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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Five Roses by Alice Zorn

An infant is stolen from her mother in a Montreal commune. More than two decades later, that infant, Rose, is now back in Montreal, having grown up in a small cabin in the woods north of the city. Rose has many questions about her father and her parentage.

Maddy was part of that commune and has never forgotten the infant daughter who vanished one fateful day. She lives in the same area where her daughter was taken from her. Fara and her husband buy a home where a suicide occurred. While that suicide has driven many potential buyers away, Fara's past compels her to purchase the home that's next to Maddy's.

All three of these women make their homes in a rundown neighborhood near Montreal. As they come to terms with their pasts and their futures, revelations come to light. Through it all, Pointe St. Charles shines as the setting for their slow-moving stories.

I live about two hours south of Montreal. The city has its charm and that comes through in Five Roses. The characters are equally well developed, but the stumbling block for me was the pacing. This story moves so very slowly. It became far too easy to put the story down and walk away from it. I lost interest and had to force myself to keep reading. For that reason, it simply didn't become a novel I would put on my keeper shelf. It's good but nothing I'm going to remember weeks from now I fear.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Little Girl Gone: An Afton Tangler Thriller by Gerry Schmitt

Setting: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 5, 2016

This is the introduction to Afton Tangler, a family liaison specialist who works with the Minneapolis Police Department. For those who know the works of Laura Childs, Gerry Schmitt is her pseudonym. This book is dark, emotional, and gripping. I liked it far more than any of her cozy mysteries. I think that's because I found Afton to be incredibly likable and very tenacious in a story that seemed ripped from the headlines.

An infant girl goes missing in the middle of the evening. Her babysitter is battered and remembers very little of the man who attacked her. Parents of the infant are desperate. With that, the investigation gets underway.

Afton is called in to help the police department with the infant's parents. Both are incredibly upset and want their daughter back. As she and her fellow officers dive into what few clues exist, Afton begins to suspect that this isn't the first time. When the body of an infant is found, the case really heats up and Afton finds herself taking a deeper role in solving these crimes.

The thing you need to know right from the start is that it's no mystery as to who took the infant. The mother and son kidnapping team are identified in the opening. That said, it's the "why" that becomes compelling. When I did find out, I admit to feeling a little let down. I think it's because I've seen police drama shows take that route too many times. Despite that complaint, I was drawn in from the start.

I do have high hopes for this series. I want to see Afton grow as she works on more cases. I really want to see more from Max, the detective she works with. I'd love to seem him take on more focus and have them be equal players in future novels.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Falling by Jane Green

It's been a few years since I've read one of Jane Green's novels, but I've loved her past work. Falling is a tough, really tough, book to review. I was on board, enjoying the love-at-first-sight style romance and then wham! I feel like I ran into a brick wall, and I'm not sure what to think. Without giving spoilers, all I can say is that I really don't know what to make of this book.

Emma Montague left England for the U.S. after it becomes clear that she's just not into the man she's been involved with, aka the man her mother wants desperately for her to marry. Social status means nothing to Emma, but it's all her mother can think about. In the U.S., Emma makes friends, has a great job as a banker, but she wants more. Once she has a decent savings built up, Emma leaves banking behind and rents a small beach cottage in Connecticut. Her eye and talents have turned to interior design, and she sees huge potential in this cottage and her talents in decorating on a dime.

Her landlord, Dominic, quickly becomes an object of interest. He's sexy, nothing like the guys she's dated in the past, and Emma can't help but become enamored by both the single dad and his precocious six year old. As Emma settles into the role of "mom" to a young boy whose own mother abandoned him as an infant, she realizes the best things in life are nothing like she would have expected. There are still hurdles left to face, however, and some of them may be too much for Emma to handle.

The romance between Emma and Dominic moves fast, and there are times things fell into place just a little too easily. I didn't really care, however, I just wanted Emma and Dominic to have their happily ever after. Jane Green's writing is always passionate and taps into the reader's emotions, but I really did (without going into detail) feel so let down. I've never enjoyed a book so much and then wished I'd never read it, but that's exactly how I'm feeling this time. Rating this one for Netgalley is tough. I'd say it was a 4-star read for 90% of the novel, but the unexpected twist at the ending left me feeling very cold.