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Showing posts from February, 2022

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

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 Release Date - March 26, 2019 When I struggle to read a novel, I don't delete it. I always try to circle back and give it multiple chances. Keeping that in mind, The Perfect Girlfriend is one I've tried to get through. Maybe I gave it more chances than I should, but I hate giving up.  Juliette has great friends, a remarkable career, and her mother's death also means she has the chance to live where she wants, rather than where she can afford it. She also has the love of her life living nearby, even if he may need a little coaching to reach the same conclusion she has. She does everything she can to show him she's the only one he needs. She gets a job at his airline, stops by and regularly cleans his home while he's away, and other things designed to ensure he realizes how much he misses her.  Essentially, this book is a twisted trip into Juliette's obsession. She definitely comes off as creepy, but she's also so unlikable. The writing is fantastic, but I

Woman Last Seen by Adele Parks

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 Release Date - February 1, 2022 Leigh Fletcher's two sons may not be hers by blood, but she's the only mother they know. Her oldest son's been pulling away from her, and it saddens her, but that's just what teens do. When she goes missing from their suburban home, no one knows what could have happened.  On the other side of town, Kai Janssen seems to have it all. She and her husband have a lavish penthouse home and amazing life. When Kai disappears, her husband fears the worst.  Detective Clements is assigned the two disappearances, and it's not surprising that suspicions are that the women left their lives to move on to new things. Did they though? The detective soon realizes there's more than meets the eye, and despite her superiors telling her to move on, she's going to keep looking at the disappearances and what happened to Leigh and Kai. The reader is aware of what's going on early into the story. There's a definitely edgy feel as the story pla

How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan

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 Release Date - January 18, 2022 Grace Travis is close to achieving her dream. She's about to graduate with a degree in interior design. Her grandparents' beachfront home is hers and awaiting her vision. The only problem is that her new neighbor set his sights on having her house as well as his, and he's convinced that with enough pressure she'll accept his buy-out offer.  Noah Jansen is proving to be an annoyance that Grace isn't thrilled to have for a neighbor, but she plans to ignore him. When a major magazine editor asks her to give Noah's home the finishing touches it needs, Grace can't say no to the chance to launch her career in a major way. But, it's also hard to ignore your enemy when you're working side-by-side. How to Love Your Neighbor had plenty of romantic tension and a setting that I wanted to be in. Skip all the Vermont snow, rain, below zero temps, and super-windy days. I want to be in sunny California!  I enjoyed watching Grace a

The Good Son: A Novel by Jacquelyn Mitchard

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 Release Date - January 18, 2022 Many years ago, I picked up The Deep End of the Ocean and was entranced by Jacquelyn Mitchard's story. The Good Son turned out to be just as appealing, though this time I felt there was a bit of a let-down as I figured it out early on. Thea Demetriou loves her son to the ends of the earth, but he's being released from prison after serving time for a drug-fueled rampage in which he murdered his girlfriend, Thea's best friend's daughter. Stefan's act tore the community apart and made Thea, her husband, and Stefan the talk of the town in very negative ways.  On the trip to and from the prison, Thea gets a message from an alleged witness who makes it clear that Stefan cannot talk to anyone about the truth of that night. Someone tries to run them off the road. At home, protestors await. Thea's not sure how much she can handle, but she loves her son and cannot associate him with the brutalities that took place on the night of his ar

Bad Luck Bridesmaid by Alison Rose Greenberg

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 Release Date - January 11, 2022 Once a bridesmaid, never a bride. But in this case, Zoey Marks keeps ending up a bridesmaid to brides who never make it down the aisle. Every single time she's agreed to be a bridesmaid, the bride flees before the vows. Zoey knows she's a "bad luck bridesmaid." Given her bad luck, she vows she'll never make the same mistakes and accept a man's proposal, even when she finds Mr. Right, Rylan Harper III. Then the worst happens. Zoey's best friend announces she's getting married and she wants Zoey to be her bridesmaid. Zoey can't tell Hannah no, but she's going to have to turn her luck around and make sure Hannah gets through the "I Do" part at a wedding in Ireland where Rylan happens to be a groomsman. What could possibly go wrong? I loved the humor and lighthearted approach in Bad Luck Bridesmaid, but I never connected with Zoey. She spent too much time on the "poor me," without stopping to con

Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester

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 Release Date - January 18, 2022 I don't really know what to think of Such a Pretty Smile . I don't know that I loved it, but I didn't hate it. That said, I did struggle to finish it.  It's 2019 and girls in a close-knit community are turning up dead. Not only is there a murderer out there, but the murderer brutalizes these girls. Caroline, mother to 13-year-old Lila, is terrified. You see, Caroline has been keeping something from Lila for all of Lila's life. Fifteen years ago, Caroline was hearing things that didn't seem to be there. With those sounds of snarling dogs and images of snapping teeth, Caroline goes into a fugue state where she created to create graphic, stunning works of art. She believes the stress of caring for her father and dealings with insomnia is to blame. Yet, there's something else at play, even if Caroline doesn't realize it. Her therapist's answer is to take pills to help her manage her symptoms of mental illness, but is th

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

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 Release Date - January 11, 2022 The Last House on the Street is told from two eras. Kayla Carter and her husband designed and were in the midst of the construction of their dream home when he fell to his death. Starting over as a single mom is rough, but an odd client comes into her architecture firm with warnings that leave Kayla shaken and unsure moving into this home is wise. Who the strange older woman is remains a mystery that police have been unable to solve. At this point, the story turns to Ellie Hockley's life in the 1960s. As a young woman from a prominent family, Ellie doesn't always follow the lines they want her to follow. She's more like her free-spirited aunt, and that's what leads her to join an organization that wants to get black community members to register to vote and go to the polls. Ellie's parents are displeased and want her to stop her mission and come home for the summer. The two women may be on completely different paths in life, but a

I've Taken a Hiatus and am Slowly Coming Back

I needed to take a break. After a 13-year battle with Alzheimer's, my mom's fight came to an end. While part of me is relieved, I also found that I was so very, very sad for all the disease took from our family. Once Alzheimer's starts its rollercoaster steamrolling trajectory, it plows down every one within reach.  During that break, I did keep reading. I have a lot of reviews to catch up on. I've also been doing a lot of baking, but turning favorite recipes into healthier options without the sugar and all-purpose flour. Often, I'd find a conversation in the book - something the character was making, eating, or craving - would get me in the mood to bake. For that reason, some of my future reviews will have me talking about that inspiration. It's different from what I've done before, but for my grief, it's cathartic.