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Showing posts from November, 2016

Married at Midnight by Gerri Russell

Setting: Washington
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: December 13, 2016



What happens in Vegas isn't destined to stay in Vegas this time. Ellie Hawthorne knows more than one tequila shot was too much. Waking up with a killer hangover, she quickly finds out that a hangover doesn't come close to comparing to the man in her bed or news that she's married to him. Not only is she married, but the man in her bed is her high school boyfriend and the man who broke her heart many years ago.

Connor Grayson is equally shocked to find he's married to Ellie. He hurt her before and never planned to do so again. When he learns his grandmother's had a massive heart attack back in Washington, he knows Ellie is also the key to getting his grandmother to fight for her life. Viola's always wanted to see Connor settled into a happy marriage, and Ellie is just the woman to convince her that he's finally ready for a wife and family.

Neither Ell…

Friday On My Mind by Nicci French

Setting: London, England
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: October 4, 2016



A man's body is found in the Thames and he's wearing a bracelet bearing the name Dr. Klein. Inspectors head to the hospital and soon learn that Dr. Klein is a woman and that the body is that of Dr. Frieda Klein's ex-boyfriend. Not only is her ex dead, but she's convinced it's the work of a serial killer whose been targeting her. The problem is that records show the serial killer's dead.

As the police's prime suspect, Frieda hits the roads. She's determined to uncover the truth and save herself from being charged with a crime she did not commit.

This is the first of the Frieda Klein mysteries that I've read. I honestly was never that drawn into the story and ended up wondering if I really should have read the prior books in order to find myself drawn to any of the characters. I didn't really like Frieda and definitely was never passionate about the det…

The Second First Time by Elise Lorello

Setting: U.S.
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: November 15, 2016



Sage Merriweather and Jonathan Moss, both novelists, never expected to fall head over heels for one another, especially not when they'd barely even met. They may share a publisher and a chance meeting, but their attempt at a relationship seemed to be doomed.

A year later, Sage learns her long-absent father's dead. His new wife opted not to even tell his daughters until days later and her invitation to his memorial is an email rather than anything remotely personal. Reeling from this news, Sage breaks down and contacts Jonathan for the first time in a year. She never expects him to suggest they take the trip they always talked about, and she's equally shocked to find herself agreeing, albeit with a few specific terms added in.

Soon, Sage is on the road heading from Arizona to Washington with Jonathan. It's a trip that has Sage questioning if she's truly made th…

In the Blue Hour by Elizabeth Hall

Setting: New Mexico
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: November 1, 2016



After a horrifying dream in which she sees her car slide on ice and go over a cliff, Elise Brooks is disheartened when her husband dies in that exact manner. Since Michael's death, Elise struggles to continue living. After seeing a raven hanging around their mountain home, she becomes convinced Michael is trying to get a message to her from the other side.

In addition to the Native American lessons she's been taught, Elise turns to a local psychic for guidance. There, she becomes part of a group who all have suffered a loss. It's through this group that she meets Tom Dugan, a mystery man who ends up becoming very important when she finds a business card in her husband's jacket. Not knowing why he had this mystery address, she asks Tom to drive her across the country to see what this mysterious address will reveal.

In the Blue Hour was okay, but I think that en…

Home for Winter by Rebecca Boxall

Setting: England
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: October 18, 2016



Twins Luna and Serena may be identical, but their personalities are nothing alike. Serena grows up knowing that her sister has a very dark side. It's Luna's dark side that ends up driving the sisters apart. Serena doesn't believe she'll ever be able to forgive her sister for the betrayal. That's not the first betrayal Luna pulls, however, and it's this second act that leads to Serena moving far away.

After moving to East Sussex with her significant other, Serena hopes for a fresh start. In the vicarage, Will gets to work within the community while Serena prepares to update the house's interior design. Eventually, they end up with a motley crew who are all seeking a new start after troublesome pasts. Serena hopes she finally can get out from under her sister's shadow, but Luna's not done yet.

In Home for Winter, I have to say I was really kind…

The Lost Ones by Ben Cheetham

Setting: Harwood Forest, England
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: October 25, 2016



Nine-year-old Erin Jackson vanishes while out walking the trails in Harwood Forest. There's no trace of the young girl, except for a bloody rock that may or may not be related to the case. For her parents, it's the worst possible nightmare. Erin's father is in the middle of a project that environmentalists protest, so they may have taken the girl to stop the development. There's also the chance that the girl fell, hit her head, and is simply lost in the expansive wooded area.

Erin's older brother has his own thoughts. Decades ago, the Inghams were found slaughtered in their home. Only their daughters survived. Jake's convinced the past murders are related to his sister's disappearance, and he sets out to uncover the truth.

The Lost Ones had the potential to be a gripping mystery. I ended up having mixed feelings. First, I wondered how on ea…

Fat Fridays by Judith Keim

Setting: Georgia
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: November 8, 2016



Coming home to find her husband in bed with her Pilates instructor, Sukie retreats into her own form of seclusion. She knows the townspeople in her town talk about her. It's her neighbor and friend who pulls her out of her shell and has her join the Fat Fridays group, a group of women who meet once a week, order whatever they want at the restaurant, and enjoy the chance to vent. Sukie quickly bonds with the women and starts taking steps to move on with her life.

Fat Fridays is the first book in a series. I'm glad it will be a series, as I'm dying to see how things turn out with other members of the group. It's a charming tale filled with plenty of happy moments and a few emotional revelations.

There were times that it seemed certain topics were picked out as a social message. The story has many situations where abuse becomes prevalent, be it verbal or physical ab…

Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer

Setting: Paris
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: October 1, 2016



Two years ago, Zoe couldn't save her son. Her husband's words to her in the hospital have always burned to her core. She should have held harder to her son's hand or run faster to get him out of the road. Anything but live with the pain she's endured since her toddler died.

Zoe's marriage is on the rocks. In one last ditch effort to save their marriage, she and her husband Edward set off to Paris to try to reconnect. There, Zoe's wallet and cell phone are stolen by a pickpocket while her husband goes off to get their baggage. Lost in Paris with no way to contact Edward, Zoe finally has time to reflect on the events and where she wants to go from here.

Much of the discord between Zoe and Edward are based on the secrets they've kept. As the secrets were revealed, I honestly questioned if it was even worth them trying to save their relationship. Some of th…

His Kidnapper's Shoes by Maggie James

Setting: England
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: November 15, 2016



His Kidnapper's Shoes wasn't an easy read. Gripping sure but never easy. My issue is that I could sympathize with both sides and that made it really tough.

It all starts with an arrest. Laura Bateman will not tell police a thing. She is determined to remain silent until her son understands everything. Daniel Bateman is shocked to learn his mother's been hiding a major secret for more than two decades. It's not a secret he's sure he'll ever understand or forgive her for.

The story progresses from there, switching back in forth in time, setting up the truth about Laura and Daniel's relationship and the circumstances that brought them to where they are.

As mentioned early, this wasn't an easy read for me. As Laura's story plays out, I could see why she did what she did. I almost felt for her. As a parent, however, I also know those same actio…

Finding Heather by Alison Ragsdale

Setting: Isle of Skye
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: October 11, 2016



Following her husband's unexpected death, Heather Forester is faced with the struggle of raising twins by herself. She's an ocean away from her family, which makes it even harder. After a difficult decision, Heather calls her mom and says she's moving back home to Scotland.

Heather's mom is delighted to have her grandchildren close, but she also worries that she'll become attached only to have Heather realize the U.S. is where the kids belong. Heather's brother simply is thrilled to have his sister coming back home.

As Heather struggles to find herself again, the family begins building a strong bond. When the chips are down, is family enough to get through tough situations?

Finding Heather is a touching fictional story regarding regaining your footing through the stages of grief. The setting is vivid and made me want to visit. Virtually all of the ch…

Abandon by Blake Crouch

Setting: Colorado
Genre: Historical Mystery, Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: September 2015



It's 1893 and every inhabitant of a small mining town disappears on Christmas Day. There are no bodies. Fully prepared meals sat untouched on dining room tables. In a matter of hours, a bustling mining town became a ghost town.

Decades later, two paranormal photographers form part of the crew that's heading into the desolate area where this ghost town is found. Their goal is to photograph the ghost town. It's a risky venture as another crew tried it and was never heard from again.

For Abigail, the expedition is a chance to spend time with her absentee father. Little does she know that she may never get out of this ghost town alive.

From the blurb I read, I got the distinct feeling Abandon was going to be a horror story. It's not. It's a mystery with suspense/thriller leanings. The story switches back and forth between present day and the 1800s…

Worth the Risk by Jamie Beck

Setting: Winhall, Vermont
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2016



As I'm from Vermont, I enjoy finding books set in my home state. Worth the Risk tackles the romance between a single mom and a recovering alcoholic. Jackson St. James is in Winhall for some R&R. His alcoholism, court troubles, and break-up have been a little too much to handle. Renting an apartment from Gabby Bouchard and her father may not be exactly what he needs, but he can't help but become attached to Gabby and her three-year-old son.

Gabby's been a single mom for long enough to know that her son needs a man in her life. Jackson's temporary presence is the last thing she really needs, even if she can't help but fall for him. It doesn't help that Jackson's presence is also bringing out the territorial side of her son's father.

Gabby and Jackson clearly have an attraction to one another. Is a temporary fling really want they need at t…

The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales by Coleman Andrews

Genre: Cookbook
Publisher: Abrams
Release Date: November 8, 2016



My Mom's English, so I've grown up eating many British dishes. For breakfast, Mom made us Eggs and Soldiers. Getting hold of real bangers in Vermont was challenging, so we'd have bacon with thick slices of toast fried in some of the bacon fat and served with over-easy eggs. In The British Table, Coleman Andrews takes a new look at many of the classic dishes in England, Scotland, and Wales. Many are favorites from my childhood, while others are simply dishes I know of but never bothered to try or never had an interest in.

The cookbook is divided into sections. You have breakfasts, seafood, poultry/rabbit, meats, veggies, sauces, desserts, drinks, crusts, tea items, etc.  Among the many recipes, these really stood out as childhood favorites.

Monkfish CurryMince and TattiesToad in the HoleMushy PeasSticky Toffee PuddingWelsh Rarebit

I have to thank the author for some recipes that go back to the classic way food…