Spotlight/US Giveaway: Why Kill The Innocent by C.S. Harris

Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris

Berkley Trade Paperback; February 26, 2019; $16

Description:  WHY KILL THE INNOCENT transports readers to 1814, during the height of a frigid London winter. Lady Devlin literally stumbles upon trouble when she trips over a cadaver on a snowy city street. She soon discovers that the body belongs to beautiful young musician Jane Ambrose, the piano instructor of the royal Princess Charlotte. Ambrose’s death stirs fear within the palace, and any investigation into the matter is quickly dismissed. But Sebastian and Hero, determined to fight for justice, search all of London for Ambrose’s murderer. As the winter air turns bitterly cold, the brooding and contemplative Sebastian finds a chilling number of potential suspects, all with ample reason to kill the brilliant musician. Which of them forced Ambrose to take her final bow?


About the author:

Candice Proctor, aka C.S. Harris and C.S. Graham, is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty novels including the Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series written under the name C.S. Harris, the C.S. Graham thriller series co-written with Steven Harris, and seven historical romances. She is also the author of a nonfiction historical study of women in the French Revolution. Her books are available worldwide and have been translated into over twenty languages.

A former academic with a PhD in European history, Candice also worked as an archaeologist on a variety of sites including a Hudson’s Bay Company Fort in San Juan Island, a Cherokee village in Tennessee, a prehistoric kill site in Victoria, Australia, and a Roman cemetery and medieval manor house in Winchester, England. She loves to travel and has spent much of her life abroad, living in Spain, Greece, England, France, Jordan, and Australia. She now makes her home in New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, retired Army officer Steve Harris, and an ever-expanding number of cats.


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The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

Published:  February 2019 – Berkley Books

Book courtesy of Berkley

Description:  Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it–or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina’s side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she’s ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn’t know won’t hurt her…

As Raina’s life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother’s dreams.  (publisher)

My take:  The Matchmaker’s List is the story of Raina, her Nani (grandmother), and Nani’s quest to match Raina before her 30th birthday. As her birthday approaches Raina agrees to date the possible matches on Nani’s list – some with hilarious results, others are more appalling. They only elevate Raina’s frustration with her choices, cultural and personal, and lead her to reveal something that will set a series of events in motion. How will she rein it all back in? The novel, with some unexpected turns, becomes Raina’s journey to figuring out what she really wants in life. Although I was a bit frustrated with her on more than one occasion I ultimately cheered her on.  Recommended to fans of chick lit that you can imagine ending up on the big screen.


 

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The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

Published:  February 2019 – Berkley

Finished copy from Berkley

My take:  This is the story of Yuri, a boy whose parents immigrated to the US after the Chernobyl tragedy. They didn’t know the lasting effect that tragedy would have on their future. Their son was born with a heart defect that prevented him from experiencing a life other children and parents take for granted. But it didn’t stop him from loving baseball and his favorite team, the NY Yankees. And that served as a connection to his English tutor, Maggie Topper. They bond over their love of the sport which leads to lively conversations and writing in a journal and reading books. I loved that while Maggie was there to teach Yuri she learned so much from him – ultimately that life is meant to be lived no matter how much time we have.  The Secret of Clouds is an emotional novel. Alyson Richman used baseball, classical music, the power of the written word and the importance of personal interactions – which is to say, she wrote the book I want to read.


 

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

Published January 2019 – Berkley Hardcover

Book provided by the publisher

Description:  The New York Times bestselling author of The Widow returns with a brand new novel of twisting psychological suspense about every parent’s worst nightmare…

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. 

As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…  (publisher)

My take:  Thank you Berkley Publishing for sending me a free copy of The Suspect. The first of Fiona Barton’s novels I’ve had the chance to read, it is about two girls on a gap year trip to Thailand. What could go wrong? Well, since I’m a parent whose children are grown and out of the nest I can think of plenty that could go wrong. And it does in this book. I think reading from a parent’s perspective – or maybe any adult’s perspective – will color the way one reacts to the events. What it all distilled to for me is this question: What would I do to protect my child? And what about children who don’t have a strong, supportive parent to step in to protect them? Morals, ethics, and human decency might go out the window. I was rather appalled by the actions of all involved at one time or another – and maybe that’s the point. Again, what would I do?

I don’t read a ton of mysteries like The Suspect but I think many readers of the genre will like it. I think younger readers (teens, young adults) will most likely relate on some level to a few of the characters. The pacing is good and helped by short chapters – an aspect in suspenseful books that I’ve come to appreciate. Lastly, I must say I really enjoyed the character of DI Sparkes and would love to read more about him going forward from this novel. I appreciated how Barton handled what was going on in his personal life while he was on the job trying to solve the crime.

Will I read another book by Fiona Barton? I think I’ll eventually circle back and read The Widow. I’ll also read any books that follow The Suspect that include DI Sparkes.


About the author:

Fiona Barton is an award-winning journalist in the UK who has worked for the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, among other publications. She drew on her thirty-five year career to craft Kate Waters into the dogged, resourceful reporter that readers have come to love in the previous two books. Barton says writing Kate feels “like coming home.”


 

Little Big Love by Katy Regan

Little Big Love by Katy Regan

February 2019 – Berkley Trade Paperback Reprint

Book provided by Berkley

Description:  Liam Jones was the love of Juliet’s life. He was her brother’s best friend, then her best friend, then the father of her little boy. In those shining weeks after Zac was born, she had never been happier and neither had Liam.
 
And then one night, Liam disappeared without a trace.
 
Ten-year-old Zac Hutchinson collects facts: octopuses have three hearts, Usain Bolt is the fastest man on earth. But no one will tell him what happened to his father and where he went.
 
When Juliet, inadvertently admits that his father is the only man she’s ever loved, Zac decides he is going to find him and deliver his mom the happily ever after she deserves.

But Liam left for a reason, and as Zac searches for clues of his father, Juliet begins to rebuild what shattered so many years ago.
 
An unforgettable, heart-stopping story of the secrets we keep and of love in all of its many forms. (publisher)

My take:  Ten-year-old Zac loves to learn facts – about everything. His favorite book is a tome of facts. Lately he’s been wanting to discover the facts about his father. He and his best friend Teagan make it their mission to get answers to questions he’s asked (in his mind) for a long time. Little by little he’ll learn the true facts from various sources – but at what cost?

Katy Regan’s novel really tugged at my heartstrings.  I couldn’t help but cheer for Zac and Teagan – wanted to reach through the pages and hug them. Their individual stories are heartbreaking yet hopeful. The inner strength and resilience they show is remarkable. One might expect those qualities from adults but these children shine in the novel.

This is a story about facts and truth and how the same truth is usually different for everyone. We hang on to the truth that helps us get by – but sometimes that’s not enough. As serious as that sounds, there are many moments of levity. I really liked this novel and recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction about living with grief and overcoming difficult circumstances.