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Showing posts from December, 2017

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 7, 2018



I'm a huge fan of psychological suspense and thriller books. This is another great entry into that realm of books. If you love books like Gone Girl, pick up The Wife Between Us.

Since her husband left her for another woman, she's lurked in the shadows waiting to ruin everything. She tells her tale in alternating chapters with the other woman. That's what she wants you to believe, but her truth is likely far more than you could ever imagine.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Told in several parts, The Wife Between Us takes you on a twisted journey as you explore what seems like the ideal marriage. The first part introduces the wife and the woman that wife's husband is soon to marry. The next part delves further into the truth of the different relationships. The final part is the one that pulled a fast one and quickly revealed that I truly didn't know everything.

I admit that I had …

A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

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Setting: Charleston, SC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: January 2, 2018



This is book two in the Two Love Lane series. It's Greer's turn at romance. She dumped her beau and throws everything she has into creating the algorithms the women at Two Love Lane use to find customers their true love. She also believes that Mr. Right will come along, eventually.

She falls in love with a wedding dress at an auction and loses it to the only client they couldn't help. When she learns that despicable store owner plans to give the dress away, she wants to enter. The big problem is that she doesn't have a groom. While the rules don't say you have to have a groom, some of the competitions rely heavily on one.

Ford Smith spies Greer and knows she's the woman he desperately needs to paint for his upcoming art show. He arranges to attend the functions with her if she'll pose for him. There's one thing he's hiding, he…

The Night Child by Anna Quinlan

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Setting: Seattle
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: January 30, 2018



Nora Brown is ready for her Thanksgiving getaway with her husband and daughter. After her high school English class ends, she's at her desk and gets a weird sensation. Looking up, she sees the ghostly face of a young girl with dazzling blue eyes. Nora is terrified.

When she sees the ghostly girl a second time while on vacation, she's very concerned and decides to seek counseling. Something's wrong, and she fears she may be going crazy. What's revealed may be the very ending of all Nora's ever known.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Nora's story is so vivid. It felt like I was there in the psychologist's office, in the classroom, in her house, and on vacation with them. The writing was exquisitely detailed.

I never really liked Nora's husband. As the story plays out, I felt a little more of a connection, but he still was never a favorite. Nora's littl…

Should've Been You by Nicole McLaughlin

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Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Swerve
Release Date: January 30, 2018




Sisters Becca and Hannah have always been close. Despite all, Becca has always harbored a crush on their neighbor Jase Beckford. She keeps it hidden because Jase and Hannah just have always seemed to be meant for each other.

When Becca's dream Christmas proposal is anything but, she heads back home for the holidays. There, a steamy encounter with Jase has her questioning many things. One of the most important is if there is a chance for her to finally have her chance with Jase.

Jase has always had a crush on Becca. After learning she despised him, he's remained close to the family and been a very good friend to Hannah. Deep down, it's Becca he's always wanted. Could a Christmas miracle be in store for the pair?

Strengths and Weaknesses
Overall, this is a charming romance. It's clear that it's part of a series, though I never felt that it couldn't stand alone. You could tell, howev…

Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels

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Setting: Yosemite
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Release Date: December 19, 2017



The opening caught my attention. A couple get lost and struggle to return to their base camp. When they get there, things aren't right. Someone's covered in a dark stain that appears to be blood. The story skips back at this point and introduces the characters.

Tennis teammates and friends Grahame, Rhody, Colin, and Ceo decide to head off on a trek through Yosemite National Park. Things don't go as planned when Rhody backs out. Everyone's going to have to chip in more now to cover expenses. It's also a little odd that Grahame insists on carrying a heavy ax, and Ceo invites a group of young women none of them really know at the last minute.

In Yosemite, things continue to go downhill. The section they planned to explore is on fire, so they choose to go up Snow Creek Falls instead. It soon becomes clear to Ellie and her friends that these guys have their issues, and this…

Every Dog Has His Day by Jenn McKinlay

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Setting: Bluff Point, Maine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 2, 2018



Bar owner and nice guy extraordinaire, Zach Caine is happy doing his thing. He loves his job. He has a cozy home and no responsibilities other than to himself and his employees. He's settled in for an afternoon football game when a knock on the door disrupts him. He never expects to see two young girls on his doorstep. Their foster kitten is on his roof and they need his help.

Single mom Jessie Connelly knows all she needs to know about her bachelor neighbor. His antics in the veterinary clinic where she serves as office manager didn't start them off on the right foot. He's certainly good-looking, but he's not one for a commitment and Jessie's had enough of men who like to come and go as they please. Her daughters, however, have really taken a shine to him and his foster dog.

When a snowstorm and resulting power outage strand the four and their pets together, J…

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Setting: Seattle, Washington
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 2, 2017



Two decades earlier, Virginia Troy was one of several children caught in a raging inferno that was deliberately set by a cult leader. The cult leader vanished and was assumed to have drowned. Virginia lost her mother that day.

When one of the surviving former cult members delivers a series of paintings to Virginia's art gallery and then jumps off a cliff. Virginia suspects there's far more to this case than the suicide police suspect. She turns to Cabot Sutter.

Cabot was another child rescued from the fire. He also lost his mother that day. Now a private investigator, Cabot teams up with Virginia to see if their hunch is correct. The pair is certain that the leader survived and that he's convinced Virginia has something he wants.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Every page of Promise Not to Tell convinced me that this book is the first in a series. It was vividly clear that othe…

The Happiness In Between by Grace Greene

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Setting: Cub Creek, Virginia
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: January 31, 2017



Sandra Hurst gave her husband two changes. She divorced him once, but took him back in hopes that he really had changed. Sadly, this marriage has proven that he's just as emotionally abusive as before. Leaving her home in the middle of the night, Sandra doesn't know how to start over, but she's going to start over.

She learns that her aunt needs a house and dog sitter. Sandra heads to rural Virginia where she finds her family's home structurally sound but in desperate need of a good cleaning and a few repairs. Her aunt's dog is missing, so that's one of her first goals. She soon finds the dog, but it's actually her young neighbor's dog. This starts a new friendship between Sandra and the boy and his father.

It's not going to be easy, and her husband isn't quite ready to give her up, but Sandra's ready to put her feet down. It's h…

Pantry and Palate by Simon Thibault (Excerpt and Recipe)

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Excerpted from Pantry and Palate by Simon Thibault © 2017, Text by Simon Thibault. ©2017, Photographs by Noah Fecks. All rights reserved. Published by Nimbus Publishing

“Cooking from many of these old recipes wasn’t always easy. The majority of the recipes only had a basic list of ingredients, and they rarely included directions, let alone detailed ones. So not only did I have to decipher what to do and in what order, but I also had to figure out how to record that information. It was like having a stilted conversation that was decades long: You need this much of this, and that much of that. You know what to do. I was determined to gather the same strength of character and ease in the kitchen that these women had, if only in the smallest of doses. Reading through these impeccably scripted notebooks, I found myself wondering about these recipes: How hot did this oven need to be to bake this cake? (350 F, apparently.) Was it a coincidence that the blood pudding/sausage recipe was writte…

Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner

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Setting: Cambridgeshire
Genre: British Crime Novel
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: July 4, 2017



Manon Bradshaw balances her work as a detective with her pregnancy and new role as the adoptive mom of a 12-year-old boy. She's moved to Cambridgeshire with her new son, sister, and nephew. What seems like a new start is anything but.

A man dies in a stranger's arms in a local park. That man happens to be her sister's ex. Her sister was missing for a number of hours that afternoon and evening, and Manon's son is seen on camera at the scene. This case involves too many of Manon's loved ones, so she's pulled from the investigation. The last thing this pregnant mom wants, however, is to be told she's off the case.

Strengths and Weaknesses
This is my introduction to Manon. I did not read the previous novel. Maybe I needed to? I never really connected with her character. She did things that bugged me as she investigated. I don't want to go into spoilers, bu…

The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2018

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Genre: Reference
Publisher: World Almanac Books
Release Date: December 5, 2017



The latest edition of The World Almanac and Book of Facts is out. In this book that's the perfect gift for a trivia buff, you'll learn things like:

How much do military members make?What's the population of Aurora, Colorado?What celestial events are coming up in 2018?Which U.S. National Park System site received the most visitors?What are the current crime rates in the biggest U.S. cities?

The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2018 is broken into nine sections:


Special Features: Year in ReviewEconomy/Business/EnergyHealth and Vital StatisticsPersonalities/Arts/AwardsScience and TechnologyConsumer InformationU.S. History/Government/PopulationWorld History and CultureNations of the WorldSports

You don't have to spend a lot to get this comprehensive book of facts that are ideal for forming questions for a friendly trivia battle, looking up statistics for an article you're writing, or simply lea…

Ramen at Home by Brian MacDuckston

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Genre: Cookbook
Publisher: Rockridge Press
Release Date: November 21, 2017



Are you craving a steaming bowl of ramen on a cold winter's day? Brian MacDuckston's guide into all things ramen can help you make the popular dish whenever you're craving it.

Ramen at Home contains many recipes. The cookbook is broken down into the following chapters:


Soups and TaresNoodlesToppingsShio RamenShoyu RamenMiso RamenTonkotsu RamenOthersSide Dishes

As you read the book, you'll learn the differences between these ramen dishes and master how to make them. There are plenty of recipes to help you on your journey. As I'm waiting on some of the harder-to-find ingredients to arrive, right now the recipe for the broth I'm using is very simple and contains dried kombu (kelp), dried shiitake mushrooms, water, chicken, apple, ginger, and garlic. I have the Power Pressure Cooker XL, so I can set it up and let it slow cook all day with ease.

Making noodles from scratch is on my list of thi…

Bel, Book, and Scandal by Maggie McConnon

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Setting: New York
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: St. Martins Paperbacks
Release Date: December 5, 2017



Belfast McGrath keeps busy handling the kitchen at her parents' Irish inn. She's discussing the possibility of catering another couple's wedding when she spies a picture that brings her back in time. Almost two decades earlier, her best friend disappeared without a trace. People in the town always suspected Belfast knew more than she would admit to. Seeing her friend's picture in the paper is the proof she needs to know that Amy is still alive.

With the picture in hand, Belfast sets off in her spare time to uncover the truth. Why did Amy leave, and why has she never contacted anyone to at least let them know she's okay?

Strengths and Weaknesses
Humor is a driving force in Bel, Book, and Scandal. Belfast isn't one to back down from a challenge. I loved her honesty and some of her and her siblings' antics. I found myself eager to remain in their world. It p…