The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Published July 9, 2019 – Berkley

Review book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description: The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
 
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
 
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
 
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page. (publisher)

My take:  Twenty-nine year old Nina Hill has lived a fairly singular life. Her single mother thought she didn’t need to know anything about her father and then proceeded to leave Nina in the care of a wonderful nanny until she left for college. Nina relies on herself, her books, and her planner to keep her life in order. Her very organized life is upended when she finds herself with a new family courtesy of the father she never met. Abbi Waxman’s novel is about what can happen if Nina can get past the anxiety and open herself to change and a wonderful new path in life. Nina might just find people who “get her” and even like her. I enjoyed The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and was delighted to see a few characters from Waxman’s first novel, The Garden of Small Beginnings, make an appearance. Recommended to fans of the author and easy, breezy novels you could read in a day.


About the author:

Abbi Waxman, the author of Other People’s Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings, is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband. She can be found online at abbiwaxman.com, Facebook.com/abbiwaxmanbooks, and on Twitter @amplecat.


 

The Friends We Keep by Jane Green

The Friends We Keep by Jane Green

Published June 4, 2019 – Berkley

Book provided by the publisher and NetGalley

Description: Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known one another since college. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and they never found the lives they wanted—the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible. 

Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man. 

Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with in college, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause. 

Topher became a successful actor, but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy. 

By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with one another and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness…until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything. 

The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home. (publisher)

My take:  Evvie, Maggie and Topher meet when they are first year university students. They become fast friends not knowing they are forming the relationships that will last the rest of their lives. As with similar friendships, life causes ebbs and flows that take the three on individual journeys but they find their way back to each other a few times over the decades. A thirty year school reunion brings them back one more time and the three friends decide it’s time to make a change. Can it possibly be as good as they imagine?

Jane Green tells her story in three parts: The Beginning (1986); The In-Between Years (1990s); and Present Day (2019). It all adds up to what I call a good beach read. Meaning it has compelling characters, a juicy plot (featuring betrayal and over-the-top drama), and a story that keeps me turning the pages. Kind of like the soap my dorm mates and I would watch when we were in college. Recommended to fans of the author and novels about friendship, growth, and forgiveness.


About the author:

A former journalist in the UK and a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York, Jane Green has written many novels (including Jemima J, The Beach House, Falling, and, most recently, The Sunshine Sisters), most of which have been New York Times bestsellers, and one cookbook, Good Taste. Her novels are published in more than twenty-five languages, and she has over ten million books ini print worldwide. She lives with her husband and a small army of children and animals.


 

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

 

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

Published:  April 23, 2019 – Berkley

Review copy provided by the publisher

Description: An eerie, old Scottish manor in the middle of nowhere that’s now hers.

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago—her father.

Leaving London behind to settle the inheritance from her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home, nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, joined by the half-sister who’s almost a stranger to her.

Ailsa can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her—as if her past hungers to consume her. She also can’t ignore how the neighborhood animals refuse to set one foot within the gates of the garden.

When the first nighttime intruder shows up, Ailsa fears that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything.  (publisher)

My take:  I hope you read the description above because I can’t describe it any better. What drew me to this book was the setting and the aspect of a house being one of the characters. The Manse, as it is referred to by everyone, has quite the personality! I wondered more than a few times why the book wasn’t titled “The Manse“.

There are a few mysteries waiting to be solved by Ailsa. What really happened to her father all those years ago? What is going on regarding the animals? What’s up with her neighbors? I didn’t know who was worthy of her trust and neither did she. That’s what kept me turning the pages – especially in the first half of the novel when the pace felt a bit too slow. Still, I’d recommend The Missing Years to fans of mysteries with gothic overtones and possible time slips. It is Scotland, after all. 🙂


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


 

US Giveaway: Who Slays the Wicked by C.S. Harris

Who Slays the Wicked by C.S. Harris

April 2019 – Berkley

Description:

The death of a fiendish nobleman strikes close to home as Sebastian St. Cyr is tasked with finding the killer to save his young cousin from persecution in this riveting new historical mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of Why Kill the Innocent….

When the handsome but dissolute young gentleman Lord Ashworth is found brutally murdered, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is called in by Bow Street magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy to help catch the killer. Just seven months before, Sebastian had suspected Ashworth of aiding one of his longtime friends and companions in the kidnapping and murder of a string of vulnerable street children. But Sebastian was never able to prove Ashworth’s complicity. Nor was he able to prevent his troubled, headstrong young niece Stephanie from entering into a disastrous marriage with the dangerous nobleman.

Stephanie has survived the difficult birth of twin sons. But Sebastian soon discovers that her marriage has quickly degenerated into a sham. Ashworth abandoned his pregnant bride at his father’s Park Street mansion and has continued living an essentially bachelor existence. And mounting evidence–ranging from a small bloody handprint to a woman’s silk stocking–suggests that Ashworth’s killer was a woman. Sebastian is tasked with unraveling the shocking nest of secrets surrounding Ashworth’s life to keep Stephanie from being punished for his death.


About the author: 

Candice Proctor, aka C.S. Harris and C.S. Graham, is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen novels including the Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series written under the name C.S. Harris, the new 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 the French Revolution. Her books are available worldwide and have been translated into over twenty different languages.


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A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

Published:  March 2019 – Berkley

Review book courtesy of Berkley and NetGalley

My take:  Veronica Speedwell receives an offer she can’t refuse: Accompany Lord Templeton-Vane to his long time friend’s home (a castle on an island off the Cornish coast) for a few weeks and she’ll receive a prized butterfly colony for the museum she and her colleague Stoker are creating. Easy-peasy, right? Not really. Upon arriving at the castle Veronica meets the rather quirky family who reside there along with their interesting staff. It soon becomes clear why Lord Templeton-Vane, Stoker and Veronica have been invited. There’s a mystery to be solved – what became of the lord of the castle’s bride who vanished on their wedding day a few years earlier. There are plenty of suspects who could be responsible for her disappearance. The characters, the atmospheric setting of a castle on an island, and the mystery of the bride combined to make my first Veronica Speedwell Mystery an enjoyable read. I liked the more-than-friends tension between Veronica and Stoker and look forward to seeing what caper they find themselves involved in next.


About the author:

Deanna Raybourn is the author of the award-winning, New York Times bestselling Lady Julia Grey series, currently in development for television, as well as the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries and several standalone novels. Visit her online at www.deannaraybourn.com, on Facebook at DeannaRaybournAuthor, and on Twitter @deannaraybourn.