#BookReview
Shadow Play by Iris Johansen

#BookReview Shadow Play by Iris JohansenTitle: Shadow Play

Author: Iris Johansen

Series: Eve Duncan #19

Published by: St. Martin's Press on September 29, 2015

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 332

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 6.5/10

 

Synopsis:

An explosive new Eve Duncan thriller from the New York Times #1 bestselling author

Eve Duncan is the most sought-after artist in the field of forensic sculpting. Dedicated to her work ever since her daughter Bonnie was taken and killed at the age of seven, Eve feels a sense of duty to those whose lives were lost and whose bones are now in her hands. When a sheriff in California contacts her with a request for help on the reconstruction of the skull of a nine-year-old girl whose body has been buried for eight years, his intensity and investment in the case puzzle her. But when the ghost of the girl begins communicating with her, Eve finds herself wrapped up in the case more intensely than she could have ever imagined. Not since Bonnie has Eve had such an experience, and suddenly she finds herself determined to solve the murder and help the little girl find peace. Except that the killer is still out there, and he knows Eve is on the case. And he won’t rest until anything and anyone that could reveal his identity is eliminated… 


Review:

Unfortunately, this book didn’t really work for me.

I have read many of the other Eve Duncan books in the series, this is book #19, and really enjoyed them, but this one was a little disappointing.

The plot wasn’t that suspenseful. There was a supernatural element that seemed to make the story disjointed at times. And even though some of the usual characters were back, Eve and Joe, the other supporting characters were unrealistic and flat.

I usually like Iris Johansen’s work so I will definitely give her next book a try, but unless you are a die-hard fan of the Eve Duncan series, I’d give this one a miss.

 

About Iris Johansen

Iris Johansen is a New York Times bestselling author. She began her writing after her children left home for college. She first achieved success in the early 1980s writing category romances. In 1991, Johansen began writing suspense historical romance novels, starting with the publication of The Wind Dancer. In 1996 Johansen switched genres, turning to crime fiction, with which she has had great success.

She lives in Georgia and is married. Her son, Roy Johansen, is an Edgar Award-winning screenwriter and novelist. Her daughter, Tamara, serves as her research assistant.

#BookReview
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

#BookReview The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix SweeneyTitle: The Nest

Author: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Published by: Ecco on March 22, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems. 

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.


Review:

I enjoyed this story and I felt it got better as it went along.

For me what resonated throughout this novel is the ideology that “money is the root of all evil”.

The characters, in the beginning, are selfish, greedy and materialistic. They feel entitled and lack the ability to take responsibility for their own actions. And throughout the story as the plot develops, these characters each undergo a form of introspection to recognize what is truly important in life to them.

The story is well written. And the plot is full of drama, denial, deception, anger, heartache, loneliness, and acceptance. It is definitely captivating and a little sad.

It is a good, engaging, debut novel and I look forward to reading more from this author.

And from a book club standpoint, this novel is perfect. It is very thought-provoking and I think different perspectives will definitely lead to some great discussions.

 

Some Noteworthy Books Released April 5, 2016

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In this exciting thriller from Mary Higgins Clark, the #1 New York Times bestselling “Queen of Suspense,” a news reporter tries to find her birth mother just as she is assigned to cover the high-profile trial of a woman accused of murdering her wealthy husband.

Television journalist Delaney Wright is on the brink of stardom after she begins covering a sensational murder trial for the six p.m. news. She should be thrilled, yet her growing desire to locate her birth mother consumes her thoughts. When Delaney’s friends Alvirah Meehan and her husband Willy offer to look into the mystery surrounding her birth, they uncover a shocking secret they do not want to reveal.

On trial for murder is Betsy Grant, widow of a wealthy doctor who has been an Alzheimer’s victim for eight years. When her once-upon-a-time celebrity lawyer urges her to accept a plea bargain, Betsy refuses: she will go to trial to prove her innocence.

Betsy’s stepson, Alan Grant, bides his time nervously as the trial begins. His substantial inheritance hangs in the balance—his only means of making good on payments he owes his ex-wife, his children, and increasingly angry creditors.

As the trial unfolds, and the damning evidence against Betsy piles up, Delaney is convinced that Betsy is not guilty and frantically tries to prove her innocence. A true classic from Mary Higgins Clark, As Time Goes By is a thrilling read by a master of the genre.


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Shot down over Siberia in what was to be a simple meet-and-greet-mission, ex-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is forced into a fight for survival against Aleksandr Zorin, whose loyalty to the former Soviet Union has festered for decades into an intense hatred of the United States.

Before escaping, Malone learns that Zorin and another ex-KGB officer, this one a sleeper still imbedded in the West, are headed overseas to Washington D.C. Inauguration Day-noon on January 20th-is only hours away. A flaw in the Constitution, and an even more flawed presidential succession act, have opened the door to political chaos and Zorin intends to exploit both weaknesses to their fullest.

Armed with a weapon leftover from the Cold War, one long thought to be just a myth, Zorin plans to attack. He’s aided by a shocking secret hidden in the archives of America’s oldest fraternal organization-the Society of Cincinnati-a group that once lent out its military savvy to presidents, including helping to formulate three covert invasion plans of Canada.

In a race against the clock that starts in the frozen extremes of Russia and ultimately ends at the White House itself, Malone must not only battle Zorin, he must also confront his deepest fear, a crippling weakness that he’s long denied but one that now jeopardizes everything. Steve Berry’s trademark mix of fact, fiction, history and speculation, is all here, front and center, in this provocative new thriller.


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Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably.

Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us.

But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free … or break us apart.

Heartbreakingly and seductively poignant, One with You is the breathlessly awaited finale to the Crossfire® saga, the searing love story that has captivated millions of readers worldwide.

#BookReview
Beg For It by Megan Hart

#BookReview Beg For It by Megan HartTitle: Beg for It

Author: Megan Hart

Published by: Samhain Publishing on June 14, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Pages: 226

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Sanhaim Publishing, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

He’s gonna have to beg for it…

Corinne was young once. She did everything—girls, boys, drugs, toys—and did it in high funky fashion. Reese wasn’t her first lover, but he was the first to submit to her. For a while they had something special, but it ended badly.

She’s a little older now. And the wealthy businessman who just bought the company she works for bears little resemblance to that boy. He’s commanding, domineering, and seems hell-bent on pushing her past her limits.

In a flash of anger, she falls back into their old pattern—and Reese falls right in with her. Before she knows it, she’s testing him. Then tasting him. But she can’t afford to get involved again. Her life is complicated enough without throwing in a slew of kink.

Now if only Reese would stop making her feel like the goddess she used to be…and showing her who’s been the boss all along. Then…and now.

Warning: Contains thousand-dollar, custom-tailored business suits, fuzzy green boots, goth eyeliner, and fishnet sleeves. We’ll let you discover who wears what.


Review:

I thought this was a really good novel.

The erotica is hot and kinky, and the plot is well-developed and engaging. 

I think what I found the most interesting and unique about this story is that while most Dom/Sub books cast the male in the Dom role and the female in the Sub role, this one did not. 

The story is written in a present-past style that allows the plot to take us on a journey through the main characters past relationship as well as their new relationship to understand that a successful relationship requires respect, trust, understanding and compromise not only in the bedroom but outside it as well.

It is rare for erotica books to have a good storyline and I think that Megan Hart did a wonderful job accomplishing that with this novel.

If you are a fan of Erotica this book will not disappoint.

 

This book is set to be published on June 14, 2016.

 

 

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

 

About Megan Hart

Megan Hart has written in almost every genre of romantic fiction, including historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, futuristic, fantasy and perhaps most notably, erotic. She also writes non-erotic fantasy and science fiction, as well as continuing to occasionally dabble in horror.

#BookReview
Fully Ignited by Shannon Stacey

#BookReview Fully Ignited by Shannon StaceyTitle: Fully Ignited

Author: Shannon Stacey

Series: Boston Fire #3

Published by: Carina Press on February 23, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 317

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

When Jamie Rutherford takes a temporary assignment as lieutenant of Boston Fire’s Engine 59, she doesn’t anticipate any problems. She’s been in the fire service for a long time and, even though she’s fairly new to Boston, she knows how to make any firehouse her home. What she’s not prepared for is her reaction to firefighter Scott Kincaid.

Scott is looking for a wife. It’s been a fun ride as a single guy, but he’s tired of being the third wheel, and nearly losing his brother-in-law finally made him realize just how much he wants a family of his own. When the new guy at the firehouse turns out to be a capable, confident and very attractive woman, his plan is completely derailed.

Hooking up with a fellow firefighter has never been part of Jamie’s plan, but she’s tempted by Scott—even though getting involved with him could tarnish the reputation she’s worked so hard for. And Scott can’t stop thinking about Jamie, despite the fact that she’s his superior and not sticking around. Chemistry can crush the best-laid plans, though, and while Jamie and Scott might not be each other’s future…there’s no resisting the right now.


Review:

Shannon Stacey, to me, is a great contemporary romance author. She just seems to always have the right amount of everything.

The plot is good. The characters are funny and lovable. The romance is hot. And there is just enough drama to make the story flow nicely.

I mean how can a story about firefighters not be hot. And don’t even get me started on that cover.

If you like contemporary romance this is a winner. It is a sweet, easy read that is perfect for the beach, summer, or anytime really.

 

#BookReview
Circling The Sun by Paula McLain

#BookReview Circling The Sun by Paula McLainTitle: Circling the Sun

Author: Paula McLain

Published by: Ballantine Books on July 28, 2015

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 366

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.


Review:

This was one of my book club reads for this month and I enjoyed it.

This is a story based on the real life of Beryl Markham.

Beryl was a strong, independent, remarkable women who was definitely ahead of her time. She accomplished some incredible things and had an indomitable spirit. At the same time, however, there always seemed be an aura of sadness surrounding her. She was constantly searching for true freedom and happiness, which she could never find. Her struggles with abandonment, loneliness, heartache and disappointment seemed to overshadow all the rest.

I have to admit that I knew very little of Beryl Markham before reading this book and I found it interesting and captivating right from the prologue.

The writing, itself, is poetic and flows from page-to-page effortlessly. And the imagery of colonial Kenya is beautiful and vivid.

This was a good choice for book club and I look forward to discussing it.

 

#BookReview
Trauma by Michael Palmer & Daniel Palmer

#BookReview Trauma by Michael Palmer & Daniel PalmerTitle: Trauma

Author: Michael Palmer, Michael Palmer, Daniel Palmer

Published by: St. Martin's Press on May 12, 2015

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 370

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Dr. Carrie Bryant’s is a much-admired neurosurgical resident at an esteemed Boston hospital. But when her first unsupervised brain surgery goes horribly wrong, she loses her confidence-and, after another fateful misstep, Carrie decides to quit her residency and move back home. Her new life’s purpose: To help her combat-vet brother, Adam, recover from a crippling case of post-traumatic stress disorder.

At first, the experimental program at the VA Medical Center-one that could forever cure the ravages of PTSD-seems like best option for Adam. But Carrie has her doubts when one of her patients goes missing…and then another. Carrie turns to local investigative reporter David Hoffman for help in getting answers. But the VA organization is determined to keep its secrets-at all costs. As Carrie and David descend into a labyrinth of murder and corruption, the price Carrie could pay for asking the wrong questions is her own life…


Review:

What do you get when a father, Michael Palmer, and a son, Daniel Palmer, write a book together? You get a really good, suspenseful, medical thriller.

This book takes a really in-depth look at PTSD in military veterans and the impact it has on not only their own lives, but the lives of the people who surround them.

As in most cases where there are millions of people affected, in one way or another, and billions spent on rehabilitation and treatments, the level of corruption and greed is unfathomable.

This book was very interesting and really well written. The plot developed nicely with some good twists and turns. And in a scary sort of way, the story did not seem that far from reality.

For those of you who may not know, the famous medical thriller writer, Michael Palmer, actually passed away during the early development stage of this story and his son, Daniel Palmer, took his ideas and created this finished product. It would seem that Daniel Palmer may now have a very successful career writing medical thrillers.

This was a really good book, and I would definitely recommend it.

 

 

About Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer, M.D., 1942-2013, was the author of Political Suicide, Oath of Office, A Heartbeat Away, The Last Surgeon, The Second Opinion, The First Patient, The Fifth Vial, The Society, Fatal, The Patient, Miracle Cure, Critical Judgment, Silent Treatment, Natural Causes, Extreme Measures, Flashback, Side Effects, and The Sisterhood. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages.

He trained in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals, spent twenty years as a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine, and served as an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s physician health program.

About Daniel Palmer

Daniel Palmer is the author of four critically-acclaimed suspense novels. After receiving his master’s degree from Boston University, he spent a decade as an e-commerce pioneer. A recording artist, accomplished blues harmonica player, and lifelong Red Sox fan, Daniel lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children where he is currently at work on his next novel.

Congratulations to Lawrence Hill!

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Congratulations to Canadian Author Lawrence Hill whose recent release, The Illegal, has just been named the CBC Canada Reads 2016 Winner.

Lawrence Hill is most famously known for his 2007 critically acclaimed novel entitled, The Book of Negroes (in Canada), and published as Someone Knows My Name (outside of Canada). And if you haven’t already read this book. You really should. It’s superb.

I have yet to read The Illegal, but based on the official synopsis it sounds like I now have another book to add to my “To Read” pile. 

The Illegal – Official Synopsis

The Illegal, is the gripping story of Keita Ali, a refugee—like the many in today’s headlines—compelled to leave his homeland.

All Keita has ever wanted to do is to run. Running means respect and wealth at home. His native Zantoroland, a fictionalized country whose tyrants are eerily familiar, turns out the fastest marathoners on earth. But after his journalist father is killed for his outspoken political views, Keita must flee to the wealthy nation of Freedom State—a country engaged in a crackdown on all undocumented people.

There, Keita becomes a part of the new underground. He learns what it means to live as an illegal: surfacing to earn cash prizes by running local races and assessing whether the people he meets will be kind or turn him in. As the authorities seek to arrest Keita, he strives to elude capture and ransom his sister, who has been kidnapped.

Set in an imagined country bearing a striking resemblance to our own, this tension-filled novel casts its eye on race, human potential, and what it means to belong.

#BookReview
Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis

#BookReview Nobody But You by Jill ShalvisTitle: Nobody But You

Author: Jill Shalvis

Series: Cedar Ridge #3

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on March 29, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 315

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She’s broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I’m-too-sexy-for-myself guy who’s now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob’s dark intensity makes her want to tease—and tempt—him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.


Review:

This is Book #3 in the Cedar Ridge Series, but can definitely be read as a standalone novel.

This is the story of Jacob Kincaid, the brother who left cedar ridge, after harsh words, nine years ago and has finally decided to return.

This is a lighthearted, fun, easy read about two people who come together to find the true meaning of love and home. On top of the romance, and there is a lot of steamy romance, the story evolves around sibling relationships, guilt, trust, the importance of communication and family.

The characters are charming and quirky. The writing is witty and effortless. The plot flows nicely. And the ending makes you smile.

Jill Shalvis is a leader in this genre and this book doesn’t disappoint. This is definitely contemporary romance at it’s best.

If you missed the first two books in the series and would like to read about two of the other Kincaid brothers, pick up Second Chance Summer (Book #1) and My Kind of Wonderful (Book #2).

 

#BookReview
The Winemakers by Jan Moran

#BookReview The Winemakers by Jan MoranTitle: The Winemakers

Author: Jan Moran

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on April 5, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A young woman
A family secret
A devastating truth that could destroy the man she loves

Many years ago, the Rosetta family’s hard-won dreams of staking their claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition. Now high-spirited, passionate Caterina Rosetta, who has inherited both her mother’s talent for crafting the finest wines and also her indomitable will, wants nothing more than to win her mother’s approval and work at her side. But that can never happen, because Caterina is keeping a secret that could ruin her: a daughter of her own, fathered by the love of her life, who left her without explanation. Just as she feels she has nowhere to turn, Caterina discovers that she has inherited a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside in Italy, from a grandmother she’s never heard of, and she seizes the chance to start a new life for herself and her child.

But the past is not so easily outrun. In the country of her ancestors, Caterina meets the family of the father she never knew, and discovers that her mother is also hiding her own secret—a secret so devastating it threatens the future of everything her family has worked for. As an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragedy that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past—if she has the strength to face it.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.


Review:

This book was very engrossing and I had trouble putting it down.

The story takes place in the picturesque vineyards of Napa, California and Tuscany, Italy. And the descriptions are so vivid that at times it almost felt like I was sitting amongst the grape vines savouring the bouquet of the most divine wine.

The plot revolves around secrets, lies, deception, familial relationships, wine-making, and romance. It is a wonderful love story with enough twists and turns and drama to keep you throughly engaged.

Overall, this is a well written, compelling novel with believable characterization and it is truly worth the read. In fact, I think this would be a great addition to any book club.

 

This book is due to be published on April 5, 2016.

Pick up a copy you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

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