A review copy was generously provided by St. Martin’s Press
I am a huge dog fan – I have my own pampered pooch who I dote on all day, every day. When St Martin’s Press approached me about reviewing an upcoming mystery about a dog trainer and his cadaver dogs, I was immediately sold. Bonus points: there’s an adorable dog on the cover. The Finders by Jeffrey B. Burton was an exciting mystery, with some underdeveloped characters and half-baked explanations.
Mason “Mace” Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and specializes in human remains detection. He trains dogs to hunt for the dead. Reid’s coming off a taxing year—mourning the death of a beloved springer spaniel as well as the dissolution of his marriage. He adopts a rescue dog with a mysterious past—a golden retriever named Vira. And when Reid begins training Vira as a cadaver dog, he comes to realize just how special the newest addition to his family truly is…
Suddenly, Reid and his prize pupil find themselves hurled into a taxing murder case, which will push them to their very limits. Paired with determined Chicago Police Officer Kippy Gimm, Mace must put all his trust in Vira’s abilities to thwart a serial killer who has now set his sights on Mace himself.
Looking at The Friend Zone (or judging it by its cover), it’s easy to make the assumption that this will be another run of the mill modern romantic comedy. From the outside looking in, this book certainly does look pretty average: it has an ever-so-popular illustrated cover, a will-they-won’t-they synopsis, and a fair amount of buzz around it. So, what sets this book apart from the pack? The Friend Zone deftly handles difficult topics and doesn’t sugarcoat the complexities of infertility, on top of being a darn cute book.
Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.
Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length
The true tragedy of publishing is that successful authors are given a free ride to publishing their next book, regardless of the quality. Kiera Cass skyrocketed to fame with the publication of her series, The Selection. The original trilogy was a fun romp, mixing elements of The Bachelor with all the dystopian clichés – they weren’t the most groundbreaking books, but they were perfect for relaxing on a beach with. However, every book she has written since then has been a decline in quality. Finally, with The Betrothed, Cass has finally reached the point where her books have become a waste of paper.
When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.
But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.
A review copy of this book was provided by Karen Odden
Historical mysteries are an often-overlooked sub-genre in today’s popular fiction. While the popularity of modern psychological, serial and true crime mystery books has been on the rise, it’s begun to feel like the same story is being told over and over. When the author (Karen Odden) reached out to me about A Trace of Deceit, I was thrilled – I’ve been feeling burnt out with mystery books lately and this felt like a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated genre. True to its name, A Trace of Deceit is a mystery full of deceit, beautiful art, and an immersive atmosphere.
A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder…
Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.
As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.
A review copy of this book was provided by Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.
India is a place I’ve always wanted to visit and while it’s still on my bucket list I’m trying to read as many books set there as possible. Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu definitely ticked a lot of boxes for me – it’s a work of literary fiction set in India about a millennial woman attending a lavish wedding. Destination Wedding is a big vibrant book with lush settings, family drama, and an interesting story of a woman trying to figure out what she wants in life.
When Tina Das finds herself at a crossroads both professionally and personally, she wonders if a weeklong trip to Delhi for her cousin’s lavish wedding might be just the right kind of escape. Maybe a little time away from New York will help get her mind straight about her stalled career, her recent breakup, and her nagging suspicion that she’ll never feel as at home in America as she does in India. Tina hopes this destination wedding, taking place at Delhi’s poshest country club, Colebrookes, will be the perfect way to reflect and unwind.
But with the entire Das family in attendance, a relaxing vacation is decidedly not in the cards. Her amicably divorced parents are each using the occasion to explore new love interests—for her mother, a white American boyfriend, for her father, an Indian widow arranged by an online matchmaker—and Tina’s squarely in the middle. A former fling is unexpectedly on the guest list, a work opportunity is blurring the lines of propriety on several fronts, and her best friend Marianne’s terrible penchant for international playboys is poised to cause all sorts of chaos back home. The accommodations are swanky, the alcohol is top-shelf, but this family wedding may be more drama than Tina can bear and could finally force her to make the choices she’s spent much of her life avoiding.
Infused with warmth and charm, Destination Wedding grapples with the nuances of family, careers, belonging, and how we find the people who make a place feel like home.