Book Review

A book review is a summary of my thoughts, feelings, and impression of a book.

#BookReview
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

#BookReview Miller’s Valley by Anna QuindlenTitle: Miller's Valley

Author: Anna Quindlen

Published by Random House on April 5, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 257

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Filled with insights that are hallmarks of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, this extraordinary novel is about a woman coming of age, as she unearths secrets about her family and her town, and surprising truths about herself.

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.” 

Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.” Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.


Review:

This is a very interesting and intriguing story.

It is a sobering novel that reminds us that life is short and precious, and that everyone and everything that enters our life shapes us in some way and makes us who we are today.

It touches on familial dynamics, secrets, friendship, unconditional love, and the true meaning of home.

This story is well written. The characters are complex and real. And the first-person narration, by Mimi, captures you from the beginning and sweeps you along through her life’s highs and lows effortlessly.

This is a quiet, subtle story with a powerful impact that I think would be a shame to miss.

 

#BookReview
Friction by Sandra Brown

#BookReview Friction by Sandra BrownTitle: Friction

Author: Sandra Brown

Published by Grand Central Publishing on February 2, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?


Review:

This is a great mystery. In fact, it is one of my favourite reads in this genre so far this year.

It is a riveting, intense, suspenseful story, with a side of romance, that starts with a murder in a courtroom and takes us through multiple twists and turns to identify who the target really is and why.

The characters are well-developed, bold, and complex. And the story is well written, with multiple plots, great dialogue, and steamy romance.

This is a gripping page turner and I highly recommend it.

 

#BookReview
Wrong Place, Right Time by Elle Casey

#BookReview Wrong Place, Right Time by Elle CaseyTitle: Wrong Place, Right Time

Author: Elle Casey

Series: The Bourbon Street Boys #2

Published by Montlake Romance on May 10, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Montlake Romance, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

Jenny’s single-parent life revolves around her kids and her job, which means that hours of Animal Planet and strings of computer code are about all she has time for. Not that Jenny’s looking for adventure or romance—she’s the type of woman who believes in playing it safe.

When Jenny is called upon to do some consulting for the Bourbon Street Boys—a New Orleans private security firm—she knows she should stay away. They conduct surveillance on known criminals and put themselves in harm’s way pretty much every day, so No is the obvious answer…Problem is, there’s a guy on the team with a body to die for and a dimple that just won’t quit luring Jenny in, tempting her to throw all caution to the wind.

Will Jenny take the risk or will she do what she’s always done—play it safe and wait for the right time?


Review:

Elle Casey writes great contemporary romance. I really enjoyed the first book in the Bourbon Street Boys series and this one was just as good.

It has everything you want, and more, in a romance novel. It is flirty, fun and packed full of excitement.

It has interesting, witty, sexy characters. It has an engaging plot full of humour, suspense and romance. And the prose is funny and precise.

If you want an easy, light read that will make you smile, and maybe even laugh out loud at times, this is the book for you. 

 

This novel is due to be published on May 10, 2016.

 

 

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

#BookReview
The Moment of Everything by Shelly King

#BookReview The Moment of Everything by Shelly KingTitle: The Moment of Everything

Author: Shelly King

Published by Grand Central Publishing on September 2, 2014

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 270

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In the tradition of The Cookbook Collector comes a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore.

Maggie Duprès, recently “involuntarily separated from payroll” at a Silicon Valley startup, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly’s Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along.
When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance-even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a book she hasn’t encountered since college, in an evening. But the edition she finds at the bookstore is no Penguin Classics Chatterley–it’s an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers.

Witty and sharp-eyed in its treatment of tech world excesses, but with real warmth at its core, The Moment of Everything is a wonderful read.


Review:

This was a book club read for me this month, and I have to say I enjoyed it.

To me this story is a journey of finding one’s self, discovering what makes you happy, realizing that sacrifices are not really sacrifices when we make them for love, and friendship. 

The setting is a wonderful juxtaposition, where on the one hand we have a quaint used book store. A store seeped in history and the past, right down to the musty shelves and the crinkled pages. And on the other hand we have Silicon Valley, the epitome of the future, all things new, better, faster and electronic.

The story flows nicely. The prose is subtle but lovely. And the characters are quirky, interesting and engaging.

It is a nice, heart-warming story that was a pleasure to read.

 

#BookReview
Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

#BookReview Best of My Love by Susan MalleryTitle: Best of My Love

Author: Susan Mallery

Series: Fool's Gold #20

Published by HQN Books on April 26, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

An irresistible new love story from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of the Fool’s Gold series, set in a town Library Journal calls “so appealing, readers will want to start scoping out real estate.”  

To overcome her painful past, baker Shelby Gilmore goes on the hunt for a friend—a male friend—to convince her stubborn psyche that men can be trusted. But where in a town as small as Fool’s Gold will the petite blonde find a guy willing to not date her? 

Dark, charming Aidan Mitchell puts the “adventure” in Mitchell Adventure Tours…and into the beds of his many willing female tourists. Until he realizes he’s inadvertently become that guy—the one-night Casanova—and worse, everyone in town knows it. Maybe Shelby’s boy/girl experiment will help him see women as more than just conquests so he can change his ways and win back his self-respect. 

As Aidan and Shelby explore the secret lives of men and women, the heat between them fires up the Fool’s Gold rumor mill. If no one will believe they’re just friends, maybe they should give the gossips something to really talk about!


Review:

It’s hard to believe this is book #20 in the Fool’s Gold series, but once again Susan Mallery has written a nice, warm contemporary romance story.

The writing is smooth and flows easily. The characters are sweet, funny and interesting. And the plot is full of humour, drama, and romance. 

This is a cute, entertaining novel that is perfect for a light-hearted summer read.

 

 

About Susan Mallery

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. She's best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

Photo by Annie Brady

#BookReview
The Stranger by Harlan Coben

#BookReview The Stranger by Harlan CobenTitle: The Stranger

Author: Harlan Coben

Published by Dutton on February 9, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.


Review:

I enjoyed this book.

It is intense, suspenseful, and full of action.

It takes us on a journey through the depth and despair that comes from secrets, and reminds us that everything is not always as it seems.

This book is interesting, unique and well written. The characters are realistic and colourful. And the plot develops nicely, has multiple twists and turns, and is highly captivating.

Harlan Coben is a great mystery writer. And once again he has written a good one!

 

#BookReview
The Things We Knew by Catherine West

#BookReview The Things We Knew by Catherine WestTitle: The Things We Knew

Author: Catherine West

Published by Thomas Nelson on July 12, 2016

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother’s best friend and Lynette’s first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can’t.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.


Review:

This is an intriguing story about the difficult challenges we face in life and how we each, independently, cope with them.

It is an engaging mystery that touches on the importance of familial relationships, secrets, loss, forgiveness, grace, and, ultimately, the power of truth.

It is well written. And the characters are well-developed, complex, interesting and flawed.

Overall, I found this novel to be a nice, heartwarming enjoyable read.

 

This book is due to be published on July 12, 2016.

 

 

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

#BookReview
The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan

#BookReview The Decent Proposal by Kemper DonovanTitle: The Decent Proposal

Author: Kemper Donovan

Published by HarperCollins on April 5, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 308

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

An addictively readable debut romantic comedy, drama, and mystery rolled into one, about two very different strangers whose lives become intertwined when they receive an unusual proposition. This is a funny, tender, and enchanting story about love, attraction, and friendship: Jane Austen in Los Angeles.

A struggling Hollywood producer, Richard Baumbach is twenty-nine, hung-over, and broke. Ridiculously handsome with an innate charm and an air of invincibility, he still believes good things will come his way. For now he contents himself with days at the Coffee Bean and nights with his best friend Mike (that’s a woman, by the way).

At thirty-three, Elizabeth Santiago is on track to make partner at her law firm. Known as “La Máquina” The Machine—to her colleagues, she’s grown used to avoiding anything that might derail her quiet, orderly life. And yet recently she befriended a homeless man in her Venice neighborhood, surprised to find how much she enjoys their early-morning chats.

Richard and Elizabeth’s paths collide when they receive a proposal from a mysterious, anonymous benefactor. They’ll split a million dollars if they agree to spend at least two hours together—just talking—every week for a year. Astonished and more than a little suspicious, they each nevertheless say yes. Richard needs the money and likes the adventure of it. Elizabeth embraces the challenge of shaking up her life a little more. Both agree the idea is ridiculous, but why not?

What ensues is a delightful journey full of twists, revelations, hamburgers, classic literature, poppy music, and above all love, in its multitude of forms. The Decent Proposal is a heartfelt and often hilarious look at the ties that bind not just a guy and a girl but an entire, diverse cast of characters situated within a modern-day Los Angeles brought to full and irrepressible life.


Review:

This was a hard book for me to review.

It is definitely an enjoyable, engaging novel, with all the elements you typically look for in contemporary romance, but for some reason I just didn’t feel completely satisfied at the end of the story.

The writing is well done. The characters are complex. The plot is unique and intriguing. And I especially enjoyed the references to classic movies, books and pop music.

Unfortunately, however, although I liked the idea and found it to be an interesting read, I just didn’t love it.

 

#BookReview
Unexpected Rush by Jaci Burton

#BookReview Unexpected Rush by Jaci BurtonTitle: Unexpected Rush

Author: Jaci Burton

Series: Play by Play #11

Published by Berkley on February 16, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 330

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7/10

 

Synopsis:

In the new Play-By-Play novel by the New York Timesbestselling author of All Wound Up, a football hot shot and his best friend’s sister are breaking all the rules.

All the Right Moves

For Barrett Cassidy, playing defense for the Tampa Hawks is a dream come true. And now he may have discovered his dream woman. Harmony Evans, once the sweet, gawky teenage sister of his best friend and teammate has grown into a smart, gorgeous woman with moves he finds hard to resist. But he knows he can’t get involved with his best friend’s sister—it’s guy code.

Harmony has always gone after what she wants with single-minded determination, from her independence to her education to her career in social work. She never expected her youthful crush on Barrett to develop into something deeper. And she’s not about to let some ridiculous man rules or her brother stand in her way.

When the chemistry is this combustible, lines tend to get crossed. And when Barrett and Harmony’s secret gets out, it just might be game over…


Review:

This is a fun, steamy, contemporary romance story.

There are hot football players, sexy romance scenes, and a good, although predictable, plot.

All-in-all this is an easy, quick read that would be great for summer.

 

 

About Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of over 70 books. She lives in Oklahoma and when she isn’t on deadline (which is often), she can usually be found wrestling with her uncooperative garden, wrangling her dogs, watching an unhealthy amount of television, or completely losing track of time reading a great book. She’s a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you’ll find in all her books.

#BookReview
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
@WmKentKrueger

#BookReview Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger @WmKentKruegerTitle: Ordinary Grace

Author: William Kent Krueger

Published by Atria Books on March 4, 2014

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 307

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.

On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, it is a moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.


Review:

This is a really great story about the challenges we face in life and the ways in which we handle them.

It is a coming-of-age story, with a side of mystery, that touches on the power of perspective, the strength of familial relationships, friendship, loss, grief, forgiveness and faith.

It is exquisitely written. The prose is beautiful. The setting is vividly described. And the characters are well-developed and complex.

It is a subtle story that flows effortlessly, leaves an impression, and makes an impact.

I highly recommend it. It is definitely worth a read.

 

This novel is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on William Kent Krueger, visit his website at: williamkentkrueger.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @WmKentKrueger

 

%d bloggers like this: