Lilac Lane

Lilac Lane (Chesapeake Shores #14)Lilac Lane by Sherryl Woods

At the heart of Lilac Lane is Keira Malone, who raised her three children alone after her first marriage broke apart, and who, after years of guarding her heart, finally finds love again. But that love is short-lived when her fiancé suffers a fatal heart attack. Grieving and unsure of what’s next, Keira agrees to move from Dublin to Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, to spend time with her daughter, Moira, and her new granddaughter, Kate, as well as to help her son-in-law, Luke, with his Irish pub, O’Briens

Not wanting to live underfoot, she rents a charming cottage on Lilac Lane, replete with views of the ocean and her neighbor’s thriving garden—not to mention views of the neighbor himself. The neighbor is none other than Bryan Laramie, the brusque and moody chef at the pub, with whom Keira is constantly butting heads. But things get real when Bryan’s long-lost daughter, whom he hasn’t seen since she was a baby, shows up out of the blue. As Bryan and Keira each delve into their pasts, reopening wounds, the rest of the town is gearing up for the Fall Festival Irish Stew cook-off, and making no bones about whose side they’re on. It’s Kitchen Wars meets This is Your Life—a recipe for disaster…or a new take on love?

You won’t want to miss this epic return to Chesapeake Shores, a place we’re betting you’ll want to stay forever.–goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you want to fall in love with the characters and setting in a book and be treated to an escape without having to leave the comfort of your favourite chair, this is the book to do it.

I loved the characters right away and found myself engrossed in this story before I was even finished with the first chapter. Keira is the kind of character that will make you nod your head in agreement as you relate to what she’s going through. I loved learning more about her and her family.

One of the things that impressed me about this book was how full of important characters it was. Everyone had a purpose and everyone was lovable in their own way. The story of Bryan captured my heart and kept me excited to see what was going to happen next. This novel is also filled with delicious sounding food–I dare you to read it and not walk away hungry for some Irish Stew and soda bread.

This book made me laugh and cry in all the right places. If you are looking for a romance with some substance and a lot of reasons to read it, may I recommend this one. Lilac Lane is a wonderfully rich, atmospheric novel you are sure to enjoy. I know I did.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Hello Again (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #2)Hello Again by Brenda Novak

From NYT bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.
Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world’s worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?
When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except…Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . .–goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is shaping up to be a very interesting series with a complex plot that keeps getting more dangerous and compelling. I liked Evelyn Talbot in the first book, but in this one she gets even better. The author offers us a chance to get to know her main character much better, recounting the events in her past and showing us glimpses of what could be in store for her future.

Brenda Novak handled the murders in this book with grace. They aren’t overly graphic or disgusting, but she gives just enough to terrify you and make you want to double check the locks on your doors at night. I liked the way she depicted the strain on the relationship between Evelyn and her boyfriend, caused by the stresses of the jobs they hold and other, outside factors.

You can tell that a lot of research into criminology went into this book and I found the entire thing interesting and well-written. This book has a tight plot and makes you want to keep turning pages. The ending was unexpected and left me wanting another in the series as soon as possible.

This is the kind of book that will not fade from your memory and will keep you checking to see when the next novel is out. Definitely recommended for those who like suspense thrillers.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. Al opinions are my own.

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The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

The SurrogateThe Surrogate by Louise Jensen

‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book will keep you up at night.

I found myself lost in the pages of this book right away, literally within the first few pages. I loved the writing style as it made me feel close to the story and like I was experiencing everything the characters experienced.

From the beginning I felt bad for the main character, wanting her to make her dream of becoming a mother a reality, but not knowing what the future held. All the struggles she and her husband faced made me empathetic to her situation and feel like she was someone I could trust–until later in the story when I wasn’t sure who to believe.

I love stories where you aren’t sure if the main character is really experiencing something out of the ordinary or if they are simply losing their grip on reality. This was a very well written and compelling book with the perfect amount of suspense to keep me right at the edge of my seat. If you enjoy books where the past comes calling, this is one that you won’t want to miss out on.

I really liked the way the author ended this book–with as many questions as there were answers. I definitely recommend this book as being one of the best of 2017.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Sugar Pine Trail

Sugar Pine Trail (Haven Point, #7)Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne

An unlikely attraction brings comfort, joy and unforgettable romance this holiday season!

Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she’s been living. She’s made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn’t one of them. Julia’s looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker’s latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia’s care for the holidays, she’ll take any help she can get—even Jamie’s.

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that’s much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can’t last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever… goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book from the first couple of pages on. Julia is a great character, especially if you are a rather introverted sort that likes your romance heroines to be a normal person that could be any one of us.

Jamie is a sweet and charming hero with a lot going for him but isn’t just good looks and loads of cash. The author made sure he had a background worthy of reading about and that he came to the table with his own bundle of insecurities. This book made me laugh on more than one occasion but also made me tear up a few times. Reading this long into the evening was a great experience that took me out of everyday life and allowed me to focus on something else.

If you are worried about reading this book if you haven’t read the rest of the series, don’t be. It still makes perfect sense even if you haven’t read all the other books. I’ve missed a couple but it wasn’t a problem.

This is a sweet and yet sexy, fun book to read any time of year. I loved the cats and the two little boys at the heart of the story and recommend it to all romance readers. Perfect.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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The Plague Diaries by Ronlyn Domingue

The Plague Diaries (Keeper of Tales Trilogy, #3)The Plague Diaries by Ronlyn Domingue

The astounding, epic conclusion to the Keeper of Tales Trilogy brings together the cryptic prophecy in The Mapmaker’s War and the troubling mysteries in The Chronicle of Secret Riven—leading to an unforgettable reckoning between lies and truth.

We are all born made of gold.

Secret Riven—the mystically gifted heroine who now represses her uncanny telepathic power—works for the mysterious magnate Fewmany as an archivist in his private library. There, she stumbles upon the arcane manuscript that had vanished following her mother’s untimely death. She suspects the manuscript contains a profound secret, and she is yet unaware of its link to a thousand-year-old war and her own family’s legacy.

The tasks before her are clear: Secret must finally learn what Fewmany wants from her as well as the meaning of a strange symbol she’s dreamed of since childhood. At last, she must confront the questions haunting her and depart on a quest to find the truth about herself, her dead mother, and her fate—to unleash a Plague of Silences meant to destroy, and transform, the world as all have known it.

A dazzling, genre-bending masterwork, The Plague Diaries illuminates the power of our choices, the scars they leave, and the wounds they heal.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever get to the end of a really great series and desperately want to read the last book, but not want to at the same time because you don’t want it to end? That was me with this book. I knew it would be great, and it was even better than I thought, but I feared turning that last page because I knew once I did I would feel a bit lost. Now what am I going to read that will be this good?

In this final book of the series, a lot of things have happened that will make the reader want to find out more. There’s magic and mystery, events from the past that surface and change the outcome of the future and at the center of it all is Secret, a perfect name for a character that must deal with just that–many secrets. I loved the genre boundaries that this book pushed. It is the kind of story that will make you think, make you question what you know about the world of the characters and their lives and even your own.

The writing is clear and concise, the best words chosen to help the reader see the surroundings through the character’s eyes at all times. There are lines in this novel that are so flawlessly beautiful that you want to print them and tack them up on the wall and that, to me, is the sign of a very talented writer. I loved the descriptions of the library, the grounds and the overall atmosphere of this book. I was able to get lost in it and forget that anything else existed. if you enjoy books where you are never quite sure what is going to happen to the characters you have come to care about, this book will be a great addition to your collection.

I was pleased with the ending, finding myself satisfied (if a little misty-eyed) with the way the author chose to conclude her series. Loose ends were tied up nicely and I walked away happy to have had the opportunity to read this final book and hoping for more from Ronlyn Domingue in the near future.

This is a wonderfully imaginative series and “The Plague Diaries,” is the perfect conclusion. You would be remiss not to read this book. Recommended to everyone that wants a good, strong story to get your mind’s cogs turning.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

**One of my favourite books of the year thus far. Creepy and spine-chilling and totally worth the read.

The Doll HouseThe Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?–Goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You shouldn’t read this book unless you want to give up everything else in your life until you are finished with it. It really is that good.

From the beginning, you are aware that there is something strange going on with Corinne and her sister, Ashley, but you don’t know quite what. As the story progresses, you glimpse the past and things begin to make sense, but only just. This story is told from different points of view, but instead of making it confusing for the reader, I thought it added to the overall atmosphere and feeling that not everything is what it seems.

I liked the way the author used a red herring or two in order to throw the reader off the trail. I figured out who was responsible before the halfway mark of the book, but it didn’t matter because in the end it didn’t go the way I expected it to. Knowing who did what was only half the excitement.

All of the unimportant things in life–you know–like eating, sleeping and bathroom breaks were shoved to the side while I read this compelling book. I could not stop turning the pages. Yep. I loved it. I suspect you will, too.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The girl who came back

The Girl Who Came BackThe Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

Thirteen years ago Olivia Adams went missing. Now she’s back… or is she?

When five-year-old Olivia Adams disappeared from her back garden, the small community of Stoneridge was thrown into turmoil. How could a child vanish in the middle of a cosy English village?

Thirteen years on and Olivia is back. Her mother is convinced it’s her but not everyone is sure. If this is the missing girl, then where has she been – and what happened to her on that sunny afternoon?

If she’s an imposter, then who would be bold enough to try to fool a child’s own mother – and why?

Then there are those who would rather Olivia stayed missing. The past is the past and some secrets must remain buried.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book. Even from the very beginning you know there is something interesting going on but throughout most of it, you’ll be hard put to figure out exactly what it is. The characters were intriguing and I liked the fact that the author kept the dark and mysterious ambiance going throughout the novel all the way to the end.

The main character was exciting because I wasn’t sure if she could be trusted or not and if she was who she said she was. I liked the way the author intertwined more than one story together and made me question whether or not the two different stories would tie neatly together in the end.

This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night thinking about the story even after you have closed the book. The descriptions were good and the ending was surprising. I thought I had it all figured out, but it was a little different than I expected. Overall, I thought this was a great book and would recommend it to others that enjoy mystery and suspense.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Tangled Moon by Olivia Stocum

Tangled MoonTangled Moon by Olivia Stocum

She could feel her blood pulsing through her veins. Her heightened senses had turned inward and all she knew was this moment and what he was doing to her. She held him tightly, wishing she could pull him inside of her. Pull her inside of him. Something. Someplace where the unrelenting tug and pull between them could finally end…

Danielle Howard likes her life, as strange as it is. For her, this is as good as it gets. Who needs things like family, a home, and romance, anyway?
She spends her days as a mortal woman, and her nights as a wolf, killing vampires for a living. What could be better than that?

Well, maybe there is one thing missing…

Danielle thought one day she and her hunting partner, Lothar, would be more than friends. But some things just can’t be. Lothar is next in line for the High Council seat, and that means he is way out of her league. She’s talked herself into doing her job, with or without his love. He’s still her alpha, and that has its own appeal.

Nick Shepard knew there was more to life. He’d just never been able to find it. When the sexy Danielle comes into his life, everything changes.
All he’s ever wanted is to know who he is, and why he’s different.
Being unprepared for the truth, isn’t going to stop him from embracing it. Whether Danielle is a part of his future or not, he’s not sure, but he knows one thing…

He is never going back.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of books out there with werewolf and vampire characters, but few of them hold my interest. This one did. I liked the way the author handled the story, making sure this was not just another repeat of other books that have come before it.

Lothar, Nick and Danielle are all really interesting characters and the strained relationship between them gives this series a solid foundation to work from. As is the norm with this author’s books, you know from the beginning that you are in for some serious surprises and she doesn’t let you down. There is plenty of action in this novel to keep you whipping through pages, but she also gives you the emotional aspects of her characters and their relationships to one another. Even the side characters come off as important and integral to the overall plot.

There is enough steam in this novel to keep the romance readers happy, but not so much that it is intolerable for those of us that don’t want to read a book with a million pointless love scenes. The descriptions of the scenery and the shifting in this book are fantastic. I could feel the atmosphere from the first page, perfectly appropriate to the plot.

If you are looking for something paranormal but different, this will satisfy the craving. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes next.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Education of a Coroner

The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating DeathThe Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death by John Bateson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are tired of TV shows getting it all wrong and sugar coating what a real coroner does, read this book and you will come to a new understanding of how it all works. Ken Holmes built his career in Marin County and has been through it all. This collection of his experiences is not only interesting, difficult to read at times, perhaps, but also makes you think about the realities of the world we live in.

From inner office politics to the actual hands on job of dealing with bodies and investigating, the author leaves nothing out of this gritty book. I found that once I began reading this, it was impossible to put down. The pages flew by until I reached the end. In some ways, it’s hard to believe that these cases could be real, but they do say that truth is stranger than fiction. The level of human depravity and violence that Ken encountered day to day would break most people. You have to respect him for what he’s seen during his career.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic book filled with interesting details that will likely make most people stop and think, perhaps even appreciate the lives we lives each day. This is eye opening and terrifying, well-written and thought provoking. Definitely worth the time to read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Why do you read?

books and flowers

As an author, I am always curious about what motivates people to read. I’ve done posts before about how people choose books, about covers and colors and what you seek in a blurb, but this post poses a simpler question with perhaps an opportunity for more complex answers.

Why do you read?

Sometimes I read to learn, sometimes to go on an adventure in a far away place I will probably never get to in real life. Occasionally, I read because it is such a part of me. Whereas some people enjoy movies, music or the theatre, favourite sports or socialising with others, I like books. I love the feel of them, the scent of them, the way they make you feel like someone understands when no one else does.

Sometimes I read to improve my craft. There are so many reasons. I also love the feeling of finding a new book–you know the rush of wondering what is inside the cover and if it will be as good as it sounds. The excitement of a new book can be better than…

My heart flutters and I dance from foot to foot until I can get the book home and see what it has to offer. I might be a little obsessed.

So what about you? What makes you return to the pages of a book? Why do you read?