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Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald

Setting: Great Britain
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
Author: Dee MacDonald
Release Date: April 24, 2018



Connie is 66. She and her husband have settled into a mundane existence. He goes to his golf club all day and calls her to drive him back home after a day of golf and drinking. Her adult children are always calling her up to babysit her grandkids. Connie's tired of giving but never getting.

In a rather rushed decision, Connie decides to pack up some things and go find herself. She sets off in her older car on a journey around the U.K. Where she's going and how long she'll be gone is up to her. She knows she won't tell anyone of her plans. She's going to leave notes and leave.

She heads off on her adventure. The farther she goes, the more she starts to wonder if she really wants to return to her former life. Is it time for a major change?

I think any woman, or even man, who has spent decades caring for a spouse/significant other and children will get Connie's story. If you've been the sole caretaker for years, you can see parts of yourself in Connie. I can't imagine taking off around the country with just over $1,100. It wouldn't go far, so Connie does have to get creative when it comes to meals and lodging.

She was also pretty brave at times. Picking up hitchhikers or having meals with strangers. Not sure I would do that. I loved the changes it lead to along the way, however.

I want to say that the twist in The Runaway Wife reminded of a show I just finished binge-watching. The thing is that if I name the show, I'll give away a spoiler. It definitely had that feel and made me love the book even more than I already did. It also makes me think that Connie's story could continue in future novels.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sweet Matchmaker by Jean Oram

Setting: North Carolina
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Oram Productions
Author: Jean Oram
Release Date: May 23, 2017



Ginger McGinty is in a tough spot. As a bridal shop owner, she's great at matchmaking, but she's lousy at finding her own true love. She's in North Carolina on business, but the event she wants to get into is for couples only. To promote her business, she needs to find a fiance fast.

Logan Stone is a spy, but he cannot let it slip to anyone. When he bumps into Ginger, he's instantly taken by her beauty and personality. Better, she needs a fiance to get into the same event he needs access to. It seems like the perfect match.

Soon, Logan realizes that he's falling hard for Ginger. He can't tell her why he's really in town. He also doesn't want to let on that he is the primary caregiver for a teen sister who has down syndrome. His future could ride on how well he completes this latest mission, but Ginger is making it harder each and every second.

Sweet Matchmaker is short and satisfying. I've been in a dreary mood no thanks to the weather. Winter doesn't want to go away, and it's evident by the repeat days of snow and ice. Jean Oram's book let me at least experience some warm weather, even if it was for a couple hours in a fictional story.

I liked the characters and loved the setting. While the story is short, it left me hoping I'll get to see far more of Ginger and Logan in the future. This is part of a series that is building up Jean Oram's Veils and Vows romance series. I hope I'll get to see more of them then!


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

Setting: London
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Berkley
Author: Simon Lelic
Release Date: April 10, 2018


It seems a little unreal. Jack and Syd have been trying to find a house in London. Those that they do find don't meet their must-haves or are way out of their price range. When they find a detached home that's filled with the previous owner's belongings, they know they will never land it. Syd is in love with it, however, so they make the offer. Surprisingly, they're selected out of all the offers.

After moving in, they start sorting through the items. They're starting to turn the house into a home, but Jack's a little unsettled after two items he finds up in the attic. He opts not to tell Syd. Soon, she befriend's a girl from next door. She bonds with the girl in a surprising way, but she doesn't want to tell Jack why. 

It isn't long before both of their lies are bound to catch up. When a body is found behind their home, it puts them under police suspicion. Proving they're innocent may be harder than they could imagine.

The New Neighbors has a twist that you may or may not see coming. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't catch on until later. Had I paid attention to the book's genre classification or read the blurb very closely, I may not have been as surprised. I'm glad I wasn't. I like that "oooh" moment.

What I really loved about Simon Lelic's novel is the way it's written. It's a journal. Jack and Syd share their stories in alternating chapters. Their personalities shine through, plus they're able to play off what their partner wrote previously. It was a unique way to tell their story.

I admit that I was hooked from Jack's opening chapter. There were times I wondered if there was a ghostly element to the story. Other times, I cringed at some of the things I read. One thing was clear. I was emotionally invested in seeing how the two accounts would play out.