Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz

  


Title: The Latecomer 
Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Publisher: Celadon Books
Release Date: May 31st 2022




From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Latecomer is a layered and immersive literary novel about three siblings, desperate to escape one another, and the upending of their family by the late arrival of a fourth.

The Latecomer follows the story of the wealthy, New York City-based Oppenheimer family, from the first meeting of parents Salo and Johanna, under tragic circumstances, to their triplets born during the early days of IVF. As children, the three siblings--Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally--feel no strong familial bond and cannot wait to go their separate ways, even as their father becomes more distanced and their mother more desperate. When the triplets leave for college, Johanna, faced with being truly alone, makes the decision to have a fourth child. What role will the “latecomer” play in this fractured family?

A complex novel that builds slowly and deliberately, The Latecomer touches on the topics of grief and guilt, generational trauma, privilege and race, traditions and religion, and family dynamics. It is a profound and witty family story from an accomplished author, known for the depth of her character studies, expertly woven storylines, and plot twists.










After reading the Plot and loving it, I thought I was in for a treat with Jean Hanff Korelitz's newest novel, The Latecomer.

Sadly this book didn't do it for me and this was greatly in part to the characters. 

The blurb should say, this book is about Johanna. A mother of triplets (test tube triplets) who was treated like trash by everyone she loved.

I got so tired of listening to her kids berate her for trying to make them into a family. It got old really fast. 

The triplets were selfish, self-centered, egoistical, and really just insufferable. Please don't think her husband was any better. Salo never cared for her. He was more than ok with having a side piece and another family with her. He was never present for the family he had created first. He never showed an interest in Joanna, her children, or fidelity. He was a waste of space. 

I’m addition, this book screams a need for editing. It was long and redundant. Nothing really happened except the disgust the triplets professed in thinking of spending any time with their mother. 

I know some of my book friends love this book and you should read their reviews. After all, I'm in the minority. 

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Celadon Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score


Title: Maggie Moves On
Author: Lucy Score
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 21, 2022





Can these opposites turn up the heat… without burning down the house?

House-flipping sensation and YouTube star Maggie Nichols can’t wait to dig into her next challenge. Arriving in tiny Kinship, Idaho, with only a cot and a coffeemaker, Maggie is prepared to restore a crumbling Victorian mansion in four months or less. She has her to-do lists, her blueprints, and her team. What she doesn’t have is time for sexy, laid-back landscaper Silas Wright.

The man takes flirtation to a whole new level. And he does it shirtless…sometimes pants-less. He and his service school-dropout dog are impressively persistent. But she’s not interested in putting down roots. Not when fans tune in to watch her travel the country turning dilapidated houses into dream homes. A short-term fling on the other hand could fit nicely into her calendar. After all, Maggie remembers what fun is like. Vaguely.

As their summer gets downright steamy, Silas manages to demolish the emotional walls she’s spent years building, sending Maggie into a panic. He’s the wrench in her carefully constructed plans. With the end of the project looming, she has a decision to make. But how can she stay when her entire career is built on moving on?











As soon as I saw the cover, I was hooked.

I'm a huge HGTV fan and Magnolia Network follower, and I just couldn't pass up a romance novel with a remodeling theme.

My instinct was right and I fell in love with Maggie and Silas between open spaces, walls being brought down, and new beautiful landscaping. More than that, I fell in love with Silas' family, Kevin (the pitbull), and his cats, Dean, Deanna, Cody, and even grumpy Wallace. 

Maggie Nichols and her business partner Dean land in Kinship, Idaho for their new remodeling project. The Old Campbell Place is a mansion on a hill with splendid views but in need of a lot of love. The house has been left alone for too long and Maggie is determined to bring it back to life. 

Maggie has a very successful youtube show and she is close to having a million subscribers. She knows this job could be the one that gets her there. She is ready to start working her magic when she meets the new landscaper guy, Silas Wright. She knows he is trouble but she has a rule, no dating the contractors.
But are rules meant to be broken?  

Silas for his part falls for Maggie right away but convincing her to stay might be too hard to accomplish. Thankfully, he and his pitbull, Kevin are charming with a capital C.

Maggie Moves On is full of small-town delightfulness which includes a mystery, adorable pets, the family you can create,  a budding romance, steamy scenes, and amazing banter. I smiled so much while reading it. I hope you do too. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Forever via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Meant to Be by Emily Giffin

 

Title: Meant to Be
Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 31, 2022 




A restless golden boy and a girl with a troubled past navigate a love story that may be doomed before it even begins in this irresistible new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and The Lies That Bind.

The Kingsley family is practically American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and unmatched elegance. When Joseph S. Kingsley III is born in 1960, he inherits the weight of that legacy. Growing up with all the Kingsley looks and charisma, Joe should have no problem taking up the mantle after his father’s untimely death. But he is also a little bit reckless, and can’t seem to figure out how to channel the expectations of an entire country.

No one ever expected anything of Cate, on the other hand. She, too, grew up in a single-parent household—just her and her mom scraping by in their small apartment. As a teenager, though, Cate is discovered for her looks. Modeling may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, her face is everywhere, though she is always aware that she’d be a pariah in her social circles if anyone knew her true story.

When Joe and Cate’s paths cross, their connection is instant. What remains to be seen is whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight that follows Joe everywhere. And just as they find themselves in the make-or-break moment, the tragedy that seems to run in Joe’s family right alongside all that privilege will repeat itself.

In a beautifully written novel that recaptures a gilded moment in American history, Emily Giffin tells a story of a love that may or may not have the power to transcend circumstances that seem arrayed against it . . . and the difficulty of finding your way to the place you belong.











Joseph S. Kingsley III is considered American royalty. He comes from a line of wealthy, accomplished, and well-known individuals. Joseph is expected to succeed and become something special. Joseph is not sure of what he wants to do with his life but he can feel the pressure building. 

Cat's childhood was not an easy one. Thankfully, Cat is "discovered" and starts modeling as a teenager, becoming quite popular and in-demand making her face easily recognizable. 

When Joseph meets Cat, he knows she is the one. However, he will need to convince his mother and his best friend that Cat is his future despite their differences. 

As soon as I realized Meant To Be was loosely based on JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's romance, I knew I wanted to read it. 

The book has both POVs. Each character detailed their different backgrounds and I was rooting for their love to go the distance without a horrible tragedy at the end.

I am one of those that loved John John. I thought he had great potential and possibly an amazing future. Despite not knowing him, I felt saddened by his death. Both lives were cut too short.  

Just like the author, I used to read (guiltily) about their courtship and then their marriage. Who hasn’t seen their wedding picture with him kissing her hand? Cruelly their romantic story ended drastically on July 16, 1999.

Meant to Be is classic Emily Griffin with interesting characters you want to get to know and would love to meet in real life. 

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Ballantine Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Can't Look Away by Carola Lovering

 


Title: Can't Look Away
Author: Carola Lovering
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: June 14, 2022




From the author of Tell Me Lies and Too Good to Be True comes Carola Lovering's Can't Look Away, a sexy suspense novel about the kind of addictive, obsessive love that keeps you coming back––no matter how hard you try to look away.

In 2013, twenty-three-year old Molly Diamond is a barista, dreaming of becoming a writer. One night at a concert in East Williamsburg, she locks eyes with the lead singer, Jake Danner, and can’t look away. Molly and Jake fall quickly and deeply in love, especially after he writes a hit song about her that puts his band on the map.

Nearly a decade later, Molly has given up writing and is living in Flynn Cove, Connecticut with her young daughter and her husband Hunter—who is decidedly not Jake Danner. Their life looks picture-perfect, but Molly is lonely; she feels out of place with the other women in their wealthy suburb, and is struggling to conceive their second child. When Sabrina, a newcomer in town, walks into the yoga studio where Molly teaches and confesses her own fertility struggles, Molly believes she's finally found a friend.

But Sabrina has her own reasons for moving to Flynn Cove and befriending Molly. And as Sabrina’s secrets are slowly unspooled, her connection to Molly becomes clearer––as do secrets of Molly's own, which she’s worked hard to keep buried.

Meanwhile, a new version of Jake's hit song is on the radio, forcing Molly to confront her past and ask the ultimate questions: What happens when life turns out nothing like we thought it would, when we were young and dreaming big? Does growing up mean choosing with your head, rather than your heart? And do we ever truly get over our first love?












Call me crazy but I actually enjoyed this neighborhood drama.

Jake and Molly were an item once. 

In 2013, Molly was a 23-year-old young woman aspiring to be a writer. She had good friends and is enjoying a night out with them when she meets Jake.

Jake Danner is the lead singer of a band that is getting recognized and he is hoping for his big break.

Molly and Jake's paths cross during one of his concerts and after locking eyes, they share a moment of connection. Afterward, Jake asks a friend of hers for her phone number. The rest is history or so it should be. Despite their great chemistry and love for each other, their relationship is not to be. 

In 2022, Molly is married to Hunter and has a five-year-old daughter, Stella. Molly wants another child but she is dealing with infertility issues when she meets a young woman, Sabrina who seems to understand what Molly is going through. A blooming friendship ensues. One night, Molly and Hunter are invited over to have dinner. Unbeknown to Molly, Sabrina's husband is none other than Jake. 

With so many unresolved issues, Molly and Jake seem to be pulled into one another's lives. Together they wondered what forces took them apart. Learning the truth might hurt more than they think.

I didn't particularly like Jake. He was selfish and had grey areas in regards to faithfulness. I did love Hunter all the way. Molly was nice and I understood her motivations. The same can't be said of Sabrina's.

Can't Look Away entertained me. The narrators Caitlin Davies, Karissa Vacker, and Zachary Webber did a good job becoming Molly, Jake, and Sabrina. Between the past and present chapters and the 3 POVs, they kept things straight for me. 

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Favor by Nora Murphy

 

Title: The Favor
Author: Nora Murphy
Publisher: Minotaur Books Macmillan Audio
Release Date: May 31, 2022 




A gripping debut domestic suspense novel, The Favor explores with compassion and depth what can happen when women pushed to the limit take matters into their own hands.
Staying is dangerous. Leaving could be worse.

Leah and McKenna have never met, though they have parallel lives.

They don’t—ever—find themselves in the same train carriage or meet accidentally at the gym or the coffee shop. They don’t—ever—discuss their problems and find common ground. They don’t—ever—acknowledge to each other that although their lives have all the trappings of success, wealth and happiness, they are, in fact, trapped.

Because Leah understands that what’s inside a home can be more dangerous than what’s outside. Driving past McKenna’s house one night, she sees what she knows only too well herself from her own marriage: McKenna’s “perfect” husband is not what he seems. She decides to keep an eye out for McKenna, until one night, she intervenes.

Leah and McKenna have never met. But they will.












Fantastic debut!

Even though I could guess where this was going, I couldn't stop myself from rooting for these women to succeed.

The book begins with Leah going on her regular alcohol shopping when she sees a woman that resembles an earlier version of herself. She is not sure why, but she decides to follow McKenna Hawkins to her home. When she gets there, she sees McKenna enjoying her time outside with friends until her husband shows up. Leah can tell that McKenna's body immediately stiffens. She knows why. She can recognize the signs after all Leah has been living the same nightmare since she married her successful husband.

Leah will return night after night to see McKenna until she can't avoid interfering.

I thought The Favor was captivating. I couldn't stop myself from wanting to read/listen to one more chapter. It's terribly sad that so many find themselves in a domestic abuse situation. In this case, both were very successful women, one a lawyer, the other a pediatrician who lost themselves by being first isolated and then told over and over how unworthy they were. Not many are as lucky as these were.

The narrators Dylan Moore, Leon Nixon, and Sarah Mollo-Christensen portrayed these characters just as interesting as the story was.

One more thing I should bring up is that I would be very interested in seeing Detective Jordan Harrison and his partner in a future book.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain

 

Title: The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle
Author: Matt Cain
Publisher: Kensington Books/RB Media
Release Date: May 24, 2022 




In a humorous, charmingly wise novel perfect for fans of Fredrik Backman and TJ Klune, the forced retirement of a shy, closeted postman in northern England creates the opportunity for him to track down his lost love, embrace his true self, connect with his community, and finally experience his life’s great adventure….

Every day, Albert Entwistle makes his way through the streets of his small English town, delivering letters and parcels and returning greetings with a quick wave and a “how do?” Everyone on his route knows Albert, or thinks they do—a man of quiet routines, content to live alone with his cat, Gracie.

Three months before his sixty-fifth birthday, Albert receives a letter from the Royal Mail thanking him for decades of service and stating that he is being forced into retirement. At once, Albert’s simple life unravels. Without the work that fills his days, what will he do? He has no friends, family, or hobbies—just a past he never speaks of, and a lost love that fills him with regret. And so, rather than continue his lonely existence, Albert forms a brave plan to start truly living, to be honest about who he is...and to find George, the man with whom he spent one perfect spring and summer long ago.

One painful yet exhilarating step at a time, Albert begins searching for George and revealing his story to those around him. As he does, something extraordinary happens. Albert finds unlikely allies, new friends, and the courage to help others—even as he seeks the happiness he’s always denied himself.

Beautifully written, funny, and wise, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is a book to fall in love with and to be inspired by, one that proves it is never too late to live, to hope, and to love.










Albert Entwistle has worked his whole adult life delivering the mail. He knows his route like the palm of his hand. Yet, he has kept to himself for 50 years without interacting with anyone on his course. 

He lives alone with his cat Gracie and listening to music is the highlight of his day. He has no friends and no human love in his life. 

Albert doesn't like surprises and the biggest one is coming. He receives a letter from the Royal Mail telling him that in 3 months' time he has to retire. Albert is frantic. He doesn't know what he will do if he doesn't have his routine anymore. 

Albert knows he can't keep on living this way. He knows he has made mistakes and he lost the love of his life, George. They were teenagers when they fell in love and Albert is responsible for their breakup. After much self-analyzing, he makes a decision. He will open up to people, start looking for George and apologize for what he did. 

This was a good story! I was able to care for Albert and I was sad about how alone he was and how his life was so full of fear. I enjoyed his journey to self-discovery with the help of Nicole, his workmates, and Edith. What I wasn't sure about was him trying to look for George after so long and not realizing that maybe George already had a family or a special someone. 50 years is a long time to wait. 

Kudos to Simon Vance for a wonderful narration and for transporting me to Albert's homeland.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by RB media via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Golden Prey by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport #27

 

Title: Golden Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport #27
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: April 25, 2017




The man was smart and he didn’t mind killing people. 

Welcome to the big leagues, Davenport. 

Lucas Davenport’s first case as a U.S. Marshal sends him into uncharted territory, in the thrilling new novel in the #1 New York Times-bestselling series.
Thanks to some very influential people whose lives he saved, Lucas is no longer working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but for the U.S. Marshals Service, and with unusual scope. He gets to pick his own cases, whatever they are, wherever they lead him.

And where they’ve led him this time is into real trouble. A Biloxi, Mississippi, drug-cartel counting house gets robbed, and suitcases full of cash disappear, leaving behind five bodies, including that of a six-year-old girl. Davenport takes the case, which quickly spirals out of control, as cartel assassins, including a torturer known as the “Queen of home-improvement tools” compete with Davenport to find the Dixie Hicks shooters who knocked over the counting house. Things get ugly real fast, and neither the cartel killers nor the holdup men give a damn about whose lives Davenport might have saved; to them, he’s just another large target.










Lucas is back on form!

Lucas is now a US Marshall after saving the life of a presidential candidate. Luckily, he is still his own man. For the most part, Lucas is able to select the cases that interest him and proceed with an investigation.

The newest case that attracts him, involves the robbery and murder of five people at a Honduran drug cartel counting-house in Biloxi. One of the victims was a 5-year-old girl. Everything points to the killer being Garvin Poole. Yet, no one has been able to catch him before. He is a cold-blooded killer without a conscience. Poole's only weakness seems to be that he is in love with Dora Box. An ex-beauty queen who loves him despite his tendencies.

Also on the hunt, are two killers, Soto and Kort, who are hired by the cartel to find the people who stole the money from them and eliminate them.

Joining Lucas, is two other US Marshalls, Bob, and Rae. Both are as determined as Lucas to catch Poole and his associates.

I liked this one. Everything was new to Lucas. He isn't in the twin cities anymore. He has to start making new connections and learning this new gig as a Marshall. Lucas is all about the hunt and catching the bad guy or girl. ( I still don't forgive him for Clara Rinker). He is like a bloodhound, once he has the smell, he can't stop until he finds his prey.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs