GPL Blog

China Roses by Jo Bannister

From the publisher: No one ever said: “See Norbold and die.” So why would a man from DC Hazel Best’s past cross England in order to get himself beaten senseless in this uninspiring Midlands town? Everyone assumes he was looking for Hazel. She can’t think why he would; and when David Sperrin wakes up, he can’t think why he would either. Amnesia — or something to hide? Flashbacks as Sperrin’s battered brain recovers only make the case more troubling. His sharpest memory is of a girl dying in his arms. But who, and how? Struggling to make sense of the situation, Hazel turns to her close friend Gabriel Ash for help. But Ash has problems of his own: one of his own ghosts has returned to haunt him. And the stakes are so high there’s no one, not even Hazel, he can confide in…

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The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

From the publisher: A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

This book is bonkers. It contains every crazy thing you can imagine in an adventure story – pirates, flying houses, assassination attempts, gothic abbeys, kidnappings, tea parties. Somewhat like The Princess Bride on steroids.

As such, The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels will not be to everyone’s taste. It is full of nonstop nonsense. The author is in love with her own cleverness, which doesn’t necessarily aid the story. People used to listen breathlessly while the latest installment of a new tale…

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The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

From the publisher: London, 1885. A romance develops as a detective partners with a lonely-hearts columnist to solve a murder mystery.

The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart is an entertaining clean historical romance. It has strong, interesting female characters and a sympathetic hero. The plot takes some unlikely twists, but nothing struck me as outlandish. The book pushes the edges of acceptable behavior for women in 1885 in a believable way and introduces societal issues like street urchins and the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities. The bad guy is stereotypical with no nuance, but I didn’t mind too much since the story flirts with being a gothic romance.

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Holdout by Jeffrey Kluger

From the publisher: When evil forces are going unchecked on Earth, a principled astronaut makes a spilt-second decision to try to seek justice in the only place she knows how—the International Space Station.

The science in Holdout is good; Jeffrey Kluger is also the co-author, with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, which was the basis of the Apollo 13 movie released in 1995, and nine other books. The author worked fictional versions of real space incidents into the plot. I really enjoyed the descriptions of life and work in space, and the relationship between the Russian and American astronauts. Although it’s a minor plot point, I also liked the main character’s concern for the mice that were in space with her.

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While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

From the publisher: From celebrated national leader and bestselling author Stacey Abrams, While Justice Sleeps is a gripping, complexly plotted thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction.

While Justice Sleeps is an intricately plotted thriller. Sharp and fast paced, it covers a lot of ground. The author clearly knows her way around DC, the federal government, and the Supreme Court. Main character Avery Keene is biracial and has a drug addict mother, allowing Abrams to touch on issues of race and family, addiction and loss. Avery is smart…

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Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

From the publisher:  The New York Times bestselling security droid with a heart (though it wouldn’t admit it!) is back in Fugitive Telemetry! Having captured the hearts of readers across the globe, Murderbot has also established Martha Wells as one of the great SF writers of today.

Murderbot is a rogue cyborg Security Unit doing adventures in space. I love Murderbot and eagerly look forward to each new adventure. I started Fugitive Telemetry, then I put it down and re-read the first four Diaries before continuing. I didn’t love Fugitive Telemetry quite as much as I did Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy, but it’s a solid 4.5 stars for me. Not enough interaction with SecUnit’s “human friends” for my liking, but I especially…

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The Body in the Garden by Katharine Schellman

From the publisher: London 1815. Though newly-widowed Lily Adler is returning to a society that frowns on independent women, she is determined to create a meaningful life for herself even without a husband. She’s no stranger to the glittering world of London’s upper crust. At a ball thrown by her oldest friend, Lady Walter, she expects the scandal, gossip, and secrets. What she doesn’t expect is the dead body in Lady Walter’s garden.

Katharine Schellman’s The Body in the Garden is a fun, well-researched cozy mystery set during the Regency era. Main character Lily loved her husband, who left her a young widow. His family convinces her to return to London, hoping she’ll remarry. She is…

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Forget Me Not by Alexandra Oliva

From the publisher: She was born for all the wrong reasons. But her search for the truth reveals answers she wishes she could forget in this suspenseful and deeply moving novel.

Forget Me Not pulled me in and kept me reading. I found it intriguing and moving. A rich couple have a daughter, who dies in a terrible accident as a teenager. The mom descends into mental illness and uses frozen embryos to impregnate herself in an attempt to recreate her dead child. But of course she can’t – and the new child pays the price for not being her older sister.

Linda, the protagonist, is very relatable. Now an adult, she is trolled on social media for…

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