Monday, October 31, 2016

All the Best People, by Sonja Yoerg

Berkley Books, ISBN 9780399583490, May 2017

Carole LaPorte has had an up-and-down life. A happy childhood underwent a dramatic change when she was ten, and her sister Janine was born. For reasons that make no sense to her at the time, suddenly her mother, Solange, tries to take the baby to her own mother, Carole's grandmother, Rosemarie Bouchard. Her father, Osborn Gifford, arrives with police in support. Carole finds herself holding her baby sister, while her mother is hurried off to a hospital for an illness Carole doesn't understand.

As an adult, she meets Walt LaPorte, falls in love, and embarks on a warm, loving, supportive marriage, eventually having three children, Warren, Lester, and Alison. As good as this marriage is, Carole now lives with the knowledge that her mother's illness is mental illness. She's the only one in the family who regularly visits Solange. She doesn't share the secrets she knows of what of what led up to her mother's confinement at Underhill.

Friday, October 28, 2016

You're the One (Bistro La Bohème 0.5), by Alix Nichols

Sayn Press, August 2016 (original publication June 2014)

Natalie and Fred are living the life in Paris--or at least Fred is. Natalie is sadly grateful to have such a handsome man in her life, even though he has no interest in marriage, real estate, or starting a family. But Natalie knows she has to be grateful for such a handsome man, even with the fact that his work hours have lately expanded so much.

Her friend Marie suggests to her that maybe Fred doesn't take enough interest in her, but Natalie is not receptive. Marie knows better than to give unwanted advice, and backs off.

And then she discovers accidentally that Fred isn't really working late. He's meeting Jeanne, a waitress at the local bistro, La Bohème, and giving her all the attention he used to give Natalie.

But she also meets someone else at La Bohème, chess Grand Master Adrien, a friendly nerd happy in the bulky sweaters his mother made for him. He's not looking a Jeanne. He's looking at Natalie.

It's a nice, warm, little story about people finding what they really want. You're the One is a pleasant afternoon read.

I received a free electronic copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Set the Night On Fire, by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Allium Press, December 2010,

Forty years ago, idealistic young Americans wanted to end the Vietnam War, make a more just society, change the world. Forty years later, a secret involving one group of those once-young people is causing a string of murders.

Dar Gantner, Alix Kerr, Julie Bergman, Casey Hilliard, Teddy Markham, and Payton meet accidentally in Chicago the summer of the 1968 Democratic convention. They're all to varying degrees involved in the protests, and in the aftermath they become housemates and friends, becoming both closer and more divided as their political and personal interests develop and change. It culminates two years later, with the bombing of a downtown Chicago department store that three of them are involved in. Alix, though not involved, is killed. Dar Gantner is the only one arrested and charged.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Christmas Joy, by Nancy Naigle

St. Martin's Press, ISBN 97812501060700, October 2016

Joy Holbrook has fled the small town where her mother died, staying in contact with her Aunt Ruby but living a life totally divorced from Crystal Falls. She's a market researcher with a growing career in Washington, D.C. The promotion of her dreams seems to be within reach--and she gets a phone call telling her Ruby has fallen and broken her ankle. On a Friday afternoon not long before Christmas, she's on her way to Crystal Falls with the hope and expectation that Ruby will be set back in her own home by Monday.

It's not going to happen.

The break is serious, and it quickly becomes clear that Joy will be taking leave until the end of the year.

And taking care of Ruby's home and animals during her recuperation is no simple matter. Two goats, a donkey, chickens, a rabbit whose mate has died, and a 4H cow that a 4H member named Tommy feeds and cares for.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Best Kind of Love (A Reunion Romance Novella), by Rebecca Talley

DuBon Publishing, November 2014

Brynn Sawyer heads home to Seaspray CA from Houston TX to her ten-year high school reunion. She has very mixed feelings about going, but her best friend Kari will be there, too, and they're looking forward to the weekend together. Maybe their other best friend, Craig Dawon, will be there also.

What worries Brynn is wondering whether Troy Richards, her forever unrequited crush in high school, will be there, too. She's not sure whether it will be worse if he is, or if he isn't.

Soon she's discovering how much some have changed, how little others have changed--and that while Troy is as deliciously attractive as ever, she still can't avoid spilling things on him.

Yet her reactions to him--and to Craig--are not the same. Something's different.

What's changed?

It's a warm little romance novella, that will add a nice touch to your day.


I received a free electronic copy of this novella from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 17, 2016

It Must Be Christmas:Three Holiday Stories,by Jennifer Crusie, Donna Alward, & Mandy Baxter

St. Martin's Press, ISBN 9781250106377, October 2016

This is a collection of three Christmas stories, two of which I found delightful.

Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie has Trudy hunting down the year's hot Christmas toy for her nephew. His father promised him that Santa would get it for him, and then "forgot" when he took off with the nanny. Now Trudy is spending her Christmas eve tracking down the sold-out toy, while her sister is at home making gingerbread cookies and convincing little Leroy that Santa really will bring his toy.

When she finds the toy, she also stumbles into the arms of not one but two secret agents. Which one is the good guy? Is either? And will either one let her get this toy with the unexpected secret home to her nephew? It's a fun story, with a warm, funny, happy ending.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Folly Cove, by Holly Robinson

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9781101991534, October 2016

Anne Bradford has come home to Folly Cove in Massachusetts, with her baby Lucy, after the abrupt end of her relationship with Lucy's father. Colin, it turned out, wasn't in the process of getting a divorce from his wife. Barbara and Colin show up at the restaurant where she cooks to drop the baby on her and let her know that Colin's going home again. Her boss is shocked that she was "that kind of girl" (so was she), and going home to Folly Cove seemed the only short-term option.

Her mother Sarah Bradford, concerned about maintaining the tone at the Folly Cove in, which has been their sole support since Neil Bradford left them behind. Her oldest sister Laura still believes her husband Jake's version of an encounter one night, when in fact it was Jake who came to her room and behaved, well, inappropriately. The fact that Lucy's father was married only confirms her poor opinion of Anne's behavior.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Most Extraordinary Pursuit, by Juliana Gray

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780425277072, October 2016

Emmeline Truelove is in the unusual position, for an Edwardian woman, of being the Duke of Olympia's personal secretary. She's held the post for six years, since the death of her father, who previously held it. The Duke of Olympia is newly dead, his heir is somewhere in the Mediterranean, and the alternative to great-nephew Maximilian Haywood is his younger brother, a dissolute spendthrift.

Haywood has to be found.

The Dowager Duchess asks Miss Truelove to make a trip to Greece to find the heir. She's sending the Marquess of Silverton with her, on the grounds that this seemingly frivolous young man has skills she'll need.

Reluctantly, and over the objections of what seems to be Queen Victoria's ghost, she agrees.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Queen's Accomplice (A Maggie Hope Mystery), by Susan Elia MacNeal

Random House Publishing, ISBN 9780804178723, October 2016

Maggie Hope is back in London after her trip to the US, and while waiting for her half sister Elise Hess to be smuggled out of Germany, she's working at the SOE office. It's tame office work, but she's very good, of course, at reading not just the text of coded messages but the "fist" of the sender.

And she's seeing trouble in the messages of a woman agent, Erica Calvert. Yet her superiors at SOE are certain she's imagining things.

While she's worrying over that, young women start turning up dead in London. Not just any young women; they're new SOE agents. And not just dead, but recreations of the killings of Jack the Ripper. When a friend of hers, Brynn Parry, goes missing, Maggie is drawn in to the investigation of what the newspapers are now calling "The Blackout Beast."