Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New York, Actually by Sarah Morgan

New York, Actually (From Manhattan with Love, #4)We've met the Knight siblings on the periphery of the other "From Manhattan with Love" books. Harriet and Fliss are dog walkers who have worked with the Urban Genie women. Their brother Daniel, the hero of this book, is Lucas Blade's friend and neighbor. Each of the siblings was scarred in different ways by their parent's explosive marriage. For Daniel, he became a divorce lawyer; a shark specializing in helping to make sure that parents who shouldn't be together don't stay together "for the kids." This is why he gets so upset when the advice of a popular blog has one of his clients (both of whose children are having emotional problems) getting back together with his ex. It's a good thing he has is finally making headway with the gorgeous brunette he sees running in the park. Yes, it involves borrowing a foster dog from his sisters and engaging in some deception but he doesn't have long-term relationships anyway, so what does it matter?
Molly fled England after her personal life imploded on national television and her friends deserted her. She's decided that, because she has never fallen in love, her mother's abandonment has left her unable to love. But as a psychologist, she knows she can help others and does so on her blog. Too bad the hot guy with the gorgeous dog keeps distracting her.
There are some awkward expositional moments so I don't think you'll need to have read the other books in this series to keep up. Other drawbacks of this book are the somewhat fast resolution to the big drama and a bit of a twee ending with Yet Another Thing. I did, however, enjoy the characters, most of the story, and the light touch of adding in previous characters from the series.

Four stars
This book came out May 30
Follows Miracle on 5th Avenue

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

No One but You by Brenda Novak

No One But You by Brenda NovakNovak continues the trend of taking some truly difficult characters, in this case a former prisoner (accused of a double murder) and an abused woman, and having them find themselves and each other.
Dawson Reed just wants to fix up his adoptive parents (the double murder) farm and live his life so that he can win custody of his sister.
Sadie Harris just wants to make enough money to feed and house herself and her son so that she can win custody from her sadistic husband. The husband who seems like a nice guy to everyone else. The guy who is a cop... Oh.
This poor book suffered in  part because I read the beginning of Until you Loved Me at the end of this story, realized I had the ARC and read it right after this. It is such an awesome story with characters I connected with so much more easily than these two. I also got a little overwhelmed with everything that was happening. I don't think that regular Novak readers will be disappointed, I just don't think you should read these two in quick succession.

Three Stars
This book comes out May 30
Follows Finding Our Forever
Followed by Until You Loved Me

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen by Hope Nicholson

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen by Hope NicholsonI was surprised but grateful to get an ARC of this book after it was already on the shelves. Especially when I saw it was advertised in O magazine. And for a good reason. This book is very well-explored but with short engaging sections that start with a brief description of the comic, a lovely quote, and then information about the creators and when the book first appeared. Not just the popular comics, this book touches on some that only ran for a few issues, ones that are... not quite ready for prime time, and some comics that are just plain weird. I was intrigued by a few of the books based on Nicholson's descriptions and added to my TBR.
As easy and fun a nonfiction book as you'll ever find.

Four and a half stars
This book came out May 2

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander, Victoria Alexander

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen by Victoria AlexanderI was quite excited about this book and maybe set my expectations a little bit too high. It is the story of India Prendergast who is trying to find her cousin, Helen. A cousin that was involved with the Lady Travelers group. A group that hasn't been able tell India exactly where Helen is supposed to be. She has decided to infiltrate the group in order to find out exactly what has happened. What she finds instead is Derek Saunders, a man trying to help his aunt, one of the three ladies running the travel agency. He is determined to make sure that the ladies are kept safe, even from their own shenanigans.
For being a book about travel, the first half or so of this book takes awhile to get moving. India is not very likable for a good portion of the book which is hard in a heroine. And while we do get some growth from her, Derek doesn't get to do much growing at all.

Three stars
This book came out May 23
Followed by The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley

Merely a Marriage by Jo BeverleySo bummed that this is the last new Jo Beverly we'll ever get. This book starts off strong with the introduction of the VERY tall Lady Ariana Boxstall. She is terrified that her brother will die before he gets an heir and that will leave she and her mother at the mercy of Ariana's drunkard uncle. She had a rather disastrous season eight years ago and has decided not to marry. Her brother says that if Ariana can get married by Christmas, he will marry in January. Ariana swallows her nerves and heads to London. She is staying at the house of Lady Cawle who has agreed to help her get started. Also at Lady Cawle's house? Her godson who unknowingly contributed to Ariana's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season. Too bad he's a drunkard. And seems to be interested Ariana's dowry because he lost his own fortune. Or so Ariana surmises.
And this is where the story starts to crumble. All of a sudden we get all these extra characters in addition to a story that becomes a little less focused. Ariana is trying to consider other men, but she's in love with Kynaston. Or is she? And then they're in a scandal. But it's okay. Or is it? And what the heck is the Big Drama in Kynaston's background? And how hard is it to read that name?
Not one of my faves, for sure, but the beginning of this book shows the very best of Beverly, in creating characters and a sense of space. I will miss her stories.

Three stars
This book comes out May 30

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

Come Sundown by Nora RobertsBodine Longbow runs the resort side of her family's land, the Bodine Ranch. Her father and brothers run the ranch side while her mother seems to run them all. Bodine's life is interrupted by the return of one of her brother's old friends, Callen Skinner, who had been in Hollywood training stunt horses. It's also interrupted by the body of a dead woman and Bodine and Cal are the ones who discover her.
Bodine's story is intercut with that of her aunt, Alice. It seems Alice was always sort of a rebel. She ran away on the day of Bo's mother's wedding. Alice was on her way back to the Bodine Ranch when she was kidnapped and kept in a basement. We see both the lives of Bo and Alice; as Bo falls in love and as Alice slowly loses herself.
This book reminds me of a classic Nora Roberts and I think most of her faithful readers will really enjoy this book. It was one of the better books I've read set in Montana but it kept reminding me of so many of Nora Roberts' other books. A faithful Roberts reader, this book immediately hit me as a mix of Montana Sky and The Obsession; as soon as the villain was introduced, I knew who it was.I was disappointed that there were so many B-plots that took away from the main story. It seemed a bit patchwork. At least the heroine got to save herself this time.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out May 30

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When to Engage an Earl by Sally MacKenzie

When to Engage an Earl by Sally MacKenzieThe third spinster of Loves Bridge has finally helped her two friends find love and now she gets what she wants most in the world, Spinster House. She moves out of her brother's home and into her own. Too bad she's starting to realize that a home of her own might not be what she really wants.
Alex, Earl of Evans, is also starting to realize that he might want more out of life. His heart was bruised when he was jilted (not quite at the altar but fairly close). It may be that she was just too young. He's discovering that an older woman (twenty-eight) might be the way to go.
This was a nice, gentle story but sort of elliptical. Alex likes Jane, Jane's not sure, 'round and 'round they go, spanning months.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out May 30
Follows How to Manage a Marquess

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde

A Purely Private Matter by Darcie WildeRosalind Thorne is still working. She's helping particular ladies in Society solve some very particular problems. This time it's one doozy of a case that has her sneaking into a gentleman's club at the opening of the book. But then she meets Margaretta Seymore. Margaretta is pregnant. But she's married, so that shouldn't be a problem. Except that her husband is getting notes saying that she's been cheating on him and that the child she's carrying isn't his. He's suing the man for... I can't remember what it's called but it's basically a cash grab. Too bad Margaretta's supposed lover, famous actor Fletcher Cavendish, is found stabbed. Margaretta's husband is the prime suspect. It's up to Rosalind to figure out who the real killer is before Captain Seymore is hanged.
This book was an oddity to me because I actually wished we had gotten to see a furtheration of the series' love triangle. There was so little of it in this book, that means it's just going to be dragged out even further. Other than that, this was not a grand-breaking mystery novel but I think regular Wilde readers will be more than satisfied.

Three and a half stars
This book came out May 2

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Hospitality and Homicide by Lynn Cahoon

Hospitality and Homicide by Lynn CahoonJill Gardner is balancing a lot of responsibilities (as per usual). She's got her bookstore, her classes, the boyfriend that is starting to get serious (is she really ready for this?), an employee leaving, and her regular obligations to her dog and to the town business council. Heaped on that is a mystery author who is in town for a signing and, added bonus, is driving Jill's police chief boyfriend up a wall. So, she's really not ready for the dead body that turns up at one of the local vineyards. Or the fact that her neighbor and local psychic, Esmeralda seems to be falling apart because of a missing boy.
Jill does figure it all out in a story that is fast, fun, and fluffy. Regular readers of the Tourist Trap Mystery series will quite enjoy it.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out May 16
Follows Tea Cups and Carnage                                          

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sticks and Bones by Carolyn Haines

Sticks and Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, # 17)Sarah Booth Delaney and her posse are back. And they're all united at being pissed at Frangelica "Sister" McFee, a local girl who has profited off the death of her brother and mother in a mysterious car accident. She even refers to Tinkie as "Stinky." Really, now. Now a film company is in town, getting ready to turn her story into a movie. But Sister isn't the only McFee whose name is out the world. Her father is making quite a name for himself while he runs for Senate, showing off his young, pregnant wife and denigrating Putin as much as possible.
Sarah and Tinkie are brought into the case when the filmmakers hire them to find out who killed Sister's family. They run into some people who really, really don't want them to find out the truth.
Regular Haines readers will not be disappointed.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out May 16

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ivy Get Your Gun by Cindy Brown

Ivy Get Your Gun by Cindy BrownIvy is still working on figuring out her life. I missed one of the books in the series but I didn't feel like I missed too much of the story.
Still working for her uncle's detective agency but also working as an actress, Ivy is trying out for "Annie Get Your Gun." She is somewhat sidetracked by the appearance of Arnie's son (supposedly). Nathan has borrowed money from Arnie (actually, it was Marge's money) to start a live-action Western town. Add to that, Arnie and Marge's pug, Lassie, has recently run away to run with a pack of feral Chihuahuas.
So, Ivy's working at the town, trying out for a play, searching for Lassie, and trying to figure out how to keep her relationship going when her boyfriend live  an hour away. It's a good book, much in keeping with the first one. A fast, fun, and fluffy read, it's perfect for a summer pick.

Four stars
This book comes out May 16
Followed by The Phantom of Oz

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Love Me Again by Jaci Burton

When the book opens, Loretta Simmons is still trying to figure out her relationship with Deacon Fox (and, seriously, is that not the best romance hero name ever?). Things are still awkward between them after she broke up their grand high school romance because her parents had better things in mind for her. But now Deacon is working on the shop next door to her bookstore so they're seeing each other every day. And Loretta's nine-year-old daughter, Hazel, is super-interested in anything dirty (e.g. construction) and is also somewhat looking out for a father-figure.
Love Me Again by Jaci BurtonDeacon is wary at first but <gasp> is adult enough not to hold a grudge for something that happened over a decade ago. The two start hooking up and then fall deeply in to love.
And that's pretty much the story with a Great Dane who is more of a plot moppet than Hazel is. I was only a little disappointed with Loretta's "resolution" with her parents (but, arguably, it's a work in progress and therefore truer to life). The part with her ex-best friends could have been fleshed out a bit more but I think served to introduce us to Josie and set up her romance with Zach (who I really, really hope ends up owning the fancy cabin they all went to in this book because he made a ton of money from writing romance novels.)

Four stars
This book went on sale May 2
Follows Don't Let Go

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bill & Ted's Most Triumphant Return by Brian Lynch

Bill & Ted's Most Triumphant Return by Brian LynchI loved both Bill and Ted movies when I was growing up so I jumped at the chance to be able to review this. The first story was about the two of them going into the future and trying to stop Chuck de Nomolos from killing them. At first it seems like they succeed in befriending him but then his evil plan comes to light and he takes over their lives. It was a good story totally in keeping with the Bill and Ted oeuvre.
There are several other shorter stories with different types of art that aren't as good as the main story but somewhere enjoyable. Definitely a book worth picking up if you're a Bill and Ted fan!

Three and a half stars
This book came out May 2

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda QuickThe book opens with the murder of Anna Harris' boss. It seems her boss had an extremely valuable notebook. One that she left for Anna. So Anna quickly heads out the door and quietly disappears to California, becoming newspaper reporter Irene.
Too bad she gets tangled up in another murder. Well, it actually seems to be a series of drownings. She finds an informant dead in the pool of a very exclusive pool, a pool that Irene herself has to swim across in order to get away from the murderer. So now there are two murders and we're barely three chapters into the book.
Overall, this was a fun book, very much a throwback to some of the early Krentz works that I adore. If you're a regular Krentz reader, I think you'll figure out the "twist" in the story. The pacing was a bit uneven with the beginning and ending being WAY fast while the middle was long and slower (not slow, just slow-er). I got an ARC so there were also a few anachronisms but hopefully those will be weeded out before the final book.
I really hope that we will see Ogden's secretary Raina Kirk getting together with Luther Pell, somewhat shady club proprietor, in a future book.

Three and a half stars (honestly, will probably be four once it's better edited but I can only judge what I read)
This book comes out May 9

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Perfect Manhattan Murder by Tracy Kiely

Nic and Nigel, the gender-swapped, modern day Thin Man couple, are back for another fast-paced, quip-exchanging mystery. This was VERY loosely based on "Another Thin Man" but don't think that if you know the movie, you'll be on an inside track to figure out the murderer. This book is very fairly clued though and you should probably be able to figure it out.
Nic and Nigel are back in New York City to watch her friend Penny's new play. They are also seeing a third friend, Harper who is married to, Dan, the play critic for Vanity Fair. Nic and Nigel aren't excited about a dinner with Dan and Harper since the man is an egotistical bore. Harper just had their baby six months ago but Dan couldn't care less. He's even rented a "weekend apartment" so that he can work without having to listen to the baby cry.
When Dan turns up dead in the apartment, Harper is the most obvious suspect, though far from the only. He angered a lot of people with his reviews; he was working on a book that was going to be an expose of sorts and threatened to reveal a lot of people's secrets. And it's possible he was having an affair.
If you liked the first book, you'll certainly like this book. If you like books that are fast, fun, and fluffy with rapid-fire dialogue a la The Thin Man (sometimes quoted directly from the movie), you'll like this book. I don't think having seen the movies is a must, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

Four stars
This book comes out May 8
Follows Killer Cocktail