Thursday, June 20, 2019

Summer By the Tides - Contemporary Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe's love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram's maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.
As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven--nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy's heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they've become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  So many reasons!  The cover, the sisters, the grandmother, the beach setting, the having everything apart and trying to reconnect, so many of my favorite things.

My Impression:  This is my first book by Denise Hunter but it won't be my last.  I really enjoyed getting to know Maddy and her sisters and Connor and his sisters.  The setup that got Maddy and her sisters to Belle Island was entertaining and made for a bit of a realistic conflict right at the beginning.  I loved the contrast of the sibling relationships.  While Connor's sisters drive him crazy there's a lot of affection and good intentions while for Maddy there's a lot of resentment and anger and bitterness.  Poor Maddy gets stuck in the middle of her two older sisters and tries to make peace in a situation she had nothing to do with. 

The word that keeps running through my head to describe this book is "nice" which sounds a bit lackluster but it really isn't.  This was a nice read that had me invested in the characters and enjoying the plot without being overly dramatic or angsty.  I enjoyed getting to know Maddy and Connor and seeing the relationship between the two of them was sweet without being saccharine.   I really appreciated their honesty with each other both in their own first impressions of each other (some wrong, some right) and in dealing with old baggage.  After reading so many books where the characters never actually talk to each other this was a delightful change.  This was a book I enjoyed reading after I got snuggled into bed and it was nice in the nicest sense of the word.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really liked how she handled all the relationships between the characters and I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy women's fiction with a sweet romance I think you'd enjoy this one. 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Denise

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Pieces of Her - Thriller Blog Tour Review

About Pieces of Her

• Paperback: 496 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 21, 2019)

COMING TO NETFLIX! Mother. Hero. Liar. Killer. How can you tell when all you have is... PIECES OF HER

  What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ? Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She’s knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Gullaway Island; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we? But all that changes when a Saturday afternoon trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one will ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again. Twenty-four hours later Laura is in the hospital, shot by an intruder who’s spent thirty years trying to track her down and discover what she knows. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumbs of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . .

My Thoughts:  Karin Slaughter has been on my radar for years and years but for some reason I never got around to reading her until this book.  The only reason I'm not kicking myself (besides my general lack of coordination) is because I now have a pretty big back list to read through.  I've been a bit meh about reading lately but this book was a "maybe I can sneak in one more chapter" with a little bit of a "whoops I meant to only read a chapter and ended up reading a 100 pages" thrown in.  There was a bit of dual timeline and and lots of fast moving twists and I absolutely flew through it.  I didn't really care for Andy a lot of the time but I was just invested as she was to put all the pieces together.  This is a bit darker than my usual read and while there is some violence it never felt gratuitous or overly gory.  I thoroughly enjoyed this visit to the darker side of the mystery genre and will be looking for more of Slaughter's books on my next bookstore visit!  Rating:  Very Good

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her standalone novels The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television. Find out more about Karin at her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Releases Part 2

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun linkup hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that's all about Top Ten lists.  Today's topic is Your Most Anticipated Releases for the 2nd Half of 2019.  I always struggle a bit with this topic because I'm not great about keeping up with releases but here are some I'm really looking forward to trying!

1.  The Seekers by Heather Graham - I love Heather Graham's Krewe series and this one is all about ghosts and a haunted hotel.

2.  And Then They Were Doomed by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - I've enjoyed the previous books in this quirky cozy series and when I saw this book's title was a play on an Agatha Christie title I knew I had to read it. 

3.  Buried in the Stacks by Allison Brook - This is the third in a cozy series that I've really been enjoying.  There's lots of librarian stuff, a good mystery and a haunted library!

4.  Heiress Gone Wild by Laura Lee Gurhke - Historical romance is a genre I've been seriously neglecting but I did read an earlier book in this series and loved it so I'm super excited about this one.

5.  A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie - I love this series and am slowly rereading it from the beginning but I love the newer ones as well!

6.  The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan - I've been on a huge Colgan kick lately and this one looks absolutely wonderful. 

7.  The Duke is But a Dream by Anna Bennett - I haven't read Bennett before but I've been wanting to for ages and this sounds wonderful. 

8.  The House on Hallowed Ground by Nancy Cole Silverman - I've really enjoyed the Carol Childs series by Silverman so I'm excited to read this one that features a reoccurring character who just happens to be a psychic. 

9.  Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - I love Hazel Gaynor and this one has Grace Kelly so of course I have to read it!

10. Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne - We were teased about this storyline a few books ago and I'm dying to see how it plays out.  Plus Thayne's Christmas books are my favorites!

What releases are you looking forward to this year?

Monday, June 17, 2019

One Minute Later - Fiction Review

About One Minute Later

• Paperback: 512 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 11, 2019)

International bestselling author Susan Lewis’ riveting, unforgettable novel of a woman whose life changes in an instant and the handsome young man with whom she shares a secret history—perfect for readers of Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult and Susan Wiggs.
 How well do you know the people you love? For one young woman returning to the past, the answer could be heart-shattering... Vivi Shager is living her dream. Raised with drive and ambition by a resolutely single mother, Vivi has a thriving law career, a gorgeous apartment in London, and a full calendar that keeps her busy at work and at play. Then on the day of her twenty-seventh birthday, an undiagnosed heart condition sends Vivi’s prospects for the future into a tailspin. After escaping her roots nearly a decade ago, she’s forced to return to her childhood home to be cared for by her devoted and enigmatic mother. Vivi has always known the woman is hiding something and now she’s determined to find out what it is. Though her condition makes her fragile and vulnerable and she’s afraid of what may happen, her spirit remains strong. Then comes an unexpected ray of light. Josh Raynor, a local veterinarian who his sisters claim is too handsome for his own good, brings a forbidden love to Vivi’s world. Josh and Vivi are soon inseparable, unaware of the past their families share. All Vivi knows is that Josh is wrestling with a demon of his own… Then quite suddenly the awful truth is staring Vivi in the face

My Thoughts:   Somehow I've never read a Susan Lewis book until just now so going in I really had no idea what to expect.  I will say that while this won't be on a favorites lists I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking for more from Susan Lewis in the future.  It took me a few chapters to fully get into this one.  While I was instantly pulled into Vivi's story it took me longer to connect with Shelley's POV.  I actually liked Shelley better but they just seemed so far apart at first that I didn't get how they were connected at the beginning.  Vivi wasn't the easiest character to like.  I sympathized with her from the beginning but she could be prickly and defensive I wanted to shake her.  Overall, I really enjoyed this read.  Lewis pulled me in right from the start in Vivi's story and soon I was fully wrapped up in Shelley's as well.  This was a bit more bittersweet than I usually go for but I feel like Lewis' almost casually chatty writing style made this a fast read despite the sad elements.  I'm looking forward to reading more from Susan Lewis!  Rating: Good

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of more than forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense, and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, James; stepsons, Michael and Luke; and mischievous dogs, Coco and Lulu. Find out more at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

This Week in Reading - June 16

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Another week of nothing!  Or at least I think it's nothing.  This week has been both super short and a million years long so my memory is kind of fuzzy.  I do feel a bit of a binge coming on though.


Reading:  Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter and Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter

Listening:  I finished Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan (loved it) and Doom With a View by Kate Kingsbury (an enjoyable mystery but not a favorite) and am now listening to A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Watching:  Pretty much nothing.  I don't think I sat down long enough to watch more than 5 minutes of anything.

Off the Blog:

I don't think I've ever mentioned that we have a rental house.  Back in 2009, right before the Tornado was born, this house we had driven by hundreds of times and absolutely loved went on the market and we jumped at it.  Unfortunately 2009 wasn't the best time to sell a house so we decided to turn the house we were living in into a rental.  We still haven't decided if that was a good idea!  Most of the time it's out of sight out of mind but our long term tenants moved out at the beginning of the month and we've been scrambling to get it ready to be rented out.  Right now we are drowning in to do lists, contractor quotes and paint.  So much paint.  The whole house has to be repainted and the original color I picked which looked like a nice cream with a little bit of coffee ended up going on mauve.  Luckily we were able to pull the plug on that pretty quickly and picked out a not so pink cream with a little coffee before we lost too much work time.  But between all the house stuff, regular stuff, physical therapy, and the meds I'm taking for my neck I'm flat out exhausted!  My reading has definitely taken a hit but I'm making up a bit for it in audio books. 

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: One Minute Later - Fiction Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Part of 2019
Wednesday:  Pieces of Her - Mystery Review
Thursday:  Summer by the Tides - Fiction Review
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  Spring Favorites

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Cloaked in Malice - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Cloaked in Malice (A Vintage Magic Mystery #5) by Annette Blair

Rating:  Good
Source:  Purchased

Description:  There’s nothing Maddie loves more than fabulous vintage clothes, but the visions she gets while touching them are starting to wear her down. Even so, when a beautifully dressed girl comes to Vintage Magic in search of her past, Maddie isn’t about to turn her away, especially since she bears a striking resemblance to her good friend Dolly Sweet.

When Maddie touches Paisley Skye’s exquisitely crafted child’s cloak, the vision she receives is of the ugliest sort: a decades-old case of kidnapping and murder. To give herself more time to investigate, Maddie enlists the help of her FBI Agent boyfriend Nick and takes Paisley into her own home. But when Dolly suddenly skips town, Maddie realizes that uncovering the folds of Paisley’s past will reveal more than one vintage crime…

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed this series and I love books about vintage clothes

My Impression:  Is this the most realistic book I've ever read?  Nope - not even close.  Was it enjoyable?  Thoroughly! My only complaint was that we didn't spend nearly enough time in the shop  with all the gorgeous vintage clothes and Dante the ghost.  I loved figuring out just who Paisley was and what she was hiding and how she was connected to Paisley's friend Dolly.  I love a missing persons case and this was kind of like a missing persons case in reverse.  In this case we had the person but didn't know who she was.  And of course Maddie's ability to read clothes is giving us some very ominous clues.  So what was unrealistic?  There's Maddie's psychic abilities to get visions from old clothes of course but that's not really what I'm talking about here.  The main issue was that Paisley just didn't quite ring true.  For someone who had been isolated on an island with 2 people for her entire memory she's very comfortable around people and quick to pick up mannerisms.  As well the plot unravels in a bit of a crazy over the top way with conspiracies galore.  I'd been reading a lot of psychological suspense before I picked this one up so this lighter over the top cozy full of old clothes and a few ghosts was exactly what I wanted.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes.  I have book 6 and am looking forward to it but I think it's the last of the series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies with a paranormal element - and love one about a vintage clothes - than this is a fun read.  You can jump in here but the relationship stuff (very small part of the book) would probably make more sense if you started at the beginning.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Fives - The Five Most Recent Goodreads Giveaways I've Entered

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  I go through phases with the giveaways on Goodreads.  Sometimes I'm entering like it's my job and other times I go for months without even thinking about it.  I'm in an entering kind of mood and here are the most recent 5 that grabbed my attention.

1.  Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris - I was surprised to see this because it's been out for a bit.  Maybe it's about to release in paperback?  I wanted to read it when it first came out and nothing I've read about it has changed my mind.

2.  Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors Behind the Legend by Sam Staggs - I know nothing about this one other than who Zsa Zsa and Eva are but it sounded like it could be interesting.

3.  One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski - I feel like I've seen a review or two for this one that was good but I don't remember more than that.  The cover caught my eye and there's a mystery involving a 30 year old disappearance which I can never resist. 

4.  The Christmas Keeper by Jenn McKinlay - I love McKinlay's mysteries and enjoyed the one romance by her that I read.  This is the 2nd in a new romance series and it involves a bookstore so how could I pass that up?

5.  Ice Cold Heart by P.J. Tracy - I can't really explain this one other than I've heard of PJ Tracy and own a couple of books in this series which I've never read any of them. 

Do you enter Goodreads giveaways?