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.”

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan

Setting: New York City and Maine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: August 30, 2016

There's the phrase "when life hands you lemons..." that hits hard on days like today. Yesterday, I got a letter from our credit union that they've decided to move all payment due dates on home equity loans to 15 days earlier. After looking into the legalities, they are a credit union and can do so. When I'm in the middle of a desperate job hunt and competing against thousands statewide, it's hard enough. This was a blow I didn't need. I was very, very down after the mail arrived yesterday. Then, my daughter and I both ended up with food poisoning from a local takeout. Yesterday sucked! I curled up with Sunset in Central Park, and suddenly I found that "lemonade."

Frankie Cole hates weddings. She hates engagement parties. She hates bridal showers. As the florist aspect of her best friends' party planning business, Frankie does what it takes to get the job done, but she doesn't have to be happy for any of these glowing brides and brides-to-be. She watched her father walk out on his family. She's lived under her mother's shadow of being the town floozy for too much of her teen years. She's even had many bad runs at finding love.

Matt Walker's sister has been Frankie's best friend since childhood. He's secretly admired Frankie from afar, but he's kind of tired of waiting. Matt sets out to prove to Frankie that true love does exist, and he's the man she really needs in her life.

I loved Frankie's tough, confused character. Her past explains her beliefs. I also loved Matt. He's patient and truly the fictional knight in shining armor that so many women long for. Together, they made a very memorable couple. There's plenty of sizzle in this book and characters that feel almost like family by the end.

Sunset in Central Park is clearly part of a series. I haven't researched it yet, but I'm pretty sure I missed the first book, but it's equally clear that there is at least one more book in the works, hopefully two if I'm lucky.

If you need something uplifting that brings a few tears to the eye and leaves you feeling warm and cozy, Sarah Morgan's new release is perfect!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Confectioner's Tale by Laura Madeleine

Setting: Paris and Cambridge
Genre: Historical Romance/Historical Mystery
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: September 20, 2016

Oh, how I loved The Confectioner's Tale: A Tale of Paris. If you adored Moulin Rouge, this book is going to impress. Be prepared to get swept up in this star-crossed lovers' tale.

Petra Stevenson, a King's College grad student, just needs to finish her thesis. The problem is she comes across a potential scandal involving her now-deceased grandfather. She adored her grandfather and is furious biographer Simon Hall would dare say her grandfather was responsible for a scandal that rocked Paris. When she finds a photo hidden away with the words "forgive me" scrawled on the back, Petra is determined to find the truth before Simon Hall does.

Skip back to 1909. Guillaume du Frere heads to Paris to take a laborer's job. He needs to earn money to help support his mother. He ends up bumping into a beautiful young woman, and soon learns she is Mademoiselle Jeanne Clermont, daughter of the owner of Patisserie Clermont. Tragic events bring Gui into the Clermont's lives once more, and he's offered a position in the patisserie. Soon, the couple begin a clandestine romance that threatens to destroy them both if caught.

The Confectioner's Tale is part romance, particularly in the past with Gui and Jeanne, and part mystery in the late-1980s where Petra is researching her grandfather's past. Together, the two stories played well off each other, though I will admit it was Gui and Jeanne that were the stars on these pages.

Laura Madeleine brings Paris and the patisserie to life. I could almost smell the overcooked eclairs, taste the sweet chocolate, and feel the vibrancy in the bustling city. I fell in love with this story and expect many other readers will feel the same.

Monday, August 22, 2016

That Darkness by Lisa Black

Setting: Cleveland
Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: April 26, 2016

That Darkness is the first A Gardiner and Renner Novel, and it's a winner. Jack Renner is an officer on a mission to clean the streets of Cleveland. As a vigilante killer, he's determined not to get caught. Maggie Gardiner is a forensic investigator who specializes in fingerprints, and she's looking into the death of a young girl. Her investigation grows when more bodies are found and each seems to have a connection to the girl. She's hunting a killer, and little does she know that her cat and mouse game is going to involve Jack in a very big way.

The suspense angle of That Darkness is based on the investigative skills Maggie has and the steps Jack takes to get away with murder. There's no "who's the killer" angle in this book. That said, watching the pair perform a metaphorical dance while trying to either solve or hide a crime is fascination. It is the part that drew me in.

I liked the characters, especially Jack who was doing "bad" things for great reasons. I liked Maggie's determination. How it plays out is honest and intriguing.