July Reads

Reviews Published

July is my favorite month of the year as it brings me to the beach house and relaxation. It is my time to destress, relax and catch up on my reading. It is the month in which I can read a book a day and that makes me so happy. My to read pile has gone down significantly this month and boy did I find some great reads for you all!  Some of these books are prerelease, but the nice thing about Amazon is when you order a prerelease you are not charged until it ships.
I always order them ahead because I know I’ll likely forget.

Between Lost and Found

This was the first book I’ve read by this author. I really enjoyed the story and found myself looking forward to returning to it. In this book we meet Janelle, an insecure city girl who is engaged to what she thinks is her dream man. From the first page, I didn’t like his arrogance and forget about the mother in law.

Janelle’s grandfather knows this is not the right man for her to marry so he devises a plan to lure her home. He has his girlfriend call to tell her he has gone missing and she must come home. Unfortunately what was meant to be a lure turns out to be the truth as Little Bill goes missing. I just loved the characters in this book and we got to know most of them. This book is about returning home and learning to love yourself. Janelle, Sam, Connie, Yvette and of course Little Bill are wonderful characters who come together to tell a story of finding and loving yourself. I hate comparing authors, but if you like Terry McMillan’s books you will like this.

Girl in Snow: A Novel

This debut novel has just been released. Thought this was a novel of suspense and who done it, its strength lay in character development. The book opens with a dead teenager, Lucinda who is found murdered on the school playground. Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of three characters who knew Lucinda and were being interviewed by the police each added a different perspective to the possible motives.

Cameron is a boy who loved Lucinda and was totally obsessed with her. He thinks he may have murdered her as he knows he was there watching her that night. He has some holes in his memory and is worried he may be the murdered. Jade a classmate who hated Lucinda because she stole her boyfriend and Russ, the copy assigned to investigate the murder. Each of these characters are the story and the author really develops them well. I was very surprised by the ending and totally did not guess ahead. My only wish was that she developed Lucinda as well as the other characters. It would have added some depth to the story.

The Visitors

Another debut novel that offers a creepy read. This is not a thriller, or a page turner. It’s a slow read, especially in the beginning, but stick with it as it all comes together to tell a great story of what we choose to overlook and why. This book is about Marion, a middle aged single woman, who lives with her brother. The book dives deeply into Marion’s psyche, including her childhood. It’s a tale of the damage life can do to someone and the lasting affects of that damage. Marion’s brother has been damaged too in a totally different way. What unravels in this book was disturbing and creepy and kept me turning the pages. Yes, I’d like a bit more twists and turns, but just the thought of it all was creepy enough for this one to be a worthy read.

The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel

I absolutely adored this little gem of a story. It may be because my dad is going through a similar time, but this quirky tale just touched my heart. Arthur (Truluv) is an 82 year old widower who sits at his wife’s grave every single day without fail. Maddy is a 17 year old high school student who is bullied and a loner. Her mom dies when she was young and her dad raised her but she hasn’t been loved. They meet at the cemetery, where Lucille loves to hang out alone. We also meet Lucille, Arthur’s neighbor who is quite the character.

These three come together to tell a tale of life, love and finding your tribe. A sweet tale that is worthy of your time. It will make you smile, laugh and cry.

Seeking Sarah: A Novel

Brooke discovers her mother,long thought dead, is very much alive. When her father dies this secret comes to life and Brooke finds herself searching for her mother. She went at first to find out why she was told her mother was dead, but upon seeing that her mother has a new family and life finds herself full of anger. She sets out on a path to destroy her mother. An emotional, fast paced read that will be devoured in one sitting.

The Rules of Magic: A Novel

I am a huge Alice Hoffman fan, but not a fan of magic books. I haven’t read Practical Magic and when I first started this book wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. But, afterall if was written by Ms. Hoffman who pulls me in every single time with her talent. She did not disappoint with this one either. I found myself unable to put the book down and read it in one day. Thankfully I’m down at the beach and was able to park in a chair for the day.

The Owens sisters and brother Vincent are enchanting and their story will linger with me for a bit as the characters in Hoffman’s books generally do. Their tale is quite sad and the curse put upon the family really led to much heartache and worry. Franny, Jet and Vincent leave me wanting more and I will now have to order Practical Magic to continue this saga.

I am not a fan of fantasy or magical tales, but this one is a winner.

Lies She Told

I read this book in one day on my beach vacation. When 3:00 came I was still sitting in my chair. My daughter asked if I was OK as I usually leave then to go up to the house and cook. I had to finish the book and literally sat there until I did. Liza was quite the interesting character and the story was quite unique. Told in alternating chapters, not unusual, but this one was one fictitious story and one the main story. As the plot progresses, they stories begin to blur and merge. There was a nice twist at the end as well to keep it interesting. Definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a book you can’t put down until you finish.

Emma in the Night: A Novel

This was a one day read for me on my beach vacation. I don’t think I moved all day. I was fascinated by the narcissistic personality disorder and it’s impact on the children. Wow. The book was for me a deeper read, which means though I read in one sitting I didn’t skim over any parts. I found it all gripping. What a dysfunctional family. The book says it has an unreliable narrator and I get why they say it, but I didn’t find Cass to be unreliable. I really felt her as she told her story. A twist at the end yes, but overall not a shock considering the story. I don’t want to say to much about the plot because it’s worth your reading for yourself. This is a must read and will likely be a best seller when released. GREAT read. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to preview the manuscript.

The Good Daughter: A Novel

This book opened with a bang, literally. A family watches their mother murdered and are taken out and shot. This opening was heart wrenching, but it sure did get my attention. And if that wasn’t enough they added next a school shooting. Wow. This was a can’t put down read with a slow point in the middle. The beginning and end pulled me in and kept me up late turning pages. The two sisters, Charlotte and Sam will linger with me awhile as I felt so entrenched in their story. I love books by Slaughter and this one does not disappoint. Great summer read.

The Marriage Pact: A Novel

Soon to be a movie!
Great read. The book was very different. There were some behaviors the characters exhibited – like a lawyer signing a contract without reading it – but I didn’t care! The book for me was gripping and kept me turning the pages. Partially because it was so unbelievable that this could happen I kept going.
In this book we meet Alice, a lawyer and Jake a psychiatrist who are newly married. Alice is afraid the marriage may not stand the test of time so they enter into a marriage pact to keep the relationship exciting. Wow, what a marriage pact the got themselves involved with. The ending really leaves you hanging so perhaps a sequel is in order. I’m not one who wants to make my own ending. I like to tie things up and know for sure what happens, but that’s just me. A definite book to read this summer!

Any Dream Will Do: A Novel

Another great read by Debbie Macomber. This book is a story about redemption and starting over. Shay is standing in a church, freshly released from prison with no money, family or plan. One step away from being homeless she is given a chance for recovery. This was a truly warm, fuzzy read as most of Macomber’s books are. Yes there is tragedy and bumps along the way, but you feel better about life at the end. I really can’t explain it, but her books always make me believe in happily ever after and in this crazy world who doesn’t need a little of that.
A perfect escape from life and a great beach read.

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

I’ve read most of this author’s books and like her writing style. This book was no exception, as I was quickly pulled into the story of Tess and Henry. Tess was a compelling character and you felt her pain and sense of loss throughout the book. The backdrop of this story was Hickory during the time of the polio outbreak. Some of the story was set in a real life event – the building of the hospital.
Ultimately this story is about life and how the choices we make can have a lasting impact on those we love. I found this to be a quick, easy read, but one that will linger. I would say the only character that had true dimension was Tess and that’s OK because it was her story. I was surprised by the twist at the end as all the foreshadowing led me down a different path. Overall a great summer read from Diane Chamberlain.

There’s bound to be something to your liking in this group.  If you’ve read any, please share your thoughts.  On to August and another pile of books.  Don’t you just love summer reading?

June Reads

It’s time to stock up for summer reading.  I think you’ll find some of these reads ones you’ll want to add to your must read list.

The Breakdown: The 2017 Gripping Thriller from the Bestselling Author of Behind Closed Doors

New book from the author of Behind Closed Doors: A Novel reviewed here – Behind Closed Doors.

This author truly captured the fear of Cass, afraid she’s losing her mind to early onset dementia.  You felt her panic coming through the pages as you race through the book to find out what’s happening.  Cass takes a shortcut home on a rainy, stormy night.  She sees a car pulled over with a woman inside.  She stops but is afraid to get out of her car fearing it’s some type of trap.  When the woman doesn’t come to her, she drives off and plans to call police once home.  But, a text plants some seeds of doubt that she’s forgetting things.  Her mom suffered from early onset dementia and she begins to panic that she will suffer the same fate.  This is a page turner that won’t disappoint with several twists and turns before you reach the final conclusion.  Both of these books are worth reading this summer.

 

I Found You: A Novel

By the author of The Girls in the Garden: A Novel this is another page turner that I couldn’t put down.

Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house in the pouring rain.  He seems to have no memory of who he is, or why he is sitting there.  She doesn’t want to get involved as she’s barely making it herself and he could be dangerous.  Against her better judgement she invites him to stay in her shed.   In an alternating chapter we meet Lily whose newly married husband doesn’t return home from work.  The police inform her his ID is fake and he never existed.  In another chapter we meet kids, Gray & Kirsty who are on summer holiday with their family.  These alternating chapters set the stage for the connections and kept me up late into the night.  I really enjoyed this one, though I wished for a different type of ending it was well worth reading as is her other book.  Both of these would make good vacation reads.

Before We Were Yours: A Novel

This book is based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country.

The story opens with a mom giving birth to twins (1939) aboard the Mississippi River on a shantyboat.  When it becomes clear she may die, the father takes her down river in a storm to the hospital.  While away strangers arrive and capture the Rill and her siblings and they are taken to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage.  At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together.  In an alternative chapter we meet Avery Stafford (present day) daughter of a wealthy politician.  She returns home to help her father manage his career through a health crisis and her path crosses with an elderly woman in a nursing facility.  A glimpse at a photograph compels her to take a journey through her family’s history.  This book was riveting and hard to put down.  To think that this was based on true events really made me sad.

All of these books will keep you busy this summer.  Clear your calendar, or put one in your beach bag.  You won’t be disappointed in any of them!  If you read them, I’d love to hear your opinions.  Please share your thoughts below.  Enjoy!

May Reads

This has been a busy month of reading for me.  I’ve been enjoying my book shelf and have found some really good reads.  If you are getting ready to stock up your kindle for summer reading, here are a few recommendations.

I didn’t love this one, but it was quite a disturbing concept.  I didn’t realize until I started talking to people about it that it was actually written in the 1980s.  I’m not usually a fan of dystopian novels, but I’d heard so much buzz about the book I decided to give it a read.  I’d guess it’s popularity can be found in those who seek to make connections to today’s world.  The book kept me turning the pages, but I didn’t love it as much as my daughter did.  I think this is one you either love or hate, but definitely one you will be talking about.  It’s also heavily advertised as a new series.

This one kept me up late at night turning the pages.  An old house is knocked down in London and the remains of a baby unearthed.  Kate Waters is an investigative reporter who feels inexplicably drawn to report on the case.  As she investigates, we meet a couple whose daughter was stolen from the hospital long ago.  The couple never found closure and with each new find they relive the loss over again.  Then there is a young lady who is also obsessed with this case.  How these three lives are connected is the big reveal.  I will admit I figured it out prior to the conclusion, but I read a lot of these types of books and watch way too much Criminal Minds.  A definite must read book.

This author’s books make me feel like I’m going home. I’ve read her Lowcountry and Beach House series and the characters feel like my friends now.  This book doesn’t disappoint and would make a wonderful beach read.  Cara Rutledge rents out her beach house to Heather for the summer.  Soon tragedy strikes and the two women’s lives are changed forever.   If you read Beach House Memories you will be familiar with the characters and the Isle of Palms.  An easy read and one destined to be on this summer’s best seller list.

Ronni Sunshine a Hollywood star, invites her three daughters home to tell them she’s dying.  She has ALS and wants her estranged daughters to make peace with her and each other before she takes her own life.  Told in alternating chapters from each daughter’s perspective, we learn the back story and reason for the estrangements.  Ronni wasn’t a great mother and is running out of time.  Can she make things right with the girls?  This book was full of family drama, but at it’s core it’s about family, the bonds that tie us to each other and the love that is often found buried under all that baggage.  An endearing read by the best selling author of Falling.

Oh how I loved this one.  I must warn you, you will need tissues and it is an emotional read.  I came upon this title and was drawn to the – for fans of Me Before You.  I mean I seriously loved that book.  I purchased this and it went right to the top of my pile.  This was a gut wrenching tale of Lucy and Gabe.  They had the special kind of love that most people spend their whole lives looking for.  It’s a book about the choices we make and the forks in the road we travel.  How one decision often leads to many later consequences.  I couldn’t put this one down until it was finished.  Then I was sad it was over and today I’m missing Lucy’s voice.  The story is narrated entirely by Lucy.  It is her tale to tell and her love story to share.  I think you should read this one immediately, but warn you it is a gut wrenching tale.

The Light we Lost will be the blockbuster of the summer and likely a movie in the making.  If you can only pick just one from this list, this is the one to pick!  I hope you find something to your liking.  Happy Reading and welcome summer!  Can’t wait to be able to read on a beach chair.

If you’ve read any of these books, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear you take on them.

50 Book Reviews

April Reads

April has been a month of many rainy days and some great reads. Here’s my top reads this month:

The Perfect Stranger: A Novel

If you haven’t read Megan Miranda’s book All the Missing Girls: A Novel then you absolutely must do that right now!  It was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  I loved the unique style of the book.  You can read my review on that book here – All the Missing Girls .

This one is a good read too, though not as good as her first.  The characters are well developed and you truly feel a sense of madness throughout the book that leaves you guessing and wondering.  I was slightly disappointed with the ending, as what I imagined was coming would have been far more intense than what she wrote.  If you are a fan of suspense, then I think the book is well worth your time and you will be turning the pages long into the night.  I gave this a 3.5 star review on Goodreads.

And Then There Was Me: A Novel of Friendship, Secrets and Lies

This was a great read about a woman named Bea.  The character is one that you will love on many levels.  I truly enjoyed the book and read it in one sitting.  There were many things that spoke to me as Bea was wrestling through the issues of her life and there were many.   I enjoyed the friendship she shared with Awilda, one that spanned their life from childhood to present day.  The raw honesty portrayed by Bea as she struggled felt real.  I didn’t enjoy the betrayal that Bea endured.  As I read those parts, I became disappointed along with her.  At its core, this book is a story of friendship, personal struggle and the ultimate betrayal.  But for me, it was a story of perseverance and strength.  This book reminded me somewhat of those written by Terry Macmillan, so if you’re a fan of her work, give it a shot.

Always: A Novel

This is a love story that speaks to the power of true love.  Told in alternating chapters between past and present, we read Kailey and Cade’s love story.  This is a story about the one who got away, the one you never forgot.

Ten years earlier, Kailey and Cade were deeply in love.  One day, Cade disappears from Kailey’s life leaving her heartbroken and confused.  She goes on to put her life back together and is now engaged and deeply in love with Ryan.  As the story unfolds, we see just how deeply Kailey felt about Cade.  Can she be honest with Ryan about Cade?  Will their love endure Cade’s return?  Why did Cade leave in the first place?   This book was really good read.   It reminded me of Colleen Hoover’s style.  If you are fan of Hoover, then check out this book.  I think you’ll see some similarities and enjoy a real good read.  But, be sure to start it on a day when you have nowhere to be.

The Memory of Things: A Novel

I saved the best for last!  I bought this Young Adult, coming of age book, several months back.  It sat on my kindle for a long while before I was brave enough to start it.  The thing is September 11 is seared in my memory.  I don’t often read books on this topic as it was a traumatic event for me and many that I know.  I am so happy I finally opened it and read it.  What a unique and truly interesting read this was and I literally didn’t move until I finished it.  The book captures the emotions of that day quite well.  Written in a unique style of narrative with poetic text included that I felt truly captured the uncertainty and feeling of the day.

This book is special and Gae Polisher captured that day with honesty and sensitivity.  Told in alternating chapters by two teenagers personally affected by the tragedy that unfolded that day we are reminded of the heroic efforts of everyday people.  Kyle is a student who has to walk home from school after watching the events unfold from his school.  Along the way he sees something on the bridge, a girl who intends to jump.  He manages to get her to come home with him.  Kyle is left alone at home with a father who is a first responder, whereabouts unknown, and a mom who was flying home from California, whereabouts unknown.  You really feel inside these characters as you go through three days with them.  Beautifully written and deeply engaging, this is one you don’t wan to miss.

The author includes text at the end with her personal reflection on the day.   I knew just form the way she captured the story that she was a New Yorker.  This was my first book by this author and I plan to check out her others.

Lately, two series are getting a lot of buzz.   Recently, Thirteen Reasons has been trending on Facebook and the news.  Surprisingly, many don’t realize this series is based on the best selling book, Thirteen Reasons Why a truly great read.   If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do.  Also, the series Big Little Lies has been trending.  This too, is based on a best selling book.  If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it – Big Little Lies .  Both series were good and I binge watched them over a weekend, but neither one holds a candle to the books they were based on.

What books did you read this month?  Please share some titles below as I’m always looking for my next great read!  If you check out any of these titles, please post to let me know what you thought.

February Reads

February was such a short month for reading.  This month, I was craving some suspenseful reads.  I’m not a fan of television and needed some beautiful distraction from the craziness of the world.   I found some gripping thrillers that kept my mind busy and kept me up late many nights.  All of these books were 5 star rated on Goodreads and appeared on many of the must read book lists.  If thrillers are your thing, I believe you’ll find something here that you’ll like.  I enjoyed each of them and highly recommend you check them out.


The Marriage Lie: A Bestselling Novel of Domestic Suspense

Imagine if your husband of seven years, who you are still madly in love with, flies off for a business trip to Florida.  Next thing you know you receive a call from the airlines that he was a passenger on a plane headed for Seattle that has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board.  This is the premise of this fast paced book.

Iris and Will are happily married when her world is shaken to its core.  Iris refuses to believe Will is dead, or for that fact that he was even on that plane.  The book follows her on her quest to find out the truth about what happened.  She learns more than she bargained for about her seemingly perfect husband.  All in all a quick, enjoyable read.


Little Girl Lost: A gripping thriller that will have you hooked (Di Robin Carter)

Abigail seemingly has the perfect life.  Handsome, devoted husband and beautiful baby Izzy.  Suddenly, she starts feeling like something is off in her world.  She starts suspecting she’s losing her mind and someone is trying to kidnap her daughter.  She receives threatening texts and begins to doubt her life is as perfect as she once thought.  Unfortunately, she is hiding a dark past from her husband so she has nowhere to turn for help.

The plot of this book is told in alternating chapters centered around an investigator, DI Robyn Carter, trying to solve the murder of an actor and find a missing teacher.  The narrator of the other chapters is setting the back story for us of a little girl abused.  You wonder if she is Abigail as you try to connect these story lines.

DI Robyn Carter starts to delve deeper and her investigations into both cases lead her back to Abigail.  Robyn’s instincts tell her there’s a connection between these deaths.   This was a fast paced read.  Every time I thought I had it solved it took another twist.  Very enjoyable read.


This Is Not Over: A Novel

When 30-year old Dawn returns from her Getaway.com booked vacation, she fails to receive her deposit back.  She contacts the homeowner to inquire when it will arrive and receives word it should be coming shortly.  Then she gets another email that tells her she will get her deposit back, minus $200 to replace the stained sheets.  Dawn is insulted and angry at what she perceives as dishonest practices.  She contacts Miranda, the homeowner, about this deduction and soon the two are locked in a battle of wills.

The emails between the two women set the stage for the alternating chapters.  I loved this book.   The backstory of each women really carried me through quickly.  Each of these women had secrets they were keeping and real deep rooted reasons for their actions.  They continue to battle right up until the end.  Be prepared to read this in one setting and be totally surprised that it’s about more than just the back and forth between these two stubborn women.


Blink: A psychological thriller with a killer twist you’ll never forget

Three years ago, Toni’s five year old daughter went missing.  She has never been found and  seems to have vanished without a trace.  The book opens with a stroke victim lying in the hospital trapped inside her body.  Everyone thinks she is brain dead and plans are being made to pull the plug.  But this woman is very much alive.  As she struggles to let them know she is alive, we are taken back in time to the days before Evie’s abduction.

We soon learn that Toni was struggling with drug addiction following the death of her husband in Afghanistan.  As we begin to piece together the story of the past, we realize that Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence and her only chance to save herself is to find a way to make herself heard.  She must find Evie.

This one has a nice twist toward the end that I didn’t see coming.  I was pretty shocked by it and realized after that the clues were there.  A thriller that kept me turning the pages until I was finished.  A one day read that is perfect for fans of thrillers.

I wonder what genre I’ll be binge reading in March.  I love my psychological thrillers, but maybe it’s time for some historical fiction.  So many books, so little time!  Enjoy and if you read any of these titles I’d love to hear what you thought.

 

New and Noteable

Claiming Noah

An enjoyable debut novel in the psychological thriller genre.  This book tells the story of two families struggling with fertility issues.  Catriona and James decide to donate their frozen embryo after they become pregnant with what will be their last attempt.  They have struggled with fertility and have decided this pregnancy will be their last try no matter what the outcome.  They finally are able to carry this baby to term and after he is born, Catriona struggles terribly with her emotions.

Diana and Liam also have struggled with fertility.  They are thrilled to be able to adopt a frozen embryo and even more excited with the birth of their son.  Diana is thrilled with motherhood and all her prayers seem to have been answered.  Or have they been?

What follows is at times a predictable twist, but ultimately a great read.  The author provides a glimpse into both marriages and her creation of Catriona was flawless.  Her detachment and emotional turmoil were captured perfectly.   A quick read for a day at the beach.  Available now.

Fractured

I really loved this one and am thrilled to see the author has several other books for me to check out.  Interestingly laid out and at times I felt the fracture as you never are really sure what happened.  The author masterfully plots this book to it’s shocking conclusion.

The book is told in alternating chapters with varying narrators.  We alternate between past and present with Julie and John’s narration.  Never really sure what has transpired, we know that someone has died but not who.

The book opens with author Julie Prentice and her family moving into a development in Cincinnati.  Julie has had an issue with a stalker, Heather, who’s terrorized her.  She hopes to start again in this new town as she writes her second book.  Julie is a runner and she meets her neighbor John who also runs.  A friendship ensues between the two but things quickly begin to get interesting.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family are made to feel unwelcome. Julie can’t do anything right and you really do feel sorry for her as you read the events.  Each time I found myself wondering what else could possibly happen.  McKenzie masterfully crafts the story and really weaves it along in a fractured way.  Just enough to keep you wondering and guessing.  Loved it!  Available for preorder now.

Damaged: A Novel (A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel)

After a slow start that felt like the author was teaching us about the educational system and dyslexia, the story and Patrick pulled at my heart.  The book opens with Edward O’Brien hiring Mary DiNunzio to represent him in a lawsuit a school-aide filed against his grandson Patrick.  He is accused of stabbing the aide with a scissor.

Ten year old Patrick soon wins over Mary as she realizes he’s dyslexic, suffering from anxeity and been shuffled through a school system that is failing him.  Patrick gets to Mary’s heart and mine as well.  As we learn more about him we find ourselves wondering if there’s more to his story than meets the eye.  Is he really a sweet, sad, 10 year old boy, or is he a sociopath?  Very emotional read that kept me turning the pages past my bedtime.  I highly recommend this one.  Available August 16th.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers of these books for providing me copies to read and review.

 

New Summer Reads

The Sister: A psychological thriller with a brilliant twist you won’t see coming

This debut novel by Louis Jensen was an enjoyable read to kick off my beach vacation.  Told in alternating chapters of past and present, Grace narrates the tale of her life after losing her best friend Charlie.  The book opens with Grace going back to retrieve a time capsule the two young girls buried together long ago.  In it was a collection of items, including a letter Charlie made Grace promise not to read until they were grown up.  She also made her promise they’d read it together.  The book is about the impact of Charlie’s death on Grace and her quest to find answers about what happened to Charlie prior to her death.

I thought the character Grace was really well developed.  There was a lot of depth to her emotional struggles and I felt connected with her story throughout the book.  I think Grace’s story is what kept me turning the pages of this book.  The husband Dan was not as well developed and you could see immediately where the book was going with his story line.

I enjoyed the book, though there were some parts that were perhaps a bit much, no need for so many shocking events in one book.  I was able to figure out the twist a bit ahead of the end due to strong foreshadowing throughout the book, but not all of it.  There were still a few surprises.  All in all it’s a quick, enjoyable read and this author has great potential to become a best seller in this genre.  I look forward to reading her next novel.

 

To Have and to Hold (Wedding Belles)

My second read this vacation was the first book in a new series by Lauren Layne.  I loved this book and it’s not usually a genre I read.  This would appeal to those who like books by Lisa Renee Jones and even the Fifty Shades folks, though this is a much more vanilla read.  The book does have some steamy sex scenes for fans of those genre, just not as many and definitely not as descriptive.

The book opens with Seth finding out his younger sister Maya is engaged to her new, very short term boyfriend.  He is immediately suspicious of the relationship and worries it’s about gaining access to the family’s money.  Maya hires a wedding planner, Brooke Baldwin to help plan the wedding.  Brooke was a wedding planner in California and has just moved to NYC after her own wedding fell apart at the altar, literally.

Upon their first meeting, sexual sparks are flying between Seth and Brooke.  The book really captures their sexual tension well and you feel the angst of both characters.  All of the characters are likable and ones you’ll want to spend more time with in the anticipated future books of the series.  Personally, I liked Brooke the best and felt her character made the story come alive.  I liked her spunk and ability to get back up after being knocked down big time.  I liked the miscommunication and tension between her and Seth throughout the book.

The second book had a preview available and I was a bit disappointed that it appears to be focusing on a different character.  I had hoped for more of Seth and Brook, but that could come in the future.

A perfect beach read, a quick, steamy summer read.

Thank you to Netgalley and both publishers for providing me copies of these books to read and review.

 

 

Into the Light

Into the Light (The Light Series Book 1)

A friend of mine recommended I check out this book.  She raved about it so I was sold.  I figured it would be a great kick off to my beach reading this week.

I’m the type of reader who hates being left hanging.  I like to wrap things up and read furiously until all is revealed to me.  For this reason I tend to avoid series, unless all the books in it have been completed.  I’m truly not a patient person.

Enter this book, Into The Light.  As I’m sitting on the beach reading, I’m patiently waiting to know exactly who Sarah is.  I have my suspicions but am anxious for the big reveal.  Suddenly, I notice I’m at 95% and nowhere close to it happening.  I start to get suspicious about this whole read.  I immediately go on Amazon to look and sure enough it’s the first book in a series. No fair!!

I didn’t want to like it now.  I didn’t want to have to do the whole waiting for the sequel.  But, alas as all good series books do, Ms. Romig left me hanging big time.  The mother of all cliff hangers was exposed.  Yes, I found out who Sarah really was.  But oh my was my mind blown up.  What just happened here.

I am purposefully not summarizing this one at the risk of revealing too much.  You’ll just have to trust me and get it.  I will, though, warn you upfront it’s a SERIES and the other books are not yet released.

Quick read with awesome mind twists.  Thanks Caroline.

All the Missing Girls

**Available now for great summer read.  Don’t miss it.

All the Missing Girls: A Novel

I am an avid reader who spends time searching for that book.  You know the one I mean.  The one that keeps me up at night, gets inside my head and stays with me long after I’ve finished it.   It’s often hard to find it and when I do I want to ring some bell and shout it out to everyone, “I’ve got a winner here!”

All the Missing Girls really was one of those books.  When I read the description, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to read it.  Of course they said it’s the next Gone Girl.  I’ve got to admit I’m tired of hearing that said about a book   Seriously, how many next Gone Girls can there be.  But, something about it made me read it.  I was extremely worried about the idea of reading a story backwards.  How could that work and how would I keep track of events like that .  Well it worked!  Somehow Ms. Miranda pulled it all together.  She did such a great job that I contemplated staying home from work just to finish it!

For me, this book met all my criteria for a best seller, must read.   It had strong, well developed characters, who I felt like I had an intimate relationship with.  I felt what they felt and connected to them on many levels.   It had an interesting plot, full of twists and turns. I never really figured it out until the author revealed the full story, which is admirable in a thriller.   And, to top it off it had this uniquely developed plot presentation  – written chronologically backward.

I’ve read so many books.  Many of them I skim through parts to just get back to the meat.   This book was one that I savored every word.  No skimming at all and I actually dreaded it ending, yet I desperately wanted answers.   The story opens with Nic returning home to get her father’s affairs in order.  We meet Daniel, her brother and Tyler, her ex.  There is a ten year old missing girl case, Nic’s best friend Corrine.  Once the stage is set, we are off on a thrilling ride to the unexpected conclusion.

Put this on your must read list for the summer.  It’s available to order now.  I know this will be on the best seller list and definitely a movie.   You will not be disappointed.  Enjoy and let me know how you like it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review a copy of this book.

 

Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden

Totally creepy read.  I really can’t imagine how an author can think this stuff up.  Maya, as she’s named is being held hostage in a “garden”, tended by a gardener.  She’s not alone and soon comes to realize the full horror of her situation.  Trapped and thought of as butterflies the girls are branded and raped.

Maya is fighting for survival for like butterflies, her time, as well as the other girls, is limited.

Creepy, creepy, creepy.  I feel like this a Criminal Minds episode in the making.  Definitely should check this one out.  It’s a quick read and definitely grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. On sale now at Amazon.