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Showing posts from 2019

Honey and Leonard by Mark Paul Smith

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Release Date - November 2019



My mom has Alzheimer's. It's torturous watching someone slowly lose the ability to find the right words, keep control of emotional outbursts, etc. I was drawn to Honey and Leonard for that reason. I know what it's like.

Billed as a romance, I found there's an awful lot of reality in this novel, which isn't surprising given the author's experience with a parent with Alzheimer's. I wanted it to be uplifting, but I found it to be a little too true and sad to be uplifted by it.

Honey loves Leonard with all of her heart. The same is true in the other direction, even if Leonard sometimes forgets who Honey is. His niece has power of attorney and has him in an assisted living community, which Honey believes is a non-stop track to a slow death.

When blood tests find high levels of arsenic in Leonard's blood, Honey is barred from seeing him. His niece is applying for guardianship and the social worker assigned to his case makes it cl…

A Bittersweet Surprise by Cynthia Ellingsen

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Release Date - September 2019



The "good news" her stepmother boasts of isn't good news to Emma Laurent. Her father's candy store is her pride and joy. Selling it to a large company isn't good news, it's heartbreaking.

Emma doesn't like to ask for help, but she needs to save the shop. Her only hope is to qualify for a loan in order to buy it. She has to save the shop. It's the only way she can afford the assisted living apartment her grandmother calls home.

As if she doesn't have enough on her mind, there's a single mom in town who seems to need a friend and Emma can't turn her back on anyone. Plus, a secretive couple has offered Emma $20,000 for a painting of her father's that's been a candy shop fixture. The painting isn't by anyone famous from what Emma can tell, so their sudden interest is unusual. The money, however, could be the answer to all of her problems getting a loan to purchase the shop and keeping her grandmother …

Christmas From the Heart by Sheila Roberts

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Release Date - September 24, 2019



Many holiday romances come out in the summer when it's just way too early for me. I held off reading Christmas From the Heart for that reason.

Christmas From the Heart's organizer, Livi, relies on donations from Hightower Enterprises. Her charitable organization ensures that everyone in her town has a wonderful Christmas, even if money is tight. When Guy Hightower announces they're no longer able to donate to Christmas From the Heart, Livi is infuriated. This modern-day Scrooge is going to destroy the holidays many in her community deserve.

His company is in shambles, and Guy has to tighten the belt. Getting called out as a miserly jerk is not something he'll stand for. On his way to his mom's house for a holiday gathering, his car breaks down. He finds himself stranded in Pine River, Livi's hometown. Worse, Livi is the woman who comes to his rescue, only she has no idea who he is and he doesn't want to tell her.

When Guy …

Revamping Due to New Policies

Due to new policies, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with this review site. Amazon now requires that all reviewers make it clear on each and every post that the product links for Amazon are affiliate links and pay the blogger a small percentage if people click on that link and make the purchase.

Having to individually update 10 years of posts isn't easy. As a result, I'm thinking it may be time to stop linking to Amazon at all. It's taken far too long to update posts one by one. I haven't read a book in a month, and that's the reason for no posts lately.

Book Release News - Before the Devil Fell by Neil Olson

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Release Date - October 8, 2019



I was due to review Neil Olson's Before the Devil Fell, but the digital copy never came through. I don't want to skip posting for the blog tour, therefore I can at least share news of the new book. It looks intriguing!

Here's the blurb from Hanover Square Press:


Will Connor returns to his hometown, a village north of Boston, to care for his injured mother. He’s kept his distance from the town since high school, but once home he finds himself reexamining a horrific incident that took place during one of his mother’s “spirit circles.” His mother had embraced the hippie generation’s fascination with New Age and the arcane, but the unexpected death of a close friend put an end to the meetings of the modern-day coven.

Or did it?

As Will looks deeper into his family’s history he discovers that her practices weren’t so much a passing fad but the latest link in a long tradition of New England witchcraft, which still seems to hold a strange power over …

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

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Release Date - October 1, 2019



If there is one thing that really saddens me, it's that people don't seem to have learned from Hitler's horrific actions. When someone I know cheers that they're rounding up asylum seekers and putting them in horrible internment camps, I'm sad. It gets worse daily.

Cilka's Journey is partially based on facts and is the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. How much of it is truth vs. fiction is up for debate as some say the real Cilka denied that she prostituted herself and that she never wanted her story told. I opted to treat the story as fiction that's loosely based on some truths.

It tells the story of a young Czech woman who, with her sister, is trying to survive the harsh conditions of the concentration camp she's in. To survive, she's raped often. When a commandant notices her and claims her as her own, she lets it happen. Even if it means being forced to sleep with the enemy as often as he chooses.

When the wom…

Life on Loan by Ashley Farley

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Release Date - October 8, 2019



I like the theme of Life on Loan. It all comes down to "have you ever wanted to walk away?" I think at some point in our lives, we all have that moment.

Lena Browder's demanding husband has pushed her to the brink. She gave up everything to raise their daughter. Now, that daughter is a college graduate with no job and no apparent motivation to do much. When Lena finds a naked man in her daughter's room, she's had it. Her husband's you-take-care-of-it attitude is the final straw. She packs up and leaves.

Olivia Westcoat's divorce launched her far off the rails. She cannot believe her husband left her for another, especially another man. She's ready to get away and clear her mind.

When the pair bump into each other in the airport, the friendship they shared in college comes rushing back. Soon a plan is hatched. Lena will stay in Olivia's condo in Charleston for a month, and Olivia will stay in Lena's riverfront va…

What She Gave Away by Catherine Riggs

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Release Date - September 4, 2018



What She Gave Away is the first of two novels in a series per Amazon's page. I can't see how the second book fits in as a part of a series as this first book was complete and didn't leave anything open for a sequel. I tried to read it last year and just couldn't get into it, but I really wanted to try again and stuck with it this time.

The story is told from two viewpoints. You have Crystal Love, a plus-sized loan analyst who manages to get the job she desires despite not fitting into Santa Barbara's mold. It's clear that she has ulterior motives regarding her new job.

Kathi Wright has spent a long time as one of Santa Barbara's elite. She's the wife of the bank president, the same bank where Crystal gets a job. When Kathi's husband dies, she learns he's not only left her penniless, but he was also embroiled in a fraudulent scheme and Kathi's suspected of knowing all about it.

As Kathi struggles to save the l…

Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger

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Release Date - September 24, 2019



I don't like seeing or hearing about people who feel it's necessary to hide mental illness. I get it, but I wish those people would have the courage to speak up. So many people from all walks of life deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, Bipolar, and so many other forms of mental illness.

For that reason, I appreciated the story in Six Goodbyes We Never Said. Naima Rodriquez struggles with OCD and generalized anxiety disorder. Her military father's death has only made that harder. While she used to become anxious when he deployed, now she's experiencing the worst in that she'll never see him again. That said, she doesn't want you to talk about it. Hence a lot of the agitation between her and her step-mom.

Andrew, Dew for short, is also suffering. The sudden death of both parents has left him alone. Anxiety attacks have become the daily norm for him. Social anxiety has become his biggest challenge. Naima's appearance in…

The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

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Release Date - September 17, 2019



Reporter Rain has a tragic past. She and two friends were attacked by a stranger in the woods as children. She ran away and managed to avoid capture, but her two friends were kidnapped. One didn't survive.

Though years have passed, she cannot forget and it's a bond she will always have with Hank, the childhood friend who survived. She's a stay-at-home mom now, but there's a strong itch to return to journalism. There's the perfect story too. There's a vigilante out there committing executions of murderers. One of those executions was Rain and Hank's attacker. Is it justice finally being served? Rain and her friend, a fellow reporter, think it would make for an explosive podcast and reason for Rain to return to work. Doing so may lead Rain down a path she isn't ready to face.

The Stranger Inside was gripping. I get a strong feeling this is the first in a series, and I can't wait. While I didn't always get all of …

29 Seconds: A Novel by T. M. Logan

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Release Date - September 10, 2019



Wow how 29 Seconds ticked me off, brought me to the edge of rage and back. It had me snickering and wanting to cry. It's a book that is maddening, addicting, and oh so satisfying at times. T. M. Logan took me on quite the ride.

Since Sarah's husband, an actor, walked off to be with some other woman, she's done all she can to balance her time with her kids with her job as a professor. Her boss, a positively lecherous creep, doesn't make it easy. The more she refuses his advances, the harder he makes her life. It's a clear-cut case of sexual harassment, one he's used on other young professors, but his connections to so many higher-ups make it impossible to get anyone to take a complaint seriously.

On the way to get her children, Sarah witnesses an attempted kidnapping. The father of that child reaches out to her and makes her an offer she struggling to refuse. To thank her for saving his daughter, all she has to do is call a bur…

As the Light Fades by Catherine West

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Release Date - September 10, 2019



The right cover art can lure me to read a book. That's what happened with As the Light Fades. The tranquility of the sand and surf caught my eye. The story ended up being a touching romance.

Liz Carlisle is back in Nantucket after suffering tremendous abuse at the hands of her boyfriend. The lawyer isn't sure what she wants to do next. Her family's beachfront estate is under renovations, so she needs to find a job and a place to live while she starts the next chapter of her life.

While she's out walking the family dogs, she sees an erratic driver take out a neighbor's fence, prized rose garden, and tree. The rebellious teen girl that gets out of the vehicle raises Liz's anger. Little does she know that that girl will end up changing her life.

Matthew Stone is dealing as best he can with his niece. She's miserable on Nantucket and money's tight. When Liz calls him about a carriage house he has for rent, he thinks he may…

A Girl Named Anna by Lizzy Barber

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Release Date - September 3, 2019

Rosie's family was never the same after her sister vanished at Astroland, a theme park in the U.S. While 15 years have passed, the family hasn't given up all hope. The anniversary also brings a lot of media attention to the girl's disappearance during a vacation in the U.S. The problem is that after 15 years, the fund keeping the search going is about to be shut down for good. It's tearing Rosie's family apart.
Anna has grown up under the care of a domineering, highly protective mom. The older she gets, the more she thinks there are things her mom keeps from her. On her 18th birthday, a mysterious letter arrives calling her by another name, and that has her questioning everything about her past.
So begins a suspense novel that really isn't that shocking, but it does offer insight into both Anna's and Rosie's struggles to figure out what happened and how to move on in a world full of uncertainty.
Chapters fluidly shift f…

Rival's Break by Carla Neggers

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Release Date - August 27, 2019



I've been a fan of Carla Neggers for so many years. I haven't been following the Sharpe & Donovan series. Picking up Rival's Break and trying to jump in now was a mistake. I didn't feel a strong connection to the characters and struggled with the "who's who" aspect.

Emma Sharpe hasn't seen her husband Colin Donovan in a while as he's been off doing his thing. Both are FBI agents with busy lives and caseloads. Colin's brother is getting married, so they're at their home in Maine to reconnect and for the wedding.

Things go awry when passengers aboard a private yacht are poisoned. Georgina, the chef, is devastated that she may be responsible for poisoning so many people including her father. Colin opts to help the marine patrol officer look into the poisonings.

When it's found a painting by a friend of both Colin and Emma's disappeared from the yacht, the investigation takes a personal turn. Lives a…

All the Lovely Pieces by J.M. Winchester

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Release Date - August 6, 2019



J.M. Winchester's All the Lovely Pieces didn't have any twists that left me reeling. It is gripping and packed with chilling details, but it never surprised me.

Drew Baker ran from her psychotic, abusive husband nine years ago. With her young son, she's tried to find that one place to live in peace. She can't let anyone too close as she fears they'll be caught.

Her past may be catching up with her, however. In their latest home, one of many over the years, townspeople are friendly and take her in as one of their own. She can't let them know what she's done, but for the first time in more than a decade, she's happy and doesn't want to leave a place that's feeling like home.

All the Lovely Pieces is told from several points of view. You have Drew, who is the main character and tells her side of the story from both the present day and the past. There's another female character, Catherine, whose anger towards Drew i…

The Perfect Son by Lauren North

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Release Date - August 13, 2019



Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital. She's been stabbed and her son is missing. As she tries to recall the days leading up to her stabbing, she fears police are not doing all that they can to find young Jamie. To rescue her son, she needs to recall everything that happened before and on the day of Jamie's 8th birthday.

I did have my suspicions regarding the big mystery of where Jamie was, and that proved to be a correct assumption. Meanwhile, the situation with Tess's brother-in-law and her grief counselor were so creepy. As those storylines progressed, I was thoroughly creeped out and angry with and even for Tess.

The tension in The Perfect Son does have you on the edge of your seat. I hated being interrupted. I just wanted to sit and read it in one sitting, but that proved difficult when there were chores to do and meals to cook. I recommend having time set aside where you can read and keep reading for hours. It's a gripping novel!

Because You're Mine by Rea Frey

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Release Date - August 6, 2019



I remember a year ago or so, I read Rea Frey's Not Her Daughter and was left with mixed feelings. I liked the kidnapper a lot. I promised myself that this author was not one I would miss in the future. Because You're Mine did one thing very well. Despite my having a feeling part of what happened, I found myself mildly shocked when I read the final page. Kudos to Rea Frey for leaving me feeling pleasantly surprised that she managed to slip something by me.

Lee is a single mom to a seven-year-old son who is on the spectrum. Her best friend, Grace, seems to have a much better bond with Mason than she does, and that often leaves her feeling sad and uncertain. When she's offered a chance to get away with the rest of the moms, she hesitantly accepts. After all, Mason's tutor, Noah, agrees he'll stay with Mason while she's away.

Before the weekend is over, someone will be dead and several in the community are reeling. Many questions aris…

On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci

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Release Date - August 20, 2019



For more than two decades, Emma Peroni and Cooper Endicott have been friends. Emma's mayor dad and Cooper's governor mom, and the small-town closeness all of the residents of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania enjoy, have meant they've always been tied at the hip.

Emma's dad is ready to retire, and he wants Cooper to continue the work he's done as Hope Lake's mayor. While Cooper is interested, his reputation needs a bit of polishing. He's a bit of a lady's man, and it's gotten him in trouble in the past. Emma's asked to help with Cooper's campaign.

There's a bigger issue as far as Emma is concerned. For all their bickering, she's falling for Cooper. The last thing she needs is to enter into any kind of relationship with him, but it's hard to ignore her feelings as she spends more time working closely with him.

This was a fun romance. On the Corner of Love and Hate is packed with chemistry between Cooper and E…

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

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Release Date - August 13, 2019



Cassie Hanwell should be over the moon. Her entire life has been dedicated to helping others. As a Texan paramedic and firefighter, her heroic moments have led to this very moment. She's about to be awarded in a big way, but one action during that event leads to her having a choice of apologizing or being fired.
..
Now she's in Massachusetts caring for a mom she hasn't seen in ages and working for a small station where the men insist on treating her like a woman and not a fellow firefighter. It's driving her mad. Worse, after years of being a tomboy and avoiding any relationships, she can't help but feel a strong attraction to the newbie. The last thing she needs is to fall for a fellow firefighter.

I adored Things You Save in a Fire. It was emotional, paced perfectly, and filled with so many characters I grew to love. I was kind of sad when the novel ended. I would have appreciated spending far more time with the guys.

This was the …

Tangled Threat by Heather Graham

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Release Date - August 20, 2019



When you need a short, gripping read, Harlequin Intrigue books often fit the bill. Tangled Threat is one from bestselling author Heather Graham. It's got a lot of characters, but there's a guide to them in the opening.

Twelve years ago, Maura Antrim was with the group that spied the body of a resort worker hanging from the resort's mysterious History Tree. The tree had a spooky history and was one of the main draws for guests of the resort.

That tragic event found Maura and the young man she thought she loved parting ways when he was arrested for the dead woman's murder. Her parents pulled her away and never looked back. She went off to college and he ended up being cleared and going on his own path.

More than a decade has passed. Maura is helping film the resort's, specifically the tree's, haunted past. She bumps into Brock McGovern who is now a talented FBI agent investigating two recent disappearances in that area. There are p…

He Will Find You by Charlie Gallagher

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Release Date - July 19, 2019



I don't know if it's because I jumped into the Detective Maddie Ives series midway or what, but I really struggled with He Will Find You. I couldn't connect to the characters, other than the child who doesn't really appear that much in the book. My heart broke for that poor boy.

Detective Maddie Ives is called to the scene of what appears to be a crime. A young boy steps into the city center covered in blood. He won't speak a word. Maddie arrives to try to get any information from him. He's not bleeding, but someone out there must be seriously injured. As the others on the scene find, he simply will not speak.

While Maddie and her co-workers struggled to identify the boy, a body is found in the road. The man appears to have been tied to the back of a vehicle and dragged until he died. With two mysteries to solve, Maddie has her hands full.

It took me two weeks to finish this book. I should have given up as it's clear it wasn…

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

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Release Date - July 30, 2019



It's tough to give a fair review of a book when you're only given a sneak peek. Essentially, all I have to base my thoughts on is the first chapter. That said, this book had me hooked.

Amy Whey is a diving instructor, step-mom, and mother of an infant. Her best friend in the world hosts a regular book club in Amy's basement, which is the perfect opportunity to have some wine, relax with friends and neighbors, and discuss the latest read.

When a newcomer joins them, things go awry when Roux takes over the group and dares them to play an adult form of Never Have I Ever. Soon Amy realizes that Roux knows one of her deepest, darkest secrets and will stop at nothing to make sure Amy pays.

That's the premise. I was left with such a big revelation that leads to what I'm sure is going to be an addicting cat and mouse suspense. From just these few pages, I am dying to know what Amy's secret is and also see Roux get her comeuppance, even if …

Gretchen by Shannon Kirk

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Release Date - July 23, 2019



I'm still not quite sure how I feel about Gretchen Kirk's Shannon. It started out in a way that had me thinking coming of age and suspense. It ended up taking a dark turn that was all psychological thriller. At that point, I really had tired of the characters and didn't care. Many were making foolish decisions and avoiding the best place to start once things got weird.

For as long as she can remember, Lucy and her mother have been on the run. Whenever anyone gets too close or suggests they recognize one of them, they pack up and disappear again. Now 15, Lucy is growing tired of constantly leaving and having to start all over. Leaving behind her friend on this last move was rough.

Now in New Hampshire, their potential new landlord has a daughter who is the same age as Lucy. This is an incredible chance for her to actually have a friend nearby. Though her mom isn't certain the rental home is right for them, she convinces her mom it is.

While…

Layover by David Bell

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Release Date - July 2, 2019



While waiting on his flight, Joshua Fields comes across an attractive woman. They share a passionate kiss and he's hooked. She disappears as quickly as she arrived. He makes an uncharacteristic decision to abandon his flight and get on hers instead. Once they've taken off, he goes to find her and she denies knowing him or being who he says she is.

Later, he's in the airport and sees a news alert that the mystery woman is missing. Rather than continue on his business trip, he opts to go to the town she says she's from and do some digging. He wants to find her and find out why she's been reported missing.

I've read several of David Bell's novels. I've found each one to be enjoyable. I liked Layover, but I never loved it. Part of that is that Joshua's behavior seemed out of character. He's been in a relationship that feels safe but doesn't feel permanent to him. He's been doing the same job for years with his da…

Goodnight Stranger: A Novel by Miciah Bay Gault

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Release Date - July 30, 2019



When I learn there's a book by a Vermont author, I do make every effort to read it. Miciah Bay Gault lives in the state's capital city, but her story is mostly set in Massachusetts on a fictional island off Cape Cod.

Lydia Moore has been responsible for her brother since her mom's death. She and Lucas are more than brother-sister, they're two of a set of triplets. Their infant brother died tragically when he was just weeks old.

One day, a stranger comes to the island. Lydia can't help but feel drawn to him. It's Lucas, however, that is convinced this stranger is their deceased brother who has somehow returned. The man, Cole, knows too many things about their home and their mother for it to be a coincidence.

Lydia must uncover the truth. To do so, she has to leave the island, and that poses problems. She's been on the island so long that leaving it triggers anxiety. She knows something is wrong, but unless she can find out who C…

A Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell

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Release Date - July 23, 2019



I would have really loved this novel so much more had I not had it pegged from the start. The author builds suspense well. The situations are almost creepy at times. But, I had the "twist" figured out before I was too far into the story.

Empty nester Caroline Stark is delighted that her gorgeous, albeit expensive, waterfront home is ready. When her husband announces he won't be back from his business trip in time to be there for the housewarming party, she's heartbroken. Worse, she catches him in a lie. He claims to be in another state, but she tracks his phone and learns he's in a hotel in the city.

With her marriage in shambles and a mysterious stranger watching her house from the beach, Caroline finds her world is falling apart. That stranger, Aidan, ends up being the man she turns to for a one-night stand when she learns her husband has been with another woman. Little does she know that Aiden's dark history and unusual behavi…