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Showing posts from February, 2018

The Heart of the Garden by Victoria Connelly

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Setting: England
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union
Author: Victoria Connelly
Release Date: February 22, 2018



Okay, first things first. Anne Marie's husband and step-daughters in The Heart of the Garden were complete and utter jerks. I was totally rooting for her to tell them where they could go. Those characters will have you cheering her on as she goes through a kind of later-in-life coming of age.

The Heart of the Garden isn't all Anne Marie's story. Things go like this. Fifty-something Emilia Morton has been the reclusive owner of Morton Hall for decades. Few have ever seen her. Townspeople really only know that she's never really been a part of the town and that her estate's gardens are gorgeous but in need of restoration.

When Emilia dies, a small group of locals is summoned to her lawyer's office. She's left it to them to work together and restore the gardens. If they can do so in a year, the manor home and all of its priceless museum-q…

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

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Setting: England/France
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Author: Lexie Elliott
Release Date: February 20, 2018



Years ago, six Oxford college mates headed to the French countryside to spend time together. There, they met Severine, a local girl. Years later, the friends are drawn together again. Severine's body has been found in a well. Police aren't sure who killed her and put her there, but since these college friends were the last to see her alive, they're all suspects.

Kate has worked hard to put the past behind her. She never trusted Severine, and events from that holiday together changed friendships forever. She's already struggling to keep her company afloat. The last thing she needs is to become a suspect in a decade-old murder case, especially one where the French girl haunts her at every turn.

I wanted to get lured into The French Girl, but this book was a miss for me. I figured out the killer far too early. Once that was apparent, I lost interest in…

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

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Setting: North Carolina
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Author: Kimmery Martin
Release Date: February 13, 2018



In The Queen of Hearts, best friends Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have made it through college, become successful doctors, and have husbands and kids. They've never stopped being close friends, even as their lives have changed. Everything is about to enter into a state of turmoil.

Emma learns that Dr. Nick Xenokostas is moving to Charlotte. Zadie and Emma knew Nick long ago and long-buried secrets and events are all tied to Nick. As truths are revealed, Zadie and Emma's friendship may not survive the damage.

I was drawn into Zadie and Emma's story. I liked the flashes into the past and catching up on their work now. I adored Zadie's precocious daughter. Three-year-old Delaney had me laughing each time she appeared. I know Nick was there for conflict, but I just didn't like him. Once he entered the story in the present, I grew weary. Part of t…

Last Seen by Rick Mofina

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Setting: River Ridge
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Publisher: MIRA
Author: Rick Mofina
Release Date: February 27, 2018



Every year, I am on a quest to find that book that stands out. It's a book where I can't guess the outcome. It's a book that makes me struggle to work and not toss it all aside to get back to the story. Last Seen is that book.

Faith Hudson is tired. She's tired of having a husband who is rarely there and even when he is, he's focused on his work as a journalist. She's stunned when Cal agrees to spend the day with her and their son Gage. The carnival is in town, and Gage is determined to prove his friends wrong and go into the house of horrors.

It's in that carnival ride that the Hudson's lives are forever altered. They go in together, but Gage never comes out. The last time Faith saw him was on the spinning platform that leads to the exit tubes. Hours pass with no sign of the nine-year-old boy.

Suspicions flare. Secrets are kept. A marriage …

The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

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Setting: Eternity Springs
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Author: Emily March
Release Date: February 27, 2018



Caitlin Timberlake's spent several years in New York City working her way up the corporate ladder. While her mom and dad are thrilled, Caitlin is not happy. She longs for true love and a blissful family life in the country.

She's in town for a friend's wedding. There, she gets stuck in a gondola with Josh Tarkington. He seems to be everything she wants, even if he is determined to remain a bachelor. What Caitlin wants, she's determined to get.

The longer he's around Caitlin, however, the more Josh is tempted. He's determined to stay single, but he can't help but also want Caitlin in his life. What's a guy to do?

The First Kiss of Spring is another book in the Eternity Springs series. I've read past books and loved them. I liked this one, but I didn't connect to it as much as I had previous novels. I lik…

Darkest Night by Tara Thomas

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Setting: Charleston
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Author: Tara Thomas
Release Date: February 27, 2018



After Tilly Brock's dad was charged with embezzling and died just a few months later, her life fell apart. Once part of the elite society in Charleston, she and her mother are forced into a life of poverty. Not only that. It ended the blossoming romance between teens Tilly and Keaton Benedict.

Keaton Benedict is part of the Benedict family, and it's his father that fired Tilly's dad for embezzlement. The three Benedict brothers have always felt something was off with the entire situation. When Tilly comes back into their lives, they can't help but feel protective of her. Plus, Keaton wants to give their relationship a chance.

Between their happiness is a killer. Someone wants Tilly dead. Someone is sending the Benedict brothers sinister messages. No one knows why, but they want to get to the bottom of it.

Darkest Night kicks off the So…

Where the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine

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Setting: France and England
Genre: Historical Women's Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Author: Laura Madeleine
Release Date: February 13, 2018



It's 1969. Bill Perch's boss gives him his chance to spread his wings. The young solicitor is tasked with unraveling what happened to Emeline Vane. After her brother has a stroke, her remaining family needs to prove she is dead, even if her brother is convinced he has proof that she's still alive.

Back in 1919, Emeline suffers a great loss. She's now the owner of Hallerton House, but money's tight and her uncle wants to sell it. Small situations lead up to one big incident. Her uncle believes she is mentally incapacitated and wants to have her committed. As he hands her over to a nurse who will escort her the rest of the way, Emeline escapes on another train.

She winds up on the border of France and Spain where she convinces a local cafe owner and her 20-year-old son to take her in. There, she must keep her secret …

By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

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Setting: California
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Author: Julia Sonneborn
Release Date: February 6, 2018



Time to reveal a secret. I'm not a Jane Austin fan. By the Book is touted as a "retelling of Persuasion." I haven't read it. I've tried. I've tried many of Austin's books and just can't find the appeal. Keeping that in mind, I really have no basis to compare the two. I dove in without any expectations.

Anne Corey is an English professor. She wants to become tenured, but to do so she must finish and get her book published. She has her friend, Larry, to help keep her sane. This proves to be especially important when the college's new dean turns out to be her ex-fiance.

As if it's not hard enough being this close to her ex, there's a new employee at the college who has his eyes set on Anne. She's just as taken by him, even if her ex keeps trying to warn her off. Anne is strong, determined, and wants to do what ma…

My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd

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Setting: Washington/California
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Author: Heather Lloyd
Release Date: February 27, 2018



My Name is Venus Black is one of those books where the cover art grabbed me. I'm glad it did. It's not a shocking book, but it's one where I really grew to like the heroine.

Venus Black is just 13 when she commits a crime and winds up serving six years. It's hard to believe that the quiet, studious girl would do something of this nature. She's pretty sure her teachers would never believe their exceptional student would be guilty of anything that could lead to such devastation. It does and she's charged and sentenced. Not long into her incarceration, her younger brother, a boy with special needs, vanishes. Despite the police's best efforts, they're unable to find him.

Six years pass. Venus is released and given the chance to start a new life. She changes her name and finds a job in Seattle where she hopes to start anew. There&#…

The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

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Setting: Coastal Oregon Genre: Suspense/Mystery Publisher: MIRA Author: Tiffany Reisz Release Date: February 13, 2018

Thirteen years ago, Allison went to live with Dr. Vincent Capello in his expansive oceanfront home known as "the Dragon." Her time in this home came to an end when she was found unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. She's spent more than a decade convinced that someone tried to kill her.
Allison finds herself drawn back to the house when she learns Dr. Capello is dying. His son Roland, Allison's foster brother, hopes she'll return. As her long-time lover has gotten another woman pregnant and is leaving Allison, she sees this as a chance to start anew.
In Oregon, Allison finds her attraction to Roland Capello has no faded. With Roland's help, Allison decides to uncover the truth. She wants to know what happened the night she was forced to leave. That means diving into things that she never knew about herself and the people who became the cl…