Review: Well Met by Jen Deluca

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Release date: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek. 

Review:

This book was absolute perfection for me y’all. While I wouldn’t exactly say I’m picky about romance novels, for one to be five stars for me it has to have the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, and for me that’s not exactly no steam but I definitely want more romantic moments than just straight up sex scenes. I also want it to be funny and warm and I want both a hero and heroine that I adore, this is not asking too much, is it?! I say no, but it’s pretty rare for me to find all the elements I want and this one had all of them and more!

Emily was adorable and totally relatable, her hesitation about the Faire at the start of the book rivaled my own, so I knew she was my kind of people. Simon may as well be called Swoonworthy Simon, my lord this man knows how to woo a lady. Throw in a supporting cast of characters that are just as lovable, sizzling chemistry between Em and Simon and an absolutely adorable and heartwarming story and I’m done 😍 If you haven’t already guessed, this one comes highly recommended by me, did I mention this is a debut?! I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next, I feel like there could easily be a follow up focusing on some secondary characters, but whatever she writes I’m reading!

Well Met in three words: Adorable, Sweet and Charming

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Sixth Wicked Child by J. D. Barker

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Release date: August 27, 2019

Publisher: Hampton Creek Press

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

In the riveting conclusion of the 4MK trilogy, Barker takes the thriller to an entirely new level. Don’t miss a single word of the series James Patterson called “ingenious.” 

Hear No Evil 

For Detective Sam Porter, the words “Father, forgive me” conjure memories long forgotten; a past intentionally buried. For Anson Bishop, these three words connect a childhood to the present as he unleashes a truth concealed for decades. 

See No Evil 

Found written on cardboard near each body, these words link multiple victims to a single killer—discovered within minutes of each other in both Chicago and South Carolina—clearly connected yet separated by impossible miles. 

Speak No Evil 

Chicago Metro and the FBI find themselves caught in chaos—a hospital on lockdown, a rogue officer, and corruption at the highest levels. When Anson Bishop, the prime suspect in the notorious 4MK serial murders turns himself in, he reveals a story completely unexpected, one that not only upends the current investigation, but one that will change the lives of all involved. 

Do No Evil 

With unrelenting tension and pulse-pounding suspense, the past unravels at breakneck speed as the truth behind the Four Monkey Killer’s motive is finally revealed in this masterfully crafted finale. 

Review:

I LOVE a good serial killer thriller and the trilogy that this book is part of is one of the best that I’ve ever read. It is such a complex and compelling series throughout, now looking back in hindsight I realize just how freaking brilliant the author is, I’m seriously blown away with how clever the plotting is and how perfectly this whole series was set up from beginning to end.

I really don’t want to speak to the plot too much here, but don’t read this as a standalone, these books must be read in order and yes, they’re worth it! SO much has happened since the first 4MK book and if you jump in here, you’re just missing out on some truly amazing storytelling. I always say this in my reviews of these books, but these books are not for the faint hearted, they’re fearless and explore the truly dark depths of humanity. There are some really graphic and brutal scenes and a lot of it is terrifying. This IS a serial killer thriller though, it’s not pretty but it’s damn good. Between the bold story and the meticulous attention to detail, and the intensity that’s maintained throughout , I can’t say enough good things about this one. If you like serial killer thrillers this is an absolute must read. Normally I have complaints about the ending of a series but I seriously can’t find a flaw here, everything was wrapped up perfectly and there were so many twists and turns along the way, so absolutely nothing was done I order to take the easy way out. I’ll stop rambling and just say, read 👏 the 👏book 👏 PLEASE and come chat to me when you’re finished because I bet your mind will be just as blown as mine was!

The Sixth Wicked Child in three words: Clever, Meticulous and Tense

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Sidelined by Suzanne Baltsar

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Release date: August 27, 2019

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

When Connor McGuire loses out on his dream job of being the head coach of the local high school football team, he thinks life can’t get any worse. Then he discovers just who got the coveted position—it was a handout to the kid of a well-known, successful college coach. Connor’s sure this is just a publicity stunt, but the kid turns out to be not only a sharp strategist, but a driven and sexy young woman, too. Frustrated in more ways than one, Connor realizes that he might have to step up his game or risk losing altogether.

Coach Charlotte “Charlie” Gibb calls a flag on the play when she finds out that her very male, very attractive, but definitely-rooting-for-her-to-lose assistant coach resents her for taking what he considers to be his rightful position. But never one to back down from a little healthy competition, Charlie is determined to prove her worth—both on and off the field.

Baltsar’s “sweet, funny, witty, addictive writing,” (New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young) is not to be missed! 

Review:

I love an enemies to lovers storyline and even though I’m not a football fan whatsoever, the premise of this just sounded too cute to pass up. Initially, I wasn’t too sure about this one because it seemed pretty in your face with its message of female empowerment. That sounds awful, don’t get me wrong, I love a strong female character more than just about anything, but it was kind of in your face right from the start. Thankfully things settled down a little pretty quickly and I wound up really enjoying this one in the end. It was fast and flirty and there was lots of pretty cute, playful banter between Connor and Charlie, which is basically the most important thing to me in any romance. Overall a breezy summer read, if you like super strong female leads, you’ll enjoy this one!

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Spotlight: The Desire Card by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Amazon

Release date: February 19, 2019

Publisher: Fahrenheit

Genre: Thriller

Blurb:

Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That’s the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine.  

 

Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live.

 

After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card.

 

THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’talways enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

 Excerpt:

HARRISON STUMBLED INTO CENTRAL PARK CLUTCHING THE SILVER BRIEFCASE, HIS BODY SHAKING FROM BEING HUNTED. Clouds clogged the sky. The trees seemed like creatures towering over him. He turned around to see the man in the Humphrey Bogart mask running toward the entrance, a gun bulging from the guy’s inside pocket. The man’s cold eyes scanned the park, zeroing in. Harrison took off down a dirt path until he was alone with only the wind ringing in his ears. 

He wanted to collapse; he begged himself to just give in. Nature would destroy him soon anyway, and his shins were starting to feel like they’d been repeatedly stabbed. He coughed up an excess of blood and mucus that spilled down a rock. Now he’d gone so far down the trail that he couldn’t see where he entered. The sound of footsteps came from all directions. A distorted laugh caused all the nearby pigeons to shoot toward the sky. The laugh was followed by an eerie whistle that became louder and louder as he spun around expecting to see his pursuer. 

A shadow passed behind a tree, bigger than any animal. He propped himself up against a rock, too exhausted to move any farther, closing his eyes and waiting to die. He could see tomorrow’s headlines declaring his death as a mugging gone wrong. 

“Gracie,” he cried, trembling. “Brent, my boy…oh God.”

He had pissed himself now, the urine hot and sticky as it trickled down his pants leg. He still held the silver briefcase close to his chest, resolving not to let it go without a fight.

The man in the Bogart mask emerged from behind a tree holding a gun.

“Just hand it over, Mr. Stockton,” the man said. The voice box attached to his mouth made him sound robotic, weirdly calm. “You don’t want this to get any more complicated than it already has.”

The man made a grab for the briefcase, but Harrison held on tight.

“You’ll kill me anyway,” Harrison yelled, spooking any pigeons that hadn’t already flown away.

“Only if you force me to do so.” 

The man kicked Harrison in the shin, causing him to nearly buckle over. Harrison was thrown to the ground, the man pinning him down. He still managed to hold onto the briefcase as if it was fused to his hand. 

“The Boss doesn’t know about what you’ve done yet,” the man said, hitting Harrison’s head against the hard dirt. “Do you understand what that means? That means you can still live. And he’ll never find out as long as we get what we’re owed.”

“Why would you do that for me?” he asked, seeing four masked men spinning around.

The man stepped back and pointed the gun between Harrison’s eyes.

“The Boss doesn’t like when things don’t go according to plan. I could be in as much trouble as you for letting this slip-up happen. So let’s make this easy for both of us.”

Harrison got on one elbow and hoisted himself up.

“Do I have your word?”

The man nodded.

“And my family? My wife…my kids? I wouldn’t have to worry about them being hurt?”

“As much as you might think that you are our sole concern, we have an entire organization to run beyond your pithy life. Now I will count to ten and if you don’t hand over the briefcase, I’ll put a bullet between your eyes.”  

Harrison thought about what his life had really amounted to. All the hours he’d slaved at Sanford & Co., making rich people boatloads richer. Getting into the office before dawn and often heading home in the middle of the night. Sacrificing his family, his youth, his sanity. How it had made him into a drinker, a serial gorger of all vices, just so he could forget about what he was losing. After all of that, what did he have left to show? 

“…8…9…10,” the man said, about to pull the trigger. 

“All right, all right.” 

Harrison handed over the briefcase. The man opened it up and appeared to be satisfied, a smirking grin visible through his mask. 

“I’ll leave you with this nugget of wisdom,” he said, without putting the gun away. “If what you did manages to compromise us in any way, if there are any rippling after-effects, be prepared to come across the Boss. He’s known to wear a Clark Gable mask.” The man’s smirk had disappeared. “He only appears when he’s ready to bloody his hands. Good day, Mr. Stockton.”

“Who are you people? Under the masks…who are you really?”

The man raised the gun over Harrison’s head.

“I doubt you’ll ever find out,” he said, and struck Harrison on the forehead with the handle. 

A trickle of blood spilled down Harrison’s nose and felt cold on his tongue. He slunk down and rested his cheek against the dirt, watching the man in the mask take off through the trees, the silver briefcase shining like a beam of light snaking through the leaves. And then the man finally disappeared—as if he was nothing more than a nightmare brought to life and extinguished once the fitful dreamer finally woke.

Harrison pressed against his rib cage and felt for his engorged liver. Cursed at it. Wanted to tear it from his stomach. He’d been poisoned from within for too long, his unending punishment for all of his crimes. Blood zigzagged into his eyes as the wound on his forehead opened up even more. With his other hand he reached into his pocket and removed his wallet. A thin metallic card fell from out of a sleeve and sat in a puddle of blood that had collected in the dirt. 

He crumpled it up in his fist since it was responsible for letting these psychopaths into his life. He knew he’d never feel completely settled again, always worried that they might come after him and his family. The Desire Card had caused him to seek out gruesome and despicable wishes. From the instant this devil’s temptation had been placed in his hands, his moral compass never stood a chance. So he chucked it into the air and watched it sail over the rocks for some other fool to find. 

“I’m sorry, Helene,” he mumbled to the wind. He knew he’d have to come clean about everything. His head throbbed, and he recalled a memory from twenty-five years ago. Spying her in the quad at Chilton College drinking a cherry Coke, tan and shapely from field hockey, the entire campus becoming muted except for her. He took a chance by flirting miserably and changing the course of their lives. 

She would’ve been better off if they had never met. In such a short amount of time, he’d fallen so far. Now because of him people had been sliced up, left for dead, and soon he’d follow them to his own grave. As he drifted off into unconsciousness, he remembered that it all began to spiral out of control on his last day at Sanford & Co. over a month ago, this treacherous path he embarked on, his dark and dried-up destiny.  

Review: On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: August 20, 2019

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

What’s a campaign manager’s worst nightmare? A smooth-talking charmer who’s never met a scandal that he didn’t like.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and mayor of her town—asks her to help rehab Cooper Endicott’s image, she’s horrified. Cooper drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, and she can’t say no to him without him finding out the reason why: Cooper and her have a messy past. So Emmanuelle reluctantly launches her father’s grand plan to get this Casanova someone to settle down with and help him lose his lothario reputation.

Cooper Endicott wanted to run for Mayor, but he never wanted the drama that went with it. Now that he’s on the political hamster wheel, the other candidates are digging up everything from his past. Even though he’s doing all the right things, his colorful love life is the sticking point for many of the conservative voters. He wants to win, badly, and he knows that if he wants any chance of getting a vote from the female population, he needs to change his image. The only problem? He might just be falling in love with the one person he promised not to pursue: the Mayor’s off-limits daughter.

Review:

The first time this one caught my eye was when I saw it being compared to one of my favorite author duos, Christina Lauren. I was obviously excited to see that comparison because I seriously can’t get enough of rom coms lately, especially theirs, but this was really nothing like a CL book. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t bad at all, it definitely had its own redeeming qualities, but anyone expecting a similar book will be disappointed.

One of the aspects that worked really well for me here was the setting, I absolutely love a small town romance and as this is the first in a new series, there were plenty of lovable characters that could definitely appear in future books. Hope Lake is a tight knit community and I love nothing more than a small town united. This focuses mainly on the towns mayoral race and while I’m pretty sick a real life politics, the author did a really good job of keeping things fairly light. There was definitely no apparent political agenda on behalf of the authors personal beliefs, it centered solely on the towns own political race. I wanted to make that clear in case anyone was hesitant at even the mention of politics, it was handled very well.

Before I wrap this up I think the main thing that missed this mark for me here was my lack of connection to both main characters. I found Emma to be a little annoying and Cooper was just ok for me. Neither of them wowed me and I didn’t feel any real chemistry between them until the very end. I think if you went into this expecting more of a Women’s Fiction read that’s very light on the romance you’ll enjoy this one a bit more than I did.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy

Review: Stolen Things by R. H. Herron

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Release date: August 20, 2019

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

A sensational crime, a missing teen, and a mother and daughter with no one to trust but themselves come together in this shocking debut thriller by R. H. Herron.

“Mama? Help me.”

Laurie Ahmadi has worked as a 911 police dispatcher in her quiet Northern California town for nearly two decades. She considers the department her family; her husband, Omid, is its first Arab American chief, and their teenaged daughter, Jojo, has grown up with the force. So when Laurie catches a 911 call and, to her horror, it’s Jojo, the whole department springs into action.

Jojo, drugged, disoriented, and in pain, doesn’t remember how she ended up at the home of Kevin Leeds, a pro football player famous for his on-the-field activism and his work with the CapB—“Citizens Against Police Brutality”—movement. She doesn’t know what happened to Kevin’s friend and trainer, whose beaten corpse is also discovered in the house. And she has no idea where her best friend Harper, who was with her earlier in the evening, could be.

But when Jojo begins to dive into Harper’s social media to look for clues to her whereabouts, Jojo uncovers a shocking secret that turns everything she knew about Harper—and the police department—on its head. With everything they thought they could rely on in question, Laurie and Jojo begin to realize that they can’t trust anyone to find Harper except themselves . . . and time is running out. 

Review:

Thrillers and I have not been the best of friends lately, to say I’ve struggled with the majority of them is putting it mildly, so while I was definitely intrigued by the premise of this one, I was very hesitant. Thank god I set my hesitation to the side and gave this a fair chance, because it was excellent y’all! It’s much more than just a synopsis that sounds good and doesn’t actually deliver, what’s described is actually the tip of the iceberg and I was here for it the whole way through.

This is inspired by the authors time as a 911 dispatcher which was cool, it definitely gave the whole thing an air of authenticity, something that I always appreciate, especially in a sea of unbelievable thrillers. The action begins right from the start when Laurie gets an emergency call from her teenaged daughter and it never lets up for a second. The story unfolds at a rapid pace and then there are some seriously sharp twists and turns. This one definitely kept me guessing, but I was also invested as well, I not only wanted to know what would happen next, I cared about what would happen as well.

I’m going to go ahead and recommend this to anyone who has been struggling with thrillers as of late, it reeled me in instantly and was one of the only books I’ve read recently that I felt drawn to when I wasn’t reading it, the characters were calling to me even when I wasn’t reading! This probably would’ve even received a five star rating for me, but the ending felt a little rushed and I would’ve liked a little more closure, but overall a solid read.

Stolen Things in three words: Addictive, Pacey and Gritty

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy

Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North

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Release date: August 20, 2019

Publisher: Celadon

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Review:

It’s not often that I’m seriously creeped out by a book, I read some dark stuff and it takes a lot to rattle me but this one seriously got under my skin! Full disclosure, I listened to on audio thanks to my friends at Libro.fm and I assume this enhanced my enjoyment because the narrator was amazing and so many parts of this was just downright creepy due to the chilling narration. I’m sure it’s just as good in print form, but if you’re an audio fan this is a must.

I’m not touching the plot at all because it was so wickedly brilliant you just have to experience it for yourself. While the creep factor is high, it’s not totally disturbing or traumatizing, more spooky and eerie than anything else. It’s also pretty fast paced and told from multiple points of view keeping things exciting and engaging throughout. I was immersed in the pages of this one from start to finish, and what an ending, that final line gave me actual chills! Highly recommended for thriller lovers, a super impressive debut for sure!

The Whisper Man in three words: Atmospheric, Creepy and Tense

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy

Review: The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter #slaughtersquad

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: August 20, 2019

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor. 

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves. 

Review:

It’s been almost three years since the last book in this series was released and while the wait felt SO long, it was worth it! Since I’m such a huge, super fan of this series one of the questions I get asked the most is, can these books be read as standalones? Short answer is sure, you would probably be fine. Long answer is, no because it’s such a fantastic series and the characterization is so phenomenal that you probably wouldn’t like it as much as I do. I have such a strong attachment to these characters and there’s just no way to develop that bond with one book. I would definitely recommend starting back at the beginning of the Grant County series and then starting this one. It’s only something like fifteen books total, no sweat 🤪

The second question I always get about KS books is, are all of her books as dark, graphic and disturbing as Pretty Girls? While this particular book may not be quite as brutal as PG you have to understand that the darkness is part of the authors trademark style. Her books are for crime readers that like bold storylines and super descriptive scenes, but I always want to point out that the parts with a lot of violence or trigger worthy stuff aren’t added to the story just for shock value. It’s always handled in the most thoughtful, respectful manner and isn’t gratuitous or unnecessary at all. Do her books always shock and disturb me? Hell yes, but I’ve come to expect and appreciate it and I don’t think any other author I’ve ever read manages to pull this off quite like she does 👑

This is frighteningly timely and so authentic feeling, the case Will and Sara are working could be ripped directly from the headlines and as good as it was, it scared the shit out of me as well because it could truly happen. Besides a totally gripping plot, you have one of my favorite book couples in total peril, Sara was abducted by some serious crazies and seeing things from their separate viewpoints was harrowing and heartbreaking. Throw in a third POV from Faith and the usual shenanigans from Will’s boss, Amanda and you have the ultimate recipe for one hell of a read. I can’t recommend this book (or series) highly enough. It was so good I’m in a slump now because nothing else is even close to being this good 😫

The Last Widow in three words: Harrowing, Bold and Gripping.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: August 6, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Genre: Fiction

Blurb:

Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on. 

But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.

For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her. 

Review:

Doesn’t the description of this sound so amazing? When I picked this one up I was expecting a super emotional and heartfelt story of a mother fighting for her child. I definitely expected to experience a wide variety of emotions, I mean the thought of a special needs little girl being institutionalized makes me a little weepy. I’m so disappointed to say that this totally missed the mark for me and I didn’t really like it at all.

Let me be clear, the writing was fine, the story itself was even fine but I wanted more than just fine. Did I connect to Ginny as a mother as I expected myself to? Nope, which was a real shame because this one had so much potential but I was looking for so much more than what I got. This sounds pretty weird, but I really wanted it to be sadder in a way. I wanted to feel Ginny’s pain and I wanted more information about the institution itself. I guess I just found this book lacking on all levels, I don’t really have much more to say except if I had to pinpoint exactly what I wanted the most was more depth in all areas.

Overall rating: 2/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: August 13, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage. 

Review:

I became a fan of Center when I fell completely and totally in love with How to Walk Away, it easily made my top reads of the year list and is still a book I find myself recommending to people all of the time. Now that I’ve read my second book from the author I can say that I’m a firm fan and will be adding her to my short list of auto buy authors.

If I had to pick one single thing that truly makes a book a special read for me I would have to say that it’s great characterization. Sure, so many other elements are incredibly important to me, but if I don’t find the characters believable, I’m going to struggle. Cassie was so believable it hurt, right away she had me on her side, she’s a female firefighter for crying out loud, she had me just based on that alone. But there is so much more to her than the fact that she is a badass, she’s multifaceted on many levels and her story was a powerful and evocative one. Then, as an added bonus you get a character like the rookie to swoon over and I’m just done. I’m all in and then some, I’m a big ball of mushy emotions who is wholeheartedly invested.

I swear no other author combines incredibly emotional and heartfelt stories with razor sharp wit quite like Center does. There is something magical about this combination that is just perfection for me, I’ll be teary eyed one minute and before I can compose myself I’m laughing through my tears because of something funny one of her characters says or does. Once again, I loved every single page of this one, and just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, there was a beautiful epilogue that just put the cherry on top of the cake.

I can’t recommend this one highly enough, especially if you like emotional, yet hilarious reads that will pull at your heart strings one minute and have you crying like a baby the next. If you haven’t read How to Walk Away yet either go ahead and get that one as well, they’re both excellent!

Things You Save in a Fire in three words: Evocative, Heartfelt and Unforgettable

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.