Friday, July 3, 2020

No One Saw

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~



Synopsis:  Detective team A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan are back on their beat after solving the brutal Baywood serial killings, but crime doesn’t rest for long in their small Wisconsin town. In book two of Beverly Long’s electrifying A.L. McKittridge series, NO ONE SAW (MIRA Mass Market Paperback; June 30, 2020; $7.99), a child seemingly vanishes from a day care into thin air and A.L. and Rena must race to bring her home before time runs out.
Baywood police department detective A.L. McKittridge is no stranger to tough cases, but when five-year-old Emma Whitman disappears from her day care, there isn’t a single shred of evidence to go on. There are no witnesses, no trace of where she might have gone. There’s only one thing A.L. and his partner, Rena Morgan, are sure of—somebody is lying.
  
BUY LINKS:

Excerpt: One

With a week’s worth of mail in one hand, A.L. McKittridge unlocked his apartment door with the other. Then he dragged his carry-on suitcase inside, almost tripping over Felix, who had uncharacteristically left his spot by the window where the late afternoon sun poured in. He tossed the collection of envelopes and free weekly newspapers onto his kitchen table and bent down to scratch his cat. “You must have missed me,” he said. “Wasn’t Rena nice to you?”
His partner had sent a text every day. Always a picture. Felix eating. Felix taking a dump. Felix giving himself a bath. No messages. Just visual confirmation that all was well while he was off in sunny California, taking a vacation for the first time in four years.
I can take care of your damn cat, she’d insisted. And while he hadn’t wanted to bother her because she’d have plenty to do picking up the slack at work, she was the only one he felt he could ask. His ex-wife Jacqui would have said no. His just turned seventeen-year-old daughter, Traci, would have been willing but he hadn’t liked the idea of her coming round to an empty apartment on her own.
Baywood, Wisconsin—population fifty thousand and change—was generally pretty safe but he didn’t believe in taking chances. Not with Traci’s safety. She’d been back in school for just a week. Her senior year. How the hell was that even possible? College was less than a year away.
No wonder his knees ached. He was getting old.
Or maybe it was flying coach for four hours. But the trip had been worth it. Tess had wanted to see the ocean. Wanted to face her nemesis, she’d claimed. And she’d been a champ. Had stood on the beach where less than a year earlier, she’d almost died after a shark had ripped off a sizable portion of her left arm. Had lifted her pretty face to the wind and stared out into the vast Pacific.
She hadn’t surfed. Said she wasn’t ready for that yet. But he was pretty confident that she’d gotten the closure that she’d been looking for. She’d slept almost the entire flight home, her head resting on A.L.’s shoulder. On the hour-plus drive from Madison to Baywood, she’d been awake but quiet. When he’d dropped her off at her house, she hadn’t asked him in.
He wasn’t offended. He’d have said no anyway. After a week together, they could probably both benefit from a little space. Their relationship was just months old and while the sex was great and the conversation even better, neither of them wanted to screw it up by jumping in too fast or too deep.
Now he had groceries to buy and laundry to do. It was back to work tomorrow. He grabbed the handle of his suitcase and was halfway down the hall when his cell rang. He looked at the number. Rena. Probably wanted to make sure he was home and Felix-watch was over. “McKittridge,” he answered.
“Where are you?”
“Home.”
“Oh, thank God.”
He let go of his suitcase handle. Something was wrong. “What’s up?” he asked.
“We’ve got a missing kid. Five-year-old female. Lakeside Learning Center.”
Missing kid. Fuck. He glanced at his watch. Just after 6:00. That meant they had less than two hours of daylight left. “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

The Lakeside Learning Center on Oak Avenue had a fancier name than building. It was a two-story building with brown clapboard siding on the first floor and tan vinyl siding on the second. There wasn’t a lake in sight.
The backyard was fenced with something a bit nicer than chain link but not much. Inside the fence was standard playground equipment: several small plastic playhouses, a sandbox on legs and a swing set. The building was located at the end of the block in a mixed-use zone. Across from the front door and on the left were single-person homes. To the right, directly across Wacker Avenue, was a sandwich shop, and kitty-corner was a psychic who could only see the future on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
A.L. took all this in as he beached his SUV in a no parking zone. Stepped over the yellow tape and made a quick stop to sign in with the cop who was at the door.
everybody who entered and exited the crime scene.
Once he was inside, his first impression was that the inside was much better than the outside. The interior had been gutted, erasing all signs that this had once been the downstairs of a 1960s two-story home. There was a large open space to his right. On the far wall hung a big-screen television and on the wall directly opposite the front door were rows of shelves, four high, stacked with books, games and small toys.
It was painted in a cheery yellow and white and the floor was a light gray tile. There was plenty of natural light coming through the front windows. The hallway he was standing in ran the entire length of the building and ended in a back door.
There was a small office area to his left. The door was open and there was a desk with a couple guest chairs. The space looked no bigger than ten feet by ten feet and was currently empty.
He sent Rena a text. Here.
A door at the far end of the hallway opened and Rena and a woman, middle-aged and white, dressed in khaki pants and a dark green button-down shirt, appeared. Rena waved at him and led the woman in his direction. “This is my partner, Detective McKittridge,” she said to the woman. She looked at A.L. “Alice Quest. Owner and director of Lakeside Learning Center.”
A.L. extended a hand to the woman. She shook it without saying anything.
“If you can excuse us,” Rena said to the woman. “I’d like to take a minute and bring Detective McKittridge up to speed.”
Alice nodded and stepped into the office. She pulled the door shut but not all the way. Rena motioned for A.L. to follow her. She crossed the big room and stopped under the television.
“What do we have?” he asked.
“Emma Whitman is a five-year-old female who has attended Lakeside Learning Center for the last two years. Her grandmother, Elaine Broadstreet, drops her off on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:15 and 7:30.”
Today was Wednesday. “Did that happen today?”
“I have this secondhand, via her son-in-law who spoke to her minutes before I got here. It did.”
The hair on the back of A.L.’s neck stood up. When Traci had been little, she’d gone to day care. Not at Lakeside Learning Center. Her place had been bigger. “How many kids are here?” he asked.
“Forty. No one younger than three. No one older than five. They have two rooms, twenty kids to a room. Threes and early fours in one room. Older fours and fives in the other. Two staff members in each room. So four teachers. And a cook who works a few hours midday. And then there’s Alice. She fills in when a staff member needs a break or if someone is ill.”
Small operation. That didn’t mean bad. “Where are the other staff?”
“Majority of the kids get picked up by 5:30. According to Alice, she covers the center by herself from 5:30 to 6:00 most days to save on payroll costs. Emma Whitman is generally one of the last ones to be picked up. Everybody else was gone tonight and she’d already locked the outside door around 5:45 when the father pulled up and pounded on the door. At first, she assumed that somebody else had already picked up Emma. But once Troy called his wife and the grandmother, the only other people allowed to pick her up, she called Kara Wiese, one of Emma’s teachers, who said that Emma hadn’t been there all day. That was the first time Alice had thought about the fact that the parents had not reported an absence. She’d been covering for an ill staff member in the classroom that Emma is not assigned to.”
Perfect fucking storm.
Excerpted from No One Saw by Beverly Long, Copyright © 2020 by Beverly Long. 
Published by MIRA Books
Author: Beverly Long
ISBN: 9780778309659
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books



Beverly Long’s writing career has spanned more than two decades and twenty novels, including TEN DAYS GONE, the first book of her A.L. McKittridge series. She writes romantic suspense with sexy heroes and smart heroines. She can often be found with her laptop in a coffee shop with a cafe au lait and anything made with dark chocolate by her side. 
Social Links:
Twitter: @BevLongBooks
Instagram: #BeverlyLong


Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Head Over Heels

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~


Synopsis (from Amazon):  Named a best beach/summer read by O, The Oprah MagazineCosmopolitanParadePopSugarMarie ClaireBustle, and more!

From the author of the Love at First Like and Playing with Matches, an electrifying rom-com set in the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics, full of Hannah Orenstein’s signature “charm, whimsy, and giddy romantic tension” (BuzzFeed).


The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jasmine Guillory, Head Over Heels proves that no one “writes about modern relationships with more humor or insight than Hannah Orenstein” (Dana Schwartz, author of Choose Your Own Disaster).


One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Head Over Heels is great story and very timely in todays world. Avery returns home after a hard break up with her pro football player boyfriend.  She needs to decide what to do with her life.  All she knows is gymnast.

Taking a job at her old gym as a gymnast coach to an olympic hopeful, she confronts difficult people from her past.  Stands up to her old coach who was extremely abusive.  Avery becomes a very strong women!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I enjoyed Love At First Like.  I would like to read Playing With Matches.


Hannah Orenstein is the author of Playing with Matches and Love at First Like, as well as the senior dating editor at Elite Daily. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Seventeen.com. She lives in New York.


Share/Bookmark

Friday, June 26, 2020

Sisters by Choice

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~


Synopsis (from Amazon):  From the New York Times bestselling author of California Girls comes an all new original Blackberry Island novel told with Susan Mallery’s trademark humor and charm. Sisters by Choice is a heartfelt tale of love, family and the friendships that see us through.

Cousins by chance, sisters by choice…

After her cat toy empire goes up in flames, Sophie Lane returns to Blackberry Island, determined to rebuild. Until small-town life reveals a big problem: she can’t grow unless she learns to let go. If Sophie relaxes her grip even a little, she might lose everything. Or she might finally be free to reach for the happiness and love that have eluded her for so long.

Kristine has become defined by her relationship to others. She’s a wife, a mom. As much as she adores her husband and sons, she wants something for herself—a sweet little bakery just off the waterfront. She knew changing the rules wouldn’t be easy, but she never imagined she might have to choose between her marriage and her dreams.

Like the mainland on the horizon, Heather’s goals seem beyond her grasp. Every time she manages to save for college, her mother has another crisis. Can she break free, or will she be trapped in this tiny life forever?

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Sisters by Choice has a mix of strong and weak characters.  The strong characters are Sophie and Kristine.  I loved how Sophie learned to let go of duties and rely on people she hired to do the job.  I loved her transformation.  Kristine was my hero.  She wanted to start her own business and claim something as her own.  Her husband was not supportive of her at all and left for awhile hoping to force her to give up her dream.  She didn't….I loved how strong she was and he finally came around.  Heather was weak but finally learned how to stand up to her mother and take control of her life.  Her mother was not a good person and blamed everyone around her for her hardships.  

I really enjoyed how the three main characters helped each other become better people.  I would love to have cousins that close to me in my life.  Very much enjoyed Sisters by Choice and happy I got to read another Susan Mallery this summer.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Last summer I had the pleasure of reading The Summer of Sunshine and Margot so I was excited to have the opportunity to read another Susan Mallery book this summer.  She has a ton of books I would love to read.






#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives―family, friendship, romance. She's known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.



Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

What's In Your Beach Bag?



For the past two summers I have posted What's In Your Beach Bag?  The first year (2011), I didn't do so well.  I still have 5 books out of 14 that I haven't read.  Still on my bookshelf though.  

Last year, it took my until fall to finish my list.  I read all 11 books on last year's list and posted 10 reviews.  One book is still with the publisher and I have been ask to hold on the review until there is release date. Here's to doing better in 2020!

Leave me a comment letting me know at least one of the books you plan on reading this summer.  I love book suggestions.



Here is what is in my beach bag this summer.  

1.  The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'neal

2. Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell



3. The Little Book Shop of the Siene by Rebecca Raisin

4. The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley



5.  Behind the Red Door by Megsn Collins

6. Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel



7. Beach Read by Emily Henry

8. Liberation by Imogen Kealy



9. A Little Bit of Grace by Phoebe Fox



10. The Search Party by Simon Lelic

11.  One Hundred Daffodils by Rebecca Winn






Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

I Was Told It Would Get Easier

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~





Synopsis (from Amazon):  Squashed among a bus full of strangers, mother-daughter duo Jessica and Emily Burnstein watch their carefully mapped-out college tour devolve into a series of off-roading misadventures, from the USA Today bestselling author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. 

Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it's a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she's sure she even wants to go to college, but let's ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?

For Jessica, it's a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn't even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn't sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers--and two familiar enemies--Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I Was Told it Would Get Easier is a perfect book for this time of year.  Summer time is a great time for college visits….well it used to be.  I guess we are doing them virtually.  

Mother and daughter on tour of colleges with a bus full of strangers gives them both lots of time to think about life.  Jessica is a lawyer and threatened to leave if the firm didn't promote one of her mentees. However, during the college trip and visiting friends and old flames makes her realize that she is in need of change.

Emily is struggling with a scandal at school and whether she even wants to go to college. As the drama at school unfolds Emily confides in her mother.  The strained relationship between Jessica and Emily seems to disappear little by little as the make their way through the college visits

The thoughts that Emily had regarding her mother and her work really hit home with me. I work long hours and am often pulled to work.  It made me stop and think, do my kids feel/think the same way. It really had me stopping, reflecting and having wonderful discussions with my children. 

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  My favorite book is The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.  But I enjoy all her books: Other People's House and The Garden of Small Beginnings. All are great reads!



Abbi Waxman is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman, who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband.



Share/Bookmark

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Husband Material

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~




Synopsis (from Amazon):  A young widow must face the grief she’s always set aside when an unexpected delivery throws her life into disarray

Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.

Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.

But when her quest reveals a shocking secret, Charlotte is forced to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at a new life arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Charlotte has been a widow for five years and still hasn't moved on with her life.  When her dead husband's ashes end up on her doorstep she is forced to start healing.  Part of the healing is finding out all sorts of things about her dead husband.  By learning to forgive and how to be more trusting of others, she opens up her mind and heart.  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love Eightysixed and Hot Mess.




Emily Belden is a journalist, social-media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novels Hot Mess and Husband Material, and of Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals.



Share/Bookmark

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Always the Last to Know

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~




Synopsis (from Amazon):  Sometimes you have to break a family to fix it.

From New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins, a new novel examining a family at the breaking point in all its messy, difficult, wonderful complexity.


The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other...who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters-- Barb's favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John's darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn't be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.

Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.

Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad--and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she's spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks. 

And now Barb and John will finally have to face what's been going on in their marriage all along.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Always the Last to Know is a great story of the dynamics of family.  Barb knew her marriage has been over for years.  Just as she is getting up the nerve to end it, her husband John has a stroke.  While at the hospital waiting for word on how John is doing, she finds out he has been having an affair. 

Julie, the perfect and highly successful daughter is hiding in closets having panic attacks. She is struggling with her mentee at work and the fact that she saw her father with his mistress and is keeping it from her mother. 

Sadie is her father's favorite daughter and a free-spirit.  She comes home from New York to care for her father.  She ends up falling in love and has to decide whether to stay or go back to New York.

All three ladies go through their own discoveries and come out even stronger in the end.  Always the Last to Know was a good read!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I have read Life and Other Inconveniences.  There are a ton of her books I would like to read. 


Kristan Higgins is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children and dogs. If you want to know when Kristan's next book will be out and hear news of her appearances, subscribe to her mailing list at www.kristanhiggins.com.





Share/Bookmark