All posts filed under: Reviews

intrusion

Intrusion by Rosalind Minett

Rosalind Minett’s novel of WWII-era England follows a young boy as he faces a bullying cousin and tries to come to terms with a world at war. Innocent and kind, Billy Wilson lives a pleasant life in London with his fussy mother, barrister father, and a new baby sister. His is a world untouched by war and drama, until rumors of Hitler’s army begin to float around town and whispers carry the dangers of a bleak future for England. In the midst of it all, Billy’s own war comes upon him in the shape of his devious cousin, Kenneth. Frail and handsome, Kenneth seems to be the joy of every grown-up he meets, while Billy – try as he might – always seems to fall short of pleasing. With their family, Kenneth is all grace and charm, but behind closed doors Billy soon recognizes Kenneth for what he is: a bully and a lair. As the onset of World War II turns the lives of all Englanders upside down, Billy is swept up in a …

keepdancing

Keep Dancing by Leslie Wells

In Keep Dancing Leslie Wells continues the story of New York book editor Julia Nash and her whirlwind relationship with British rock star Jack Kipling in the early 1980s. When last readers met with Jack and Julia in Leslie Wells’s Come Dancing they were deep in the throes of a rollercoaster love affair after misunderstandings and meddling enemies had threatened to tear them apart. In her new follow-up novel, Keep Dancing, the author takes readers back to the tumultuous world of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll in New York’s glittering 1980s. We follow Jack and Julia through the end of 1981, when the British rocker sweeps Julia away to England to meet his imposing family; but as 1982 dawns, new challenges and old adversaries once again test Jack and Julia’s relationship. British rock star Jack is set for a multi-city tour across the States while book editor Julia is on the rise at a fabulous new job, but as their newly-minted living situation seems to be paving the way for a lasting relationship, the stresses from …

tyrantseries

The Seven Sins and Black Scorpion by Jon Land

With his 2008 novel, The Seven Sins, and his newest release, Black Scorpion, author Jon Land brings Fabrizio Boccardi’s inimitable Las Vegas hero Michael “The Tyrant” Tiranno to life in a series of pulse-pounding adventures. Michael Tiranno, also known as The Tyrant, is the imposing force behind The Seven Sins, the most luxurious resort and casino in Las Vegas. Born into poverty in rural Italy, Michael – then Michele Nunziato – was taken under the wing of mafia powerhouse Don Lucciano after the murder of his family, and from there he became Michael Tiranno: Italian for “tyrant”. A larger-than-life persona across the pages, the character first appeared in Jon Land’s The Seven Sins in collaboration with The Tyrant’s creator, Italian investor Fabrizio Boccardi. While “The Tyrant” is in some ways Boccardi’s alter-ego, he’s also something of a superhero for the Vegas set – James Bond meets Tony Stark with a Sin City vibe. Boccardi’s creation comes to literary life through author Jon Land’s timeless skill, resulting in a high-octane thriller that keeps readers on the …

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The Denim Blue Sea by Joanne DeMaio

In her new novel, bestselling author Joane DeMaio returns to the idyllic beach town of Stony Point where friends come together for a wedding celebration that brings old wounds to the surface. While Joanne DeMaio has written five consistently wonderful books, perhaps her most memorable characters first appeared in her 2013 novel, Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans. It was the story of beach friends Maris, Jason, Eva, Matt, Kyle, and Lauren as they reunited years after a tragic accident killed Jason’s brother, Neil, the pillar of their collective friendship. Each suffered Neil’s loss in varying ways; Jason harbored a relentless guilt over his own survival of the accident, while for Lauren the memory of her love for Neil clouded her relationship with her husband Kyle. In The Denim Blue Sea, DeMaio revisits her characters from Stony Point as the friends gather together for Jason and Maris’s wedding day. It’s a time of celebration as Maris and Eva settle into their newly-realized sisterhood, as Jason and Maris prepare to make a lifelong commitment to each other, …

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A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

After an acclaimed debut, Hanya Yanagihara returns with a story that emerges as one of the most challenging and thought-provoking to come along in some time. One of the facets of great literature is its ability to create an experience that transcends life, that winds through the emotions, the possibilities and impossibilities with which we share our collective existence. Often when a book goes to a place of impossibilities, of tragedies and profound sadness, we wonder why it’s necessary, why the author felt the need to turn their gaze onto something painful. If an artist controls their creations then why would they choose to create art that evokes pain? On this subject, I know two things: one, the idea that we control our own creations is something every artist learns – quickly – to be a falsehood; and two, that sometimes art exists to bear witness to pain, because every emotion and experience in life shares this sphere and none has a greater claim than the rest. This perception was on my mind consistently as …

septembersky

September Sky by John A. Heldt

John Heldt, author of the Northwest Passage stories, is back with the first in a new time-travel series that touches on love, mystery, and family dynamics. September Sky chronicles the story of a father and son trying to recover their common ground, one a man on a path to redemption and the other a lost soul on a journey to rediscover his passion. When recent unemployed journalist Chuck Townsend convinces his son, recent college dropout Justin, to join him on a much-needed cruise holiday, Mexico is the only exotic destination they expects to visit. Instead, Chuck and Justin find their paths crossing with Professor Bell, a veritable Willy Wonka whose chocolate factory of choice is, in fact, a time-travel portal in one of Los Angeles’ remaining Painted Ladies. In cahoots with the professor, Chuck and Justin arm themselves with history and return to 1900 Galvaston, Texas, where a distant relative is about to be sent to the gallows for a murder he didn’t commit and an monumental hurricane is about to devastate an unsuspecting island. …

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Swindle Town by Molly Greene

Sassy, spunky private eye Gen Delacourt is back in a new mystery from Molly Greene that finds the amateur detective up to her ears in secrets, lies – and wine. Molly Greene’s Gen Delacourt mysteries have been among my favorites since the series began several years ago. Over the course of four novels readers have followed Gen on her adventures in San Francisco as she works to uncover truths, catch bad guys, and keep herself alive in the process. In her fifth outing, Swindle Town, Gen is hired to track a series of disappearing empty wine bottles that ultimately leads her into the employment – or maybe the clutches – of a secret high-society wine club where membership fees are in the thousands and a good vintage may be worth killing over. Working the case becomes complicated for Gen when she uncovers connections that hit close to home for her boyfriend, SFPD detective Mack Hackett. Charged with keeping her investigation a secret, she’ll have to put her all into unraveling a mysterious series of threats …

mistressfirebrand

Mistress Firebrand by Donna Thorland

In Mistress Firebrand, author Donna Thorland continues her Renegades of the American Revolution series with a story full of rich history and pulsating romance. America is deep in the throes of its search for independence from Britain in 1777, and to Jennifer Leighton it seems there are turncoats, spies, and dangers at every corner. An aspiring playwright determined to make her way to London and high success on Drury Lane, Jenny is in pursuit of a patron to support her as did her Aunt Frances, known to all as the iconic star of the stage, The Divine Miss Fanny. Together, Jenny and Frances are plotting to catch the attentions of a British general who could be the makings of Jenny’s career. Instead, Jenny finds herself embroiled in trouble, and the only man who can help her is an American-born British soldier, the charming – and, rumor has it, decidedly lethal – Severin Devere. Scorned by his father for his bastard beginnings, Severin has lived his life in a constant attempt to deny the Indian heritage …