Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson

 Release Date - August 4, 2020

Rake Tarbell wakes up hungover and very confused. He only realizes where he is when he falls into a canal after walking out of his hotel room. Tourists gather as he's pulled from the canal and realizes he has no idea how he got to Venice, Italy, or where his wallet is. 

Things go from bad to worse when he learns he might be the father of a very precocious girl and that he spent part of the night with a woman who is nothing like his usual choice of company. Claire Delaney is on a mission. She can't tell Rake everything, but one of her jobs is to uncover if he is, in fact, young Lillith's dad. If he is, she is to leave Lillith with him.

When Claire and Rake realize they're being followed, it's a cat and mouse game to keep Lillith safe. One thing Claire never expects is to fall for Rake and start to question if she really wants to move on or if she'd like to make him part of her life.

I didn't ever think it was hard to figure out who hired Claire. That part was kind of obvious. That didn't make the romance less enjoyable, however. I liked watching the two fall in love as they seemed so different. It was hard to imagine Rake even contemplating a switch from bachelor life to family life. I was also happy that the usual path romances take didn't exactly head that way. It was hard to guess how everything would play out. The lack of predictability made it fun.

Read this rom-com. It's a great way to spend a few hours. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Search Party by Simon Lelic

 Release Date - August 18, 2020

After 16-year-old Sadie Saunders disappears, the town and investigating detectives are all certain she's dead. Not only are they certain she was murdered, but they're also acting as judge and jury at the same time and have targeted a local boy as her killer.

Sadie's closest friends aren't sure the town or the detectives have it right. They sneak into the woods to uncover what really happened. All five are hiding secrets and they may have just gone into the woods with the person to did kill Sadie. They may enter the woods together and alive, but what happens in the woods will impact them forever.

I never got into the flow of the story, which made it hard to read. You had the lead detective telling the story from his point of view. You saw the story from the past as the teens all headed into the woods. You also have chapters where the teens are talking directly to the police during interrogations. It seemed disjointed as the story flipped from past to present and back and one viewpoint to the next. 

I really liked D.I. Fleet's character and wished the story had just stayed with him. I never connected with the teens and didn't like the way it seemed they were talking directly to me. While that wouldn't usually bother me, it was distracting in comparison with D.I. Fleet's chapters. I kept getting distracted with the shifts in voice and struggled to keep reading.

The mystery isn't easy to figure out. I loved that. I like having a challenge trying to decide who the killer is. I did have that emotional tug as things started making sense and the details of the murder are revealed. That's what kept me from giving up.

Friday, August 21, 2020

When I Was You by Amber Garza

 Release Date - August 25, 2020

Kelly Medina is surprised to get a call from her son's old pediatrician about her well-baby appointment. Her son's an adult not a baby. She finds it surprising that a woman with her name has moved to her town. She soon meets and befriends this other Kelly Medina. One thing is clear, younger Kelly is not the best single mom and needs help managing everything. The older experienced mom Kelly is determined to help her out as she settles in this new town. What may seem like help to one could be construed as a dangerous obsession to another.

I have to admit that the writing draws you in. Clearly, there is a lot going on in the older Kelly's life that needs to be explained. That drew me in. The actual plot given in the book blurb about one of the Kelly's going missing comes into play so late in the book that by that point, you know exactly who and why.

That's the big downfall to When I Was You is that it wasn't hard to figure out what was going on. I wasn't surprised at any point. While I loved the pace, the plot, and the dialogue, the rest was predictable and never shocked me.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

 Release Date - July 7, 2020

After her best friend dies of cancer, Marie agrees to honor Nina's dying wish, but the truth is Marie has always been jealous of everything Nina has. She'd like nothing more than to live Nina's life so being asked to look after Nina's family isn't a big deal. In fact, it could be the best thing that's ever happened to Marie. Or, at least she thinks that to be true, but the reality may be far different.

Things aren't always as they seem in this suspense, but I really struggled to stay with it. Even when I was a good halfway through the book, I was struggling. It's never a good sign. As much as I wanted to find that point where the novel changed and dragged me in, everything in the story dragged. As a new friend is introduced, I didn't care. As Marie embedded herself more and more into Nina's family, I really didn't care. I had to struggle to finish it.

By the end, I'd never liked any of the characters. I shouldn't feel relief to be done a book and be able to delete it. Unfortunately, it was my reaction.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

 Release Date - August 4, 2020

Podcaster Rachel Krall finds herself traveling to a coastal town to cover an upcoming rape trial. It's not her usual case, but she's up for the change of pace. Keeping her podcast balanced on the "You Decide" format is important to her, so she's ready to work hard. 

Rachel's voice may be recognizable, but she doesn't often get fans who recognize her. After stopping at a diner, she comes out to find a note on her windshield. A woman named Hannah claims her sister was murdered in that same town 25 years ago. Rachel wants to dismiss it, but something about the facts don't add up. The deeper she digs, the more she realizes that there's something off. The secrets to finding out the truth in both cases may come down to unraveling the secrets people in the town are hiding.

This story does revolve heavily around rape and perceptions of rapists and the woman or girls who are victims. It's the he said/she said aspect that you've seen play a part in many cases over the years. The Stanford rape case being one. For me, it goes back so much farther to the Jodie Foster movie "The Accused." I was so angry watching that movie. Every time I see a "she shouldn't have been drinking" or "she should have dressed more appropriately," I get more outraged. When a date rape occurred at a local college and they let the rapist stay enrolled saying the girl invited him to her dorm, what did she expect..." I was also angry. 

The Night Swim tapped into that same anger. I loved the message. I loved seeing the reality brought to light. A 7th grade classmate's behavior while he grabbed my boob and yelled "titty twister" thinking it was funny. That teachers refused to do anything because he was troubled was just one of many experiences that I haven't forgotten over the years. The author of The Night Swim is correct. That was a form of assault and something women and girls deal with regularly. It's not right and I love that that is the message that shines through.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Someone's Listening: A Novel by Seraphina Nova Glass

Release Date - July 28, 2020

Faith Finley wakes up in the hospital. She's been in a crash and her husband Liam is gone. Police find no evidence he was ever in the car and don't take action. When he doesn't show up for work and others report him missing, things change. She knows something is wrong, and now police are investigating his disappearance, though they think he simply walked away from her and his life as a food critic.

Soon, pages from Faith's self-help book start turning up at her home along with threatening messages. Something happened to Liam and Faith is determined to uncover the truth. Doing so could put her life in jeopardy.

There are a lot of twists in Someone's Watching, and some of those twists and revelations come as surprises. I can't say that the outcome shocked me. I found it predictable, but it did take me a bit to get to that point. Don't be surprised if you find yourself bouncing between suspects and theories. It's hard not to.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Vacation: A Novel by T.M. Logan

Release Date - July 21, 2020

It's been years since Kate and her three college buddies have gotten together. Life got in the way. They've all planned to share a luxury villa in France for a week - spouses and kids included. Kate finds out that someone is hiding a secret, however. Her husband gets a text message from one of her friends. They're having an affair, and Kate wants to know which of her friends is putting her marriage in jeopardy.

Soon, it's clear that there are several secrets hidden within the group of friends. No one is innocent, and some of these secrets are worth killing for.

I love T.M. Logan's writing but The Vacation never grabbed me the same way that other novels have. It's not bad, but it seemed to drag. I had a feeling where some of the "secrets" were going. They weren't very surprising.

At the same time, the setting drew me in and I wanted to be at that villa and walking to the village for wine and fresh croissants. I kept reading simply for those details.

The Road to Christmas: A Sweet Holiday Romance Novel by Sheila Roberts

Release Date - September 20, 2022  Sit down and explore the holiday season through four sets of eyes in Sheila Roberts' latest holiday...