Miss Janie’s Girls

⭐⭐⭐

Carolyn Brown

A bittersweet reunion becomes a time for looking back and starting over in a heartwarming new novel from New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown.
Miss Janie is at the end of a long and full life, but she has no intention of crossing that finish line until she’s found her girls…

It’s been ten years since Teresa and Kayla shook off the dust of Birthright, Texas, went their separate ways, and never looked back. Apart from their foster mom, Miss Janie, they don’t have many fond memories of their hometown. Or of each other. Still, neither can forget the kind woman who opened her home and heart to two teenagers in need.

When a private investigator—who just happens to be Miss Janie’s handsome nephew—tracks them both down and tells them Miss Janie is dying, Teresa and Kayla know deep down that they’ve got to be there for her as she had been there for them.

With Teresa and Kayla together again under the same roof, old tensions may flare, but with Miss Janie’s help, they might rediscover that home is the perfect place for new beginnings.
My Thoughts:This was enjoyable and quick to read while I traveled. A lot of it was about perspective, how our past can shape us, hold us back, or propel a person forward. The chains of the past are pretty heavy for Teresa and Kayla. They come home reluctantly, and embarrassed, about where life has led them and the choices they’ve made. It’s Miss Janie’s, the only positive mother figure they have ever known, dying wish to have her girls home again. We journey with them as they discover truths about themselves, their past and find the courage to trust again. A light, clean read with a happily ever after ending. 

Return to Virgin River

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Robyn Carr

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

My Thoughts:

It is hard to top the first few books in the Virgin River series. I fell in love with Mel and Jack, Preacher and Paige, and Brie and Mike and loved it when I could visit Virgin River again through Kaylee’s eyes. Kaylee has lost her mom and has a complicated relationship with her dad. She’s come to Virgin River to grieve and to hopefully write again. But life is what happens when you are busy making plans! 
This is a stand alone book, but readers who are not familiar with the series will be a little lost with all the names and couples that are referenced. I *have* read the whole series and I occasionally had to reference previous books so I could remember who was being talked about.  Kaylee’s and Landry’s story was lovely to read. It was believable and I was pretty surprised by the bump in their road to romance. The only thing that I didn’t find to be believable was how fast Kaylee got over her fear of dogs. But that is getting pretty picky. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a light read or an escape to the pine scented mountains of Virgin River. 

A big thank you to #RobynCarr, #Mira, and #NetGalley for providing a free Advance Reader Copy in exchange for this honest review.
#ReturntoVirginRiver

The Silence

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Kendra Elliot

General Fiction / Romance

288 pages

Published by August 25, 2020 by Montlake

A man is savagely murdered outside Portland, and Detective Mason Callahan finds blood-spatter evidence that tells a troubling story. Files reveal the murder victim, Reuben Braswell, was a radical conspiracist. In his home, investigators find pages of diatribes against law enforcement as well as ties to Mason’s fiancée, FBI special agent Ava McLane. The victim was her informant—and had strong reasons to be paranoid.

To Ava, Braswell’s rants were those of a wearying and harmless man…until they collide with her investigation into the murders of police officers and finding the connection becomes urgent. Meanwhile, Braswell’s brother and Ava’s twin sister both disappear, and disturbing acts of sabotage target Ava’s personal life.

For Mason and Ava, the brutal crimes and escalating mysteries create a perfect storm for a terrorist conspiracy that becomes dangerously personal—one that has yet to claim its last victim.

My Thoughts:

I love Kendra Elliot’s books. Ever since I read her author bio and found a fellow Trixie Belden fan I made it a point to read all her books and I’ve never been disappointed. 
Mason and Ava are back in the 5th book of the Callahan & McLane series and the 2nd book in the Columbia River series. I alternately listened to the audio book and read it on my kindle. It was good enough that when I didn’t have time to sit and read anymore I turned on the audio so I could continue with the story. ** there are some f-words so if you have little ears paying attention you may want to use earbuds.** 

Jayne is up to her usual tricks, the wedding is nearing, and they have a killer and cop killer to hunt down. But Mason and Ava are always there for each other.  Ms. Elliot skillfully wove the clues through the story so I alternately was sure I knew who the culprit was and then had doubts about my theory. It was worth the loss of sleep when I got to the end and quietly shouted “I knew it!”

Fans who like a murder mystery with some light romance will be happy with the book. 

Dead Heat

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Patricia Briggs

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal–or at least it starts out that way…

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire. 

My Thoughts:

I love the world of Anna and Charles so much! This is the 4th book in the Alpha & Omega series and Ms. Briggs is so talented at pulling you into their world from the very first sentence. Even though this is the second time I have read this book I couldn’t go to sleep last night until I had finished. There is so much good about their relationship, the give and take, consideration they have for each other. The friendship between Charles and Joseph just melts my heart. The lesson Charles learns at the end of the book just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how old you are, there are still things life can teach you. 

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Samantha Verant

Published September 8, 2020 by Berkley  

A disgraced chef rediscovers her passion for food and her roots in this stunning novel rich in culture and full of delectable recipes. French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she’s dreamed of.
Until her career goes up in flames.

Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.


My thoughts:
I was hooked from the first sentence and finished the book the same day I started it. I really liked it. The book starts out with Sophie on top of the world only to find it crashing down on her moments later. When she was betrayed by her coworker, I took it a little personally myself as well and was emotionally invested in her from then on. I loved following her journey that began with self doubt and celebrated each success with her as she redefined herself as a chef and person. The story bogged down a bit when she was wallowing in self pity and a few times I did feel impatient with her. But once you are past that, the story picks up and starts flowing again. The descriptions of the food are gorgeous and as someone who loves to cook, I really enjoyed the foodie parts of the book.

A big thank you to #SamanthaVerant, #Berkley, and #NetGalley for providing a free Advance Reader Copy in exchange for this honest review.