Monday, September 6, 2021

Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves


Title: Heard It in a Love Song
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: November 2, 2021

Love doesn’t always wait until you’re ready.

Layla Hilding is thirty-five and recently divorced. Struggling to break free from the past—her glory days as the lead singer in a band and a ten-year marriage to a man who never put her first—Layla’s newly found independence feels a lot like loneliness.

Then there’s Josh, the single dad whose daughter attends the elementary school where Layla teaches music. Recently separated, he’s still processing the end of his twenty-year marriage to his high school sweetheart. He chats with Layla every morning at school and finds himself thinking about her more and more.

Equally cautious and confused about dating in a world that favors apps over meeting organically, Layla and Josh decide to be friends with the potential for something more. Sounds sensible and way too simple—but when two people are on the rebound, is it heartbreak or happiness that’s a love song away?

As a huge fan of On the Island, I jumped at the opportunity of reading Heard It in a Love Song.

Layla is a thirty-five-old woman recently divorced. She is still healing, her divorce took a toll on her. Her ex-husband never supported her dream of becoming a professional singer so for all the years they were married, she had to give it up. Now, she has decided to sing for herself. She changes her basement and makes it her studio. A place where she can play her guitar and sing her music without a disapproving glance or an explanation needed.

Josh is an electrician. He recently separated from his high school sweetheart. He is in his 40s and has a daughter who is going to kindergarten. Josh shares custody and loves the time he spends with her. Yet, his free time is another matter. He would like to have someone he can share things with.

Layla works at the school. She is the music teacher. She's also at the receiving end of drop-off time at school. Here is where she starts interacting with Josh when he drops his daughter every morning. Soon thereafter, a friendship with potential ensues. 

I liked the story. It's more about realizing what your dreams are and resuming them. It's also about moving forward after a failed relationship and rediscovering who you are on your own. Learning to enjoy the time alone.

I wouldn't call this a romance per se since I felt the romance was secondary at times. Both Layla and Josh were cautious despite their attraction. They knew they wanted to avoid making a mistake in their new relationship. I liked their growth from strangers to friends to something more.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Invisible Prey by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport #17


Title: Invisible Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport #17
Author: John Sandford

In the richest neighbourhood of Minneapolis, two elderly women lie murdered in their home, killed with a pipe, the rooms ransacked, only small items stolen. It's clearly a random break-in by someone looking for money to buy drugs. But as he looks more closely, Davenport begins to wonder if the items are actually so small or the victims so random, if there might not be some invisible agenda at work here. Gradually, a pattern begins to emerge — and it will lead Davenport to somewhere he never expected. Which is too bad, because the killers — and yes, there is more than one of them — the killers are expecting him.

Invisible Prey is another enjoyable book in the Lucas Davenport series.

The novel starts with two cases. 

One is of an underage young woman who might have had a sexual relationship with a politician and Lucas is called to find out the truth and deal with the repercussions.

The second investigation is about an elderly woman and her maid found at home murdered in a gruesome way. At first, it looks like a simple burglary but soon it looks more like it's an antique robbery with the possibility that other murders might be connected to this case.

Lucas's hands are full. Time is ticking and he needs to solve the mystery before someone else dies. 

I have learned to love Lucas and to root for him to catch the bad guys with the exception of Clara Rinker.

It's always great to be able to "see" Lucas working through the investigation, connecting leads, and understanding what makes the killers tick.

Invisible Prey has also a bonus in the form of John Sandford introducing the readers to his other series main character, Virgil Flowers. 

I got to say that I'm intrigued about "F**cking Flowers" already.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary


Title: The Road Trip
Author: Beth O'Leary 
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 1st 2021

Two exes reach a new level of awkward when forced to take a road trip together in this endearing and humorous novel by the author of the international bestseller The Flatshare.

What if the end of the road is just the beginning?

Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love under the Provence sun. Wealthy Oxford student Dylan was staying at his friend Cherry's enormous French villa; wild child Addie was spending her summer as the on-site caretaker. Two years ago, their relationship officially ended. They haven't spoken since.

Today, Dylan's and Addie's lives collide again. It's the day before Cherry's wedding, and Addie and Dylan crash cars at the start of the journey there. The car Dylan was driving is wrecked, and the wedding is in rural Scotland--he'll never get there on time by public transport.

So, along with Dylan's best friend, Addie's sister, and a random guy on Facebook who needed a ride, they squeeze into a space-challenged Mini and set off across Britain. Cramped into the same space, Dylan and Addie are forced to confront the choices they made that tore them apart--and ask themselves whether that final decision was the right one after all.

Is this the same author that gave us The Flatshare and The Switch?

It didn't feel that way to me.

Dylan and Marcus are driving towards their friend Cherry's wedding in Scotland when they hit the car in front. Of course, the car in front is driven by Dylan's ex-girlfriend, Addie. 

Addie is also going to the wedding. Her sister, Beth is in the passenger seat and Rodney, a guy from the Facebook wedding group is in the back. 

When Dylan's car ceases to work, Addie can't leave Dylan stranded. So both Dylan and Marcus join them in Addie's car. What follows is an uncomfortable trip for most of them.

I had 3 issues with The Road Trip.

First one: Connecting with the characters. I didn't like Dylan and hated his best friend, Marcus. Addie was not so bad but If I have to pick a favorite character, it would be Beth, Addie's sister. Beth was there for Addie every time she needed her. She also gave good advice and inserted humor into the story.

The second problem: Addie's reactions. It felt like Addie was in love with Dylan just a few hours after meeting Dylan. Then, in the present, just a few hours into the drive she was forgetting and sweeping under the rug all the bad times Dylan and Marcus have caused her. 

Third, I didn't understand the necessity to include Rodneys's drama into the storyline. It felt it came out of nowhere and it didn't contribute to anything.

I felt disappointed that I didn't like it when I have loved her other books.

Sigh, Hopefully, I can connect with the next book.

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

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

A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones
Sunshine Vicram #2

Title: A Good Day for Chardonnay
Series: Sunshine Vicram #2
Author: Darynda Jones
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: July 27th, 2021

Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff--and even fuller-time coffee guzzler--Sunshine Vicram, didn't get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that's about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny's got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he's not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She's seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn't know when to quit, Sunny's life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

It's fun going back to this crazy town of Del Sol and Its Sherriff, Sunshine Vicram.

However, in order to enjoy this ride, you must read A Bad Day for Sunshine or you'll be very confused.

So where does Chardonnay go?

Many places all at once.

*Sunshine is called in when strangers to the town attacked and stabbed a local man and hurt Levi in the process. 

*She also gets a call from prison in regards to her own past abduction.

*Her daughter Ari is investigating a cold case.

*Cruz is hiding something.

*Levi has many secrets that Sunshine wants to know.

What I love about Darynda's style is that her characters are full of snark, quick comebacks, sassiness, and brooding men. Yes, sometimes it can be too much and you think the characters are on speed or something like it but when you mostly read dark thrillers, it's refreshing. 

A Good Day for Chardonnay has all those ingredients and the best part is that we do get some answers to some of the questions A Bad Day for Sunshine left us with. However, it does end in a cliffhanger.

Will I read the third book? 

Absolutely, I need more of Sunshine, Levy, Ari, and Cruz.

Cliffhanger: Yes

4/5 Fangs

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