Book Review: The Secrets of Married Women

THE SECRETS OF MARRIED WOMEN, BY CAROL MASON

PUBLICATION: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING; JUNE 22, 2017

secretsAbout the book: 

When Jill’s husband discovers he can never have children, it tears a hole in their marriage that Jill doesn’t know how to repair. Frustrated, she seeks comfort in her friends: fierce Leigh, with her high-powered career and doting family, and sweet, uncomplicated Wendy, who has a rock-solid marriage any woman would envy.

Leigh and Wendy’s lives seem perfect. But beneath the surface are secrets that could tear their friendship apart.

Leigh has grown tired of her stay-at-home husband and is looking for excitement—outside of the marriage bed. And after seventeen years of marriage, Wendy can’t shake the sense that there is something missing in her life.

As Jill is drawn deeper into her friends’ relationships, she is confronted by a temptation of her own: an intriguing stranger whose good looks and charm spark an instant connection.

Full of the realities of modern-day marriage, The Secrets of Married Women asks the question: how well can we ever know our husbands, our friends, or even ourselves?

My Review:

Uggghhh, I hate it when this happens but I truly don’t know how I feel about this novel! Although not a fan of the overall premise of infidelity, I suspected that would be a part of this novel and chose to review it anyway, however, I’m finding myself left with a sort of “blah” feeling.

There are three friends: Jill, Leigh, and Wendy. Jill is married to Rob but found out that he was unable to get Jill pregnant, so their marriage has become more like a roommate situation. Leigh is married to Lawrence and they have a daughter, Molly. Lawrence was a teacher, has OCD, and took “a year off” from work to deal with his OCD. Instead, he has become Leigh’s minion, answering to her beck and call, and Leigh is sick of him. Then there are Wendy and Neil who have two sons and lost another baby not long after her birth. On the outside, they appear to be nothing less than a happy, healthy couple and Wendy never suggests otherwise. 

I hate spoilers and will avoid them in this review, although it makes it more challenging. The overall plot and theme of The Secrets of Married Women basically is about, “o.k., things are boring, maybe I should have an affair.” Or possibly, “regardless of how shitty things get, I would never cheat.” So much of this novel is centered around “will she, or won’t she?” It honestly drove me crazy. Women – if you are unhappy with your lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a random roll in the sack with a random guy is going to make your life better. And on the flip side, if you think your beloved is fooling around on you, don’t turn the other cheek!

O.k. done with my ranting, let me continue. I cannot ignore Carol Mason’s wonderful writing, although there were a few things here and there that I didn’t quite understand considering that I live in the U.S., but I felt that everything flowed well and made sense. I’ve seen other reviews hating the ending, but I personally loved it. I thought it truly portrayed people with huge hearts and passion, showing that true love does prevail at times. Each woman’s life changed throughout the novel, some good, some bad. The plot seemed to slow a bit during the last 1/3 of the novel, but I still enjoyed it and honestly, I was unable to put it down. Despite my distaste for the subject of infidelity, I literally could not stop reading this story. Similar to passing a car accident, I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the words on the page. However, I am still on the fence with this one. I certainly don’t regret reading it, if nothing else I’ve hopefully learned from the complete, utter screw-ups that the characters made in this novel. But is it the greatest thing I’ve read in a while? Unfortunately, it’s not. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase The Secrets of Married Women on Amazon.

Learn more about Carol Mason by visiting her web page.

 

 

Book Blitz: Pam of Babylon

PamOfBabylon_BlitzBanner""

Title: Pam of Babylon

Series: Pam of Babylon: Book 1

Author: Suzanne Jenkins

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: CreateSpace Cover Services

Release Date: July 11, 2011

Romance Genre(s): Contemporary

Pages: 296

View on Goodreads

About the Book

Blurb

PamOfBabylon

If you like romance series with twists and turns, then you’ll love Pam of Babylon.

When Jack has a heart attack on the train from Manhattan, Pam and Jack’s two lovers discover secrets and lies, and each other in this contemporary romance with a touch of noir.

Excerpt

Jack Smith was thinking, I am the luckiest man alive. Sitting at a white-linen-covered table on the sidewalk outside of his favorite restaurant, he gazed at the perfect face of his mistress of nine months. This place was their place. They’d spent a rare night together, and in the early morning they were having a leisurely breakfast, enjoying the perfect weather of late May in New York.

“What do you have to do this weekend?” Jack asked, knowing this could be a dangerous topic. Sandra was sipping her coffee, head bowed but eyes on him. She slowly put her cup down and straightened up. He really wanted to know, interested in her life outside of where it meshed with his.

“After you leave, I’ll start getting ready for the week, and then I can relax tonight and tomorrow. Monday I’m having lunch at my sister’s in New Jersey. My schedule next week is fairly packed, so the more I can get done now, the easier it will be.”

She thought of her messy apartment, the empty refrigerator, the pile of laundry, but didn’t mention it. Jack’s solution would be to say, pay someone to do those things for you so you can do what you want. Your time is worth more than what it would cost.

“One thing I would really like to do is get back to that gallery on Houston and see if there isn’t a deal I can work out for the piece we saw last night.” She smiled at Jack, and they nodded their heads, remembering the vibrant painting of the Riverside Gardens. It was so colorful, the yellows and reds and blues exaggerated, the flowers oversized. They loved it.

“You should have said something while we were there!” he said, smiling at her.

He would have bought it then and there for her, but she really wanted to buy it for herself, knowing it was wise to keep things like community property out of their relationship.

They ate the rest of breakfast in silence. Soon, Jack would start fidgeting, pushing his chair back slightly, looking around and fighting the urge to look at his watch. Their time together would be over for now. Sandra would try to beat him to the punch; it was easier for her to be in control of this aspect of their life. His schedule would dictate when they could see each other, but she could be in charge of when it would end. Hating those last minutes while they waited for the check to come, she felt like she was sitting in a vacuum. Today was a little different, maybe because of the night before. It was so special having the evening together and then spending the night with him. The hotel was the same one they always used. It was clean and comfortable and—impersonal. But she didn’t allow herself to think of it.

He would not have argued if he knew what she was thinking. On one hand, he was wondering what was taking so long for the check to come as he had a lot to do at home, but on the other, he would miss her terribly. It took all the strength he had not to pout like a child when he was away from her. Thinking of his home close to the sea, the smell of salt air, he imagined the two of them sitting on the veranda overlooking the dunes and beach grass. But the face of his wife kept popping up on Sandra’s body, not allowing anyone to take her place, even in his thoughts.

She walked him to the subway, refusing to have him walk her home first. Rather than taking a cab, he often preferred the subway. She would shop on the way home, and he had a long commute, over an hour to his home on Long Island. They walked arm in arm, a striking couple to look at, he mature, greying at the temples and in good shape for his age; she young, model thin and beautiful, heads turned to look. Were they famous? The attention they got when they were out in public together pleased them, and they became even more animated, laughing, standing up straighter, happiness radiating from them both.

On Broadway, another observer took note of the radiant couple. Jack’s sister-in-law, Marie waited in the Saturday-morning bagel line at H&H.

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

About Suzanne Jenkins

Author Bio

SuzanneJenkins

My books are all creations of a rich and sometimes devilish dream life. Don’t worry—you won’t see yourself in any of my books, but if you do, it’s just a coincidence…

In a former life, I was a registered nurse who worked in the Operating Room for many years. Prior to nursing school, I was an OR technician, and after working in the OR for over thirty-three years, I can’t stand the sight of blood!

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for forty-eight years. We have two children and seven grandchildren and are down to one dog, Oscar. We live in the isolated mountains of north San Diego county, rarely leaving the sanctuary. It’s a wonderful place to hide out and write. I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America and the RWA San Diego Chapter.

Connect with Suzanne

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Linked In | Pinterest

Giveaway

Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win one of the following:

First prize: Pam of Babylon bracelet and eBook box set of novels 1-5 in the series

Second prize: eBook box set of novels 1-5 in the series

Third prize: e-copy of Pam of Babylon

The contest closes at midnight EST on June 30 and is open to entrants worldwide.

Good luck!

Enter here!!

Tour Stops

June 19

Happy Ever After
Lori’s Reading Corner
Sassy Book Lovers
Pam of Babylon

June 20

Loves Great Reads
Drops of Ink
Book Lovers 4Ever
My Fiction Nook

June 21

Underneath the Covers
CelticLady’s Reviews
Always Love Me Some Books
All Things Bookaholic

June 22

Books, Dreams, Life
The Bookworm Lodge
Dandelions Inspired
Outrageous Heroes of Romance
NerdGirl Official

June 23

EskieMama Reads
Wicked Babes Blog Reviews
Reads and Treats
Liz’s Reading Life

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Book Review: Dragonfly Wishes

DRAGONFLY WISHES, BY PENNY HARMON

PUBLICATION: JUNE 23, 2017

dragonflyAbout the book: 

Callie Daniels had it all – a handsome and loyal husband – a sweet and loving son. When death comes knocking at the door twice and they are both taken from her, Callie is suddenly struggling to find a reason to continue with her own life.

During an accidental overdose, she discovers that maybe her son is not lost to her forever when she sees a vision and her journey to understand what happens after death takes top priority.

In the middle of Callie’s quest to deal with her grief, she uncovers a secret that she just can’t ignore. These secrets lead her on a journey to understanding more about life than she ever expected to know.

My Review:

What a heartbreaking but beautiful novel! Out tomorrow, Dragonfly Wishes is the story of a woman named Callie, who within a year’s time loses both her husband Chris and her 7-year-old son Cooper. Chris was killed in an accident while Cooper was in the hospital battling leukemia, but then she has to try to continue on with her life after they are both gone. Accidentally overdosing, Callie sees Cooper who tells her that “she still has stuff to do and can’t come with him or Daddy yet.” With the support of her mother, a therapist, and one of Chris’s best friends, she tries to start living again, and in the process, she discovers a horrible secret. 

Let me begin by saying this novel has some very sad and difficult subject matter. Losing a child to cancer is cruel enough, but to lose your husband not long before your child – is unimaginable. Callie’s character showed such strength and determination even in the early days after Cooper’s death that I couldn’t help but immediately adore her, cheer for her, and have enormous respect for her. Her character was one that once motivated, she kept her momentum even on the most difficult days, as well as, finding ways to help others during her grief process. 

The author addresses one of those topics that has been debated forever. Are our loved ones still present in some way after they pass? Can they be there to support us and show us that they are there? If you were to ask 5 different people those questions, you would likely get 5 different answers, but I think the point is what each individual person needs in order to heal. Grief is different for everyone, just as processing and healing are different for everyone. 

Despite the sadness in this novel, I would describe the overall mood as hopeful. Callie challenges herself on so many levels, forms new friendships and relationships, and risks her financial welfare to help someone else. She works through her anger and sadness in order to form a new life for herself, while still remembering, missing, and loving Chris and Cooper. The author beautifully portrayed someone overcoming tragedy and moving forward in a positive way. 

Dragonfly Wishes is a wonderful and touching novel that I highly recommend. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. 

*Many thanks to author Penny Harmon for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Pre-Order Dandelion Wishes on Amazon! (releases tomorrow, June 23)

 

Book Review: Conversations with Friends

CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS, BY SALLY ROONEY

PUBLICATION: HOGARTH; JULY 11, 2017

conversationsAbout the book: 

Frances is a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances and Bobbi catch the eye of Melissa, a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into Melissa’s world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband, Nick. However amusing and ironic Frances and Nick’s flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy, and Frances’s friendship with Bobbi begins to fracture. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally, terribly, with Bobbi.
 
Desperate to reconcile her inner life to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. Written with gem-like precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.

My Review:

Readers, if you have not yet discovered new author Sally Rooney, this is an author to watch. I just finished her novel Conversations with Friends and am so full of thoughts I’m not sure where to begin!

Main character, Frances is a twenty-one-year-old student, poet, and intern at a literary agency in Dublin. She does live readings of her poetry with her best friend and former girlfriend Bobbi, where one night they meet a well-known photographer, Melissa. After Melissa invites them home with her for drinks, the evening continues with discussions of art, literature, photography, and politics. Frances and Bobbi meet Melissa’s husband, the actor Nick Conway, and Melissa snaps several pictures of the young women as they drink and talk well into the early morning hours. Thus begins a friendship of sorts between the four of them, where Bobbi is drawn more and more into Melissa’s world and Frances finds herself attracted to Nick. Relationships between the four adults develop, diminish, change, and are reborn throughout this story of Frances learning about herself, her emotions, and her sexuality. 

As odd as this may sound considering how much I admire this novel, none of the main characters are very likable. Not trying to be holier than thou by any means, but there was hardly a moral fiber at all between all four of them. Everyone seemed to put on a facade of some sort pretending not to care about this or that, or pretending to care when it came to dinner parties full of important social issues. However, in all honestly, the main characters are quite possibly the most selfish and shallow that I have read about. But it worked beautifully. Frances and Bobbi had been a couple previously, but after Bobbi ending the relationship, they moved back into a close friendship without acknowledging reasons or emotions surrounding their break-up. Nick and Melissa appeared to be “unhappy but o.k. with the status quo,” yet their desires for other people seemed to strengthen their marriage in some bizarre way. Everyone was keeping secrets from everyone, leading to the breakdown of the dynamics between them all, yet they kept making the same mistakes.

Frances claimed to not really have emotions with there being nothing that she really cared about. But as she and Bobbi become closer to Nick and Melissa, the reader sees how untrue this is as she develops feelings for Nick and feels more left out of Bobbi and Melissa’s friendship. Along with the odd inner-workings of those relationships, Frances starts struggling with health issues and the residual effects of her father’s alcoholism. As the novel progresses Frances suffers from numerous issues involving her sexuality, self-esteem, self-harm, and the heartbreak of broken relationships.

Sally Rooney’s writing in Conversations with Friends is raw, emotional, and compelling. The set-up of dialogue takes getting used to regarding who is speaking when, but then it flows effortlessly. The changes with each of the characters are honest and noticeable as things become more tense and intense throughout the story. Rooney perfectly captures the effects of trying to be someone that you are not, as well as, the trap people can fall into making unhealthy choices for themselves emotionally. The conversations vary between shades of honesty, dishonesty, assertiveness, and holding back. Did I respect any of the characters? No, not really. Was I really fond of any of the characters? Not at all. However, I was unable to put this wonderfully written novel down and was moved by the way the author exposed and revealed her characters. 

This one may not be everyone’s taste but I strongly recommend giving this one a shot and definitely keep an eye out for more incredible writing from Sally Rooney. 

*Thanks to First to Read and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Pre-Order Conversations with Friends on Amazon!

 

Review: These Heroic, Happy Dead

THESE HAPPY, HEROIC DEAD, BY LUKE MOGELSON

PUBLICATION: TIM DUGGAN BOOKS; REPRINT EDITION; JUNE 6, 2017

these happy heroicAbout the book: 

With his harrowing debut, Luke Mogelson provides an unsentimental, unflinching glimpse into the lives of those forever changed by war. Subtle links between these ten powerful stories magnify the consequences of combat for both soldiers and civilians, as the violence experienced abroad echoes through their lives in America.

Troubled veterans first introduced as criminals in “To the Lake” and “Visitors” are shown later in “New Guidance” and “Kids,” during the deployments that shaped their futures. A seemingly minor soldier in “New Guidance” becomes the protagonist of “A Human Cry,” where his alienation from society leads to a shocking confrontation. The fate of a hapless Gulf War veteran who reenlists in “Sea Bass” is revealed in “Peacetime,” the story of a New York City medic’s struggle with his inurement to calamity. A shady contractor job gone wrong in “A Beautiful Country” is a news item for a reporter in “Total Solar,” as he navigates the surreal world of occupied Kabul.  Shifting in time and narrative perspective—from the home front to active combat, between experienced leaders, flawed infantrymen, a mother, a child, an Afghan-American translator, and a foreign correspondent–these stories offer a multifaceted examination of the unexpected costs of war.
Here is an evocative, deep work that charts the legacy of an unprecedented conflict, and the burdens of those it touched. Written with remarkable empathy and elegance, These Heroic, Happy Dead heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.

My Review:

For the second time in the last week, I decided to read and review a collection of short stories. This time it was These Heroic, Happy Dead by accomplished journalist and writer, Luke Mogelson. I have really enjoyed various works of war & military fiction and was hopeful I would enjoy these short stories, but I can’t say that I was completely “wowed” by them. 

Let me explain that the writing is beautiful and flawless. Mogelson’s characterization was vivid and complex. His descriptions were incredible and effortlessly drew me into the stories. Each story was unique in its own way some with very definitive endings and some that were more ambiguous, prompting me to draw my own conclusions. A few left me asking “what just happened,” where some were crystal clear. 

Being the spouse of a Veteran, there were many things that I was able to identify with, along with other things that were foreign to me, but overall, it left me feeling very depressed and dark. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting this collection to be full of funny, happy tales – but by the time I finished reading, I honestly wanted to go hide under the covers and curl up in the fetal position for the rest of the day. 

Luke Mogelson captured such different characters in a realistic light, and again, the writing was exquisite, but it was just too dark for me. I would recommend this for someone that’s is a fan of war/military fiction that is not put-off by heavy emotional content and is not looking for a light-hearted read. 

*Thanks to Blogging for Books and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase These Heroic, Happy Dead on Amazon!

What Am I Reading?

Happy Wednesday everyone! Here is what I am planning on reading and reviewing this week, once again trying to catch up on my NetGalley list. I am so close to their suggested 80% feedback ratio that I can taste it  🙂 

 

Dragonfly Wishes, by Penny Harmon

Publication: June 23, 2017

dragonflyAbout the book: 

Callie Daniels had it all – a handsome and loyal husband – a sweet and loving son. When death comes knocking at the door twice and they are both taken from her, Callie is suddenly struggling to find a reason to continue with her own life.

During an accidental overdose, she discovers that maybe her son is not lost to her forever when she sees a vision and her journey to understand what happens after death takes top priority.

In the middle of Callie’s quest to deal with her grief, she uncovers a secret that she just can’t ignore. These secrets lead her on a journey to understanding more about life than she ever expected to know.

 

These Happy, Heroic Dead, by Luke Mogelson

Publication: Tim Duggan Books; Reprint edition; June 6, 2017

these happy heroicAbout the book: 

With his harrowing debut, Luke Mogelson provides an unsentimental, unflinching glimpse into the lives of those forever changed by war. Subtle links between these ten powerful stories magnify the consequences of combat for both soldiers and civilians, as the violence experienced abroad echoes through their lives in America.

Troubled veterans first introduced as criminals in “To the Lake” and “Visitors” are shown later in “New Guidance” and “Kids,” during the deployments that shaped their futures. A seemingly minor soldier in “New Guidance” becomes the protagonist of “A Human Cry,” where his alienation from society leads to a shocking confrontation. The fate of a hapless Gulf War veteran who reenlists in “Sea Bass” is revealed in “Peacetime,” the story of a New York City medic’s struggle with his inurement to calamity. A shady contractor job gone wrong in “A Beautiful Country” is a news item for a reporter in “Total Solar,” as he navigates the surreal world of occupied Kabul.  Shifting in time and narrative perspective—from the home front to active combat, between experienced leaders, flawed infantrymen, a mother, a child, an Afghan-American translator, and a foreign correspondent–these stories offer a multifaceted examination of the unexpected costs of war.
Here is an evocative, deep work that charts the legacy of an unprecedented conflict, and the burdens of those it touched. Written with remarkable empathy and elegance, These Heroic, Happy Dead heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.

 

The Secrets of Married Women, by Carol Mason

Publication: Lake Union Publishing; June 22, 2017

secretsAbout the book: 

When Jill’s husband discovers he can never have children, it tears a hole in their marriage that Jill doesn’t know how to repair. Frustrated, she seeks comfort in her friends: fierce Leigh, with her high-powered career and doting family, and sweet, uncomplicated Wendy, who has a rock-solid marriage any woman would envy.

Leigh and Wendy’s lives seem perfect. But beneath the surface are secrets that could tear their friendship apart.

Leigh has grown tired of her stay-at-home husband and is looking for excitement—outside of the marriage bed. And after seventeen years of marriage, Wendy can’t shake the sense that there is something missing in her life.

As Jill is drawn deeper into her friends’ relationships, she is confronted by a temptation of her own: an intriguing stranger whose good looks and charm spark an instant connection.

Full of the realities of modern-day marriage, The Secrets of Married Women asks the question: how well can we ever know our husbands, our friends, or even ourselves?

 

Final Girls, by Riley Sager

Publication: Dutton; July 11, 2017

final girlsAbout the book: 

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

 

Conversations with Friends, by Sally Rooney

Publication: Hogarth; July 11, 2017

conversationsAbout the book: 

Frances is a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances and Bobbi catch the eye of Melissa, a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into Melissa’s world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband, Nick. However amusing and ironic Frances and Nick’s flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy, and Frances’s friendship with Bobbi begins to fracture. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally, terribly, with Bobbi.
 
Desperate to reconcile her inner life to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. Written with gem-like precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.

 

Hard Proof (Notus Motorcycle Club Book 1), by Debra Kayn

Publication: May 29, 2017

hard proofAbout the book: A sexy, gripping romantic suspense…

Identical twin sisters move to St. John’s, Oregon, buy Vavoom’s Bar, and purposely put themselves into the path of Notus Motorcycle Club.

Burdened by a deep, dark secret, Clara has to be careful because one wrong step, one wrong word, could land her and Gracie in prison. Her need to stay close to the motorcycle club members backfire when Wayne Shaw throws her heart into a tailspin. There is more to the possessive biker than she originally thought. Cornered and out of options, she can only go forward and hope Wayne protects her.

Wayne Shaw splits his time between working at Port Loaders, searching for missing persons in partnership with the local police department, and keeping Notus Motorcycle Club together in hopes a brother will come home. Skilled at finding clues normal people miss, he has no trouble telling the new owners of Vavoom’s apart. He only wants Clara.

When a little girl goes missing, followed by a teenager disappearing, Wayne’s need to keep Clara safe while searching for a serial killer gets tested…until he’s no longer sure who is the hunted and who is the hunter.

Share your thoughts if you have read any of these titles. Have a great week and happy reading!

Book Review: Guilty

GUILTY, BY LAURA ELLIOT

PUBLICATION:  BOOKOUTURE; JUNE 22, 2017

GuiltyAbout the book: 

It begins with a phone call. It ends with a missing child.

On a warm summer’s morning, thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Constance Lawson is reported missing.

A few days later, Constance’s uncle, Karl Lawson, suddenly finds himself swept up in a media frenzy created by journalist Amanda Bowe implying that he is the prime suspect.

Six years later …

Karl’s life is in ruins. His marriage is over, his family destroyed. But the woman who took everything away from him is thriving. With a successful career, husband and a gorgeous baby boy, Amanda’s world is complete. Until the day she receives a phone call and in a heartbeat, she is plunged into every mother’s worst nightmare.

An utterly compelling psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, and Sarah A. Denzil’s Silent Child.

My Review:

I have been so excited to read Guilty, the upcoming novel from talented author Laura Elliot.  The novel is divided into four parts at different points in the characters’ lives. The primary focus of each part is Karl Lawson, uncle of Connie Lawson that goes missing and/or Amanda Bowe, tabloid reporter. I don’t want to give spoilers so I’m trying to word this carefully, but Karl’s wonderful life is basically ruined after his niece’s disappearance, mainly due to Amanda Bowe’s accusatory journalism and the way in which she targeted Karl during the investigation. As the novel progresses we see Karl’s life unravel, Amanda’s life get better and better, Karl’s life get better, and Amanda’s life unravel.

My challenge in writing this review is that the first part was wonderful, the second part was o.k., but then things were odd in parts three and four. There were wonderfully suspenseful moments in parts three and four, but it was nothing compared to the first two parts.

Although I didn’t like the character of Amanda in the least, the author developed her perfectly, creating a fabulous villain as the nosy, pushy reporter. Karma is very unkind to Amanda, although I felt her later suffering was deserved. 

I liked Karl from the beginning, despite some poor judgement on his part. However, as the novel progresses he just gets too weird. I was unable to identify with him at all as the anger and resentment took over his life, and he also became flat-out strange, in my opinion. Where he seemed a well-developed complex character in parts one and two, his character was flat for the remainder of the novel. I did sympathize with him for several reasons, however, and found it unfortunate that when things started getting better, he was still so focused on revenge. 

Guilty addresses several important themes involving trust, faith in people, and how easily society is influenced by the media. Regardless of how unbelievable or awful, the author demonstrated how quickly seeds can be planted in the mind and how it can spread like wildfire. Remorse, or lack thereof, is also addressed repeatedly throughout the novel, which made me want to ask Amanda’s character several times, “karma sucks doesn’t it?” 

Overall I enjoyed this novel, but the disconnect and odd shifts throughout the parts of this novel made it difficult for me to love it. It began with suspenseful momentum, but spiralled downward after that. 

*thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Pre-Order Guilty on Amazon.

Learn more about Laura Elliot by visiting her web page.

Book Review: Seeing Sam

Seeing Sam (Next August book 3),

by Kelly Moore

Publication: July 11, 2017

samAbout the book: 

Blind faith sent Sam’s world spiraling. He trusted the wrong person that almost cost August and Nashville their lives. His guilt sends him on a journey to figure out who he is and what type of man he wants to be.

A once innocent, sweet young man, now faces life alone by his own choice. He rebuilds himself to be a good, strong man. An old injury threatens the use of his legs, just as he meets a beautiful brunette that will change his world again. He falls in love for the very first time with sweet, innocent Emma Flinn.

Emma has had her own tragedies in life to deal with, but she hasn’t let anything stop her from being an independent, successful woman. She’s lived in the same town her entire life and has quit hoping for prince charming to come along. Until out of the blue, Sam comes crashing into her life. They fall in love fast and hard.

Everything seems perfect to Emma, but Sam has something that he’s been hiding from her. He’s faced with a decision to either help Emma or lose something that will cost him dearly. Sam chooses love and it rips their lives apart, leaving Emma to start over again.

Emma learns of Sam’s secret and is willing to forgive him, but will Sam let her?

My Review:

Followers of my blog are aware by now that Kelly Moore’s name appears here frequently, having read all of her Broken Pieces series and the first two novels in the Next August series. So this probably won’t come as a surprise when I say that I have once again fallen in love with one of her novels and the main character!

Previously in the series, we learned that August’s Dad caused an accident when Sam was a baby leaving him paralyzed. However, thanks to new technology and August’s ongoing financial support, Sam was able to undergo surgery allowing him to walk. But Sam also is holding onto guilt about bringing a dishonest and dangerous person into August and Nash’s lives, so he left for Florida to be on his own for awhile. 

While in Florida, Sam lives quietly with his goat Sadie, spending his time remodeling his home. However, fate brings him together with the same beautiful woman, Emma,  a few times while in town and soon they become friends. Sam knows she has her own secrets and pain from her past, and slowly they share more about each other. Except Sam leaves out a huge part of his past. Sam and Emma fall in love quickly and easily but when life-changing decisions need to be made, Sam makes what he thinks is the right choice, but it is not. 

So, I’ve always been a big fan of Sam, but I really loved Emma, her sister Tennyson, and her best friend Chase. Emma is an amazing character but I can’t really go into why without giving spoilers. Initially, I found myself struggling with Sam being perceived as this buff, hottie simply because I had never thought of him that way. If you’ve read the other novels in the series you should understand. His looks, hair, body, sex appeal – they haven’t been addressed before, however, it didn’t take me long to find him just as sexy and irresistible as he was meant to be. 

Although I loved the plot of Sam’s story, I found myself so frustrated with his stubborn character, wanting to jump into the book and strangle him. I wanted to scream, “how can you mess up something so perfect,” but this is what makes a great story in my eyes. I quickly engaged and related to the characters feeling drawn into their joys and sorrows throughout the novel. The dialogue between characters was honest and real making the characters almost jump off the page and feel as if you know them. The plot moved quickly with plenty of surprises giving the reader suspense mixed with romance, but a good portion of this novel deals with love, trust, and believing in yourself, as well as, the person that you love. 

I have nothing but the highest praise for Kelly Moore and her upcoming novel, Seeing Sam. Moore has a magical ability at weaving romance, suspense, moral challenges, and physical challenges among the characters resulting in an absolute must-read novel. I cannot wait to see what comes next from this amazing author, perhaps Anna’s story??  

*Thanks to Kelly Moore for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Pre-Order Seeing Sam on Amazon!

Learn more about Kelly Moore by visiting her web page.

Book Review: Deceived

DECEIVED, BY HEENA RATHORE P.

PUBLICATION: CITRUS; JUNE 24, 2017

DECEIVEDAbout the book:

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of the human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the midst of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

My Review:

Today, I am reviewing Deceived, the debut novel from author Heena Rathore P. Lovers of psychological thrillers, serial killers, crime, and suspense – do not overlook this novel!

  • Ally is a writer, in a relationship with a man named Danny, has a roommate Sam, a loving father Stephen Stone, and her beloved German Shepherd, Max. Ally is also still dealing with the brutal murders of her mother and little brother 9 years earlier.  
  • Steve is a journalist returning to his hometown of Dewer as a supervisor at the newspaper he works for. He is also returning to amend his relationship with Ally and to investigate the murders of his aunt and cousin. Steve thinks this is the work of a serial killer but needs to make the connection.
  •  In 1978, Elizabeth Lawson murdered her parents and disappeared. 
  • Then there is another unknown character, dead set on revenge and ruining Ally and her father’s lives.

While reading this book, I would highly suggest having a glass of wine nearby, or whatever your preferred adult beverage is. Also, I would not read this while home alone, at night. Deceived is so incredibly suspenseful and creepy I am not sure I have the words in my vocabulary to accurately describe it. However, there were numerous times while reading that chill bumps covered my arms.

The novel is opened with a distinction between psychopaths and sociopaths which was not only interesting but set the scene for everything to come.  I wouldn’t even attempt to discuss the plot for fear of spoilers, but I will say that this novel is non-stop action and it seemed as if every page held a new clue or new background information on the characters. The author developed her characters thoroughly and at times almost too well, leaving me with such creepy feelings. Although the novel is fast-paced and absolutely a page-turner, the resolution unfolds slowly, almost teasingly, increasing your desire to figure everything out. 

The only negative to this novel, just my personal thoughts, was the ending. On one hand, I loved the creepy nature of the ending, despite it being the resolution of the plot. But on the other hand, I felt it lacked closure. Otherwise, I loved every scary, suspenseful, and shocking moment of this novel. Bravo to Heena Rathore P. for such an amazing debut novel! I look forward to reading her again in the future. 

*I will warn readers of potential triggers involving sexual abuse, rape, and explicit physical violence. This novel is about multiple killings, so expect details regarding the murders. 

 

*Thanks to the author and publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Heena Rathore P. by visiting her web page.

Addison Cole Blog Tour & Giveaway!


NEW RELEASE……..



Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers features a group of fun, flirty, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They’re sassy, flawed, and so easy to relate to, you’ll be begging to enter their circle of friends! All books can be read as stand-alone novels.

Read, Write, Love at Seaside by Addison Cole is the sweet edition of New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster’s steamy romance novel Read, Write, Love. The stories and characters remain the same, and convey all of the passion you expect between two people in love, without any explicit scenes or harsh language.



In Read, Write, Love at Seaside…

Bestselling author Kurt Remington lives to write. He spends twelve hours a day in front of his computer, rarely leaving the seclusion of his beach-front property, where he’s come to finish his latest thriller — that is, until free-spirited Leanna Bray nearly drowns in the ocean trying to save her dog. Kurt’s best-laid plans are shot to hell when he comes to their rescue. Kurt’s as irritated as he is intrigued by the sexy, hot mess of a woman who lives life on a whim, forgets everything, and doesn’t even know the definition of the word organized.

Leanna’s come to the Cape hoping to find a fulfilling career in the jam-making business, and until she figures out her own life, a man is not on the menu. But Leanna can’t get the six-two, deliciously muscled and tragically neat Kurt out of her mind. She tells herself she’s just stopping by to say thank you, but the heart-warming afternoon sparks an emotional and unexpectedly sweet ride as Kurt and Leanna test the powers of Chemistry 101: Opposites Attract.

My Review:

I am officially addicted to another series! Read, Write, Love at Seaside was a wonderful romantic novel about Leanna and Kurt. Leanna is a free-spirited young woman living at her family’s cottage on the cape for the summer. Always unsure of what she wants in life, lately she’s been building a business making jams and jellies. Kurt is a famous suspense/thriller writer at his beach house for the summer to finish writing his latest novel. They are total opposites, but when she comes crashing into his world, the reader gets a fantastic look at opposites attracting.

This novel was full of romance and sweet moments between Kurt and Leanna (and also her crazy dog Pepper!). The language and sexy scenes are not R-rated, nor do they need to be. The writing and characterization are all that was needed to make this an exciting read that I could not put down! I can’t wait to read the next installment in the series!

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Dreaming at Seaside (Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers Book 2)

Bella Abbascia has returned to Seaside Cottages in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, as she does every summer. Only this year, Bella has more on her mind than sunbathing and skinny-dipping with her girlfriends. She’s quit her job, put her house on the market, and sworn off relationships while she builds a new life in her favorite place on earth. That is, until good-time Bella’s prank takes a bad turn and a handsome police officer appears on the scene.

Single father and police officer Caden Grant left Boston with his fourteen-year-old son, Evan, after his partner was killed in the line of duty. He hopes to find a safer life in the small resort town of Wellfleet, and when he meets Bella during a night patrol shift, he realizes he’s found the one thing he’d never allowed himself to hope for—or even realized he was missing.

After fourteen years of focusing solely on his son, Caden cannot resist the intense attraction he feels toward beautiful Bella, and Bella’s powerless to fight the heat of their budding romance. But starting over proves more difficult than either of them imagined, and when Evan gets mixed up with the wrong kids, Caden’s loyalty is put to the test. Will he give up everything to protect his son—even Bella?

Dreaming at Seaside is the sweet edition of the steamy romance novel Seaside Dreams by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster.

My Review:

Dreaming at Seaside, the second in this series, was just as fabulous as Read, Write, Love at Seaside! This time the story focuses on the wild, outspoken Bella and a new police officer in town named Caden. Bella has decided to quit her teaching job in Connecticut and move to the Cape full time, hopefully heading up a new work study project with the local high school. Caden and his 15-year-old son Evan have just moved to the cape from Boston as Caden tries to recover from the death of his partner. Bella has sworn off relationships but can’t deny the attraction to Caden – but Caden doesn’t want a one night stand, he wants a relationship.

Bella and Caden’s story was wonderful, as was the chemistry between them. The writing was fantastic and this novel is an absolute page-turner from beginning to end. I love that the Sweet with heat series brings passion and chemistry into the stories without going overboard on the sexy scenes and language, just proving that leaving some things up to the imagination does not take away from the power of the story! I am officially hooked on this series and cannot wait to read book 3!

Available to buy from …
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Hearts at Seaside (Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers Book 3)

Jenna Ward is vivacious, spontaneous, and confident—except when she’s around the man who stole her heart years earlier, strikingly handsome, quiet, and reliable Pete Lacroux. After years of trying to get his attention and overwhelmed from dealing with her mother’s new cougar lifestyle, Jenna’s giving up on Peter—and is ready to explore other men. 

 
As the eldest of five siblings, with an alcoholic father to care for, boat craftsman Pete Lacroux always does the right thing and has no time for a real relationship. He’s looking forward to seeing his friend Jenna, a welcome distraction who’s so sexy and painfully shy that she equally entertains and confuses him. 
 
When Jenna picks up a hard-bodied construction worker, jealousy ignites Pete’s true feelings, and he’s unable to ignore the desires for Jenna he never realized he had. But Pete’s not the quiet guy he appears to be, and his life is anything but conducive to a relationship. Can Jenna handle the real Pete Lacroux—the most alpha male she’s ever seen—or will she crack under pressure? And can Pete reclaim the life he once had without tearing apart his family? 
 
Hearts at Seaside is the sweet edition of the steamy romance novel Seaside Hearts by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster.

Releasing July 19th

Available to pre-order from …

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble    KOBO    iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

 

Sunsets at Seaside (Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers Book 4)

Jessica Ayers has lived a sheltered life with little more than cello lessons and practices taking up her day. Now a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she escapes the prim and proper symphony to vacation in the Seaside community in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, to determine if she is living life to the fullest or missing it altogether.For the first time since developing the second largest search engine in the world, billionaire Jamie Reed is taking the summer off. He plans to work from the Cape and spend time with his elderly grandmother—and falling in love is not in his plans.

From the moment Jamie and Jessica meet, the attraction is white-hot. Once-overly-focused Jamie can think of little else than sweet, smart, and alluring Jessica, and Jessica discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. But when Jamie’s business encounters trouble and his attorney and best friend intervenes, he proves that the brown-haired beauty is too distracting for Jamie. To make matters worse, it appears that Jessica might not be who she says she is, turning Jamie’s life—and his heart—upside down. In a world where personal information is always one click away, Jamie must decide if he should trust his heart or watch the woman he loves walk away. 

 
Sunsets at Seaside is the sweet edition of the steamy romance novel Seaside Sunsets by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster.
Releasing August 23rd

Available to pre-order from …

Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers 
Coming Soon!

Secrets at Seaside (releasing October 11th)

Nights at Seaside (releasing December 6th)

Seized by Love at Seaside 

Embraced at Seaside 
Lovers at Seaside 
Whispers at Seaside

About the author
SIGN UP for ADDISON’S Sweet with Heat newsletter. Fun, flirty romance with a dash of heat. http://www.AddisonCole.com/NewsletterDOWNLOAD the first book in Addison’s Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers series free: READ, WRITE, LOVE AT SEASIDE

Addison Cole is the sweet alter ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. She writes humorous and emotional sweet contemporary romance. Her books do not include explicit sex scenes or harsh language. Addison spends her summers on Cape Cod, where she dreams up wonderful love stories in her house overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

Addison enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Addison’s books are available in paperback, digital, and audio formats.

 
Find Addison on the following sites….

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I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

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