Only Ever Her Review


Only Ever Her (Paperback)


New From: $10.37 USD In Stock
Release date: May 7, 2019.
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With such a long winter here in the Midwest, it was the cover of this novel that first intrigued me. It drew out feelings of warmer weather and sunshine and having previously enjoyed The Things We Wish Were True, I was eager to dive in.

This one took a little longer to draw me in. Maybe it was my confusion over how all the characters related or some of the secondary storylines. The premise is perfection — a bride disappears days before her wedding. Is it cold feet or foul play?

Whalen writes the story as we get closer and closer to the big day. We follow different characters’ viewpoints as to what happened to Annie Taft. I love the idea of small secrets bubbling to the surface with Annie missing and how they play off each other. When finished, I felt like some seams were still left undone and some plot points didn’t get enough “air time” while others had too much.

I will say this was a quick read and the second half moves at a much faster pace. Once you get a feel for the characters, you’ll yearn for the conclusion. The small town feel works well within this novel and if you’re looking for a good mystery to grab for a plane ride or a day away, you’ve found it.

My thanks to the publisher and Little Bird Publicity for the review copy.

Sunset Beach Review


Sunset Beach: A Novel (Hardcover)


New From: $18.89 USD In Stock
Release date: May 7, 2019.
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If you are looking for the ultimate beach read this summer, look no further. Mary Kay Andrews brings her sandy beaches and charm to her newest release, out now.

Listen, I read my fair share of heavy thrillers. I can also go to the other extreme of what some might refer to as “chick lit” or romance. This is the perfect blend of both. In fact, for those who enjoy cozy mysteries, this is one you’ll definitely want to pick up.

Drue Campbell is down on her luck with the loss of her mom and a string of bad jobs that are not helping with her income. When she receives an offer from her estranged father to come work for him, she heads to Florida’s west coast.

I loved the characters in this and what a kickass heroine Drue was. Her interactions with her family (blood and step) had me grinning and it was a read I looked forward to getting back to each night.

This one is on the longer side but the story moves quickly and hopefully you are as eager as I was to follow Drue as she tried to solve two mysteries, all while balancing her new job and relationships.

My thanks to Tandem Literary and the publisher for a review copy.

Thanks to their generosity, I have one copy to share with a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

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Park Avenue Summer Review & Giveaway


Park Avenue Summer (Paperback)


New From: $12.75 USD In Stock
Release date: April 30, 2019.
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I’ve long been a fan of Renee Rosen and how she transports the reader to a small section of history and ignites her story from there. Park Avenue Summer is her newest standout and what I consider her best novel to date.

In this novel, Rosen brings longtime editor and author Helen Gurley Brown to live, as told through her fictional secretary, Alice Weiss. Alice heads to New York City to chase her mother’s dream and longs for a career in photography. Granted, this is 1965 and the men are still running the show, including Cosmopolitan, which they consider to be for housewives and stay-at-home mothers. Until Brown is handed the reins and wants to do things her way.

I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough, which generally happens for me only while reading thrillers and suspense. It’s compulsively readable and each night I couldn’t wait to dig in to see how everything would end up.

Kudos to both Alice and Helen for being strong-minded women who didn’t think twice about standing up for themselves and what they believed in, especially considering the time period. That’s so refreshing to see these days in literature.

If you enjoy history, magazines, pop culture, strong women, or are just looking for an incredible read, this one is highly recommended. A true 5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

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The Night Visitors Review


The Night Visitors: A Novel (Paperback)


New From: $11.07 USD In Stock
Release date: March 26, 2019.
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The Lake of Dead Languages was my first introduction to Carol Goodman. She sure knows how to weave a tale of suspense that quietly lures you in until you reach the conclusion. And her newest mystery is no different.

Alice is fleeing her abuser and ends up in the care of Mattie, a social worker sent to pick her up from the bus station. Since the impending weather is blanketing the roads with snow, it only makes sense to bring Alice and Oren, the 10-year-old boy traveling with Alice, back to her house.

If you are the type to make sure your doors are locked before settling in bed for the night, I guarantee you’ll want to double-check they are. Twice I looked over in bed to make sure my hubby was there as I got more invested in the story. You can anticipate the dread all the characters feel as night looms on Mattie’s old house located in the middle of the woods. Think creepy old house, a horrendous snowstorm, and a power outage.

What’s even better is how this tight-knit living arrangement leads to secrets revealed. Everyone’s past comes to light and affects how the entire story plays out.

Seeing how his book takes place over just a few days, it will translate incredibly to film. It definitely has an M. Night Shyamalan vibe so fans of his movies will really enjoy this read.

My thanks to JKS Communications and the publisher for the review copy.

Fallen Mountains Review


Fallen Mountains (Paperback)


New From: $10.39 USD In Stock
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Whether you are here for the mystery, drama, or the secrets bubbling up from the past to change the course of the future 17 years later, you are in for a treat.

Something about these characters comforted me. And I credit Grant with that, that it was so easy to fall in step with their story, having just been introduced. As soon as I turned the first page, I was caught up in their world.

This is the story of a very small town in Pennsylvania and its inhabitants. You know, the sort of town where there is one sheriff, no crime, and “Everybody knows your name.” That is until longtime resident, Transom Schultz, goes missing. Transom comes from money, and he has more one than person who wouldn’t mind if his disappearance was forever. Told between the Before his disappearance and After, the story alternates. As it does, secrets from the past rise to the surface, and you’ll be left questioning what really happened.

The story flowed so easily. While it was a slow burn, it still had me furiously flipping pages to the ultimate conclusion. So much was packed into this gem that I felt like I had known this town and its people forever.

Grant clearly has a love of the land and that shines through these pages. She poses ethical questions that would make this a great choice for book clubs. You can download the author’s guide for book clubs here.

I urge you to pick this one up because no matter your favorite genre, this will fit right in. My thanks to the author for the copy.

In Another Time Review & Giveaway


In Another Time: A Novel (Paperback)


New From: $11.59 USD In Stock
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I am someone who has the hardest time suspending disbelief, especially when reading or watching something contemporary. Then I got my hands on 11/22/63 by Stephen King and sped through all 849 pages at a pace I couldn’t believe. Last year I read The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain and thought it was her best book to date.

Cantor, like King, manages to create not only a love story involving time travel, but kept historically accurate by writing about real events, just using fictional characters. Readers, suspend your disbelief, because this is a book you too will end up loving.

Yes, it’s a love story between Max and Hanna. But it’s also a love story between Hanna and her violin. I can’t say classical music generally gets me giddy and excited but I felt the love for this instrument. It brought the characters peace and in one case, was the difference between life and death.

When I first read Margot by Cantor, I knew I’d be a huge fan of hers moving forward. She is able to be inventive while holding true to history, all of which can be said with her newest story.

If you like historical fiction, characters that come alive off the page, and books where the pages keep turning, you’ll want to make this your next read.

My thanks to Get Red PR for the review copy.

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The Beantown Girls Review


The Beantown Girls (Paperback)


New From: $10.37 USD In Stock
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Usually with historical fiction, you have your story set in another place and time, and follow the events that happened. The story can be outstanding, as you are transported.

Jane Healey truly blew me away with this novel. Not only was it a new story attached to World War II, which is so hard to do these days, but it was filled with romance, adventure, laughter, and most importantly, a story of friendship.

She tells the history of the Clubmobile Girls, women who joined the Red Cross towards the end of the war, who showed up making doughnuts and coffee and provided a morale boost to those fighting on the front lines. Sometimes they were there to dance with them, and other times they brought them mail.

I’m not sure how close these girls got to the front lines necessarily, but in this fictionalized version, they sure did. I loved the connection between Fiona, Dottie, and Viv. I wanted to join their trio because they seemed like such a fun bunch. Fiona, the leader and level-headed one, whose intention to travel to Europe during the war really served a different purpose. Dottie, whose shyness worked well as a schoolteacher back home, but needs to find out how to fit in now. And Viv, ready to offer a dance or a smile to anyone who might need it. This courageous group’s strength and stamina were tested during the war.

You’d be surprised, but I often found myself smiling through this book. At times it was a difficult subject matter but Healey managed to make it a heartwarming read and teach me about these girls, a part of history I knew nothing about. I cannot wait to pick up her debut now.

My thanks to Get Red PR for the review copy.

For Better and Worse Review

For Better and Worse (Paperback)


New From: $4.25 USD In Stock
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Given the overload of psychological thrillers, especially domestic suspense, in the recent years makes coming up with an original story that much harder.  When I read Best Friends Forever last year, I was very impressed with what a page-turner it was.  That made me eager to read Hunt’s second venture into this genre.

Natalie and Will Clarke met in law school, fell in love, and got married.  Fast-forward to their only child, Charlie, in 5th grade, when a scandal shakes their small town.  How far will this couple go to protect their child and their marriage?  Given that Natalie is a criminal defense attorney, she knows the system inside and out and knows she has to take matters into her own hands.

Will didn’t seem as fully formed as a character to me as Natalie.  He did get his own section he narrated in the book, which helped, but I was so used to Natalie it always took me a minute to realize it was his turn.  It made sense she ran the household and was more in control, but he did play an essential part to this story.

I loved chit-chat and gossip amongst the neighbors as the scandal broke loose.  The expression “gossip is nature’s telephone” really rings true here.  (See what I did there?)  I had a couple issues with execution and thought the story would slowly fizzle out at the end but was pleasantly surprised at its finish.

Trigger warning for child abuse.  A tough subject to cover but Hunt does so in a way that it’s not the story’s sole focus.  For book clubs looking for more of a suspense story, there’s lots that can be discussed with character motivations in this read.

My thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: Margot Hunt is a USA TODAY bestselling author. Her latest book, FOR BETTER AND WORSE, was praised by Book of the Month as being the best thriller of the year. “A twisty tale for fans of domestic thrillers.” (Kirkus Reviews).

Connect with Margot

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Best Books of 2018

It seems as though every year the caliber of writing only gets better.  The storylines, more gripping.  I am separating my favorites into categories.  This way, if you’re looking for a specific type of book or want to give a gift, it’s easier to sort through the choices.  I wish I had time to read everything, but these are my favorites from what I did read.

You can click directly on the book images to get to their Amazon page.

Literature & Fiction

    

    

    

    

   

 

Mystery & thriller

    

    

 

Historical fiction

   

 

Nonfiction

   

   

Which of these have you read this year and loved?  What are your favorites not on this list?  Please leave me a comment.  Happy 2019!

 

The Songbird Review & Giveaway

The Songbird (Hardcover)


New From: $15.31 USD In Stock
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I started this book in the midst of a super blizzard through the Chicagoland area.  Snow coming down about 1-2” per hour and all I could see was white.  Just the cover was such a sight.  It made me dream of warm weather and spring.  All the light colors and fresh green turned my frown upside down, as they say.

Marcia Willett is a new-to-me author and was put on my radar by the kind publicity team at St. Martins Press.  Reading this novel reminded me of why I love Maeve Binchy books.  The characters are fully fleshed out, the setting, so descriptive.  These characters felt like they could walk off the page to my home, and we could sit down to tea and have a lengthy conversation.

The story starts with Tim, who confides in his coworker Mattie that he needs a sabbatical from work and home.  She recommends her family’s estate of Brockscombe.  It’s where her sister’ lives with her husband and child and his parents reside.  Tim finds immediate comfort and quickly becomes an extended family member.  As you read along, you discover secrets these characters are holding.

I will say that this is not a plot-heavy or plot-driven novel.  Yes, things happen, secrets are revealed, and we learn more about the characters.  It’s a gentle read, perfect for curling up in bed with a cup of tea over the weekend.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: The Songbird is MARCIA WILLETT’s eighteenth novel to be published in the U.S. Her novels are available in seventeen countries around the world. She lives in Devon, England.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.
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