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Friday, December 14, 2018

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt
Published by Mira ISBN 9781488088544
Trade paperback, $16.99, 336 pages

Margot Hunt's For Better and Worse begins with Natalie and Will Clarke meeting in law school, and soon they fell in love and married. Natalie and Will were very different- she was serious, decisive and driven, knowing from the beginning that she wanted to be criminal defense lawyer.  Will was more laid back, handsome and athletic, and he made Natalie laugh.

On their first date they joke about committing the perfect murder, how to do it, how to cover it up and get away with it. Seventeen years later, it comes back to haunt them.

Nat doesn't know why Will is suddenly so angry with her. He hates her family organization calendar, hates knowing exactly what they are going to have for dinner every night. Nat notices that Will now uses a password for his phone and he is frequently texting someone. Is he having an affair?

That falls to the wayside however when their eleven-year-old son Jacob's school principal is accused of molesting a troubled student. Nat and Will doubt the accusation at first; they have known the man for twenty years, were good friends with him and his ex-wife.

When Jacob tells Nat that the principal molested him on a class trip, Nat is infuriated. She has defended people accused of this crime and she knows what trauma Jacob will be put through if he tells what he knows and has to testify at a trial.

The only solution to the problem as Nat sees it is to kill the man. She knows he did this and to prevent him from doing it to others and to protect her son's future, she concocts the perfect murder. When something goes wrong, she has to drag an unwilling Will into it and things begin to fall apart.

For Better and Worse is a propulsive thriller, and I read it in one sitting. The reader can put themselves in Nat's shoes, trying to protect their child. And once Nat makes the decision to kill the principal, you will hold your breath the rest of the way as you see things going from bad to worse.

The story is told first from Nat's point-of-view, and when it switches to Will's point-of-view, you'll find your heart in your mouth. Will doesn't understand why his wife would do this, and he begins to question who he really married. It is a roller coaster of ride from there.

You really don't know  how this will end, and I confess that I did not see that ending coming. It will be a topic of discussion.

That being said, if you are looking for a thrill ride of a book, something to take you away for a few hours, For Better and Worse should be next up on your TBR list. Just remember to breathe while you are reading. I highly recommend it.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Margot Hunt's tour. The rest of her stops are here:

Margot Hunt’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, December 3rd: Tales of a Book Addict
Tuesday, December 4th: What is That Book About – excerpt
Wednesday, December 5th: @bookishconnoisseur
Wednesday, December 5th: @mountain_reader_
Thursday, December 6th: A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, December 7th: Not in Jersey
Monday, December 10th: @girlsinbooks
Monday, December 10th: Books & Bindings 
Tuesday, December 11th: @theliteraryllama
Wednesday, December 12th: Chick Lit Central
Thursday, December 13th: Girl Who Reads
Thursday, December 13th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, December 14th: Bookchickdi
Monday, December 17th: She Reads With Cats and @shereadswithcats
Tuesday, December 18th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, December 19th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Thursday, December 20th: Caryn, The Book Whisperer

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan

Charistmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks ISBN 9780062850072
Trade paperback, $14.99, 336 pages

Author Jenny Colgan introduced us to the residents of the tiny Scottish island of Mure in The Cafe by the Sea, which I found delightful. She revisits them in her wonderful new novel, Christmas on the Island.

Flora left her paralegal job to open a little cafe, Seaside Kitchen. She enjoys her shop, and her relationship with her former boss Joel is going well. Being back home with her family and friends has made her very happy.

But Joel and Flora's relationship hits a bump whe Flora ends up accidentally pregnant, and Joel doesn't react the way she had hoped. Joel had a very difficult childhood, and he doesn't know if he can be a good father.

Flora's brother Fintan found love with Joel's biggest client, Colton Rogers, an American multi-millionaire, who came to Mure and built a huge mansion. At first the town hated Colton and all he stood for, but he has since become a valued, beloved member of the community.

Colton and Fintan's love is interrupted by a severe health issue, and an unwelcome and unexpected visit from Colton's brother from Texas. Colton has had nothing to do with his family for years, so he is suspect about the timing of his brother's visit.

The newest member of the community is Dr. Saif Hassan, a Syrian refugee who has been relocated to Mure. Saif has two young sons who are trying to adjust to a new life in a very different place. Saif is also looking for his wife, who never made it out of Syria.

Saif has become friends with Lorna, his sons' teacher and Flora's best friend. Lorna is attracted to Saif, but his missing wife casts a pall over their burgeoning relationship.

Once again, we get mouthwatering descriptions of some of the treats made in the Seaside Kitchen, including recipes at the end for Lanark Blue Scones, Black Bun and Shortbread. I also enjoyed learning about the Christmas traditions of this tiny Scottish island.

Reading Christmas on the Island is like catching up with old friends. Jenny Colgan makes you feel as though you hopped on the ferry yourself and landed there to spend the holidays. While there is  joy, as with life, there are also sorrows. The way that Mure welcomed and accepted Saif and his sons is uplifting, but Colton and Fintan's story is very sad.

I loved Christmas on the Island and hope that we get to meet up again with the residents of Mure.
I highly recommend it.

My review of The Cafe by the Sea is here.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Jenny Colgan's tour. The rest of her stops are here:

Instagram Features

Monday, December 3rd: Instagram: @simplykelina
Tuesday, December 4th: Instagram: @theliteraryllama
Wednesday, December 5th: Instagram: @girlwithnoselfie
Thursday, December 6th: Instagram: @direads
Friday, December 7th: Instagram: @basicbsguide
Saturday, December 8th: Instagram: @readwithkat
Sunday, December 9th: Instagram: @sweetbookobsession

Review Stops

Monday, December 3rd: BookNAround
Tuesday, December 4th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, December 5th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, December 6th: bookchickdi
Friday, December 7th: Into the Hall of Books
Monday, December 10th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, December 11th: Jackie Reads Books
Wednesday, December 12th: Thoughts From a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Thursday, December 13th: Instagram: @kate.olson.reads
Friday, December 14th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, December 17th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, December 18th: Instagram: @worldswithinpages
Tuesday, December 18th: A Book a Week
Wednesday, December 19th: Books and Bindings
Thursday, December 20th: I Wish I Lived in a Library