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.

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

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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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For Better and Worse Review

For Better and Worse (Paperback)


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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

Be sure to follow the tour for more reviews and chances to win a copy!

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)


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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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Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners Review & Giveaway

 

 

‘Tis the season of pumpkin spice, apples fresh off the trees, and the chance to open our windows and let the cool air in.  While I love that about fall, I also get excited about books moving from the beach to the holidays.  Give me a fluffy blanket and a mug of something hot and I’m in heaven.

This debut novel had me in stitches and will be a fun read for you this fall.  It is drama mixed with humor, heart, and scenes straight out of a Ben Stiller movie.

While the title might have you thinking this is a straight-up Christmas read, have no fear if that’s not what you’re looking for.  It is not holiday centered.  The holidays make an appearance but the story focuses on The Baumgartners: matriarch Violet, newly retired patriarch Ed, and their daughter, Cerise, who has a secret she’s been keeping from her parents.  Add in friends, lovers, and a weather girl, and you have a recipe for hilarious hijinks.

If you enjoyed This is Where I Leave You or the show Brothers & Sisters starring Sally Field, definitely get yourself a copy of this book.  As I was reading, both of those kept popping into my head.  So it’s obvious how well this book will translate to screen if given the opportunity.  I will save the casting director some time and recommend Kelly Bishop for the role of Violet.  She reminded me so much of Emily Gilmore and would just be perfect for this part.

I also loved the articles and letters between chapters.  It had a Young Jane Young feel to it and was a fresh break from the main plot line.

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

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.  And be sure to follow the tour for more chances to win!
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About the author: GRETCHEN ANTHONY is a Minnesota-based writer and humorist whose work has been featured on scarymommy.com, medium.com and thewritelife.com. She’s also spent decades as a ghostwriter and has written for some of the best personal brands in the United States, from CEOs to doctors and start-up superstars to BBQ pros. Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners is her first novel.

Connect with Gretchen

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Go On, Girl Review & Giveaway

Go On, Girl (Paperback)


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There seems to be a new genre of books being published lately.  Ones with moms being the central focus.  All of the drama and cattiness that you’d see in a kindergarten classroom I’m reading about in fiction among mothers.  But it’s realistic as can be.

Liane Moriarty brought it back in Big Little Lies and Laurie Gelman made it laugh-out-loud funny in Class Mom.  Hilary Grossman’s new novel brings it center stage as the Forest River PTA dishes out more drama than you’d find in a Meryl Streep movie.  For those without children (yes, you’ll enjoy it too), I’m almost afraid to admit that some moms do act this way.

Go On, Girl tells the story of Sydney Clayton who is basically coerced into joining the PTA or else she runs the risk of her daughter losing her friendships.  Welcome to a drama-filled year.  Amidst it all, there are touching moments between friends and relationships built.  I really enjoyed the dialogue between Sydney and her husband, Craig.  It felt so relatable to me since I am also a working mom dealing with the kids  AND everything that goes with that — after-school activities, sports, homework, etc.

This is a perfect book to read while waiting in the carpool line or in between doctors’ appointments.  It was a nice palate cleanser between some heavier reads.

You can now read all of Hilary’s books digitally for $3.99 or less!

My thanks to the author for a review copy.

About the author: By day, Hilary Grossman works in the booze biz. By night she hangs out with her “characters.” She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and high heel shoes. She’s been known to walk into walls and fall up stairs. She only eats spicy foods and is obsessed with her cat, Lucy. She loves to find humor in everyday life. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. She lives on Long Island. To find out more of what Hilary is up to check out her Facebook page  or find her on Twitter.

Thanks to the author, I have one ebook copy to give away to a lucky reader.  Click on the Rafflecopter to enter.
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When Elephants Fly Review & Giveaway

This could easily be my favorite YA novel of the year.  While it deals with heavy subjects including mental illness, acceptance, and animal conservation and abuse, it also features a kick-ass protagonist who grows through the novel and becomes a woman who puts her life second, behind saving the one creature she’s grown to love.

It is cliche to say you will laugh and cry while reading this book but it’s absolutely true.  T. Lily Decker is a high school senior who is terrified of developing schizophrenia, just like her mother.  While interning at the local paper, she heads out on assignment to cover the story of a new baby elephant born at the zoo.  As Lily knows firsthand, being abandoned by your mother is not easy.  So when the calf, Swifty, is rejected by its mother, Lily learns she can’t quite give up the story or the animal.

I loved how through her journey, Lily learned that the world was bigger than just her and her fears.  Not only that, but she was able to inspire others to fight for her cause.   When the story ended, I had a hard time letting go of these characters.  I could have easily followed them for months longer.

Please don’t skip this just because it’s classified as YA.  It only is because some of the main characters are in high school.  If you enjoyed The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman or All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, you will also love this novel.  This book will have you laughing one minute, crying the next, and aching for a Swifty of your own.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: Nancy Richardson Fischer is a graduate of Cornell University, a published author with children’s, teen and adult titles to her credit, including Star Wars titles for Lucas Film and numerous athlete autobiographies, such as Julie Krone, Bela Karolyi and Monica Seles. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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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Her Pretty Face Review & Giveaway

Her Pretty Face (Hardcover)


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What a treat this was!  Last year I read The Party and was pleasantly surprised at the directions it took.  I knew I was a Robyn Harding fan for life, even emailing her when I finished to tell her how much I enjoyed it.  She creates such realistic characters.  When I saw she was going to release Her Pretty Face, I fangirled a bit, asking if she’d let me review it.  She was so gracious to allow me to, and even offered a copy for a soon-to-be new fan in you!

I do think it’s best to go into this novel without reading any jacket copy or a synopsis of the story. I believe you will be more engaged with the story the less you know ahead of time.  I will share that it alternates between three narrators: two in the present and one in the past.  It’s the story of two mothers who share a connection and how the past can threaten their relationship.  My lips are sealed on the rest!

I gulped these pages down to get to the meat and discover how everything was going to unfold.  So if you’re looking for something quick, this is a perfect book to pick up.  Domestic suspense fans will enjoy the story and even fans of lighter women’s fiction will appreciate that it’s not heavy into violence, but rather provides the perfect escape read for your beach bag!

I’m ready for this to be a movie or television show and could see it playing so well for a Netflix binge or HBO limited series.  These characters would just come alive on screen!  I’m eagerly anticipating Robyn’s next release (is this groveling?)

About the author: Robyn Harding is the author of several books, including The Party and Her Pretty Face, and has written and executive produced an independent film. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two children.

Thanks to the author, I have one copy to give away to a lucky winner.  U.S. and Canada only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.
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