Monday, November 20, 2017

Book Review: Little Broken Things



About the Book:

An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

My Comments:

I love Nicole Baart's writing.  I love her word choice, the pictures she paints with her writing, the way her writing sounds when read aloud.   Reading what she writes is an absolute joy, and she is one of only a few authors who get that type of accolade from me.  Most of the time, the words are a medium, a way to get the story across--nothing more or less.  I don't notice them unless the writing is, in my opinion, extraordinarily good like Baart's or extraordinarily bad (like many of the free/cheap ebooks on Amazon). 

Unfortunately, as has been the case with some of her other books, I don't like the ending of this story.  It just didn't seem realistic.  Too many things had to happen just the way they did for everyone to get the happily ever after that they got.

One of the characters is a woman in her 50's, and while perhaps our social classes are different, and that accounts for the different lifestyle, I found the things she did and the life she led to be more typical of women in my mother's generation than of women in mine (I'm in my mid-50's). 

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Featured Book: Amazing Gracie

Amazing Gracie by [Woods, Sherryl]


About the Book:

When Gracie MacDougal returns to Seagull Point, Virginia, seeking to reform her workaholic ways, she discovers more than relaxation. The picturesque town calls to her, as does the waterfront Victorian house she envisions as the perfect bed-and-breakfast. But one person stands between Gracie and her new goal…and he isn’t budging. 

Southern charmer Kevin Daniels isn’t interested in selling Gracie’s dream house, but he’s definitely interested in something else…her. Enticing the uptight businesswoman into letting down her hair becomes his new mission in life, but beyond that? He already has way too many people depending on him, and has no intention of adding one more. 

Gracie’s not looking for a home. Kevin’s not looking for a wife. But sometimes even the best intentions can wind up going wonderfully awry.

Previously published by Harlequin Mira in 2010.

My Comments:

As noted above, this is a re-issue.  I read it a few years ago and here is what I had to say about it:  

While perusing the bargain rack at my local used paperback store Amazing Gracie caught my eye.  It is a sweet romance about Gracie, a hotel executive and workaholic who quits her job because she has a different vision for the luxury hotel than does her new boss.  She goes to a small town in Virginia, a place she had vacationed with her family once, as a child.  She realizes that she has no one who is important to her--no family, no close friends.  

While there she falls in love with an old-fashioned Victorian house, which she decides to turn into a bed-and-breakfast.  The only problem is that the property manager, Kevin, won't tell her who owns it (he does) but they start spending time together.  Guess what happens?  

The book has subplots about Kevin's cousins and Gracie's ex-boss but I can't say there was ever any real tension in the book or any doubt about the ending.  I really liked Kevin's aunt, who used to own the house.  All in all, I'd characterize the writing style as somewhere between fair and good and the book as a happy fluffy read.  Grade:  B-

I'm publishing a new post on this book because it is available on NetGalley.  As I got into the book I realized I had already read it.  

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Review: Bella Flora Christmas



About the Book:

The ladies of Ten Beach Road are home for the holidays in this brand-new novella.

Although their lives have changed since their first desperate renovation of Bella Flora, friends Madeline, Avery, and Nicole have always been there for each other. Now they're returning to Bella Flora for Christmas—where Maddie’s daughter Kyra isn’t feeling particularly celebratory. 
 
Kyra was hoping for a peaceful holiday at Bella Flora—a last gathering before a wealthy, mystery tenant moves into the home she’s been forced to rent out. Instead, she must make a life altering decision by New Year’s -- a decision that becomes even more difficult when unexpected guests arrive at Ten Beach Road on Christmas Eve. Now Kyra, Maddie, Avery and Nikki will need to pull together to secure Bella Flora’s future, as well as their own.

My Comments:

I'm guessing that this book would be a lot more fun if I had read the other books in the series.  As it was, to me, there were far too many characters doing far too little and nothing ever quite grabbed me. 

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  C

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Review: Right Where We Belong


Right Where We Belong

About the Book:

Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her "perfect" life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children home to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of the farmhouse where she was born. It needs a little TLC, but she's eager to take control of something. 

Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn't until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse. 

Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it's hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.

My Comments:

I work as a criminal defense paralegal and one thing that most people don't think about when considering the criminal justice system is the family of the accused (or guilty).  Whether the accused is convicted or not, whether he (or she) committed the crime, the family pays a price, whether it is simply the cost of attorney fees or whether it is the loss of the loved ones presence or community censure because of the crime.

Savanna had not been thrilled with her marriage but she did her best to hold things together, for the sake of the kids.  While she initially wanted to believe the police had arrested the wrong man, the more she learned and the more she thought, the more she realized it was doubtful they had.  

They lived in a small town and she was finding herself and her children to be outcasts, even though her husband had not yet been tried, so she took the children and moved to some property she inherited in another state.  This is the story of her trying to rebuild her life and the life of her children. 

For the most part, I liked the story.  However, I found the climax scene to be very unrealistic.  

The thread that ties this story to others is a home/school for unwanted children, which is where Gavin grew up.  The story contains brief mentions of characters from prior books, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade B. 

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