Thursday, August 29, 2019

All the Lovely Pieces by J.M. Winchester

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 is so clear. Finally, you have Michael, Drew's son, who adds his perspective as a child.

The book is creepy. I give it that, but I was never surprised. That made what could have been an exceptional book a very good book. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Perfect Son by Lauren North

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!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Because You're Mine by Rea Frey

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 arise and the reader is left with a trip between past and present to learn the truth.

I have never been a fan of books that do a lot of quick flips from past to present. It worked in Because You're Mine. In fact, it ended up being essential. The story starts at a slow, yet realistic pace, but when it takes off, it flew. It rushed to the ending and had me on the edge of my seat for most of the chapters.

Here's the thing. I never really liked any of the characters. I had parts of the "mystery" figured out. Yet, there is that one moment where something happens that I wasn't expecting and I loved that aspect. It left me incredibly happy that I became part of the characters' lives for a few hours. It was a quick read that left me delighted I'd picked it.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci

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 Emma. Minor characters are equally appealing, and even the brewery made me want to be part of the action. I could easily see myself sitting down to an IPA with Emma.

They may have been a bit blind to their attraction at times, but it kept the intrigue going. One character was not my favorite. You'll get to know Whitney, and I'm still not sure I enjoyed her segments at all. She had little in the way of redeeming qualities.

I was still hooked and had to see if Cooper would win the election and if they'd figure it out. It turned out to be a great choice for a breezy summer day outside. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

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 first novel I've read by Katherine Center. I have been missing out. I laughed, I cried, and I didn't want to let go.

Tangled Threat by Heather Graham

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 plenty of suspects and a possible link between things that happened 12 years ago. Brock wants nothing more than to keep Maura safe and uncover the truth.

I struggled a bit with this Heather Graham novel. I usually love her characters, but I never really felt any connection to them this time around. I loved the tree's history. I loved the mystery aspect, but the pacing seemed off. I ended up struggling to finish it, as nothing had me feeling an urge to keep going.

I think part of the problem was that it took a while before there seemed to be any real connection with Maura and Brock. The romance felt secondary to the mystery, and it never quite clicked for me as really having that romantic connection that draws me to romantic suspense. It was okay, but Heather Graham has had stronger romantic suspense novels that I'd recommend reading first.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

He Will Find You by Charlie Gallagher

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't a book that was working for me, but I hate quitting. Now that I'm finally done, I am happy to see how things turned out for the boy, but I do feel like I wasted a lot of time. I didn't love the characters, the switches from one point of view to another grew tiresome, and I found myself impatiently waiting to get back to the boy's story. The problem was the interactions with the boy were limited and required a lot of other chapters first.

Had I read the other books and had more insight into Maddie and Harry's backgrounds and experiences as detectives, I may have found this novel easier to read. Therefore, I suggest you start with the first book and work your way to this one.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

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 she has a valid issue, because she was just an unlikeable person.

You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith

 Release Date - October 25, 2022 After his dad's death, Adam Stillwater and his mom do everything in their power to keep the family...