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.

Buy links:


 

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.


 

Buy Links: 

 

Social Links:

 

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

Purchase links:


 

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.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound


 

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.


Buy Links: 

 

Social Links:

 

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.

Buy TO HAVE AND TO HOAX:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound


 

48 Hour Lockdown

48 Hour Lockdown by Carla Cassidy

Published:  April 2020 – Harlequin Intrigue

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

My take: 48 Hour Lockdown is the start of a new series about a FBI unit (Tactical Crime Division). This book focuses on Evan, a hostage negotiator, who has been called to a school that is on lockdown after being invaded by a cult leader and a few followers. When Evan arrives it all becomes personal as he discovers a past love is involved. She’s a teacher at the school and is being held in a classroom with a few young students. From the first page the novel moves at a fast pace as the TCD team works to free the hostages and capture the criminals before more blood is shed. This is a quick read that left me looking forward to the next book in the series. Recommended to fans of romantic suspense novels.


About the author:

Carla Cassidy is a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than 125 novels for Harlequin Books. She is listed on the Romance Writer’s of America Honor Roll and has won numerous awards. Carla believes the only thing better than curling up with a good book to read is sitting down at the computer with a good story to write.


 

Safe House

Safe House by Jo Jakeman

Published:  March 10, 2020 – Berkley

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

One day, a woman turns up in a remote coastal village. She’s bought a crumbling, long-vacant cottage and calls herself Charlie Miller. Charlie keeps to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. If they ever find out who she really is, and what she’s done, she’ll lose what little she has left.

Charlie served two years in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. It was the mistake of a woman in love, a woman who couldn’t believe her boyfriend was guilty–or lying to her. All she desperately wants now is a fresh start.

As Charlie slowly lets down her guard and becomes friendly with her neighbors, she can’t shake the feeling that someone is watching her, someone who knows what she did. When one of her new friends suddenly disappears, Charlie’s worst fears are confirmed. She must confront her past head-on, but as she knows all too well, everything is far more dangerous than how it appears. (publisher)

My take:  Charlie (formerly Steffi) wanted to think the best of her perfect boyfriend but little by little their relationship had changed and she worried things wouldn’t work out. So, when detectives came to her workplace one day she provided a false alibi for him. After all, he couldn’t possibly be a murderer, could he? Charlie ended up serving a prison sentence for her part. When she was released she relocated to a little town on the Cornwall coast. She bought a fixer-upper and started to adjust to her new name and a fresh start. As she started to get her bearings she had a feeling that someone was watching her. Was it possible someone knew her true identity? And what did they want with her?

This book kept me on the edge of my seat and quickly turning the pages. I enjoyed the setting, the slow build in the drama, and the tense scenes near the end. It was a twisty, fast read that I enjoyed. I wonder what Jo Jakeman will dream up next.


 

The Sea Glass Cottage

The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne

Published:  March 2020 – HQN Books

Digital galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn’t so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured in a work accident, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.

It’s just for a few months—that’s what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.

As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it’s never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness. (publisher)

My take:  The Sea Glass Cottage is where Olivia Harper grew up and its where her mother and teen aged niece live still. When Olivia’s mother Juliet winds up in the hospital with a broken hip she comes home to help with the family business. What she finds is a niece who suddenly resents her, a mother who has a few secrets, and the new fire chief who makes her feel emotionally off-balance. But she can handle it all because she’s only there for a few weeks and then will go back to her life and job in Seattle. Olivia’s mom and niece have worries of their own and navigate the feelings and actions that may or may not give the desired results. This is a story about strong, proud people learning to ask for and accept help, learning that “the greatest risk carries the greatest reward”. No spoiler here but I can say I enjoyed how RaeAnne Thayne brought her characters through their drama. Recommended to fans of the author and women’s fiction.


About the author:

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews.

Social Links:

Buy Links:

 


 

The Darkness We Hide

The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb

Published:  March 31, 2020 – MIRA

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

For months, Doctor Rowan Dupont has been staring death in the face. It followed her back to her hometown of Winchester, Tennessee, ten months ago, cloaking the walls of her family’s Victorian funeral home like a shroud. In investigating the mysterious deaths of her loved ones, Rowan has unearthed enough family secrets to bury everything she’d previously thought true. But each shocking discovery has only led to more bodies and more questions; the rabbit hole is deeper than she ever imagined.

Despite settling in to a comfortable life with Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan knows dangerous serial killer Julian Addington is still out there. She can’t let her guard down now. Not when she’s this close to ending his torment once and for all. But with a storm brewing on the horizon, she’ll get only one shot before the impending darkness takes hold, threatening to wipe away every truth she’s uncovered—and everything she holds dear. (publisher)

My take:  I jumped into The Undertaker’s Daughter series (trilogy?) with The Darkness We Hide – Book 3. Author Debra Webb did a good job catching me up with the main points of what had transpired in the previous books but I may circle back to those at some point.

This book left me breathless as Rowan, Billy and others pursued the serial killer, Julian Addington. Debra Webb’s novel is fast-paced with action and clues and red herrings. As you’d expect with a thriller involving a serial killer there are super creepy things happening right up to the last pages which made me really appreciate the epilogue.

I discovered Debra Webb’s books a couple of months ago and I’m a fan. I can’t wait to read more from this prolific (thank goodness!) author.


About the author:

Debra Webb is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 130 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, theColby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama.


 

The Red Lotus

The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

Published:  March 2020 – Doubleday

Digital galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant comes a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam, and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met.

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road. As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in? Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder. (publisher)

My take:  So, this novel will either turn you off within the first 25% or it will grab you and take you on a roller coaster ride of fast moving and growing viruses and how easy it would be to quickly affect the entire world population.  It’s about drug resistant pathogens, rats (lab and dumpster types), the researchers trying to stay ahead of the next pandemic, and good vs. evil. In these days of a coronavirus pandemic it was very easy to imagine all of Chris Bohjalian’s novel as nonfiction. This is a scary and anxiety producing story. Be warned.


 

Before He Vanished

Before He Vanished by Debra Webb

Published:  February 18, 2020 – Harlequin Intrigue

Review Galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

His disappearance changed her life forever.

Twenty-five years ago, Halle Lane’s best friend vanished from their Tennessee town. When a childhood photo brings Liam Hart to Winchester, Halle is certain the man is the same child who vanished. Now Liam seeks out Halle to help him investigate the circumstances of his mysterious past. Can Liam and Halle uncover the truth before a killer buries all traces of the boy Halle loved—and the man he may have become—forever? (publisher)

My take: Halle Lane has been haunted by the disappearance of her best friend when they were seven years old. Now, twenty-five years later, Halle is an investigative reporter. She writes an article about the unsolved case and that is the beginning of a new round of crimes connected to the story. Liam Hart, a California winemaker, receives a mysterious letter that contains a copy of Halle’s article. He’s intrigued enough to fly to Tennessee to look into the case. He didn’t expect to find out that his life has possibly been a lie. Can Halle convince him to help her solve the case before more people are hurt? This is a fast-paced mystery seasoned lightly with romance (closed door). A quick read that I enjoyed and recommend to fans of Debra Webb and the Harlequin Intrigue imprint.


About the author:

DEBRA WEBB is the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than 160 novels, including reader favorites the Shades of Death, the Faces of Evil, and the Colby Agency. She is the recipient of the prestigious Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense as well as numerous Reviewers Choice Awards. In 2012 Debra was honored as the first recipient of the esteemed L. A. Banks Warrior Woman Award for her courage, strength, and grace in the face of adversity. Recently Debra was awarded the distinguished Centennial Award for having achieved publication of her 100th novel. With this award Debra joined the ranks of a handful of authors like Nora Roberts and Carole Mortimer.

With more than four million books in print in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood when, at the age of nine, her mother bought her an old typewriter in a tag sale. Born in Alabama, Debra grew up on a farm. She spent every available hour exploring the world around her and creating her stories. She wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the Commanding General of the US Army in Berlin behind the Iron Curtain and a five-year stint in NASA’s Shuttle Program that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has expanded her work into some of the darkest places the human psyche dares to go. Visit Debra at http://www.debrawebb.com.



 

The Antidote For Everything by Kimmery Martin

The Antidote For Everything by Kimmery Martin

Published:  February 18, 2020 – Berkley

Digital review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  Georgia Brown’s profession as a urologist requires her to interact with plenty of naked men, but her romantic prospects have fizzled. The most important person in her life is her friend Jonah Tsukada, a funny, empathetic family medicine doctor who works at the same hospital in Charleston, South Carolina and who has become as close as family to her.

Just after Georgia leaves the country for a medical conference, Jonah shares startling news. The hospital is instructing doctors to stop providing medical care for transgender patients. Jonah, a gay man, is the first to be fired when he refuses to abandon his patients. Stunned by the predicament of her closest friend, Georgia’s natural instinct is to fight alongside him. But when her attempts to address the situation result in incalculable harm, both Georgia and Jonah find themselves facing the loss of much more than their careers. (publisher)

My take:  Georgia and Jonah are best friends and physicians at a for-profit hospital that has decided to no longer treat transgender patients. Jonah is devastated and Georgia is beyond offended and angry for their patients, for Jonah, and herself.  Kimmery Martin takes her characters on an often convoluted path as they seek to right the wrong decision. I loved Jonah and Georgia and their determination. I cheered them on but found the story kind of clumsy in a few areas. I was unsure why some scenes (in Amsterdam, for example) were included at the time I read them and even more after finishing. They seemed unnecessary. That could be on me because there are a lot of high ratings on various sites so if the publisher’s description sounds good to you I suggest you give it a try. I enjoyed Martin’s first novel (The Queen of Hearts) and will be interested in what she writes next.


 

Blog Tour: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas – Tucker

Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas – Tucker by Emily March

Published:  February 25, 2020 – St. Martin’s Paperbacks

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Meet Gillian Thacker. Her business: Bliss Bridal Salon. Her passion: Weddings. Her own wedding: It’s complicated. Life isn’t turning out like she’d planned. The last thing she wants is for a real-life hero to ride to her rescue, but an unexpected event puts her entire future in Redemption, Texas, at risk. So what’s a broken-hearted bridal expert to do? Maybe a new set of survival skills is exactly what she needs…

Tucker McBride has been proud to call himself a U.S. Army Ranger. But now that his days of service are over, he’s decided to put his expertise to use by founding a wilderness skills training school. He sets up shop in Redemption, next to Bliss Bridal, and so begins life: Part Two. Marriage has been pretty low on his agenda, but as soon as he meets Gillian, Tucker can’t help but contemplate the ultimate challenge: Convincing the reluctant bride to take his hand and leap into the adventure of a lifetime . . . until death do them part. (publisher)

My take:  This is the second book in The McBrides of Texas series. Tucker’s story is one of figuring out what the next chapter in his life will be after the army. He comes home to the small Texas town of  Redemption and meets Gillian, a beautiful, smart, and (sad to say) engaged woman. When life hands Gillian a major upset she and Tucker find they might have a lot to teach each other. It will take a while for these headstrong people to realize what it takes to survive and move forward, possibly together. The McBrides of Texas – Tucker is filled with fun repartee between Gillian and Tucker. I enjoyed the laugh-out-loud scenes that played out in Las Vegas as well as on the Texas hiking trails. A fun novel all the way around. I’m looking forward to Boon’s story that was hinted at near the end.


About the author:

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Twitter: @emilymarchbooks (https://twitter.com/emilymarchbooks?lang=en)

Facebook: @emilymarchbooks (https://www.facebook.com/emilymarchbooks/)

Instagram: @emilymarchbooks (https://www.instagram.com/emilymarchbooks/?hl=en

Author Website: https://emilymarch.com/

Macmillan Author Page: https://us.macmillan.com/author/emilymarch


 

Buy links:

Macmillan: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250314932

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250314933?tag=macmillan-20

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eternity-springs-emily-march/1132730238;jsessionid=9CB8E792D66DAE517D48FA46AF244A7C.prodny_store01-atgap02?ean=9781250314932#/

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/product/9781250314932?AID=42121&PID=7992675&cjevent=0a0b322d393511ea828c00f10a24060e

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250314932?aff=macmillan

Powell’s: https://www.powells.com/book/eternity-springs-the-mcbrides-of-texas-tucker-9781250314932?partnerid=33241