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Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky by Summer Heacock

Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: July 25, 2017

In just about a month, Kat Carmichael will celebrate an anniversary of sorts. It's not a typical anniversary. In exactly 34 days, it will mark the two-year anniversary of when she and her boyfriend last had sex. It's been two years since her "special" shut down and refused to allow Ryan to enter. It's been two years of no sex, no intimacy, and certainly no orgasms. Kat's had enough.

She tells Ryan she wants to take a break from each other and really get herself back in working order. Her bakery is thriving and her friends/bakery co-owners are more than happy to lend emotional support, as well as buy her a few toys, as she sets off on a quest to fix what's broken.

What Kat never expects is to find one of their frequent customers becoming her advisor in this quest. He's a physical therapist and very good looking to boot. If he can't be the one to get her personal business back in order, Kat's no sure anyone can.

The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky is blunt, humorous, and pretty magical. Ben, the sexy customer, is such a good guy. Every women's fiction novel needs a Ben in it! Kat's a little clueless at times, but she's certainly enjoyable to get to know. Her friends and all their wackiness had me laughing a number of times.

This is a feel-good story. It may get personal and delve into topics that make some readers squeamish for whatever reasons, but that's a good thing. I'd never heard of vaginismus and didn't know anything like that existed. In addition to just having a fun time reading the book, I also learned something. There's nothing wrong with that!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale

Setting: Various locations that include Mexico, California, and Hawaii
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: July 4, 2017

I loved the first book in this series. Everything We Keep was emotionally charged and eloquently written. I found myself rooting for Aimee and truly felt for her.

Everything We Left Behind is the sequel. This time, readers see things from James' point of view. I wanted to love it, but I simply disliked James too much for that to happen.

Now that James' memories have returned, he's stuck being father to two sons he doesn't know and lost the woman he loves, Aimee. Worse, his brother, the reason he's in this predicament, is about to be released from prison. James witnessed something that could land Phil back in prison, so his safety is also on the line.

To really knows what he's facing, James needs to remember who he was both before and after the events that led to his fugue state. To do that, he turns to his sister-in-law, Natalya, who is perhaps the only person he can now trust.

As soon as James remembered James and seemingly forgot his life as Carlos, his attitude towards his sons changed. I didn't like that at all. They were innocent and didn't deserve having him treat them like strangers at the start. It made me dislike him.

Things do progress, but it was hard getting past my initial opinions. The pacing and switch between past and present also proved hard to handle. I found it far too easy to put down Everything We Left Behind. As a result, it took me over a week to read the story. Usually, I can read a book a day if there's time.

In the end, I just never connected with the story or the character. It was missing the emotional pull the first story offered. It never made it past the "meh" opinion with me.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Setting: England
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: July 18, 2017

Cass is already having a hard time. Her mom, who had early-onset dementia, died of pneumonia. She's still grieving. Driving home from a gathering with her co-workers, her husband tells her to go the long way around due to a storm, but Cass takes the short cut anyway. She spies a woman sitting in her car. While her first thought is to stop and see if the woman's okay, Cass heads home instead and then forgets to call police for a welfare check.

When she learns the woman had been murdered, Cass panics. Worse, she knew the woman. They'd just met and were becoming good friends. Guilt sets in, and Cass fears the murderer may have seen her. She starts getting strange calls. She's forgetting important details. She even orders a baby carriage, yet never remembers doing so and has no reason to have done so.

Soon, Cass's husband is convinced she's having a breakdown. Cass is equally convinced she's being stalked by the killer. Could Cass be right or is she suffering from early-onset dementia like her mother did?

What an exciting read! I loved every minute of it. I did have part of the mystery solved, but I didn't care. I was so involved that I had to know how it played out. B.A. Paris did not disappoint. I found myself almost laughing by the end in a complete satisfaction. It's been a while since I've loved an ending so much!

The Breakdown is part mystery, very suspenseful, and puts a shiver up your spine. I got mad, I laughed, and I wanted to cry for Cass at times. I felt so involved in the story that I had to keep reading. If you like the current trend of Gone Girl type novels, do not miss this one!