7/10

#BookReview
It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
@MCampbellBooks @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?


Book Rating: 7/10

Complex, intriguing, and gloomy!

This is a character-driven novel that delves into just how much our friendships and relationships can define us and highlights just how parasitic some of them can really be.

The writing is well done. The characters are selfish, scheming and deceptive. And although the plot in the first half of the novel is a little slow as the author delves deeply into the different personalities and motivations of each character, the second half is definitely much more exciting, intense and action-packed with as many suspects as motives and an ending with a contemplative twist.

This is ultimately a novel about friendship, secrets, manipulation, jealousy, obsession, adultery and murder and a good debut for Campbell. In fact, some readers will love the dark, moody feel of the story and the cast of characters with no redeeming qualities between them. Unfortunately for me, the lack of characters with any sort of moral or ethical conscience made it hard to connect and left me a little indifferent of the story overall.

About the Author:

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.

She’s had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on May 16, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Michele Campbell, visit her website at: MicheleCampbellBooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MCampbellBooks

#BookReview & #BookGiveaway
Red Clover Inn by Carla Neggers
@CarlaNeggers @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers delivers an irresistible story about love, family and finding a place to call home..

Marine archaeologist Charlotte Bennett is no stranger to risk, but her dives into sunken wreckage are always meticulously planned. However, being the maid of honor in her cousin Samantha’s English wedding gives her a new perspective on her life as a nomad who’s given up on romance altogether. Though an encounter with roguish wedding guest Greg Rawlings leaves her unsettled, the other people she meets make a trip to the tranquil town of Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, enticing. Acting on impulse, Charlotte offers to house-sit at Red Clover Inn while Sam and Justin Sloan are away on their honeymoon.

The quaint inn isn’t open to the public yet and Charlotte will have quiet time to plan her next project. It might also give her a chance to see how her cousin found love and a sense of family. But the peace is immediately disrupted when Greg shows up at the inn. The Diplomatic Security Service agent lives a dangerous life, and he, too, wants to clear his head before his next assignment. Juggling work, raising his two teenage children and nursing a wounded heart has left him jaded, and the last thing he expects is to find himself falling for the willful Charlotte. As the attraction between them flares, Charlotte realizes she might be in too deep. And each of them must decide if they can put love first before it’s too late.


Book Rating: 7/10

Lighthearted, easy and sweet!

In this latest novel in the Swift River Valley series Neggers once again takes us back to Knights Bridge with its beautiful landscape, intriguing inn and small-town charm.

The writing is straightforward. The characters are strong, dependable and pensive. And the plot which seems to get a little bogged down in the first half of the story with information into all the characters and relationships between them definitely picks up in the second half and is quite compelling, mysterious, engaging and romantic. 

Overall this is an enjoyable, entertaining read and fans of Carla Neggers and the Swift River Valley series will love not only this new addition to the Bennett and Sloan clan but will really appreciate the opportunity to catch up with some of the beloved characters from previous novels.

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with not only a copy in exchange for an honest review but a copy to give away (please see below).

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Carla Neggers visit her website at: carlaneggers.com

or on Twitter at: @CarlaNeggers

 

International Giveaway

And now thanks to Harlequin Books, one lucky reader of What’s Better Than Books? will receive a paperback copy of Red Clover Inn by Carla Neggers as well as a Red Clover Inn Door Hanger. 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

#BookReview
No Easy Target by Iris Johansen
@Iris_Johansen @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen returns with another thriller, No Easy Target

Margaret Douglas has worked hard to put her painful past behind her. Raised off the grid in an abusive home, her only escape was the nearby forest where she sought refuge whenever she could. There, in the peaceful woods, she discovered a strange gift: the ability to understand animals and to communicate with them. And so those creatures became her only friends, her only joy during a desolate childhood. Now Margaret wants nothing more than to live a quiet life, close to the animals and under the radar. But her abilities have not gone unnoticed and there are those who would use them for their own purposes. Determined not to be a pawn in anyone’s game, every time someone gets too close, Margaret uproots her life and outruns them.

When John Lassiter breaks into Margaret’s apartment, she vanishes again, but Lassiter has good reason to be persistent. As a CIA operative, he owes his life to his men , one of whom is being held captive by an unrelenting enemy—an enemy who has set his sights on Margaret. Which means that Lassiter must control her to use her as bait.

With danger in hot pursuit, Margaret finds herself matching wits with a man who refuses to stop or be stopped. Turning from the hunted to the hunter, Margaret must use everything she has ever learned to not only survive, but to defeat a great evil. And to prove once and for all that she’s no easy target.


Book Rating: 7/10

Suspenseful, macabre and entertaining!

This is an intense, often disturbing, romantic thriller that reminds us of the dark, despicable evil that exists in the criminal underworld and takes us on a journey into the jungles of Colombia and a world filled with sadism, violence, murder, revenge, lust and a little supernatural.

The writing is good. The main character, Margaret, is intelligent, determined, and unique, and the other characters are a mix of despicable villains, a handsome hero and an adorable dog.

Fans of Johansen will not be disappointed with this latest outing which utilizes her trademark strong, female protagonist and straightforward storyline and will be excited to finally get a better understanding of the Margaret Douglas character we’ve often seen a glimpse of in the Eve Duncan series.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on April 25, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

For more information on Iris Johansen visit her website at: irisjohansen.com

or follow her on Twitter at@Iris_Johansen

#BookReview
White Sand, Blue Sea by Anita Hughes
@hughesanita @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

Olivia Miller is standing on the porch of her mother and stepfather’s plantation style villa in St. Barts. They have been coming here every April for years but she is always thrilled to see the horseshoe shaped bay of Gustavia and white sand of Gouverneur’s Beach. This trip should be particularly exciting because she is celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday and hoping that Finn, her boyfriend of four years, will propose.

The only person who won’t be here is her father, Sebastian, who she hasn’t seen in twenty years. He’s a well-known artist and crisscrosses the globe, painting and living in exotic locations like Kenya and China. When Sebastian walks unexpectedly walks through the door and floats back into Olivia’s life like a piece of bad driftwood she never knew she wanted, she starts to wondering if her world is too narrow. She questions the dreams and the relationship she’s always thought she wanted. But there seems to be more to the story than an innocent fatherly visit, and Olivia must decide if love is more important than truth.

Set on St. Barts, the jewel of the Caribbean, WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA is a heartwarming story about romance and adventure, and most importantly, about knowing yourself, and what makes you happy.


Book Rating: 7/10

Charming, engaging and lighthearted!

In this new novel by Hughes we are transported to the beautiful island of St. Barts complete with pristine beaches, exquisite restaurants, designer boutiques, and million-dollar yachts and are swept into a story that delves into the complexities of maternal, paternal and romantic relationships and highlights the importance of honesty and communication.

The writing is descriptive and smooth. The characters are an appealing variety of young and mature; unsure and grounded; stable and peripatetic; loved and secure. And the plot is a sweet journey about discovering oneself, appreciating what you have, letting go of the past and the power of unconditional love.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, easy read that is a nice choice for a relaxing, sunny afternoon.

About the Author

ANITA HUGHES is the author of Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, and Christmas in Paris. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and lives in Dana Point, California where she is at work on her next novel. 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on April 11, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

For more information on Anita Hughes, visit her website at: anitahughesbooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @hughesanita

#BookReview
Most Dangerous Place by James Grippando
@James_Grippando

Synopsis:

Defending a woman accused of murdering the man who sexually assaulted her, Miami lawyer Jack Swyteck must uncover where the truth lies between innocence, vengeance, and justice in this spellbinding tale of suspense—based on shocking true-life events—from the New York Times bestselling author of Gone Again.

According to the FBI, the most dangerous place for a woman between the ages of twenty and thirty is in a relationship with a man. Those statistics become all too personal when Jack Swyteck takes on a new client tied to his past.

It begins at the airport, where Jack is waiting to meet his old high school buddy, Keith Ingraham, a high-powered banker based in Hong Kong, coming to Miami for his young daughter’s surgery. But their long-awaited reunion is abruptly derailed when the police arrest Keith’s wife, Isabelle, in the terminal, accusing her of conspiring to kill the man who raped her in college. Jack quickly agrees to represent Isa, but soon discovers that to see justice done, he must separate truth from lies—an undertaking that proves more complicated than the seasoned attorney expects.

Inspired by an actual case involving a victim of sexual assault sent to prison for the death of her attacker, James Grippando’s twisty thriller brilliantly explores the fine line between victim and perpetrator, innocence and guilt, and cold-blooded revenge and rightful retribution.


Book Rating: 7/10

Suspenseful, entertaining and complex!

In this latest novel by Grippando, Jack is back and this time he finds himself in a case rife with lies and deception where lives hang in the balance and relationships are tested to the max.

The writing is crisp. The characters are intelligent, resolute and willful. And the plot is an action-packed legal thriller about family dynamics, dark secrets, abuse and revenge.

Overall, I would have to say that this is definitely an intriguing, easy read that lovers of courtroom drama will certainly enjoy.

Thank you to Edelweiss, especially HarperCollins, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on February 21, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboBook Depository

For more information on James Grippando, visit his website at: jamesgrippando.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @James_Grippando

#BookReview – Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso @Nico_Rosso @CarinaPress

Synopsis:

Readers of Maya Banks’s KGI series will love the adrenaline-fueled, pulse-pounding suspense of Nico Rosso’s SECONDS TO SUNRISE

She thought she’d lost everything…

April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.

He’ll make them pay…

Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.


Book Rating: 7/10

Intriguing, suspenseful and deliciously steamy!

This is the third book in the Black Ops: Automatic series, and once again Nico Rosso has written a novel full of danger, deception, mystery, attraction, chemistry, dirty talk and romance.

The writing is clear and fluent. The characters are intelligent, strong, damaged and lonely. And although the plot in the first half of the novel is a little slow, the second half is definitely more exciting, compelling and action packed.

Overall, I would have to say that this is a fun, easy read that is certainly enjoyable and entertaining.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Carina Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on January 16, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboB&N

For more information on Nico Rosso, visit his website at: nicorosso.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @Nico_Rosso

 

Book Review: Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton

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The Official Synopsis:

When Agatha Raisin left behind her PR business in London, she fulfilled her dream of settling in the cozy British Cotswolds where she began a successful private detective agency. Unfortunately, the village she lives in is about to get a little less cozy. Lord Bellington, a wealthy land developer, wants to turn the community garden into a housing estate. When Agatha and her friend Sir Charles Fraith attempt to convince Lord Bellington to abandon his plans he scoffs: “Do you think I give a damn about those pesky villagers?” So when Agatha finds his obituary in the newspaper two weeks later, it’s no surprise that some in town are feeling celebratory.

The villagers are relieved to learn that Bellington’s son and heir, Damian, has no interest in continuing his father’s development plans. But the police are definitely interested in him―as suspect number one. His father’s death, it seems, was no accident. But when Damian hires Agatha to find the real killer, she finds no shortage of suspects. The good news is that a handsome retired detective named Gerald has recently moved to town. Too bad he was seen kissing another newcomer. But when she is also found murdered, Gerald is eager to help Agatha with the case. Agatha, Gerald, and her team of detectives must untangle a web of contempt in order to uncover a killer’s identity. 


Book Rating: 7/10

Humorous, charming, and suspenseful.

This is a quick, easy read full of familial dysfunction, love entanglements, secrets, lies, greed, and murder.

The plot develops nicely and is full of suspects, clues, mishaps and mayhem. The setting is the quaint villages and towns found in the English countryside, complete with local pubs and manor homes. And the usual cast of flawed, multi-layered characters are back for another round of detection and investigation.

This is the twenty-seventh book in the Agatha Raisin series, and even though it can be read as a standalone novel, you may want to read some of the earlier books in the series to fully appreciate some of the continuing storylines and character development.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on September 20, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

For more information on M.C. Beaton, visit her website at: mcbeaton.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @mc_beaton

Book Review: Ganga Jamuna by Sunita Lad Bhamray

Cover - Ganga Jamuna

The Official Synopsis:

A zealous single mother must travel from her home in Nepal to Singapore in order to access an experimental surgery that could save her conjoined twins in this empowering novel of love and survival. 

Abani has so far lived a life of quiet resolve. Admired by strangers for her striking beauty and soft-spoken demeanour, she has pressed on without complaint through the challenges life has thrown at her growing up in a poor family. After she learns she is pregnant with conjoined twins, Abani faces an even greater trial: the only hope she has of saving the lives of both her children is a revolutionary new surgery performed exclusively in Singapore. With only the few supplies she can carry – and the advice and support of her friends – Abani begins the impossible passage across the Indian continent: a mother’s mission to save her unborn children.


 Book Rating: 7/10

“The young paediatric assistant, who was around, moved closer and within minutes he removed the blankets that covered the infants. Once the blankets were removed, they awakened and began to move their limbs about peculiarly. Their heads remained fastened to each other and the spectacle before her was devoid of normalcy. As she watched, she could hear Dr. Prasad’s voice in the background that slowly began to fade. “They are doing well. What I wanted to tell you the other day is that conjoined twins are rare.”

This is a poignant story that takes us on a journey of Abani’s life, from her first love as a young girl, through loss, heartbreak, single motherhood, and raising conjoined twins.

The characters are strong, courageous and resilient. The plot is unique and interesting. And the writing is atmospheric and descriptive, although I did find there were some instances when the syntax slightly disrupted the fluidity.

Overall, however, this is a bittersweet novel that introduces us to the emotional, physical, and medical difficulties involved with the birth of conjoined twins, and it certainly reminds us that life is truly a blessing.

Thank you to Authoright for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Sunita Lad Bhamray pic

Sunita Lad Bhamray is an author and educator living in Singapore with her husband and two children. After earning her graduate degree and enjoying a long and rewarding career teaching internationally, Lad Bhamray now devotes her time to writing. Ganga Jamuna is her third book; her first, Triumphs on the Turf, released in 2011, was about horse racing in India. It was followed by Grandma Lim’s Persimmons, a storybook for children, in 2013.

To purchase this novel, please visit your favourite retailer or the following link.

Amazon  

And for more information on Sunita Lad Bhamray, visit her website at: sunitaladbhamray.com

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

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The Official Synopsis:

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?


Book Rating: 7/10

I was really excited to read this novel as I have previously read Kimberly McCreight’s other two novels, Reconstructing Amelia and Where They Found Her, and really enjoyed them.

This story, for me, started off really well, in fact it was positively creepy. The plot was interesting, mysterious, and suspenseful. And all the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat and totally engrossed.

However, the second half of the book seemed a little less intriguing. The plot lost a little momentum, became a bit disjointed, and felt slightly unrealistic.

Overall, though, I think it’s a good story. The writing is strong. And the characters are complex, flawed, and determined. 

This book is certainly unique and interesting, and I think it is definitely worth a read.

 

 

Finding You by Danielle Ryan

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The Official Synopsis:

A feel good love story where sometimes first impressions can be very wrong..

Valentina Harrison is a PA at an international advertising agency but when her boss disappears, James Spencer is flown in from the New York office to take over the helm.

James is handsome, successful and arrogant, Valentina is intelligent but, compared to the other fashionistas in her Milan office, rather plain and different. Because of this James treats her with contempt; needless to say Valentina can’t stand him.

As their work brings them closer together, James and Valentina discover that first impressions can be wrong, so very wrong…


Book Rating: 7/10

This is a fun, sweet contemporary romance.

The story takes us into the world of advertising in both Milan and New York. The characters are interesting, quirky, and likeable. And the plot has some mystery, drama, and of course romance.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted, easy, boss-to-more read, this one’s for you.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Aria, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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