Grief Cottage

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I received this ARC from Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA in exchange for an honest review.

Eleven year old Marcus has lost his mother, the only family he has ever known.  Sent off to live with a great-aunt he’s never met on a small South Carolina island, to say he’s undergone some changes is an understatement.  His aunt moved there to escape a past she doesn’t discuss and a family she scarcely mentions.  She is an artist, specializing in island scenery and it has provided for her for a number of years.  One of her most famous subjects is “Grief Cottage” a cottage that hosted tragedy 50 years before.  Since then it’s been the subject of gossip and speculation and Marcus feels drawn there.  While trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, he finds a sort of life amongst the sand.

For me it was a time of flat days and anxious thoughts.  The sun rose later and set earlier.  It was as if the summer knew that its best days were gone and was giving in without a fight.

Godwin’s masterful writing made up for any slow periods in the novel, I could always find a sentence or phrase that spoke to me.  As Marcus struggles to process his loss and comprehend a grief he’s never known, his internal monologue bares all.

She said maybe it had been selfish to bring me into the world when she had so little to offer, but nevertheless she had wanted me more than anything in her whole life.  She said I was her great prize.

Though his mom is gone when the story begins, I felt as if she could have been any other the mothers I’ve ever known.  His sorrow is palpable, I just wanted to reach through the pages and hug him.

Well, you did die.  I waited for you to come back and you didn’t.  Whereas I’m still here, coming loose from my moorings, getting ready to fly apart.

Slow-moving and atmospheric, journey with Marcus as he processes what his life has become and solves a mystery or two at the same time.  Pick it up for the plot, finish it for the writing.

Sit Tibi Terra Levis-May the earth lie lightly upon thee.

4 stars.

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

 

 

 

What the Dead Leave Behind

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I received this ARC from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

Rushmore “Mac” McKenzie is a detective, sort of.  After leaving the St. Paul police force in order to accept a reward for catching an embezzler, he finds himself rich and relatively idle.  Deciding to channel that boredom into “favors” for friends and friends of friends as an unlicensed detective, I get the feeling that his life is more exciting as a civilian.

This is a series and I was able to follow along without having read the first 13 books, which is always nice.  Housewright does a good job of supplying supplementary information in such a way that one unfamiliar with the series will still be able to understand.

I consider this to be the perfect sort of book to take along on a long-haul flight across the world, something I am very familiar with (I’ll be downloading the first few for my transatlantic flights this summer).  Mac’s girlfriend’s daughter implores him to find out what happened to her friend’s father.  He was murdered before the book begins and the police have no leads.  The game is afoot!

I believed in momentum.  I believed that if you keep moving, peeking under beds, peeping over fences, turning over rocks, there’s a better chance of accidents happening, some good, some bad; of the fortuitous unearthing of the odd puzzle piece in the most unlikely nook or cranny.

This is a truly interesting detective mystery.  Perhaps my favorite part was all of the Twin Cities love embedded in it.  No, I’m not from the Twin Cities, nor even the midwest.  I simply love when an author shows hometown pride.  I felt like I was there, from the descriptions of local venues to the complaints about traffic bottlenecks.  Mac is a good man, with a set of skills that he puts to good use.  Will the mystery be solved?  Read and find out.

Now the big question—why do you still care?  Good question.  I felt a little like a historian working a Rubik’s Cube, twisting the sides this way and that until it gave me a clear picture of what happened at such and such a time in such and such a place–but to what purpose?

4 stars.

Expected Publication: June 6, 2017

Take It To The Grave (Part I)

 

 

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I received this ARC from Harlequin and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sarah has the perfect life.  Perfect husband.  Adorable baby.  House in the Hamptons.  A life she doesn’t think she deserves, a real upgrade.

Her sister Maisy is a nurse abroad, moving from developing country to developing country and never putting down roots.

The two haven’t spoken in years, but they both continue to think back to a singular event.

The unifying feature in this first part of a serial is that neither of them trust anyone and they both appear to have a great deal to hide.

I know your secret Sarah.

I’m going to tell.

This was a quick 20 minute read but as far as I can tell, the other chapters will be interesting.  Consider my interest piqued.

4 stars.

Publication Date: June 1, 2017

One Taste of Angel-Release Date!

Once again, I’m honored to participate in a Book Blitz for a St. Martin’s Press release.  Expect a review in the next day or two, but until then check this out!

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Their love was the stuff of Shakespeare – two star-crossed lovers from rival MC’s

divided by their families’ bloody history, but fate has given Eagle and Serafina a

second chance. Can the biker and the stripper find their redemption in Violetta

Rand’s sexy standalone romance, One Taste of Angel?

Eagle 

I’ve bled for my club. Taken four bullets. Buried eight brothers in six years. Screwed

a hundred women. And only loved one. The one I lost. But there’s something about

Serafina that reminds me of just exactly what was taken from me. Not just because I

can’t resist a damsel in distress.

Serafina

To Eagle, I’m dead. Murdered and cremated, my ashes interred at the local cemetery.

Part of a past I left long ago to save his life. Seeing him now, touching him again

makes me weak, even if he doesn’t recognize the woman I’ve become. Since my

escape from Holly Beach five years ago, I’ve lived by my own rules. And no matter

how much I love Eagle, he’s not going to break those rules.

“Riveting, gritty cast of characters! I was captivated by this intimate glimpse into the

volatile MC world. Violetta Rand’s ability to portray the essence of true love is

enjoyable. Great read!”

-USA Today Bestselling Author D.L. Roan

 

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Buy It Here!

The Watcher

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I received this ARC from St Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

Yet another breezy Bella Jewel read for a lazy weekend.  I feel so fortunate to be getting such a steady supply of her books lately, they are fast-paced thrillers!

Marlie has had more than her share of tragedy and horror.  Seven years ago she was kidnapped and tortured at the hands of “The Watcher”.  Now she lives in a cabin in the woods and works a dead-end waitress job rather than deal with the fame being the only survivor of a serial killer brought her.  Things are perfect but she has a life and it’s her own, until her sister, Kaity, goes missing too.

All because I was being a good person.  Life is a bitch like that.

This can’t be happening.  Twice to one family?  When the police show little concern or interest in the case, Marlie hires crack private eye, Kenai and sets off on a road trip to bring her sister home.

This wouldn’t be a Bella Jewel story without some sweet, dramatic romance to round the story out nicely.  Ms. Jewel has delivered once again!

4 stars.

Expected Publication: May 30, 2017

Buy It Here

White Fur

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I received this ARC courtesy of Crown Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

1980s.  Mixed-Race girl from the wrong side of the tracks meets wealthy boy born into a family as close to royalty as one can be in America.  Elise is loud, uneducated and floating along.  Jamey is privileged, observant and has had his entire future planned since before he was born.

When these two young lovers come together, the world around them won’t stand for it.  This is a Romeo and Juliet tale with a twist.

It’s gigantic, swollen, pounding on a molecular level like a billion hearts, the way a space does when the people in it realize their power.

This is not the type of story I typically wouldn’t be able to resist on the shelves of a book shop, or browsing Amazon.  I admit that I’m not the target demographic this book was intended for.  I found the writing to be quite good, Libaire has a way with words that would occasionally thrust me directly into the story.

Love, he thinks, is accidental, fleeting–he can’t possibly deserve it.

I found the polarity of Elise, seeking a home she hasn’t ever found and Jamey, who doesn’t know what love means to be interesting.  Something visceral is bringing them together but in stories like these, the center never holds.

He’s never had to be moral.  He falls into one of those crevices: a certain kid in a certain society in a certain generation where no decisions remain because his ancestors have finished every single thing within reach.

The build up was slow, glacially slow.  The end was an explosion that never came.  I knew from about halfway in that the ending wouldn’t be satisfying, but I kept reading.  Their was something promising in the plot but the execution left much to be desired.

2 stars.

Expected Publication: May 30, 2017

The Chiron Confession

 

IMG_8679I received this ARC from Netgalley and Atlantis Ink in exchange for an honest review.

In the aftermath of Jesus’ execution a sect called Dominium Dei (Rule of God) has arisen to fill in the void left behind in the first church.  Lead by the mysterious Chiron, the order is dedicated to establishing Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire.  The problem is, Rome already has a religion, Cesar.  He has declared himself Lord and God of the empire and there is no room for any other gods.

Athanasius is a playwright, known to be an atheist, who pushes the envelope of what is acceptable in society.  He somehow finds himself accused of being Chiron and is launched smack dab into the middle of one of the greatest conspiracies of his age.

I’m innocent.  I’m not that villain Chiron.  I’ve never killed a man, or torched a public building, or committed any crime of any kind!

I found our unwitting protagonist to be well-written and his internal dialogue one of the best parts of the novel.  Who is trying to kill him? Cesar? Dei? Is there a difference?

No wonder old John’s Book of Revelation had Jesus standing outside the Church, knocking on its door.  The Church was probably the last place on earth anybody would find Him.

This was a fast-paced, page turner that I finished in about a day.  I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy.

Four Stars.

Buy It Here

Expected Publication: May 16, 2017