Thursday, August 16, 2018

Don't Look Now/ Max Manning/ 310 pgs

This looked like a promising police procedural--serial killer strikes in London, posting pictures of his victims on social media and taunting the police. The first few chapters were interesting. The author has a spare writing style and short chapters that keep the pace going. Unfortunately after those first few chapters, the plot becomes very predictable. The police arrest the wrong person to much fanfare because that one superior officer insists it be done even though they haven't checked all the details. The investigating officer is suspended but strikes out on his own investigation. The killer targets the investigating officer. And the identity of the killer is very obvious. I wanted to like this one but found myself skimming the last half.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Believe Me/ JP Delaney/ 334 pgs

This is by the author of The Girl Before, which I thought was an excellent suspense novel. In my opinion, Believe Me isn't quite as good, but it is still fascinating. Claire is an actress but she's struggling because she's British and doesn't have a green card. To make ends meet she works on the side for a law firm, helping their investigator trap unfaithful men for their suspicious wives. Claire is very good at what she does but soon becomes embroiled in an unsolved crime involving one of those cases. This is a book where you aren't really sure who's telling the truth. I can't quite put my finger on why but the story lost my attention in the second half. The ending seemed to come out of nowhere and was not as satisfying as I would have wished. As a warning, this book deals with some dark, troubling issues.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

My Sweet Folly/ Laura Kinsale/ 407 pgs

This book dates from 1997 and in some ways that shows (hero did something extremely questionable to his first wife) and yet Kinsale clearly knows how to write fascinating characters and smart dialogue. Robert and Folie (whom he calls Folly) first meet through letters when he is stationed in India and she is in England, married to a much older husband. These letters are probably the best thing about the book. The two of them are clearly falling in love over the years that they write but obviously such a relationship is not going to work. Eventually Robert breaks things off and we skip ahead five years. Folly's husband has died. Robert is now back from India, has inherited an estate from his father, and is the guardian of Folly's husband's daughter (from his first marriage). Robert summons Folly and his ward, Melinda, to his estate but it's clear to her from the beginning that something is not right with him. He's rude and almost demented. The story takes off from there and the plot gets a little wild and convoluted. This story has some flaws but I'm now curious to read some of Kinsale's other, more notable books, such as Flowers from the Storm.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Thing About Love/ Julie James/ 365 pgs

This is a contemporary romance with characters who work at the FBI but I would hesitate to call it romantic suspense because I was expecting a bit more suspense and it just wasn't there. I still liked the book, though. It starts slowly with background on both characters. Jessica just moved to the Chicago office after divorcing her Hollywood husband. John just discovered his girlfriend was sleeping with his friend and he's ready to move across the country to Quantico to take a different path in his career. They went through training together five years earlier and did not hit it off. Jessica thought John disparaged her physical abilities (he thought he was motivating her) and John thought she disparaged his intellectual abilities (she was trying to be distant so as not to spark any nasty rumors). Now, they are assigned to work an undercover job together. I liked both of these characters, especially how they were willing to clear the air about their earlier miscommunications and misconceptions about each other. The undercover job they are working on is very tame. I kept waiting for something explosive to happen, but it really never does. Still, the characters are fun and the author has clearly done her research on the FBI.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Passion Favors the Bold/ Theresa Romain/ 294 pgs

This is the second book in the Royal Rewards series but it stands on its own very well. Hugo is a duke's son, not the heir, who studied medicine because his twin brother died when they were teens. He's uptight and intent on building a hospital to honor his brother. Georgette is essentially alone in the world. Her parents, who rarely paid her or her brother any attention have passed away. Her much older brother was injured in the war but is now on a quest to find some gold coins stolen from the Royal Mint. Georgette decides to strike out on her own, locate her brother, and help him find the treasure. Except that Hugo, a friend of her brother's, will not let her travel alone. Reluctantly, the two embark on a road trip to find Georgette's brother and the treasure. Romain writes truly likable characters and witty dialogue that I love. This one is highly recommended.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sugar, Butter, Flour / Jenna Hunterson / 160 pages

Sugar, Butter, Flour: The Waitress Pie Book is a pie cookbook based on the recent hit musical with music by Sara Bareilles. Jenna Hunterson is the main character of the story, not the actual author of these recipes. Moment of truth: I didn't bake any of these pies yet. But I did read through the whole book, and it's pretty fun. Be aware that the cookbook is based on the pies from the musical, not the movie. There were a few recipes from the movie I was really hoping to see and didn't--that's not a bad thing, just telling you so you're aware. There were a couple of people who complained about thinking Jenna was a real person, which is silly. The title page has the real author's name as the author of the recipes; not having it on the cover is common for book or movie-based cookbooks. I'm excited to try a few of them and may tweak my review when I do. Suffice it to say, this is a good pie book primarily consisting of classics with a twist. This is a solid choice for people who enjoyed the musical, as well as those who just like trying new and fairly simple pie recipes!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Someone Like You/ Lauren Layne/ 252 pgs

This is another in Layne's Oxford series, which is set at a men's magazine in New York City. This one is about Lincoln, the charming lover of women who has a secret angsty side, and Daisy, a divorced southerner also harboring a secret. As always the characters are likable and the romance fun, though the story here has a bit of a darker side. Also as always, there is something just a little off with the story that keeps me from absolutely loving it, but as usual it's still a fun, quick read.