Author Archive

Every Vow You Break

April 22, 2021
Every Vow You Break: A Novel by [Peter Swanson]

Abigail is about to get married and everything seems to be right with the world. Her husband-to-be is a wealthy man who is letting her make all of the wedding decisions. He only wants to arrange their honeymoon. When the story begins, Abigail is on her bachelorette weekend. Unexpectedly, she meets a handsome stranger at the spa where she’s staying and has a one-night stand. Horrified at what she did, she wants to forget it and move on. The wedding takes place and the honeymoon begins. Up to this point I liked the book, but then the plot takes a more unbelievable turn and the second half of the novel is too far-fetched and unbelievable. The honeymooners are on an island being pampered, but odd circumstances foretell of danger. If you want a quick thriller to entertain you, this might do the trick. However, be prepared for that voice in your head saying, “This would never happen in real life.”

On Deadly Tides

April 15, 2021
On Deadly Tides by Elizabeth J. Duncan

The 11th Penny Brannigan title in the series is a cozy mystery set in the north of Wales. Our main character, Penny, has gone away on a painting weekend where she stumbles into a murder mystery by finding a dead body washed up on the shore. Like the other 10 titles preceding this one, On Deadly Tides fits squarely in the ‘cozy mystery’ category. As Penny conducts her amateur sleuthing, she meets an attractive single man who seems to return her interest. Although earlier Brannigan mysteries had some romantic interest for Penny, this one goes deeper and I was happily surprised at the development. More than the solving of the mystery, the familiar characters return from previous books and round out the story line. A satisfying, simple read. Enjoyable.

Flowers of Darkness

April 8, 2021
Cover image for Flowers of Darkness

A gripping, creepy novel that takes place in Paris, France, Flowers of Darkness is a moody and sinister with a dystopian theme. Clarissa Katsef has just left her second husband of 20 years and needs to find a place to live. As a writer, she is eligible to interview for a residence with beautiful views of the city where only artists are admitted. Although the building is modern and comes with a virtual assistant that beats ALEXA hands-down, Clarissa is growing more suspicious about the management and the amount of control they exert as well as her a lack of privacy. The setting is in the future where the Eiffel Tower has been destroyed and Clarissa describes the changes to the city and the world as the plot develops (for example, no more bees and extreme heatwaves). Clarissa refuses to reconcile with her husband (we learn towards the end exactly what came between them) and is close with her daughter and only grandchild. While several questions remain unanswered, Flowers of Darkness slowly grabs hold of the reader building to a haunting resolution that is disturbing and lingers with the reader.

Beverly Cleary

April 1, 2021
“Celebrity is fleeting,” Beverly Cleary once wrote. “Good books should endure.”

Beloved children’s author, Beverly Cleary, passed away March 25th, 2021 at age 104. She is best known for her characters Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, Ellen Tebbits, and Ralph S. Mouse. Having read all of her books as a child, I enjoyed them all over again when I read them with my own daughter years ago. With gentle humor, Cleary allows her children to make mistakes and break the rules. Ramona and others disobey and get chided by the adults all to great delight of her readers. One of my favorite scenes from a Cleary novel remains the one with Ramona taking one bite of every apple in the basket and her older sister, Beezus, demanding her parents punish her rule-breaking sister for her misdeed. Be sure to check out a Cleary tale for yourself or a young person in your life to enjoy.

The Perfect Marriage

March 25, 2021

In the tradition of Gone Girl, you can guess that The Perfect Marriage of Sarah and Adam Morgan is not so perfect. Living outside Washington D.C., Sarah is a driven, successful attorney. Adam is a writer who hasn’t published anything for years. In his miasma of despair, he begins an affair with a young woman. When her body turns up murdered, Adam is the prime suspect and Sarah decides to defend him as his attorney. Switching back and forth between Sarah and Adam’s perspectives, we follow the investigation as more evidence is revealed. The plot thickens and we begin to suspect Sarah, her best friend, police officers, and the dead woman’s husband. Entertaining and twisty, The Perfect Marriage is a worthwhile thriller.

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