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review 2017-06-18 17:26
Mermaid Moon
Mermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel) - Colleen Coble

I've never been a fan of romance novels so I would never have picked this book up if I hadn't seen a review posted during a book swap game I was participating in. I read the review for this book and decided I wanted to read it. I read the first book first and it was great. I liked it better than this one but this book kept my interest too. I like the mystery and suspense more than the lovey-dovey parts but I definitely will be finishing this series and looking into more books by this author. Now I have to make myself finish the other books I've started before reading the third book in this series.


Mallory is trying to support her teen-aged daughter on her own after her husband passed away by making artistic sea glass jewelry.  She just makes a big sale so she could pay her late house payment when she gets a strange call from her father.  He sounds like he is hurt and barely able to tell her something very important before he dies.  He told her to find her mother but that is impossible since her mother has been dead for years. She quickly calls for someone to go check on her dad then heads that way herself.  


She is wary of going back to the town where she grew up and is sure she won't be welcomed because of her past.  She was engaged to Kevin, a local game warden, but she abruptly left town without an explanation and quickly married someone else.  Now, she needs Kevin's help to help her figure out what happened to her dad.  Things quickly get scary though as she finds out her own life might also be in danger.  

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review 2017-06-09 21:54
The Inn at Ocean's Edge
The Inn at Ocean's Edge (A Sunset Cove Novel) - Colleen Coble

I loved this story and all of its twists and turns. I am definitely going to read more books by this author. I've never read such an intriguing story!


I usually don't like romance but this book was more about the mystery and the romancy portions weren't too sappy.  


Claire is a young business woman and she is meeting her father to help with a business merger. He wasn't expecting her though so he was very surprised to see her there at the Inn. Claire was sure she had never been there before but it somehow seemed familiar to her. When she looked out at the forest she found herself gripped by fear and panic. Later, she met some people that knew her by name. They said they remembered when she disappeared as a little girl and that she was missing for a full year and then reappeared. Claire wants to know more about what happened to her and where she was for that year. Her family tries to dissuade her from trying to learn more and won't answer her questions. She won't stop though because she has dark memories that haunt her. She needs to know the truth.

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review 2016-12-08 09:00
British policing and a dark and twisted family
The Taken: DI Erica Martin Book 2 (Erica Martin Thriller) - Alice Clark-Platts

Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin UK - Michael Joseph for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily agreed to review.

Although this is the second novel in the DI Erica Martin’s series and I haven’t read the previous one, I did not find this detracted from my ability to enjoy the novel.

The story, set for the most part in Durham, in the North East of the UK, follows DI Erica Martin’s team as they investigate a bizarre death, that of a somewhat special preacher cum TV celebrity. The novel is narrated from a variety of points of view, mostly in the third person, although there are also parts in italics that at first, we don’t know who they belong to or whom they address (they seem to be a letter of some sort). Although Martin’s point of view dominates the action, we also have the points of view of other members of her team, and other characters, including the victim and the many suspects. In my opinion there is clear differentiation between the different points of view that helps the reader to not get confused, and each segment is clearly separated, so although I know some readers don’t appreciate head-hoping, due to the complexity of the case and the way the investigation develops, the change of points of view serves the book well.

Martin is a capable woman, also blessed (and cursed) with a strong intuition, but somewhat distracted by her impending divorce and her burgeoning relationship with her superior, Sam Butterworth. She’s a good boss, understands her team and has a good relationship with them, and is sympathetic and has her heart in the right place. Although we get to know a bit less about the other members of her team, Jones is also a reliable and likeable character (and high up in Martin’s esteem) and it’s a breath of fresh air to have a police team where everybody seems intent on doing the best job they can and there’s no corruption or shady motives. It’s true that Martin’s capacity for empathy and her reaction to the complications and the revelations of the case affect her personally, but, at least for me, that’s a bonus rather than a weakness.

The family of reverend Snow (although his church sounds more like a cult than a benign church) and those close to him hide many secrets, and the more layers that are peeled away, the worse things get. I read one of the reviewers commenting the Snows are a dysfunctional family. It’s possible there might be some more dysfunctional than this one, but it’s pretty high up on the ranking. If what we learn from the church’s functioning is bizarre and scary, in some ways this pales in comparison to the intricacies of the family relationships.

The plot is carefully crafted, with red herrings and many suspects that are highlighted and then dismissed, and although it might be possible to have some suspicions, things aren’t as clear-cut as most readers might suspect at first. I don’t think thriller and mystery readers will be disappointed with the plotting side of the story.

Although there are some violent scenes and descriptions of wounds and injuries, they are not extremely graphic. On the other hand, some of the topics of the book might be distressing for readers (as there is violence against children and women), and the bizarre behaviours and states of mind (that merit quite an in-depth psychological discussion) make it a hard book to read and one that will cause much discussion.

The writing style is easy to follow, descriptive enough to make the different characters believable, with changes in rhythm (not always frenetic, but it flows and ebbs with some contemplative and precious moments too), and very well chosen quotes from Euripides’s Medea.

A good novel for those looking for a British police procedural book, well-crafted, with a complex plot, likeable characters that also encompasses challenging topics. I for sure wouldn’t mind reading more of Erica Martin’s cases.

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review 2016-05-10 01:46
Family Secrets - Leigh Michaels

That was awkward. The secret baby who wasn't...a secret that is. More that his origin was.


So our H - random hollyweird actor - is in smalltownville to make a made for TV movie - a sequel for one made 4 years earlier. He has his kid (adopted) with him, and nanny no. 4 who really is only in it for the connections. Kid gets chickenpox, leading to nanny getting fired (because she failed to notice kid running a fever, developing spots, etc., and was dragging him out for whatever reason.).


Heroine runs the motel. Steps in and adds babysitting to her duties. A week or so goes by, then...


Hero suddenly realizes - after he slept with h - that son looks remarkably like h. Cue lots of blaming.


Over the next few days (week, not sure), they try to avoid each other. H suddenly decides he wants h in his life, and starts making sure to be wherever she is with her friends' kids, before finally having a discussion or two with her about marriage and a real relationship.


Issues -


The h claimed to have known before she saw the kid that it was hers (more on that later) and yet...if you hadn't seen it since it was a newborn, how would you recognize it? Well, other than the picture of its apparent mom holding it that appeared on a magazine just weeks after it was born. But would you recognize a newborn? Maybe? I dunno...h never gave any indication at all about her secret connection to the kid. I was a bit puzzled as to why she was concerned about getting attached seeing as how she babysat for just about everyone (what's one more?)


Timeline - supposedly she worked 2 years before going off to college. She was around 25 (not specific), and the kid was a 4 year old. When she came back - after graduating and apparently 2 years previous, she worked her way up. Seems a bit of a stretch that she could work her way up that fast, even in a locally owned hotel, and she'd been in the position of manager long enough to have oversaw a lot of renovations. Even without the hazy age thing there, something seemed off about it.


The deal with the kid. She was in her early 20s, pregnant, in college, and with parents who threatened to disown her if she didn't adopt it out. The lawyer they sicced on her essentially sold the baby to the H and his then wife.

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review 2016-01-28 21:59
Pure escapism!
Black Rabbit Hall - Eve Chase

The reason I grabbed this book was that the author has been compared to Daphne DuMaurier and Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine. Both are favorite of mine so I had to read “Black Rabbit Hall”, which turned out to be a very good debut novel of forbidden love and family secrets.


The novel fluctuates between the late 1960’s to more than three decades later. There’s all the ingredients of an old-fashioned Gothic romance – an old mansion with past tragedies, a love that shouldn’t be, even an evil stepmother.  Teenaged Amber Alton is the main character from the 60’s.  She has such a happy life at Black Rabbit Hall with her twin brother, younger siblings and parents until tragedy strikes.  Lorna Dunaway is the present-day heroine.  She and her fiancé Jon are looking for a wedding venue.  Lorna is inexplicably drawn to Black Rabbit Hall although it’s so run down.  She becomes entangled in the mansion’s family’s past and must find the answers to just what happened all those years ago.


As I write that summary, I feel that it sounds so stereotype, like so many books before it. But this author excels in making her characters live and breathe on her pages.  She truly pulls her reader into the story and has written a very readable, enchanting story.  I had at one point thought I had figured out the family secret but it didn’t stop me from wanting to read more.  But I had only figured out part of what was to come as there were many other surprises ahead.  I cared about these characters and didn’t want to stop reading about them.


Escapism at its best. Recommended.


This book was given to me by First to Read in return for an honest review.

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