From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful and haunting novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.
In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is a 2016 Gallery/Scout Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
This author and this book have generated some buzz lately, and so although this book was very far down on my TBR list, I couldn’t wait that long to read it, so I let it cut to the front of the line.
Did the book live up to the hype? Well, let’s just say my Goodreads friends know a good thriller when they see one.
Laura, or “Lo”, as her friends call her, works for a travel magazine, and is preparing to embark on the maiden voyage of the “Aurora Borealis” luxury cruise ship. But, before leaving on her journey, her flat is burglarized, and she has a terrible argument with her boyfriend, which leaves her feeling a little jumpy and paranoid.
Once aboard the ship, she believes someone has gone overboard, but when she attempts to have the matter investigated, it seems all the passengers are accounted for, excepting the girl in the cabin adjacent to hers, cabin ten, a cabin everyone claims is unoccupied, with Lo being the only one on-board who has seen her. Lo is made to feel as though she is losing her mind, and is accused of making the whole thing up. But, she is not about to give up, with or without help from the staff or crew, or her fellow passengers and colleagues.
Reading as often as I do, I often complain about recognizing plot lines or seeing the twists coming far in advance, having become a little too jaded over the years. So, when a book comes along that challenges me, has me working hard to figure out just what in blue blazes in going on, I can’t help but feel impressed.
This is a very well written mystery, intelligent, with pitch perfect pacing, which kept me in a state of apprehension from beginning to end. The suspense built in a sly way because my mind was so focused on the psychological aspects, I didn’t realize the rope was being pulled so tightly until I noticed I had my kindle in a death grip.
Suddenly the direction shifted and a new kind of mind game began to develop, which leads to an incredible and tense race against the clock, with twists and turns coming so fast, I was nearly breathless.
The author continued to play with me all the way until the very last paragraph, which left me feeling like I most definitely got my money’s worth.
Looking a psychological thriller ride? Look no further, because this book is just what you are looking for.
Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She now lives in North London with her family.
Her début thriller, In a Dark, Dark Wood, was a New York Times bestseller, and has been optioned for film by New Line Cinema.
She is currently working on her second book, The Woman in Cabin Ten.
A sheltered young woman, the daughter of a Roman officer.
An unlikely love, threatened by the bloody strife at the borders of Roman Empire.
AD 190: When a fever ravages her father’s fort and kills her family, Livia has to leave Britannia behind and make a new home for herself in Rome. Lost in a world of grief, she finds little delight in the glittering capital of the empire. Nothing can penetrate the grey fog of her grief—except for the cool blue eyes of the slave Leontius, a barbarian warrior, a former gladiator, a man she ought to fear. And yet, she cannot help but crave his touch, even though he is an enemy of Rome; even though, should he ever manage to flee, he would unleash the anger of his tribe upon the border of the empire.
Eagle’s Honor: Ravished by Sandra Schwab is a 2016 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I never pass up the chance to read a historical romance set in ancient times, especially these days when these types of novels are far and few between.
Set in AD 190, Livia, the daughter of a Roman officer, loses her entire family to a cruel illness. She is sent to live with her aunt in the bustling city of Rome, where she is exposed to opulence and open sensuality. Her aunt’s boredom prompts her to buy a barbarian slave for her own amusement, something that shocks Livia, but this Germanic warrior only has eyes for her.
Adelar has been enslaved after a vicious Roman attack, but when he sees a chance to escape, he doesn’t hesitate, his only regret being he must leave the sweet Livia, his little sparrow behind.
But, when Livia finds herself kidnapped after a battle, taken to the forts outside of Rome as a prisoner to a tribe whose language she can’t understand, the last person she ever expected to see was her Barbarian, her aunt’s escaped slave.
While she is considered the enemy among his tribe, Adelar will brook no violence against his little sparrow, nor allow her to be used as a pawn. But, he tries to resist his feelings for her, knowing it will only complicate matters. The longer he waits to make a decision about what to do with her, the harder it becomes to let her go.
But, it is only a matter of time before Livia will become a bargaining chip between her uncle, who is most certainly looking for her, and Adelar and his tribe. Her only hope being that there will not be a bloody battle between them.
I love forbidden love, where a couple is divided by class or duty or conflict, but still manage to find a way to be together. Those types of stories make for the most romantic and epic love stories, and the most satisfying.
I loved Livia because she was a humble, loyal, and honest, but was not biddable or a doormat, she had courage and fought for the love she knew was right.
Adelar is proud, fierce, brave, and a mighty warrior, but was also sweet, tender, and passionate. I did get frustrated with him a time or two, but of course Livia puts him in his place, but good!
This story is highly sensual, very sexy, but also emotional, with lots of true romance, mixed with intrigue and suspense, all presented in a well-balanced fashion.
Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Twenty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now she has exchanged her pink heart-dotted fountain pen for a computer keyboard (black, no hearts). She lives in a suburb of Frankfurt on the Main, Germany, with a cat, a duck, a sewing maching, and altogether too many books.
She is currently working on the relaunch of her three older historical romances and is also planning to release two new novels this year.
BOOKS BY SANDRA Springtime Pleasures (2013) Betrayal (2013) Bewitched (2008, relaunch 2013) Castle of the Wolf (2007, relaunch 2013) The Lily Brand (2005, relaunch 01/2014)
The author of Black Cat Crossing is back as mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat Hitchcock find themselves roped into another dangerous murder case...
Sabrina finds it difficult to work on her latest suspense novel when her Aunt Rowe’s antics keep tying up her thoughts. This time Rowe and her fun-loving friends have decided to compete in the upcoming Texas Hill Country Senior Pro Rodeo. The problem is these women have little to no experience with lassos, bulls, or even horseback riding.
Before Sabrina can keep the stubborn seniors from mounting their steeds, she’s sidetracked by a bigger problem. An uppity local business owner is found dead in an accident—right after a black cat was seen in her office. While the townsfolk think the bad luck cat has struck again, Sabrina suspects there might be something more murderous afoot. With a twisted killer on the loose, she’ll have to round up clues quickly before she or her aunt are steered straight into the path of danger...
The mystery is very intelligent, puzzling, and kept me guessing all the way to the end. I love the characters in the story, especially Aunt Rowe, who is an inspiration, even if she is roping goats, a topic Sabrina and I happen to agree on. I appreciate the focus the author puts on the stigma associated with black cats and her wry humor when addressing silly superstitions. I believe Hitchcock and Sabrina make a wonderful detective team and can’t wait read about their next big case.
In the first in this cat-filled cozy series, aspiring mystery author Sabrina Tate is about to discover that when it comes to solving murders, her new feline friend Hitchcock is a master of sleuthing…
Sabrina has never been the superstitious type. Still, when she moves to Lavender, Texas, to write her first novel and help her Aunt Rowe manage her vacation rental business, Sabrina can’t avoid listening to the rumors that a local black cat is a jinx—especially after the stray in question leads her directly to the scene of a murder.
The deceased turns out to be none other than her Aunt Rowe’s awful cousin Bobby Joe Flowers, a known cheat and womanizer who had no shortage of enemies. The only problem is that Aunt Rowe and Bobby Joe had quarreled just before the cousin turned up dead, leaving Rowe at the top of the long list of suspects. Now it’s up to Sabrina to clear her aunt’s name. Luckily for her, she’s got a new sidekick, Hitchcock the Bad Luck Cat, to help her sniff out clues and stalk a killer before Aunt Rowe winds up the victim of even more misfortune…
Kay Finch grew up on a Pennsylvania farm but she got to Texas as fast as she could and discovered the Texas Hill Country, the setting of her Bad Luck Cat mysteries coming from Berkley in 2015. As a child Kay wrote mystery stories, but it wasn’t until she went to work for a renowned criminal defense attorney that plot ideas once again began to flow. In addition to the Bad Luck Cat mysteries, check out Kay's Corie McKenna PI mysteries, Final Decree and Final Cut, and Relative Chaos, her Klutter Killer mystery. Kay is long-time member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division. She lives with her husband, a rescue cat, and two wild and crazy rescue dogs in a Houston suburb. Visit her at www.kayfinch.com.
Hidden Gems & Treasures features older book titles, some rare, some forgotten, some I have only recently discovered. All books featured are at least five years old.
This weeks spotlight is on:
WICKED INTENTIONS BY ELIZABETH HOYT
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A man controlled by his desires...
Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London's most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand— she's spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk.
A woman haunted by her past...
Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance's help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London's high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.
Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt is a 2010 Grand Central Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book in the Maiden Lane series. As I began this book, it occurs to me that while I have at least ten books by Elizabeth Hoyt in my TBR pile, I’ve only read one book by this author. I don’t know why or how that happened, but I am glad I was invited to review this one, because I now understand more fully why the author’s writing appeals to so many.
As a person who complains long and loud about the saccharine sweet content in so many current historical romance novels, this book certainly appealed to my dark and twisty nature when it comes to books.
Temperance works in a foundling home with her brother, Winter, giving of herself so selflessly, but the home is in terrible financial straits at the moment. So, when she is approached by Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, out of the blue, to help him navigate certain areas in his search for a murderer, in exchange for a sponsor for her foundling home, she readily accepts, despite Caire’s outrageous reputation.
So begins a dark journey into the light for Temperance and Lazarus as they find they have more in common that anyone would ever guess, each taking from the other the thing they need most to make them feel whole again.
There were a few small complaints I had with the story, one of which is that erotica is not favorite and some of the sexual situations come precariously close to overstepping my boundaries, but… these passages were a part of the reason the story was so darkly seductive and it was handled with taste, so I didn’t mind all that much.
I was also puzzled by the big build up to Temperance’s admission, the revelation of her big dark secret, because it ended up being rather anticlimactic and, other than the horrible coincidental occurrence that wracked her with even more guilt, I had trouble mustering up much sympathy for her based on the information she provided, which was precious little.
Lazarus has a strange problem and while the reader is given some insight into his upbringing, which was far from warm, I’m not sure how that led to his having this… malady, if you will. Once again the reader is left without a full explanation, but I did enjoy seeing him find peace and solace with Temperance, who soothes him and opens the door for love to help him heal.
All of this takes place while the couple searches for a murderer in the underbelly of the city, which lent a truly sinister and dark atmosphere to the story, which I really liked.
The secondary characters and additional storylines are also compelling and I am hoping really hard that poor Silence will finally regain the happiness she lost.
For me the darker tone of the book was the clincher. I love the conflicted, flawed hero, and found it interesting that Temperance, who was so saintly on the surface, was also flawed and conflicted, which meant the couple didn’t judge, and accepted one another warts and all, loving each other despite of, or because of those flaws, which is what true love is all about.
Elizabeth Hoyt is a New York Times bestselling author of historical romance. She also writes deliciously fun contemporary romance under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three untrained dogs and one long-suffering husband.
Tasty Book Tours is thrilled to share the upcoming
Super Sexy, Rock Star romance from Tania Sparks...
Oblivion on Tour #3
Releasing July 29th, 2016
Cody’s the sexy drummer
extraordinaire of the hard rock band Oblivion.
Kitty’s the little sister of one of
Cody’s band mates and she’s had a secret crush on him for years.
When the band are back home for a
few days, the chemistry between them is both unexpected and undeniably
She quickly realizes that the
prospect of having what she’s always fantasized about is a very real
He quickly realizes that although he
feels this mind-blowing attraction towards her, she’s the little sister of one
of his band mates - he would get his ass kicked from here to hell if he ever
laid a finger on her!
But can Kitty convince him? After
all, no one else needs to know, a one-time hook-up might suit both of them…or
could it ruin everything?
Tania Sparks is a
romantic at heart who genuinely believes in true love and soul mates. She met
her husband while still at school, she was sixteen, he was seventeen. They are
high school sweethearts who more than twenty five years later are still very
much in love and are happily married with two beautiful daughters.
does have a full time job, but in her spare minutes enjoys spending time with
her family, cooking and reading. She's an avid reader who tends to chomp
through a large volume of books, mainly in the romance genre. Her other major
'hobby' is writing steamy rock star erotic romances!
after finding herself constantly being inspired by numerous romance novels, she
decided to try her hand at writing. After penning her first scene she
discovered that she enjoyed it immensely and so resolved to continue with the
rest of the story that was swirling in her imagination. That story resulted in
her first novel, Heaven Sent which is the first book in her Oblivion on Tour
Series. This was soon followed by Bolt From The Blue and Pure Torture. Each
book in the series is a stand-alone story which follows a different band member
from a hard rock group called Oblivion - and of course the feisty ladies that
steal their hearts! The other books in the series are at various stages of
Tania finds it very difficult to control her imagination and swears that her
rock stars are constantly chanting their stories in her head. She can't wait to
share them with you...
Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in this prequel to USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s The Wedding Belles series about three high-powered New York City women who can plan any wedding—but their own.
Up-and-coming wedding photographer Leah McHale’s career is on the rise–thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah’s way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter's wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes–until she finds out who she’ll be working with.
Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah’s heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he’s working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile... READ A SAMPLE:
From this day Forward by Lauren Layne is a 2016 Pocket Star publication. I was provided a copy of this book as an XOXpert, the official street team of XOXO After Dark.
This novella length story will whet your appetite and have you craving more from the new and delightful ‘Wedding Belle’ series.
Leah is a wedding photographer who has been given a lifetime opportunity to shoot the photographs for a former first daughter’s wedding!! But, she didn’t expect to run into her old flame, Jason. Awkward!
She and Jason were doing great, or so she thought, even though he is not sold on the concept of ‘happily ever after’, but when she stops by his place unannounced and finds him with a beautiful brunette, she realized Jason didn’t think their relationship was all that special.
Now she has to work with him on the wedding photos and keep things on a professional level, but Jason is doing everything in his power to rekindle that flame.
Jason has a rough background, and so is a little more cynical when it comes to true love, but Leah, his redheaded she-devil, has him thinking it could be possible, after all. But, he has to convince her she’s the only one for him, something she is making harder than it has to be, because she’s too stubborn and hurt to give him a chance to prove it.
The story is really cute, but it’s kind of predictable, and of course I picked up on a major clue somewhere in the middle and figured out how things went awry, but despite that, I really enjoyed reading this short story mainly because of the characterizations. While many authors can create a sympathetic female protagonist, the male characters are often stuffed into a certain mold and must stick to the rehearsed lines. But, not Lauren Layne. I love the way the hero goes off script and is very unpredictable, even a little mysterious, and so easy to fall in love with.
I can be pretty hard on novella length books and they rarely satisfy me fully, but this one is a lot of fun, and perfect for a lunch time diversion.
Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?
When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.
Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.
Lauren lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
Five years ago, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan.
She writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush, and in her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.
When not bringing The Sexy, she likes to blog about her Instagram addiction, and why mean girls are the worst.
From the author of the “clever, creative, and sweetly delicious” (Kirkus Reviews) The Coincidence of Coconut Cake comes a novel about a frustrated wife and mother who hatches a scheme to reignite her marriage—and risks everything in a gamble she hopes is a sure bet.
When Milwaukee-area wife and mother MJ Boudreaux notices her husband Chris seems more interested in the casino than her, she’s more bothered that she isn’t upset than by her husband’s absence. She picks up poker as a way for them to spend more time together—and reignite their marital flame.
Although the game doesn’t give her the quality time with Chris that she’d hoped, MJ finds she has a knack for it. Increasingly unhappy at home, she turns to the felt top of the poker table for comfort. Intoxicated with newfound freedom, MJ begins spending more time at the gambling tables and less with her family, finally carving out for herself a place outside her role of wife and mother.
After a string of great wins, MJ finds herself in Vegas, attracting the attention of a certain magnetic poker star. But when she’s forced to choose between her family and her new exciting lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought and MJ will have to play her hand carefully…or risk losing it all.
Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert is a 2016 Galley Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I loved The Coincidence of Coconut Cake so much I could hardly wait for Reichert’s next book. I have to say the wait was worth it. This is my kind of book in every way imaginable when it comes to contemporary fiction.
MJ’s marriage is in a rut. On her twentieth wedding anniversary, she finds herself waiting for hours for her husband, Chris, to show up for their lunch date, consuming an entire custom made lemon pie, an anniversary tradition, while she waits. But, Chris is late due to a poker tournament and can only stay a short while because he won and needs to get back to the tables for the next round. MJ should be crushed, but instead, she feels relieved. She can go home and take a hot bath and read a book. What does that say about the state of her marriage?
So, MJ decides to kick start the relationship by taking up poker, something she and Chris can enjoy together. But, things go horribly awry as an old nemesis returns, and MJ and Chris find themselves drifting further and further apart.
As a person close in age to MJ, and enjoying a long marriage myself, I could really relate to the ups and downs of married life. There are peaks and valleys, and times when you fall in love with each all over again. This is something MJ acknowledges in her marriage, but right now, she’s having a pretty hard time summoning that ‘in love’ feeling again, and Chris is not much help.
I could understand MJ’s feelings and admired her tenacity to at least try and rekindle the flame. Chris was a guy I had my doubts about, and had a hard time understanding his treatment of MJ. So, I must say I rather enjoyed his little wake up call, and was super happy when he starts to work redeeming himself.
The secondary characters all played their roles perfectly, especially Tammie, a woman who is hard to like, but one I felt confident could change if given half a chance. MJ’s mother was a riot and I loved her sage advice.
This is a terrific story all the way around. It’s realistic, honest, and emotional, and could certainly work as a cautionary tale. It is so easy to fall into this trap, so remember to always be diligent and never take your significant other for granted. But, the thing that stands out at the end of the day, is that this story is a tried and true love story and is proof that everlasting love is entirely possible, but you must to be willing to work for and fight for it.
Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She's a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.
As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land. Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.
Fall for him—hard . . .
Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends. When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze. But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone. Fast.
And then tell him the truth.
Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire. But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything. . . .
Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis is a 2016 Avon publication. I received a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
It’s always fun to escape into a Jill Shalvis romance novel, so I’m super excited about getting in on the ground floor of her latest series.
Pru is the captain of a charter boat service giving tours in the San Francisco area when she meets Finn, a local pub owner. Although Pru has given up on unicorns, wishing wells, and fairytales, there is a spark between the couple from the get-go, but Pru knows a little bit more about Finn than she is letting on. The longer she waits to tell Finn about her dark past and the crushing guilt she carries, the harder it becomes to confess. As their relationship progresses, all of Pru’s well- meaning intentions backfire on her as she falls hopelessly in love with Finn. But, someday the truth will have to come out and there is no doubt it will be a deal breaker for Finn. It looks like Pru and Finn are doomed to be star crossed lovers…
Anytime I read a novel with this type of storyline, I squirm and fidget all the way through it, feeling like I really am sitting on pins and needles, nervous with anxious anticipation, knowing it is only a matter of time before the sleeping volcano erupts, and there will be casualties.
Finn’s story is tragic on the surface, but it is also a situation that spurred his emotional growth and made him into an honorable, hardworking guy. I really, really liked Finn, and loved how his ‘all work, and no play’ lifestyle was turned on its head when he started spending time with Pru.
Pru’s story is just plain sad. Not many people in this world would find the strength to fight their way out of their own pain and loss to try and right a wrong, even though it wasn’t their fault in the first place. What she did was most admirable and selfless, but wow, she really did let the guilt consume her a little too much, and I thought perhaps her feelings of responsibility went just a little too far.
But, as saintly as she is, Pru is making a huge mistake with Finn, one that is not fair to him or to herself, and the reader must sit by helplessly as she falls deeper and deeper into the hole she has dug for herself.
What makes Jill Shalvis’ novels stand out for me, is her perfect sense of timing. She tells an emotional story, but blends in laugh out loud humor in just at the right moment. Just when things get really tense or super emotional, she offsets the heaviness with something that has me giggling through my tears.
In many ways this story is trademark Jill Shalvis, a traditional style contemporary romance that appeals to romance lovers of all ages and stripes, that never gets old. But, this story has a different tone to it than many of her other novels, making it special and unique and gets this new series off to a wonderful start!
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental.
Look for Jill's latest, SWEET LITTLE LIES on shelves and e-readers now, and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold.
Visit Jill's website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
A brilliant, chilling début featuring a Charleston real estate agent who loves the histories inside old manors. Melanie Middleton hates to admit she can see ghosts. A man she recently met died, leaving his historic Tradd Street home; complete with a dog and family of ghosts anxious to tell their secrets. Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries, has reason to believe diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden. He turns the charm on with Melanie, to discover he's the smitten one.
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White is a 2008 NAL publication.
This year I have made some changes to my reading habits by cutting back on review copies, which can introduce me to new authors and genres, but can also cause me to miss out on some really good books, too.
Karen White is one of those authors that I have been missing out on and so I decided to get with the program and check out a few of her novels.
This book is the first in a four book series, set in Charleston, South Carolina.
Melanie is an obsessive compulsive, but very successful real estate agent, hoping to land the listing for an old, storied home in the area. But, when Melanie meets with the current owner, she feels a connection to the old man whose mother abandoned him as a child, like her mother abandoned her. But, the man believes his mother loved him and the house, which makes throws doubt on the rumors that she left her husband and child for another man.
While visiting the home, Melanie also discovers her sensitivity to the dead is very strong, when she sees a ghost or two. But, the real shock comes when the owner passes away suddenly and leaves the house, all its contents, and a sizable sum of money for repairs, to Melanie.
A REAL HOME ON TRADD STREET
To make things more interesting, Melanie is contacted by a writer, Jack Trenholm, who claims to be writing a book about the house and the family who owned it all these years.
Although Melanie doesn’t really want to keep the house, especially since the will states she much reside there for one year before she can sell, she decides to meet the challenge and even allows Jack to stay on the premises while he does research for his book.
On a more personal note, Melanie is coping with her father’s alcoholism, hoping against hope he can stay sober this time around, even if she should know better by now.
Who are the ghost who live in the house on Tradd Street? Can Melanie solve a decades old mystery?
Can Jack be trusted or does he have his own agenda? Is Melanie in danger?
I have always enjoyed a good ghost story, if it’s done right, and this one measured up to my standards quite nicely. I love the southern setting, the rich historical details, and the charm of the old house Melanie inherited. The mystery ties in with Melanie’s own family in some ways and of course the circumstances provide Melanie’s father an opportunity to set some things right after all these years.
On occasion, the plot got a tad outrageous, and it did become a little too busy sometimes, with Jack’s backstory, Melanie’s romances, her father’s issues, the restorations, and of course the big mystery Melanie felt compelled to solve.
But, by the end of the story, many of these threads were sown up nicely, and the stage was set for the next book in the series, which I already have queued up and am looking forward to finding out what’s next for Melanie and what mysteries she will solve next.
Melanie has grown accustomed to renovating old houses, but she never imagined she'd have to renovate her own life to include her estranged mother. Ginnette Prioleau Middleton left Charleston thirty-five years ago. She's returned wanting to protect the daughter she's never really known after receiving an ominous premonition.
Melanie never wanted to see her mother again, but with some prodding from her partner, Jack Trenholm, she agrees-and begins to rebuild their relationship. Together Melanie and Ginnette buy back their old home. With their combined psychic abilities they expect to unearth some ghosts. But what they find is a vengeful dark spirit whose strength has been growing for decades. It will take unearthing long buried secrets to beat this demon and save what's left of Melanie's family...
The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White is a 2009 NAL publication.
Karen White’s name has been popping up in various Goodreads threads recently, so I decided to check out a few of her books.
Going by what was available in my Overdrive library, I started with the Tradd Street series. This book is the second installment in a four part series.
Melanie’s life should have returned to her nice orderly routine after she accepted her inheritance of a fabled old home on Tradd Street. She, along with Jack Trenholm, a writer, solve an old mystery and help a restless spirt move on.
But, Melanie’s life may never return to its former peace and order because her estranged mother has returned with a determination to buy back her childhood home and become a mother to Melanie after a thirty-three year absence. She insists Melanie is in danger and commissions Jack to help her, which throws Melanie into another tailspin as ghosts, both good and bad, once more disrupt her routine, and keeps her off balance, and humming ABBA tunes louder than ever, as she tries to solve another historical cold case mystery. ]
A REAL HOME ON LEGARE STREET
Now that I know the characters a little better, I was able to settle in and go with the flow, enjoying the hilarious curves thrown at Melanie at times. The mystery here is a bit transparent, but is almost secondary to the main storyline, which centers around the question of why Melanie’s mother left her all those years ago. The relationship is fragile and fraught with misconceptions, but I did like seeing them make a little overdue progress. The part of the story I found most frustrating was Melanie’s pushing Jack away and how it really backfires on her.
However, there are two more installments in the series and so maybe the cause is not lost just yet. There was a super surprising little twist at the end of the story that has me very curious about what will take place in book three. But, the book I need is on hold, so I will have to cool my heels for a while before I can find out what happens next. GRRR!
This paranormal mystery/romance is just as entertaining as the first book, with the humor shining through a little more, but with more romantic angst. The mystery is not as compelling as in the first book, but it served its purpose by reuniting Melanie with her mother. So, overall, this is an enjoyable installment in the four-part series, and promises to continue with more ghostly appearances and mysteries to solve in the future.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Psychic realtor Melanie Middleton is still restoring her Charleston house and doesn't expect to have a new houseguest, a teen girl named Nola. But the girl didn't come alone, and the spirits that accompanied Nola don't seem willing to leave...
The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White is a 2011 NAL publication.
It’s hard to believe I had never read anything by this author until recently, when I checked out “The House on Tradd Street” from the library. I was instantly hooked, and have fallen in love with all the characters, paranormal mysteries, and romance in Charleston.
In this third chapter of the series, Jack learns he is the father a thirteen- year old daughter whose mother just died, making him a single parent. But, it is not Rebecca he turns to when he needs help with Nola, but Melanie, who welcomes Nola into her home with open arms.
It becomes clear almost immediately that Nola didn’t show up alone. It would seem the ghost of her mother, Bonnie, has also arrived to watch over her daughter, which is only the beginning of Nola’s paranormal adventures.
A REAL HOME ON MONTAGU STREET:
In the meantime, Sophie is planning a wedding and things heat up between Melanie and Jack, finally!
While all the mysteries so far have been suspenseful, this one is the most sinister so far. It is also pretty emotional, especially in the last few chapters when Melanie and Jack have another huge personal crisis. But, the humor was strategically placed to keep things from becoming too tense, and Nola is a very welcome addition to the cast.
I am excited to see how things will finally turn out for my favorite OCD real estate agent and her leading man, Jack.
Facing her future as a single mother, psychic Realtor Melanie Middleton is determined to be strong and leave her past with writer Jack Trenholm behind her. But history has a tendency of catching up with Melanie, whether she likes it or not.…
Melanie is only going through the motions of living since refusing Jack’s marriage proposal. She misses him desperately, but her broken heart is the least of her problems. Despite an insistence that she can raise their child alone, Melanie is completely unprepared for motherhood, and she struggles to complete renovations on her house on Tradd Street before the baby arrives.
When Melanie is roused one night by the sound of a ghostly infant crying, she chooses to ignore it. She simply does not have the energy to deal with one more crisis. That is, until the remains of a newborn buried in an old christening gown are found hidden in the foundation of her house.
As the hauntings on Tradd Street slowly become more violent, Melanie decides to find out what caused the baby’s untimely death, uncovering the love, loss, and betrayal that color the house’s history—and threaten her claim of ownership. But can she seek Jack’s help without risking her heart? For in revealing the secrets of the past, Melanie also awakens the malevolent presence that has tried to keep the truth hidden for decades.…
Return to Tradd Street by Karen White is a 2014 NAL publication.
As they say, ‘All good things must come to an end’, and so with a heavy heart, I started the last book in the four part Tradd Street series.
I predicted, in a review of a previous book in this series, that Melanie might never regain the control of her very orderly, planned right down to the last detail, organized life again, but I never would have imagined things turning out quite like this.
Personally, I recommend reading this series in order to truly appreciate the character growth and understand how Melanie first came to own the house on Tradd Street, how she met Jack, the reason she loves ABBA, and has OCD tendencies, and of course her inherited psychic gifts.
Melanie is forty years old, pregnant, and unmarried. She and Jack had a falling out, but when she informed him she was expecting his baby, naturally he did the honorable thing and proposed marriage. However, Melanie refuses him, with good reason, but her heart is broken into little pieces.
Exhausted and emotionally drained, Melanie has no patience for ghosts, but when the bones of a baby are found on her property, she is once more mired in an ancient mystery, while coping with a frenzy of media attention, and a shocking announcement from her doctor regarding her pregnancy.
I had never read a novel by Karen White until I started this series, and had no idea what to expect, but I have to confess I never would have thought I'd be this pleased with the series.
I love ghost stories, romance, humor and stories set in southern locations, so I suppose all those elements combined in one story easily won me over.
This last installment gives the series a solid send off as we follow along with Melanie’s pregnancy, her ups and downs with Jack, her run ins with Rebecca, while revealing a tense historical tale that will reveal horrible truths, but set the record straight once and for all.
I loved the way the story ended, which was simply lovely, and I have to say I was very proud of Melanie and how far she has come since first meeting her, and it’s nice to know she is truly happy now.
I am so thankful I found this series and will seek out any other books by this author I can find.
I just learned this series will have at least one more installment - "The Guest on South Battery" coming in January 2017!!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
New York Times bestselling author Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away...
With her extended maternity leave at it’s end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for over a year are about to invade her life once more.
But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell it as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.
Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to appear to her again. One is shrouded from sight, appearing whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in her backyard on Tradd Street.
Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried...