Review: The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis

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Release date: June 2, 2020

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that’s left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone.

And then there’s Kinsey Davis, who after battling serious health issues her entire twenty-nine years of life, is tired of hoping for . . . well, anything. She’s fierce, tough, and pretty much the opposite of Brynn except for one thing: they’re half-sisters. Kinsey is keeping this bombshell, and a few others as well. Long time frenemies from summer camp, there’s no way she’s going to tell Brynn they’re related.

But then Brynn runs into Kinsey’s lifelong best friend, Eli, renewing a childhood crush. He’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell. When he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it’ll result in finding a piece of herself she didn’t even know was missing. She could have a sister, love, and a future―if she can only learn to let go of the past.

As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that’s right in front of them. 

Review:

You may remember that late last year I finally discovered Jill Shalvis and in that short amount of time I’ve become such a huge fan. There’s a handful of authors that I can truly depend on to take me on a fun, entertaining escape and she is definitely one of them. Also, look at that cover, I mean have you ever seen a more perfect one for summer? The inside is amazing as well.

So this one is much more than just a summer romance novel. Yes, there is romance (two actually 😍🔥) but it’s also about friendship and family as well, truly a little bit of everything for everyone. It also has the author’s trademark fantastic characterization, every single person in this book feels so authentic and relatable on some level. A cute little addition that I adored was journal entries from two of the main characters back when they were frenemies at summer camp, and oh yes instead of a friends to lovers romantic relationship the two female leads have a love/hate relationship. I’m telling ya, this was such a fun one and a perfect addition to summer reading!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

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Release date: May 5, 2020

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…

Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness. 

Review:

There’s something about a grumpy hero in a romance novel that just works for me, maybe it’s because I’m kinda grumpy myself but Graham stole my heart almost instantly. His diner started out as a joke and his customer service is nonexistent, picture lots of grunting and you get what you get with a surly attitude. Then there’s Zoey who is his polar opposite, she’s adorable, sweet, quirky and awkward and I loved her too. So with two main characters that I liked I was already happy and then throw in an amazing Alaskan setting and it really couldn’t be anymore perfect for me!

This had all the rom com feelings and was super sweet too, very much cutesy rather than sexy but Graham and Zoey’s chemistry was great. It’s a great beginning to a new series, the secondary characters were fantastic and I can’t wait until my next trip to Moose Springs! Oh, if you’re an animal lover there is also plenty to love her taking this to a whole other swoon level.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: One Hundred Reasons by Kelly Collins

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Release date: February 27, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Nurse Sage Nichols life changed when she lost her favorite patient and inherited a bed and breakfast in a town she didn’t know existed. She traveled to Aspen Cove intent to sell so she could hurry back to her life in Denver. Little did she know, she was about to find everything she ever needed in the tiny mountain town with a big heart. Sage found herself in a place where caring for your neighbor was a way of life. In her case, that happened to be surly Cannon Bishop, the man of her dreams. 

Cannon Bishop was a man who learned long ago that hope was a dangerous thing. Closed off from the world after a family tragedy, Cannon lived a lonely life as the owner of Aspen Cove’s only bar and son to the town drunk. When Sage Nichols breezed into town, she offered the possibility of more if he’d only open his heart. Cannon’s protective walls tumble and suddenly a brighter future of healing, hope, and peace was possible… if only Sage would stay. 

Review:

Where are my small town romance fans at? How about Virgin River? I discovered VR late last year and it’s one of my favorite romance series now and I’m always looking for another one that has a similar vibe. Guess what?! I found one in the Aspen Cove series 🙌🏻 It’s definitely not exactly the same and I wouldn’t want it to be anyway, but it had a similar feel to it and everything I love about VR can be found here too. Also? This series already has twelve books so I can binge read and be satisfied for awhile still. Another bonus for me (especially right now) is she’s an indie author and I’m trying my best to support them through the craziness in the world.

I’ve come to realize that for me to really connect with a romance novel it needs a few key things. First, I love a small town with quirky characters and plenty of charm. I also need the lead characters to be interesting and have relatable flaws and struggles and I also need to believe their chemistry together. If there’s a great balance between humor and heart and cute romance and sex, I’m in. This one had everything I listed, Aspen Cove sounds idyllic based on the name alone and while it has a lot going for it, it’s nowhere near perfect and neither are the residents. They have real issues and problems as do Sage and Cannon and their chemistry was 🔥 from the money they met. I laughed plenty, and while there was some sex, I wouldn’t call this steamy. I feel like it really had a little bit of everything and for me, that’s exactly what I like! Definitely recommend this one, the whole series is on kindle unlimited too and I can’t wait to keep reading.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: Killing Mind by Angela Marsons @writeangie @bookouture

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Release date: May 13, 2020

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

It had seemed so simple. Get in, get the information, get out. But now they were getting inside her mind and she didn’t know how to stop them…

When Detective Kim Stone is called to the home of Samantha Brown, she finds the young woman lying in bed with her throat cut and a knife in her hand. With no sign of forced entry or struggle, Kim rules her death a tragic suicide.

But a visit to Samantha’s parents rings alarm bells for Kim – there’s something they’re not telling her. And, when she spots a clue in a photograph, Kim realises she’s made a huge mistake. Samantha didn’t take her own life, she was murdered.

Then a young man’s body is found in a local lake with his throat cut and Kim makes a link between the victim and Samantha. They both spent time at Unity Farm, a retreat for people seeking an alternative way of life.

Beneath the retreat’s cosy façade, Kim and her team uncover a sinister community preying on the emotionally vulnerable.

Sending one of her own undercover into Unity Farm is high risk but it’s Kim’s only hope if she is to catch a killer – someone Kim is convinced the victims knew and trusted.

With Bryant distracted by the emergence of a harrowing case close to his heart, and an undercover officer in way over her head, Kim’s neck is on the line like never before. Can she protect those closest to her before another life is taken?

An unbelievably gripping crime thriller from multi-million copy bestseller Angela Marsons that will have you hooked on the Detective Kim Stone series.  

Review:

Not many authors can continue writing a successful series twelve books in, but OMG can Angie Marsons continue to wow me! There has not been one moment of the Kim Stone series that’s felt stale or boring for me me, each book is just as exciting and fresh as the last one and I I have my fingers crossed that this series will continue on forever. I think it’s especially difficult to keep a crime series feeling original so it’s a huge feat that when I finish each book I just immediately want more, and y’all know how disenchanted I’ve been with thrillers lately anyway but this series is the real deal and book twelve is another winner!

This time around Kim and team are dealing with murders surrounding a cult and I’ve long had a morbid fascination with cult life. I’ve read several fiction and non fiction books about the subject but low and behold Marsons managed to enlighten me with a side of cults I’ve never heard about before and it was both interesting and awful. The author always does her research, it’s very apparent in each of her books and this was no exception. It’s not often I finish a thriller and feel like I’ve learned something but when I finish a Kim Stone book I have!

I always love catching up with Kim and crew and now more then ever I needed the familiarity and comfort that well loved characters provide. Each book allows another layer to be peeled back on the teams lives and they’re so well crafted that you swear they’re real, living, breathing people. Per usual I had absolutely nothing figured out before all was revealed as the author is a master at pulling the wool over my eyes. I can’t say enough good things about this series or this book, so get reading if you haven’t taken my advice before now!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: My Kind of People by Lisa Duffy

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Release date: May 12, 2020

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

On Ichabod Island, a jagged strip of land thirteen miles off the coast of Massachusetts, ten-year-old Sky becomes an orphan for the second time after a tragic accident claims the lives of her adoptive parents.

Grieving the death of his best friends, Leo’s life is turned upside down when he finds himself the guardian of young Sky. Back on the island and struggling to balance his new responsibilities and his marriage to his husband, Leo is supported by a powerful community of neighbors, many of them harboring secrets of their own.

Maggie, who helps with Sky’s childcare, has hit a breaking point with her police chief husband, who becomes embroiled in a local scandal. Her best friend Agnes, the island busybody, invites Sky’s estranged grandmother to stay for the summer, straining already precarious relationships. Their neighbor Joe struggles with whether to tell all was not well in Sky’s house in the months leading up to the accident. And among them all is a mysterious woman, drawn to Ichabod to fulfill a dying wish.

Perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Ann Leary, My Kind of People is a riveting, impassioned novel about the resilience of community and what connects us all in the face of tragedy.

Review:

Y’all I just adored this book! If you’re looking for a heartfelt escape, an ensemble cast of characters that you will fall in love with and a setting that is fully brought to life this is a must read. I was so incredibly invested in the lives of the characters in this book from Sky the ten year old girl who just lost her parents to her neighbor and teacher, Maggie and then to Leo who is Sky’s new legal guardian. There were a handful of other supporting characters that I also loved, is there anything better than feeling like you’ve made new friends by the time you finished a book?!

Besides the best, most relatable characters the author has the most gorgeous writing style. I’m not a big fan of literary fiction, mostly because I feel like I’m not smart enough for wordy prose, but her writing has such a beautiful, evocative feel that it almost feels like you’re reading literary fiction without the pretentiousness. There’s also a little mystery element as well as some exploration into some timely issues like race relations, sexuality and mental health issues all with a graceful and insightful touch. Highly recommended by me!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Summer Longing by Jamie Brenner

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Release date: May 5, 2020

Publisher: Little Brown

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

Ruth Cooperman arrives in beautiful beachside Provincetown for her retirement, renting the perfect waterfront cottage while she searches for her forever home. After years of hard work and making peace with life’s compromises, Ruth is looking forward to a carefree summer of solitude. But when she finds a baby girl abandoned on her doorstep, Ruth turns to her new neighbors for help and is drawn into the drama of the close-knit community.

The appearance of the mystery baby has an emotional ripple effect through the women in town, including Amelia Cabral, the matriarch who lost her own child decades earlier; Elise Douglas, owner of the tea shop who gave up her dream of becoming a mother; and teenage local Jaci Barros who feels trapped by her parents’ expectations. Ruth, caring for a baby for the first time in thirty years, even reaches out to her own estranged daughter, Olivia, summoning her to Provincetown in hopes of a reconciliation.

As summer unfolds and friends and family care for the infant, alliances are made, relationships are tested, and secrets are uncovered. But the unconditional love for a child in need just might bring Ruth and the women of Provincetown exactly what they have been longing for themselves.

With heartfelt storytelling, Summer Longing is Jamie Brenner’s eagerly anticipated return to Provincetown; another unforgettable tale about motherhood, friendship, and finding your way home.

Review:

You guys ready for another summer reading recommendation? Jamie Brenner writes some of the best beachy books and I look forward to her latest every single year. There’s something effortless and easy about the way she tells a story and once again, this one has everything I look for in a summertime read and more. There’s a pretty setting that is brought to life, complex and authentic characters, intrigue, romance and even a light mystery, what more could you want?!

If you need a pick me up in the form of a great book this is definitely a great option. This one really swept me away and made me forget about my own life as I got wrapped up in the dramas of the characters. Highly recommended by me and her other books are just as fantastic!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Best Behavior by Wendy Francis

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Release date: May 5, 2020

Publisher: Graydon House

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

A modern-day family gathers for a weekend to remember in a novel rich in both humor and heart…

Meredith Parker has made the journey to Bolton, her twins’ college, dozens of times. This weekend, though, is different. Dawn and Cody are about to graduate and move away to separate corners of the country. Meredith is proud of her kids, and she’s proud of herself for helping them get this far. She just never expected the tidal wave of emotions sweeping over her—or the tangled family dynamics complicating everything.

Meredith doesn’t miss her cheating ex, Roger, one bit, but sitting across from his very young, very gorgeous second wife threatens to unravel the graceful facade she’s trying so hard to maintain. Joel, Meredith’s husband, can see she’s feeling the first pangs of empty-nest syndrome and wants to soften the blow—but he’s distracted by a familiar face. Meanwhile, Cody and Dawn are sitting on their own secrets, and Roger’s new wife, Lily, wonders if she really wants to be a part of this wild, mixed-up family.

As tensions simmer with each passing appetizer tray, Meredith’s vision of the perfect weekend goes up in flames. But before the party’s over, as best behavior gives way to brutal honesty, there’ll be a chance for this new blended family to truly come together—in all its messy and glorious imperfection. 

Review:

There’s something about summer approaching that makes me want to read about family drama and when a blended family gets together over one long weekend for a college graduation you just know drama will be at the forefront. You have exes and parents of the graduates, Meredith and Roger and then both of their spouses as well as the kids themselves. Blended families are never easy and when there are secrets and lies floating around things get pretty juicy.

While my own kids are nowhere near college graduation age I still found Meredith to be relatable in the way she worries about her children, does a mother’s anxiety ever decrease even when her kids are full fledged adults? I don’t think so. The ensemble cast of characters were quite the lively and quirky bunch, they were all fun and authentic, they type of people you would encounter in your own life. Add in some scandals, a beautiful New England setting, sharp wit and a light mystery and this is a great summer read!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

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Release date: October 13, 2020

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

LONDON: On a fine avenue of grand houses, big cars and electronic gates, lies a neglected urban wasteland

It is nearly midnight, and very cold. Yet in this dark place of long grass and tall trees where cats hunt and foxes shriek, a girl is waiting…

When Saffyre Maddox was ten something terrible happened and she’s carried the pain of it around with her ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides from him, invisible in the shadows, learning his secrets; secrets she could use to blow his safe, cosy world apart.

Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s thirty-three years old and he’s never had a girlfriend, he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares about him.

But when Saffyre Maddox disappears from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at him. Accusing him. Holding him responsible.

Because he’s just the type, isn’t he? A bit creepy?

Review:

There are a handful of authors that when I get one of their new books in my hands I’ll drop everything to read it and that’s exactly what happened here. I was in the mood for a fast paced and dark thriller and I got this at exactly the right moment for me. It was everything I was in the mood for and then some, I swear LJ gets under my skin like no other author and I urge you to preorder this one, it’ll be a perfect fall read.

Lately when I pick up a thriller I need a few things to keep me engaged. First, rapid chapters that propel me to keep reading, multiple perspectives always keep me intrigued, I need something dark and new plot wise and finally I need a solid mystery that I haven’t seen done already 567 times. I’m happy to report that this delivered for me on all levels, I seriously couldn’t ask for more! Highly recommended by me and if you haven’t read any LJ books you should she’s fantastic!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Sweeney Sisters by Liam Dolan

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Release date: April 28, 2020

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor—Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney—one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister—a blond among redheads—fit into their story?

By turns revealing, insightful, and uproarious, The Sweeney Sisters is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration—a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family. 

Review:

It seems like long buried family secrets being brought to light by at home DNA testing is quite the hot topic lately and while I’ve read several heartbreaking tales about people’s real lives being shattered by unexpected results, I was super curious to read about a fictional family dealing with the after effects. I love a good family drama and this one didn’t disappoint!

I love author characters and although William Sweeney wasn’t alive during the events of the book as the sisters deal with his estate after he passes, he was still larger than life here. While I enjoyed all of the Sweeney sisters and what they individually brought to the table he stole much of the show. It’s always interesting to see how a parents influence can affect the dynamics of an entire family and this focuses heavily on how Bill’s behavior and secrets shaped each of his four daughters. Each woman was well drawn and complex and I enjoyed taking this journey with them.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Feels like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey

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Release date: April 28, 2020

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy.

Unless, that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her extremist husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger, Diana Harrington, fired from her job at the local pharmacy.

Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a worn-out Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience.

With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn. But when her first love returns, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.

In her warmest, wisest novel yet, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a discerning portrait of modern womanhood through two vastly different lenses. Feels Like Falling is a beach bag essential for Harvey fans—and for a new generation of readers. 

Review:

Can I just tell you that if you’re a fan of Southern fiction full of charm, heartfelt stories about family and friends and a gorgeous setting that you need to read this and that’s all there is for my review? Haha but seriously I cannot say enough good things about KWH or her books, not only is she one of the most genuinely sweet authors I’ve ever talked to, she’s an amazingly talented writer and hands down one of my favorites.

I was a teeny tiny bit nervous about this book going im but it’s only because the Peachtree Bluff series is so beloved by me I was anxious that I wouldn’t love this one as much. What a dumb thing for me to think because I adored this one just as much. In a time where we’re all longing to be swept away by the books we read this one is the ideal choice. KWH paints the prettiest picture of an idyllic coastal town, I swear there were scenes where I could feel a sea breeze, smell the saltwater and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. Besides an amazing setting you also have fantastic characters who are endearing, messy and utterly relatable. I fell in love with both Gray and Diana and was sad to say goodbye to them when I finished. Another hit from the author, highly recommended by me!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.