Last Summer Review


Last Summer: A Novel (Paperback)


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Often while I read this book, I kept thinking the title was Lost Summer. Funnily enough, that title works just as well for this story, one of Ella Skye, a journalist who, after a traumatic accident, wakes up in the hospital with no memory of the events leading up to it and forgetting everything she’s lost.

Seeking to remember her life prior to the accident, she accepts an assignment to interview survivalist Nathan Donovan, who seems to know more about her than the reverse.

Full of steam and surprises, fans of domestic suspense will gravitate toward this plot line. I found all the settings captured in Ella’s time with Nathan so well described that I felt I was on location with them.

If you’re looking for a book that would be perfect for a weekend getaway, this one is a sure bet. The pages flew by and the settings would work well, whether it’s the dead of winter or a hot summer day with the sun shining. Lonsdale has a knack for both romance and suspense and I look forward to what she’s cooking up next.

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

About the author: Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal, Amazon Charts, and #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of the Everything seriesEverything We KeepEverything We Left Behind, and Everything We Give—as well as All the Breaking Waves. She resides in Northern California with her husband and two children. Learn more about Kerry at www.kerrylonsdale.com.

The Perfect Fraud Review & Giveaway


The Perfect Fraud: A Novel (Hardcover)


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It’s always tough as a debut author to break through the mold and make a name for yourself. So imagine the pressure when you’re being compared to Jodi Picoult and Gillian Flynn. But LaCorte puts herself on the map here —the cover had me at “hello” and I was intrigued when first reading the synopsis.

I will say it’s less of a thriller, as it is marketed, and more of a psychological deep dive. We have Claire, who was born into a family of psychics but doesn’t believe she truly possesses the gift. And Rena, a mother fighting with every ounce of her being to determine what is making her young daughter, Stephanie, so sick.

While the story was pretty predictable, I was eager to get the end so I could find out the outcome and the journey the author led me on to get there. It was a quick read, as the chapters are short, and the narration flips back and forth between the two main characters. However, I learned very early on my dislike of Rena and how she treats others. Claire was a tough sell at the beginning but I came around about halfway through. This made it a little tougher to read since I wasn’t concerned how these two ended up. But my heart broke for Stephanie and I was really rooting for a happy ending.

With a unique take on tarot card readings and frauds, I think this would translate well to screen with Katherine Heigl as the perfect Rena.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy. They’ve also generously shared a finished copy for a giveaway. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have You Seen Luis Velez Review & Giveaway


Have You Seen Luis Velez? (Paperback)


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Nobody writes stories of intergenerational friendship better than Catherine Ryan Hyde. She did an exceptional job with it in Allie and Bea and again with this new release.

Aside from the story, which includes a mystery, character growth, and fun supporting cast, you get some humdingers of life lessons, brought to you by 17-year-old Raymond Jaffe and 92-year-old Millie Gutermann. These characters balance each other so perfectly and just set the stage for a heartwarming plot, even amidst the few bouts of tragedy.

Raymond is a character I won’t soon forget. I hope my son grows to be as equally kind and good intentioned as he is. I love how even in his youth, he was able to teach Millie a thing or two about his generation.

With elements thrown in of Pay it Forward, readers who still need to be told there is good in this world need to pick this up. With so many current events shared constantly via social media that are hard to stomach, this book, when finished, should put a smile on your face and be one you want to pass along and share with others.

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

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Mistress of the Ritz Review


Mistress of the Ritz: A Novel (Hardcover)


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Having been a huge Melanie Benjamin fan, especially of The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb and The Girls in the Picture (loved the surprise tidbit thrown in about the Pickfords), I was very much looking forward to her latest. There were parts I liked and parts that didn’t work for me, but I mainly felt a lack of focus.

Benjamin takes two historical figures we know very little about, as shared in her Author Note, and populates their story amidst World War II.

Claude Auzello is the director of the Ritz in Paris, and he and his American wife, Blanche, are living large and spending time with many famous faces. The story alternates narration between them. This was a slow buildup of their relationship, often volatile. I did enjoy reading about their marriage struggles, but that took up a lot of space in the front half of this novel.

As the Germans begin their occupation of France, the Auzellos realize that their lives and lifestyles are in danger and begin working with the Resistance. This is where the plot picked up for me. I didn’t quite know where the story was headed in the beginning, which lost a lot of my attention. It seemed a bit scattered, so I had a hard time staying the path Benjamin intended.

I was also looking forward to more after the ultimate conclusion. I know history didn’t share what happened to this couple, but the story could have benefited from the aftermath of the war. In my perfect world, this book would have started at the middle and concluded much later. This might just be me, so if you do enjoy World War II reads, especially those which don’t take place in Germany or are set at the camps, you might want to give this a go.

It’s obvious Benjamin did her research. I trust her writing and can vividly picture whatever scene she sets.

My thanks to the publisher and Wunderkind PR for the review copy.

Only Ever Her Review


Only Ever Her (Paperback)


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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)


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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)


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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)


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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)


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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)


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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.

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