BEFORE AND AGAIN by BARBARA DELINSKY

Before and Again

Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends―and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made―though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself―or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.

Very few people can pull every emotion you have out of you in one afternoon. My heart ached for Maggie and the enormous amount of guilt she is living with. Still a few months shy of her probation being over, she has a decision to make. Will she protect her self and her own heart or will she stand by her friend?

This town of Devon that Maggie has claimed as her own safe space is full of characters hiding from something. And when her ex-husband shows up she is sure one of them must leave. She has built a protective shell around her heart and he is determined to break through.

With twists and turns around every corner I couldn’t stop reading. I’m glad I read this.

Very Well Done!

Netgalley/ June 26th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

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THE LOST LOVE LETTERS OF HENRI FOURNIER by Rosalind Brackenbury

The Lost Love Letters of Henri Fournier

What do you do when you’ve lost the love of your life?

Seb Fowler has arrived in Paris to research his literary idol, Henri Fournier. It begins with an interview granted by a woman whose affair with the celebrated writer trails back to World War I. The enchanting Pauline is fragile, but her memories are alive—those of an illicit passion, of the chances she took and never regretted, and of the twists of fate that defined her unforgettable love story.

Through Pauline’s love letters, her secrets, and a lost Fournier manuscript, Seb will come to learn so much more—about Pauline, Henri, and himself. For Seb, every moment of Pauline’s past proves to be more inspiring than he could have imagined. She’s given him the courage to grab hold of whatever life offers, to cherish each risk, and to pursue love in his life.

Intimately epic, The Lost Love Letters of Henri Fournier spans generations to explore every beautiful mystery of falling in love, being in love, and losing a love—and, most important, daring to love again and discovering just how resilient the human heart can be.

Spanning time from 1910 to 2013, this tale of forbidden love, war and the taboos of the time.

Little did Sebastian know that first interview with Pauline in 1975, would send him on a journey, to write his book, to fall in love and then lose her before going back to where it began. Only this time Pauline is long gone and what is left are Henri’s family.

And more lost letters and another unpublished story. And within a few weeks he is planning on selling his own home and living with the last of the family.

This is the story of a very young man, having an affair with a very married woman as well as being an actress of some fame. Henri’ is young and impressionable and full of energy and writes a beautiful book before war comes calling and Henri will not be returning.

The problem for me was the love letters. Really there wasn’t a lot told about exactly what was in them. Every thought each character had been written down and it slowed the pace significantly enough that I got bored and didn’t really care about any of them. They were all rather superficial and hard to care about. Even though they did exist. Pauline and Henri. And his body was found and returned home. The unpublished work never published but the originals were by their descendants.

I would not read it again.

NetGalley/ Lake Union Publishing June 12, 2018

BABY TEETH by ZOJE STAGE

Baby Teeth

“Now that she knew the name of the game – Scare Mommy – she should be able to defend herself. But goosebumps rose on her skin, even under the heat of the water, when she thought about her creepy daughter. The whites of her eyes. Her ability to sneak up on her as she slept.”

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

You know that horribly creepy feeling you get when you wake up and one of your children is right there staring at you? Yes, that one. That is how Suzette feels every second of every day.

Hanna doesn’t speak. She can speak. But she won’t speak. Until she decides to, but only as a dead french witch and only to her mother and the things she says would have me dropping her off at the nearest mental hospital.

Books with children as the evil ones scare the living daylights out of me. Remember Children of the Corn?  Well this is one that will have you sleeping with one eye open!

Job well done!

NetGalley/July 17th 2018 by St Martin’s Press

The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft

The Guilty Wife

If you were being framed for murder, how far would you go to clear your name?

I’m not guilty of murder.

But that doesn’t make me innocent.

When Bethany’s lover is brutally murdered, she has to hide her grief from everyone.

But someone knows her secret. And then one day the threats begin.

With an ever-growing pile of evidence pointing to her as the murderer, the only way she can protect her secrets is to prove her innocence. And that means tracking down a killer.

An incredibly taut, tense game of cat and mouse – with a twist you’ll never see coming.

Another psychological thriller debut. Featuring a supposedly smart woman having an affair with a man who ends up dead. Bethany knows she is innocent but someone is sending her messages and warnings not to go to the police.

My problem with the book was the lack of information about the characters. It felt like we came in to an ongoing story and never quite caught up. I didn’t care about any of them. I figured out the who immediately. It just did not have the depth of a psychological thriller. Or any type of thriller.

Sorry but this one wasn’t my favorite.

Netgalley/Orion

BRING ME BACK by B.A.Paris

Bring Me Back

A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she’s not inside. No one ever sees her again. 

Ten years later he’s engaged to be married; he’s happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She’s turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.

As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?

My first issue with this book is that blurb above. That’s not what happened. They stopped at a rest area to go to the bathroom, had an argument and when he came out of the toilet she was gone and there was only a small Russian nesting doll on the ground.

My first thoughts were this was going to be a kidnapping and probably something much worse. When Finn is allowed to leave France, he is lost. And confused. Where did Layla go? Is she alive or dead? As the years go by he keeps their cottage just in case and moves to a small village near by.

Move forward 10 years or so and he is living with and engaged to Ellen, Layla’s sister. Then odd things begin to happen. Nesting dolls left or mailed to the house. Finn trying to keep them from Ellen and wondering if he is losing his mind or if Layla is really alive and playing with his head.

I kept yelling Danger! at him, but he wasn’t listening and that ending was like, What??? Even though towards the end you kind of wondered if someone here was seriously disturbed, you weren’t sure who it was until the very end.

At first I was going to give this a few stars, but then it just stayed with me for a couple of days and that for me is the sign of a good read!

NetGalley Reviews/ HQ

WIDOW’S WREATH by CYNTHIA RIGGS

Widow's Wreath: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery

A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery

It’s a case of cold feet—and cold-blooded murder—as 92-year-old poet/sleuth Victoria Trumbull gets more than she bargained for after hosting an ill-fated wedding.

A wedding on picturesque Martha’s Vineyard promises to be the affair of the season when Penny Arbuthnot asks her cousin, feisty 92-year-old poet Victoria Trumbull, if she can use her property for the reception. Victoria agrees—but she has no idea what’s in store for the hapless couple.

For one, Penny is seriously in debt and desperate to marry money. She thinks she’s on the road to riches when she hooks Rocco Bufano, whose father is a multi-billionaire. But unbeknownst to Penny, Rocco’s been disowned by dad. He’s also in hock up to his ears, and thinks he’s bagged the catch of a lifetime in a wealthy Vineyard native. He also knows that someone is out to kill him. In fact, several guests have a reason to off Rocco, among them an autistic savant with a prodigious knowledge of murder weapons.

Victoria has assumed the reception will be a modest lemonade-and-gingersnap affair—but when a body is found in her cellar, it may be a happily never after in Widow’s Wreath, the fourteenth engaging installment in Cynthia Riggs’s beloved Martha’s Vineyard mysteries.

This series features one of my favorite characters, Victoria Trumbull. And Victoria has no idea what she has let herself get involved in when she agrees to provide her back garden for her distant cousin’s wedding reception.

When a body appears in her cellar, people start popping out of the woodwork and plopping themselves down at Victoria’s home.

There are numerous people who would love to see the groom dead and buried. First among them, the fiancée’ back home having wedding invitations printed while he is marrying someone else. And none of them have a problem with telling Victoria they plan on killing him. But still, who is the body in the basement?

I am not exactly sure what went on with this one. Definitely not a cozy mystery. And what about Elizabeth? She lives with Victoria, we know. She is in the first chapter and then we don’t hear or see her until many chapters later. The house is overrun with  strangers and cops, but where is she?

This one was quite a bit different from the others in the series. Stiff dialogue, not being sure of who was talking when, I’m just not sure but this one did not resonate with me.

We will check the next one however!

NetGalley/CrookedLane

June 12th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books

This Weeks Pool Reads

The Fifth to Die (A 4MK Thriller) by [Barker, J. D.] In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses: True Stories and Confessions by [Scottoline, Lisa, Serritella, Francesca] In I See Life Through RoséColored Glasses, the bestselling mother/daughter pair is back with another hilarious and heartfelt collection of essays about the possibilities and pitfalls of everyday life.

Believe Me: A Novel by [Delaney, JP]  In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

Grandghost: A haunted house mystery by [Springer, Nancy] A Haunted House Mystery. When she unearths the bones of a young child, Beverly Vernon’s life is transformed in ways she never expected.

I may have jumped the line on my books. As soon as I saw they had dropped The Fifth To Die I stopped everything. From the author of The Fourth Monkey comes the follow-up. And it is so horribly good!!

What is everyone else reading this week? It’s a great day to sit by the pool and read.

xx Patricia