Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

Summary from Amazon:

They say behind every great man, there's a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge's wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge's bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband's recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city's most notorious gangster, Owney "The Killer" Madden.

On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge's involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?

After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge's favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks—one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale—of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on.

My Thoughts:

    The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress is a bit of a historical fictionalization of a true crime cold case from the early 1930’s.  An unsolved crime that was a huge story that filled not only the hard newspapers but the gossip rags of New York City as well, this story is filled with unsavory characters that are all guilty of something.  There are gangsters, prostitutes, thugs and extortionists just to name a few!   This is based on a true crime and some of the characters were actual people but as you will read in the Author’s Notes many characters are added that never existed. 
     This is a great concept that I really enjoy!  While I was intrigued by the storyline and how many of the characters, especially the ones from the title (Stella, Maria and Ritzi, respectively) the jumping around of the timeline was very erratic and really slowed down my reading progress.  I don’t mind a bit of back and forth in time frames but this wasn’t consistent and tended to be confusing.  Great story but a bit erratic makes it a 3 star read for me.

Author’s site:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hard to Love by Sandra Jones

Summary from Good Reads: 

Leaving a safe, predictable relationship and falling straight into the center of a whirlwind was never part of Emily's Plans. From that very moment when the stranger's hand takes her by the wrist, she is thrust into a world where she is flooded with feelings she cannot ignore. 

Torn between her head and her heart, she quickly realizes that fighting her attraction to Chase Newman is an impossible task. He's a man who always gets what he wants and with his sights set on Emily, she doesn't stand a chance. A one-night stand will never be enough though, when she wants so much more than that. 

When secrets and lies threaten to destroy the trust between them, Emily starts to question her own decisions.

My Thoughts:

     OI! There was enough drama in the first half of this story to fill a complete novel! A romance novel always has conflicts (commitment issues, crazy exes, catty competition) but all of them? Too much!  There was also little to no flow with this story.  Also things kept suddenly popping up that were never mentioned before: Emily was raised by a loving grandma, her ex is suddenly a police detective.  Editing was the main issue here, I think, but it was annoying either way.

     Sadly, under all these issues I see potential here for a good story and possibly the beginning of a series but the characters and their relationship need more depth.  I kept reading which is saying something but I kept waiting for more…we never really got a chance to get inside the main characters’ heads with all of the drama being thrown at us.  2/5 stars

*I was giving a copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath

Summary from Good Reads:

     Lieutenant Jacqueline 'Jack' Daniels is having a bad week. Her live-in boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, chronic insomnia has caused her to max out her credit cards with late-night home shopping purchases, and a frightening killer who calls himself 'The Gingerbread Man' is dumping mutilated bodies in her district. 
     Between avoiding the FBI and its moronic profiling computer, joining a dating service, mixing it up with street thugs, and parrying the advances of an uncouth PI, Jack and her binge-eating partner, Herb, must catch the maniac before he kills again....and Jack is next on his murder list. 

My Thoughts:

     This was my April Reading Challenge selection for “a book I’ve already read”.  This is one of my favorite series but I had not read them in over a decade and was excited to revisit Jack and the gang. 
     I love a good series and even more a female detective lead who’s no pushover or man hungry floozy. Jack Daniels is smart, sarcastic, tough and amazing at her job but does have some dating issues.  She loves her job and working nearly 24/7 does not make dating/relationships easy. Her partner, Herb, and some of the other secondary characters are rude, oddball and hilarious as well.  You cannot read these books without being amused!

  Funny aside, there is a very psychotic serial killer on the loose here and once he sees Jack investigating him, the fixation with her begins.  This is not a cozy mystery! If violence bothers you it would be best to skip these books altogether.  This is a great thriller series with amazing, funny characters but they are also violent (not extreme gore but still bloody) Stephen King-esque stories and crimes.  4/5 stars

Author's Site:

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Summary from Good Reads:

     Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

     Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

     Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?

Release date: April 11, 2017

My Thoughts:

     This was a great thriller! With every turn of the page you will come up with a new idea of what’s going on but you will be wrong…again.  Leah is a great but unreliable main character with plenty of flaws of her own to keep you wondering.  Emmy is the perfect is-she-or-isn’t-she-the-villain that you suspect but then don’t. There are a few subplots and secondary characters that all support the mysteries involved in the book but to me the flow of the book was a bit off.
     There are a lot of twists and turns and at times, I was confused.  All of Leah’s inner dialogue and self-analyzing about her ultimate search for truth got to be a little tedious at times. This is especially true when it was purposely vague…this happened a lot and was a little annoying. I really enjoyed the story but felt that all the storylines were not pulled together in a very cohesive way and that the ending was anticlimactic.  3.5/5 stars

Author’s site:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

March Reads

     Well I always have good intentions of not buying more books, but....

     It was a pretty good reading month for me in March! I ventured a little outside the norm for a couple of books and loved one and hated the other.  I am also apparently the only one on the planet that hated it too...wonder what that says about me? Oh well!

March Reads:

If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow: One of my favorite writers-pretty great book! 4/5 stars

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: This is the everyone-loves-it-but-I-couldn't-even-finish-it book...ugh. Full review here.

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon: Really enjoyed this new-to-me series and can't wait to read more! The rest of my review can be found here.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline:   Bleak but nicely written fictional story behind a famous painting-full info here.

The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes: Great historical fiction story that I am so glad was recommended in the MMD Book Club this month! See my review here.

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase: Ms. Chase writes some pretty great romances and I've been meaning to start her latest series-it's another good one! 4/5 stars

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti:  Interesting story about a father and daughter's life on the road and how it affects their relationship.  Full review here.

Coming up in April:
*Meghan Quinn's latest
*a new thriller coming later in the month
*more historical fiction
*what will I choose for my April Reading Challenge book (a book I've already read)? I know you're on the edge of your seats for that one. :) 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Co-Wrecker by Meghan Quinn: Blog Tour and Review!


Co-Wrecker, an all new sexy, laugh out loud romantic comedy is available now!


Co-Wrecker by Meghan Quinn Publication Date: March 23, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Photographer: Lauren Watson Perry


What do ice cream and Sadie Montgomery have in common? They're both ice cold, but one taste is never enough.
I wanted to be friends — I would have even settled for her seeing me as anything but a nerd — but there was no getting through. So just like any hard-headed, red-blooded man out there, I made up my mind.
I’d make my coworker fall for me.
I’d like to say it was simple, but like every other epic love story, all it took was one drunken night and a lot of naked courage to get the girl. For a moment, at least.
Love with a coworker is never simple, especially since Sadie’s trying to keep us on the low. Not to mention her persistent ex-boyfriend who won’t leave her alone. But I’ve never been good at giving up, and I don’t plan to start now.
The whole thing is a recipe for a rocky road, but I plan to eat the whole gallon, no matter how bad the brain freeze.


Knowing I will probably regret this, I lift from the freezer, ice cream scraper in hand, and jerk toward Sadie just in time to slip on some melted ice on the floor shooting me across the fountain and straight into Sadie. But not just Sadie; straight into her chest—her billowing, womanly chest. It’s a satisfyingly soft cushion for my head but from her instant outrage, I’m going to guess she’s not keen on me using her breasts as a pillow. “What the hell are you doing?” she asks, trying to back away, difficult when I’ve got her pinned against the counter. Fumbling to get some kind of grasp on my falling body, scraper still in hand, I give her a bit of motor boat—not on purpose—and muffle in her breasts, “I’m sowwy.” “Get off me.” “I’m twying,” I say, finally getting a grip on the counter behind her and standing tall. Glasses askew, hat on the floor, and a smothered feeling on my face, I straighten my apron and clear my throat. “My apologies.” Her friend is laughing, hand on her stomach, as I push my glasses back on my nose. “Although, I’m grateful for your sturdy bosom for catching my fall. It might have been a twisty straw to the eye, and I’m not sure my glasses would have held up on such an impact.” Sturdy bosom? Shit, Andrew, don’t fucking say words like bosom. And for the love of God, don’t say a woman has a STURDY bosom. Say words like tits. Tits are more manly. “Tits,” I mutter. “Excuse me?” Sadie has the look of horror on her face. Fuck, did I say that out loud? “I think he said tits, Sadie,” her friend cuts in, thumbing through the straw holder. Yup, I said tits out loud. “I heard him, Smills,” Sadie mutters under her breath. Glaring at me, looking for an answer, I shrug my shoulders, because I have nothing. No way of digging myself out of this one. Funny how your brain can literally stop working the minute you need it the most. Come on, old fella, kick it into high gear. Come up with something witty, something snarky, something that will put a Band-Aid over this rather raw and embarrassing incident. But, good fuck. I just had my face in her chest. What man could come back quickly from that? “Well . . .” Sadie has her arms crossed over her bosom, waiting for an answer. No. Her arms are crossed over her breasts. Shit. Shit. Nerves crawl up the back of my neck, igniting my ears into lava levels of heat. Crap. Just say anything. Clearing my throat, I pat her shoulder and say, “Sturdy tits.” And here I thought it couldn’t get any worse, at least my hand didn’t pat down her breast to see if her nipples were made of steel, or to see if her areolas consist of chain-link mesh. You have to look at the positive.


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My Thoughts:

     Meghan Quinn is always good for a funny, sexy but emotional story.  Co-Wrecker is just that.  Both Andrew and Sadie are great characters but I think the sidekicks take the prize in this novel! Andrew’s roomates and Sadie’s best friend are hilarious! 

     Meghan Quinn is great at ridiculous-ness but also at getting right to the heart of someone’s feelings and insecurities.  The only issue I had with this story had to do with me in that I have kids the age of these characters so it felt a little weird to be reading a love story of “kids”.  Other than that this was a fun, romantic, tearjerker story that will have you laughing and swooning. 
3.5/5 stars

MeghanQuinnAuthorPicAbout the Author:

A BLONDE AT HEART Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped. Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking. Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

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