The Sea Gate

The Sea Gate

Author:  Jane Johnson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 416
On Sale: January 5 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, WWII
Stars: 3/5

From the Publisher:

A broken family, a house of secrets—an entrancing tale of love and courage set during the Second World War.

After Rebecca’s mother dies, she must sort through her empty flat and come to terms with her loss. As she goes through her mother’s mail, she finds a handwritten envelope. In it is a letter that will change her life forever.

Olivia, her mother’s elderly cousin, needs help to save her beloved home. Rebecca immediately goes to visit Olivia in Cornwall only to find a house full of secrets—treasures in the attic and a mysterious tunnel leading from the cellar to the sea, and Olivia, nowhere to be found.

As it turns out, the old woman is stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her house is made habitable again. Rebecca sets to work restoring the home to its former glory, but as she peels back the layers of paint and grime, she uncovers even more buried secrets—secrets from a time when the Second World War was raging, when Olivia was a young woman, and when both romance and danger lurked around every corner…

A sweeping and utterly spellbinding tale of a young woman’s courage in the face of war and the lengths to which she’ll go to protect those she loves against the most unexpected of enemies.

From Me:

I have conflicting feelings about this book. The dual timeline was well done and I didn’t get too lost when the chapters flipped perspective, but I felt a lot of it just kind of plodded along. The characters felt real and believable, but it wasn’t until into the second half that things really came together and it became harder to put the book down. Rebecca felt a bit weak and flimsy at first, but she definitely became a stronger person as time goes on.

The Edge Of Belonging

The Edge Of Belonging

Author: Amanda Cox
Publisher: Fleming H Revell Company
Pages: 384
On Sale: September 8 2020
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Christian
Stars: 4/5

From the Publisher:

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.


From Me:

I don’t seek out Christian Fiction, but this book was so subtle that I didn’t even realize it was until I read other reviews.  The characters were all very detailed and unique, and the dual-timeline was really well done as well.  It varies between Harvey finding a baby in 1994 and coming to terms with being loved and wanted, and present day Ivy coming home to a funeral after leaving an abusive relationship.  The book mentions a lot of hardships and struggles that some people may find triggering, but I felt they were well handled and acknowledged.  The characters showed a lot of strength and realism and it was clear that Amanda Cox understands people and has done her research.

The Haunting At Bonaventure Circus

The Haunting At Bonaventure Circus

Author: Jaime Jo Wright
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Pages: 352
On Sale: September 1 2020
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Historical Fiction
Stars: 4/5

From the Publisher:

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

From Me:

I was not familiar with Jaime Jo Wright’s work before this, but I will definitely be seeking her out.  This story was split between 1928 and present day and each story was very well written and could easily have stood on its own instead of being combined.  I enjoyed the mystery of the circus and the trials they were going through with the protestors, I also found The Watchman to be extremely creepy in a Scarecrow sort of way.  The present day story had a single mom struggling to balance work & her son, on top of a ghost story and mystery of her own.  Overall I really enjoyed both halves and how they came together.

Three Perfect Liars

Three Perfect Liars

Author: Heidi Perks
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 336
On Sale: June 9 2020
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Stars: 3/5

From the Publisher:

From the author of Her One Mistake , hailed as “chilling, captivating” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda, comes a riveting new suspense novel about three ambitious women whose lives are turned upside down in the aftermath of a horrifying fire, which destroys a successful advertising agency and threatens to expose a tangled web of lies.

Laura has returned to work at Morris and Wood after her maternity leave, only to discover that the woman she brought in to cover for her isn’t planning on going anywhere. Despite her close relationship with the agency’s powerful CEO, Harry Wood, she feels sidelined—and outmaneuvered—as she struggles to balance the twin demands of work and motherhood.

Mia was only supposed to be a temporary hire at Morris and Wood, but she’s managed to make herself indispensable to everyone. Everyone, that is, except Laura. If people only knew why she was so desperate to keep her job, they might not want her to stay.

Janie gave up everything to support her husband and the successful agency he runs. But she has her own dark secret to protect…and will go to any lengths to keep it safe.


From Me:

I enjoyed this book and there was nothing wrong with it, but it didn’t blow me away. It had a gentle, meandering plot and I liked that the perspective kept switching between the three women. At each chapter we are given a bit of the police report with the other staff of agency and I found it definitely helped to draw suspense and show the tension between the different parties. Overall I wasn’t able to guess most of the secrets and the ending did catch me by surprise, it just wasn’t the roller coaster that I had expected.

Cinderella Is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead

Author: Kalynn Bayron
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Pages: 400
On Sale: July 7 2020
Genre: Fantasy, YA, LGBT, Retellings
Stars: 5/5

From the Publisher:

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.


From Me:

I thought this book was perfect and I loved every second of it.  I found it to be really original and a bit spooky, and while a bit of it was predictable the characters really stood out and had their own personalities.  It was intense enough that I couldn’t stop reading, but not so fast paced that I was exhausted by the end.  I would love to see a sequel about how their changes are working out.

Outsider

Outsider

Author: Linda Castillo
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 320
On Sale: July 7 2020
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Stars: 3/5

From the Publisher:

Linda Castillo follows her instant New York Times bestseller, Shamed, with Outsider, an electrifying thriller about a woman on the run hiding among the Amish.

Chief of Police Kate Burkholder’s past comes back to haunt her when she receives a call from Amish widower Adam Lengacher. While enjoying a sleigh ride with his children, he discovered a car stuck in a snowdrift and an unconscious woman inside. Kate arrives at his farm and is shocked to discover the driver is a woman she hasn’t seen in ten years: fellow cop Gina Colorosa.

Ten years ago, Kate and Gina were best friends at the police academy, graduating together as rookies with the Columbus Division of Police. But the reunion takes an ominous turn when Kate learns Gina is wanted for killing an undercover officer. Gina claims she’s innocent, that she was framed by corrupt officers who want her gone because she was about to turn them in for wrongdoing.

Kate calls upon state agent John Tomasetti for help and with a blizzard bearing down, they delve into the incident. But no one wants to talk about what happened the night Gina allegedly gunned down a fellow cop. Even Tomasetti is stonewalled, his superior telling him in no uncertain terms to back off.

With whisperings of corruption and the threat of rogue cops seeking revenge, Kate and Gina hunker down at Adam Lengacher’s farm. As Kate gets closer to the truth, a killer lies in wait. When violence strikes, Kate must confront a reality that changes everything she thought she knew not only about friendship, but the institution to which she’s devoted her life.


From Me:

I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and I was really impressed.  I have not read the rest of the series but I felt this did great as a standalone.  The book started with a lot of excitement and then it built up towards the finale very well.  Kate seems like a really well put together character and I look forward to picking up the previous books in this series to learn more of her back story.  Also, being set among the Amish community was a refreshing change of pace from the other mysteries and thrillers I have read lately.