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Friday, August 17, 2018

Maybe For You: A Whiskey and Weddings Novel by Nicole McLaughlin

Release Date - August 28, 2018

I've really enjoyed Nicole McLaughlin's prior novels. Maybe For You missed the mark for me. It was a book that I kept reading hoping there might be more of a hook, but I never really got into the characters or storyline.

After her fiance was killed shortly before their wedding, Alexis Parker's spent a year in Italy working through her grief and trying to move on. She's back in town where she'll help her brother at his whiskey distillery before moving on to a new job with the CIA.

Jake Cooper has been the one person to keep her grounded. He's been her sounding board. When the chance comes up to join Jake on a national tour to promote their whiskey, she takes it. His reputation as a playboy is causing issues within the company, and Alex could be the one to keep him in line. She never expects to find herself falling for him.

Jake's promised his business partner, who happens to be Alex's brother, that he'll take good care of her. While that's in the back of his mind, he can't help but be drawn to her on this trip. No matter what he does, he's about to make someone mad. He agrees with Alex to have a quick fling and keep it hidden from her brother. When they return, it will be like nothing happened. Only, they return and Jake's not ready to give her up.

Can Jake convince everyone that his playboy days are truly behind him and that he wants to make Alex a permanent fixture in his life?

Some of the characters appeared in prior novels, but I hadn't read them. Maybe For You stands alone, but I often found myself wishing I was reading Charlotte and Dean's story instead. Alex is still grieving and I'm not sure she is in the right place to be in a relationship. Right to the end, some of her statements and attitudes frustrated me. I wanted her to grow up, but I just didn't see it happening.

Jake was a solid character, but the tension between him and Alex's brother grew tiring. Dean takes his big brother role to the max and needed to shut up and listen from time to time. In the end, this book ended up being a book I think I would have been fine not finishing, which is never a good sign. I did finish it, but even with the ending, I'm not convinced there relationship is more than a fleeting thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Curve in the Road by Julianne MacLean

Release Date - August 14, 2018

Driving home from her mom's house, Abbie MacIntyre's SUV is hit from behind. She spins out of control and ends up in a ravine. Her dog is thrown out the window. Jaws of life are needed to extract her.

She learns the driver of the other car was drunk. Surrounded by her co-workers, she has to get checked out, treated for injuries, and hope her dog is found and is okay. She also must tell her son of the accident that will change their lives. Somehow, she must put her life back together and turn a tragic evening into a chance to start anew.

As the publisher's blurb doesn't reveal one of the very first revelations, I'm leaving it out of my summary, but it does play a big part so that makes the review tough. In essence, this story turns into one of how do you forgive someone who has destroyed everything you know?

A Curve in the Road is short and doesn't slow in terms of pace. I started it and finished it in just a couple of hours. It's less than 300 pages and moves swiftly, which makes it an ideal beach or backyard lounge chair reading.

Pick up a copy. It's going to have you tearing up, but it's well worth the tissues you'll need.

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Release Date - August 7, 2018

In 1948, 11-year-old Sally Horner is trying to fit in with a group of girls at school. The mission seems easy enough, she must accompany them to Woolworth's and shoplift an item. If she does that, she's in. Things go horribly wrong. She's caught by a man claiming to be an FBI agent. He tells her he must take her to a nearby city to appear in front of a judge. She goes along fearing she could go to jail.

Sally has no idea that Frank LaSalle is actually just out of prison after serving time for kidnapping and raping another young girl. One that he forced into becoming his wife to avoid charges.

Months and years go by. Sally's widowed mother starts to lose hope that she'll ever see her daughter again. Sally fears she'll never escape the torture Frank puts her through. All they can hope for is a miracle.

Rust & Stardust: A Novel is based on the true story of Sally Horner. Her story was the inspiration behind the novel Lolita. It's also the premise of this novel. The author states the novel is fictional, but there's enough truth to the story that it often feels like a true crime novel.

I'd never heard of the case, and it's heartbreaking. I can't imagine all that young girl endured. It's simply tragic. I kept reading, afraid to stop until I knew what happened to her. I'd even missed that it was based on a true story until the end, that just made me even sadder.

If you are a fan of true crime or real mystery books and shows, don't miss this one. It had me hooked.