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Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing many of the books you see reviewed here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Swimming for Sunlight by Allie Larkin

Release Date - April 23, 2019



One thing Katie Ellis won't part with in her divorce is her dog. She'll let her husband cheat and leave her for his mistress, but Bark is hers. Once her lawyer fights to ensure she has custody of Bark, she packs up most of her items and heads to Florida to start over.

Florida holds horrible memories for her, but she also was welcomed into her grandmother's fold of close friends. There, Katie joins in on their plan to go back to their pasts when they were part of a troupe of performing mermaids. She'll do the costume, even if them being in the water is terrifying to her. It may be just what she needs to come to terms with her past and build a worthwhile future.

I loved Nan's friends. They were a riot. Katie is definitely an anxiety-ridden person, and it takes her time to come to terms with everything. One thing remains clear in this book, life is what you make of it and, sometimes, you have to be bold! Read Swimming for Sunlight. It's a lot of fun.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Hot Texas Sunrise by Delores Fossen

Release Date - March 26, 2019



Cleo Delaney misses her close friend, and she will keep her promise. She will do whatever it takes to raise her friend's three boys. The problem is, Cleo has an arrest record and owns a bar, and that makes her a poor choice in social service's eyes. Her friend failed to complete a will before she passed away from cancer.

At the moment, those boys are in their grandmother's care, and that violent alcoholic is a horrible choice. Cleo's last hope is to get a former friend and lover, Deputy Judd Laramie, to step up and agree to become the boys' foster. The problem is Judd is battling his own demons and isn't sure he needs that kind of complication in his life.

It was a gorgeous spring day yesterday and I was in the mood for a light, happy read. Hot Texas Sunrise didn't disappoint. The passion between Cleo and Judd is still strong. I loved that the only conflict in this book would be Cleo's friend's mom. There was nothing else added, which I appreciate because conflict in a romance can often seem forced to me and a little hard to believe. That was never the case here.

Was this book a perfect read? Not really. There were things with the social worker that bugged me. The ending also seemed to come together way too fast and easy. That said, the romance never disappointed and left me with the warm fuzzies I was looking for.

This is a second book in a series, but I don't feel like I missed a thing.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Invited: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon

Release Date - April 30, 2019



I love a book set in my home state. I like to see if an author gets the details right. I like the familiarity. The Invited is a ghost story. Helen and Nate escape their Connecticut life to build a home on the Breckenridge bog.

Legend has it that the ghost of Hattie Breckenridge haunts the bog after being hung for witchcraft. Helen becomes fascinated by the stories and opts to research them. It isn't long before it's clear to her that someone, perhaps Hattie's ghost, wants nothing to do with people building on her land.

As Helen digs deeper into the history, she starts adding pieces of the past to the house they're building. Each piece puts them more in danger than before.

I never found The Invited to be creepy. Coming from multiple generations of Vermonters and hearing some of the stories of my own family's past, the stories of Hattie and her family come off as tragic more than scary. I found it to be a very atmospheric tale of the past and present colliding, but I wasn't ever spooked.

I did find this book hard to put down. The story is told from the viewpoints of Helen and Olive (a teen Helen befriends). As more history is revealed, you might find chapters from characters in the past, too. All add depth to the story that culminates in the truth about Olive's mom's disappearance. It was a quick and engaging story.




Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

Release Date - April 9, 2019



By most standards, Becky Gerard is the perfect mother. She is always there for her daughter, Meghan. Meghan's spent years plagued by a mysterious illness that seems to be worsening. Doctors can't find anything wrong, but Meghan's physical pain, dizziness, and lack of energy are worrisome.

After Meghan passes out again, some start to question if there's really anything wrong with Meghan at all. Some believe Becky is causing the symptoms and Munchausen's is what's really going on. Becky will do anything she can think of to save her daughter. How far is she willing to go?

It's been a while since a book threw a twist that I didn't see coming. Saving Meghan was delightful because I was kept guessing.

The basic premise that keeps you guessing is that Becky's own mother forced her daughters to lie in order to scam the government out of disability funds. Becky having Munchausen's makes sense. As you keep reading, her sincerity makes it hard to tell if you're really right or if there's more going on.

I bounced from thinking Becky was guilty to wondering about Meghan herself and Meghan's father. The more I read, the more I wondered what was going on. If you like books where there are so many potential suspects and reasons behind their actions, Saving Meghan is a great choice.


Friday, April 12, 2019

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Release Date - April 23, 2019



I've been on a horrible reading slump. Nothing has been intriguing to me. I can't seem to get more than a few pages in before I'm ready to give up. Enter Sally Hepworth's The Mother-in-Law. This book blew me away.

Lucy is sure of one thing. She adores her new beau. Her mother died when she was young, so she's hoping she'll find a connection with Ollie's mom. Unfortunately, his mom is very curt and abrasive. It's clear that Lucy and Diana are not going to get along.

Years pass. Lucy spies police in her driveway and learns that Diana is dead from an apparent suicide. She's stunned, yet there's also a sense of peace that comes with it. She and Diana have never seen eye to eye. Lucy is also on her own as the whole world seemed to dote on Diana's every move.

Despite a suicide note hidden in a drawer, the autopsy reveals Diana was suffocated. When she told her family she had breast cancer, it was all a lie. Someone killed her, and Lucy is the only person to have never gotten along with her.

This is a very emotional read. It's told in the past and present with both Lucy and Diana sharing their stories. It took no time to find a bond with both characters. I've been in Lucy's shoes, but as a new mother-in-law myself, I could also get where Diana was coming from. I became eager to have the truth revealed. It was a tearjerker that kept me on the edge of my seat.