Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Second Chance Hero by Jeannie Moon

On the same day military nurse Kim Torres lost her fiance in Afghanistan, she also learned that he had been cheating on her. Now back to Long Island, Kim has withdrawn herself from family and friends, unable to destroy everyone’s image of Tom as their decorated hero. In fact, she has left nursing all together and is now nannying for Reliance executive Harper Poole.

When Kim’s car breaks down, Harper sends her friend and boss, Owen Kent, to give her a lift. Owen was Tom’s commanding officer and is also just back from his recent tour. He knew Kim from that day in the hospital when she collapsed from grief and he was the one there to catch her. She must not have memories of him from the traumatic day, but he hasn’t stopped thinking about her since.

There is no question that Owen is hot, smart and charming, but Kim doesn’t feel like she can trust another man after Tom’s betrayal. Owen is not easy to stay away from and just when their lust is about to cross into love territory, a secret from their time at war rears it’s ugly head and might shatter any chance these two who were destined for each other might have.

Hitting on a timely topic, Moon’s (The Wedding Secret) accomplished latest contains just the right amount of sugar and spice. The plot has plenty of grit and the romance is sexy without being salacious. This is a bona fide winner with broad appeal.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 4, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech

For generations, the Lenore women have kept the secret of the unique flower and the intoxicating powerful perfume it creates – alluring enough to ensure the wearer unlimited success.  As long as it’s used correctly.

Lucia Lenore, hiding from a failed marriage and lackluster acting career, returns home to Quartz Hollow, a small town set in the quiet beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Instead of peace, she finds chaos – her mother, Willow, facing a client threatening to expose their secret while her sister Mya (eager to takeover Lenore Incorporated and wary of her sister’s return) insisting she can fix the situation by breaking the family’s cardinal rule – changing the perfume’s formula.

Since I really enjoy Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen, I had high hopes for The Season of the Dragonflies.  The “magical realism” elements of the book drew me in – swarms of blue dragonflies, an intriguingly alive flower, and a perfume with the power to affect fate.  I had hoped for a bit more “practical magic,” but those elements were more lightly hinted as the story went on. 

The real story is relationships between the Lenore women.  Though not always sympathetic (particularly Mya), the unique personalities and family dynamic added interesting layers to the book.  If anything, my only complaint was that the three story lines did not get the kind of in-depth development I was craving, with everything tied up very neatly at the end.  All in all, still a good read and interesting debut novel.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Fiction 11/25/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Symbiont by Mira Grant
The Barefoot Queen by Ildefonso Falcones
Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline
Hope to Die by James Patterson

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

Lucy Dane just finished her junior year of high school in the Ozarks. She got a job at her Uncle Crete's store. So far the summer is going well. And it doesn't hurt that Daniel, the boy she is crushing on, works there too. Her uncle assigns Daniel to clean out a trailer on his property and Lucy finagles her way into helping. As they are cleaning, Lucy finds a necklace that belongs to her friend Cheri. Except Cheri was murdered and this is the first real clue.

Lucy doesn't know what to do with this evidence. It also brings up questions about her own mom, Lila, who disappeared when Lucy was a baby. Lucy finally confides in Daniel and her best friend Bess. Daniel is all for helping her and together they try and get answers. But there are people in this small community who don't want the truth to be revealed.

I don't want to tell to much because it will spoil the book! I really enjoyed trying to figure out what happened to Cheri and Lila. Each chapter was told from a different character's point of view, which made for an interesting read. I can't wait to read her next book!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

In 1922, before her face was an icon of the silent film era silver screen, Louise Brooks was 15 years old and straining to break out of her predictable Midwestern life.  Offered the opportunity to study at the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York for the summer, Louise leaves Wichita accompanied by a chaperone, the course of her life starting to take shape.

Thirty-six year old Cora Carlisle, a virtual stranger to Louise, is seeking something too.  As an orphan in New York City, she was sent on a train to Kansas in the hopes of finding adoptive parents.  Though quietly content with her life and family, she hopes to find answers to her past in the city.

I found this story to be an interesting blend of fictional biography and period piece.  The story is told from Cora’s point of view as she struggles to manage not only Louise’s headstrong personality, but also her own opinions in a world at a crossroads.  Definitely a good read for fans of the 1920’s and historical fiction in general.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Fiction 11/18/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark
The Job by Janet Evanovich
The Escape by David Baldacci
The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin

This Christmas is a big year for Ivy Cottage Bed & Breakfast owner Miranda Hamilton, who will be overseeing the annual holiday cotillion, which is the pride and joy of the Bloom Bitches, a group of stodgy women who have high expectations of the new chair.

Much to her chagrin, Magnolia Bay’s mayor has assigned Logan Mauldin, the sexy bachelor who she has known since childhood, as her co-chair. Pammy Anderson, who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants, suggests the committee host a bachelor auction as a way to raise money for the event’s charity. Spending time together as co-chairs, Logan hopes to win over Miranda both professionally and romantically, but she is firm in her notion that they aren't compatible.

But despite her misgivings and to drive up donations, Miranda enters in a bidding war for Logan. Everything seems to be falling in place for her favorite holiday, but Logan has a secret that when revealed, may drive Miranda away permanently.

Boykin’s (Sweet Home Carolina) predictable novella attempts to manufacture drama out of a minor incident that makes Miranda appear histrionic. The romance is slightly sexier than her previous works but is still relatively mild and will only attract readers who want a holiday story without any grit.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 19, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

For Judd Foxman, life lately has been a series of one body blow after another.  His wife Jen has left him for his boss.  His father has passed away.  Jen is pregnant.  And now Judd’s mother has informed him of his father’s dying wish: that the family sit shivah, spending seven days after the funeral together, living under the same roof for the first time in years.  As days go by, with old grudges surfacing and more than enough tension to go around, Judd tries to deal with (and avoid) the life he’s lost and the family he’s lost touch with.

As hilarious as it is raw, Thisis Where I Leave You is a near perfect combination of humor, dysfunction, emotion, and love.  The Foxman’s are richly idiosyncratic, both loving and infuriating in a way only families can be.  At times hysterically funny (I laughed out loud more than once), cringe-worthy, and even a little bit hopeful, this book was excellent – I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining and emotional read (so long as you don’t mind a little graphic humor now and again).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Fiction 11/11/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston
Revival by Stephen King
Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell
Fear City by F. Paul Wilson
The Laws of Murder by Charles Finch

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Sophie Diehl is a criminal lawyer in a New England firm. She is asked to step in and help in a divorce case, which she has no experience. She is just supposed to do the initial interview with the client, Maria "Mia" Durkheim. Mia's dad is a big client for the firm and they will bend over backwards for her. It then comes as a shock when Mia requests Sophie to stay on as her lawyer. Sophie warns her that this is her first divorce case and maybe she wants another lawyer from the firm. But Mia is adamant about having Sophie.

Mia was served divorce papers by her husband of 17 years at a popular restaurant while having lunch. Mia is furious and will do anything to destroy him. She also wants custody of their daughter, Jane. It is up to Sophie to handle it and her own personal life, which includes dating and her dysfunctional family.

This book is told through emails, legal papers, handwritten letters, memos and articles. I really enjoyed this book and the characters. You find yourself rooting for Mia and feeling for Sophie. This is one to read by this debut author.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Redeployment by Phil Klay

Emotional but not overly sentimental, this timely debut short story collection from Klay, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served as a Public Affairs Officer in Iraq, touches upon the issues most paramount to our current war: PTSD, suicide rates attempts among vets, children in the crossfires, war crimes, the Islam religion and more.

Here is a sampling of what readers can expect from this heartrending collection: In “Redeployment” a veteran returns to the dog who has aged significantly during his tour of duty, so instead of taking him to the veterinarian to be euthanized, he takes the responsibility in his own hands to show his dog a kindness in death. A Mortuary Affairs marine, who collects human remains returns home to the only stability he remembers, his former girlfriend, who has grown distant, is chronicled in “Bodies.”

“Money as Weapons System” tells the story of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) foreign service officer who attempts to rebuild a failed water system, but violence, the enemy and a mattress salesman with a political agenda who insists that baseball uniforms will change culture and change war all stand in the way, making the pursuit futile. “Prayer in the Furnace” offers the perspective of a military chaplain dealing with helping those who have hinted at war crimes and the emotional aftermath of killing civilians.

A PsyOps vet at Amherst College offends a girl on campus who is a recently converted Muslim, but the two share their stories in hopes of a coming to an understanding. They both learn about being treated as they are are seen and the unfortunate result of perception becoming reality in “Psychological Operations.”

A 2014 National Book Award finalist, Redeployment is at turns grim and harrowing, but also shares a singular message that offers a small sense of hope in the bedlam that is war: we are united as a family, as brothers in combat and as a country. We are never alone. This book is highly recommended to vets, civilians, and those with loved ones in the military, as it provides the truth of the unspoken events suffered in the fight for freedom.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Fiction 11/04/2014

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Christmas on Chestnut Street by Nancy Thayer
1636:  The Viennese Waltz by Eric Flint
The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell
A Christmas Prayer by Kimberla Lawson Roby
The Future Falls by Tanya Huff
The Chocolate Clown Corpse by Joanna Carl
Proxima by Stephen Baxter
All Is Bright by Thomas Kinkade
The Siege by Arturo Perez-Reverte
A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie by Rita Mae Brown
A New York Christmas by Anne Perry
Lowball by George R.R. Martin

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Fireman who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard

Melissa McGuire has been tricked by her grandma. She was supposed to meet her for lunch but it turned out to be a Fireman Bachelor auction! Melissa is mortified but even more so when her grandma bids on one of the firemen. Grandma Nelly wins the bid. But of course it is all a part of her master plan.

Fire Captain Harry Brody is part of the San Gabriel fire department, which is known for being a bachelor fire house. In fact, some say that fire house is cursed. The guys agree to do the Bachelor auction to stop the rumors of the curse. Brody never expects an older woman to bid on him and win. And he won't hear the end of it from his fellow firemen.

When Brody shows up for his "date", Nelly is conveniently sick and suggests Melissa go in her place. Melissa reluctantly agrees and ends up having a good time. But the end of the date doesn't end well and Melissa is convinced they should not see each other again. Brody has different feelings and gets Melissa to go out again. But as they continuing dating many obstacles are thrown their way and they need to decide if dating each other is worth the hassle.

I really enjoyed this light romance. It is the first book in the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series. I will be reading the rest of the series and hoping they are as good.