sometimes you don’t know who Gina can actually trust. Gina’s husband is still manipulating her from death row and I wondered how it would all wrap up. Also, why was Gina’s ex-husband so evil to her and the kids once he was caught? He really wanted her to suffer and didn’t care about the children anymore. He was a cardboard cutout of an evil villain.

Overall, Stillhouse Lake was a thrilling, well written story even if it was a little over the top. The ending wrapped it all up while leaving it wide open for the next installment and there’s a twist I did not see coming. This is the first book in the series but I don’t think I’ll be reading any of the others anytime soon.

“The hard part, I realize isn’t letting him know the truth; it’s this ripping fear inside now that he’ll turn his back on me, that this is the last moment we’ll be friends, or even friendly. I never thought that would hurt, but it does. The fragile little roots I’d been putting down, ripping away. Maybe it’s for the best, I try to tell myself, but all I feel is grief.” p.150, Stillhouse Lake

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my copy of Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine via AmazonPrime free reads. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel by Mia Hopkins

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source: free ARC via NetGalley/Randomhouse/LoveSwept
title: Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel
author: Mia Hopkins/ Twitter
published: March 13, 2018
pages: 254
genre: contemporary steamy romance
first lines: You want a hero. Before we start, you should know-I’m not him. I’m not your hero.
rated: 3 out of 5  1heartred1heartred1heartred

blurb:
My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.

Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.

I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.

my thoughts:
You know how sometimes you don’t realize something right away? I’m trying to think of an example to elaborate further but it eludes me right now.

I have to say right off the bat that Mia Hopkins is a great writer, I enjoyed her writing style and Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel drew me in from page one. This is one of those books you can read in one sitting, I read it in two. The story is told first person POV by Salvador Rosas a.k.a. Ghost. I requested this one from NetGalley because I saw it revolved around Latinos. Being Puerto Rican myself this book intrigued me straight away because the main characters are Latin and I enjoy good romance. I haven’t read a full on romance novel featuring Hispanics before. Like ever. I’ve never really come across any. And I read alot of romance, it is a favorite genre but the couples are usually white. So guess what happened when I finally found a romance novel centering on a Latino couple? Guess.

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The hero is a gang-banger. Ghost is Mexican, he has recently finished serving a five-year prison stint for car theft. He’s a janitor now. And duh, this is all in the blurb I know. It didn’t dawn on me until I started reading. I decided to keep reading because like I said the writing was very good. I didn’t like the stereotypes here though and they did bother me. I think the author wrote a good book but it is just that for my first time reading a Latin centered romance, I didn’t like that the hero was a gang-banger. So, I read on and I actually enjoyed the story. I will say, it is a story about getting your life together so the plot was full of hope and redemption.

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Crochet Kaleidoscope Shifting Shapes and Shades Across 100 Motifs by Sandra Eng

source: free ARC via NetGalleyF+W Media/Interweave
kalauthor: Sandra Eng / Instagram
title: Crochet Kaleidoscope: Shifting Shapes and Shades Across 100 Motifs
published: Interweave (January 31, 2018)
pages: 160
genre: crochet patterns/crafting
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Stitch up a colorful kaleidoscope of crochet!

Explore a lively twist on crocheted motifs as you shift through various shapes and color combinations. From the traditional granny square to more complex forms, these faceted motifs are the building blocks to creating unique and stunning designs. Crochet Kaleidoscope will help make your projects pop with the perfect mix of color in every stitch.

Along with a collection of 100 fresh motifs, this book includes a complete guide to choosing yarn colors, what order to put them in, and how many to include. Plus, get five home decor and accessory patterns including a table runner, pillow, and rug from crochet designer and author Sandra Eng. You can shift shapes and shades to make the perfect piece for your home.

Every turn of the crochet kaleidoscope allows you to get creative with color and apply your own unique personality to your crochet motifs.

my thoughts: I have to say pattern designer Sandra Eng is a wonderful fiber artist and I love her creativity. She says she has a passion for geometry and it is apparent in her work. I was familiar with her crochet through her Instagram account so when I saw that Crochet Kaleidoscope: Shifting Shapes and Shades Across 100 Motifs was available for request through NetGalley, I jumped at the chance.

“Crochet Kaleidoscope was born out of my love of crochet, color and geometry. While most of you likely share my love of crochet and color, my fascination with geometry is perhaps somewhat more obscure. Nevertheless, I imagine that many of you also find delight in the ways you can combine crocheted shapes to create intricate and exquisite tapestries.” -Sanda Eng

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Survive the Night (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit #3) by Katie Ruggle

source: free ARC via Netgalley and Sourcebooks
title: Survive the Night (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit 3)
author: Katie Ruggle{Twitter}
surpages: 352
published: February 6th 2018 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
genre: romantic suspense
first line: “Alice!”
rated: 3 out of 5
1heartred1heartred1heartred

blurb:
He’s always been a haven:
For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he’ll do more than heal her battered spirit—he’ll defend her with his life.

K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe’s very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path—but for all his big heart, he’s never been in love.

Until he meets Sarah Clifton’s haunted eyes. Until he realizes he’ll do anything to save her.

All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there’s no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth…but he’d never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah’s finally ready to face whatever comes her way.

It’s time to take a stand.

my thoughts:
Survive the Night is book three in the Rocky Mountain K9 Unit series Katie Ruggle and as soon as my dog loving self saw the awesome cover and read the blurb my attention was peaked. This author has the “hot cops with dogs” book cover market mastered by the way, take a peek at her website to see for yourself. This installment had its good and its bad parts and I would like to read the first in the series to get a little more backstory. I’m going to pick this one apart a little. This review contains minor spoilers.

This third installment starts off with Alice being held captive by her brother who is planning on marrying her off to a man from the Jovanovic family against her will. He is using her as a pawn. A mysterious man helps Alice escape from her brother’s highly guarded house and she ends up in small town Monroe, Colorado under a new name, Sarah Clifton. Her escape contact connects her with Jules and Grace along with a couple of police officers from the Monroe P.D. Sarah is to live with them until her brother and his goons are captured and she can consider herself officially safe. Jules and Grace were also on the run at one point and victims of the Jovanovic clan.

Enter canine officer Otto Gunnersen who is a viking type teddy-bear who rescues stray animals and cares for them at home. He has a horse, a goat, a cat and a pit-bull mix among others.

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No-one Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom

no one
source: NetGalley/Bookouture
title: No-one Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day
author: Tracy Bloom
genre: fiction/holiday humor/romance
published: October 24th 2017
pages: 298
first line: “Tell me there isn’t an enormous inflatable reindeer on the front lawn,” said Katy as she walked into the kitchen and dumped her laptop on the floor.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Don’t you always plan the perfect Christmas?
Don’t you always think it will be the best one ever?
And doesn’t something always come along and screw it up?

Katy’s been stuck in the office away from her family so she wants it all: snow (fake or real), the Michael Bublé Christmas album, whatever it takes.

There’s only one thing missing as far as her husband Ben is concerned: another baby to complete their family. But Katy isn’t so sure she’s ready yet…

Ben may be playing the role of Master Elf in the pre-school nativity but he is struggling to master his own family life. With romantically-challenged friends, an ex who refuses to go away and Katy’s mum’s 64-year-old toy boy thrown into the mix, Christmas looks like it could be going off the rails… Never mind family planning, can Katy and Ben even plan to make it to the end of Christmas Day?

From the no. 1 bestselling author of No-one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday, this book will make you cry with laughter, and then book your flights abroad for the festive season.

my thoughts:
I have two words today. Snow. Day. With the snow storm in full effect outside, high winds and freezing temps thankfully work and schools are closed. It will be another comfy pj day with some inevitable snow shoveling later on. Don’t mind me and my gifs lately, I feel like I’ve been including them in each post. I like to add them to reviews, I find they give it a little something extra to express my thoughts. And forewarning, I found a few Gene Kelly gifs, so he will be making an appearance in future posts…lol. I *heart* Gene Kelly.

gifsnow

Anyway, I thought I’d finally get my review up for No-one Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day. This was my last read of 2017 and I couldn’t have timed it more perfectly. I finished it on Christmas Eve Eve. This one is part of as series of books which include No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday and No-One Ever Has Sex in the Suburbs. However, it reads perfectly fine as a stand alone since the author gives you enough background so that you know these characters a little more.

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