Friday, November 30, 2018

Dead if you Don't by Peter James

4 Star

Shortly after Kipp Brown and his teenage son, Mungo, arrive at the stadium for their team’s biggest-ever football game, Mungo disappears. A short while later Kipp receives a text with a ransom demand and a warning not to go to the police if he and his wife want to see their son alive again. But as a massive, covert manhunt for the boy and his kidnappers begins, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace starts to realize that not all is what it seems. 

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

Another great addition to the Peter James series about Roy Grace. I have long loved these kind of books and consider them one of my guilty pleasures. For some reason, I love police novels and especially those set in the United Kingdom so this definitely satisfied my craving for some Detective Inspector drama.
Roy Grace is a loveable character who has faced his share of hardships which only endear him to us more while he relentlessly pursues criminals to bring for the justice.

This book is no exception to the others. Roy tirelessly investigates the kidnapping of Mungo in this latest tale, discovering the harrowing underside of the city he loves and knows so well while letting the reader get to know him a little bit more.

I absolutely love this series and always quickly read each new book despite them being quite lengthy as they are just that addictive!

Thank you to Wunderkind PR for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Peter James:

Friday, November 23, 2018

Mum in the Middle by Jane Wenham-Jones

4 Star

Tess has downsized to a lively new town and is ready for “me” time. But her Zen-like calm is tested by her boomerang offspring, who keep fluttering back to the nest (usually with a full bag of dirty washing) and by her elderly mother’s struggle to hold on to her independence.
Tess is also surprised to discover that there are dark resentments simmering beneath the vintage charm of her new hometown and a spate of vandalism has exposed the rift between the townsfolk and new arrivals like Tess.
Tess enlists the help of gruff newspaper editor Malcolm to get to the bottom of the mystery but when her ex-husband pays an unexpected visit and her mother stages a disappearance, Tess starts to feel her new-found freedom wearing just a little thin…

Kathryn - 4 Star

I really enjoyed this story.  I have medium sized  children and though I'm not yet at the point of being needed by both the generation before and the one after me I could appreciate Tess' position as being sandwiched in the middle.  

The book is funny and poignant but also has some serious moments of frustration and realism.  Tess' juggling seemed frantic at times. The moments when she was constantly feeding an ever changing number of people and the people staying with her requiring constant sheet changing made me dizzy.  On the other hand I knew that she also loved having her children home with her.  But a little alone time and quiet to work could have been nice!

I was also pleased with her romantic liaisons-  while not the focus of the plot for me I still thought they brought something special to the story.  But particularly lovely for me were the bonds developed with Tess' new friends in her new town- she's such a friendly and accepting woman and it was nice to see that she made good friends with the right people and that they were each strong women in their own right.

Thank you to Harper Impulse for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Jane Wenham-Jones:

Friday, November 16, 2018

Switch and Bait by Ricki Schultz

4 Star

We switch. I bait.
Let me help you snag a date.

All through college, Blanche Carter was known as the love doctor in her sorority. Now she's parlayed her talent into a unique consulting business: she runs the online dating profiles of Washington D.C.'s most eligible women.

Armed with a battalion of rules, Blanche expertly helps her clients optimize their profiles and ace that first date. But although she'll happily message handsome strangers (and fend off dick pics) for other ladies, Blanche's most important rule is the one she has for herself: no relationships. She's seen too much heartbreak to believe in real love anymore. 

When a former fling pops up among the matches for one of her favorite clients, Blanche gamely messages him on her behalf. Blanche is definitely over him, and this is how she'll prove it. But if she doesn't watch out, Blanche might end up not only screwing over a client--and possibly tanking her entire business--but breaking her rule about love as well . . . 

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I'd read the previous book by this author and like how she writes modern tales of love that I can, maybe a bit sadly, relate to. So when I had the chance to read this book, I was pretty excited.

A book about the modern dating scene and all its complexities, I did have to pick it up a few times before I got into it, but then as I felt myself relating to it more and more, I started to fall a bit in love with Blanche.

I've always imagined what it would be like to be a matchmaker and having done my own online dating in the past, therefore this story was the perfect juxtaposition of those two now not-so-secret desires. I can only imagine what it would end up being like, as no doubt one could end up surprised with who they may encounter and recognize during events like these.

Even though it would have been a perfect beach read, this is also a perfect comfy cozy couch read for a fun and often funny but also romantic tale!

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Ricki Schultz:
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Friday, November 9, 2018

Until the Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton

5 Star

In her senior year at NYU, Riley Hope appears to be on top of the world. With a loving mother who makes Lorelai Gilmore look like a parenting slacker, ride-or-die friends, and a long-time boyfriend destined for the National Hockey League, she puts on a smile for the world. But behind it, she’s drowning. Racked with fears for the future, she battles to stay afloat amid life in the shadows of a heartbreaking illness.

And then, Ben Fagan comes crashing into her life. Twenty-three-years-old, British, and alone in the Big Apple after a disastrous pilot season in LA, the struggling actor is looking for an escape: booze, mischief, sex—minimum commitment, maximum fun—anything to avoid returning across the pond. 

As they form an unlikely bond, Riley keeps her reality from Ben so that he remains a happy refuge. But how long can she hold back the truth…and is Ben keeping his own secrets, too?

Kathryn - 5 Star

This novel has all the feels and all the plot and character development to back it up.  Perhaps Riley is at a different stage of life than I am?  But that didn't alter my empathy and connection with her in the slightest. She's a powerful woman with strength and charisma and I appreciated that.  The plot is paced over only a few months but it didn't feel rushed, I was drawn in completely.  

The most engaging part of the book for me was the relationships between the characters. The existing ones were so natural I felt as if I'd known them for years and the new ones (ie Ben) also moved forward organically, not only between Ben and Riley but the progress with her closest friends also fit.  That they weren't both entirely on board with Ben at first was ok and he does come with a lot of holes in his past that needed to be unraveled.  Riley's mum is one the best, (which is saying something because I'm quite sure my own mum is the best), her love flows all over the story and spills out of the pages. I suspect some real life mum feelings were poured into her character and the author should know the reader could feel it.  

There are lots of twists, turns and hurdles for those in Until The Last Star Fades, also some tears but quite a few laughs too. There is no way you will read this book without some feelings!  Am now also curious about the author’s previous novels as there is are characters that have cameos in this that I’d like to learn more about- more books for the to-read list!

Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Jacquelyn Middleton:
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Friday, November 2, 2018

Secret Passages in a Hillside Town by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

4 Star

In a small hillside town, Olli Suominen - publisher and discontented husband - is constantly losing umbrellas. He has also joined a film club. And Greta, an old flame, has added him on Facebook.

As his life becomes more and more entangled with Greta's and his wife and son are dragged into the aftermath of this teenage romance, Olli is forced to make a choice. But does he really want to know what the secret passages are? Can he be sure that Greta is who she seems to be? And what actually happened on that summer's day long ago?

Kathryn - 4 Star

Translated from the original language I was taken on twisty journey through the life and mind of Olli. 

Olli is a father and husband, works in publishing, likes films and is always losing umbrellas.  This is what I gathered in the first few pages of this novel.  

It was quickly apparent though that I was going to be taken to places unknown and have only an ounce of an idea what was going on at any given moment.  Sure that I knew what was happening one minute quickly changed on the next page until I wasn't sure what was real and what was in the imaginations of this man.   I falsely hoped that the introduction of Greta would make some sense of things but she only served to twist the plot into new directions until I was lost.

The novel is funny, quirky and fascinating.  I actually thought a few times about putting it down but I just couldn't. 

If you're looking for something to make you question what you've read- this is it.  It was fantastically confusing and I'm still not sure I've slotted the plot into tidy boxes at the end.  Perhaps I shouldn't even try?

Thank you to Pushkin Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen: 
Website     Goodreads    


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