Well-Behaved Indian Women

Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave

Published:  July 14, 2020 – Berkley Books

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little “writing hobby.” But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran’s life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.

Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband’s demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children’s sake. It isn’t until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she’s spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she’s let herself slip away.

Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she’ll never be able to fix­—or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it’s needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden. (publisher)

My take:  I loved this story about three generations of women living a modern life with cultural expectations and pressures. From the grandmother in India to her daughter Nandini, a family physician in America, to Nandini’s daughter Simran, ready to finish school and marry the love of her life – all three are on the brink of change.

Saumya Dave had me at page one – completely invested in her characters and the challenges they faced with admirable courage. I was inspired and can’t wait to read more from this talented author. Well-Behaved Indian Women would make a fabulous film.


 

 

Promises Of Tomorrow

Promises of Tomorrow by Shelley Shepard Gray

Expected Pub. date:  July 6, 2020 – Gallery Books

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Two years have passed since their friend Andy’s death, and the Eight is still struggling to cope with their loss. In an attempt to give the group some time to reconnect with one another, remember their friend, and reflect on the last two years, Marie decides that a relaxing couple’s getaway is just what they need before the craziness of the holiday season begins. When their large cabin in the woods turns out to be more rundown than rustic, though, Marie fears that she’s ruined everything, but at least, she thinks, the trip can’t get any worse—that is, until a lost English girl named Beth appears at the cabin. And with such heavy snow, the Eight is forced to take her in for the next twenty-four hours.

Although Marie feels as if all her planning and good intentions were for nothing, she has no idea that Beth will give the group a gift they didn’t know they needed: the reminder that life may not always be fair and sometimes it’s painful, but there’s always another day. (publisher)

My take:  Normally I don’t read or post about Christmas books in the middle of the year but Promises of Tomorrow published this week so I hope you’ll indulge me. This is a novella and book 4.5 of the Walnut Creek series.

A close-knit group of young married couples (the Eight) still dealing with the death of one of their friends two years previous work through their feelings at a pre-Christmas getaway. Their rental cabin doesn’t quite meet expectations but they make the best of it. The arrival of a young woman during a snowstorm adds a layer of tension but could also be an unexpected blessing.

Tragedy, faith, and the miracle of Christmas all combine in a novella that fans of the Walnut Creek series are sure to enjoy.


About the author:

A practicing Lutheran, Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than eighty novels, translated into multiple languages. In her years of researching the Amish community, she depends on her Amish friends for gossip, advice, and cinnamon rolls. She lives in Colorado with her family and writes full time.


 

No One Saw

No One Saw by Beverly Long

Published:  June 2020 – MIRA

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Baywood police department detective A.L. McKittridge is no stranger to tough cases, but when five-year-old Emma Whitman disappears from her day care, there isn’t a single shred of evidence to go on. Neither the grandmother who dropped her off, nor the teacher whose care she was supposed to be in, can account for the missing child. There are no witnesses. No trace of where she might have gone. There’s only one thing A.L. and his partner, Rena Morgan, are sure of—somebody is lying.

With the clock ticking, A.L. and Rena are under extreme pressure as they discover their instincts are correct: all is not as it seems. The Whitmans are a family with many secrets, and A.L. and Rena will have to race to untangle a growing web of lies if they’re going to find the thread that leads them to Emma…before it’s too late. (publisher)

My take:  Baywood, WI police detective A.L. McKittridge is back to work after a relaxing California getaway with the woman in his life, Tess. He and his partner Rena are tasked with finding a missing five-year-old who disappeared from her day care center – a nightmare for everyone involved. I loved catching up with A.L. and Rena after meeting the two in book one, Ten Days Gone. Both are likable characters who deal with life just like everyone. A.L. is a divorced dad of a teenager. Rena is married and is dealing with fertility issues. Together they make a perfect detective team and play off each other in such a way that I’d want them on my side if I ever needed them. Beverly Long’s story moved along over the course of a few days and dealt out several suspects. I thought the resolution was interesting if abrupt. I can’t wait to see what case this detective duo will face next.


About the author:

Beverly Long’s writing career has spanned more than two decades and twenty novels, including TEN DAYS GONE, the first book of her A.L. McKittridge series. She writes romantic suspense with sexy heroes and smart heroines. She can often be found with her laptop in a coffee shop with a cafe au lait and anything made with dark chocolate by her side.

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The Request

The Request by David Bell

Published:  June 30, 2020 – Berkley

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Ryan Francis has it all—great job, wonderful wife, beautiful child—and he loves posting photos of his perfect life on social media. Until the night his friend Blake asks him to break into a woman’s home to retrieve incriminating items that implicate Blake in an affair. Ryan refuses to help, but when Blake threatens to reveal Ryan’s darkest secret—which could jeopardize everything in Ryan’s life—Ryan has no choice but to honor Blake’s request.

When he arrives at the woman’s home, Ryan is shocked to find her dead—and just as shocked to realize he knows her. Then his phone chimes, revealing a Facebook friend request from the woman. With police sirens rapidly approaching, Ryan flees, wondering why his friend was setting him up for murder.
 
Determined to keep his life intact and to clear his name, Ryan must find the real murderer—but solving the crime may lead him closer to home than he ever could have imagined. (publisher)

My take:  The Request is a story of what happens when the past doesn’t stay in the past. In these days of social media the past is only a click away. Ryan thought his friend Blake was one of those people you’re friends with during a certain time of your life. They were roommates in college and share a secret from those days. With a wife and new baby, life is good for Ryan – until Blake contacts him with a specific request. It’s a request Ryan can’t refuse if he wants things to stay the way they are. Ryan’s life might look perfect on Facebook but it could easily get very messy.

This was a twisty mystery! I loved the short chapters that kept me reading “just one more” until I finished (in one day). The Request is the first of David Bell’s books I’ve read and I look forward to checking out his backlist.


 

How The Penguins Saved Veronica

How The Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

Published:  June 16, 2020 – Berkley

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to. When she sees a documentary about penguins being studied in Antarctica, she tells the scientists she’s coming to visit—and won’t take no for an answer. Shortly after arriving, she convinces the reluctant team to rescue an orphaned baby penguin. He becomes part of life at the base, and Veronica’s closed heart starts to open. 

Her grandson, Patrick, comes to Antarctica to make one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica, Patrick, and even the scientists learn what family, love, and connection are all about. (publisher)

My take:  How the Penguins Saved Veronica is a lovely story about Veronica McCreedy. She’s on a mission to see penguins up close after watching a television documentary. No one can tell the octogenarian no because once she’s made up her mind there will be no argument. Veronica also wants to meet and get to know her grandson – someone she’s only recently discovered. The two will learn about each other’s past and could possibly grow to be close. This is a delightfully quirky story that had me laughing much of the time. There are also some deeply emotional scenes that gave depth to Veronica and Patrick. I enjoyed it all and loved the message spoken to Veronica by her father when she was a young girl: “There are three types of people in this world, Very. There are those who make the world worse, those who make no difference and those who make the world better. Be one who makes the world better, Very, if you can.”


 

Always The Last To Know

Always The Last To Know by Kristan Higgins

Published:  June 9, 2020 – Berkley

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other…who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters– Barb’s favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John’s darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn’t be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.

Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.

Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad–and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she’s spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.

And now Barb and John will finally have to face what’s been going on in their marriage all along.  (publisher)

My take:  Always the Last to Know is the story of the Frost family. Parents Barb and John are unhappy and not thinking about celebrating their upcoming 50th anniversary. Older daughter Juliet lives what most would consider a perfect life so what’s with the frequent panic attacks? Younger daughter Sadie chases her dream of being an artist but pays the bills by teaching art at a grade school and taking orders for sofa paintings. She’s committed to living in New York for her art and that has impacted her personal life more than once. When John suffers a stroke the family is forced to decide what is truly important in their lives. I didn’t think this family seemed typical at all. Most of the time I was annoyed and frustrated by the Frosts and the other characters. It could be where I am in my life – who knows. I’ve enjoyed many of Higgins’ books but something seemed missing in this one.


 

Rough Creek

Rough Creek by Kaki Warner

Expected publication:  July 7, 2020 – Berkley

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

After serving eighteen months in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Dalton Cardwell is looking for a fresh start. What better place than Whitcomb Four Star Ranch? He doesn’t regret the decisions of his past–he’d choose the same roads again. But now all Dalton wants is to keep his head down and focus on the horses–and on Raney Whitcomb.

Raney is outraged when she learns her mother hired an ex-con. Raney has worked hard for the ranch, sacrificing her personal life for the dream of building on her family’s legacy. But as Dalton breaks down every misconception and even wins the good opinion of her sisters, Raney is forced to rethink her stance–and finally free herself to explore the heart-pounding tension that simmers between them. (publisher)

My take:  I’m always happy to get in at the start of a series so I didn’t hesitate to read Rough Creek – book one in Kaki Warner’s Brides of Rough Creek series. It’s a contemporary series about a Texas family who own a ranch that specializes in breeding horses. 60 year-old matriarch Coralee Whitcomb decides its time to travel and see the world. Daughter Raney is in charge of running the ranch but before Coralee leaves for a cruise she hires a new horse trainer, Dalton Cardwell. Dalton is fresh out of prison after serving eighteen months for a crime he didn’t commit but chose not to challenge when charged. Raney is appalled at her mom’s decision to hire him but decides to give him a chance. Both Raney and Dalton notice an attraction almost from the start so it was  amusing to watch that situation play out as Raney tried to deny it. Dalton was easy to cheer on – such an honorable man. And Raney was just as honorable if a bit more stubborn. I enjoyed their story and the setting. There’s a lot of horse competition detail so readers who love horses will find that aspect interesting. I’ll be on the watch for book two! 


 

Summer at Lake Haven

Summer at Lake Haven by RaeAnne Thayne

Expected publication date: June 23, 2020 – HQN

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Samantha Fremont has been struggling with the weight of her mother’s expectations for years. But now that her mother has passed away, it’s time for Sam to be bold and finally establish the fashion design business she’s always dreamed of. And the perfect opportunity has fallen into her lap. Her friend’s getting married and has asked Sam to create her wedding dress…if only she can avoid the bride’s infuriating brother, who’s temporarily the boy next door.

Ian Summerhill knows a sabbatical in Haven Point is exactly what he and his children need to recover from their mother’s death. His romantic relationship with his ex-wife may have ended years ago, but caring for her throughout her illness broke his heart. All he wants is to watch his little sister walk down the aisle and to see his kids smile again. And somehow his lovely new neighbor is instrumental in both. But as their uneasy truce blossoms into a genuine friendship and more, Ian has obligations in England he can’t ignore—and a secret that threatens the fragile trust he and Sam have built. (publisher)

My take:  Fans of the Haven Point series will enjoy visiting the scenic Idaho town this summer. Samantha has her hands full with a successful boutique and clothing design business. She is putting the finishing touches on Gemma Summerhill’s wedding dress when she meets the bride’s brother (Ian) and his children. They rent the cottage next to hers and make a somewhat instant connection thanks to some adorable puppies. Neither Ian nor Samantha are looking for love but isn’t that just the time when love finds you?

So, if you’re a reader who enjoys a gorgeous setting, an unexpected chance for love, and the appearance of familiar characters from previous books – I think you’ll enjoy Summer at Lake Haven.


About the author: (from RaeAnne Thayne’s website)

#1 Publishers Weekly, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne has written more than 60 books for HQN, Special Edition, Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense and Bantam Loveswept. A seven-time RITA nominee, RaeAnne has received a career achievement award from Romantic Times for series romantic adventure, as well as a Pioneer of Romance award. She finds inspiration from the beautiful mountains of northern Utah, where she lives with her family.


 

Breakfast At The Honey Creek Café

Breakfast At The Honey Creek Café by Jodi Thomas

Published:  May 2020 – Zebra/Kensington Books

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Piper Jane Mackenzie, mayor of Honey Creek, won’t let a major scandal rip her quirky hometown apart, or jeopardize her dream of one day running for higher office. So she’s willing to welcome undercover detective Colby McBride, hired to help solve the mystery behind her wannabe fiancé’s disappearance. Colby’s cover? That he is an old boyfriend now begging Piper for a second chance—always when there are plenty of townsfolk around to witness his shenanigans. 
 
Piper hardly knows whether to laugh or cry, especially when she finds herself drawn to the handsome rascal. He’s not the only newcomer she has to deal with. There’s a new interim preacher in town, Sam Cassidy. Drifting from one assignment to another since his one love died, Sam isn’t sure he’s the right fit for Honey Creek. But as Piper knows, this is a place chock-full of surprises. And if she can keep her town—and her heart—from going completely off the rails, there may be a sweet, unexpected future in store . . . (publisher)

My take:  Breakfast At The Honey Creek Café is book one in the new Honey Creek series by Jodi Thomas. I’ve been a fan since reading Rewriting Monday ten years ago. I’ve grown to love the small town settings, quirky characters and charming plots that are hallmarks of her novels. This book is no exception and was just the book I wanted to read when I picked it up. I find them a comfort no matter what’s going on in my life but especially during a quarantine.

I enjoyed learning about the small Texas town of Honey Creek, the mayor and her challenges, the substitute minister, and an undercover trooper whose goal is to be a Texas Ranger. I liked the light mystery and drama woven through the story as well as the romance. All told with humor and heart which is what I’ve come to expect from Jodi Thomas. Recommended.


About the author:

With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 50 novels and a dozen novellas. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world. Jodi has been inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. When not working on a novel, Thomas enjoys traveling, renovating a historic home, and “checking up” on her grown sons and four grandchildren.

 

Visit Jodi Thomas online at:


 

The Ingredients of You and Me

The Ingredients of You and Me by Nina Bocci

Published:  May 2020 – Gallery Books

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

After selling her famous bakery back in New York, Parker Adams visits Hope Lake, Pennsylvania, to figure out her next steps. And soon she’s wondering why she ever loved city life in the first place. Between the Golden Girls—the senior women who hold court—and Nick Arthur, her equally infuriating and charming former flame, Parker finds a community eager to help her get her mojo back.

But even though Hope Lake gives her the fresh start she’s been looking for, Parker discovers that it’s not so easy to start over again with Nick. Their chemistry is undeniable, but since Nick is a freshly taken man, Parker is determined to keep things platonic. With a recipe for disaster looming, Parker must cook up a new scheme, figuring out how to keep everything she’s come to love before she loses it all. (publisher)

My take: Parker’s boyfriend Nick ghosted on her after a few months of their hidden-from-their-mutual-friends relationship. Life moved on and, after selling her wildly successful Brooklyn bakery, she goes to see her friends in their small Pennsylvania town. That’s where she sees what’s new with Nick. He has a very possessive girlfriend who isn’t crazy about the idea of Parker being around. That’s okay with Parker because she’s only interested in helping her friends the Golden Girls (aka The Baking Nanas) launch their dream off the ground. The GGs are intent on getting Parker and Nick together. Let the games begin. This was a cute story told from Parker’s POV. I liked it and kept imagining the Hallmark version (which would need to be edited to a G rating). The Ingredients of You and Me is the third book in the Hopeless Romantics series but can stand alone. Recommended to fans of contemporary romance and foodie fiction. Recipes included!


 

Midnight Abduction

Midnight Abduction by Nichole Severn

Published:  May 2020 – Harlequin Intrigue

E-galley from the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

For the Tactical Crime Division, no case is left cold.

When Benning Reeves’s twins are kidnapped, the frantic father knows who can help: the Tactical Crime Division and Ana Ramirez. Even though Ana once shattered Benning’s heart, the special agent is the only one he can trust. But Ana is still tormented by the unresolved case that brought them together years before—a case somehow entangled with Benning’s children. It’s up to the TCD and Ana to discover why…before it’s too late. (publisher)

My take:  Ana Ramirez and Benning Reeves have a past. When someone died on her watch she transferred to another office of the TCD without a glance back at the life she was leaving. Six years later she’s called back to the town she left – a special request from Benning – to find his two kidnapped children. Midnight Abduction is an action-packed romantic suspense. There were some violent scenes that made me cringe (and would have me closing my eyes if it was a movie) and wonder how Ana kept going. She’s a highly-trained professional though and a strong character that was easy to cheer for. This is Ana’s story but I also liked Benning. They seemed perfect for each other so, of course, I hoped for their HEA. I enjoyed the fast pace of the novel. Coming in at 256 pages it is the perfect length for when you’re in the mood for an exciting and suspenseful read.

Midnight Abduction is the third book in the Tactical Crime Division series and can easily stand alone. It’s the second book I’ve read and I look forward to reading more.


About the author:

Nichole Severn writes romantic suspense with strong heroines, heroes who dare challenge them, and a hell of a lot of guns. When she’s not writing, she’s injuring herself running and practicing yoga.

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This Is How I Lied

This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

Published:  May 2020 – Park Row Publishing

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep. (publisher)

My take:  Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe grew up in a small Iowa town. Her family lived on a cul-de-sac alongside a few other houses. Her best friend lived next door. When she was fifteen her best friend was murdered. Now, twenty-five years later, Maggie is in charge of going over the files of the unsolved murder. A clue has been found and, in the new age of DNA evidence, the chief of police wants to re-open the case.

This Is How I Lied is a dual-timeline whodunit. Told from Maggie’s POV and that of the dead girl’s sister the story moves between 1995, the year of the murder, and 2020. I thought Heather Gudenkauf did a great job revealing a trail of clues and although I had a strong suspicion of who did it, I wasn’t absolutely sure. There were plenty of possibilities.

This was a page turner that I read in a couple of days. There’s a creepiness factor that I don’t usually like to read but it was important to the story and made it more than a popcorn thriller. I appreciate that all of the characters were flawed to some degree – it made them more believable. I was very satisfied with how things wrapped up at the end. I’m glad I had a chance to read This Is How I Lied and look forward to reading more by this talented author.


 

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Author Bio: 

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.


 

Secret Investigation

Secret Investigation by Elizabeth Heiter

Published:  April 2020 – Harlequin Intrigue

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

In the wake of a tragedy, the Tactical Crime Division is the first call.

When ironclad body armor inexplicably fails and soldiers perish, the Tactical Crime Division jumps into action. Agent and former ranger Davis Rogers asks to go undercover to find the traitor responsible for the death of one of his friends, and Petrov Armor CEO Leila Petrov is happy to provide access to her company…especially once she discovers she’s being framed. But will their joint efforts be enough to uncover the truth? (publisher)

My take:  Secret Investigation is book 2 in the Tactical Crime Division series. It can stand alone but I recommend the series. These are fast-paced, suspenseful reads that take me out of my day-to-day life. I tend not to watch television crime shows but I’ve grown to enjoy reading books of the genre, especially this series.

The TCD (a rapid-deployment joint team of FBI agents specializing in hostage negotiation, missing persons, IT, profiling, shootings and terrorism) is called to investigate the manufacturer of what turned out to be inferior body armor. One member, Davis Rogers, will go undercover as assistant to the company CEO while other team members work to solve the crime of what looks like purposeful negligence. Leila, daughter of the company founder, finds herself in a position of disbelief upon learning her company is responsible for the deaths of American military. She doesn’t know who could be responsible and then she doesn’t know who she can trust. People around her are acting suspiciously. Will she be able to trust Davis and allow him to solve the mystery? I thought this was a solid addition to the series. I had a list of suspects but wasn’t sure who did the crime (that’s my usual experience with this genre, ha). Overall I liked it and recommend to fans of romantic suspense and a quick read.


 

About Elizabeth Heiter: Publishers Weekly bestselling and award-winning author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists and a little romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and translated into eight languages. Visit her at www.elizabethheiter.com

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My Kind of People by Lisa Duffy

My Kind of People by Lisa Duffy

Published:  May 12, 2020 – Atria Books

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

On Ichabod Island, a jagged strip of land thirteen miles off the coast of Massachusetts, ten-year-old Sky becomes an orphan for the second time after a tragic accident claims the lives of her adoptive parents.

Grieving the death of his best friends, Leo’s life is turned upside down when he finds himself the guardian of young Sky. Back on the island and struggling to balance his new responsibilities and his marriage to his husband, Leo is supported by a powerful community of neighbors, many of them harboring secrets of their own.

Maggie, who helps with Sky’s childcare, has hit a breaking point with her police chief husband, who becomes embroiled in a local scandal. Her best friend Agnes, the island busybody, invites Sky’s estranged grandmother to stay for the summer, straining already precarious relationships. Their neighbor Joe struggles with whether to tell all was not well in Sky’s house in the months leading up to the accident. And among them all is a mysterious woman, drawn to Ichabod to fulfill a dying wish. (publisher)

My take:  This is the second of Lisa Duffy’s novels I’ve had the opportunity to read and I have to say I’m quickly becoming a fan. My Kind of People is about the lives of people on a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Leo and his husband Xavier find themselves guardians of Sky, a ten year old girl, after her parents are killed in a car accident. Well, Leo is named guardian and Xavier is pulled along without much thought to his feelings about the situation. So their relationship is tested. Sky is starting to get her bearings with her new life when her grandmother moves to the island. That adds to the overall drama. There are neighbors with their own relationship issues. It really is a character driven novel about what it means to belong, fit in, finding one’s place and I loved it all. When I finished I wanted to know where things were going with other characters. I’d love to read more about these people! For me, that’s always a sign of a good book.


About the author:

Lisa Duffy is the author of The Salt House, named by Real Simple as a Best Book of the Month upon its June release, as well asBustle’s 17 Best Debut Novels by Women in 2017 and This Is Home, a favorite book club pick. Lisa received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts. Her writing can be found in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children. My Kind of People is her third novel.

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Hello, Summer

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews

Published:  May 5, 2020 – St. Martin’s Press

Review copy courtesy of the publisher, Tandem Literary, NetGalley

Description:

It’s a new season…

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.

For small town scandals…

When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat—and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”

And big-time secrets.

Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman—a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer. (publisher)

My take: I’d intended to read this book on the beach in Florida but the universe had other plans. I’m happy to say this book is the perfect escape during these days of quarantine. I love how it started with Conley’s going away party in Atlanta – only to find out the job she was going to Washington D.C. for has disappeared before she had a chance to head north. Her only choice is to head home to the small Florida town where she grew up. Her grandmother lets Conley know that she is expected to pitch in and help her sister at the struggling weekly newspaper owned by her family. Hello, Summer is filled with family dynamics, quirky characters, a juicy political story for Conley to chase, and a flame from her past. Which is to say it’s my kind of book. A perfect beach read, quarantine read, or wherever read. I really enjoyed it and recommend to fans of Mary Kay Andrews.


 

The Closer You Get

The Closer You Get by Mary Torjussen

Published:  April 2020 – Berkley

Book provided by the publisher; NetGalley

Description:

Coworkers Ruby and Harry are in love—but they’re married to other people. They decide to tell their spouses that their marriages are over and to start a new life together. Ruby has wanted to leave her controlling husband for a while, so she tells him she’s leaving and waits at the hotel where she and Harry are to meet. But Harry never shows up.

Suddenly, Ruby has lost everything. Harry won’t answer her calls, and she’s fired from her job. She finds a cheap apartment in a run-down part of town, all the while wondering what happened to Harry.

Just as Ruby thinks she’s hit rock bottom, strange and menacing things start to happen—someone is sneaking into her apartment, and someone is following her home late at night—and she is going to have to fight for her survival. (publisher)

My take:  I like a domestic suspense from time to time and thought The Closer You Get sounded like a good one. There are Ruby and Tom. She’s become a bit of a doormat and he’s emotionally abusive. It was easy to see why Ruby would find Harry a reason to leave her marriage. There are Harry and Emma. They’ve been married for years and things have grown stale. He’s quite taken with Ruby when she comes to work at his company. They have a plan to be together but somehow things go wrong and Ruby ends up alone. The novel moves between Ruby and Emma’s POV. I liked that just when I thought I knew how things would play out the author threw a curve ball and the story went down a new path. I appreciated the nod to Gaslight – a film I now want to see again after many decades. All told, The Closer You Get is a fast paced, suspenseful novel that I read in a couple of days. I’ll definitely look for Mary Torjussen’s previous books.


 

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr

Published:  April 2020 – MIRA

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don’t really know each other.

When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.

Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.

Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it. (publisher)

My take:  Two sisters, one in her early 30s and the other twenty years older, find themselves in the life reset position. Addie, 32, was caretaker for her parents at the end of their lives. She left college and for the next eight years stayed mostly in her parents’ home caring for them. Now she is in a position of reassessing her goals. Justine, 52 and mother of two teens, shockingly finds out her marriage wasn’t as strong as she thought. She’s faced with major decisions and a future she’d never imagined. Robyn Carr’s story of new starts is just the story I’ve come to expect from her. With emphasis on empowerment, family, and moving forward these two sisters will find out how good life can be when they figure out exactly what they want and go after it. Recommended to fans of the author and women’s fiction.


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Author Bio: 

Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including highly praised women’s fiction such as Four Friends and The View From Alameda Island and the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan’s Crossing series. Virgin River is now a Netflix Original series. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit her website at www.RobynCarr.com.


 

Who Speaks For The Damned

Who Speaks For The Damned by C.S. Harris

Published:  April 2020 – Berkley

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

It’s June 1814, and the royal families of Austria, Russia, and the German states have gathered in London at the Prince Regent’s invitation to celebrate the defeat of Napoléon and the restoration of monarchical control throughout Europe. But the festive atmosphere is marred one warm summer evening by the brutal murder of a disgraced British nobleman long thought dead.

Eighteen years before, Nicholas Hayes, the third son of the late Earl of Seaford, was accused of killing a beautiful young French émigré and transported to Botany Bay for life. Even before his conviction, Hayes had been disowned by his father, and few in London were surprised when they heard the ne’er-do-well had died in disgrace in New South Wales. But those reports were obviously wrong. Recently Hayes returned to London with a mysterious young boy in tow–a child who vanishes shortly after Nicholas’s body is discovered.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is drawn into the investigation by his valet, Jules Calhoun, an old friend of the dead man. With Calhoun’s help, Sebastian begins to piece together the shattered life of the late Earl’s ill-fated youngest son. Why did Nicholas risk his life and freedom by returning to England? And why did he bring the now-missing young boy with him? Several nervous Londoners had reason to fear that Nicholas Hayes had returned to kill them. One of them might have decided to kill him first. (publisher)

My take:  Who killed the disowned third son of an Earl? That is what Sebastian St. Cyr (Viscount Devlin) wants to find out. And what happened to the young child who came to Devlin’s valet Calhoun after the murder and then disappeared? They need to find him before the person responsible for Hayes’ death finds him as well. This installment of the series had a different feel than the two others I’ve read. A missing child is worrisome. He’s not from England so where would he go? Sebastian investigates. He feels a certain empathy with the deceased man and wants to learn the truth in case he can clear Hayes’ name. As usual, there is the discovery of more dead bodies in the aftermath of Hayes’s murder. The lengths someone will go to keep up appearances is remarkable. With the assistance of his wife Hero and a few other regulars who fans of the series will recognize, Sebastian is determined to solve the case. I really liked this mystery and wonder if there are more for Lord Devlin to solve. Recommended to fans of historical mysteries.


 

Miss Austen

Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

Published:  April 7, 2020 – Flatiron Books

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Whoever looked at an elderly lady and saw the young heroine she once was?

England, 1840. For the two decades following the death of her beloved sister, Jane, Cassandra Austen has lived alone, spending her days visiting friends and relations and quietly, purposefully working to preserve her sister’s reputation. Now in her sixties and increasingly frail, Cassandra goes to stay with the Fowles of Kintbury, family of her long-dead fiancé, in search of a trove of Jane’s letters. Dodging her hostess and a meddlesome housemaid, Cassandra eventually hunts down the letters and confronts the secrets they hold, secrets not only about Jane but about Cassandra herself. Will Cassandra bare the most private details of her life to the world, or commit her sister’s legacy to the flames?

Moving back and forth between the vicarage and Cassandra’s vibrant memories of her years with Jane, interwoven with Jane’s brilliantly reimagined lost letters, Miss Austen is the untold story of the most important person in Jane’s life. With extraordinary empathy, emotional complexity, and wit, Gill Hornby finally gives Cassandra her due, bringing to life a woman as captivating as any Austen heroine. (publisher)

My take:  I’m not an Austen scholar by any stretch of the imagination but I am a fan of her novels. I loved reading about Jane and her sister Cassandra in Miss Austen. They had such a dear relationship. Jane fought bouts of depression and Cassie took care of her as well as their mother. Cassie had deep compassion for others and ultimately lived to serve members of her family instead of focusing on her losses. It was easy to feel sympathy for her all the while hoping for some romantic happiness to land at her door. The novel moves back and forth from her time as a daughter and sister to her days of relying on the charity of relatives. She visits one relative with hopes of reclaiming letters that could reveal Jane’s personal feelings/thoughts if they were to land in the wrong hands. I enjoyed Gill Hornby’s novel and found myself smiling quite a bit while reading. It was a satisfying read for this casual fan.


Praise for Miss Austen

“For readers who enjoy Austen’s novels and wish to know more about her life and for those seeking excellent English historical fiction.”

Library Journal, starred review

 
“[Miss Austen] strikes gold….Echoing Austen’s sardonic wit and crisp prose without falling into pastiche, Hornby succeeds with a vivid homage to the Austens and their world.”
Publishers Weekly


“Austen fans will enjoy Hornby’s nuanced, fresh portrayal of Jane….Cassandra herself is similarly fascinating, a woman who never ceases her efforts to carve out a life of her own in a world that is not kind to unmarried women.”

Booklist

 
“[A] gift to the world of Austen lovers….A deeply imagined and deeply moving novel. Reading it made me happy and weepy in equally copious amounts.” 
—Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
 
“Unputdownable. So good, so intelligent, so clever, so entertaining—I adored it.”
—Claire Tomalin, author of Jane Austen: A Life  

 
“Extraordinary and heart-wrenching, Miss Austen transported me from page one. A remarkable novel that is wholly original, deeply moving, and emotionally complex.”
—Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept


To Have and to Hoax

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Publication date:  April 7, 2020 – Atria Books

Digital review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them? (publisher)

Guest review by Katie, Bookfan daughter!

I am an avid reader of historical romances set in the Regency period and I was intrigued by the premise of this novel. What worked for me: there was absolute chemistry between James and Violet and witty dialogue between the two. Violet’s character, especially, made me laugh out loud more than once. The author created a host of interesting and eclectic characters throughout the novel.

What did not work for me: I found the use of obscenities to be jarring and unnecessary. Each time I flinched and it made me think less of our hero and his character. I also found the amount of day drinking and general heavy drinking to be surprising. These two elements made me feel like I was reading a modern novel that happened to be dropped into a Recency background. The incongruity left me unsettled.

Overall, the author is excellent at creating original characters and laugh out loud dialogue and fans of women’s fiction may enjoy the modern sensibilities of this historical romance.


About the author:

Martha Waters was born and raised in sunny South Florida, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She works as a children’s librarian in North Carolina, and spends much of her free time traveling. To Have and To Hoax is her first novel.

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