Thursday, August 6, 2020

Review - Louisiana Lucky

A new release this week! A really cute book!

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="Louisiana Lucky" src="" /></a><a href="">Louisiana Lucky</a> by <a href="">Julie Pennell</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
*I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley and Atria for my honest review.*<br /><br /> Hanna, Callie, and Lexi are sisters, live in a small town in Louisiana, and have always struggled financially. Then they hit it big playing the lottery! And it should change their lives in all the right ways, right? Well, everyone knows that some things are too good to be true. Hanna buys her dream house and puts her kids in a prestigious private school and has to deal with the mean moms from the school. Callie starts dating a local newscaster and continues working at a floundering local newspaper. Lexi starts planning her dream wedding - in 5 weeks!<br /><br />The sisters use part of their winnings to take care of their parents and then set about furnishing new lifestyles. The relationship that the 3 sisters have is full of support for each other and even before winning the lottery and it was nice to not see having deep pockets go to anyone's head as far as constantly splurging on frivolities.<br /><br />The banter and dialog between the characters is fun and I felt myself being drawn into the story quite quickly. And even with all 3 sisters being in such different paths in life, I could easily relate and commiserate with each one of them - being short of funds, feeling left out of groups, pining after a man. And I laughed out loud at some of the antics and descriptions!<br /><br />Overall a great, feel good book that I thoroughly enjoyed!
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Monday, July 13, 2020

Little Disasters

Another NetGalley review! This book will be published in about a month.

Little DisastersLittle Disasters by Sarah Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley and Atria for my honest review.*

Liz is a pediatrician on the night shift in the local ER when her estranged friend, Jess, brings in her baby, Betsey. Jess hasn't noticed that Betsey has a severe bump on her head and Jess's story doesn't add up for the injury. Liz's duty is to Betsey and her supervisor requests that she call in protective services to investigate. Liz is also dealing with an alcoholic mother who tells Liz about a baby she lost to SIDS that Liz doesn't recall.

The story unfolds in multiple story lines and from Liz's, Jess's, and several other's points of view. What was going through each of their minds as new information is revealed. The writing was fantastically descriptive and I found myself feeling all of the emotions from Jess and understanding all of Liz's doubts about what she was learning and what she knew about Jess throughout their whole friendship.

I know that some people might not enjoy the split time lines, but they don't bother me at all. When they are done well, I feel like the story unfolds one nibble at a time and it becomes very hard to put the book down. This novel kept jumping back to 10 years ago, 4 years ago, 30+ years ago, and then to the day of the accident and it was always just the right amount unfolding bit by bit to keep me guessing and to make me keep reading late into the night just to find out what really happened!

The only distraction that I found was that the use of the colons and semi colons felt overwhelming. It was a little distracting until I got used to seeing them several times in each chapter. I'm not saying that they were used incorrectly at all, but it was not something that I have seen used so much in fiction. I should add that I mostly listen to audio books and some of my favorite authors use the colon and semi colons frequently but I don't see them while listening. And this will not keep me from reading more from this author.

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Monday, June 29, 2020

Something She's Not Telling Us and The Imperfects

A couple of promising stories with endings that left me deflated.

Something She's Not Telling UsSomething She's Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Charlotte is married to a financially stable gorgeous husband, has a 6 year old daughter that she is very overprotective of, and a flourishing flower business. She also has a complicated relationship with her mother and a brother who makes horrible choices when it comes to dating. In fact, his newest girlfriend, Ruth, has just taken Charlotte's daughter, Daisy, without permission.

The book starts on the day that Ruth takes Daisy and then we go back to when Rocco brought Ruth to meet Charlotte and her family. The rest of the book is a dual POV between Charlotte and Ruth leading up to the day Ruth takes Daisy. And they both have secrets to hide.

I felt like telling the story in 2 POVs was successful, but I really just wanted to smack the characters a few times each. No one in the story was really likable except for Daisy. Charlotte was self important, Ruth was manic and a liar, and Rocco was easily manipulated and only saw what he wanted to. Even Charlotte's husband was clueless and just let things happen without trying to help. And then it just seemed to end without consequences for anyone and that was a bit of a letdown.

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Matriarch Helen has died. Helen's daughter, Deborah, and grandchildren are basically estranged from each other and have to come together to sit Shiva and divide up Helen's possessions. Helen has left her "yellow diamond brooch" to Beck who discovers that it is a long lost 137 carat diamond. Deborah, Beck, Ashley, and Jake then have to investigate Helen's life to determine if she was the rightful owner to the diamond to begin with.

The family dynamics are messy and each of the 4 remaining members have messy lives that they are trying to fix and keep the other family members in the dark about. There are a lot of hurt feelings and fighting between the family members. And a good amount of grudges for past wrongs.

I enjoyed this book until the end. I wish it had ended differently. I ended up caring about most of the characters and felt a little deflated feeling like they didn't get what they deserved. The family was brought together by the diamond and worked together to try and find the history that Helen never shared with them. This was the part that I enjoyed hearing. The dreams of each family member. Feeling betrayed by Helen keeping the secrets and changing certain facts to fit the narrative that she wanted to be known. But also hearing how they got to the place that they were with the grudges and family history.

I realize that in real life, not everything ends up clean and fresh and with everyone getting what they deserve, but I feel like in novels that is what is expected. Although, it also shows that some people never change and that is a bit of a disappointment.

Friday, June 26, 2020

This is How I Lied

Heather Gudenkauf is one of my favorite authors in the last couple of years. I have not read anything by her that I didn't love! This one was fantastic as well.

This Is How I LiedThis Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eve Knox was found in the Ransom Caves in Grotto, Iowa in December 1995. Her murder was never solved. When a new piece of evidence is turned in to the police in 2020, Detective Maggie O'Keefe is put in charge of reinvestigating the cold case. It's only fitting since Maggie was Eve's best friend and found Eve's body and Maggie's father was the police chief in 1995.

This novel is told in dueling time lines and from 3 points of view - Maggie's, Eve's, and Eve's little sister Nola. This method is very effective in this novel to build the suspense of both the murder investigation and the actual murder. It seemed like every time we went back to Eve and 1995, there was a new possible killer.

The way the story unfolds is similar to a slow burn and there are enough twists to keep second guessing how things are going, but not too many to make it seem comical or cliched. I wish that there was a bit more to the very end as it felt a bit flat and rushed to me.

I really enjoy the suspense and build ups in Heather Gudenkauf's books. I have never been disappointed by any of her books that I have read.

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

A Fatal Fiction

This was a great cozy mystery and will be published on June 30.

A Fatal Fiction (Deadly Edits #3)A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley and Kensington Books for my honest review.*

Mikki Lincoln has a verbal altercation with a con man in town who winds up dead that night. Since the altercation was recorded and has gone viral, she is the prime suspect.

A Fatal Fiction is the third book in the Deadly Edits series by Kaitlyn Dunnett. This is the first in the series that I have read and did not feel like I was missing anything by not having read the first 2 in the series. Mikki is an elderly freelance book editor and it's refreshing to have a cozy series with an older main character and her friends. It's possible that a lot of villains would underestimate her abilities or physical capabilities.

I enjoyed this cozy. I felt like it was a good read alone from the series and I didn't feel like I was missing anything in character interactions from not having read the first books. The characters were interesting and the interactions were good. There were plenty of red herrings for the mystery. I think that the thing that I liked the most was that the clues were not rehashed throughout the book as they can sometimes be in cozies. Or if they were, it did not feel like I was being hit on the head with the recounting each time.

I look forward to reading the first two books in the series and recommending the series to my cozy loving friends!

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