Thursday, November 7, 2019

review: the secret keeper by kate morton

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The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton opens in the 1960s with a teenaged Laurel witnessing her mother kill a man. The police deem it self-defense and Kate Morton moves the story along to 2011 when Laurel's mother is living her last days. The story then shifts to when Laurel's mother was a young woman during World War II. It becomes quite clear that the murder is somehow connected to what happened during the war, but Morton drags out the story by constantly having the characters have a revelation or experience that is kept secret from the reader. Once revealed, the secrets were quite shocking and made for a very interesting plot retrospectively, but The Secret Keeper would have been more powerful had Morton shifted back to 2011 a bit less.
3/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Washington Square Press.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

review: burning ridge by margaret mizushima

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The fourth Timber Creek K-9 mystery, Burning Ridge, gets off to a quick start when Deputy Mattie Cobb helps break up a bar fight and then her potential love interest finds a burned body. The plot then slows a bit as a number of secondary characters and subplots are introduced. There are some new people in town and a lot of time is spent setting up red herrings before the primary plot kicks into gear again. Once Burning Ridge gets going, it's a whirlwind of drama drawing on Mattie's backstory which has been unknown even to her. Although Burning Ridge is the fourth in the series, there's enough background information dropped in seamlessly to make it work as a standalone.
4/5
Review copy provided by the publicist, MM Book Publicity.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

review: the duchess in his bed by lorraine heath

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When Selena's husband died, they'd yet to have a child which means Selena won't receive much of an inheritance. With her parents deceased and her brother not exactly reliable, Selena worries about her sisters' futures. That's why Selena and her less than scrupulous brother hatch a plan for Selena to quickly conceive and pass the baby off as her husband's. It was a great plan until Selena actually started to fall for Aiden Trewlove who runs the club that indulges the desired of wealthy women.

The fourth Sins for All Seasons novel proves just as sexy as the previous books, but also shows the many downsides of the societal rules of the time. Although those rules are the reason Selena acts as she does, there are times when Selena is just a little too in league with her disgraceful brother which makes it hard to root for her and Aiden. Aiden has some pretty great moments though, especially when he's with his family.
4/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Avon.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

review: the crazy school by cornelia read

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The Crazy School is the second of the Madeline Dare series, but can be read as a standalone as much of Madeline’s backstory is filled in. This mystery is very slow to get going with the first half of the novel setting up what’s been happening at the boarding school where Madeline is now a teacher. Even without the mystery, the setup is interesting as Madeline struggles with her new job. The students are difficult to say the least and her boss makes the teachers attend group therapy and follow the same restrictions as the students. Once the mystery finally gets going, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster with Madeline being framed but also poisoned and a very dark turn for the true culprit.
4/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Grand Central Publishing.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

review: mine by courtney cole

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As a hurricane approaches, a different sort of storm is about to hit Tessa Taylor's house. It all begins when Tessa has to use her husband's iPad because their teenage daughter took Tessa's to her grandparents' house. If not for that simple act of a teenager, Tessa may have never seen the nude pictures of a woman her husband is clearly having an affair with. With the rest of the family out of town, Tessa seizes the opportunity to meet the other woman. From that moment, there is danger at every turn the hurricane traps the two clearly unhinged women in Tessa's home. Mine by Courtney Cole is a wild ride filled with twists as the dual storms rage and revenge is sought. Every chapter reveals another shock.
4/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

review: gimme some sugar by molly harper

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When Lucy Bowman's husband unexpectedly died, she didn't exactly become a grieving widow; her husband had repeatedly cheated and she was considering divorce. Lucy's mother-in-law won't hear any of it, so she's out to make Lucy's life miserable as Lucy tries to start a bakery and move on with Duffy McCready.

Although Lucy might not be doing much grieving, others are in Gimme Some Sugar which makes this book not as fun and light-hearted as the previous two in the Southern Eclectic series. There's also some repetition of plot points as Duffy's ex and Lucy's mother-in-law are both one note villains who keep getting in the way of Lucy and Duffy's budding relationship.
4/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

review: before i go by colleen oakley

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At just 27 Daisy learns that the breast cancer she thought she beat three years ago has now spread throughout her body. The doctor says she likely only has months to live. But Daisy has much to do—she and her husband have a fixer-upper house and both are working on graduate degrees. Daisy initially tries to live her life normally, but soon her focus shifts to finding a new wife for her husband, who she believes can’t possibly take care of himself.

With a terminal cancer patient as the protagonist, it seemed Before I Go would be excruciatingly sad; it wasn’t. That’s partly because Daisy doesn’t wallow in her diagnosis and partly because Daisy is slightly annoying in her fixation on insignificant things like drinking the organic kale smoothies she believed kept her healthy. Because Before I Go centers wholly on Daisy finding a wife for Jack (who as an adult about to be a veterinarian should be capable of taking care of himself—I had trouble with this plot because it just seemed so insulting to Jack), the story drags at times with Daisy not taking any action on her plan but still going on and on about it. The final chapter was incredibly touching though.
3/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery.