Abandoned by Allison Brennan

Overview

Investigative reporter Max Revere has cracked many cases, but the one investigation she’s never attempted is the mystery from her own past. Her mother abandoned her when she was nine, sending her periodic postcards, but never returning to reclaim her daughter. Seven years after the postcards stop coming, Martha Revere is declared legally dead, with no sign of what may have happened to her. Until now.

With a single clue―that her mother’s car disappeared sixteen years ago in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay―Max drops everything to finally seek the truth. As Max investigates, and her mother’s story unfolds, she realizes that Martha teamed up with a con man. They traveled the world living off Martha’s trust and money they conned from others.

Though no one claims to know anything about Martha or her disappearance, Max suspects more than one person is lying. When she learns the FBI has an active investigation into the con man, Max knows she’s on the right path. But as Max digs into the dark secrets of this idyllic community, the only thing she might find is the same violent end as her mother.

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan weaves the intimate, unputdownable story of an investigator confronting the most important–and most dangerous–mystery of her career.

Review

Max is an investigative reporter and she is on the biggest case of her life….finding out what happened to her mother, Martha Revere. Max’s mother left her with her grandmother when she was just a small girl. Max received several postcards from her through out her life. Then the postcards just stopped. Max wants to know why!

Max is a no nonsense, get the job done, lady! When she sets her mind to something she is going to see it through. Martha Revere is the complete opposite of her daughter. She is a fly by night, could care less kind of person. Martha is a con artist…a rich con artist. She is living off her trust fun money and traveling the world. And where this lands her? Try art theft!

I love this tangled web of deceit created by Martha. She is no dummy. She cons a con and that is hard to do. This puts her in hot water. Max is slowly unraveling Martha’s exploits. This puts Max in more danger than she cares to admit! Plus, it leads her to find out something she never expected.

This is a lightening fast read with great characters and a great mystery. Allison Brennan has written tons of books. I cannot believe I have missed her! How?!? She is now on my list!

I received this novel from Minotaur Books via Netgalley for a honest review.

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Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

Overview

New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her.

Review

Jenny is a talented artist with a huge secret. She moves to NYC to escape her past. But as you can imagine, her past comes back to haunt her in very unusual ways. Jenny is a complex character. She only paints in monochromatic. She refuses to paint in color. When she is chosen to be an studying artist at the Louis Comfort Tiffany’s artist colony, she opens her mind and her heart to color and to love.

I love everything about this story. The history surrounding Tiffany, his mansion and his glass company is captivating and unique. I love a book that has me googling! I also enjoy the way M.J. Rose always weaves mysticism in her stories. This time it is with Ouija boards and Thomas Edison’s spirit phone and yes…I googled that too and it did exist!

Toward the end of this book, I just kept reading faster and faster. Some jewelry came up missing. Well, of course they blamed Jenny, because of her past. She was in a reform school for a crime she did not commit. See! You have got to read this book to find out! So, I could not let her suffer again…I had to read faster to get her out of this mess. I so enjoy books that keep you moving and gasping for air.

M.J Rose has out done herself with this book. I never thought she would come close to The Book Of Lost Fragrances . She is very skillful in her storytelling. She weaves history, mystery, love and family into a tangled web of intrigue and complete enthrallment!

She is one author I would love to sit down and have a cup of coffee and pick her brain. No telling what stories she can tell.

I received this novel from Atria Books via Netgalley for a honest review.

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The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

Overview

In her latest captivating novel, nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis takes readers into the glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public’s disdain for a “woman artist.” Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded–even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter–Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they’ll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay’s life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece–an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

Review

This novel follows two women, Virginia and Clara. Both are amazing! Clara is a young woman in the 1920’s. She becomes a famous illustrator…in the 1920’s, an awesome feat! Virginia is learning to be a divorced, single mom in the 1970’s. When Virginia discovers the abandoned art school in Grand Central Terminal, it leads her on a path unlike any other.

Clara and Virginia both are unique women determined to make their way in this world. They both struggle to make a go at it. Clara trying to be an artist/illustrator. And Virginia is just trying to survive after her marriage has fallen apart. I loved both of these characters, especially Clara. Or maybe I just enjoyed her time period better.

Y’all! This book!!! This book is super! It grabs you from the first word and never lets you go! The history is abundant and the mystery surrounding Clara is completely captivating.

This novel is inundated with rich details of the Grand Central Terminal. Makes me want to go back and explore. This story is superbly written and well researched. I fell in love with the characters and the setting. I could go on and on…riveting, captivating…but you get the idea!

I received this novel from the publisher via Netgalley.

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She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

Overview

When twin sisters Rose and Bel Enright enroll in The Odell School, a prestigious New Hampshire boarding school, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. But the sisters could not be more different. The school brings out a rivalry between them that few ever knew existed. And the school itself has a dark underbelly: of privileged kids running unchecked and uninhibited; of rituals and traditions that are more sinister than they seem; of wealth and entitlement that can only lead to disaster.

For Sarah Donovan, wife of an ambitious teacher who is determined to rise through the ranks, Odell also seems like the best thing that could happen to their small family. But how well does she really know her husband? What lengths will he go to to achieve his goals? And when one dark night ends in murder, who is guilty, who knows the truth, and who has been in on it all along? SHE WAS THE QUIET ONE. Because murderers are almost never who you expect.

Review

Rose and Bel are twins.  They have recently lost their parents and their grandmother has come into their lives.  She moves them to a boarding school, an exclusive and expensive boarding school in New Hampshire. Soon after they arrive, their rivalry begins.

I am really not a fan of either twin.  They work way too hard to fit in, especially surrounded by all these rich brats. Then, there is Sarah and Heath. They are in charge of the students living in their dorm. Scandal follows theses two all through this story. It reaches beyond a fever pitch. Then….you guessed it…someone is murdered.

I enjoyed this story. The anticipation of who did it and why really keeps you coming back for more. I just really disliked these characters. The girls were whiney and don’t get me started on Heath! This read more like a young adult read. But, it does grab you and keep you!

I received this novel from St. Martin’s press for a honest review!

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Set the Night On Fire by Laura Trentham

Overview

Cottonbloom is the perfect place for starting over, finding your way back home–and falling head over heels. . .

Ella Boudreaux has a lot to prove to her family, friends, and foes–and to herself. So when her marriage ends she decides to invest her energy and money into a place that brings back some of Ella’s happiest memories: the Abbott brothers’ garage. Maybe, if she puts her mind to it, she can teach skeptical, stubborn Mack Abbott how to make the business a true success. Which would be a lot easier if the hunky mechanic didn’t make her motor run quite so fast…and hot.

Mack was furious when his brother, Ford, sold his share of the business. He’s in no rush to team up with a wealthy divorcee who shows up to the garage in stilettos–and the longest, sexiest legs he’s seen in forever. But Ella’s grit and determination won’t quit…and soon Mack can see that she’s been down a few rough roads herself. Neither Mack nor Ella can deny the fierce attraction that’s revving up between them. Could it be that true love has been in the backseat all along…and they’ve finally found the key?

Review

Cottonbloom is a town split between the Louisiana and Mississippi state line. I am always attracted to books set in the south. I jumped on this one when I ran across it.

Ella has moved to Cottonbloom to start over from a terrible divorce. She has purchased part ownership in a garage…yes you heard me right, a garage. Mack and his brothers are the other owners of this garage and Mack is NOT HAPPY with this situation.

I LOVED MACK! He is my favorite type of romance stud. He is the strong, silent type. After a rocky start with Ella, he becomes her knight is shining armor and she helps save him right back. Mack find his estranged mother and his older brother to help heal old wounds. Ella learns to stand up to her horrible ex-husband. With Mack and Ella as a team….they definitely heat up the pages quite nicely.

There is nothing new in this romance. It is the same as most romances. But, sometimes you just need a good one as a palate cleanser. I was in a rut and this book helped pull me out. The fantastic characters are what makes this story wonderful.

This is the sixth book in a series. I have not read any of this series and it did not affect the story at all. As a matter of fact, I have not read any books by this author. I will be adding her to my list! No Doubt!

I received this novel from the publisher via Netgalley for a honest review.

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In the Vines by Shannon Kirk

Overview

Family ties so strong you can’t escape…

Mary Olivia Pentecost, known as Mop, was born into one of the wealthiest families in the country—and one of the most guarded. Now, two years after her mother’s mysterious death, Mop is seeking closure on the disquieting tragedy by returning to the New England seaside estate of her cloistered Aunty Liv—once her closest relative and confidante.

But behind the walls of the isolated estate, the shadows of the past are darker than Mop imagined. The puzzles of the family history are not to be shared, but unearthed. With each revelation comes a new, foreboding threat—and for Mop, the grave suspicion that to discover Aunty Liv’s secrets is to become a prisoner of them.

How well do we know the people we love? How well do we wantto know them? The answers are as twisted as a tangle of vines in this throat-clutching novel of psychological suspense.

Review

Every character in this book is NUTS! I don’t even know where to start. Mop (Maria Olivia Pentecost) is from an extremely wealthy family. When her mom dies tragically and her aunt shoves her aside, she becomes lost. This does little to describe this strange family. Like I said….I don’t even know where to start. And Mop is the sane one!

This story is confusing, especially in the beginning. It has lots of flash backs with different narrators. Usually this does not bother me. But the way this one is laid out it became disorienting. However, there is something about this storyline which keeps you reading. Who did it? Who is the woman in the barn? Who is the woman chasing them? Lots of unanswered questions keep you glued to this book.

I fluctuated between 3 and 4 stars. But this story is so riveting it deserved 4 stars!

I received this book from Netgalley for a honest review.

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