Sunday, April 21, 2019

review: between you & me by susan wiggs

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When a young Amish boy sustains a life-threatening farming accident, his guardian goes against the community's wishes and allows a helicopter to take the boy to a hospital. That's how Caleb along with his nephew Jonah and niece Hannah come into the life of Reese, a surgical resident at the hospital. Soon Reese and Caleb are connecting and trying to navigate the tremendous differences between them.

Between You & Me opens with someone, clearly Amish, abandoning a baby at a hospital. It was initially unclear how this would come into the plot, but eventually Susan Wiggs clunkily works it in. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel until that point. Once the baby is found (very appropriately in the safe haven box), the previously open-minded Reese becomes extremely judgmental. Wiggs also completely misrepresents Pennsylvania law which does allow a baby to be left at a safe location such as a hospital without there being any consequence to the parents. It's unfortunate that Wiggs twisted what had been a well-written love story into an agenda against safe haven laws.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Avon.

Friday, March 1, 2019

review: the devil's daughter by lisa kleypas

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Two years after the death of her husband, Phoebe is still not ready to remarry despite the pressure from her husband's cousin who Phoebe's husband had expressed a desire to have take his place and is overseeing the family estate. Phoebe isn't happy with the arrangement, but even so, she never expected to fall for the man who bullied her husband when they were at boarding school. Despite West's reputation, he proves to be kind to her children and concerned about the management of the land Phoebe's eldest son will one day inherit. It's a sweet romance (that gets steamy at times) of a pair who prove to be perfect complements. It was especially cute how the cat repeatedly brought the pair together.

Devil's Daughter works well as a standalone, although it’s the fifth in The Ravenels series as well as a crossover with The Wallflowers series as it features the daughter of Sebastian and Evie from Devil in Winter.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Avon.

Friday, February 15, 2019

review: the girls at 17 swann street by yara zgheib

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Told partly through medical reports, but mostly through Anna's almost stream of consciousness narration of her days, Yara Zgheib's debut novel tells of Anna's stay at 17 Swann Street as she battles anorexia. With a tragic childhood and her days of being a professional ballerina in Paris behind her, Anna struggles with a new life in America after her husband takes a job in Missouri for, as Anna puts it, "St. Louis was not a ballet kind of town." The Girls at 17 Swann Street is a powerful tale with Anna experiencing realistic struggles, heartbreak, and triumph. Anna, her husband, and the other women at 17 Swann Street are all amazing characters who are beautifully brought to life by Zgheib.
Review copy provided by the publisher, St. Martin's Press.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

review: one taste too many by debra h. goldstein

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Sarah Blair is starting over at 28 after divorcing her wealthy husband, who happens to be an owner of the restaurant her twin, Emily, works for. Debra H. Goldstein's new cozy mystery series opens with Emily informing Sarah that her ex is dead and the police suspect Emily. With the police focusing their attention on Emily, the twins launch their own investigation and uncover numerous lies and a bit of a conspiracy.

As with some first books in a series, One Taste Too Many introduces a lot of characters. The leads are memorable and fleshed out (especially in regards to those who interacted with RahRah, the cat), but the secondary characters who work at the restaurant are one-dimensional and forgettable—I had to flip back in the book to figure out who someone was when plot developments involving those characters occurred. The mystery unfolded well though with some pretty great twists and plenty of entertaining moments with both Sarah's cat and her kitchen blunders.
Review copy provided by the publisher, MM Book Publicity.