Review: Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty

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Release date: June 26, 2018

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

The author of The Fifth Letter takes a laser look at the uneasy relationships between women and the real-world ramifications of online conflicts and social media hostilities in this stunning domestic drama. A story of privilege, unspoken rivalries, and small acts of vengeance with huge repercussions sure to please fans of Sarah Jio and Ruth Ware.

Overwhelmed at the office and reeling from betrayals involving the people she loves, Poppy feels as if her world has tipped sideways. Maybe her colleague, Annalise, is right—Poppy needs to let loose and blow off some steam. What better way to vent than social media?

With Annalise, she creates an invitation-only Facebook group that quickly takes off. Suddenly, Poppy feels like she’s back in control—until someone begins leaking the group’s private posts and stirring up a nasty backlash, shattering her confidence.

Feeling judged by disapproving female colleagues and her own disappointed children, Frankie, too, is careening towards the breaking point. She also knows something shocking about her boss—sensitive knowledge that is tearing her apart.

As things begin to slide disastrously, dangerously out of control, carefully concealed secrets and lies are exposed with devastating consequences—forcing these women to face painful truths about their lives and the things they do to survive.

Review:

I think most of us are are guilty of watching drama unfold online in various groups, I know I sure am and reading this was exactly like having a front row seat at someone else’s virtual cat fight. The mommy wars are nonstop arguing and bickering about how to parent the right way, but what if the fighting was actually not only between the mothers themselves but divided between those who have children and those who actively chose not to? An interesting premise to say the least and one that was rife with backstabbing, betrayals, secrets and lies.

While this was a super light and easy read I did appreciate that the author dove into some relevant issues surrounding womanhood in a unique way. The vast majority of WF seems to highlight women with children or who are desperate to have children and are struggling and while I can definitely relate to those types of characters, it was refreshing to read about the other side of the coin. Having kids is such a deeply personal decision and one that no one should ever be questioned about, so why is it common practice for people to boldly ask women why they made the choice not to have kids? It’s a bit absurd really and this book made me really think about why it’s a fairly common occurrence. I have several friends who don’t have kids and won’t ever and while we’ve had discussions about it I would never dream of interrogating them, or worse yet trying to convince them to change their mind. Imagine a friend trying to tell you not to have more kids, ridiculous right?!

This was a gossipy, fun read with a little intrigue and spice that had me turning pages easily. It was also quick witted and entertaining, it had a very fly on the wall feeling to it, maybe because it included snippets of Facebook posts and messages, but either way it made for one juicy read and one that doesn’t take itself too seriously but also dives a little deeper than the average Chick Lit book.

Those Other Women in three words: Gossipy, Sassy and Amusing.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

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Release date: July 10, 2018

Publisher: Scout Press

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?

Review:

God I love domestic thrillers so much you guys! There’s something about average people being in bizarre situations that never fails to reel me in and I was sucked into Her Pretty Face right from the start. This book was highly compulsive and utterly addicting, I raced through it in just a few hours never quite sure how things would play out in the end.

You have several viewpoints here, Frances a Mom struggling to fit in with the other moms at her sons school, Daisy the daughter of Kate who is Frances only friend and DJ who’s connection to the story is murky at first. The pacing of this was amazing, the chapters were short and the various switches only served to keep me more engaged. I was always eager to see what would happen with each character at the end of a chapter and was equally invested in all three perspectives. Harding has a smooth, fluid writing style and the jumps from character to character were seamless.

I do want to say that I had most of the little twists worked out early on, so if you’re expecting a bunch of shocking reveals and are an avid thriller reader, you won’t find that here. However, Harding did catch me off guard on one aspect and the book didn’t rely on a bunch of twisty moments to propel the plot forward but instead focused more on the characters behavior and decisions to keep it on the exciting side.

I would say this is a lighter style mystery with some darkness lurking under the surface. These women are hiding some secrets that are disturbing but there isn’t much graphic violence. Recommended for a summer mystery best read by the water, the pages will fly by and you’ll be hooked from the start, dying to know what secrets will be revealed.

Her Pretty Face in three words: Compulsive, Fluid and Engaging.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

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Release date: July 24, 2018

Publisher: Pamela Dorman

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Blurb:

Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.

Review:

The idea of ghosting someone both appalls and fascinates me, in an era where everyone is constantly posting their whereabouts on various forms of social media why is this such a common phenomenon? Of course people disappeared out of each other lives before technology took over, but it was definitely easier to do so back then and you didn’t have nearly the tools available to track them down that you do now. All of that to say, further exploring this concept of ghosting seemed like such an interesting premise for a book and this one definitely took some surprising and unexpected turns along the way.

Initially I wasn’t drawn in to the story, it took me a little while to warm up and become totally invested, but by about page one hundred I was more intrigued. Did Eddie disappear for a cliched reason like he already has a wife and family? Did he just use Sarah for a quick fling? Or is there more to it, something much deeper? Plenty of questions and once I settled into the pacing I found that things unfolded at an excellent pace, reveals and discoveries were shared at perfect moments and I raced through until the end.

Walsh caught me off guard several times and most of the twists worked well for me, but I will say that in the end I was hoping for some more darkness as there was a edginess for most of the story that didn’t exactly line up with my own personal expectations as to how things should finish off. This definitely isn’t a typical romance though, again it had depth and a darkness that I really liked, recommended for those looking for a very unique love story.

Ghosted in three words: Current, Unique and Surprising.

Overall rating: 4/5

Review: Between You and Me by Susan Wiggs

About Between You and Me

Hardcover:368 pages
Publisher:William Morrow (June 26, 2018)

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs delivers a riveting story that challenges our deepest-held beliefs…

Caught between two worlds, Caleb Stoltz is bound by a deathbed promise to raise his orphaned niece and nephew in Middle Grove, where life revolves around family, farm, faith and long-held suspicions about outsiders. When disaster strikes, Caleb is thrust into an urban environment of high-tech medicine and the relentless rush of modern life.

Dr. Reese Powell is poised to join the medical dynasty of her wealthy, successful parents. Bold, assertive, and quick-thinking, she lives for the addictive rush of saving lives. When a shocking accident brings Caleb Stoltz into her life, Reese is forced to deal with a situation that challenges everything she thinks she knows and ultimately emboldens her to question her most powerful beliefs.

Then one impulsive act brings about a clash of cultures in a tug-of-war that plays out in a courtroom, challenging the very nature of justice and reverberating through generations, straining the fragile threads of faith and family.

Review:

Is anyone else fascinated by the Amish faith and their culture in general? There’s something about their simplistic way of life and strong ties to family and their community that never fails to capture my attention. Naturally, I loved the premise for this, an Amish is family forced to enter the English world when tragedy strikes and their encounter with a young doctor has the power to change all of them forever, doesn’t that sound great?! Spoiler alert, it was amazing!

Wiggs has that uncanny ability to create characters that are so deeply developed that by the end of the book you’re heartbroken to say goodbye to them. Both Reese and Caleb were highly complex and interesting, I was so invested in both of them and curious about how their relationship would evolve and grow. She’s also an incredibly skilled writer, I got some serious Jodi Picoult vibes here, it had that same emotional intensity and caused me to question my own beliefs and values alongside the characters.

This book dealt with some heavy issues and Wiggs explores some hot button topics with a sensitivity and grace that’s admirable. There were also some shocking twists along the way and some light romance, nothing too in your face though, more sweet and subtle than anything else. Fans of Wiggs will devour this and for readers looking for a new author to discover I can highly recommended this book!

Between You and Me in three words: Thought-provoking, Skilled and Deep.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for my review copy.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Yvonne Wong

About Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America. Visit her website at http://www.SusanWiggs.com.

Connect with Susan on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Review: Playing With Matches by Hannah Orenstein

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Release date: June 26, 2018

Publisher: Touchstone

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

In the tradition of Good in Bed and The Assistants comes a funny and smart comedy about a young matchmaker balancing her messy personal life and the demands of her eccentric clients.

Sasha Goldberg has a lot going for her: a recent journalism degree from NYU, an apartment with her best friend Caroline, and a relationship that would be amazing if her finance-bro boyfriend Jonathan would ever look up from his BlackBerry. But when her dream career falls through, she uses her family’s darkest secret to land a job as a matchmaker for New York City’s elite at the dating service Bliss.

Despite her inexperience, Sasha throws herself into her new career, trolling for catches on Tinder, coaching her clients through rejection, and dishing out dating advice to people twice her age. She sets up a TV exec who wanted kids five years ago, a forty-year-old baseball-loving virgin, and a consultant with a rigorous five-page checklist for her ideal match.

Sasha hopes to find her clients The One, like she did. But when Jonathan betrays her, she spirals out of control—and right into the arms of a writer with a charming Southern drawl, who she had previously set up with one of her clients. He’s strictly off-limits, but with her relationship on the rocks, all bets are off.

Fresh, sweet, and laugh-out-loud funny, Playing with Matches is the addictive story about dating in today’s swipe-heavy society, and a young woman trying to find her own place in the world.

Review:

One of the first things I thought when I started this one was, thank god I don’t have to navigate dating anymore! Back when I was single the internet was in it’s infancy, there were definitely no apps much less dating apps. Mybfirst cell phone was a travesty, there was nothing smart about it. It wasn’t quite as huge as Zach Morris dinosaur phone, but it wasn’t much better. Hats off to all you guys trying to date in this crazy era, I don’t know how you guys manage! Through Sasha, Orenstein brings this world of matchmaking and Tinder to life with hilarity and genuine warmth, singles and smug marrieds alike will be cracking up at some of these matches.

Sasha is a recently graduated early twenty something with big hopes and dreams and no money. Her new job at Bliss seems like the easiest way to earn a living in the world, but as messy as her life is before she starts, it gets worse. Her professional and personal life starts to blend together and she has some seriously difficult clients as well, girlfriend has her hands full. The clients of Bliss were one of the best parts to me, they represented all ages, races and sociological statuses and they well all pretty picky and demanding as well. So many funny scenarios and situations came about through these dates, you can read this for the comic relief alone and be satisfied.

This was just a really fun and silly read, ideal when you really want to escape your own reality and just be entertained by someone else’s drama. I didn’t have much in common with Sasha but I did still really like her and was rooting for her all the way through. The ending wasn’t as wrapped up as I usually prefer but it did work here and I respect the author for leaving things how she did, it was bold and realistic which is always refreshing.

Playing With Matches in three words: Fresh, Easy and Entertaining.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Season of Silver Linings by Christine Nolfi

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Release date: July 17, 2018

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

She can’t change what’s come before. But letting go could bring healing—and the rare love that comes once in a lifetime.

When Ohio pastry chef Jada Brooks and her two best friends restored the glorious Wayfair Inn, it was a boon to Sweet Lake—and to their own lives. Now Linnie and Cat are focused on private matters: one engaged, the other swept up in newlywed bliss. Jada has also begun looking to the future by dating widower Philip Kettering and forging a sudden, sweet bond with his six-year-old daughter.

But the past isn’t finished with Jada. When a curious guest checks into the Wayfair, her delving questions stir Jada’s guilt about the heartbreaking events that scarred the town seven years ago. The risks Jada must take by revealing the truth will test every assumption she’s made about the meaning of family and the magic of enduring love.

Review:

This is the third book in the Sweet Lake series but having not read the first two books wasn’t a problem for me at all. It sounds like the first two books focused on different characters, Cat and Linnie who are Jada’s best friends and co owners of the Wayfair Inn, but this book was focused on Jada and Cat and Linnie are secondary characters. While you can definitely jump in as I did I will say that I’m wishing I had the time to read the first two books because this was such a sweet, fun read.

Jada was a wonderful character, a great friend and a valued member of her community and while I enjoyed her, her boyfriend Phillip’s daughter Fancy stole the show. She’s a six year old going on sixteen, precocious and sassy with a penchant for sparkles, glitz and glam and I too have a six year old with similar qualities so naturally she captured my heart. All of the characters were fabulous, besides Fancy I was also fond of a group of women coined the Sweet Lake Sirens, think meddling, bossy women with the purest intentions with the added bonus of no filters, you really never know what they’ll do or say next, so fun!

There was a mysterious aspect to the plot and I assumed it would be wrapped up in a predictable way but I was dead wrong. I love being wrong and when an author in a non mystery/thriller can still manage to surprise me then I’m thrilled! If you’re already a fan of this series then I’m sure you’ll be pleased with this one and if you’ve never read it before then I can definitely recommend it.

The Season of Silver Linings in three words: Delightful, Hopeful and Light.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

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Release date: July 10, 2018

Publisher: HQN

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise

Lauren has the perfect life…if she ignores the fact it’s a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.

Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it’s… Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she’s determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.

Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?

Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite…

Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan’s brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.

Review:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life so far it’s that when tragedy strikes family is everything and that’s the basis for How to Keep a Secret. Who can you turn to when your world comes crashing down around you? Your family of course, and even though Lauren and Jenna are as close as two sister can be their relationship with their mom Nancy is strained. Mack is Lauren’s teenaged daughter and like any mother and daughter their relationship is also rocky. Family dynamics are usually complex, but family dynamics between women take complex to a whole new level and the Stewart women have plenty of secrets they’ve been keeping from each other as well making for one juicy read.

Every single woman of the family has a point of view and it’s always nice to hear all the various perspectives, but Mack was my favorite of them all. Poor kid has been through a lot and while she does have her typical, moody teenage moments she also has a fierce and sassy side that I admired. All of the characters were great though and all were very well drawn, there was much more depth her than in Morgan’s rom coms and I do have to admit I missed some of her trademark humor here. This wasn’t a funny story though, humor wouldn’t have been appropriate so this really isn’t a complaint, just an observation.

While some of the secrets seemed fairly obvious to me others did surprise and please me and while there wasn’t comedy here there was still some light romance, but the book really centers on the family bond of the Stewart women and that’s always something that interests me. This would be yet another perfect book to add to your summer TBR when you want a lighter read with heart and depth written by a gifted author who always brings out a wide variety of emotions within me.

How to Keep a Secret in three words: Bittersweet, Complicated and Heartfelt.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Anna at Aro Publicity for my review copy.

Review: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

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Release date: August 21, 2018

Publisher: Minotaur

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Emily thinks Adam’s perfect; the man she thought she’d never meet.

But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

The Other Woman is an addictive, fast-paced psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between Emily, her boyfriend Adam, and his manipulative mother Pammie.

Review:

This book has been getting so much hype and as is always the case with buzzed about books I’m a little hesitant to see if they’ll live up to the hype for me. I can definitely see what all the fuss is about with this one, it’s highly compulsive, a little disturbing and an all around really fun and engaging read.

The idea of a nightmare mother in law is nothing new but Jones manages to insert a fresh new twist on the premise, what if the other woman is your future mother in law? I don’t want to say much more than that, because half of the fun of this one was not knowing what to expect. This one really messes with your mind, I had several theories that changed from chapter to chapter which always keeps me super engaged. I did figure out one of the main twists but I think that’s solely because I read thrillers so often. I wasn’t even upset by it, I was having way to much fun just losing myself in Pammie’s crazy world that I didn’t care!

Go in as blind as possible to this one and pack it on vacation, it would be the perfect read for a long flight because once you start you absolutely will not want to put it down until you finish.

The Other Woman in three words: Addictive, Wicked and Entertaining.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

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Release date: July 10, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend—the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose—does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever.

Nearly 70 years later, outspoken advertising executive Olivia is pitching the NYC subways account in a last ditch effort to save her job at an advertising agency. When the charismatic boss she’s secretly in love with pits her against her misogynistic nemesis, Olivia’s urgent search for the winning strategy leads her to the historic Miss Subways campaign. As the pitch date closes in on her, Olivia finds herself dealing with a broken heart, an unlikely new love interest, and an unexpected personal connection to Miss Subways that could save her job—and her future.

The Subway Girls is the charming story of two strong women, a generation apart, who find themselves up against the same eternal struggle to find an impossible balance between love, happiness, and ambition.

Review:

This book totally enchanted me, I was swept away to NYC, both past and present, and to me, that’s the hallmark of well written historical fiction. Since I’m fairly new to the genre I’ve been dabbling and trying to see what I like the most and I think I can firmly say that anything with a dual, alternating timeline seems to engross me the most and Orman Schnall charmed me the whole way through.

Charlotte is the protagonist in the 1940’s section and Olivia is for the 2018 sections and I equally enjoyed both of these woman for their tenacity and strength alone, but they both had several other wonderful qualities as well. Charlotte was a sweet young lady trying to start her career in an extremely sexist era, but man was her determination inspiring. Olivia clearly had many more opportunities than Charlotte, but she was also an inspiring woman, firm in her convictions and fun to boot. Their storylines merged in mostly surprising ways even though I did piece a few things together, nothing big and definitely nothing that detracted from my enjoyment whatsoever.

The historical piece of the Miss Subways contest was fascinating to me, I’ve never heard of this before and found it to be so interesting. It seems like a concept that was ahead of the times in some ways and so sexist in others. I can definitely understand why it was so popular and also why so many young New York women competed for the opportunity to be a Miss Subways girl, especially as any opportunities for young women were few and far between during that time period. This is one of those carefree, easy reads that make for a perfect summer choice, you can’t go wrong grabbing this if you want a light, fun and engaging read.

The Subway Girls in three words: Charming, Sweet and Inspiring.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Hangman by Daniel Cole

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Release date: July 24, 2018

Publisher: Ecco

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Detective Emily Baxter is still reeling from the Ragdoll case, and from the disappearance of her friend William “Wolf” Fawkes. Despite her reluctance to jump into another gruesome case, she’s summoned to a meeting of a new FBI/CIA/UK law enforcement task force in New York. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up from the Brooklyn Bridge, the word “BAIT” carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder, again with a victim inscribed with a word—“PUPPET.”

The murders continue to grow in spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, and the team helplessly plays catch-up. Baxter must shake off the grief and fear that have paralyzed her for the last year so she can stop another terrible killer before it’s too late.

Review:

I guess this is the summer of highly anticipated series for me, I feel like I’ve read several second installments lately and they’ve all lived up to their predecessors, which is always so fantastic! Ragdoll was the first book and it absolutely blew me away, from it’s gripping prologue to it’s massive cliffhanger ending, I loved every single page. So if you haven’t read the first book, I highly recommended it and then you won’t have long to wait to read this one.

This book had a slightly different feel to it than the last one and I think it’s mostly due to the fact that things are not told via Wolf’s point of view at all. This is Emily’s story to tell and as much as I love Wolf, I have room in my heart for a character as complex as Emily Baxter. It’s set internationally as she finds herself in New York City when a case in London has ties there. This was one complicated investigation that has her working alongside both the FBI and the CIA and introduced some fantastic new characters that added more depth to an already deep story.

While there were some exciting differences the same sarcastic sense of humor was present as was a very dark, gritty plot and writing style. Cole is a really intelligent writer and he creates these insanely intricate and harrowing storylines that shock and awe in equal measure. The ending blew my mind and now I’m desperate for the next book, as much as I love cliffhanger endings it’s SO hard to wait!

Hangman in three words: Clever, Dark and Sardonic.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.