Author: Katherine Center
Narrator: Patti Murin
To Be Published: July 19, 2022
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 9-14, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindgerten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.
He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.
They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.
What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.
I have loved most of Katherine Center’s novels that I have read, and I really enjoyed The Bodyguard! Center does romance right for me. It’s fun, sweet, clean and more! In The Bodyguard, we have Jack, the hot and famous actor who has dropped off the radar. And he also has a stalker. And we have Hannah, who is a Executive Protective Agent (AKA Bodyguard) but she does not even look like someone who could kill you with just a pen, but she can, and will if she has to. And she is really good at her job. Then she finds herself having to protect Jack and going to see his family because his mother is sick. But Jack doesn’t want his family knowing about his stalker, so Hannah has to pretend to be his girlfriend.
As with Center’s other novels, you know how the ending should be, but going on this adventure with Jack and Hannah was a lot of fun! It is a fun, quick read with some hilarious moments that ensue (there is one with a cow….) And let alone the information that comes out and about with this stalker. The banter between Jack and Hannah is fun and the story could 1000% not happen in reality, but it’s such a fun and feel good read! Center has been called ‘the reigning queen of comfort reads’ and she really is! It’s a perfect summer read to get away from the mundanity of real life. I must read more of her novels!
The narrator is Patti Murin, who is one I have enjoyed in the past and she did a great job with this novel!
Many thanks to the publisher Macmillian Audio for granting me an early audio copy via NetGalley to listen to and review!
Series: Out of Line
Author: Roxane Gay
Narrator: Samira Wiley
Published: September 1, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 8, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
From New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay comes an unforgettable tale of nightmarish bureaucracy in which genetic profiling has redefined the “unfit mother.”
A trip to the library prompts one woman to question her fate in this galvanizing short story. For a woman like Hadley, deemed not acceptable to procreate, there’s only one recourse. Unlicensed for motherhood, she can alleviate her grief and frustration at a “baby library,” where a curiously endless supply of infants is available for a two-week loan. But the borrowed life that serves as a temporary balm leads to a journey of self-discovery that will forever change the direction of Hadley’s future.
Roxane Gay’s Graceful Burdens is part of Out of Line, an incisive collection of funny, enraging, and hopeful stories of women’s empowerment and escape. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.
This story takes place in a dystopian world where women are evaluated to determine whether or not they will be permitted to have children. They undergo testing at age 16 to see if they will be allowed to procreate. We see both sides of this world through Hadley who is unlicensed to have children and Seraphina who is licensed.
There are libraries in this world where only women can ‘borrow’ a child for up to two weeks. These children are no longer ‘borrowable’ once they hit three years old. Hadley checks out a baby girl as only girls can be ‘borrowed’. We also see Seraphina who has children but doesn’t really want them. It still seems like the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ even in this dystopian world.
I can’t say much more than this because it would give away what happens in the short story. There is much more that could be done with this story: It is another one I would like to see expanded because of the direction it goes in. It is an intriguing story that also makes you think.[Top]
The Ice Queen
Series: Bodenstein & Kirchhoff #3
Author: Nele Neuhaus
Published: January 13, 2015
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
The body of 92-year-old Jossi Goldberg, Holocaust survivor and American citizen, is found shot to death execution style in his house near Frankfurt. A five-digit number is scrawled in blood at the murder scene. The autopsy reveals an old and unsuccessfully covered tattoo on the corpse’s arm—a blood type marker once used by Hitler’s SS. Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver Bodenstein are faced with a riddle. Was the old man not Jewish after all? Who was he, really? Two more, similar murders happen—one of a wheelchair-bound old lady in a nursing home, and one of a man with a cellar filled with Nazi paraphernalia—and slowly the connections between the victims becomes evident: All of them were lifelong friends with Vera von Kaltensee, baroness, well-respected philanthropist, and head of an old, rich family that she rules with an iron fist. Pia and Oliver follow the trail, which leads them all the way back to the end of World War II and the area of Poland that then belonged to East Prussia. No one is who they claim to be, and things only begin to make sense when the two investigators realize what the bloody number stands for, and uncover an old diary and an eyewitness who is finally willing to come forward.
Nele Neuhaus’s The Ice Queen is a character- and plot-driven mystery about revenge, power, and long-forgotten and covered up secrets from a time in German history that still affects the present.
Dang, these European mysteries are complicated!! That’s the main reason I gave it 4 stars; there are so many names!! It felt like the story got all muddled in the beginning and took so many pages just to unmuddle it again! Thankfully, once I got about a third of the way through, things started to unravel and make sense. If you can keep the characters straight, this is actually a pretty good mystery. It kept me guessing almost until the end. I was very impressed with the resolution! I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say anything more! It is the 3rd book in a series, which I didn’t know when I started reading it, but it was an issue. An occasional comment that didn’t make sense, but nothing to do with the plot. The main characters were actually pretty likable and had interesting arcs. They weren’t perfect by any means but the fact that I came out still liking them says a lot! So overall, a pretty good book that I would recommend!