• Book Reviews

    Just Jones: Feature & Book Review

    Just Jones by Andy Andrews

    Publish Date: September 8th, 2020

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson

    Pages: 272

    Genre: Literature & Fiction, Magical Realism, Ethics & Philosophy

    Book #3 of The Noticer Series

    From New York Times bestselling author Andy Andrews comes the return of one of our favorite characters: Jones, the Noticer. Jones’ wise stories have comforted and guided millions of readers. In JustJonesnavigate the hope that the impossible can come true.

    Synopsis:

    At 3:29 a.m. on May 22, a telephone rings in Orange Beach, Alabama. Breaking the sleepy silence inside the bedroom of New York Times bestselling author Andy Andrews, a hastily whispered message heralds the news that Andy has been waiting on for seven years: Jones is back in town. Apparently, however, he is also in jail.

    The old man is tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding his brief incarceration. After arriving to bail him out, Andy is shocked to discover that his trusted friend has already opened an unusual business in one of the resort town’s most high-profile shopping districts. Jones’s Five & Dime seems to always have exactly what visitors are looking for, even as their fate steadily becomes entwined with Jones’s.

    As the town moves from spring to summer, a practical joker is becoming bolder and more inventive with every prank that is pulled. Could Jones be behind some of it? Why? And what will happen if he is? What’s the truth about that four-hundred-pound table in his Five & Dime? What compels certain people to gather around it every morning? And why does it look as if every person Jones meets has a secret they will reveal only to him?

    With rare insight, Andy and Jones take us on a journey that proves the importance of perspective, the power of connection, and the ability we all have to make the impossible come true.

    Just Jones is lightning in a bottle–pure genius on paper. If you can imagine a hilarious mystery filled with useful wisdom that is fresh and new, you’ve just conjured up this book. Andy Andrews is our generation’s Mark Twain. Just Jones is the latest proof.’ –Dave Ramsey, national bestselling author

    Just Jones is a rare accomplishment–a mystery that is at times touching but often so funny that I laughed out loud. When one wraps an awesome story around wisdom with the power to change lives . . . well, how many great books can you name like that? Just Jones is a masterpiece.’ –Michael Hyatt, New York Times bestselling author

    Review:

    Andy Andrews is a longtime favorite author of mine. His writing is full of warmth & wisdom with a dash of wit. Just Jones continues in that same tradition.

    It is the third book of The Noticer series but Andrews does a fantastic job of looping the reader into the story and this can certainly be as a stand-alone.

    The characters are endearing, flaws and all, and the hint of mystery gave these characters an extra layer of depth.

    I am a huge fan of magical realism and having that element included made the book for me. That genre is not always to write and Andrews does a masterful job in this space.

    Without giving too much away, you will laugh, question your own perspective, consider the value of community, and read excellent, well-written book that will stick with you long after you’ve finished it.

    Even if this is your first book, you will quickly see why Andy Andrews is a favorite writer of mine. It’s available now at your favorite local bookseller.

    Purchase Links

    Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Thomas Nelson

    Connect with Andy

    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

    Thank you to TLC Book Tours, Thomas Nelson, and Andy Andrews for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

     

  • ARC's,  Book Reviews

    Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey: blog tour & review

     Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey

    Paperback: 336 Pages

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson  (May 26, 2020)

    Genre: Historical fiction/romance
    Summary:

    In this new Regency romance, Elizabeth knows she must protect her heart from the charm of her new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life.

    When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission.

    Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.

    Determined to keep her son’s true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family’s ruin.

    Purchase Links:

    Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

    Rating:

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Review:

    I went into this book with expectation of historical fiction with a dash of romance and quickly found myself falling down the rabbit hole of the sub-genre of Regency romance.

    I had not read much from this time period but was captivated by the history of the Napoleonic Wars. If you are looking for historical fiction from another time period, here is one to try. I was not disappointed.

    Because I am a bit of a romance novice, the marriage of convenience trope was a stretch at first. But as the story developed, the well written characters came to life, and with the two protagonists having so much at stake it quickly became believable.

    I found it especially easy to connect with Elizabeth as she sought to create a new and stable life for her son while protecting herself and him after even her own family turned her away.

    There were several twists that I won’t get into to avoid spoiling the story but I will say that with every turn, I grew more invested in the history, the characters, and the danger they were in.

    At a few points towards the end of the book, there were a few turns that felt like a reach and that is my only reason for knocking this down to a 4 star read. But overall, this book was a fantastic escape.

    I am so glad I gave this book a chance. The only time I could put it down was to research something about the time period which only left me more impressed. The author’s historical knowledge combined with her sharp writing made for a great reading experience. One of my reading goals for 2020 was to try new genres and this will certainly not be my last Regency romance or book by Abigail Wilson – who happens to be a fellow Texan and graduate of my alma mater. What a small world!

    Thank you to TLC Book Tours, Thomas Nelson, and NetGalley for a physical copy as well as an eBook in exchange for my honest review and promotion.

    About Abigail Wilson

    Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A registered nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the national parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.

    Connect with Abigail

    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

  • Book Reviews,  Recommendations

    Before She Knew Him: blog tour & review

    About Before She Knew Him

    • Paperback: 320 pages
    • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 25, 2020)

    Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door

    From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .

    Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

    But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

    Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

    The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . .

    Review

    Can you reread a thriller and love it just as much the second time? When it comes to a book by Peter Swanson, absolutely.

    I originally read this book last year and if I remember correctly, I tore through it in a few sittings. That’s always a good sign!

    Unreliable narrators are my favorite when done well and Swanson is a master at leaving a tiny doubt in the mind of the reader about each character. Hen was my favorite character because she struck a balance of endearing and barely believable because of her obsession with the case and her past.

    This book had me guessing from the beginning the first time around and while I did guess the big twist, I wasn’t disappointed but instead impressed with myself because Swanson always writes a great twist… or two. Reading it a second time gave me the opportunity to pick up on some subtleties I missed the first time and I appreciated the writing even more.

    I originally went into this book a bit concerned about the portrayal of mental illness but it is handled well. If you are sensitive to this, it’s something to be aware of but I wouldn’t let it discourage you from reading this book.

    Peter Swanson is one of my absolute favorites when it comes to thrillers – and I’m picky. If you haven’t read this one, add it to your TBR list soon!

    Thanks to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow Books for this gifted copy in exchanged for my unbiased review.

    Purchase Links

    HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

    Photo by Jim Ferguson

    About Peter Swanson

    Peter Swanson is the author of five novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year; and his most recent, Before She Knew Him. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science FictionThe Atlantic MonthlyMeasureThe GuardianThe Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. He lives outside of Boston, where he is at work on his next novel.

    Find out more about Peter on his website and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

  • Book Reviews

    Last Day: Blog Tour

    Today is my stop on the Last Day blog tour! Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

    SYNOPSIS: From celebrated New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice comes a riveting story of a seaside community shaken by a violent crime and a tragic loss.

    Years ago, Beth Lathrop and her sister Kate suffered what they thought would be the worst tragedy of their lives the night both the famous painting Moonlight and their mother were taken. The detective assigned to the case, Conor Reid, swore to protect the sisters from then on.

    Beth moved on, throwing herself fully into the art world, running the family gallery, and raising a beautiful daughter with her husband Pete. Kate, instead, retreated into herself and took to the skies as a pilot, always on the run. When Beth is found strangled in her home, and Moonlight goes missing again, Detective Reid can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.

    Reid immediately suspects Beth’s husband, whose affair is a poorly kept secret. He has an airtight alibi—but he also has a motive, and the evidence seems to point to him. Kate and Reid, along with the sisters’ closest childhood friends, struggle to make sense of Beth’s death, but they only find more questions: Who else would have wanted Beth dead? What’s the significance of Moonlight?

    Twenty years ago, Reid vowed to protect Beth and Kate—and he’s failed. Now solving the case is turning into an obsession . . .

    My thoughts:

    The opening of this book was captivating. It began on Beth Lathrop’s last day. While the rest of the people in her life were starting a new day, she was already dead. Beth was also six months pregnant which added yet another layer of complexity to an already tragic situation when she was found by her sister, Kate.

    My mind instantly went to – it’s always the husband – but this family, they are not strangers to tragedy and it became obvious that more was amiss when the painting stolen during the first crime years before, had once again gone missing.

    This book was a page-turner as it moved between two tragic plot lines. I really liked that the author used the same detective; it made the story more cohesive for me. And while the easy out would have been the husband, Beth had her own secrets that she kept from her sister which kept me second guessing everything.

    I enjoyed the writing and character development. And even though the story was a devastating one, the author kept the plot moving without getting stuck in the tragedies of the characters’ lives – had this not been the case, I probably would have struggled more with violence and loss of life.

    I didn’t guess the ending, which I actually prefer with a plot like this one. This was my first book by Luanne Rice and will definitely not be my last. This was a compelling book which will make the reader reflect on family relationships, the bonds of siblings, and secrets kept.

    Purchase Links:

    Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

    About The Author:

    Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of 34 novels, which have been translated into 24 languages. The author of Last Day, Dream Country, Beach Girls, Pretend She’s Here and others, Rice often writes about love, family, nature, and the sea. She received the 2014 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award for excellence and lifetime achievement in the Literary Arts category.

    Several of Rice’s novels have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love for TNT, Blue Moon for CBS, Follow the Stars Home and Silver Bells for the Hallmark Hall of Fame, and Beach Girls for Lifetime. Rice’s four cats are her muses, and she speaks their language. She lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

     

     

     

  • Book Reviews

    Meet Me On Love Lane: a review

    From the USA TODAY bestselling author of On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a romantic comedy about a woman who grudgingly returns home to small-town Pennsylvania, only to find herself falling in love—not only with the town, but with two of its citizens.

    Synopsis:

    Charlotte Bishop is out of options in New York City. Fired, broke, and blacklisted by her former boss, she’s forced to return to her hometown of Hope Lake, PA to lick her wounds. Although she’s expecting to find a miserable place with nothing to do, she is pleasantly surprised to discover it is bustling and thriving.

    She’s only supposed to be in Hope Lake temporarily until she can earn enough money to move back to New York. She’s not supposed to reconnect with her childhood friends or her beloved grandmother. She’s not supposed to find her dream job running the local florist shop. And she’s definitely not supposed to fall for not one but two of Hope Lake’s golden boys: one the beloved high school English teacher, the other the charming town doctor.

    With a heart torn between two men and two cities, what’s a girl to do?

    A perfect blend of humor and heart, Meet Me on Love Lane is the second in a new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci that is sure to charm fans of Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.

    Review:

    This was such a fun evening of reading! I’m a sucker for small town romances – probably because I didn’t grow up in a small town but did go to the same private school K-12. That basically meant that your school mates were more like siblings instead of dates.

    I read the first book of this series, On The Corner of Love and Hate, and was so excited to start this second book. I am admittedly not a big series reader and I believe one of the reasons is because there seems to be at least one book that drags while setting up the next part of the story.

    That was not the case here and Meet Me On Love Lane could easily be read as either a stand alone novel or as a well done sequel. Kudos to the author here because keeping a story moving through multiple books isn’t always easy to do.

    Henry, one of my favorites from the first book, was back and as the high school English teacher. There was something so endearing about him and I really enjoyed getting to know him better in this book – as did Charlotte who had significant memory issues as a result of leaving home during the tumultuous and traumatic time of her parent’s divorce.

    The book flirts with a love triangle which is my least favorite romance trope. Fortunately it was brief and actually helped to move the plot along as Charlotte began to reconnect with her family and friends.

    I absolutely loved her grandmother, Gigi. She was the sassy and fun grandma we all wish we had if we did not have that growing up. Gigi added the perfect amount of humor to the book along with a few of the other characters.

    For me, this book was light on the romance and more about a woman finding herself after leaving one life behind as a child and then leaving another life behind to find herself as an adult. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book and I’m definitely looking forward to more books by this author.

    If you would like to enter to win a copy of this book, head over to my Instagram to enter!

    Thank you to TLC Book Tours, Gallery Books, and Nina Bocci for a free copy of this book in exchange for my promotion and review of this book.

    Connect with Nina

    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

    Purchase Links

    Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

%d bloggers like this: