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Showing posts from 2019

True to Me (A By the Sea Novel) by Kay Bratt

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Release Date - December 10, 2019



After her mother's death, Quinn's world is not the same. She's not ready to move on, yet her boyfriend seems to want her to do just that. Her mother's final words are part of her confusion. Her mother tells her that the man she knew as her absentee father was not her father at all. She's floored and wants to uncover the truth.

Ditching her boyfriend's plans to go to Hawaii with her and turn it into a lavish vacation, Quinn sets off on her own. Before she scatters her mother's ashes, she wants to find out what her mother has kept hidden for so many years. In Hawaii, she dives in to find out the truth and figure out what she wants from her life.

True to Me was sweet and touching. A few tears were shed along the way. The Hawaiian setting was brought to life through the author's words. I even learned a few things along the way.

This isn't a rushed story. It moves along at the right pace without seeming hurried. The big r…

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

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Release Date - December 30, 2019



Talk about a story with twists. I am usually quick to pick up on things that aren't quite right, but I missed the mark in The Wives.

Thursday loves her husband. Seth is her everything. The problem is that Seth's married to two other women. His father was a polygamist, and he's following in his dad's shoes. Thursday's curiosity is starting to get the better of her, however. She finds one of his other two wives and discovers something about Seth isn't quite right. She's not sure she knows Seth at all.

This book has so many surprises awaiting readers. Thursday is likable, even if you find her to be a little naive for ever entering into such an agreement. The more you get to know her and the other wives, the more twisted the story becomes. I couldn't stop reading and when I finished the last page, I found myself pleasantly surprised by how hard it was to predict anything. I loved it.

Husband Material by Emily Belden

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Release Date - December 30, 2019



It's been five years since her husband died. Charlotte believes she's moved on until wildfires burn down the mausoleum where her husband's ashes were kept. He's back and she must figure out what to do next.

Between her meddlesome former mother-in-law who desperately wants the ashes, the sudden reappearance of her husband's best friend, and a work situation that leads to forced time off, Charlotte needs to step back while she makes one of the hardest decisions of her life.

Husband Material is a good read. It's fast and light-hearted. I didn't always connect with the characters. Yet, I didn't want to stop reading either. There are aspects of the story that had me wondering if they were really pertinent to the storyline. There were also aspects that I loved and that kept me involved in finding out exactly what would become of Charlotte and her grief.

If you're looking for something that isn't too heavy, this is an …

Safe Harbour by Christina Kilbourne

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Release Date - December 10, 2019



Harbour is currently homeless and in Toronto along with her dog. She's only 14, but she needs to keep that fact hidden from those she encounters. It's just a matter of days before her dad arrives with their sailing vessel from Florida. Once he arrives, she can stop living on the streets.

As the weeks pass, Harbour finds life a little harder. It's getting colder at night. It's harder to stay dry and warm. Her father gave her a credit card to use until his arrival. When that card is declined while buying foods, Harbour starts to worry. It's been a while since her dad's last call. What's taking her dad so long, why isn't he answering his phone, and why is his card no longer working?

I really struggled with the dad in this book. I cannot imagine sending a 14-year-old and family dog all the way from Miami to Toronto alone. The mom in me got angrier and angrier as the story progressed. If you're like me, stick with it. Th…

Honey and Leonard by Mark Paul Smith

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Release Date - November 2019



My mom has Alzheimer's. It's torturous watching someone slowly lose the ability to find the right words, keep control of emotional outbursts, etc. I was drawn to Honey and Leonard for that reason. I know what it's like.

Billed as a romance, I found there's an awful lot of reality in this novel, which isn't surprising given the author's experience with a parent with Alzheimer's. I wanted it to be uplifting, but I found it to be a little too true and sad to be uplifted by it.

Honey loves Leonard with all of her heart. The same is true in the other direction, even if Leonard sometimes forgets who Honey is. His niece has power of attorney and has him in an assisted living community, which Honey believes is a non-stop track to a slow death.

When blood tests find high levels of arsenic in Leonard's blood, Honey is barred from seeing him. His niece is applying for guardianship and the social worker assigned to his case makes it cl…

A Bittersweet Surprise by Cynthia Ellingsen

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Release Date - September 2019



The "good news" her stepmother boasts of isn't good news to Emma Laurent. Her father's candy store is her pride and joy. Selling it to a large company isn't good news, it's heartbreaking.

Emma doesn't like to ask for help, but she needs to save the shop. Her only hope is to qualify for a loan in order to buy it. She has to save the shop. It's the only way she can afford the assisted living apartment her grandmother calls home.

As if she doesn't have enough on her mind, there's a single mom in town who seems to need a friend and Emma can't turn her back on anyone. Plus, a secretive couple has offered Emma $20,000 for a painting of her father's that's been a candy shop fixture. The painting isn't by anyone famous from what Emma can tell, so their sudden interest is unusual. The money, however, could be the answer to all of her problems getting a loan to purchase the shop and keeping her grandmother …

Christmas From the Heart by Sheila Roberts

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Release Date - September 24, 2019



Many holiday romances come out in the summer when it's just way too early for me. I held off reading Christmas From the Heart for that reason.

Christmas From the Heart's organizer, Livi, relies on donations from Hightower Enterprises. Her charitable organization ensures that everyone in her town has a wonderful Christmas, even if money is tight. When Guy Hightower announces they're no longer able to donate to Christmas From the Heart, Livi is infuriated. This modern-day Scrooge is going to destroy the holidays many in her community deserve.

His company is in shambles, and Guy has to tighten the belt. Getting called out as a miserly jerk is not something he'll stand for. On his way to his mom's house for a holiday gathering, his car breaks down. He finds himself stranded in Pine River, Livi's hometown. Worse, Livi is the woman who comes to his rescue, only she has no idea who he is and he doesn't want to tell her.

When Guy …

Revamping Due to New Policies

Due to new policies, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with this review site. Amazon now requires that all reviewers make it clear on each and every post that the product links for Amazon are affiliate links and pay the blogger a small percentage if people click on that link and make the purchase.

Having to individually update 10 years of posts isn't easy. As a result, I'm thinking it may be time to stop linking to Amazon at all. It's taken far too long to update posts one by one. I haven't read a book in a month, and that's the reason for no posts lately.

Book Release News - Before the Devil Fell by Neil Olson

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Release Date - October 8, 2019



I was due to review Neil Olson's Before the Devil Fell, but the digital copy never came through. I don't want to skip posting for the blog tour, therefore I can at least share news of the new book. It looks intriguing!

Here's the blurb from Hanover Square Press:


Will Connor returns to his hometown, a village north of Boston, to care for his injured mother. He’s kept his distance from the town since high school, but once home he finds himself reexamining a horrific incident that took place during one of his mother’s “spirit circles.” His mother had embraced the hippie generation’s fascination with New Age and the arcane, but the unexpected death of a close friend put an end to the meetings of the modern-day coven.

Or did it?

As Will looks deeper into his family’s history he discovers that her practices weren’t so much a passing fad but the latest link in a long tradition of New England witchcraft, which still seems to hold a strange power over …

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

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Release Date - October 1, 2019



If there is one thing that really saddens me, it's that people don't seem to have learned from Hitler's horrific actions. When someone I know cheers that they're rounding up asylum seekers and putting them in horrible internment camps, I'm sad. It gets worse daily.

Cilka's Journey is partially based on facts and is the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. How much of it is truth vs. fiction is up for debate as some say the real Cilka denied that she prostituted herself and that she never wanted her story told. I opted to treat the story as fiction that's loosely based on some truths.

It tells the story of a young Czech woman who, with her sister, is trying to survive the harsh conditions of the concentration camp she's in. To survive, she's raped often. When a commandant notices her and claims her as her own, she lets it happen. Even if it means being forced to sleep with the enemy as often as he chooses.

When the wom…

Life on Loan by Ashley Farley

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Release Date - October 8, 2019



I like the theme of Life on Loan. It all comes down to "have you ever wanted to walk away?" I think at some point in our lives, we all have that moment.

Lena Browder's demanding husband has pushed her to the brink. She gave up everything to raise their daughter. Now, that daughter is a college graduate with no job and no apparent motivation to do much. When Lena finds a naked man in her daughter's room, she's had it. Her husband's you-take-care-of-it attitude is the final straw. She packs up and leaves.

Olivia Westcoat's divorce launched her far off the rails. She cannot believe her husband left her for another, especially another man. She's ready to get away and clear her mind.

When the pair bump into each other in the airport, the friendship they shared in college comes rushing back. Soon a plan is hatched. Lena will stay in Olivia's condo in Charleston for a month, and Olivia will stay in Lena's riverfront va…

What She Gave Away by Catherine Riggs

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Release Date - September 4, 2018



What She Gave Away is the first of two novels in a series per Amazon's page. I can't see how the second book fits in as a part of a series as this first book was complete and didn't leave anything open for a sequel. I tried to read it last year and just couldn't get into it, but I really wanted to try again and stuck with it this time.

The story is told from two viewpoints. You have Crystal Love, a plus-sized loan analyst who manages to get the job she desires despite not fitting into Santa Barbara's mold. It's clear that she has ulterior motives regarding her new job.

Kathi Wright has spent a long time as one of Santa Barbara's elite. She's the wife of the bank president, the same bank where Crystal gets a job. When Kathi's husband dies, she learns he's not only left her penniless, but he was also embroiled in a fraudulent scheme and Kathi's suspected of knowing all about it.

As Kathi struggles to save the l…

Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger

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Release Date - September 24, 2019



I don't like seeing or hearing about people who feel it's necessary to hide mental illness. I get it, but I wish those people would have the courage to speak up. So many people from all walks of life deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, Bipolar, and so many other forms of mental illness.

For that reason, I appreciated the story in Six Goodbyes We Never Said. Naima Rodriquez struggles with OCD and generalized anxiety disorder. Her military father's death has only made that harder. While she used to become anxious when he deployed, now she's experiencing the worst in that she'll never see him again. That said, she doesn't want you to talk about it. Hence a lot of the agitation between her and her step-mom.

Andrew, Dew for short, is also suffering. The sudden death of both parents has left him alone. Anxiety attacks have become the daily norm for him. Social anxiety has become his biggest challenge. Naima's appearance in…

The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

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Release Date - September 17, 2019



Reporter Rain has a tragic past. She and two friends were attacked by a stranger in the woods as children. She ran away and managed to avoid capture, but her two friends were kidnapped. One didn't survive.

Though years have passed, she cannot forget and it's a bond she will always have with Hank, the childhood friend who survived. She's a stay-at-home mom now, but there's a strong itch to return to journalism. There's the perfect story too. There's a vigilante out there committing executions of murderers. One of those executions was Rain and Hank's attacker. Is it justice finally being served? Rain and her friend, a fellow reporter, think it would make for an explosive podcast and reason for Rain to return to work. Doing so may lead Rain down a path she isn't ready to face.

The Stranger Inside was gripping. I get a strong feeling this is the first in a series, and I can't wait. While I didn't always get all of …

29 Seconds: A Novel by T. M. Logan

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Release Date - September 10, 2019



Wow how 29 Seconds ticked me off, brought me to the edge of rage and back. It had me snickering and wanting to cry. It's a book that is maddening, addicting, and oh so satisfying at times. T. M. Logan took me on quite the ride.

Since Sarah's husband, an actor, walked off to be with some other woman, she's done all she can to balance her time with her kids with her job as a professor. Her boss, a positively lecherous creep, doesn't make it easy. The more she refuses his advances, the harder he makes her life. It's a clear-cut case of sexual harassment, one he's used on other young professors, but his connections to so many higher-ups make it impossible to get anyone to take a complaint seriously.

On the way to get her children, Sarah witnesses an attempted kidnapping. The father of that child reaches out to her and makes her an offer she struggling to refuse. To thank her for saving his daughter, all she has to do is call a bur…

As the Light Fades by Catherine West

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Release Date - September 10, 2019



The right cover art can lure me to read a book. That's what happened with As the Light Fades. The tranquility of the sand and surf caught my eye. The story ended up being a touching romance.

Liz Carlisle is back in Nantucket after suffering tremendous abuse at the hands of her boyfriend. The lawyer isn't sure what she wants to do next. Her family's beachfront estate is under renovations, so she needs to find a job and a place to live while she starts the next chapter of her life.

While she's out walking the family dogs, she sees an erratic driver take out a neighbor's fence, prized rose garden, and tree. The rebellious teen girl that gets out of the vehicle raises Liz's anger. Little does she know that that girl will end up changing her life.

Matthew Stone is dealing as best he can with his niece. She's miserable on Nantucket and money's tight. When Liz calls him about a carriage house he has for rent, he thinks he may…

A Girl Named Anna by Lizzy Barber

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Release Date - September 3, 2019

Rosie's family was never the same after her sister vanished at Astroland, a theme park in the U.S. While 15 years have passed, the family hasn't given up all hope. The anniversary also brings a lot of media attention to the girl's disappearance during a vacation in the U.S. The problem is that after 15 years, the fund keeping the search going is about to be shut down for good. It's tearing Rosie's family apart.
Anna has grown up under the care of a domineering, highly protective mom. The older she gets, the more she thinks there are things her mom keeps from her. On her 18th birthday, a mysterious letter arrives calling her by another name, and that has her questioning everything about her past.
So begins a suspense novel that really isn't that shocking, but it does offer insight into both Anna's and Rosie's struggles to figure out what happened and how to move on in a world full of uncertainty.
Chapters fluidly shift f…

Rival's Break by Carla Neggers

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Release Date - August 27, 2019



I've been a fan of Carla Neggers for so many years. I haven't been following the Sharpe & Donovan series. Picking up Rival's Break and trying to jump in now was a mistake. I didn't feel a strong connection to the characters and struggled with the "who's who" aspect.

Emma Sharpe hasn't seen her husband Colin Donovan in a while as he's been off doing his thing. Both are FBI agents with busy lives and caseloads. Colin's brother is getting married, so they're at their home in Maine to reconnect and for the wedding.

Things go awry when passengers aboard a private yacht are poisoned. Georgina, the chef, is devastated that she may be responsible for poisoning so many people including her father. Colin opts to help the marine patrol officer look into the poisonings.

When it's found a painting by a friend of both Colin and Emma's disappeared from the yacht, the investigation takes a personal turn. Lives a…

All the Lovely Pieces by J.M. Winchester

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Release Date - August 6, 2019



J.M. Winchester's All the Lovely Pieces didn't have any twists that left me reeling. It is gripping and packed with chilling details, but it never surprised me.

Drew Baker ran from her psychotic, abusive husband nine years ago. With her young son, she's tried to find that one place to live in peace. She can't let anyone too close as she fears they'll be caught.

Her past may be catching up with her, however. In their latest home, one of many over the years, townspeople are friendly and take her in as one of their own. She can't let them know what she's done, but for the first time in more than a decade, she's happy and doesn't want to leave a place that's feeling like home.

All the Lovely Pieces is told from several points of view. You have Drew, who is the main character and tells her side of the story from both the present day and the past. There's another female character, Catherine, whose anger towards Drew i…

The Perfect Son by Lauren North

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Release Date - August 13, 2019



Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital. She's been stabbed and her son is missing. As she tries to recall the days leading up to her stabbing, she fears police are not doing all that they can to find young Jamie. To rescue her son, she needs to recall everything that happened before and on the day of Jamie's 8th birthday.

I did have my suspicions regarding the big mystery of where Jamie was, and that proved to be a correct assumption. Meanwhile, the situation with Tess's brother-in-law and her grief counselor were so creepy. As those storylines progressed, I was thoroughly creeped out and angry with and even for Tess.

The tension in The Perfect Son does have you on the edge of your seat. I hated being interrupted. I just wanted to sit and read it in one sitting, but that proved difficult when there were chores to do and meals to cook. I recommend having time set aside where you can read and keep reading for hours. It's a gripping novel!

Because You're Mine by Rea Frey

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Release Date - August 6, 2019



I remember a year ago or so, I read Rea Frey's Not Her Daughter and was left with mixed feelings. I liked the kidnapper a lot. I promised myself that this author was not one I would miss in the future. Because You're Mine did one thing very well. Despite my having a feeling part of what happened, I found myself mildly shocked when I read the final page. Kudos to Rea Frey for leaving me feeling pleasantly surprised that she managed to slip something by me.

Lee is a single mom to a seven-year-old son who is on the spectrum. Her best friend, Grace, seems to have a much better bond with Mason than she does, and that often leaves her feeling sad and uncertain. When she's offered a chance to get away with the rest of the moms, she hesitantly accepts. After all, Mason's tutor, Noah, agrees he'll stay with Mason while she's away.

Before the weekend is over, someone will be dead and several in the community are reeling. Many questions aris…

On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci

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Release Date - August 20, 2019



For more than two decades, Emma Peroni and Cooper Endicott have been friends. Emma's mayor dad and Cooper's governor mom, and the small-town closeness all of the residents of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania enjoy, have meant they've always been tied at the hip.

Emma's dad is ready to retire, and he wants Cooper to continue the work he's done as Hope Lake's mayor. While Cooper is interested, his reputation needs a bit of polishing. He's a bit of a lady's man, and it's gotten him in trouble in the past. Emma's asked to help with Cooper's campaign.

There's a bigger issue as far as Emma is concerned. For all their bickering, she's falling for Cooper. The last thing she needs is to enter into any kind of relationship with him, but it's hard to ignore her feelings as she spends more time working closely with him.

This was a fun romance. On the Corner of Love and Hate is packed with chemistry between Cooper and E…

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

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Release Date - August 13, 2019



Cassie Hanwell should be over the moon. Her entire life has been dedicated to helping others. As a Texan paramedic and firefighter, her heroic moments have led to this very moment. She's about to be awarded in a big way, but one action during that event leads to her having a choice of apologizing or being fired.
..
Now she's in Massachusetts caring for a mom she hasn't seen in ages and working for a small station where the men insist on treating her like a woman and not a fellow firefighter. It's driving her mad. Worse, after years of being a tomboy and avoiding any relationships, she can't help but feel a strong attraction to the newbie. The last thing she needs is to fall for a fellow firefighter.

I adored Things You Save in a Fire. It was emotional, paced perfectly, and filled with so many characters I grew to love. I was kind of sad when the novel ended. I would have appreciated spending far more time with the guys.

This was the …

Tangled Threat by Heather Graham

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Release Date - August 20, 2019



When you need a short, gripping read, Harlequin Intrigue books often fit the bill. Tangled Threat is one from bestselling author Heather Graham. It's got a lot of characters, but there's a guide to them in the opening.

Twelve years ago, Maura Antrim was with the group that spied the body of a resort worker hanging from the resort's mysterious History Tree. The tree had a spooky history and was one of the main draws for guests of the resort.

That tragic event found Maura and the young man she thought she loved parting ways when he was arrested for the dead woman's murder. Her parents pulled her away and never looked back. She went off to college and he ended up being cleared and going on his own path.

More than a decade has passed. Maura is helping film the resort's, specifically the tree's, haunted past. She bumps into Brock McGovern who is now a talented FBI agent investigating two recent disappearances in that area. There are p…

He Will Find You by Charlie Gallagher

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Release Date - July 19, 2019



I don't know if it's because I jumped into the Detective Maddie Ives series midway or what, but I really struggled with He Will Find You. I couldn't connect to the characters, other than the child who doesn't really appear that much in the book. My heart broke for that poor boy.

Detective Maddie Ives is called to the scene of what appears to be a crime. A young boy steps into the city center covered in blood. He won't speak a word. Maddie arrives to try to get any information from him. He's not bleeding, but someone out there must be seriously injured. As the others on the scene find, he simply will not speak.

While Maddie and her co-workers struggled to identify the boy, a body is found in the road. The man appears to have been tied to the back of a vehicle and dragged until he died. With two mysteries to solve, Maddie has her hands full.

It took me two weeks to finish this book. I should have given up as it's clear it wasn…

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

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Release Date - July 30, 2019



It's tough to give a fair review of a book when you're only given a sneak peek. Essentially, all I have to base my thoughts on is the first chapter. That said, this book had me hooked.

Amy Whey is a diving instructor, step-mom, and mother of an infant. Her best friend in the world hosts a regular book club in Amy's basement, which is the perfect opportunity to have some wine, relax with friends and neighbors, and discuss the latest read.

When a newcomer joins them, things go awry when Roux takes over the group and dares them to play an adult form of Never Have I Ever. Soon Amy realizes that Roux knows one of her deepest, darkest secrets and will stop at nothing to make sure Amy pays.

That's the premise. I was left with such a big revelation that leads to what I'm sure is going to be an addicting cat and mouse suspense. From just these few pages, I am dying to know what Amy's secret is and also see Roux get her comeuppance, even if …