The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

Berkley Trade Paperback Original; April 10, 2018; $16

Description:

The Girl Before meets The Couple Next Door in an utterly satisfying Hitchcockian story about a couple who moves into their dream neighborhood only to discover nothing is as it seems…

The perfect couple. The perfect house. The perfect crime.

Londoners Jack and Syd found their dream home: lots of space, a great location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. 

Everything is exactly what they hoped for when they move in—except Jack makes a disturbing discovery in the attic, and Syd begins to wonder about the girl next door. And they each keep the other in the dark.

A mistake.

Because someone has just been killed outside their back door, and now the police are watching them. 

This is their chance to prove they’re innocent—or to get away with murder. 

Whose story do you believe?  (publisher)

My take: A couple in their late twenties have been saving for a house for a long time and looking for the right house even longer. When their low-ball offer on a house is accepted no one is more surprised than Jack and Syd. They celebrate and move in and begin to make it their own. Soon though things take a strange turn and life spins slowly out of control and their dream house turns into a nightmare.

I don’t want to risk spoilers so I’ll just say if domestic suspense thrillers are your thing you might want to read The New Neighbors. I liked it but have to say I was put off by a couple of characters who did things I abhorred and made me want to put the book down. Still, I read to the end because I needed the resolution.


 

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Welcome To Moonlight Harbor by Sheila Roberts

Description:  Once happily married, Jenna Jones is about to turn forty, and this year for her birthday—lucky her—she’s getting a divorce. She’s barely able to support herself and her teenage daughter, but now her deadbeat artist ex is hitting her up for spousal support…and then spending it on his “other” woman.

Still, as her mother always says, every storm brings a rainbow. And when she gets a very unexpected gift from her great-aunt Edie, things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Aging Aunt Edie is finding it difficult to keep up her business running The Driftwood Inn, so she invites Jenna to come live with her and run the place. It looks like Jenna’s financial problems are solved!

Or not. The town is a little more run-down than Jenna remembers, but that’s nothing compared to the ramshackle state of The Driftwood Inn. Aunt Edie is confident they can return it to its former glory, though Jenna feels like she’s jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the beach fire.

But who knows? With the help of her new friends and a couple of handsome citizens, perhaps that rainbow is on the horizon after all. Because, no matter what, life is always good at the beach. (publisher)

My take:  Newly divorced Jenna and her very unhappy fourteen year old daughter move to the shore to live with Jenna’s elderly aunt. Rent is free and they can help get Aunt Edie’s inn back in shape – all while hoping to find the rainbow at the end of the storm aka Jenn’s life.

In her typical style Sheila Roberts brings her characters through easily relatable situations – if not for the reader, surely the reader knows someone who has been through similar life events. It’s a story of new beginnings and being open to possibilities.

I enjoyed Welcome to Moonlight Harbor. It’s a great start to a new series. Recommended to fans of the author, contemporary romance and beach town settings.


 

The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr

Description:

#1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Robyn Carr returns with THE FAMILY GATHERING, the latest installment in her fan-favorite Sullivan’s Crossing series. Carr takes readers back to small-town Colorado to tell the story of Dakota Jones, a perpetual wanderer recently discharged from the Army.

Dakota isn’t the type to stay in one place for long. A lifelong lone wolf, he also doesn’t consider himself much of a family man—especially after growing up with reckless parents who didn’t provide much stability for Dakota and his siblings, all of whom scattered in various directions after leaving home. But after the abrupt end of his Army career, Dakota finds himself drawn to the tranquil mountains of Sullivan’s Crossing, where his brother and sister have both recently settled down. Relocating to this small, neighborly gives Dakota the opportunity to reconnect with his siblings, Cal and Sierra, and establish a closeness they’ve never had before.

As Cal juggles life as a new father and Sierra finds herself caring for an abandoned child, Dakota finds that he has the opportunity to be a part of his siblings’ lives after years of physical and emotional distance—and the more time he spends with them, the more he begins to envy the stability and warmth of their family lives. So when he meets Sidney, a brilliant and beautiful local bartender with past secrets of her own, Dakota finds himself opening up for the first time in years. Has he finally found a woman worth putting down roots for?

A master of storytelling and family sagas, Robyn Carr weaves a moving tale about the power of love, familial bonds, and finding a place — and people — to call home. (publisher)

My take:  The Family Gathering is book three in the Sullivan’s Crossing series. The Jones siblings are all brought together for their sister Sierra’s wedding. They shared an unusual upbringing by free-spirit parents (some would call them hippies) and have all managed to become high-achieving adults but not without their own issues. The primary focus of this novel is Dakota, fresh out of the army and looking for some time to clear his head and decide what he wants to do. Someone who will figure into his plans is Sidney. She’s had her own difficulties and has worked through a lot of them – so she can relate on a few levels with Dakota. I loved seeing how all the siblings from the previous books were doing and how they figured into Dakota’s story. Along with the family dynamics the novel addresses mental illness and how it affects a family. I also liked seeing some minor characters whose story began in the first book and continued through the next two. Robyn Carr’s books have a great sense of community and family and always leave me with a content feeling – and looking forward to the next book. Recommended to fans of the author and contemporary romance with a small town setting.


Praise for Robyn Carr:

“Capturing the best of small-town romance.” — The Washington Post

“Appealing characters and a fresh and heart-tugging twist to a familiar conflict, coupled with what-did-she-just-say? dialogue and a cozy sense of community, all help make this latest installment in the Virgin River series a true romantic getaway.” — USA TODAY

“Robyn Carr delivers yet another fictional win that will speak to the soul of every feminist reader.” — Coastal Living

“Carr sets the bar for contemporary romance.” — Booklist Starred Review

“Carr continues her brilliant community-building as a number of storytelling threads come together in a rich narrative tapestry.” — Kirkus Reviews


 About the author:

Robyn Carr was a young mother of two in the mid- 1970s when she started writing fiction, an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, whose husband’s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, she would become one of the world’s most popular authors of romance and women’s fiction, and 11 of her novels would earn the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

In the years since Robyn’s A Virgin River Christmas scored her first New York Times success in 2008, her novels have spent over 231 weeks on that prestigious list. Her 20-book Virgin River series alone has netted more than 13 million copies.

Over the past 17 years, 41 Robyn Carr titles, with collectively 27 million copies in print, have been translated into 19 languages in 30 countries.

As a sign of the significant contributions Robyn has made to the genre, the Romance Writers of America, the trade association representing 10,200 members who write romance and live in 35 countries, named Robyn as the winner of the 2016 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown—her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she’s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.


 

Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas – Review; Guest Post

  • Title:  Mornings on Main
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction; Romance
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  April 2018 – HQN
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  When Jillian James lands in the small town Texas community of Laurel Springs, she’s definitely not planning to stay—except to find a few clues about the father who abandoned her and destroyed her faith in family.

Connor Larady is a single dad, and the only one caring for his grandmother, Eugenia, who has Alzheimer’s. And now he has to close Eugenia’s quilt shop. When Connor meets down-on-her-luck Jillian, he’s out of options. Can he trust the newcomer to do right by his grandmother’s legacy?

Jillian is done with relationships. But as she grows closer to Connor and Eugenia, she must consider giving up her nomadic life for a future with those who need her. (publisher)

My take:  Jillian has lived all over the world, it seems. She traveled with her father, an oil worker who went from job to job. Growing up this way made her a wanderer of sorts. After college she’d work in a town and move on when she wanted to another. In her search for information about her father and mother Jillian arrives in Laurel Springs. She’s hoping to find a job and a place to live but isn’t looking for a relationship. Her new boss, Connor Larady, has deep roots in the town. He also can offer a job to Jillian running his grandmother’s quilt shop. She can’t turn down the offer and she soon can’t ignore her attraction to Connor.

Mornings on Main is a story about two people who are very different yet similar in small ways. I enjoyed Jodi Thomas’ novel about creating family and appreciating people for who they are. It was a total comfort read for me at a time when I needed it. Fans of small town stories and Jodi Thomas are sure to enjoy it.


Praise for Jodi Thomas:

“You can count on Jodi Thomas to give you a satisfying and memorable read.” —Catherine Anderson, New York Times bestselling author

“Western romance legend Thomas’s Ransom Canyon will warm readers with its huge heart and gentle souls.” —Library Journal

“Compelling and beautifully written, it is exactly the kind of heart-wrenching, emotional story one has come to expect from Jodi Thomas.” —Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“This tale will grab readers, who will fall in love with the main characters and be just as enamored of the others.” —Library Journal, starred review, on Lone Heart Pass


A guest post from Jodi Thomas:

I just love this quote from my newest release MORNINGS ON MAIN, “Ah! A slower pace in a small town would give me time to think,” Jillian James decided.

When you grow up in a small town you’re very much aware of how much the people around you shape your life.  No matter how old I get, I’ll still be Cliff and Sally’s daughter. I’ve always loved wandering the main streets in small towns.  Stepping into the shops.  Talking to the people.  Sometimes all you have to say is, “How are things going?” and an hour later you’re still listening. In MORNINGS ON MAIN, I wrote about the people of Laurel Springs.

As the stories of the town’s history is displayed in quilts, MORNINGS ON MAIN weaves three women’s stories together.   One beginning to collect memories, one always leaving the past behind, and a one losing a lifetime. 

I hope readers will think about how they store their memories.  Whether in quilts or scrapbooking, a diary or pictures.   Our lives are stored in pieces, in memories that shape our beliefs and actions. I’d hope that my readers will smile when they finish my story and maybe pull out a few of their favorite memories to enjoy.

Come visit Laurel Springs, and stay for a while!

Jodi Thomas 


About the author:

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full- time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and checking up on their two grown sons.

For more information, please visit Jodi’s website at www.jodithomas.com.


Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas
April 10, 2018 • Trade paperback original • HQN • 384 pages • ISBN 978-1-335-06295-6 • $15.99 U.S./$19.99 CAN.


Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

   

  • Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart (from Howard/Atria Books and NetGalley)
  • Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton  (from Lake Union)

Last week on Bookfan:

      

Reading plan for this week:

  I’m at the beach this week – reading and relaxing.