The Long Call (A Two Rivers #1) by Ann Cleeves

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Pages: 382

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: September 3, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.

My Review:

The Long Call is my first Ann Cleeves book and the first in a new series. I admit the first 30% or so was so slow. Mainly because of the introduction of all the characters. Once I got that under my belt I flew through the book.

I get the same feeling I do when reading The Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. A dark, brooding detective that is quietly processing the crime and when he speaks you listen. He doesn’t waste words on unimportant things.

Perfect for fans of mystery and suspense. No detailed sex scenes but there are talks of rape. If you prefer not to read about LGBTQ characters this probably is not the book for you. The main character is gay.

I’m looking forward to continuing The Two Rivers series.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaimen

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Pages: 181 (Library Book)

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: 2013

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First, let me say I had to read this for my library’s summer quest program. I am not a big reader of the Fantasy genre. I can count on one hand how many Fantasy books I have read in my lifetime.

Second, why three stars? It did not keep my interest (probably because it was fantasy). The first half I soared through but trudged through the last half. I could not wrap my head around what was happening. People that have been around for thousands of years but never age, creepy people who want to harm you entering through a hole in your foot, and all kinds of weird things that happen.

All I can say it is reading time I will never get back to read another book. Neil Gaimen may be a fantastic writer but he is not for me.

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

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Pages: 448 (eBook)

Publisher: Random House Publishing

Published: February 13, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sylvie and Dan have married for ten years and are the couple who finish each others sentences and know what the other is thinking before they speak. They are the quintessential couple. After a trip to the doctor they panic and their lives as they know it start to unravel. Dan becomes more and more angry as Sylvie and starts closing himself off to Sylvia. Sylvie thinks more about her deceased dad which angers Dan more. Fights happen more and jealousy starts. Their plan to surprise each other to spice things up brings more surprises than either anticipates. Will the biggest surprise tear Sylvie’s world apart or can she and her marriage come back stronger and better than ever?

My rating was almost a 3 star rating but the last quarter of the book saved it. Even though the book is about Sylvie and Dan, Sylvie is the main character and she starts off as a whiney brat that I just wanted to smack. I don’t condone smacking someone but she needed it. Heaven forbid things did not go as planned as she was hell on wheels. Her husband had a lot more patience than I would have as even her friend.

I was not too keen on how they looked at “long-term” marriage. They almost viewed it as a death sentence. Are you telling me they seriously did not think about this before saying I do. Did they not think about their age and how long they could possibly live and do the math and think wow, we could be married for 68 years? Personally my goal is to be married as long as my grandparents will be in April of this year which is 70 years (impossible for us unless we live to be in our 120s).

As I mentioned above the last quarter of the book saved it for me. There is a moment that Sylvie has with her neighbor John that changes everything…” Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating. […] And so…not an achievement, my dear […] Rather, a privilege.” I find this one moment in the book the most romantic moment in the book. I hope it moves you as much as it did me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for a copy to read and review using my own honest thoughts and opinions.

 

Still Me (Me Before You #3) by JoJo Moyes

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Pages: 388 (Hardcover)

Publisher: Viking, An Imprint of Penguin Random House

Published: January 30, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Louisa Clark has taken the job as a personal assistant to a NYC rich housewife and she is in for a fast paced learning experience of what it is like to live in NYC. As she starts making friends with everyone from the grouchy next door neighbor in the building to the owners of a local retro clothing shop she starts learning who she really is and starts moving on from the depression that overtook her after Will’s death. When her year is up what will Lou decide: go back home across the pond or stay in NYC?

I was hesitant to start the third book in the series since I was so disappointed in the second but I really wanted to know what happened when she moved to America. Am I ever so glad that I did read this book. It was wonderfully funny and heart wrenching at times as I followed Louisa through her time as a personal assistant. She has a lot more class than I would have had at one point (you will see what I am talking about when you read the book). I got to watch her grow into herself as she started coming out of the depression fog from Will’s death and started making friends and going out on dates. It was great to see her start taking an interest in her quirky clothing again as that is when you really see her come alive. The stripy tights make a great comeback! How can you not love her stripy tights?

My suggestion: only start this book when you have time to read it in one sitting as it was so hard to put down and not think about while working. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. If you read Still Me and are hesitant like I was to start Still Me take the plunge I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Kale to the Queen (A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery #1) by Nell Hampton

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Pages: 288 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: April 11, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Carrie Ann has decided to follow her dream of becoming a personal chef and moving from Chicago to London to become the Royal family’s personal chef at Kensington Palace. In following her dream she leaving the love of her life behind. Once Carrie Ann gets settled at Kensington Palace she accidentally discovers a body in the greenhouse attached to her kitchen. For Carrie Ann this is a shock and a nuisance. Now she has to move to Chef Butterbottom’s kitchen, a chef who dislikes her without knowing her. Will a surprise visit from her love convince her to return home to America or will the murder mystery be enough to keep her in London?

I have totally fallen in love with this series. Books that are based on anything culinary make me a happy reader. What is not to love as you have new recipe ideas given to you as the reader that make you want to jump up and start creating in your own kitchen. You experience the tastes and smells when the writer is great at explaining those tastes and smells. You experience the happiness the recipient of the food experiences. Nell Hampton does all that in each book of this series. I’ve never been one much for wanting to try British food but this series has made me want to experiment.

You do have a small love triangle (not my favorite thing in books) but it is more of a side note at this point than a main story line. I will say I want Ian to win. He makes me swoony reading about him.

I am happy that I did not figure out the murder suspect until it is was revealed. Nell Hampton does an excellent job in not letting clues reveal themselves too soon.

This series is definitely one I am putting high on my list to keep up to date with as they are released.

Lord of the Pies (A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery #2) by Nell Hampton

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Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: April 10, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Carrie Ann Cole is enjoying her role as Chef at Kensington Palace to Kate, William and the kids. She has been asked to cook for the bridal shower of her best friend’s sister. Unfortunately, someone did not fair so well later that night. The next morning a waiter if found face first in her lemon meringue pie. All eyes look to Carrie. Can she clear her name before another body is found?

I have not read the first book in the series, Kale to the Queen, but you can guarantee that I will be very soon. I have fallen in love with Kensington Palace and the chefs. Carrie Ann is a spunky American who seems to find herself in quandaries quite often. Luckily for her she has Chief Ian to rescue her when needed. Chief Ian is the head of security at Kensington Palace. It is strongly hinted that there may be a romance brewing between Ian and Carrie. Only time will tell. Hopefully by the time the romance does brew the gardener, Jasper, will have blown away with the wind. Yes, as you can tell I am not a fan of Jasper’s.

I was totally surprised at the conclusion as I had guessed who the killer was incorrectly. To me that makes a perfect cozy mystery. I do not like to figure out the who and why too early as it ruins the book for me.

If you are a foodie you will enjoy this book as it talks about the different types of pies between America and Britain. There are recipes in the back of the book if you would like to try cooking some of the food mentioned.

Get you a spot of tea and curl up by the fire and immerse yourself in a warm mystery for a cold night.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a copy in exchange for my honest review in my own words.