Monthly Archives: April 2014

Title: Season of the Witch
Author: Natasha Mostert
Publication Date: April 19, 2007

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Mystery. Suspense. The paranormal. A murder? Season of the Witch has it all. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I picked it up off of NetGalley. I don’t have any prior experience with the author, but it seemed interesting and worth a read. And it definitely proved to be well worth it.

Gabriel is approached by an old friend from his past to investigate the disappearance of her stepson, Robert. It seems like a simple enough assignment until he quickly finds himself immersed in the world of the Monk sisters – two mysterious and beautiful women who have much more lurking below the surface than he could ever have imagined. But what really happened to Robert? And will Gabriel figure it out in time to save others from danger?

It’s rare that I read a mystery and find myself going back and forth and guessing right up until the final reveal. I had bits and pieces figured out, but there are enough twists in the story that just when you think you know the fully answer, you quickly find out that it’s just not quite right.

Very highly recommend this for anyone interested in mystery, especially with a touch of the paranormal and some romance thrown in as well.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: The False Prince
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publication Date: April 1, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
I’d been looking forward to reading this for quite a while – I don’t even know how long it sat on by ‘to read’ list – and, thankfully, it did not disappoint. I’m going to do my best to avoid any spoilers whatsoever in sharing my thoughts on the book because the story builds in such a way that I think giving too much detail in any area would ruin some of the suspense and the twists that happen throughout the book.

Nielsen is a great writer. This is an easy and fun read – one I found it very difficult to put down at pretty much any point. The only reason it’s a 4-star book instead of a 5-star is because I’m still finding myself working to process one of the major plot points to decide how I really feel about it. That said, I definitely plan to pick up the second book wen I get a chance to see where the story goes from here.

Title: If It Ain’t Love
Author: Tamara Allen
Publication Date: August 25, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Whit Stoddard is a down-on-his-luck reporter during the Great Depression. Despite everything, he’s managed to stay upbeat and remained hopeful. And one night a chance encounter makes it seem like those hopes might be fulfilled by Peter, a man he meets at a shelter. But there’s something different about Peter, and Whit isn’t really sure what to make of him. Is Peter too good to be true? Can they work through the realities of their separate pasts?

A short read, I found this to be a well-written and endearing story. It’s easy to be drawn into the story and to connect quickly with the characters. There’s a world built here despite the short length and Tamara Allen does a great job weaving everything together.

Title: The Handyman
Author: Claire Thompson
Publication Date: August 19, 2008

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Will Spencer, needing a break from his high-stress trading job on Wall Street and his up-all-night and a different man every night lifestyle in the city, has taken a six-month sabbatical and purchased an old house in Scarsdale to get away from it all. To occupy his time, he’s decided to fix up the old house, which is need of renovations.

Enter Jack Crawford, a 44-year-old handyman Will hires to help with his kitchen. There’s something about Jack that will finds immediately intriguing and even though he knows Jack is straight and has two sons, he simply can’t seem to get it out of his head.

But what if Will knew there was more to Jack and he was having a hard time getting Will out of his head, too…

A fairly quick and easy read, I found this to be an enjoyable story. There’s depth to both of the main characters that develops throughout the book both through memories of their past and their interactions with other people in their lives. Claire Thompson does an excellent job of illustrating the challenges both characters go through – mental, emotional, and physical – as they confront and come to terms with something neither of them expected.

I can very much understand why so many people have recommended this book and I certainly plan to join that happy chorus!

Title: The Man on the Third Floor
Author: Anne Bernays
Publication Date: November 16, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
In the post-World War II era of McCarthyism, Walter Samson, a very successful editor with a picture-perfect family (loving wife, adoring son and daughter) has little worry in the world. Until one day Barry Rogers shows up in his office and awakens a whole part of Walter he never knew existed. Spurred by his passion, he not only takes up a clandestine relationship with Barry, he goes so far as to move him into the servants’ quarters of his home so they can be closer together. While constantly at risk of being found out, Walter tries to juggle his double life at home with his career.

I really enjoyed this book. The writing flows rather well – it’s written in a first-person narrative style and it’s easy to feel like Walter is right there telling you his story. There are some interesting twists and turns in the path the story takes and I think it’s easy for the reader to find themselves conflicted between frowning on Walter’s duplicity and truly feeling for the circumstances of the era in which he lived. Bernays has created a very believable world that makes the characters – to use her own words about one of the authors Walter discovered – “not so much realistic as real.”

I would have personally liked to see more of the private moments in Barry and Walter’s relationship, but what it lacks in that area doesn’t detract from the story or what I see as the primary purpose of the narrative, so I can’t fault the book at all on that front. Recommended for those interested in historical fiction, m/m romance, and stories focusing on LGBT issues.

Title: A Tale of Two Daddies
Author: Vanita Oelschlager
Publication Date: April 1, 2010

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
I had always been curious about these types of children’s books that attempt to explain families made up of same-sex parents to children. Since I saw this available on NetGalley, I decided to request it and give it a read. Surprisingly simplistic, it does a good job of pointing out that family is family and that the most important thing is that someone is there for you, often without regard to that person’s gender or ‘traditional’ family role.

I think this would be helpful for younger children, but I think older children might need something with a bit more depth or explanation of the family dynamic.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)