"My GRL" by John W. Howell

My GRL by [John W. Howell]

My GRL's main character, John Cannon made an impression; likable, funny, and obsessive at points, I could relate to him. I'm glad the author explained a lot of the technical aspects of the yacht because I'm unfamiliar with boats and sailing terms. In one of my favorites scenes, John drove his FJ across the beach fleeing from the terrorists and thought he'd succeeded, but things aren't always what they seem. Sometimes the pace slowed too much, for example, the many pages devoted to the cotter pin and if it could be helpful, but for the most part, the story held my interest and kept me turning the pages. While John planned to escape and save the day, the story came alive again and I didn't want to stop reading until I discovered the outcome of his plight. The motivation for the terrorist attack seemed strange to me, but these kinds of things often seem crazy or mindless when they happen in real life. I would like to read the next book in the series.

"Verity's Sunset" by Brett Galen

Verity's Sunset by [Brett Galen]

The author crafted a sweet, endearing read that brought forth tears and imparted an important message. I liked the main character, John. His familiar high school plight - secretly adoring Donna, a girl he didn't think would ever date him - had a unique twist. Although he worried that no one saw him beyond his camera and his photographs, he learned to view himself and life through Verity's eyes; she, and her circumstances, helped him come out of his shell. The book had very few typos or mechanical issues, but the story could have been more impactful by removing "was" as a repetitive verb choice and replacing it with a powerful verb.

"Murders on the Ridge: Mystery in Briar County" by Andrea Smith

Murders on the Ridge: Mystery in Briar County by [Andrea Smith]

This book was based on an intriguing true story. The author did a pretty good job weaving it into fiction. It could use a little editing. When two people converse, they don't generally address each other by name each time they speak. It's cumbersome. The small town dripping with political conspiracies, corrupt law enforcement, and drug activity made for a compelling read. 

One Lakeside Summer (Bluegill, Michigan Book 3) by Amie Denman

One Lakeside Summer (Bluegill, Michigan Book 3) by [Amie Denman]

Max and his dog, Captain steal Olivia's heart. Olivia and Max's connection builds slowly, behind the scenes. This is a sweet, clean romance. The couple eventually shares a kiss, and they know they love each other. I like that Olivia is a strong female lead. She's okay without Max, even when they're separated, but somehow they're better together. An easy read where a happily ever after awaits. When trying to describe the feeling the book evokes, it reminds me of a Hallmark movie.

"Who's at the Door?" by JC Bratton

Who's at the Door? by [JC Bratton]

Too much telling and not enough showing. Anticlimactic and sometimes confusing. The premise and some of the ideas were very promising. I think attempting a 'Carriesque' theme - as a character mentioned in the story- fell flat. Could be so much better if the book was longer and the reader got to watch things happen and not hear about what happened.

'Think Murder (Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Book 1)' by Cassidy Salem

Think Murder (Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Book 1) by [Cassidy Salem]

I read this book rather quickly. I don't regularly read mysteries of the cozy variety. Although all the points of a thrilling story were present, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed when I'd finished it. Wait, That's it? I suppose the even keel of emotions throughout the book may be typical for the genre? Adina didn't seem quite upset enough over finding her murdered best friend. It appeared her lukewarm romantic interest in two different men mitigated her distress pretty quickly. When she uncovered political secrets that could have triggered the killing, I thought, 'here we go; this is an interesting angle,' but again, even with attempted kidnapping, the tension didn't seem to rise. The drama appears at the office amongst coworkers and the jealousy between volunteers at the animal shelter. Alternate suspects were hinted at with little to no reason behind the suggestions - and those spins didn't take root, they could have been played out to the benefit of the mystery. So many times, I thought scenes were building to an event, 'maybe this will happen,' I thought, 'or maybe that,' but really, nothing happened. Even though Adina uncovered the clues that led to the case being solved, once those details were known, the investigator figured it all out and then just dumped the info into Adina's - and the reader's - lap. Boom; done. All we're left with going into the next book is wondering which man Adina will choose. If you enjoy a book with a realistic setting and clean romance that entails murder, kidnapping, and political intrigue but reads quickly and easily without making your emotions reel and doesn't keep you awake at night, perhaps you'll enjoy this book.