Friday, November 16, 2018

Idyll Hands
by Stephanie Gayle

Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Pages: 303
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Charleston, Massachusetts, 1972: Rookie cop Michael Finnegan gets a call from his mother. His youngest sister, Susan, has disappeared, the same sister who ran away two years earlier. Anxious not to waste police resources, Finnegan advises his family to wait and search on their own. But a week turns into two decades, and Susan is never found.

Idyll, Connecticut, 1999: In the woods outside of town, a young woman's corpse is discovered, and Detective Finnegan seems unusually disturbed by the case. When Police Chief Thomas Lynch learns about Finnegan's past, he makes a bargain with his officer: He will allow Finnegan to investigate the body found in the woods--if Finnegan lets the bored Lynch secretly look into the disappearance of his sister.

Both cases reveal old secrets--about the murder, and about the men inside the Idyll Police Station and what they've been hiding from each other their whole careers.

Kritters Thoughts:  The third in the series and as I said yesterday, I believe its best to start at the beginning of this series even though the mysteries are all self contained there are so many characters with true arcs throughout the series that you won't want to miss out on what starts from the beginning.  

In this book there is more than one narrator, one of the detectives, Michael Finnegan helps narrate a few chapters as one of the mysteries is from his past and his family.  His sister went missing 27 years ago and Detective Finnegan has always felt guilty for not be able to help her and his Chief decides to step in and help look for new clues.

This is brought to light as they found a body in their small town that looks like it has been there a long time and they are start trying to figure out what happened to this girl.  

With two missing girl cases in one book, it got confusing as to which missing girl case we were reading about.  I had to take notes with this one.  I didn't love that the cases were so so similar that it was so easy to get them mixed up.  I wish they had just a few unique things with each of them so it was easier to know which was which.  

I liked having a new point of view in this story and getting to know one of the detectives more closely, but it read a little slower for me than the previous two.  

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Promethus Books.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Idyll Fears
by Stephanie Gayle

Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Two weeks before Christmas, Police Chief Thomas Lynch faces a crisis when Cody Forrand, a six-year-old with a life-threatening medical condition, goes missing during a blizzard. Lynch's suspicions about who abducted Cody are met with scorn by his detectives, some of whom can't handle the fact that's he's gay. When half the station calls in sick with flu, Lynch seeks outside help. It arrives in the shape of an FBI agent for whom Lynch feels an immediate attraction. 

To complicate matters, local crime is on the rise and Lynch finds himself the target of prank calls and hate speech that he worries is the work of a colleague. Time is ticking away, Lynch is struggling to discover who is behind Idyll's crime spree, and he's beginning to doubt that Cody will ever be found ...

Kritters Thoughts:  The second in a series and although in each book the mystery to be solved is self contained, there is such great character development from book to book that I think you should start at book one and then proceed to this book.  

The second book is back with Chief Thomas Lynch at the center of the story and his secret is out.  He can now possibly live his truth, but is he ready for it!  There were a few little mysteries along with the big one in this book and I liked that a lot.  The big mystery was entertaining but I think it worked to have some little ones in the mix also.  

So to give some extra thoughts abut this book.  I like my mysteries to stay pure and only have mystery elements in them with the basics of character development.  I don't love sexy times in my romance books generally, so I really don't love them in the middle of the mystery.  I found those moments to be distracting and for me didn't add to the plot of the book.  I skipped over the sexy times in this book and get back to the heart of the story.  

Tomorrow I review the third in the series and I wonder if there is more after this one.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Idyll Threats
by Stephanie Gayle

Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Pages: 290
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Clean-cut Thomas Lynch is police chief of Idyll, Connecticut, where serious crimes can be counted on one hand --until Cecilia North is found murdered on the town's golf course. By chance, Chief Lynch met her mere hours before she was killed. The case should be a slam dunk. But there's a problem. If he tells his detectives about meeting the victim, he'll reveal his greatest secret--he's gay. 

So Lynch works angles of the case on his own. Without the aid of fellow detectives, he is forced to seek help from unlikely allies--a Goth teen and a UFO-obsessed conspiracy theorist. Meanwhile, he must contend with pressure from the mayor to solve the crime before the town's biggest tourist event opens, all the while coping with the suspicions of his men, casual homophobia, and difficult memories of his partner's recent death.

During the investigation, Lynch realizes that small town Idyll isn't safe, especially for a man with secrets that threaten the thing that he loves most--his job.

Kritters Thoughts:  A mystery series which is like many where in each book a mystery is self contained but throughout the series there is plenty of character development.  Thomas Lynch has moved from big city, NYC, to a small town in Connecticut and he is having a bit of a culture shock.  The crime rate is lower so when a young girls body is found dead at the golf course the whole town is turned upside down!

Throughout this book I had to keep reminding myself that the author placed this book in 1997.  There were feelings and things being said that time and time again I had to remind myself that we weren't in the current day and were back a few years in the past.  To possibly spoil a few things, our main character is still mostly in the closet and isn't out and proud.  With the way the characters around him are acting, I don't blame him much!  The homophobia was so off putting and that is why I had to remind myself multiple times that this was 20 years ago.  

The mystery part of the book was so interesting.  I love mysteries set in a small town, all eyes get shifty as to who dun it and all rumors start swirling!  I enjoyed getting to know this small police department and getting to know the characters that I would spend another two books with.  

The book read fast and was perfect for a quick weekend read in the middle of all the end of year crazy that is going on right now.  

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Monday, November 12, 2018

You Were Always Mine
by Nicole Baart

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Jessica Chamberlain, newly separated and living with her two sons in a small Iowa town, can’t believe that a tragedy in another state could have anything to do with her. But when her phone rings one quiet morning, her world is shattered. As she tries to pick up the pieces and make sense of what went wrong, Jess begins to realize that a tragic death is just the beginning. Soon she is caught in a web of lies and half-truths—and she’s horrified to learn that everything leads back to her seven-year-old adopted son, Gabriel.

Years ago, Gabe’s birth mother requested a closed adoption and Jessica was more than happy to comply. But when her house is broken into and she discovers a clue that suggests her estranged husband was in close contact with Gabe’s biological mother, she vows to uncover the truth at any cost. A harrowing story of tenacious love and heartbreaking betrayal, You Were Always Mine is about the wars we wage to keep the ones we love close, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult.

Kritters Thoughts:  A mystery thriller that at the same time as keeping the reader guessing also informed me about an interesting side of adoption in our country.  

Jessica Chamberlain has recently separated from her husband due to an extreme rough patch in their marriage.  In the first few chapters she is informed that he has passed away and things could possibly be a little shady.  She tries to comfort her two sons while at the same time getting a few mysteries solved.

I have to be honest and say that I guessed the culprit a bit early on and was disappointed when I got it right so fast.  There were a few things that stuck out and helped me nab the killer pretty quickly.  It made me sad, but didn't ruin the reading experience because there was more than a mystery in this book.  

The thing that made me love this book so much was what I learned about adoption.  I appreciated reading about a family that had one natural born child and one adopted and watching a mom care and love for both sons.  I loved reading about how she navigated this family and was able to take care of both boys and their individual needs to their age and personalities.  

I am planning on passing this book onto the readers in my life who are more slow to pick up a mystery, but who really enjoy a good family drama.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Only a few moments this week and weekend to read, hopefully more time next week.
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Girl From Berlin by Ronald Balson
You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart
Idyll Threats by Stephanie Gayle

Currently Reading:
Idyll Fears by Stephanie Gayle

Next on the TBR pile:
Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Girl From Berlin
by Ronald H Balson

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam’s only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten…

Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada’s life was full of the rich culture of Berlin’s interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna―though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited.

What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope―the ending of which is yet to be written.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a fantastic book!  With two storylines that connect from the beginning this story seemed like such a unique take on a topic that is the focus of a lot of books - World War II.  

The "present day" storyline is centered around an older woman in Italy who is being forced off her property by a corporation.  She swears that the land is hers and she is connected with Catherine and Liam Taggert who come to the rescue to get to the bottom of the mystery.  The historical storyline starts in 1918 and begins in Berlin with a young girl who is learning the violin from her accomplished father and has big dreams of joining a symphony.  

The historical storyline shows up in the current storyline as a memoir that Catherine and Liam are told hold all of the answers to help Gabi keep this land.  It was so natural as to how the story was introduced and became a part of the current storyline.  

I loved the historical storyline.  Ada Baumgarten's view of the war was so unique and interesting.  She watched her precious city of Berlin slowly get invaded and watched her friends and families lives get completely turned upside down.  In the height of it all, she was lucky to move to Italy, but she also watched the same thing happen there.  It was interesting how she was both safe and in the crossfire of the Nazis.  

If you are hesitant to pick up World War II books or historical fiction in general, I would challenge you that this should be the one for you to pick up and try.  I fell in love with the characters in both storylines and loved how easy they flowed back and forth.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from St Martin's Press.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Season of Wonder
by RaeAnne Thayne

Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  He’s giving her children a season of wonder…

Dani Capelli seized a chance to start over in a small town with her daughters. Now, facing her first Christmas in Haven Point, she wonders if leaving New York was a mistake. Dani loves working alongside veterinarian Dr. Morales, but her two children aren’t adjusting to small-town life. And then there’s Dr. Morales’s son, Ruben—Dani’s next-door neighbor. Gorgeous, muscled and dependable, the deputy sheriff is everything she secretly craves and can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.

Ruben never pictured himself falling for a big-city woman like Dani. But beneath her prickly facade, she’s caring and softhearted and she needs all the love and protection he can give. When Dani’s teenage daughter starts acting out, Ruben draws on family traditions to show the girls just how magical a Haven Point Christmas can be. But can he convince Dani that she’s found a home for the holidays—and forever—in his arms?

Kritters Thoughts:  Another book in the Haven Point series and although each book centers around a different character like a lot of romance series do, I still suggest starting at the beginning of this series and letting the books build on themselves.  

I loved the main characters of this book.  Dani Capelli has moved with her two daughters to this small town to work in a veterinary office with the hopes of inheriting it when Dr. Morales decides to retire.  At the same time Dr. Morales son, Ruben lives next door and may start invading their lives!

As with most romance books, the ending is not a surprise, but the fun of reading the story is finding out how they get there.  Dani and Ruben were fantastic main characters.  I loved that she had a full back story that informed how she was in the present and I loved how Ruben reacted to her past and helped her through it.  

These books are just the right thing to curl up with as you are preparing for the holiday season.  They are low commitment reads, short and sweet with a great storyline!

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Little Bird Publicity.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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