I hope you enjoy these mini-reviews. These books were all provided by the publisher upon my request. The ratings, ideas and opinions shared are my own. They have all been languishing on my TBR for different lengths of time and my goal this summer to try and read books that I have had for awhile.
I am continuing to enjoy the Jazzi Zanders Mystery series. In this outing, Jazzi and Ansel are happily married. Ansel’s brother, Radley decided to stay in River Bluffs, Indiana. He is moving into his own apartment, in the same building as his supervisor, Donovan. While they are moving his stuff, the oldest brother, Bain, shows up to try and convince Radley to come home. Unfortunately, Donovan ends up being shot with Bain’s gun, taken from his truck. Bain is told he is not to leave River’s Bluff as he is the main suspect of the murder. Jazzi needs to find out who killed Donovan, so Bain can go back to the farm. As I said before, I really like Jazzi. She is likable, smart, a great cook, dedicated to her friends and family and loves her job. She works with the police detective, as people tell her things they won’t say to him, but she does not put herself in danger, normally. There are a lot of twists to this mystery as well as a couple of deaths/murders/assaults, making it a bit more dangerous than many cozies I have read. I had figured out who the culprit was and the final reveal was eventful, but not unexpected. I enjoyed meeting the new characters in this story who I hope we will see more of as the series proceeds, as well as some of the regulars from the previous books. These stories can be read as standalone books as far as the mystery goes, but you will miss some characters development along the way. Overall, a fun, well-paced cozy with great characters.
The Line Between: A Novel (The Line Between #1) by Tosca Lee
Probably not the best book to read during the Covid-19 pandemic, but I did enjoy this complicated story. This is not a genre I normally read, but I was looking for a medical thriller for the popsugar challenge and I am glad I came upon this one.
Wynter Roth, her sister Jaclyn and her mother fled to the doomsday cult known as “New Earth” 15 years ago. They were hiding from their abusive father. Jaclyn thrived in the compound, finally marrying Magnus Theisen, the handsome, charismatic leader, and bearing him a daughter. Wynter does not conform completely often being punished for her behavior. Their mother died shortly after arriving, but the girls do not know what she has died from. When Magnus begins to groom Wynter to be his next wife, she begins to panic. For some reason, she is allowed to leave and contacts her mother’s best friend from their previous life and she goes to live with them. Shortly after she returns to her past life, many people begin to develop “Early Onset Dementia” but become very dangerous. Whatever is causing it seems to be an epidemic that no one can determine the cause of a cure. Besides that, power begins to turn off all around the US. What is going on and is New Earth responsible in some way? I loved Wynter as a narrator and main protagonist. She was smart, savvy and still vulnerable. There were moments where I thought how does she know that, being as she lived most of her life in a cult, but the story was so fast moving by that point, that it didn’t derail anything. I have read a few stories dealing with cults over the last couple of years, and this one was interesting and well written. I liked that there weren’t people getting killed if they didn’t follow the rules, they were actually kicked out. The pandemic story was quite interesting. I found that it was believable and quite scary. I do not want to give the story away, so I will just say that this was a well-written story using flashbacks to develop a great background to the situation. I can definitely see this one becoming a movie, perhaps after the situation we are in now is over.
The Simple Wild (The Simple Wild #1) by K.A. Tucker
Calla Fletcher was born in Alaska but her mother could not deal with living in the remote, cold area. She moved them back to Toronto when she was only two years old. Her husband and bush pilot, Wren Fletcher, refused to go with them, so eventually she divorced him and remarried. Calla used to talk to her father regularly until she was 14 and he didn’t show up for her graduation after promising he would be there. Calla is now 26 and received a phone call from Alaska telling her that her father has cancer and this might be her last chance to see her father. She decides to go and see him after a discussion with her psychologist stepfather. When she arrives, she is met by one of her father’s employees, Jonah, in a tiny plane that is too small to take her luggage. There is one disappointment after another, until Calla finally relaxes, gets to know her father and his friends and lets her guard down a bit.
The setting of Alaska is as much a character in this story as Calla, Wren and Jonah. I loved the descriptions of this remote area. Learning about the planes and how they are the lifeline for the various remote communities was very interesting. Calla had a lot of growing to do. She lived a pampered life in Toronto and she had to realize that there was more to life than lattes and fancy clothes. In fact, she didn’t have her clothes for most of her time there. Getting reacquainted with her dad wasn’t easy. It took some time, and gradually they came to understand each other. I liked the relationship she has with her mother and stepfather. She really relied on him for advice and guidance, which he didn’t really give her, he just provided her a sounding board. Then there is Jonah. He is ill-tempered, sneaky and rude to Calla for a large portion of the book, but they also reach an understanding that eventually becomes even more. There are some great themes in this book. It touches on family, both blood and chosen, cancer, grief and forgiveness. Of course there is also a slow, burning romance. I really enjoyed this story. I found it very realistic and believable. With well-developed characters, even the secondary ones, a nice pace and great plot, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I recommend it to those who enjoy reading about a different place, different lifestyle, families, healthy issues and romance.
Misfits (Royal Academy Rebels #1) by Jen Calonita
Royal Academy Rebels is a spinoff from Jen Calonita’s Fairy Tale Reform School series. I have been enjoying that series and thought I would give this one a try. I have to say that I did not enjoy this one as much, but it was still a good read. The protagonist in this series is Devin. She is from royal lineage and has been invited to attend the Royal Academy. She has the ability to communicate with animals and that is something that is very important to those who rule Enchantasia. She does not want to be there, has refused to read the princess manual she was sent and is a bit of a rebel. Of course, this causes problems to those running the school, specifically Headmistress Olivina, a fairy godmother.
Devin is a sarcastic, lovely and likeable character. She is not the normal or average princess, but immediately attracts a following. There is a lot of action in the story right from the start and secrets to be revealed. There are some interesting fairytale elements added into the plot. I do like the idea of girl power. She does not want to be rescued by a prince, but takes the bull by the horns when there is a problem. This is a good MG story showcasing that women can save themselves, they do not need to depend on men. It is also just a fun read.