The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

Trade Paperback published March 2019 – Berkley

Review copy provided by the publisher

My take: A group of university friends spend a holiday at a French farm-house that ends with the disappearance of a beautiful young woman from the house next door. Ten years later the cold case is re-opened when her body is found. The group of friends are at various stages of their careers and have scattered a bit. They’re brought back together now that the case is being investigated by fresh eyes. Told from the perspective of one of the friends, who also occasionally “sees” the dead girl, we get a feel of how everyone has changed over the years. My guess of who was responsible for the crime changed a few times. The pace was good and the closing chapters had me on the edge of my seat and looking forward to Lexie Elliott’s next book.


About the author:

Lexie Elliott grew up in Scotland, at the foot of the Highlands. She graduated from Oxford University, where she obtained a doctorate in theoretical physics. A keen sportswoman, she works in fund management in London, where she lives with her husband and two sons. The rest of her time is spent writing, or thinking about writing, and juggling family life and sport.

lexieelliott.com

instagram.com/lexieelliottwrites


 

Spotlight on: American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton

American Princess – A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt

by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Berkley Trade Paperback Original; March 12, 2019

Description

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.


 

In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick

In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick

January 2019 – Berkley

Book provided by the publisher

Description:  From the author of Once Upon a Wine, a new novel set in the charming seashore town of Black Dog Bay, Delaware.

When everything has gone to the dogs . . .

When Jocelyn Hillier is named legal guardian for the late Mr. Allardyce’s pack of pedigreed Labrador retrievers, her world is flipped upside down. She’s spent her entire life toiling in the tourism industry in Black Dog Bay and never expected to be living the pampered life of a seasonal resident in an ocean side mansion, complete with a generous stipend. But her new role isn’t without its challenges: The dogs (although lovable) are more high-maintenance than any Hollywood diva, the man she wants to marry breaks her heart, and she’s confronted at every turn by her late benefactor’s estranged son, Liam, who thinks he’s entitled to the inheritance left to the dogs.

Jocelyn has worked too hard to back down without a fight, and she’s determined to keep her new fur family together. As she strives to uphold the “Best in Show” standards her pack requires, Jocelyn finds love, family, and forgiveness in the most unexpected places.

My take:  I thoroughly enjoyed In Dog We Trust. How could I not enjoy a book that involves adorable dogs (I mean, come on – that cover!), a seaside setting, likeable characters (for the most part) and an entertaining plot. There are shenanigans involving a will, dog people, and assorted other people. It all adds up to a perfect vacation read – could be read on a cross-country flight – or when you’re in the mood for a light, funny read. In Dog We Trust is book 4 in the Black Dog Bay series but it can stand alone.


Praise for Beth Kendrick and her novels:

 

Witty, juicy, and lots of fun!”

Susan MalleryNew York Times bestselling author of The Girls of Mischief Bay

“A smart, funny spin on happily-ever-after!”

Beth HarbisonNew York Times bestselling author of One Less Problem Without You

“Kendrick proves she is the leader of the pack when it comes to fashioning cheekily clever love stories.”

Booklist (starred review)


The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin plus a US Giveaway

  • Title:  The Queen of Hearts
  • Author:  Kimmery Martin
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  February 2018 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.  (publisher)

My take: Kimmery Martin’s debut novel is the story of two friends, betrayal, and the possibility of forgiveness. Zadie and Emma meet in medical school and become dependable friends as they experience the ins and outs of their medical training.

There are highs and lows that I imagine only people who’ve worked in a hospital or shared the common bond of med school can truly understand. Martin’s descriptive writing kept me interested, especially when I didn’t have a clue if what was happening during procedures, etc. was realistic. Given her real life experience as an ER doctor I trusted and went along with the story. I was completely engaged in what transpired in the hospital setting and on a personal level with Zadie and Emma.

I think fans of medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy will enjoy The Queen of Hearts. I look forward to Kimmery Martin’s next novel.


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As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

  • Title:  As Bright As Heaven
  • Author:  Susan Meissner
  • Pages:  400
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  February 2018 – Berkley Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it. (publisher)

My take:  After suffering a heartbreaking loss, Thomas Bright decides his family should move from their small town to Philadelphia where he will join his uncle’s mortuary business. It will greatly improve their quality of life and the change will be good for them all.

The Bright family settles in nicely at Uncle Fred’s beautiful home. They like their neighbors and slowly become used to the large city. That said, they won’t remain untouched by tragedy for long. These are the harrowing days of WWI and the Spanish Influenza.  As Bright As Heaven is a dramatic and emotional novel that taught me a good deal about the epidemic as well as the life of an undertaker and his family. Susan Meissner conveyed a lot from that unique perspective alone.

I grew to care about the characters – it seemed no one was untouched by the War and/or the flu. Learning and feeling what transpired during important times in history is what I love about Historical Fiction. The Bright family were inspirational in their ability to keep looking for the good in life – doing the best they could with what life handed them. Susan Meissner’s novel is a must read for fans of the genre.