Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter in Pardise

 Irene Steele’s idyllic life-house, husband, family-is shattered when she is woken up by a late-night phone call. Her beloved husband has been found dead, but before Irene can process this tragic news, she must confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death. He was found on St. John island, a tropical paradise far removed from their suburban life.

Leaving the cold winter behind, Irene flies down to the beautiful Caribbean beaches of St. John only to make another shocking discovery: her husband had a secret second family. As Irene investigates the mysterious circumstances of her husband’s death, she is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit belied by the pristine white sand beaches of St. John’s. 

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I love it when novels are set on islands! Hilderbrand sets the perfect image of the island of St. John’s in the US Virgin Islands. I want to book a trip to St. John!

Irene receives a phone call saying the worst possible news…her husband has been involved in a plane crash and has died. Irene is shocked and unfortunately her husband’s death comes with lots of questions, such as what was he doing in St. Johns? Why does he have a house on the island?

I’ve had a problem in the past with Hilderbrand’s characters and Winter in Paradise was an improvement in some aspects. I really enjoyed the female characters, Irene and Ayers (a waitress/tour guide in St. John), but couldn’t stand the male characters, Baker and Cash (Irene’s sons). I liked the storylines, but none of the surprises came as much of a shock. I also didn’t enjoy the storyline involving Baker and Cash.

This is the first (and so far only released) novel in the trilogy. I’m torn on the concept of a trilogy as this novel ended on a cliffhanger (I hate cliffhangers). I’m sure by the time I read the second novel in the series (in a year or so), I will have forgotten about the ending and the characters.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. The novel will be best read on the beach with a fruity cocktail! I’ll have to keep that in mind when I read the next novel!

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A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A spark of light

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

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It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jodi Picoult novel. I’m so glad I picked up A Spark of Light! Not as good as my favourite, My Sister’s Keeper, but a great story from start to finish!

What’s different about A Spark of Light, is that it tells the story from the end to the beginning. Right away, the reader knows who is survives and who dies from a shooter coming into a women’s center. I liked this change for the most part and it was really well done. I didn’t love the last few chapters (the before and beginning of the shooting) because I had felt that we had already learned what happened before and why each person was at the clinic. It had felt redundant. I did love the connection at the end and was completely surprised! It was very well done.

I enjoyed all of the characters and you could really sympathise with all of them even though they had different views and opinions. I think Picoult did a great job showing all sides and views of abortion. It makes you feel and look into own opinions of the topic.

4 calculators out of a potential 5. Read it and I need to read more Jodi Picoult! Recommendations are welcome!

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The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni

7th Canon

 In San Francisco’s seamy Tenderloin district, a teenage street hustler has been murdered in a shelter for boys. And the dedicated priest who runs the struggling home stands accused. But despite damning evidence that he’s a killer—and worse—Father Thomas Martin stands by his innocence. And attorney Peter Donley stands with him.

For three years Donley has cut his legal teeth in his uncle’s tiny, no-frills firm, where people come before profits. Just as Donley is poised to move on to a lucrative dream job, the shocking case lands in his lap, and he must put his future on hold while putting his courtroom skills to the test. But a ruthless DA seeking headlines and a brutal homicide cop bent on vengeance have their own agendas. Now, as he unearths the dirty secrets surrounding the case, Donley must risk his neck to save his client’s life…and expose the face of true evil.

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Robert Dugoni is an author that I really enjoy. My Sister’s Grave is one of my favourite mysteries, which I would highly recommend. So I was excited to see that he had a standalone novel, especially one that looked like a court battle. Sadly, this was not a legal thriller, but it certainly was entertaining and had me on the edge of my seat!

Peter Donley works for his uncle and has a whole 3 years of law experience under his belt. So when he has to take on a priest who is being accused of murder, he knows that he is way over his head! Donley gets the help of PI Frank Ross and together they have to figure out who is the true murderer of a teenage homeless boy.

I enjoyed all of the characters in this novel and liked how they all had a difficult past that they needed to overcome. The mystery was excellent and had different layers added so that there was more to uncover, even when the murderer was revealed. I also liked how there was action right up until the very end. It was hard to put down and I ended up finishing the novel over my lunch break (I couldn’t wait for the commute home!).

4 calculators out of a potential 5. If this sounds interesting to you, pick it up! Also pick up My Sister’s Grave!!

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