Sunday, August 11, 2019

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim



Berkley 
June 11, 2019
978-1984803252
Magical Realism, Fiction
Ebook    
Reviewed by Gina  (myreviewbooks@aol.com)
Obtained by Publisher
5 Hearts


Natalie Tan returns to San Francisco after hearing about the death of her mother, Miranda.  For some unknown reason the agoraphobic Miranda ventured out of her Chinatown apartment and killed in a terrible accident.  No one is able to explain why after years of not living her home she suddenly left what she felt the safety of her home.  Natalie arrives to put her mother to rest and finds that her mother has adopted an adorable kitty named MeiMei.  MeiMei quickly wends her way into Natalie’s heart and eases some of the sadness surrounding her mother’s death.  Natalie quickly finds the neighborhood she grew up in has had its problems.  Stores and shops she knew either closed or have been run down.  The economy has not been good to her block.  As she sorts through her mother’s belongings she finds her grandmother, Lao Lao’s, cook book. 

Lao Lao ran a restaurant known throughout Chinatown. It’s residents flocked to enjoy her special dishes.  As Natalie’s life long dream was to own her own restaurant she soon begins to consider reopening her grandmother’s and again prepare those well liked dishes.  While at first things seem to move along smoothly, fate has something else in mind for Natalie and soon it seems all is lost.  Or is it?

What a fantastic debut!  The story starts off a little bit like the original Amy Tan books but then it takes off into a wonderful, unique in some ways direction.  I was originally drawn to the story because it takes place in San Francisco and since it's "my city" I like to see how different authors depict it.

Inside a well told story, heart wrenching at times, humorous at others, she introduces her readers to characters that are each individually drawn with stories of their own.  While I don't cook myself I enjoyed the scenes where Natalie creates amazing dishes I wouldn't mind eating myself.  Easy to replicate recipes are interspersed throughout the book. 

As I said, the story begins in one place—a young woman returning home to deal with the sudden passing of her mother.  As she sets about putting her mother to rest she begins to learn things about her family and herself.  Natalie grows in many ways throughout the story.  I did not see the conclusion coming at all but was delighted with it.  I had to go back and read certain sections to see the hints leading up to it and then re-read the ending because it was just so good.  I can’t wait to see what Lim’s next story will bring.


This is an objective review and not an endorsement

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Sunday, August 4, 2019

HIS CURSED PRINCE by Ryan Loveless



Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date Published: December 27,2018
ISBN:9781640809253
Fairy Tales, M/M
E-book
Reviewed by: Gabrielle (meingee@yahoo.com)
Weblink: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-cursed-prince-by-ryan-loveless-10063-b
Obtained via publisher
Rating: 3.5 Hearts


When Tuck tries to steal flowers from the castle grounds his plans are upended, and he wakes up inside the castle. To his surprise he is not thrown into the dungeons but let go and asked to return again. There is only one condition and that is to always wear a blindfold during his visits with his new friend George. Soon his friendship with George and the others in the castle grows but when a thoughtless action by his own brother brings it all crashing down Tuck must fight for what is right. Can Tuck prove to George that what is on the inside is truly what matters and not what is on the outside?

I enjoyed George and Tuck’s adventure. It is a sweet story about finding love in not only others but in yourself as well. Tuck has a good heart and proves this time and time again. George is much stronger than he realizes, and once Tuck comes into his life, he begins to understand what it means to be a good person inside and out. The more time Tuck spends at the castle the more their feelings grow. I enjoyed seeing their relationship take shape and grow stronger. George learns some strong lessons with Tuck by his side to support and care for him. I liked seeing George come out of his shell and had to laugh at many of the things he said, especially those concerning Tuck. Their story is a quick and fast paced read that kept me entertained from start to finish. Not only do the main characters make a statement but the supporting characters shine as well making this a charming read.


This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

ONE SUMMER IN PARIS by Sarah Morgan



Harlequin Books (HQN)
April 9th, 2019
978-1335507549
Contemporary, Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Trade Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by self-purchase
3.5 Hearts


Grace has a delicious surprise for her husband, a romantic summer away in Paris. But what Grace doesn’t anticipate is her husband, on their anniversary no less, telling her he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock, she decides to go to Paris by herself and enjoy herself even as her heart breaks with each new revelation of her husband’s affair.

Audrey is determined to be on her own and not have to worry about anyone else for a change. With no money and unable to understand the language, Audrey is looking at life on the streets and just about given up hope her job at the bookshop is still available. But when these two very different women meet, both their lives change in an instant. Audrey can’t believe how cautious Grace ius while Grace is shocked at how bold Audrey can be. Living above the bookstore, these two very different people find a healing friendship bloom between them. Both came to Paris for different reasons and as Paris works her magic upon them, Audrey and Grace will find the strength to move onto a life that they made for themselves.

I really enjoyed this author’s last book, How to Keep a Secret, and was tickled to read ONE SUMMER IN PARIS next by this new to me author. I found the story flowed seamlessly and kept my attention till the very end. A few plot twists I figured out beforehand, but it didn’t take away from the story set around Paris and the two women who run to its waiting arms, with broken hearts and lives. The author does a marvelous job in capturing the appeal of Paris perfectly within t he pages. It made me want to walk down the streets, looking for a café to sit by and people watch as I drank coffee and had pastries. The story flows smoothly, seamlessly switching from Grace then Audrey’s storyline until both get entwined together about halfway through the book. I loved Grace and Audrey a lot. They are two very different people, one cautious and careful to a fault; the other bold and brash, determined to live her life on her own terms. Both are perfect separately but when these two meets and start to meld together story wise, its pure magic.

Sarah Morgan is a talented storyteller who creates such wonderful stories that will leave the reader breathless. Her prose flows seamlessly and I fell for both Grace and Audrey as they navigate their new lives separately and together. If you enjoy author Jill Shalvis or Robyn Carr’s women fiction stories, you will enjoy ONE SUMMER IN PARIS.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A MERCIFUL PROMISE by Kendra Elliott



A Mercy Kilpatrick Novel, Book 6
Montlake Romance
June 18th, 2019
ASIN#: B07C8239Z9
Contemporary Mystery, Romance, Thriller
E-ARC
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher via Netgalley
4.5 Hearts


FBI Agent Mercy Kilpatrick’s latest case is difficult yet right up her alley: Infiltrate a militia that rumors are saying are massing illegal weapons and more. Mercy is the ideal person for the job. She knows the area (Oregon) and was raised by survivalists. She knows how these people think. The rules which are simple are: lay low, follow their rules and try to do nothing to make them notice you. And Oh, relinquish any contact with the world outside.

As she blends in and leaves all she loves behind, her fiancé, Eagle’s Nest police chief, Truman Daly, is faced with a set of murders so odd, he has no idea if they are connected or not. As Mercy finds her feet in this militia while searching out clues, danger mounts as she finds evidence of a plot that will shake the country. Can Mercy get contact to Truman and her fellow FBI agents before it all blows up in her face? Can Truman figure out the puzzling murders and try to get Mercy to safety as the danger around them goes even higher?

A MERCIFUL PROMISE is the final book in the wonderful Mercy Kilpatrick series and one that just left me on the edge of my seat from the first page. It’s a wild adventure with a few twists I sure did not see coming. Ms. Elliott is a wonderful storyteller and really hit it out of the ballpark with her latest book in the series. I am sad to see the series end but just love how she ended it. Mercy is a tough as nails FBI agent who was raised by survivalists and knows the way they think. Mercy continues to grow with each book. When we met her in book one. A Merciful Death, I wasn’t quite sure how she would work out as a heroine but as each book shows, her and Truman’s romance are just perfect for one another and with a cast of wonderful secondary characters to help move the story along, A MERCIFUL PROMISE is a perfect swan song for the series.

It opens with a case that is right up Mercy’s alley. A rogue militia group is stockpiling weapons and the FBI needs to know just what they plan to do with them all. I loved how Mercy is pulled into a case with people she grew up with, even if they seem a little too out there to myself. I loved her interactions with the members of the m ilitia and as she finds her feet there, she gives the reader a glimpse into that kind of life full on. I am in awe of the author’s research into this kind of lifestyle and how the author just captured it perfectly in this series. The murders also that Truman deals with are a perfect way to bring him into the storyline and the switch between Mercy and Truman’s scenes were done seamlessly.

A MERCIFUL PROMISE is a wonderful end to a riveting series that just blew me away. If you enjoy captivating stories with amazing characters that grow with each book, crimes that keep your imagination fully engaged than I highly recommend this series to you. I do suggest starting from the beginning, A Merciful Death, in order to get the full effect of the series as each book builds upon the last one. I am eager to see where this author goes next and hope we readers don’t have to wait long for it.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

BLACK SUN by Owen Matthews



Doubleday  
July 23, 2019
978-0385543408
Thriller, Suspense
Hardback
Reviewed by Gina  (myreviewbooks@aol.com)
Obtained by Publisher
3 Hearts


The year is 1961 and it is the height of the cold war.  The USSR and United States are vying for supremacy and building bigger and better bombs is a popular mode of achieving that goal.  America had “Little Boy” and the USSR is in the midst of building RDS-220 – an even bigger nuclear bomb in a secret city, Arzamas-16.  When one of the scientists building the bomb dies, State investigator Major Alexander Vasin, is sent to investigate.  When he arrives it seems the death is not, as the initial report claims, a suicide.  Is it an accident?  Or is it murder?  The deeper Vasin digs into the mysterious death, the more questions he has.  And this is communist Russia where spies spy on each other.  Where the state controls every aspect of life…and death.  And what of RDS-220?  Will it create devastation or prevent further war?

I was definitely enticed by the blurb I read for Owen Matthews’ Black Sun.  It sounded like it was going to be a white knuckle page turner of a thriller.  While there were some intense moment, especially at the end, for the most part the story rolled along without much drama.  There was a considerable amount of technical information and to Matthews’ credit he had the characters explain a lot of what it meant.  I found the information on uranium and its various make up fascinating.  The tone of the story, Matthews’ story telling voice, lends itself strongly to the overall idea of what I thought Russia, the USSR, was like growing up—cold, dark, dreary—and that was the people. 

Every so often there was a bit of humor thrown in – which made the story richer because you never saw it coming. 

I never warmed up to Vasin  I’m not sure if it was because he was a victim of his circumstances or he just wasn’t a character I’d ever relate to.  Black Sun is an interesting read, one that I think most male readers would enjoy.  The twist at the end was a letdown.  Here Vasin has come so far and now this…and you’ll have to read it to see just what “this” is.
                                                                             


This is an objective review and not an endorsement

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