Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bread and Butter

Michelle Wildgen

Britt and Leo have spent ten years running Winesap, the best restaurant in their small Pennsylvania town. They cater to their loyal customers; they don't sleep with the staff; and business is good, even if their temperamental pastry chef is bored with making the same chocolate cake night after night. But when their younger brother, Harry, opens his own restaurant—a hip little joint serving an aggressive lamb neck dish—Britt and Leo find their own restaurant thrown off-kilter. Britt becomes fascinated by a customer who arrives night after night, each time with a different dinner companion. Their pastry chef, Hector, quits, only to reappear at Harry's restaurant. And Leo finds himself falling for his executive chef-tempted to break the cardinal rule of restaurant ownership. Filled with hilarious insider detail—the one-upmanship of staff meals before the shift begins, the rivalry between bartender and hostess, the seedy bar where waitstaff and chefs go to drink off their workday—Bread and Butter is both an incisive novel of family and a gleeful romp through the inner workings of restaurant kitchens. (from Netgalley)
My Thoughts

I enjoyed this story about three bothers - Britt, Leo and Harry. I thought the author did a great job balancing typical sibling rivalry with traditional love of family. The three men each have their own distinctive personalities and it was fun spending time with them. The behind the scenes look at the restaurant business was pretty entertaining and provided a few laugh out loud moments.

Many thanks to Doubleday, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Waiting for Wednesday

A Frieda Klein Mystery

Nicci French

Nicci French’s Blue Monday and Tuesday’s Gone introduced the brilliant yet reclusive psychotherapist Frieda Klein to widespread critical acclaim, but Waiting for Wednesday promises to be her most haunting case yet.

Ruth Lennox, housewife and mother of three, is found dead in a pool of her own blood. Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson can’t piece together a motive and calls in Frieda, hoping her talents will offer a new angle on the case.

When it emerges that the mother was hiding a scandalous secret, her family closes ranks. Frieda herself is distracted, still reeling from an attempt on her life, and struggling with her own rare feelings of vulnerability. Then a patient’s chance remark sends Frieda down a dangerous path that seems to lead to a serial killer who’s long escaped detection. Is Frieda getting closer to unraveling either case? Or is she just the victim of her own paranoid, fragile mind? Because, as Frieda knows, every step closer to a killer is one more step into a darkness from which there may be no return . . .(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

A young housewife and mother is murdered in her home. On the surface, it looks like she had the perfect life. But all it takes is for Freida Klein to get even remotely involved and that perfect life doesn’t look so perfect anymore. On top of this, Freida is trying to put her own life back together after the tragedy that ended book number two. She also is investigating the disappearance of a young girl.

Whew - there was alot going on in this story. I really like this main character, Freida Klein. I’ve said it before, she’s like a dog with a bone. Once she starts down a certain path, as she does with the disappearance of a young girl, there is just no turning her back. The author did a great job of weaving all these different story threads into a very enjoyable mystery. I am always looking forward to the next book in the series.

My thanks to Penguin Group/Viking, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Waking the Dead
Heather Graham

In the case of Ghosts in the Mind by Henry Sebastian Hubert, that's more than just an expression. This painting is reputed to come to life—and to bring death. The artist was a friend of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, joining them in Switzerland during 1816, "the year without a summer." That was when they all explored themes of horror and depravity in their art….

Now, almost two hundred years later, the painting appears in New Orleans. Wherever it goes, death seems to follow.

Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn, occasional partners in solving crime, are quickly drawn into the case. They begin to make connections between that summer in Switzerland and this spring in Louisiana. Danni, the owner of an eccentric antiques shop, and Quinn, a private detective, have discovered that they have separate but complementary talents when it comes to investigating unusual situations.

Trying to blend their personal relationship with the professional lives they've stumbled into, they learn how much they need each other. Especially as they confront this work of art—and evil. The people in the portrait might be dead, but something seems to wake them and free them to commit bloody crimes. Cafferty and Quinn must discover what that is. And they have to destroy it—before it destroys them (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Strange murders are happening in New Orleans, and Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn hook up to try to solve them. Could the murders be related to a piece of artwork titled The Case of Ghosts in the Mind by Henry Sebastian Hubert? The painting was done in 1816 when the artist was spending time with Lord Byron and Mary Shelley.

I love Heather Graham’s story telling. She always comes up with unique ideas for the premise of her tales. The book has some quirky characters who work with Danielle and Michael to solve the unusual murders. There were some good spooky moments and it was a lot of fun to read.

My thanks to Harlequin, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


A Novel

Carol Cassella

Dr. Charlotte Reese works in the intensive care unit of Seattle’s Beacon Hospital, tending to patients with the most life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Her job is to battle death—to monitor erratic heartbeats, worry over low oxygen levels, defend against infection and demise.

One night a Jane Doe is transferred to her care from a rural hospital on the Olympic Peninsula. This unidentified patient remains unconscious, the victim of a hit and run. As Charlotte and her team struggle to stabilize her, the police search for the driver who fled the scene.

Days pass, Jane’s condition worsens, and her identity remains a mystery. As Charlotte finds herself making increasingly complicated medical decisions that will tie her forever to Jane’s fate, her usual professional distance evaporates. She’s plagued by questions: Who is Jane Doe? Why will no one claim her? Who should decide her fate if she doesn’t regain consciousness—and when?

Perhaps most troubling, Charlotte wonders if a life locked in a coma is a life worth living.

Enlisting the help of her boyfriend, Eric, a science journalist, Charlotte impulsively sets out to uncover Jane Doe’s past. But the closer they get to the truth, the more their relationship is put to the test. It is only when they open their hearts to their own feelings toward each other—and toward life itself—that Charlotte and Eric will unlock Jane Doe’s shocking secret, and prepare themselves for a miracle.

Filled with intricate medical detail and set in the breathtaking Pacific Northwest, Gemini is a riveting and heartbreaking novel of moral com­plexity and emotional depth. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

This is the story of Charlotte, Eric, Raney and Bo. We meet Dr. Charlotte Reese as she accepts responsibility of a Jane Doe who was the victim of a possible hit-and-run. The patient’s injuries are serious and life threatening. Charlotte has been in a relationship with Eric for several years. For some reason she can’t figure out, they seem stuck in one place and can’t seem to move their relationship forward.

When we first meet Raney and Bo, they are very young teenagers, both somewhat misfits, and they form a very close bond. The basis of Gemini is Charlotte trying to find out what happened to her Jane Doe. We follow then Raney’s life from early teen through early middle age. At first I kept wondering - how will these characters connect? But oh, how they do.

This book is ultimately a love story, but the trip we take to get to the end is filled with heartache and sadness. The author moves the story quietly along as Charlotte works to be a voice for her patient until hopefully she can be identified and family can be found.

It did not take long for me to get caught up in this mesmerizing story. The author’s writing is descriptive and magical. She really digs deep into the psyche of her characters and I couldn’t help but become attached to both Charlotte and Raney. Ms Cassella is a MD, and she writes the medical pieces of this story in clear, understandable laymen’s terms. Honestly, I thought this story was beautiful.

My thanks to Simon & Schuster, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read yhis in exchange for an unbiased review.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Safe With Me

Amy Hatvany

The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. A year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose fifteen-year-old daughter, Maddie, survived only because Hannah’s daughter had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.

The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Once on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him in the wake of the transplant that saved their daughter’s life. Meanwhile, Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: the Internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to return to school, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape.

A masterful narrative shaped by nuanced characters whose delicate bonds are on a collision course with the truth, Safe with Me is a riveting triumph. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

This story is told in three voices. Hannah, a single Mom who loses her daughter Emily due to a tragic accident and ultimately decides to donate her organs. She is trying to come to terms with her loss and move her life forward. Maddie, the recipient of Emily’s liver. She has been sick for so long that she struggles with trying to live her new life as someone with good health. And finally, Olivia, Maddie’s Mom who is trapped in an abusive marriage. She wants to find a way to leave her husband, but circumstances keep this from happening.

I thought each of these characters were portrayed very realistically. I liked the way the author slowly brought these three women together. The story line really builds the suspense. There were no easy answers for any of the three, and towards the end I was worried for all of them. All in all, this was a very enjoyable read.

Many thanks to Atria, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.