Tag: book tour

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman, by Julietta Henderson

Image belongs to Harlequin/MIRA.

TitleThe Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
AuthorJulietta Henderson
Genre:  YA
Rating:  5 out of 5

Twelve-year-old Norman Foreman and his best friend, Jax, are a legendary comedic duo in waiting, with a plan to take their act all the way to the Edinburgh Fringe. But when Jax dies, Norman decides the only fitting tribute is to perform at the festival himself. The problem is, Norman’s not the funny one. Jax was.

There’s also another, far more colossal objective on Norman’s new plan that his single mom, Sadie, wasn’t ready for: he wants to find the father he’s never known. Determined to put a smile back on her boy’s face, Sadie resolves to face up to her own messy past, get Norman to the Fringe and help track down a man whose identity is a mystery, even to her.

I’ll be honest, initially, Sadie’s voice almost made me put this down. She just sounded so defeated. I am SO glad I didn’t! This ended up being a fantastic read! Norman is an awesome kid. I have no idea how he has such a positive attitude, considering everything, but he’s so uplifting and inspiring!

And, actually, Sadie is defeated when the book starts out. By life. By all the tragedy and hardship she’s experienced, by her own regrets, by her fears for Norman, and her grief. This story is as much her journey as Norman’s, and it ended up being such an enthralling story, with both laughter and tears, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Julietta Henderson is a full-time writer. The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)

Blog Tour: Hurricane Summer, by Asha Bromfield

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

TitleHurricane Summer
Author:  Asha Bromfield
Genre:  YA
Rating:  DNF

Tilla has spent her entire life trying to make her father love her. But every six months, he leaves their family and returns to his true home: the island of Jamaica.

When Tilla’s mother tells her she’ll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.

In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise—all in the midst of an impending hurricane.

Hurricane Summer is a powerful coming of age story that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic—and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.

I normally don’t review books I DNF, but in this case I will, because I want to explain:  I was really looking forward to reading this, and I made it to 30% before giving up. Excellent writing and characterization, but the patois that made up the majority of the dialogue slowed me down too much and I lost interest in the story. I’ve read other books that handled this differently without a problem, but, if you need to put a dictionary at the front of your novel, this could be an issue for some readers. And, frankly, Tilla telling me how much she like Jamaica and how great everything was meant nothing when the novel itself was showing me the opposite.

Asha Bromfield is an actress, singer, and writer. Hurricane Summer is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Bookstore on the Beach, by Brenda Novak

Image belongs to Harlequin/Mira.

Title:   The Bookstore on the Beach
AuthorBrenda Novak
Genre:  Women’s fiction
Rating:  3.5 out of 5

How do you start a new chapter when you haven’t closed the book on the last one?

Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers—she still has no idea where he went or why. After being happily married for twenty years, she can’t imagine moving forward without him, but for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.

Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort by working alongside her mother and aunt at their quaint bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a life change neither of them saw coming and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into Quinn Vanderbilt—the boy who stole her heart in high school—old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.

I think there was a little too much going on here to give any one thing the benefit of full development:  the missing husband, the new love interest, the mystery of Autumn’s father, what’s going on with her mother, the multiple issues with her daughter…In the end, it just came across as rather crowded and chaotic, and I couldn’t enjoy any one thing fully. Solid writing, and I loved the setting, but this ended up being just a so-so read for me.

Brenda Novak is a bestselling author. Bookstore on the Beach is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Last Bookshop in London, by Madeline Martin

Harlequin/Hanover Square Press.

TitleThe Last Bookshop in London
AuthorMadeline Martin
Genre:  Historical fiction
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.

It seems like every World War II novel I read is sad, but this one proved to be an exception. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely sad and horrifying moments, but the overall message of this novel is hope and helping others. I thought it was a wonderful touch that initially Grace isn’t even a reader, so we get to experience her falling in love with books as she grows to love the bookshop and its patrons. This is a lovely read!

Madeline Martin is a bestselling author. The Last Bookshop in London is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Hanover Square Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Just Get Home, by Bridget Foley

Image belongs to Harlequin/MIRA .

TitleJust Get Home
AuthorBridget Foley
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  4 out of 5

Dessa, a single mom, is enjoying a rare night out when a devastating earthquake strikes. Roads and overpasses crumble, cell towers are out everywhere, and now she must cross the ruined city to get back to her three-year-old daughter, not even knowing whether she’s dead or alive. Danger in the streets escalates, as looting and lawlessness erupts. When she witnesses a moment of violence but isn’t able to intervene, it nearly puts Dessa over the edge.

Fate throws Dessa a curveball when the victim of the crime—a smart-talking 15-year-old foster kid named Beegie—shows up again in the role of savior, linking the pair together. Beegie is a troubled teen with a relentless sense of humor and resilient spirit that enables them both to survive. Both women learn to rely on each other in ways they never imagined possible, to permit vulnerability and embrace the truth of their own lives.

I like Beegie quite a bit, but Dessa…not so much. She is far too passive for me, letting life—and the people in it—treat her however it will without standing up for herself. Like, passive to a pathetic degree. Solid writing and description—I’ve never experienced an earthquake and I’d like to keep it that way—enough to place me firmly in the scenes, but my dislike of Dessa was a big problem for me in reading this.

Bridget Foley lives in Idaho. Just Get Home is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Path to Sunshine Cove, by RaeAnne Thayne

Image belongs to Harlequin/HQN.

TitleThe Path to Sunshine Cove
AuthorRaeAnne Thayne
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  4 out of 5

With a past like hers, Jessica Clayton feels safer in a life spent on the road. She’s made a career out of helping others downsize—because she’s learned the hard way that the less “stuff,” the better, a policy she applies equally to her relationships. But a new client is taking Jess back to Cape Sanctuary, a town she once called home…and that her little sister, Rachel, still does. The years apart haven’t made a dent in the guilt Jess still carries after a handgun took the lives of both their parents and changed everything between them.

While Jess couldn’t wait to put the miles between her and Cape Sanctuary, Rachel put down roots, content for the world—and her sister—to think she has a picture-perfect life. But with the demands of her youngest child’s disability, Rachel’s marriage has begun to fray at the seams. She needs her sister now more than ever, yet she’s learned from painful experience that Jessica doesn’t do family, and she shouldn’t count on her now.

Against her judgment, Jess finds herself becoming attached—to her sister and her family, even to her client’s interfering son, Nate—and it’s time to put everything on the line. Does she continue running from her painful past, or stay put and make room for the love and joy that come along with it?

This was a solid read. I’d really love to live in a house right by the ocean like this! I actually enjoyed reading about Rachel and her struggles more than Jess, although I can’t totally relate to her struggle to control everything. A solid read, but not a standout. Perfect for an easy weekend read.

RaeAnne Thayne is a bestselling and award-winning author. The Path to Sunshine Cove is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/HQN in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Tell No Lies, by Allison Brennan

Image belongs to Harlequin/MIRA.

TitleTell No Lies
AuthorAllison Brennan
Genre:  Thriller, mystery
Rating:  4 out of 5

Something mysterious is killing the wildlife in the desert hills just south of Tucson, Arizona. When Emma Perez, a college-intern-turned activist, sets out to collect her own evidence, she too ends up dead. Local law enforcement seems slow to get involved. That’s when the mobile FBI unit goes undercover to infiltrate the town and the copper refinery located there in search of possible leads. Costa and Quinn find themselves scouring the desolate landscape that keeps on giving up clues to something much darker—greed, child trafficking, other killings. As the body count continues to add up, it’s clear they have stumbled on more than they bargained for. Now they must figure out who is at the heart of this mayhem and stop them before more innocent lives are lost.

I don’t think I’ve read the first book in this series—yet—but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The desert setting is vividly drawn and almost becomes a character in the story, both its beauty and the darkness hidden within it. I liked the whole undercover team, but the two MC and their interactions were the best. I can’t imagine pretending to be someone you’re not like that, but their viewpoints made it make sense, and I was totally invested in their investigation.

Allison Brennan is a bestselling author. Tell No Lies is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Danger in Numbers, by Heather Graham

Image belongs to Harlequin/MIRA.

TitleDanger in Numbers
AuthorHeather Graham
Genre:  Mystery/thriller
Rating:  4 out of 5

On the edge of the Everglades, a brutal murder and an eerie crime scene set off an investigation that sends two agents deep into a world of corrupted faith, greed and deadly secrets.

A ritualistic murder on the side of a remote road brings in the Florida state police. Special Agent Amy Larson has never seen worse, and there are indications that this killing could be just the beginning. The crime draws the attention of the FBI in the form of Special Agent Hunter Forrest, a man with insider knowledge of how violent cults operate, and a man who might never be able to escape his own past.

The rural community is devastated by the death in their midst, but people know more than they are saying. As Amy and Hunter join forces, every lead takes them further into the twisted beliefs of a dangerous group that will stop at nothing to see their will done.

This was a solid thriller read, as Graham’s novels usually are. The setting was vivid enough to give me the creeps—no thank you to living in a small town on the edge of the Everglades—with or without the creepy cult nearby. I like both of the main characters, and I’d definitely read the next book in the series.

Heather Graham is a bestselling author. Danger in Numbers is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Jigsaw Man, by Nadine Matheson

Image belongs to Harlequin/Hanover Square Press.

TitleThe Jigsaw Man
AuthorNadine Matheson
Genre:  Thriller
Rating:  4 out of 5

On the day she returns to active duty with the Serial Crimes Unit, Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley is called to a crime scene. Dismembered body parts from two victims have been found by the river.

The modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer, who has spent the past two years behind bars. When he learns that someone is co-opting his grisly signature—the arrangement of victims’ limbs in puzzle-piece shapes—he decides to take matters into his own hands.

As the body count rises, DI Anjelica Henley is faced with an unspeakable new threat. Can she apprehend the copycat killer before Olivier finds a way to get to him first? Or will she herself become the next victim?

Nadine Matheson lives in London. The Jigsaw Man is her debut novel.

I enjoyed this novel, although the first half felt very slow to me. Olivier is creepy beyond words, and the crime scene descriptions were a little much for me, but entirely believable. I liked Anjelica, and would definitely read more about her. The reader is solidly in her head and emotions throughout the novel, bringing every detail to life.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Hanover Square Press exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Her Dark Lies, by J.T. Ellison

Image belongs to Harlequin/MIRA.

TitleHer Dark Lies
Author J.T. Ellison
Genre:  Thriller
Rating:  4 out of 5

Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.

From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.

Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…

The idea of this much wealth kept throwing me off as I was reading, but excellent description and characterization. For me, there was never any mystery over who was really behind everything. I was intrigued by how everything would play out, but the reveal about Claire’s background felt very clunky and deus ex machina, since the entire novel had never dropped the slightest hint. And…we never really find out the truth about what truly happened to the first wife…

J.T. Ellison is a bestselling author. Her Dark lies is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA exchange for an honest review.)