Welcome to another TTT! How are you doing? I don’t even know how long I’ve been self-quarantining and staying home at this point, but it’s been at least 7 months by now right? I hope you’re healthy, and if you’re unable to stay home I hope you’re staying safe. This week’s topic is a fun change of pace. I’m keeping it bookish, but book-free. What bookish qualities do you possess that make it obvious to everyone who knows you that you’re a book lover? I got a little help from my family on this one, and we had a lot of fun!
1. If I’m not reading books, I’m talking about them. My mom told me I spend at least 50% of our time together talking about a book I’m reading or pushing her to read books I love.
2. I spend an insane amount of time researching books. I will admit that I can very easily fall down the rabbit hole and into the land of books. I’ve spent hours searching online for books that have certain tropes, settings, or elements that I’m in the mood for. Recently, I wanted to find books set in creepy buildings and I researched this for hours. I posted to Twitter asking for recs, I googled the topic in the hopes of finding lists or reviews of books like this, and I studied and read about each recommendation that was given to me. HOURS. I’ve done this with Gothic novels, romances set in Italy, romances set on ships, non-erotic romantic suspense, etc.
3. I’ve been known to spend entire DAYS organizing my Goodreads shelves. I’m not kidding, and it seems like such a waste of time when I look at myself through the eyes of people who don’t understand. But it’s necessary to my sanity and my happiness!
4. I’m obsessed with bookish merchandise. I’m not a collector of merchandise related to specific books here. I’m talking about merch related to books and reading in general. Anything with a book on it, and I’m a goner. I’ve got a bookish Christmas ornament collection, for example. If you know me at all, I’m sure this will come as no surprise to you.
5. When I travel, I scope out which bookstores I have to visit. I can’t tell you how many BAMs I went to on my family’s road trip down south a few years ago (Books-A-Million does not exist where I live).
6. Book mail is the best mail. It’s so exciting!
7. I spend way too much time curating themed book lists for trips and holidays.
8. My physical therapist asks me what I’ve been reading lately. Actually, everyone I know does.
9. I have a lot of book hangovers. I get super attached to characters, and when the book ends it feels like a real loss.
10. I go to bookstores to look at the books I’ve only read digitally because I never got to hold them in my hands. I like seeing the covers and if they’re textured or shiny. I like seeing how thick they are and what the layout looks like inside.
Are you like me at all? lol. Do we have any of these in common? What makes you an obvious book lover to your friends and family?
All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?
The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?
This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.
I’ve always thought going to a Renaissance Faire sounded like a lot of fun, so I was immediately drawn to this title that predominately takes place at one. The story is just as adorable as the cover! As always, my main points are bolded.
1. I will admit that it took me a little while to get into this one. Things moved slowly as Emily settles in to take care of her sister, April, and her niece, Caitlin, after they were in a car accident. Emily tries to find her footing in a new town, recover from a bad relationship, and find new direction in her life. She ends up being roped in to Renn Faire and the first part of the book is mostly practicing for Faire, hating on Simon, and slowly making friends. It wasn’t heavy (or even semi-heavy) on the romance at all until about halfway through, but hang in there because you’ll love it once it starts.
2. Simon and Emily each have baggage they’re carrying around, so it makes complete sense that they don’t like each other so much in the beginning. Simon is living in the shadow of his older brother, the founder of the town’s Renn Faire, since he died of cancer. He’s bitten off way more than he can chew, and is living a rather unfulfilling life. He plays a pirate at Faire, and I love that part of his personality. He’s able to let go of everything and have fun when he pulls on his black leather costume, and Emily and I both fell for him as we saw more of that side and less of his grumpy, frazzled side. He can also be incredibly romantic. Emily has come out of a really toxic relationship recently, and doesn’t know where her life is heading once summer is over. I really liked how authentic and down-to-earth she was. I also love the devotion she feels to her sister, and the bond she shares with her niece.
3.There are actually a lot of really fun platonic relationships in this book. Emily’s family relationships are so sweet. She’s also got Chris, the queen of Renn Faire as well as the owner of the bookstore Emily is working at. Then there’s her Faire friends, Mitch and Stacey, that she meets up with for pizza on Sunday nights after Faire is over for the week. I loved all of these secondary characters so much. Mitch in particular is so funny. He wears a kilt without a shirt during Faire and has the cockiest personality. But he’s also mushy and sweet to his friends. And Stacey is the sweetest best friend type.
4. I loved Renn Faire. The descriptions of what it looked and sounded like were so amazing that I felt transported to the woods and felt like I was the one watching the jousts and hearing the characters speak in their period language. The costumes, food, music, and set-up all sounded like so much fun.
5. The romance is so sweet. At one point, Simon decides he’s going to give Emily her first proper wooing and it’s so wonderful that I was giddy from it. These two have such great chemistry, and they also have this special bond that goes deeper and allows them to help each other through their issues.
All in all, I loved Well Met! It was the perfect mash-up of fantasy and reality, friendships and romance, and light-hearted fun that punches you in the feels. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series!
Welcome to another TTT! I hope you’re hanging in there through all the craziness of life right now, and that you’re staying safe and healthy. This week’s prompt allows us to share lists related to our favorite genres. This should be a lot of fun, and I’m sure that I’m going to find a ton of books to add to my TBR!
Romantic suspense is my favorite genre, but I have such a hard time finding good books because I’m not into erotica or paranormal. Those seem to be all too common, and meh. Today I’m going to share ten that I hope to read soon. If you have any recommendations for books you think I might like in this genre, please share them in the comments!
Hostage Negotiators can talk themselves out of anything—except falling in love.
FBI Supervisory Special Agent Dominic Sheridan is an accomplished expert in the Crisis Negotiation Unit. Practiced, professional, used to dealing with high-stake situations under tense conditions, Dominic is a master at manipulating people. Everyone, that is, but the headstrong rookie agent bent on destroying her fledgling career.
As a child, Ava Kanas put her life on the line when the mob executed her father. Now someone has killed her mentor, the man who inspired her to become an FBI agent—and she’s the only one who recognizes it was anything but a tragic accident.
When another agent is murdered and Dominic nearly dies, it becomes obvious a serial killer is targeting the FBI. Together Dominic and Ava search for clues in the investigation, all the while fighting a forbidden attraction that will complicate everything, especially when the predator sets their sights on Ava.
After a sudden tragedy blew her world apart, Peyton Kerr fled her big city career and started over in Stoney Creek, Maine. So far, she’s loving small-town life–no one knows about her past, and her easy flirtation with Boone Knight gives her a reason to smile. But then someone is murdered in Peyton’s store, and her quiet, anonymous existence is instantly destroyed. To make matters worse, Boone–a police detective–is assigned to the case, and Peyton knows she can’t keep him at arm’s length any longer. She’s resisted the simmering heat between them–but now this gorgeous man is promising to keep her safe–and satisfied…
Boone Knight doesn’t want the complications of a relationship. But when he volunteers to protect his town’s newest–and sexiest–resident, he finally admits he’d like to explore their sizzling attraction. And after one incredible night, everything changes for Boone. Peyton is sweeter–and braver–than anyone he’s ever met, and with her in his arms, everything makes sense. He just needs to convince her to trust him enough to reveal her secrets, or risk losing her to a merciless killer who seems to grow bolder with each passing day.
An edgy female police detective… An ambitious FBI special agent. Together they are at the heart of the ticking-clock investigation for a psychopathic serial killer. The bond they forge in this crucible sets the stage for high-stakes suspense.
Detective Kara Quinn, on leave from the LAPD, is on an early morning jog in her hometown of Liberty Lake when she comes upon the body of a young nurse. The manner of death shows a pattern of highly controlled rage.
Meanwhile in DC, FBI special agent Mathias Costa is staffing his newly minted Mobile Response Team. Word reaches Matt that the Liberty Lake murder fits the profile of the compulsive Triple Killer. It will be the first case for the MRT. This time they have a chance to stop this zealous if elusive killer before he strikes again. But only if they can figure out who he is and where he is hiding before he disappears for another three years. The stakes are higher than ever before, because if they fail, one of their own will be next…
Dumped on the eve of her wedding and looking for a quiet place to lick her emotional wounds, Maggie Harris joins her sister on Solace Island, where she hopes to recover from the stunning betrayal. At first, Maggie resists Eve’s impassioned argument about relocating permanently so the sisters can open their own local bakery. What she definitely doesn’t need on her road to recovery are Eve’s efforts to fix her up with their mysterious and alluring neighbor, Luke Benson–even if he is incredibly handsome and desirable.
Just as Maggie starts to get comfortable in her new surroundings, a car tries to run her down in the middle of the street. If it weren’t for Luke’s extremely quick reflexes, Maggie could have been killed, leading her to wonder just who exactly Luke Benson really is…
Luke thought he’d left the violence of the high risk security world behind. But he can’t stand by while Maggie’s life is threatened. Luke will do anything to keep her safe–even moving Maggie and her sister into his house with its state-of-the-art security features. But with the secrets between them and an unknown threat stalking her heels, Luke will have to think fast to prove to Maggie that she can trust him with her life–and with her heart.
He’s strong. Fierce. Relentless.
And he may be her only chance of surviving the night.
Gray Box operative Castle Kinkade always gets the job done, no matter how tough the assignment. But when he agrees to protect white-hat hacker Kit Westcott, Castle’s loyalty is tested like never before. Trapped in the closest of quarters, protective instincts flaring, he can feel the ice surrounding his heart melt…and he knows he’d do anything to keep Kit safe.
Even defy the rules that shaped his life.
Castle is the last person Kit should confide in, let alone be attracted to, but he’s the only ally she has left. Under threat of imminent attack—and a chilling conspiracy that hits too close to home—Castle and Kit are forced to put their hearts and lives on the line…and stop at nothing to face the greatest danger the world has ever known.
With his lethal skills and criminal connections, former British agent Quincy Radcliffe has fast become a key asset at the newly formed Stark Security. But Quincy isn’t the man he appears to be.
When the woman whose body he once worshipped and whose heart he broke pleads for his help, Quincy knows he must either turn his back on her or risk revealing his dark secrets to the one woman who can—and will—tear open his old wounds.
For years, struggling actress Eliza Tucker has tried to forget the decadent weeks she shared with Quincy Radcliffe. His smoldering good looks had drawn her in, while his British charm had enchanted her. But it was the wildness of his seduction and the ferocity of his passion that captured her. She’d given herself to him—and he’d shattered her like glass when he’d walked away.
Now, he’s the only person who can help find her missing sister. She’ll use him because she has too. She’ll pay any sensual price he demands. But she won’t fall for him again.
On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.
That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.
Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.
It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.
Angel Smith is ready to leave Antarctica for a second chance at life. But on what was meant to be her final day, the research station is attacked. Hunted and scared, she and glaciologist Ford Cooper barely make it out with their lives…only to realize that in a place this remote, there’s nowhere left to run.
Isolated in the middle of a long, frozen winter with a madman at their heels, they must fight to survive in the most inhospitable—and beautiful—place on earth. But the outside world depends on what Ford and Angel know and, as their pursuers close in and their new partnership burns bright and hot, they will stop at nothing to make it out of the cold alive.
Growing up in True, Alaska, the only truth I knew was that Delilah Campbell was an arrogant pain in my ass. She was also my everything, and still haunts my every waking moment.
I don’t have a single memory that doesn’t include Lie, and I can still taste her, even though Alaska’s no longer big enough for the both of us. After our savage breakup, I fled, chasing my dream and becoming a decorated Green Beret. Ten years later, one bad jump propelled me straight from Special Forces back home, guiding rich idiots into the wilderness, where I struggle to keep them from getting themselves killed. It’s not the life I planned, but at least I’m not behind a desk somewhere.
Then one night, my cell rings, shattering my peaceful existence.
“Connor,” I’d recognize her voice anywhere, and it’s like I’m sixteen again, crazy in love and cocky as hell after finding all those gold bars everyone’s been searching for since before we were even born.
I want to tell her to go to hell and throw my phone in the river, but it seems Delilah’s visceral grip on me is permanent.
A Corpse That Only Leads to Secrets.
An Old Flame with Danger Written all over Her.
Things Are about to Get Very Complicated.
When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer’s boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.
The already volatile situation is complicated even further by the arrival of Gabby Rowley–Finn’s boss’s sister and an investigative reporter with unrelenting questions about the crime. Now that she’s returned, the tug on Finn’s heart is strong, but with the risks she’s taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.
Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can’t ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?
That’s the deliciously racy topic that Jaine Bright and her three girlfriends are pondering one night at their favorite after-hours hot spot: Mr. Perfect. Would he be tall, dark, and handsome? Caring and warmhearted — or will just muscular do? As their conversation heats up, they concoct a tongue-in-cheek checklist that becomes an overnight sensation, spreading like wildfire at work and sizzling along e-mail lines. But what began as a joke among friends turns deadly serious when one of the four women is murdered….Turning to her neighbor, an unpredictable police detective, for help, Jaine must unmask a killer to save her friends — and herself. Now, knowing whom to trust and whom to love is a matter of survival — as the dream of Mr. Perfect becomes a chilling nightmare.
Have you read any of these?
I hear Mr. Perfect is amazing, and is one of the best romantic suspense novels ever.
Do you have any recommendations for really good ones?
My favorite is Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout. I also love Katie Ruggle.
Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.
James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.
Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…
From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.
My favorite author power duo is back for another romantic contemporary/comedy! I tend to not really enjoy workplace romances… Ever since I read and LOVED The Hating Game, every workplace romance or romance among co-workers I’ve read has paled in comparison, so I was kind of scared and not exactly bursting with excitement over The Honey-Don’t List. Honestly, if the author were anyone other than Christina Lauren I don’t even think I would have been interested. But these two never steer me wrong, and I always enjoy my time reading their books so I put it on my eagerly-anticipating list and was delighted to have the opportunity to read an early copy! And, of course, I was not disappointed! As always, my main points are bolded.
1. I was immediately intrigued! The book starts off with one of our main characters giving their testimony to the police about something bad that’s happened. We’re not sure what has happened or why, and then are transported to the very beginning (probably a week or two earlier) to learn the entire story of Carey, James, Melissa/Melly, and Rusty. We get more interview transcripts spread throughout the story, and I could not wait to find out what happened that had these people being interrogated by the police!
2. Carey and James are our main characters, love interests, and narrators of the book. I liked them both much more than Rusty and Melly, and wish that they had had more of a starring role in their own story… Rusty and Melly were both supporting characters, but they are very much at the center of everything. Readers learn all about the marital problems, the evolution of their careers, and their history as a couple. I’m not used to the supporting characters being front and center, but it worked because they are the reason Carey and James have been thrust together. Their tumultuous relationship is why Carey and James bond initially, so it’s important that the reader really understand what’s going on with them. I just wish I’d seen more romance between the two mains. I actually think this is one of Christina Lauren’s less romantic titles.
3.Melly and Rusty are a celebrity power couple who own the famous comb + honey home decor brand, have a TV show, and have recently released a marriage advice book. The thing is, their marriage is anything but ideal. They started out 10 years ago as a sweet, down-to-earth couple with their teenaged assistant, Carey, by their side before everything blew up and the life of fame and money kind of drove them apart. Rusty is a major cheater, and Melly is an absolute mess of a person. I really, really did not like her at all. She’s rude and entitled and spoiled and so difficult to work with. She also takes way more credit for her success than she deserves. Rusty was drunk and difficult for most of the book. This couple appears to be America’s sweethearts, but we know the truth. I kind of hate people who hide behind a pretty facade and then show all their crap in private to the people who actually mean the most to them, so neither one of them was terribly likable. If I had to pick one over the other I’d choose Rusty just because he was nicer to the people he interacted with than Melly was. But really, they are just really hard to like and never quite redeemed themselves in my eyes.
4. Carey has been working for Melly and Rusty for 10 years (since she was 16), and is very talented and smart. She has no formal education, and feels locked into a job that’s taking her nowhere. I loved her personality and her spunk. She also has a disability that she does not let rule her life. She’s so great! I love the kind of women Christina Lauren write about. She’s strong and assertive. James is new to the company and was hired to be an engineer, but ends up doing assistant work for Rusty instead, much to his chagrin. He wears suits and is the brainy, nerdy-but-swoony type. Carey and James don’t like each other a ton, but end up bonding due to forced proximity and commiserating together.
5. Melly and Rusty are about to head out on their book tour, but at the last minute something happens between the two of them that makes the higher-ups decide it would be best if James and Carey accompany them and force them to behave and preserve their public image. The bulk of the book takes place on a luxurious tour bus, in and out of hotels and bookstores. This is where the forced proximity comes into play. James and Carey are babysitting two adults who are close to twice their age. Melly and Rusty are either yelling at each other or not speaking at all the entire time. Melly knows something is going on between James and Carey (and does not approve at all), so there’s also a bit of a forbidden romance kind of thing going on, too. There’s a lot of tension hidden in stolen glances and sneaking around hotels at night.
6. The story is quite funny in places, but also tackles some deeper issues and I love how nothing felt too light or too heavy.
7. These ladies do such a wonderful job writing and developing characters, love stories, swoony moments, deeper issues, and unique stories. I had so much fun with James and Carey as they complained about their bosses, tried to figure out how to live their dreams, and slowly succumbed to the attraction between them.
All in all, this was fun! The Honey-Don’t List is not my favorite Christina Lauren book, but I really enjoyed. I would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy reality TV (Melly and Rusty would totally be on HGTV if this was a true story), book tours, swoony nerds, strong female leads, swoony gestures (James helping Carey with her disability just melted me), and characters who reach for the stars. I can’t wait for the next Christina Lauren book, and hope these two never quit writing!
Can you believe Spring starts this weekend? I feel like this year is flying by. And what better time to write up a to-read list than now, when the world is shutting down and people are socially distancing to help prevent to spread of the Coronavirus? I know I’ve got a lot more time to read than I usually do, so perhaps I’ll actually get through all ten of these books for once. I’m in the mood for light romances and mystery/thrillers right now, so that’s what you’ll find on my list. Some are upcoming releases, but there’s a few backlist titles as well.
Oh, I have some exciting TTT news! Monday, June 22nd is Top Ten Tuesday’s 10th birthday! The next day (Tuesday, June 23rd) will be TTT’s 500th topic! I love how the two exciting numbers are matching up during the same week, so I want that TTT prompt to be fun, unique, and in celebration of a decade of TTT! If you have any ideas for a fun prompt for that week, comment here or submit it through my topic suggestion form and note that it’s for TTT’s 10th birthday! I will credit you if I choose your topic.
She wants to steal his Van Gogh. He wants to steal her heart.
Some people would call Clementine Abernathy a criminal. She considers herself a modern day Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Not exactly on the up-and-up, but she knows what it’s like to lose everything. Her latest heist involves swiping a priceless Van Gogh from its owner, who’s supposed to be an egotistical trust-fund brat.
Turns out Jack David is a sexy, kind-hearted man…and Clementine is in trouble. Falling for her mark would make her the World’s Dumbest Conwoman, but Jack is charmingly persistent, always singing sweet songs in her ear.
And that earth-shattering kiss? She never stood a chance.
Now she’s imagining a fresh start with this dashing man, but that means telling Jack about her past. And other nefarious sorts are after the same painting. Too soon, Clementine learns what it means to risk it all for love.
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?
• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.
But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
State attorney Bridget Nolan is successful in all aspects of her life—except romance. After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, she’s been slow to reenter the dating scene. To be honest, she has more important things to do like putting bad guys behind bars. But with her brother’s wedding right around the corner, she suddenly needs a date and fast. Lucky for Bridget, the legal intern is almost done with his program.
Matt Kido is dumbstruck by Bridget—total love at first sight—but there’s one problem. She’s totally off-limits while she’s his boss. But the moment he no longer reports to her, Matt decides to take a chance. An impulsive decision takes them to Las Vegas where, as the saying goes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.
After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…
As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.
As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.
If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat… what more could a girl really need?
Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth… or a second chance with the one that got away?
Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.
Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.
Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.
Belle likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth. But when her best friend, Summer, invites her on a glamorous getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend’s yacht, the only sensible answer is yes. Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once she’s aboard the luxurious Lion’s Den, it soon becomes clear this jet-setting holiday is not as advertised.
Belle’s dream vacation quickly devolves into a nightmare as she and the handful of other girls Summer invited are treated more like prisoners than guests by their controlling host-and in one terrifying moment, Belle comes to see Summer for who she truly is: a vicious gold digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Belle realizes she’s going to have to keep her wits about her — and her own big secret closely hidden — if she wants to make it off the yacht alive.
Critically acclaimed author Mia Sosa delivers a sassy, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about a woman whose new job requires her to work side-by-side with the best man who ruined her wedding: her ex-fiancé’s infuriating, irritating, annoyingly handsome brother. Perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Helen Hoang, and Sally Thorne!
A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.
Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.
If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.
But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…
Welcome to paradise…will you ever be able to leave?
Emily is a mess.
Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.
Emily is desperate.
Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.
Emily is perfect.
Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn’t play along, the consequences could be deadly.
The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.
Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.
How do you get over your last disaster of a relationship? You agree to be a complete stranger’s fake girlfriend for the next few months.
Note to self: When your boyfriend dumps you on your thirtieth birthday, it’s probably not the smartest idea to drink so much that you wake up in the same bed as the mysterious hottie wearing the gorgeous suit who you noticed sitting across the bar.
The only silver lining in my obvious lack of judgment is the promise of never seeing Mr. Suit again, not in a city the size of New York.
Or so I thought, until a story I’m working on about the country’s most sought-after and elusive escort lands me in the same café as Mr. Suit. So I do what any self-respecting woman of my age would do in my shoes… Try to ignore him.
But he won’t let me.
Instead, he makes a proposition that leaves me questioning whether I need to have my ears checked. Be his fake girlfriend for a summer of wealth and excess in the Hamptons. In return, he’ll help me win back my boyfriend’s heart.
Juvenile? You bet.
Effective? Could be.
Bad idea? Most likely.
But what do I have to lose?
Apparently, a lot more than I originally bargained for.
Let the games begin…
What’s on your Spring (or Fall, if you live in the southern hemisphere) to-read list this year? Have you read any of my picks? Which should I prioritize?
Welcome to another TTT! Today I’m inviting you to share which authors you have fun following on social media! I had a VERY hard time coming up with my list, and I realized that I tend to not follow many authors on social media. Sometimes I don’t really want to know everything they have to say, because I worry that it will affect my opinion of the books they’ve written that I love so much. Back in the olden days, authors were not accessible at all. If we loved an author, we could snail mail them or email them through their website. Responses were rare. Today, though, we’re all connected and that’s SO COOL. I’ve made some great author friends, one of my favorite musical artists follows me on Twitter, TV personalities have responded to my tweets… and it’s awesome. I love that part of social media. However, some authors use social media as their own personal soap box to spew their own, sometimes controversial and hurtful, opinions and agendas. I try to separate the person from the book, but it can be hard sometimes when they post something that cuts so deep. This happened a lot on Twitter a few years ago, and it kind of tainted my love of reading for a while.
Luckily, I choose who I follow on social media very carefully now and I have no problems muting hashtags, buzzwords, or accounts to keep my feeds a happy and an emotionally healthy place for me. The following six authors are absolute joys to follow on social media. They keep things fun and bookish and interact with their fans. They feel like friends!
1. Christina Lauren (@ChristinaLauren on Twitter and Instagram)
They’re just so sweet! And they ask lots of fun questions and start cool discussions on their Instagram posts.
2. Jay Kristoff (@MisterKristoff on Twitter)
I have never read a book by Jay (I’m scared of him, to be honest, because I know some people have been emotionally destroyed over some of his books!), but his tweets are hysterical. I wish I had saved some of them because I have cracked up following him over the years.
3. Jenn Bennett (@Jenn_Benn on Twitter)
Jenn always tweets back, and it’s lots of fun to talk to her. She’s also got some funny things to say. She’s very open and shows us other things she’s up to, like handmade projects of various types. Oh, and she retweets funny things and cute animals and food. So there’s that.
4. Sarah Hogle (@witchofthewords on Twitter)
I just started following her a few weeks ago, and she’s got my kind of humor. I literally laugh out loud at some of her tweets. Like this one from today:
ever think about how our great great grandkids are gonna learn about their ancestors by reading our dumb tweets
Happy Tuesday, and welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is books with single-word titles, and was submitted by Kitty from Kitty Marie’s Reading Corner. Long, wordy titles with lots of nouns and adjectives are pretty popular right now, so I thought it would be fun to talk about the simplest titles. The words “The” and “A” don’t have to count if you don’t want them to! I chose to focus on books I’ve read and would recommend.
It’s kind of crazy how many fantasy and sci-fi books are in this list. I guess, at one point, short titles were popular for books of these genres! Now there’s so many A ____ of ____ and ____ or The Daughter of ____ and ____ titles that I can’t even keep track of them anymore! There’s just something nice about a short, simple title.
Which books did you include on your list this week? Have you read and any of these? What did you think of them?
When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he's stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn't interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…
Two weeks in Alaska isn't just the top item on Zoey Caldwell's bucket list. It's the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she's smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham's world, she may just find there's more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
ALERT! ALERT! New favorite book! I love Alaska, and was so excited when I saw that this rom-com with the cutest cover ever takes place there! I’ve really been gobbling up rom-com books lately. They’re so much fun and allow me to escape with sweet characters. The Tourist Attraction did just that for me. As always, my main points are bolded.
1. Moose Springs is the quaintest, cutest little town. I love that Sarah Morgenthaler was able to keep those cute town vibes while also allowing us to spend time at an exclusive resort that the locals (aka Graham) refer to as “the big house”. Yeah… the locals don’t like the resort at all. They feel it’s ruining their small town and driving business away, not to mention bringing in tons of unwanted tourists and destroying the natural beauty of Moose Springs. I tend to agree with them. I’d be much happier of the resort was a bunch of cute little bare bones cabins (Alaska has my heart and I want it to stay as wild and untouched by consumerism as possible), but we never would have met Zoey and Lana if they were!
2. Zoey, our heroine, has been saving up for YEARS to visit Alaska. When the opportunity arises in the form of crashing on her rich friend Lana’s couch in her luxury suite while she’s there on business, Zoey can not pass it up. She lives a very simple life and doesn’t get around much, which I loved. It makes her all the more excited when she arrives and sees what Alaska has to offer. She’s got everything planned out to the dollar, and carries all of those dollars around in her sparkly green frog coin purse. She’s kind of awkward, glasses slipping down her nose a million times a day, and quirky in a very endearing way. Adorkable, really. I loved her. She’s so relatable and down-to-earth. She is easily excited and wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s also got a good head on her shoulders and a spunky personality that really shines through when she’s pushing back against someone who has done her wrong. She won’t take crap from anyone, but is also emotional and feels a lot of things. I really saw a lot of myself in her.
3. Graham opens a greasy spoon diner called “The Tourist Trap” as a joke, but this place has become a right of passage for anyone who visits. It’s even in the guide books. People line up before the place opens, and insist on experiencing it even though it’s notorious for having the worst service ever. Graham is known for kicking everyone out at a moment’s notice because he’s just tired of the noise or the people or wants to go home. He’s known for not opening on time (or at all) because he’s got better things to do. But the people still come! It was so fun to read about how things at the diner work, and what Graham thinks about it all.
4. Zoey and Graham get off to a bit of a rocky start. I’m not even kidding. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that it lands the both of them in jail. Hysterical. Graham is a rugged, sarcastic, grumpy, surly, blunt artist who just so happens to own a diner and is in a pretty serious relationship with a moose that likes to lick windows and loves the smell of fresh baked bread. When he’s not at the diner, he’s carving wood pieces with a chainsaw in his shipping container out back. If I didn’t know this book took place in Alaska, I’d think Graham was a cowboy. He’s got that smooth cowboy swag and calls Zoey “Darlin'”. He’s got a very laid back attitude, but will turn into a grizzly bear if you hurt him or anyone he cares about. He’s kind of the town troublemaker, but not even close to a bad boy even though I think he secretly hopes that’s what people see him as. He loves his moose and his sweet blind dog named Jack, and he hates tourists. Well, except Zoey. He will do anything for Zoey, including making a fool of himself and bringing her the biggest cinnamon rolls known to man.
5. I love all the banter between Graham and Zoey. They flirt and joke, but they also talk about deeper things that mean a lot to them. They’ve shared pain over what they’ve gone through. They’re there for each other, and I felt like their relationship was very sweet and meaningful for the short amount of time they’ve known each other.
6. I loved the locals, and had so much fun getting to know them. If you’ve ever seen Northern Exposure, I got those kinds of vibes from some of the people. Easton in particular is amazing.
7. There are narwhals in this book. NARWHALS. And whales. WHALES.
8.The Tourist Attraction is so funny! I loved everything, from the locals vs. the big house shenanigans, to the run-in with a whale, to the moose that’s left footprints on Graham’s heart and dents in his truck, to the silly touristy things Graham does with Zoey because he’ll do anything for her, to the hangovers and the jail debacle. There’s so much to love here.
Sarah Morgenthaler has done a wonderful job writing a rom-com that has so much depth and heart. I was swooning and laughing my way through it. A charming, sparkling debut. I’ve been forcing everyone I know to either read or pre-order this book, and I’ve already pre-ordered the paperback of the next book in this series! It’s a Christmas book called Mistletoe and Mr. Right, and it comes out in October 2020. This time Lana, Zoey’s best friend, will have her shot at romance. From the sounds of it, it’s going to be just as a wonderful as The Tourist Attraction. I can’t wait!
Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic was submitted by Tilly at The Biblioshelf, and is about characters I’d follow on social media! I thought this sounded like a really fun topic, and I’m breaking it down by social media platform!
1. Naomi Westfield from You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
I’d follow Naomi on Twitter because she says some of the funniest things and is such a good storyteller! I think she’d be very entertaining.
2. Graham Barnett from The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Graham owns a greasy spoon diner called The Tourist Trap. The service and the food are pretty crummy. He’s been known to just kick everyone out because he wants to go home, yet this place is a right of passage. People line up outside before the place opens because it’s THE THING to do. I’m sure he has some crazy stories about tourists that come through, so I’d love to follow his twitter account and read his random musings. He’s also an artist and carves things out of wood using his chainsaw. I’d love to see an Instagram of all his pieces.
3. Nari from Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar
Nari is a travel blogger, and is always jet-setting to exciting and exotic places. I want to follow her blog as well as her Instagram so I can see some of the amazing things she sees!
4. Veronica Mars from The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Jennifer Graham and Rob Thomas
I’m kind of cheating with this one… but I’d TOTALLY follow Veronica’s blog or the Mars Investigations Facebook page/Twitter to keep up with Veronica and her dad.
5. Thomas Cresswell from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco
He’s SNARKY, plus I’d be interested to know what he’s learning and the kinds of autopsies he performs. Morbid curiosity? Yes. If he had a Twitter account, I’d be all over it.
6. Lucien Vanserra from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
I need eye candy. Where is this guy’s personal Instagram? I could easily spend time scrolling through pictures of him and his beautiful city.
7. Lina from Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Lina lives in Florence! I want to follow her Instagram and see pictures of Italy because I LOVE ITALY.
8. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
If I need Lina’s Insta, I also need Anna’s. I want pictures of Paris and food and her school. I want to see it all!
9. Bria from Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Bria travels all through Central America and I want to hear all about it! Yes to her Instagram.
10. Carrie from Carrie Goes Off the Map by Philippa Ashley
Carrie spends over a month road tripping through the English countryside with Matt, and it sounds like it was beautiful. I clearly use Instagram to armchair travel. lol. My Instagram is full of beautiful locations.
I’m pleased to welcome to Karen Odden, author of A Dangerous Duet, to the blog today to talk about the next book in her Victorian Mystery series, A Trace of Deceit! I love art (I minored in art history during undergrad), so this entire post is just fascinating to me. Read more about Karen and A Trace of Deceit below, and enter to win a copy of your own!
Christie’s Auction House, Art, & A Trace of Deceit
by Karen Odden
On my 29th birthday, November 11, 1994, I was standing in the main sales room at Christie’s auction house in New York City. The elegant room was crowded for the rare book auction scheduled to begin at 10 o’clock. On an elevated stage at the front stood Stephen Massey, the head of the Rare Books department, behind a podium. I stood along one wall surveying the rows of chairs, filled with potential buyers and some gawkers. On the opposite wall was a bank of tables draped with black fabric, with phones for other Christie’s employees who’d be taking the bids of people calling in. The star of the auction that day was Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Hammer, one of his notebooks, 32 pages, written right to left, in his mirror handwriting, and featuring the famous image of the Vitruvian Man, among others.
People who attend Christie’s auctions are generally well behaved. They speak in soft tones, if they speak at all. No one shouts out or flaps their paddle around. But that day people could not stop murmuring. Rare manuscripts, signed copies and first editions sold as expected. But everyone was waiting for the Da Vinci notebook.
As usual the auctioneer started the bidding below the presale estimate. Between buyers in the room and on the phones, the bid began to climb: 6 million, 6.5, 7, 7.5 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20. Soon it became a duel between two bidders, one in the room and one on the phone, and the employee at the phone bank just kept raising her hand. Eventually the hammer came down at 28 million dollars to a phone bidder whose identity was kept confidential. Later, I heard one of the Christie’s employees say, “It went to someone named Cates.” His friend replied, “Not Cates, Gates. I think he does something with computers.” Back in 1994, Windows 95 was still months away, and Bill Gates wasn’t a household name yet.
That morning was the first time I felt down to my bones the way suspense and story could swirl around art.
I wasn’t at Christie’s because of my art expertise. I was a media buyer, purchasing print ad space to support sales of everything from paintings and photographs to silver, coins and Faberge eggs, Chinese and Latin American art, and antique furniture. I placed ads in publications such as the New York Times, New Yorker, Architectural Digest, Art and Auction, and ArtNews. Because I was buying ad space, I had to read these publications in order to know what art to advertise where, and for the first few weeks of my job, I sat in my cubicle and read magazines. It was fun. (My dad always said, you’re never going to find a job that pays you to read! Ha!)
So like many things in my life I came to art through reading. And while I enjoy art, it’s the stories around art that captivate me. The precious manuscripts smuggled out of Wartime Germany by an American soldier, only to be found by his grandchildren forty years later, after his death. The art heists and dramatic thefts out of museums. The Renaissance painting by Cimabue that a 90-year-old Frenchwoman had hung over her kitchen stove for years because she thought it was a knock off. The painter who fell in love with his subject and then couldn’t bring himself to sell the painting to her husband. So when it came time to write my third book, I had a whole backlog of interest in stories about art.
I write mysteries set in Victorian England, specifically the 1870s, largely because I wrote my dissertation at NYU on British literature from 1850-1890. It’s my happy time and place. (My son, who is called upon to help me with my iPhone teases me that I belong there.) But if I wanted to write another novel about a young woman in 1870s London, I needed to find a place for her to study. Fortunately, the Slade School, now world-renowned and part of the University College London, was opened in 1871, after a bequest by a very forward-thinking gentleman named Felix Slade, who wanted a school where men and women could study art together. This was met with resistance from the men. Still, women entered with the first class, and early students included Kate Greenaway who became famous for her exquisite illustrations for children’s books.
At the time I began to write, I was thinking a lot about memory—how memory isn’t static, like a painting. You can’t come back to it and see the exact same image. Memory changes with time; and sometimes we unconsciously suppress memories or alter them, depending on the kinds of stories we want to tell about ourselves or people we love or our lives. I also wanted to write about how talent or genius can sometimes be a burden, or even something that is put to use by parents of the gifted child.
With this, Annabel’s story started taking shape. She has an older brother named Edwin, an outrageously talented painter, and his father started to push him, hard, when Edwin was seven. As a result Edwin became a troublemaker and rebellious. He went to school at age 12, and when he returned he had deeply changed. Troubled and angry, he visited opium dens down by the Thames, forging paintings to support himself. He stumbled home more times than Annabel can remember, swearing he was going to do better. This cycle of what we would now call addiction and relapse recurred again and again, until he was arrested for forging and thrown in prison for a year.
As the book begins, Edwin has been out of prison for four months. He has sworn to Annabel that he is going to stay away from opium and to live within the law. When Annabel and Edwin meet, he appears on time; he’s clear eyed; he talks responsibly about his paintings and his work. Slowly Annabel begins to trust him. Besides, he is her only family, and she wants desperately to believe in him.
In the first chapter, Annabel is at her easel at the Slade. Her work finished for the day, she retrieves her umbrella from the stand and ventures out in the rain. At the terraced house where Edwin rented rooms, she climbs the stairs to the top floor, and sees the door open. That’s odd, she thinks. Odder still is the sight of two strange men riffling through Edwin’s paintings and papers. She bursts out, “What are you doing? Where’s Edwin?” They turn, and she sees the truncheon that one of them carries. She realizes they’re plainclothes detectives, and Annabel feels her heart sink, for she assumes that Edwin has fallen back into his old patterns. Unhappily, she sighs and asks, “What has Edwin done now?”
But in fact, Edwin has been murdered.
Within hours, Annabel discovers that a priceless painting of Madame de Pompadour, by the French master Francois Boucher, has gone missing from her brother’s studio. Edwin was cleaning it in preparation for an auction to take place in two weeks, at Bettridge’s, an up-and-coming house trying to compete with Christie’s and Sotheby’s, both of which were established in London in the eighteenth century. The painting I’ve described is fictional—but Boucher painted nearly a dozen of Madame de Pompadour, who was King Louis XV’s mistress from 1745-1751. In my novel, this Boucher painting is the star of the auction—like Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex—but then its true owner appears, claiming the original was destroyed a fire in 1874.
So the questions begin. Was the painting that Edwin was cleaning a forgery? Had Edwin made the forgery? Was he murdered because his past had caught up to him? But even more important than learning why Edwin was murdered, Annabel longs to discover the truth about who her brother was before he died. Was he lying to her about reforming, or sincere? She wants to fix his character in her mind, render it as something stable, the way she paints her portraits and small scenes, so she can find some closure and peace. But what complicates Annabel’s inquiry is that in the process of investigating Edwin’s past, she comes to recognize a general truth: that there is a trace of deceit in many of our memories, both our happiest ones and our most painful; and that memories are not like paintings. They shift and sideslip, depending on the stories we want to tell ourselves—and the ones we want to conceal. Annabel learns that her memories both enable and limit what she can know about Edwin. Indeed, the closure and peace she seeks won’t come through fixing her brother’s character as in a portrait, but in weaving together her brother’s story and her own, and accepting—and grieving—that there are pieces missing. But that perhaps a sincere effort to understand, founded in love, is enough.
About Karen Odden
After writing her PhD dissertation on Victorian railway disasters, Karen became trapped in the era. (Her teenage son, who helps her with tech, teases that she belongs there.) Before turning to fiction, Karen taught at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her essays on literature have appeared in numerous academic journals and books. Her three novels, set in 1870s London, feature young women who solve mysteries with personal stakes. Her first, A Lady in the Smoke, was a USA Today bestseller; A Dangerous Duet won best Historical Fiction at the New Mexico/Arizona book awards; and A Trace of Deceit (Harper Collins) was published in December. She lives in Arizona with her family and beagle-muse Rosy. Visit www.karenodden.com, or find her on twitter: @karen_odden and instagram: @karen_m_odden.
A Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden Series: Victorian Mystery #2 Other books in the series:A Dangerous Duet (#1) Publisher: William Morrow Genres: Adult Fiction — Historical, Mystery
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A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder…
Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.
As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.