Surprise Me

Surprise MeSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Surprisingly good read from Sophie Kinsella with humor and serious marriage/life depth.
Sylvie has a good idea once she and Dan realize they will likely be together as a married couple for 68 more years – yikes! They decide to surprise each other, often, and – SURPRISE! – it doesn’t work as well as they hope!
Several laugh-out-loud sections/passages that I tried to share with my husband. Sometimes I was laughing too much to read the words. 🙂
A family crisis arises, a serious one, and Sylvie thinks it’s the worst that could affect a marriage. Not her fault that she jumped to a conclusion. She did ask Dan questions!
Favorite quote: page 376 Love. Forever. Please.


Fitness Junkie

Fitness JunkieFitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun and funny, Janey Sweet is thrown into the plight of the temporarily unemployed by her unfeeling business partner – is this even allowed? – for being overweight and nibbling a “bruffin” (brioche muffin/sounds delish) while representing their bridal wear company on camera during a fashion show.
Janey does some soul searching as well as fitness class searching while contemplating what she wants to do with her life.
Will she comply with Beau’s wishes and her actual contract stipulations and lose 30 pounds in three months?
Does she even want to continue to work with Beau, who is mean and controlling and weighs his food at restaurants?
Lots of name and fashion dropping in this book.
Lots of poking fun at outrageous food and fitness fads, too.


The Trespasser

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6)The Trespasser by Tana French

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely love the well-developed glimpses we get into what’s going on inside Antoinette Conway’s thoughts. Like this description of the Murder Squad room, by our author, through Conway’s eyes: “Murder works out of the grounds of the Dublin Castle, smack in the heart of town, but our building is tucked away a few corners from the fancy stuff the tourists come to see, and our walls are thick; even the early morning traffic out on Dame Street only makes it through to us as a soft undemanding hum. The jumbles of paperwork and photos and scribbled notes left on people’s desks look like they’re charging up, thrumming with action waiting to happen. Outside the tall sash windows the night is thinning towards a chilled gray; the room smells of coffee and hot radiators. At that hour, if I could overlook all the ways the night shift blows, I could love the squad room.” And we know Conway loves her job, despite the royal shit her squad mates give her, the stuff harassment is made of.

Conway and victim Ainslinn Murray have something in common, something that helps Conway look at this case from the victim’s viewpoint and analyze her thought process.

Conway and Steve Moran work well together until they don’t. Boss Breslin is happy about the break in their congenial work relations. Some things are afoot. Good murder detectives, like Conway and Moran, don’t give up.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you Goodreads and St. Martins Press for an advance reader’s copy of this book.

Grace thinks she is marrying the perfect man, a successful, handsome attorney who dotes on her sister, Millie, who has Downs Syndrome and has invited her to live with them.

Everything is “perfect” until the wedding…and the honeymoon. Then Grace’s nightmare begins.

The author presents an I-can’t-put-this-book-down-plot, which is a very quick read! Grace’s thought-process and the book’s dialogue are stiff, however. It often seems as if Grace is presenting us with lists of things (my daughter-in-law’s words) that have happened instead of letting us in on her life.

Millie is the one character who seems to come alive. Perhaps it’s because she gives Grace the courage and conviction to do what she must do? And Millie is one smart young woman.

The ability for us to believe what Esther does for Grace in the end should be a little more supported, I think, with extra incidents – several interactions with Grace would make her action plausible.


Dear Daughter

Dear DaughterDear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful novel about a 16 year-old who was convicted of killing her mother. After ten years in prison, she is released on a technicality. She did NOT do it and is hell-bent on finding the real killer.
Ok, so how can this be an enjoyable novel? The character, of course! She’s funny, as she fills us in on her re-adjustments to life on the outside, how she has set up her fake persona. There’s more to her than that, though.
Oh, and she’s brilliant!

The Widow

The WidowThe Widow by Fiona Barton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Told from four points of view and spanning almost four years, from the time of the kidnapping to just after the death of Glen Taylor, the story jumps from person to person and back and forth in time.
The Widow – Jean portrays herself in a sort of fog – on purpose, you ask? I picture her as frumpy but The Detective once describes her as small and pretty. Jean Taylor’s story is told in first person. Even as Jean reveals her own story, I wonder what the truth is. Author Barton keeps us in suspense.
The Reporter – a savvy, assertive reporter/journalist, Kate notices details. Kate Waters has the ability to talk to the subjects of her stories as people, as if they are having conversations with her. This enables her to draw information from her subjects. She works for the Daily Post. Kate is married to a supportive oncologist; they have two children.
The Detective – Bob Sparkes is experienced and tenacious. He is married with grown children. His wife knows Bob is too close to this case. Bob is haunted by Bella.
The Mother – Dawn Elliott is the young, single mum, who is kind of sleepwalking through her life. While online in chat rooms, since she can’t go out with friends, she unwittingly places her two-year-old in danger, because she doesn’t keep details about her daughter private. 

The Girl in the Red Coat

The Girl in the Red CoatThe Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We know there will be a kidnapping. What we don’t know is who will do it, nor why. Kidnappers are sometimes stupid; kidnappers are sometimes cunning and conniving.

Alternating chapters tell the story from Beth’s and Carmel’s perspectives. I think this helps soften the harshness of the kidnapping – not letting the reader’s imagination run wild. This also shows us two tenacious females who undergo some amazing character development.

Good for Carmel for continuing to try to wear red!

Parents, tell your children that kidnappers lie and what they lie about!!!