Friday, October 27, 2023

Friday Fives - Five Short Reviews for Books I've Read Recently

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much. This week I'm sharing 5 quick reviews for books I've read recently.

1.  Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose - I have been wanting to read this series for ages and I'm so glad I finally picked up the first book.  I love historical mysteries and I loved the setup with this one with the Earl, the mysterious artist, and two young brothers.  It's an interesting mix of manners and social standing but each character has something to contribute to the investigation.  I do think I will read the next book as the narration didn't pull me in as much as I'd like and I had a more difficult time keeping up with all the characters.  That said I still enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next book.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

2.  How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior - Well this was a delight.  Veronica is feeling her age and is more than a little bit prickly.  After a disappointing meeting with a newly discovered grandson she decides to investigate her latest obsession - in person.  This obsession involves a group of penguins in Antarctica and a scientific outpost in Antarctica is not really the place for an 86 year old woman with no scientific training.   The story that evolves is sweet, funny and heartbreaking and I enjoyed every minute of it.  My Rating: Loved It (5 Stars)

3.  Dark Night by Paige Shelton - This is the third book in the Alaska Wild series about best selling author, Beth Rivers, who has run to Alaska after a terrifying attack.  Beth's life has been haunted by mystery after her father abandoned the family when she was 7 years old.  In this book we see progress on the series long mysteries of what happened to her father and the identity of her attacker and the possible links between the two events.  As well, a local man is murdered the night after he attacked his wife.  I really like the isolated Alaskan setting and the interesting and secretive townspeople and I found the progress made on the series long mystery really interesting.  My main negative is that it did feel like the primary mystery was frequently on the backburner.  This is definitely a series that is best read in order as there are a lot of secrets and relationships that can make it complicated to keep up with who is who and their motives.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

4.  Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris - This was the first book by this author that I've read and I'm still not quite sure what I think about it.  The story grabbed my attention from the very beginning and I couldn't read it fast enough.  I was fully pulled into the story of the perfect couple that was decidedly not perfect behind closed doors.  This story was borderline too dark for me.  While it's not overly graphic the terror and cruelty made it feel like my heart was in my throat the entire time.  The ending was the ending everyone deserved and it was definitely a book that kept hooked from the first page to the last page.  I'm not sure this is an author I will read again because it was a lot grimmer than I usually prefer but it definitely kept me reading.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

5.  The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak -
This is the 2nd book that takes place on Fairham Island, South Carolina.  Up until recently this small island was ruled by the beautiful and intimidating Josephine Lazarow.  But now Josephine is dead - supposedly by her own hand - and her son Keith has come home to face his demons and find out what really happened to his mother.  We met Keith in the previous book (The Secret Sister) in the depths of a substance addiction and determined to sabotage his future.  Five years has passed since that book and Keith has gotten away, is in recovery, and doing well.  His relationship with his sisters is flourishing but he still thinks about Nancy - the woman on Fairham he left behind.  This was an entertaining novel with a touch of suspense and a lot of digging into the past.  I really liked Nancy.  She's a nice person who is too frequently taken advantage of but is trying to figure out what she wants in life.  This isn't a book that will stick with me for months after I've read it but it was a fun read and a lighter read to help me recover from the book above! My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)


  1. I LOVE the Andrea Penrose series. I'm enjoying the Paige Shelton series also. I want to read the Hazel Prior book also.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  2. All of these sound good but How the Penguins Saved Veronica sounds absolutely delightful. I am going to add it to my wishlist.

  3. So happy to hear you loved the Hazel Prior book, it was so good. Looks like though they were all worth reading.

  4. The only one I've read is How the Penguins Saved Veronica and I loved every bit of it!