Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: No Truth Left to Tell, by Michael McAuliffe {ends 3/4}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley
“When we were raised in this very home, my parents protected us. But I came to know what was beyond the walls of this place. I learned early on that the world don’t like us black folk, that some even hated us. Even through smiles, people didn’t think we belonged. We had a choice: to stay inside and feel safe, or go out into this world with its glory and its evil.”

Rush was overwhelmed by shame, aware he was forcing her to explain herself because he couldn’t, and having her summon painful memories to assuage his conscience.

“Dear, I’m very familiar with hatred. It isn’t a surprise to me. A fiery cross in my own yard most certainly was the devil’s work, but the man who did it, he holds no power over me.”

Rush couldn’t look at Wynn. He didn’t want her seeing him stripped of all pretense and realizing he was a slow learner who hadn’t yet understood his lesson.

“My parents taught us to believe in a person’s potential for good, but not depend on it. I’ve lived my life relying on a higher power. For me, it is God’s law, and the Holy Scriptures tell us to minister to the wicked and to the righteous the same. Mr. Rush, do you have your lawyer version of that? I hope you do, for your sake.”

This book was a powerful statement on the fight against racism. Every time it seems like progress is made, more trouble turns up. The idea that this book was inspired by true events makes it an even more disappointing picture of some segments of humanity.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: No Truth Left to Tell, by Michael McAuliffe {ends 3/4}
February 1994—Lynwood, Louisiana: Flaming crosses light up the night and terrorize the southern town. The resurgent Klan wants a new race war, and they’ll start it here. As civil rights prosecutor Adrien Rush is about to discover, the ugly roots of the past run deep in Lynwood.

Readers will spend time with both the innocent and guilty in this compelling legal thriller that gets underneath history’s surface to explore the conflicting forces of bigotry and tolerance that still exist in the new South. Rush and other memorable characters struggle to find or hide the truth. Through captivating interrogation and trial scenes, events show how easily the pursuit of justice can become tainted and lay bare the violent collision of hate, truth, and corruption in modern Am

Author Michael McAuliffe has practiced law for over 30 years, including as a federal prosecutor, a trial attorney for the civil rights division of the Department of Justice, and an elected state attorney in Florida. This is his first novel.

This book started out as a strong page-turner for me. But before I was halfway done, I was satisfied with all the storylines and didn’t feel like I needed to know that much more. Maybe legal thrillers just aren’t my jam (although I’ve enjoyed some in the past), but this felt like a grand jury, that led to a trial, that led to another grand jury and another trial … etc.

While it never felt like there was closure to the cases, I think that was part of the author’s point. Even when you know what’s wrong with the world, sometimes there is no way to bring justice. Maybe I’m too attached to my happy endings, but I was kind of over this whole book when everything kept working out almost right, but not quite.

I also found that I couldn’t really describe some of the characters after reading the book. Characters are usually the main point of engagement for me, and I’m not really sure what all the FBI suits and lawyers "looked" like, if you know what I mean.

The fact that it was inspired by true events is pretty heartbreaking. I’m ashamed to live in a world where people think some of these atrocious behaviors are acceptable, and I don’t know what I can do. It’s sad and frustrating.

Overall, I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars. The writing style was smooth and got the point across, but the whole thing left me feeling kind of sad about the world, which is usually the feeling I’m reading to get away from.

{click here to pre-order - the book will be out on March 3, 2020}

Becki Bayley is a mom, a baker, a reader, and a snacker. She likes relaxing, watching birds, and blogging at


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of No Truth Left to Tell!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, March 4th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

No Truth Left to Tell, by Michael McAuliffe

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Book Review: The Third to Die, by Allison Brennan

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The victim, Victoria Manners, had been prepped. Now that her body was naked and clean, it was clear that the killer had cut her body sternum to navel, then sliced it three times across the midsection, giving it the appearance of having been gutted. It seemed ritualistic. Kara Quinn had been right.

Three times across the midsection. Three is important to him. March 3. Three victims, three days apart. Three years to cool off and start again. Three.

The wounds were so deep that no one could have survived even the first cut.

While observing autopsies wasn’t routine for FBI agents, Matt Costa had done his share over the years, sitting in on a couple dozen, starting with two during his training at Quantico. He wasn’t concerned about his reaction, though Andy Knolls looked a little green.

“No puking, Knolls,” Matt whispered.

I was originally a little confused – how can the first book in the series be called The Third to Die? The title is about this killer’s MO, not the rest of the characters.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Third to Die, by Allison Brennan
Detective Kara Quinn, on leave from the LAPD, is on an early morning jog in her hometown of Liberty Lake when she comes upon the body of a young nurse. The manner of death shows a pattern of highly controlled rage. Meanwhile in DC, FBI special agent Mathias Costa is staffing his newly minted Mobile Response Team. Word reaches Matt that the Liberty Lake murder fits the profile of the compulsive Triple Killer. It will be the first case for the MRT. This time they have a chance to stop this zealous if elusive killer before he strikes again. But only if they can figure out who he is and where he is hiding before he disappears for another three years. The stakes are higher than ever before, because if they fail, one of their own will be next…

The characters were my favorite part of this book, so I’m thrilled that it’s the first in a new series! The author has introduced us to Matt Costa, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s new Mobile Response Team. They are not quite fully staffed when they hear about a murder that is likely the seventh by a serial killer who has been waiting for three years since his last attack. They have only three days to get what exists of their team across the country, garner support and resources from local agencies, and find enough evidence to stop the killer before he strikes again.

I have no actual law enforcement history, other than reading books. But this was definitely a believable police procedural for me. All of the FBI agents and local police detectives and officers had their unique areas of expertise, as well as their contributing personality quirks to deal with. I’m looking forward to spending more time with all of them in the subsequent books in the series.

Overall, I’d give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I loved it, and may read it again to check out more of the detail in the killer’s evil plan, and the excellent detective work by the good guys to solve it and stop the carnage.

{click here to pre-order - The Third to Die will be out on February 4, 2020}

Becki Bayley is currently enjoying winter hibernation and living a thousand lives through books. You can check out more book reviews and summaries of her brief social interactions at

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Honey-Don't List, by Christina Lauren {ends 2/7}

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

When I look back up at my iPad, I feel Melissa watching me shrewdly and make the mistake of meeting her gaze. With a roll of her eyes, she goes back to her screen. "As if you and I have time for a personal life, anyway."

Something about the flippant way she dismisses the possibility rubs me the wrong way.

You and I?

It's true; I don't have time for a personal life. But that's because I'm sacrificing everything for the brand. I handle her schedules, her kids' occasional promotional appearances. I answer her emails and deal with Robyn, Ted, and the Tripps' editor. On top of all of that, I do most of the designs. I spend more time on Melly's life than my own.

I glance down to the bag and all of the work I just put together for her. I don't have time for a personal life, but because of everything I do for her, Melissa Tripp certainly should.

It's no secret that I'm a huge Christina Lauren fan, so I was excited to receive a new book by them. The Honey Don't List is actually a bit more PG-13 rated than their usual stuff, but definitely just as good.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Honey-Don't List, by Christina Lauren {ends 2/7}
From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

You can probably guess how this book is going to end, but it's always fun seeing how exactly it plays out.

I found this kind of fascinating because there are so many reality TV shows nowadays about house renovation; I used to really like Flip or Flop. Now imagine that there is a "nobody" BEHIND that "power couple" who is actually choosing all of the designs; that is where Carey finds herself, as a 10-year employee of Melissa (Melly) and Rusty Tripp.

Carey has worked for them from the very beginning, back when they had a housewares store, and then later, when their brand started to explode in popularity. James is Rusty's new assistant, and although he and Carey butt heads at first, they later start to like each other.

Christina Lauren's books are normally more R-rated, this was more PG-13 but I still enjoyed it. I could definitely see this being a movie, too, although I'd have to think about who I would like to cast as the Tripps', Carey, and Rusty.

3.5 stars out of 5.

{click here to pre-order - this book will be out on March 24, 2020}


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Honey-Don't List!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Friday, February 7th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Honey-Don't List, by Christina Lauren

Share buttons


Welcome to Books I Think You Should Read, which focuses on book reviews, author interviews, giveaways, and more.
Get new posts by email:

2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Liz has read 0 books toward her goal of 20 books.

Blog Archive