Monday, April 16, 2018

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay


Here is what it is about...


They say you never forget your first love. What they don't say though, is that sometimes your first love won't forget you...

A police interview room is the last place Angela expected to find herself today. It's been hours, and they keep asking her the same inane questions over and over. "How do you know the victim?" "What's your relationship with Mr. Parker?" Her ex's wife has gone missing, and anyone who was close to the couple is a suspect. Angela is tired of the bottomless questions and tired of the cold room that stays the same while a rotating litany of interrogators changes shifts around her. But when criminologist Novak takes over, she can tell he's not like the others. He's ready to listen, and she knows he'll understand. When she tells him that her story begins a decade before, long before Saskia was in the picture, he gives her the floor.

A twenty-something young professional, Angela claims to have no involvement. How could she? It's been years since she and H.P., Mr. Parker that is, were together. As her story unfolds, it deepens and darkens. There's a lot to unpack... betrayal, jealousy, and a group of people who all have motives for retribution. If Angela is telling the truth, then who's lying?   



 

Here is what I thought...


     Holy unreliable narrator, Batman!!!  I am a big fan of the mystery/thriller genre and have read A LOT of them but lately they have all felt a little stale and repetitive to me.  I have been slightly bored with the genre only because nothing I have read lately felt new or different then I received this book....whoa!
     Angela is a great narrator and even though she is obviously a little messed up you still can't help but like her just a little.  I also felt a little sorry for her in that she seemed very alone and basically was raised by two very selfish parents.  All of the characters are believable and great...even though you kind of hate most of them.
     Our Little Secret is a great thriller that I could not put down and devoured it a just a few short sittings.  This may not exactly be a new plot line but Ms. Nay writes it so well that you will enjoy every single crazy minute of it! 4/5 stars

*Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review! All opinions are mine and are completely honest!*
 
 
Author's site:  https://roznay.com/

    

Monday, April 9, 2018

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren





Here's what it is about...


Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.  

Here's what I thought...

     Love and Other Words in another great addition to the Christina Lauren collection.  I have really enjoyed their books in the past and this is another good love story.  I must admit that sometimes reading about people in their 20's dating and falling in love feels odd since I am much older but I still enjoy a good romance.    
     Macy and Elliot have a great story of best friends that grow up together, fall in love but then fall apart.  I liked Macy even though she had very obvious emotional issues and was rather closed off. Elliot is funny and sweet as her book nerd friend and you can't help but root for them to figure their crap out.  If I have to complain, I would say the last few chapters felt a bit rushed because I felt like there was so many emotions involved I would have liked a bit more of a fleshing out of those.
     If you like a good angst-y friends-turned-lovers story I think this would be a great one for your beach bag this summer! 4/5 stars


Favorite Quotes:


"Don't spoil her with toys; spoil her with books."

"Unfortunately for me, I don't speak Danish Eyeball."

"I can be enough of your world that it feels like everyone is."


 

Author info:

 Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 30+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline



Here's what it is about...


Nobody cuts deeper than family...


Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she’d lost forever, her only daughter Anna.
Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong, and so quickly. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home.
Events take a heartbreaking turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused and tried for the heinous crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her daughter, but the realization that Anna’s murder may have been at the hands of a husband she loves. In the wake of this tragedy, new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

Here's what I thought....

      I have been a fan of Ms. Scottoline's Rosato & Associates series for many years so I was excited to get a chance to read her newest stand alone, After Anna.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
     The story is told from two perspectives, Maggie's and Noah's. Maggie's story line moves from the past forward and Noah's moves from current day (the trial) backward so that we see the after effects of Anna's appearance while we are learning how it happened.  It is a good concept for storytelling but I have see it quite a lot lately.
     My main problem with this story is that the narrative from Maggie started out a little unbelievable and then became more and more immature and annoying as it went along.  The half of the story told from Noah's perspective was much more interesting and I wish the whole book had been this way.  
     I will admit that I did actually read (skim) through to the end just because I was curious as to what the end game here was and for that I will give it a 2.5/5 stars.


Author's site: https://scottoline.com/


Monday, April 2, 2018

The Shadow of Death by Jane Willan



Here's what it is about....


The sisters of Gwenafwy Abbey have cherished their contemplative life—days spent in prayer, reflection, tending the Convent’s vegetable gardens and making their award-winning organic cheese, Heavenly Gouda. Life seems perfect, except for Sister Agatha, a die-hard mystery fan who despairs of ever finding any real life inspiration for her own novel. That is, until the Abbey’s sexton is found dead under an avalanche of gouda. Despite the reservations of the local constable, Sister Agatha is convinced it’s murder and the game is afoot.

Armed only with the notes she’s scribbled during her favorite podcast, How to Write a Mystery Novel, as well as a lessons learned from crime heroes ranging from Hercule Poirot to Stephanie Plum, Sister Agatha leads the nuns of Gwenafwy Abbey (and her unwitting sidekick, Father Selwyn) as they begin a race against time to resolve the death of Jacob, save the Abbey, exonerate a beloved postulant, and restore the good name of their cheese.


 

Here's what I thought about it...


     This book struck me as a cozy mystery I would enjoy and turned out to be a little Louise Penny-like.  I used to read A LOT of cozy mysteries but then I got burnt out on them.  Over the last year or two I have started reading them again occasionally when one catches my attention...and doesn't have a cat on the cover.  Also, I should warn you that I am a bit of an Anglophile so the setting really intrigued me too. :)
     I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters from Gwenafwy Abbey and found the main characters, Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn, delightful and fun. Sister Agatha is feisty and her mystery writer aspirations made her relatable and was a perfect excuse for her nosiness! I loved that she paid homage to some of her favorite literary detectives that also happen to be mine. 
   The only thing I can think to complain about is that there is A LOT happening in this book...murders, cheese festivals, confirmations, burglary, sabotage...it was occasionally overwhelming but I did still really enjoy this mystery.  I will definitely be looking forward to more in this series.  4/5 stars

 

Favorite Quotes:

"...but fortunately for Sister Agatha, Reverend Mother firmly believed that all-poverty-and-no-online-shopping made for a dull life."

"An angling enthusiast, he claimed that since the early disciples had been fishermen, his yearly fishing trips to Scotland were biblically mandated."

"Get rid of the Mini?" he said.  "Buy a van? Get thee behind me, Satan?"


Author's site:

https://www.janewillan.com/



*Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review*
    

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Stay With Me by Adebayo Ayobami







Summary:


Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage--after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures--Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time--until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Measks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.


My Thoughts:


      I don't think this book would have found its way into my hands without the MMD Book Club. It is a touching, sad, funny and beautiful story of love, loss and finding out what you can live with and what you can't. Stay With Me is set in the political upheaval of Nigeria that echos the upheaval of family and love
     I loved learning about the customs and superstitions of this culture and also how younger generations bridged between modern living and old beliefs.  Pressures are high to conform to some of the cultural norms (many wives and children) but not to others (not educating women). Yejide and especially Akin are caught between their own wants and the expectations of their families.
     Yejide was a very strong female character and I felt her pain and loss. She very much loved Akin and even though she felt betrayed by him she still loved him.  She still chose to be his wife. Akin was a character that I liked at first but as the story went on, I liked him less and less.  He is truly devoted to Yejide but I found him weak and hypocritical.  
     Stay With Me is a very emotional but beautiful book and I am so glad that I read it and was able to discuss it with others.  4.5/5 stars

Author's site: http://www.ayobamiadebayo.com/    



Monday, March 19, 2018

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon


Summary:


Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn.
Russia, July 17, 1918
Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.

Germany, February 17, 1920

     A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia.
     Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson.
      As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a brilliantly crafted dual narrative structure, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory yet: the nature of identity itself.
      The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.


My Thoughts:

      As far as my experience with Ms. Lawhon goes, she is great with historical fiction.  She can take an interesting thread from history and turn it into this carefully woven, beautiful story that you won't want to put down. This is definitely true of I Was Anastasia.
     One of the most amazing things she does is weaves two stories together in this crazy way but rarely are you ever lost or confused.  In this book you have two stories, Anna's and Anastasia's.  Anna's story is told in reverse while Anastasia's is toward going forward so that the stories run parallel until they crash into each other at the exact same moment in the past. 
     There were a few times in this story that I skimmed because it was just too much info that seemed unnecessary but overall, I was totally invested in Anna's journey.       Is Anna Anastasia? Read and find out!  4/5 stars



Favorite lines:


"But most of all she hates giving statements to the press. They always want to know how she feels, and she always wants to poke them in the eye with a freshly sharpened pencil."

"You seem to have the misguided notion that the natural response to imprisonment is gratitude."

"This is how the human heart beats, a twisted staccato of love and envy, of anger and relief."


 

 

Author's link:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/485025.Ariel_Lawhon

Friday, March 16, 2018

only you blog tour banner

Only You, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow is LIVE!

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Nate Pearson is ridiculously handsome and wears the hell out of a suit and tie, but I've seen the parade of beautiful women leaving his apartment across the hall-a different one every time-and I want no part of it. When it comes to romance, I'm looking for something real, something that will last: the happily ever after.
As a divorce attorney, he loves to tell me there's no such thing.
As a wedding planner, I choose to disagree.
We disagree on almost everything, in fact. Everything except James Bond. The only time we really get along is when we're watching 007 flicks together, and I'll admit-he has rescued me from a disaster or five. So when one of the baton twirlers from his parade leaves a baby girl at his door with a note that says "I'll come back for her" and he begs me for help, I can't turn him down.
But it's a mistake.
Because watching him with his daughter, I start to see another side of Nate, a side that has my breath coming faster, my body craving his, my heart longing for him to change his mind about love and tell me there's a chance for us.
I don't want to be just another girl leaving his apartment in the morning.
I want to be the one he asks to stay.
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Read Only You Today!
Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/OnlyYouMH
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/2HoxTVk
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2FLY6A6
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2C4DIEs

Excerpt

“So did you mean what you said last night? About me?” He grimaced, his eyes closing briefly. “I’m sorry about that. I shouldn’t have said it.” “But you think it, right? That I’m a little girl living in a fantasy world?” “No.” He put a hand on my shoulder. “I think you’re an optimist. I think you see good in people they don’t even see themselves. You build people up—especially me.” “You?” I laughed a little. “You don’t need me to build you up.” “Hell yes, I do. You think I’d have been able to handle this whole fatherhood bombshell if you hadn’t been here? If you’d said, ‘That’s what you get for fucking around, asshole. Good luck.’ I shook my head, a strand of hair coming loose from my bun. “I’d never have done that.” “I know.” He tucked the strand behind my ear and moved his hand to the back of my neck. His eyes dropped to my lips. “But I would have deserved it.” I held my breath. Things seemed to be happening in slow motion. His forehead came to rest on mine. And then our noses touched. Our eyes closed. An eternity passed, his lips a whisper from mine. Either one of us could have initiated a kiss. A slight lift of my chin. A little drop of his head. The question—will we or won’t we?—hung there between us, even as his closed lips brushed mine, eyelash soft. I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around his neck and fit my body flush against his, but my wrists lay inert on the edge of the sink. Suddenly he spoke, his breath warm against my mouth. “You know that dream you have, the one where you really want to do something, you’re desperate to do something, but you’re paralyzed?” “Yes,” I whispered. “I think I’m having that dream right now.” “Me too.” And then I felt it, the gentle pressure at the back of my neck, pulling my head toward him. It was all I needed. Our mouths came together firmly this time, our lips opening, and I angled my body toward his, throwing my arms around his neck. His hands explored my back while his tongue explored my mouth, and he backed me into the corner, his hips pinning mine against the hard stone counter. He kissed with a fervor and intensity that surprised me, his mouth traveling down my neck, his fingers threading through my hair, pulling the pins loose, his body giving off heat that mine hungrily absorbed. I wanted to get closer to him, wished I could feel his skin against mine. I rose up on tiptoe to press against him, my back arching to fit the question mark curve of his body. He felt big and strong and reassuring, exactly how I wanted him to feel. I wasn’t even sure what it was I wanted reassurance about… My desirability? Our chemistry? Something new and different happening between us? He swept his lips to the other side of my throat, a necklace of soft, insistent kisses that warmed my blood. When his mouth returned to mine, the kiss grew hot and frantic. He reached down and hiked the hem of my skirt to my waist, and I immediately jumped up, wrapping my legs around him. His hands moved under my ass and he carried me like that into the living room, never lifting his mouth off mine. When he reached the couch, he knelt on it and tipped me backward, stripping off his shirt and stretching out above me. My hands moved lightning fast over hot skin, solid muscle. Chest and arms and back—I couldn’t get enough. His hand stole beneath the T-shirt I wore and I arched my back so he could reach underneath me and unclasp my bra, then moaned softly at the feel of his palm over my breasts. Moving down, he shoved the shirt and bra up to my neck and put his mouth on me, his lips, his tongue, his teeth, my nipples hardening into tight little peaks that begged to be licked, sucked, teased, tortured. What are we doing? What are we doing? What are we doing? screamed a voice in my head. I ignored it, hooking my arms beneath his and pulling him up so I could kiss him again. I didn’t care what we were doing. It felt way too good to stop. ONLY-YOU-TEASER-FOUR-AN



My Thoughts: 


     Melanie Harlow is a personal favorite of mine from the romance genre.  She has never disappointed me because she always writes a believable, beautiful story with totally relate-able characters that you cannot help but like.

     Only You gives you the story of Emme and Nate, both of whom I really liked even when they were being ridiculous! I see this is the start of a trio (Emme has two single sisters!) of great stories that I know I will love. Was the story predictable a few times? Yes, but I did not care because I enjoy this cast of characters and can't wait to see were they go. 
     If you are looking for a quick, enjoyable romance with a few sexy moments and laughs, this is for you! 4/5 stars






About Melanie:
Harlow Headshot BW.jpgMelanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she's not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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