Note to Readers

Roundtable Reviews receives many galley and ARC copies for review. Please understand that the finished copy may differ from the copies we have reviewed.

I have not received any compensation for writing this post other than a free digital or galley copy of the book. I have no material connection to the publisher, agent, or author whose book/s I am reviewing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing many of the books you see reviewed here.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

As the Light Fades by Catherine West

Release Date - September 10, 2019

The right cover art can lure me to read a book. That's what happened with As the Light Fades. The tranquility of the sand and surf caught my eye. The story ended up being a touching romance.

Liz Carlisle is back in Nantucket after suffering tremendous abuse at the hands of her boyfriend. The lawyer isn't sure what she wants to do next. Her family's beachfront estate is under renovations, so she needs to find a job and a place to live while she starts the next chapter of her life.

While she's out walking the family dogs, she sees an erratic driver take out a neighbor's fence, prized rose garden, and tree. The rebellious teen girl that gets out of the vehicle raises Liz's anger. Little does she know that that girl will end up changing her life.

Matthew Stone is dealing as best he can with his niece. She's miserable on Nantucket and money's tight. When Liz calls him about a carriage house he has for rent, he thinks he may finally have some help with both money and his niece. He'll lower his rent in exchange for Liz being there to help his niece while he works nights.

The last thing Liz wants is to deal with an impossible teen, but she needs to be able to afford rent, and Matt's offer fits the bill. The more she spends with the girl, the more she realizes that they both have secrets that bond them.

I was unaware that this book is a sequel of sorts. I never would have known that. As the Light Fades doesn't require you to have read the prior novel The Things We Knew. I don't feel that I missed anything.

Aspects of As the Light Fades broke my heart. It was a little too real. Alzheimer's is a devastating disease. Liz's father's chapters are told very well. He sounded very much like my mom at times. Going home but not knowing where home is, struggling to find the right words, and not remembering his children all sounded like things I've heard my mom repeat.

I loved the interactions between Liz, Matt, and his niece. They were touching. Sometimes they felt a little rushed, but they were cautious with each other and that had a realism given what each had been through.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Girl Named Anna by Lizzy Barber

Release Date - September 3, 2019

Rosie's family was never the same after her sister vanished at Astroland, a theme park in the U.S. While 15 years have passed, the family hasn't given up all hope. The anniversary also brings a lot of media attention to the girl's disappearance during a vacation in the U.S. The problem is that after 15 years, the fund keeping the search going is about to be shut down for good. It's tearing Rosie's family apart.

Anna has grown up under the care of a domineering, highly protective mom. The older she gets, the more she thinks there are things her mom keeps from her. On her 18th birthday, a mysterious letter arrives calling her by another name, and that has her questioning everything about her past.

So begins a suspense novel that really isn't that shocking, but it does offer insight into both Anna's and Rosie's struggles to figure out what happened and how to move on in a world full of uncertainty.

Chapters fluidly shift from Rosie to Anna and back. It never feels jarring and the plot moves swiftly. There's a creepiness as certain characters are introduced, and it definitely has that "ripped from the headlines" feel to it. Overall, this is an excellent debut from Lizzy Barber. I'm eager to see what she comes up with next.

Thanks to MIRA for allowing me to be part of MIRA's blog tour for Lizzy Barber's A Girl Named Anna. It's not a book packed with surprises, but it certainly does its part keeping you hooked on Anna's situation.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Rival's Break by Carla Neggers

Release Date - August 27, 2019

I've been a fan of Carla Neggers for so many years. I haven't been following the Sharpe & Donovan series. Picking up Rival's Break and trying to jump in now was a mistake. I didn't feel a strong connection to the characters and struggled with the "who's who" aspect.

Emma Sharpe hasn't seen her husband Colin Donovan in a while as he's been off doing his thing. Both are FBI agents with busy lives and caseloads. Colin's brother is getting married, so they're at their home in Maine to reconnect and for the wedding.

Things go awry when passengers aboard a private yacht are poisoned. Georgina, the chef, is devastated that she may be responsible for poisoning so many people including her father. Colin opts to help the marine patrol officer look into the poisonings.

When it's found a painting by a friend of both Colin and Emma's disappeared from the yacht, the investigation takes a personal turn. Lives are at stake and Colin and Emma must act fast.

I admit that I was lost for a lot of the book. There's the personal aspect of their lives as well as the mystery. There were so many characters and, being new to the series, I had very little background to go on to help me out.

Carla Neggers has a way of bringing a location to life. I felt that Maine ocean breeze and smelled the salt in the air. I wished I was there.

If you're new to the Sharpe & Donovan series, don't read this one without catching up first. I wish I had.