Audiobook Review: The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Goodreads

Release date: May 4, 2021

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

We all have stories we never tell.


Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.


Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.

Review:

Based on the description of this one I thought I would be able to easily see where this one was going, I mean how many missing/lying/scheming husband books have all of us thriller fans read by now? Well friends, I was wrong this was actually pretty unique and I’m really glad that I decided to give it a shot!

I feel like the publisher’s synopsis is all you really need to know here so I won’t be discussing any plot details, instead I’ll tell you why I enjoyed this one so much. It was fast paced as it flipped from present day to a few chapters from the past back when Owen and Hannah first meet and there was never a dull moment. Hannah as a character was great, I found her to be relatable and really believable as she’s put in such a strange and upsetting situation, can you even imagine getting a weird note from your husband and then he’s just gone? It also had a really strong ending and if you know me you know an ending can either make or break a thriller for me. The audio narration was fantastic, Rebecca Lowman was amazing. I’ve listened to a few books she’s narrated and she’s definitely becoming one of my faves. I love the way she expresses emotion and complexity into her voice, there were plenty of emotional moments here and she captured Hannah’s voice SO well. Definitely a really fun summer thriller, this would be fun to listen to during a road trip!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: That Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Goodreads

Release date: May 11, 2021

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful; her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?

While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?

From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, THAT SUMMER is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship.

Review:

A new JW book is always cause for celebration for me, I so enjoy getting invested in the wonderful characters she creates and it doesn’t hurt when her books are set somewhere pretty. I do want to warn that this goes a little darker and heavier than I was expecting it to, don’t let the cute cover fool you.

Female friendships always seem to be at the heart of a JW book and this is no exception. But this time there’s a new, budding friendship blossoming between Diana and Daisy. You know going in that these two are connected someway and that it’s only a surprise to one of them as to how they’re connected, but I saw the connection pretty early on. It didn’t matter though because it was more about the way the two women handle things than the actual connection itself and the author did a beautiful job of exploring some heavy and timely issues. Besides hearing from Daisy and Diana you get Daisy’s daughter, Beatrice’s point of view as well and I adored this feisty, unique perspective. This is a beach read with depth, think #MeToo movement for an idea of what I mean. It is still infused with the authors trademark wit and warmth, just know that it’s not super light but it’s such an amazing read!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin

Goodreads

Release date: May 11, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

It’s a club like no other. Only the most important women receive an invitation. But one daring young reporter is about to infiltrate this female-run secret society, whose beguiling members are caught up in a dark and treacherous business.

For years, rumors have swirled about an exclusive, women-only social club where the elite tastemakers of NYC meet. People in the know whisper all sorts of claims: Membership dues cost $1,000 a month. Last time Rihanna was in town, she stopped by and got her aura read. The women even handpicked the city’s first female mayor. But no one knows for sure.

That is, until journalist Jillian Beckley decides she’s going to break into the club. With her career in freefall, Jillian needs a juicy scoop, and she has a personal interest in bringing these women down. But the deeper she gets into this new world–where billionaire “girlbosses” mingle with the astrology-obsessed–the more Jillian learns that bad things happen to those who dare to question the club’s motives or giggle at its outlandish rituals.

The select group of women who populate the club may be far more powerful than she ever imagined.

And far more dangerous too.

Review:

Ok this one was unexpected! From the description I knew it was gonna be juicy, but I had no idea just how bat shit crazy it would actually be. I don’t want to give anything away, but things took a really surprising turn at one point and went in a wild direction that I mostly liked?! 🤨

I was thinking this would have mostly thriller vibes, even if I expected them to be on the lighter side with most of the action coming in towards the end. I was mostly right, but there was some fake dating, which I really didn’t even expect any romance so I was pleasantly surprised, but just know that’s a very minor part of the story. This really focused on women and the way the interact with one another and it was a fascinating look at powerful, boss bitch females. It was super unique too, I can’t even think of another book to compare it to actually. Try this if you’re in the mood for something fresh and weird, because things get really weird!

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

9th Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Fundraiser

I’m sharing some information today about a wonderful fundraiser for Mental Health Awareness Month. Read on for how you can #1click4charity and also check out this post at Shh Moms Reading for a full list of participating authors/books.

Welcome the 9th Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Book Fundraiser benefiting the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Here is how you can help raise money and awareness for mental health:

📘 Purchase a book from the amazing books listed below! We hope you will #1click4charity a number of these amazing books! The portion of sales is from ANY platform: digital, print, and audio.

📘 If you have read one of the wonderful stories included, gift a copy to a friend who might love it!

📘 Share the image below or any of the custom photos the participating authors share on social media to raise awareness and to show your support.

📘 In this digital age, COMMENTS are currency so as you see these images PLEASE Comment

📘 Make a tax-deductible donation directly to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at AFSP.

Thank you in advance for your support as we work to bring mental illness out of the darkness.

Review: Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

Goodreads

Release date: October 13, 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?

Review:

This was such a sexy, delicious read! If you like romance, especially romance that incorporates food into the story this is for you. This one made me hungry with the mouthwatering descriptions of the food Nikki and Callum both create AND it’s set in Hawaii so you also have the bonus of a gorgeous setting too. It was also spicy with some seriously smoking hot sex scenes and outside of the bedroom these two had witty repartee and fantastic chemistry. This would be super fun to read this summer, definitely fitting for that time of year!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Siren by Katherine St. John

Goodreads

Release date: May 4, 2021

Publisher: Grand Central

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

In the midst of a sizzling hot summer, some of Hollywood’s most notorious faces are assembled on the idyllic Caribbean island of St. Genesius to film The Siren, starring dangerously handsome megastar Cole Power playing opposite his ex-wife, Stella Rivers. The surefire blockbuster promises to entice audiences with its sultry storyline and intimately connected cast.

Three very different women arrive on set, each with her own motive. Stella, an infamously unstable actress, is struggling to reclaim the career she lost in the wake of multiple, very public breakdowns. Taylor, a fledgling producer, is anxious to work on a film she hopes will turn her career around after her last job ended in scandal. And Felicity, Stella’s mysterious new assistant, harbors designs of her own that threaten to upend everyone’s plans.

With a hurricane brewing offshore, each woman finds herself trapped on the island, united against a common enemy. But as deceptions come to light, misplaced trust may prove more perilous than the storm itself.

Review:

Last summer I really enjoyed the authors debut, it was juicy and scandalous and gave me Jackie Collins vibes who is one of my all time favorite guilty pleasure authors, so I was really hoping her next book would be just as wickedly fun. It totally was! If you’re looking for yet another perfect summer read that will provide a much needed escape this is ideal.

I’ve always been a sucker for books about Hollywood, specifically the movie industry and I loved that this one follows the characters as they travel on location to shot a new film. It didn’t hurt that they’re filming on an island in the Caribbean either and the author did a great job of bringing the setting to life. There’s a big revenge plot here and I’m also a sucker for people trying to get vengeance, throw in some scandal, sex and rich actors behaving badly and you have everything I need for a delicious summer read.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Book Tour: Before Summer Ends by Susan Mallery

Goodreads

Release date: April 27, 2021

Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

A long, hot summer with her secret crush…

What could possibly go wrong?

Nissa Lang knows Desmond Stilling is out of her league. He’s a CEO, she’s a teacher. He’s gorgeous, she’s…not. So when her house-sitting gig falls through and Desmond offers her a place to stay for the summer, she vows not to reveal how she’s felt about him since their first—and only—kiss.

Desmond should’ve known better than to bring temptation into his house. He decided long ago that his best friend’s sister was too sweet, too good, for him. She deserves a guy who can give his heart. For her sake, he’s stayed away. But as her laughter breathes life into his lonely mansion, he’s not sure how long he’ll be able to resist.

I’m so excited to be participating in an excerpt tour for Susan Mallery’s latest today! If you want to follow along, here’s the schedule.

Excerpt:

Shane glanced around at the bare side tables and nearly empty floating shelves.

“You were robbed.”

She sipped her coffee before smiling at him. “You know how I am. I have stuff everywhere. No one wants to live with that. So I put it all away. It’s very clean looking, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know. It makes me feel as if you’ve been taken over by aliens.” He nodded at the small hutch in the dining alcove. “We’re just wrapping up the china?”

She nodded. “It’s a full set for twelve. I don’t want anything to get broken. I made space in my storage unit, so we can take the boxes down there.”

“Sounds like a plan. You’re moving in with Desmond after that?”

“This afternoon.” She wanted to protest that she wasn’t moving in with him—not in the traditional sense. But saying that would cause her brother to start asking questions and there was no way she wanted to explain about her crush-slash-fluttery stomach.

“So what’s with the new girlfriend?” she asked, hoping to distract him. “Who is she and what makes her ‘the one’?” She made air quotes with her free hand.

“Her name is Coreen and she’s an ER pediatrician.”

“A doctor,” she teased. “Mom and Dad will be so proud.”

He grinned. “I know. I’m the favorite for a reason, kid.”

“Oh, please. They so love me more.”

The joking was familiar. Shane might be more brilliant but she was no less adored by her parents. They hadn’t had a lot of money for fancy things when she’d been growing up but there had been plenty of attention and affection.

“You didn’t answer my question,” she pointed out as she picked up her breakfast sandwich. “Why is she special?”

“I don’t know. She’s smart and pretty and I like her a lot.” He took a bite of his sandwich. “There’s something about her. We’ll see how it goes. I’m optimistic and I don’t want to mess up anything.”

Review: Paradise Cove and Sandcastle Beach by Jenny Holiday

Goodreads

Release date: July 28, 2020

Publisher: Forever

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Dr. Nora Walsh has just been dumped in spectacular fashion, making it the perfect time for a major life change. She figures taking over the medical practice in tiny Matchmaker Bay for a couple of years will help her get over her broken heart, and then she can head back to the big city. But when the first man she sees looks like a superhero god, she wonders if maybe there’s something to small-town living after all.
Jake Ramsey also has a broken heart — one he never expects to heal. He doesn’t need people anyway and is content hiding out in his secluded cottage on the beach. But after helping Nora with a medical emergency, he finds himself opening up to the witty, warmhearted doctor. Soon the local matchmakers are working overtime to pair them off, and Jake begins to wonder if his campaign to get Nora to stay is for the town or because he can’t bear the thought of her leaving.

Review:

I struggled a little with the first book in this series, it was missing something for me and I felt like it was a bit too long. I wanted to give the next book in the series a fair chance too and I’m glad I did because I did end up enjoying this one more!

I loved that Nora was brand new to town and had no real connection to anyone and I enjoyed seeing her make new friends, find some romance and just find herself a home. Jake’s grief was portrayed so honestly and tenderly and he really tugged on my heartstrings. Their relationship felt really mature and deep right from the start and I love that it was rooted in friendship. Seeing Jake open his heart to Nora was so sweet and totally melted my heart. A sweet romance with lots of depth. 🥰

Overall rating: 4/5

Goodreads

Release date: March 9, 2021

Publisher: Forever

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.

Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings?

Review:

I was actually really looking forward to this book as Maya and Law have been secondary characters in the first two books and I just knew their romance would be spicy with the whole enemies to lovers thing. The wait was definitely worth it because this was my favorite in the series thus far.

Besides catching up with the couples from the first two books and the meddling matchmakers you get a deeper look at both Maya and Law and what really happened between them in the past to make them so cranky towards each other. Bickering between soon to be lovers is always fun for me and these two had great banter, they definitely made me laugh. I loved getting to see more of Maya’s theater work as well, she’s a passionate character and her enthusiasm was adorable. The epilogue was super satisfying as it ties up some loose ends with all the characters, especially since I think this is the last book in the series.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

Goodreads

Release date: April 20, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Jobless and forced home to Wisconsin, journalist Sabrina Monroe can tolerate reunions with frenemies and kisses from old boyfriends, but not the literal ghosts that greet her in this heartwarming tale of the power of love and connection from acclaimed author Amy E. Reichert.

For Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Wisconsin Dells–the self-described Waterpark Capital of the World–means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina’s always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who’s much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina’s side all through her lonely childhood.

Her personal life starts looking up when Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He’s charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn’t have time for romance–she needs to focus on finding a job. Except the longer she’s in the Dells, the harder it is to resist her feelings for Ray. Who can turn down a cute guy with a fondness for rescue dogs and an obsession with perfecting his fried cheese curds recipe?

When the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time and with Ray in her corner, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is.

Review:

Say hello to the best rom com I’ve read so far this year!! Is it the quirkiest, most adorable book I’ve read all year? Yes. Does it feature two of the most endearing characters EVER? Also yes. Are there meddling ghosts who are sometimes cranky and other times utterly charming? YES. Who knew that this eccentric combination would be rom com gold for me!

This one is super witty, sweet, charming and sometimes silly and it made me smile like a big old cheese ball. Speaking of cheese, this is set in Wisconsin, so hello cheese galore! There’s a foodie fiction feeling here as the author always manages to incorporate delicious meals into her books, so if I wasn’t swooning over the budding romance between Sabrina and Ray, I was drooling over the food Ray was testing out for the restaurant. Books don’t get any more feel good than this one y’all, a must read for romance fans but especially those who love a cozy sort of story.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh

Goodreads

Release date: November 17, 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

A woman ready to give up on love discovers that age is truly just a number in this heartwarming and steamy new romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Nicola Marsh.

For almost a decade, successful 37-year-old Samira Broderick has used her bustling LA practice as an excuse to avoid a trip home to Australia. She still resents her meddling Indian mother for arranging her marriage to a man who didn’t stick around when the going got tough, but now with a new job Down Under, she’s finally ready to reconnect with her. And while she’s there, a hot international fling might be just what she needs to get out of her recent funk.

Aussie stuntman, Rory Radcliffe, has been hiding his stutter for years by avoiding speaking roles. When a job he can’t refuse comes up as a reality show host, he knows he’ll need some help for the audition: a dialect coach. But he finds himself at a loss for words when he discovers it’s the same sexy woman with whom he just had a mind-blowing one-night stand…

Samira can think of many reasons why Rory is completely wrong for her: he’s ten years her junior, for one, and he’s not Indian–something Samira’s mother would never approve of. Even if things were to get serious, there’s no reason to tell her mother…is there?

Review:

Oh I just adored this one, my first by Nicola Marsh but definitely not my last! It was the type of fresh romance we all need right now, with interesting and diverse characters as well as interesting and complex issues. I didn’t realize how much I would like an age gap trope but apparently I really do?! Loved that Samira was older as well, the older man/younger women has been done to death for me. Besides that fun angle you have a first for me, a hero with a stutter and man did I swoon hard for Rory. The fact that both Rory and Samira were grappling with their individual problems and working on themselves was great to see, not everything explored here was solely about them as a couple and I appreciated that they were working on themselves, I found them both to be incredibly relatable. Everything I want in a romance was here, heat, passion, communication, tender moments and lots of fun!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.