Amy by James Renner (Audiobook – Tantor Audio)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars

This book is about a young reporter’s unceasing quest to find out what happened to Amy Mihaljevic.

Amy Mihaljevic disappeared in 1989 when she was ten years old. In early 1990 her body was found. James Renner, around the same age as Amy at the time, had been following the story about the cute little girl with the side ponytail. When Amy’s body was found James was devastated. The perpetrator was never caught. Sixteen years later, James, now a fledgling reporter for Scene magazine, revisits the story about Amy, hoping to uncover what really happened to her. As he gathers information from family members, friends and detectives who worked on the case, James quickly discovers there were a number of viable suspects who walked away, a few of them still living, and that one of them could be responsible for Amy’s death. As his investigation intensifies and he tracks down and interviews some of the suspects, along with those who knew them, James is struck by the deviance and depravity that surrounds him, and he becomes obsessed with finding Amy’s abductor.

James Renner’s tenacity in pursuing the Amy Mihaljevic case was captivating. Although a fledgling reporter at the time, Renner’s interviewing techniques were impressive. He cautiously spoke with anyone he could find that was connected to the case or considered a suspect, regardless of the danger to his own life. Each new chapter seemed to present another suspect or perspective regarding what happened to Amy, and I couldn’t stop listening to this book until I’d devoured the entire second half in one sitting. The suspense was such that I couldn’t tear myself away from it. There were real-life bogeymen, conspiracy theories, cover-ups, and almost too many suspects to keep straight. Some of it was very sad too though, like the impact that Amy’s death had on her mother, Margaret. She’d appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1992—the show was about unsolved child murders. Margaret had a rough go of it after Amy died. I won’t divulge what happened to her, but it was sad.

It’s fascinating to me how some seemingly ordinary people are really cold, calculating, and manipulative at their core; capable of committing heinous crimes. People we see in restaurants or who we have casual conversations with as we go about our daily lives are these same people. It’s frightful imagining the number of disturbed individuals who lurk among us. Renner’s book exposes us to some of the personalities of such characters.

This book was compelling. In the end, I was hoping to learn that justice had been served for little Amy, but it was not to be. I didn’t receive the closure that I thought was sure to come. The investigation is still ongoing nearly thirty years later. Nevertheless, the story gripped me, enlightened me and educated me in a way that I won’t easily forget.

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a free download of AMY, by James Renner. The author, whose voice is somewhat monotone but serene and welcoming at the same time, did a great job narrating his book.

Small Town Rumors by Carolyn Brown

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 4.5 stars

What do you get when you have a small town full of busybodies? Rumors and gossip that spread like lightening. And in small-town Bloom, TX, the folks thrive on them. So when Jennie Sue Baker, daughter of wealthy businessman, Dill Baker, and snooty southern belle, Charlotte Baker, is seen getting off of a Greyhound bus looking ratty and carrying a single suitcase, rumors start flying. What happened to her charmed life in NY, and why is she back in Bloom? Opinions vary about Jennie Sue. Some think she’s a spoiled brat who deserves to know what it feels like to suffer adversity. Others see her as a loving, caring individual who’s nothing like her stuck-up, snobbish mother who’s more interested in keeping up appearances than she is of people. Who’s right?

Cricket Lawson, a farmer’s daughter who grew up alongside Jennie Sue, chooses to despise her and doesn’t mind letting her know.

Jennie Sue was like….

Cricket’s brother, Rick, disagrees with his sister’s assessment of Jennie Sue. In fact, Rick has always had a bit of a crush on her.

There’s one thing that everyone living has in common whether they’re good, bad, rich or poor—unforeseen occurrences that can change our circumstances in an instant. And when that inevitably happens, to Jennie Sue and others, everyone’s true colors come to the fore.

There’s much to love about this book. The small-town setting where everybody knows your name (and situation🙄); the highly developed characters, including my favorites, a pair of feisty, sassy old sisters (octogenarians) who have Jennie Sue’s back; life-altering tragedies and redemption.

I chose this book because of the title, cover and positive reviews. And thanks to Amazon’s offering me a 3-month Kindle Unlimited trial for 0.99¢ a month that I couldn’t pass up, I was able to download both the e-book and audiobook for my reading and listening pleasure. 😌 This was a great way for me to discover a new author, Carolyn Brown, and I’m glad I took a chance on her. I see more of her books in my future.

Thanks for visiting! 😊

Dangling By A Thread by Lea Wait (Audiobook – Tantor Audio)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars

Angie Curtis, owner of Mainely Needlepoint, is intrigued by a mysterious loner, Jesse Lockhart, whom some refer to as The Solitary. He lives on isolated Kings Island, alone, and occasionally travels into Haven Harbor for his mail and other necessities. Mainely Needlepointer, Dave Percy, seems to be a friend of The Solitary, but when Angie enquirers about him, Dave Is elusive about the man. One thing’s for sure, Jesse isn’t enthused about anyone who tries to invade his island. He’s protective of the great cormorants that nest there, and won’t have them disturbed by intruders, especially not rich ones who want to buy his island right out from under him. There are a few who would gain from the sale of Jesse’s island. So when Jesse turns up dead, Angie is intent on keeping Jesse’s dream alive of protecting the birds, and of finding out who murdered him.

Dangling By A Thread is another solid mystery by Lea Wait that I enjoyed. In addition to the suspense leading up to the culprit, I was enlightened by the nesting habits of great cormorants and the uniqueness of their wings.

An additional delight of this series is that each new chapter opens with brief facts about an ancient needle-pointer and their work. I looked forward to learning about each and every one.

You can never go wrong with a Mainely Needlepoint Mystery, and this one is no exception.

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Christina Delaine has the perfect voice, pitch and pace for narrating this series. I always enjoy listening to her.

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a complimentary download of Dangling By A Thread. All opinions expressed about it are my own.

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The Rancher’s Redemption – Return of the Blackwell Brothers – Book 3 – by Melinda Curtis

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⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 3.5 stars

Rachel Thompson’s got her hands full as a single parent with her family’s ranch to save and trouble garnering respect from family members and a ranch hand who refers to her as “Little Lady.” Her dad is gone. Stress over their Double T ranch contributing to his demise, Rachel is determined to set the neighboring Blackwells straight over river water rights that they’re not entitled to, and which is wreaking financial havoc on the Double T. Ben, The Blackwell brother who’s the high-powered NY lawyer of the family, has been called in to defend their family over the water rights issue. Rachel, also a lawyer, feels out of her league being the small-town attorney that she is, going up against Ben, her childhood friend, now nemesis. To be honest, he’s a little irresistible, but Rachel has to do what she has to do to protect her family’s legacy. If only she knew about the secret that Ben is concealing, a truth that could change the future of the Double T, and their relationship.

The Rancher’s Redemption is Book 3 in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series. I enjoyed Ben’s and Rachel’s story. One of my favorite scenes was Ben being chased by an Aberdeen Angus Bull named Ferdinand. Ben’s divided in his feelings about the ranch he grew up on and the life he’s made for himself in NYC. Watching his transformation throughout the course of the story was heartwarming. I’m looking forward to book 4.

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For those of you who kept me in your thoughts and prayers, thank you so much! It touched my heart to know that you were thinking about me during my hiatus. 💕