Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Dangerous Collaboration : Book Review

Many thanks to Berkley Publishing for a complimentary copy of A Dangerous Collaboration.

In the fourth book of the Veronica Speedwell series A Dangerous Collaboration, Veronica has recently returned from Madeira and is ready to finally confront her conflicted feelings for Stoker, her colleague and friend. But almost immediately, his brother Lord Templeton-Vane convinces her to pose as his fiancé at a house party hosted by his friend Malcolm Romilly on his family's island. With the promise of a rare butterfly, Veronica jumps at the chance. Besides, she can put off facing Stoker and his brooding silence.

Besides the beautiful and extraordinary butterfly, Veronica is especially delighted to discover that there is a mystery on the island. Veronica loves a mystery.  Malcolm Romilly's bride vanished on their wedding day. Now, he has gathered his closest friends and family with the aim of discovering the truth of his bride's inexplicable disappearance.

Veronica is only too happy to help uncover the truth.

It's not a secret that I enjoy the Veronica Speedwell series. I like Veronica's spunk and feistiness and I adore Stoker and all his pent up emotion. The two make an absolutely captivating pair as they get themselves into dangerous situations and work out the mysteries they manage to get involved in. Deanna Raybourn absolutely delivered all the fun bantering and sexual tension that I've come to expect from their relationship.

The remote island and the family castle setting added a perfect atmosphere and set the stage for a very entertaining story. It was a fast paced novel with plenty of perilous and uncomfortable predicaments for Veronica to get herself into. The twists and turns of the plot kept me guessing. Raybourn really delivered with this one.

If you haven't already, get your hands on this series and enjoy the absolute pleasure of reading them for the first time.

A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn is published by Berkley Books and released on March 12, 2019.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Tomorrow There Will Be Sun : Book Review

Many thanks to the Pamela Dorman Books for the complimentary copy of Tomorrow There Will Be Sun by Dana Reinhardt. After a long winter, I was looking forward to this novel. The cover was drawing me in with it's promise of warm beaches and sunshine.

Jenna has been planning this vacation for months. They are celebrating the 50th birthdays of her husband Peter and his long-time friend and business partner Solly. She researched extensively the location and found the perfect Mexican beach villa for her family and Solly's family. It is beautiful, spacious and comes with an accommodating staff. It will be the perfect week. It better be for the amount they are paying.

Immediately, Jenna is on edge. She wants the holiday to be perfect but she is uncomfortable with Solly and his second wife and mostly how Peter always concedes to Solly. Solly and Ingrid get the master bedroom. Solly picks the entertainment. Solly picks the activities. Solly chooses the restaurants. Solly changes the plans.

I read the entirety of Tomorrow There Will Be Sun waiting for something to happen. You know when someone tells you all the details of their vacation to some beautiful and exotic and warm place while you've spent a long winter indoors hibernating. They want you to commiserate about the three hour delay at the airport and you just can't feel too bad for them. That's pretty much how I felt about Tomorrow There Will Be Sun. Even though Jenna's trip is legitimately worse than a three hour delay, I found her whiny and irritating. The entire book, we're on the edge of something almost happening but then not happening. For some reason I was expecting a thriller or a mystery or something slightly interesting.

Fortunately, Tomorrow There Will Be Sun is a quick read and I didn't waste days.

Tomorrow There Will Be Sun by Dana Reinhardt is published by Pamela Dorman Books and released on March 12, 2019.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Library App

Guys, I got a library card.

This shouldn't be surprising. I'm a book lover. All book lovers have library cards. Right?!

Long story short, I haven't checked out a book from a library in so many years that I can't quite remember the last time. **Cringing**

But I moved to New Hampshire and I happened to move to the town with the first tax-supported "free" public library in the world. It was built in 1833. I mean, how cool is that? And I was even brave and pulled up my introvert boot straps and went to a book club meeting at the library last October. (Through a long series of fortunate and unfortunate events I haven't been back yet, but I will.)

Anyway, I also got a library card and with the library card I got access to the app. My library uses Hoopla. And it has blessed my little world. Because I am addicted to audio books. I listen to them almost constantly during the day while my kiddos are at school. I listen to them while I'm getting ready for my day. I listen to them while I'm driving through the woods on my way to the school or the grocery store. I listen to them while I'm cleaning. I listen to them while I'm folding laundry or even when I'm just laying around.

Hoopla has a fairly good selection of audio books and ebooks. What I love most is that I'm finding books that have been on my TBR list for years and some of the newer releases. And, you know, they're free.

And last week, my mom got a library card too.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing - Book Review

Thanks to the generosity of Putnam Publishing, I've had a copy of Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens sitting on my shelf since last spring. With all the drama of a move across the country, I didn't read it before it released last August. So it sat quietly neglected on my shelf. But I keep hearing about it. Reese Witherspoon chose it for her book club. The online book world was still a buzz about it even six months after its release so last week I finally read it. "It starts slow," they told me. "But then, it's amazing."

Over the years, one by one, young Kya has been abandoned by members of her family until she is alone in the shack. She knows the marsh better than anyone and can outwit the social workers and school officials who come to check on her well being. The people in town call her the Marsh Girl and she survives only on her own smarts and the charity of the black community.

The Marsh Girl is fascinated by her surroundings--she loves and understands the birds, plants and other wildlife. She is also beautiful and a few young men, honorable and not-so-honorable, are drawn to her. When a man is found dead in the marsh, Kya is the only suspect.

Despite what others told me, I actually enjoyed the beginning of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Reading about how Kya used her wits and her swiftness to outfox the town officials and how she struggled to find enough food to eat was fascinating. She was left in a nearly impossible situation and yet she managed to survive and even thrive in her surroundings. Owens is a lyrical writer. Her descriptions of the marshes of North Carolina made the area come alive.

As Kya grew up, the novel focused more on her relationships with the men and then the murder trial. I found it less believable and I didn't care much about the characters. I didn't even really like Kya as an adult. I don't mind not liking characters in books, but I feel like for this particular book to work, the reader needed to be fully engaged and on Kya's side. By the end, I was terribly underwhelmed by the novel. More than anything, Where the Crawdads Sing fell victim to hype. Often, the books that the masses just "love so much", don't impress me to the level that I am expecting (see also anything by Kristin Hannah).

Overall, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a decent novel. Take it to the beach. Read it for book club. See what everyone else is talking about. It didn't knock my socks off.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is published by Putnam Books and released in August 2018.