Review: For Once In My Life by Colleen Coleman @CollColemanAuth @Bookouture

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 20, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

Twenty-nine-year-old Lily Buckley planned to be happily married and in her dream job by now. Instead she’s been single since being left at the altar three years ago, and works at her local paper, writing about giant vegetables at the village fete and a dog who looks exactly like Chewbacca.

 

Not quite what she was dreaming of.

 

So when Lily’s given the opportunity to write her own column it’s exactly what she’s always wanted – except what she has to write about. She has to do one thing every week that scares her.

 

With encouragement from sexy colleague – and adrenalin-junkie – Christopher, Lily agrees. From sky-diving to haunted houses, Lily is going to be pushed to her limit. But Lily is hiding something – the thing that she fears the most of all…

 

Ever since her heart was broken Lily has been afraid of falling in love again. Will fear hold her back once more – or can Christopher help her to finally find happiness?

 

An uplifting, feel-good story about friendship, romance, and finding the hero inside yourself. Fans of Marian Keyes, Mhairi McFarlane and Sophie Kinsella will love Colleen Coleman!

I’m so pleased to be one of the stops on the blog blitz for For Once In My Life today!

Review:

Whenever I want to read a book that will make me laugh, feel inspired and leave me in a total feel good mood, I know I can count on Colleen Coleman. There’s always something empowering about her books, she writes about relatable women who go on these fun journeys of self discovery and never fail to lift me up.

This begins on Lily’s wedding day when she is left at the altar in an utterly humiliating fashion. Fast forward three years and while Lily believes she’s happy and satisfied with her life, she really isn’t. She’s stuck in a rut, her life is like Groundhog Day and I think we can all relate to that on some level. When she gets assigned to write a series of articles about her going on bucket list adventures she sets off on an unexpected path that may just lead to a life change and some much needed romance.

The developing relationship between Lily and Christopher was adorable and sweet and most importantly, realistic. It wasn’t love at first sight perfection but instead was genuine and believable. Per usual, this had great messages about taking risks and not being afraid to just live your life. While the romance was important to the story, it was more of a subplot with the main focus on Lily herself and how she grew as a person. Recommended for anyone wanting a happy read that makes you want to get out in the world and just enjoy life.

For Once In My Life in three words: Delightful, Inspiring and Positive.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

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Release date: April 2, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins. 

Review:

What a unique read this one was! It really wasn’t the story itself that made it so unusual but rather the memorable characters that left such an impression on me. I can never really answer the question, is a plot or the characters more important to you? But after reading this I may have to say great characterization can make or break a book for me.

This is told via two timelines, one back when Annika and Jonathan first meet in college and then ten years later when their paths cross again. You hear from both of them, and while I did truly like Jonathan, Annika was the star of the show for me. She is quirky, beautiful and intelligent and she has major anxiety in social settings, therefore she doesn’t have many close friends. Going to college away from her parents is a huge deal for her and I loved how the author explored her coping mechanisms to just get through a normal day of college. I thought she did an excellent job highlighting Annika’s issues in a really authentic way, it was realistic and truly moving.

I really don’t want to say too much more because I did find this to be slightly predictable and I would hate to ruin things for anyone else. I really enjoyed this second chance romance with diverse characters but I really wish the ending would’ve been handled differently, it was just a little sudden for my liking but overall a sweet read.

The Girl He Used to Know in three words: Unique, Emotional and Compassionate.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: December 4, 2018

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Review:

I only recently discovered CL when I read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating so I’ve been so looking forward to reading another one of their books mainly to see if I would love it just as much, or if it was just a one off. So thrilled to report that I absolutely adored this one just as much and will now read anything this dynamic duo puts out!

One thing I’ve noticed about CL books now is that while the tropes they use may seem like old news the way they execute is anything but. Their books have such a modern and fresh feel to them, totally hip and current feeling and what I can only assume is a very accurate look at the world of dating today. Millie and Reid are the best of friends who have never crossed the line into more than friends, mostly due to Millie being totally afraid of intimacy and going “deep” with pretty much any one. While I really liked them both, Millie was my fave, she’s a little quirky with an amazing sense of humor, truly one of the guys which is so my type of girl.

The world of online dating is totally terrifying to me, I can’t even imagine trying to navigate it and this book had plenty of hilarious moments based on dating apps alone. I also liked that this one focused on a whole group of friends, the super tight knit kind who give each other a hard time but also have each other’s backs no matter what. This was sexy and sweet, a combination that always slays me and left me feeling happy and light!

My Favorite Half Night Stand in three words: Saucy, Funny and Cute.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Her Last Move by John Marrs @JohnMarrs1 @EmmaFinnigan @AmazonPub #HerLastMove

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 8, 2018

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

I’m so thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Her Last Move today!

Review:

Holy cannoli this was one hell of a read you guys! I was a huge fan of Marrs last book, The Good Samaritan and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. The wait was well worth it and one of the many things that made this a standout for me was that it was SO vastly different from his previous work but still outstanding, it’s so impressive when an author pushes the boundaries and shakes things up with each new book release.

This follows Becca, a police officer working on the case, Joe, another cop, but in a different department and then you hear from the elusive killer as well. All three were fascinating in their own way, Becca is trying to balance her work and home life, but her issues aren’t typical and were a new set of circumstances from the norm in a police procedural. Joe is what’s called a super recognizer, something I didn’t even realized I existed but I read several articles and was blown away. (Look it up, so cool!) The chapters from the killer were chilling, insight into a murderers motivations and thought processes always interests me and his were at once original and scary. All three were so very well developed, they were complex, deep and had interesting secrets.

While the tension throughout was great, a steady buildup for the most part, by the end my heart was in my throat and then something HUGE happened and let’s just say I was stunned. Not the direction I expected at all, but I respect the author so much for so many ballsy moves, I love nothing more than a bold story with risks and Marrs proves with this book that he is a force to be reckoned with. Highly recommended for thriller lovers but especially those who like a good police procedural as well.

Her Last Move in three words: Shocking, Intricate and Intense.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding by Robert Bryndza @CocoPinchard @RobertBryndza @BOTBSPublicity

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Genre: Chick Lit

Blurb:

After a tumultuous divorce, Coco Pinchard has found love with the gorgeous, hunky, four-years-younger-than-her-so-technically-a-toy-boy, Adam. Her career as an author is finally a success, and she has fabulous friends in Christopher, a neurotic middle-aged socialite, and Marika, a slightly alcoholic dog walker.

Coco is even learning to cope with her awful ex mother-in-law, Ethel, who despite the divorce, still thinks it’s fine to criticise, especially when Coco and Adam decide to take the next step, and move in together…

But hours before move-in day, Adam ends their relationship without explanation and disappears. After the initial shock and anger (and an ‘I told you so’ from Ethel) Coco sets out to discover what has really happened, and uncovers a shocking secret Adam has been hiding from her… 

I’m absolutely delighted to be one of the stops on the blog tour for the Coco Pinchard series today!

Review:

I know many of you are familiar with Bryndza through his Erika Foster series, it’s one of my favorites, so when I saw an opportunity to read a book from his CL series I just had to check it out! I already admire authors so much, but the ones that can write in multiple genres truly amaze me. I have to say, this book was just as great as the EF books but in a completely different way.

Though this book is part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone, I had no problem jumping in. I loved the structure of this, each section is separated by the month and then it’s all told through Coco’s emails to her friends and family. Coco is quite the character, she’s dramatic and a little over the top, but she’s also a ton of fun! I just adored her and found myself laughing at her antics and the situations she finds herself in.

If you’re looking for a read to escape into that’s hilarious and charming, try this out! Whatever genre Bryndza writes he’s so talented and I’ll read anything from him. I’m a new fan of this series and can’t wait to catch up now.

Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding in three words: Funny, Cute and Happy.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Sarah Hardy and the author for my review copy.

Giveaway:

There is a giveaway running where you can win a signed set of the whole series that’s open internationally, so make sure you enter here! And for my US readers the entire series is on sale for just 1.99 on Amazon and in the UK it’s only 99 cents!

Review: The Lingering by SJI Holliday @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #TheLingering

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Release date: September 15, 2018

Publisher: Orenda

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre. 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Lingering!
Review:
If you’re like many readers and like to try and match your reads to the season then have I got the perfect book for you to add to your fall/winter TBR! The Lingering is ideal to dive into this time of year, it has a rich and vivid setting that will get under your skin, and the story itself is intriguing and also toes the line with hints at the supernatural without it totally taking over the plot. An added bonus for me is that it’s set in a commune and that sort of lifestyle absolutely fascinates me and this one was very interesting.
This flips back and forth between Ali’s POV and Angela’s, a valued member of the commune. The entire idea behind this group is that they seek the light in all things. They live in Rosalind House, which was once an old asylum which is such a creepy setting. There are many old stories and legends about what happened on the grounds and Angela is determined to prove there is the presence of ghosts one way or another.
Right away you feel like there is something a bit off about Ali and her husband Jack, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what made me feel uneasy about them. Was it their vague references to their elusive past? Or maybe it was just the claustrophobic setting and hint of the unknown, but whatever it was, it worked SO well for me. There was a constant sense of dread and a little bit of fear throughout that kept me on the edge of my seat.
I fear discussing the plot further would only spoil things, but I’ll close by saying that this would appeal to a wide variety of readers as it’s mysterious, highly atmospheric and also has a historical vibe due to Rosalind Houses background, and it also went in a few directions I wasn’t expecting and that my friends, is what it’s all about!
The Lingering in three words: Atmospheric, Gripping and Creepy.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

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Release date: May 29, 2019

Publisher: Graydon House

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together… 

Review:

Well, Rouda has once again shown that psychological thrillers can be both darkly funny and chilling at the same time without feeling cliched. Both this and Best Day Ever had a really fresh and current vibe that makes you feel like you’re reading something from an author who has found their perfect niche. I’m a huge fan of Rouda’s style and am so excited to (hopefully) see her continue writing in the same vein.

The entire story is told from Jane’s perspective and what a character she is. Often she is speaking directly to the reader giving this such a personal touch, I loved that aspect and she is also one of those narrators that constantly keeps you guessing, one minute I was sure she was delusional and a borderline psychopath and then the next I would almost feel sorry for her. Who is the real Jane?! You’ll have to read to find out, but finding out the truth was one hell of an addictive roller coaster ride.

Once again, I was confident I knew what would eventually happen but the author wrong footed me in the end, there were quite a few startling revelations that delighted me. Jane is just as over the top and dramatic as Paul was in BDE and I love me some drama! Totally recommend this for fans of domestic suspense, it was just so wickedly fun.

The Favorite Daughter in three words: Addictive, Dramatic and Sinister.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

PaperlessPost

Happy Sunday everyone! I have something a bit different to share today that I hope you’ll enjoy. I was recently given the opportunity to try out PaperlessPost which is the coolest site where you can send stationary and invites via email. I had so much fun playing around on the site and I’ll be showing you guys what I found and loved today.

What makes PaperlessPost unique is that they partner with different designers and well known brands to create amazing cards for all occasions and these are seriously beautiful! The one above is from a collection by Rifle Paper Co. and I thought it was just so cute. You can customize the text and I used the app to play around, it was super easy to navigate and very user friendly. You can choose different fonts and the selection was great and then when you’re satisfied you can email it to your friends and family.

There are a ton of categories and options and you can even make a custom card if you would like, but the one I think I will use the most is the thank you cards. When I was a kid my mom always had us send thank yous and I feel like that just doesn’t happen much anymore. These are so pretty and it takes minutes to make one, I can definitely see myself using them a lot in the future.

They also have an entire section of flyers that were so fun, most use gifs and they had predesigned options for every occasion imaginable!

Overall this is a site I wasn’t aware of before but one that I’ll definitely be using from now on. Have any of you heard of it before? I would love to know if you have.

Review: The Night Visitor by Patrick Redmond @PRedmondAuthor @BooksManatee #TheNightVisitor

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Release date: October 29, 2018

Publisher: Manatee

Blurb:

When does a gift become a curse? 

Meg has a gift. She can change lives. But when tragedy strikes in childhood she vows never to use it again. 
Now an adult, she is living in Cornwall; a place where the elements themselves have a life of their own. When they call she refuses to listen, fearful of the dark places where her gift can lead.
 

But the dead will not be silenced. They are stronger than her. And now they have chosen she is powerless to escape… 

I’m delighted to be one of the stops on the blog tour for The Night Visitor today!

Review:

Ahh this is going to be a really tricky book for me to review without giving too much away! So much of it was surprising for me and I would hate to ruin the experience for future readers so if this seems a bit vague, you’ll understand why.

This is one of those books that drew me in right away, it begins when Meg is just a child and introduces you to her and her gift. This gift is of the paranormal type and it truly intrigued me, would Meg be mature enough as a child to understand and use it? How does a young girl navigate the supernatural? So interesting and a really creepy read for this time of year.

I really connected with Meg, her life was tough and there is much more to her than meets the eye. She is quiet and reserved, she even comes across as snobby to people but she’s really anything but and I can always root for a character that is the underdog. Besides being wholly invested in the protagonist, I really enjoyed the authors writing style. It was very descriptive and detailed making it incredibly easy to picture each and every scene that was written. The setting was also spooky and so vividly described that I felt like I was right there myself.

If you don’t mind supernatural elements to your thrillers, give this one a shot! It was engaging and really different, the only other author I’ve read that is similar is Mark Tilbury, so if you like him check this one out. It really blurred the lines between genres, it would appeal to fans of historical fiction, romance and mysteries, there’s something for every reader here.

The Night Visitor in three words: Creepy, Immersive and Unnerving.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Christmas Spirit by Nicola May @nicolamay1 @rararesources

Amazon

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

It’s two days before Christmas – and Evie Harris finds herself both manless and jobless. After a chance encounter with handsome Greg (and egged on by her toy-boy-eating friend, Bea) she agrees to work at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day.
Striking up an unlikely friendship with homeless Yves, Evie begins an unwitting journey of spiritual awakening, all set against the sparkling winter backdrop of London landmarks. 
A New Year’s Eve revelation is on its way . . . but will it leave Evie with a happy heart, or will she allow the pre-Christmas past to dictate her future?

I’m so pleased to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Christmas Spirit today!

Review:

Well if you’re looking for a quick read to put you in a holiday frame of mind then this one is absolutely perfect! It’s a novella, so really fast paced but it still packed quite an emotional punch and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

I adored both Evie and her best friend Bea, they’re complete opposites and make quite the pair. Evie is sweet and caring and down on her luck and then Bea is outrageous and wickedly funny, truly naughty she made me laugh so hard. Besides fun characters this had such great meaning about what’s truly important in life. Evie goes through a remarkable period of growth over the course of just a few days and it was sweet and heartwarming. Ideal Christmas read, totally recommended!

Christmas Spirit in three words: Festive, Hopeful and Heartwarming.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author and Rachel for my review copy.