Review: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

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Release date: April 7, 2020

Publisher: Putnam

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut. 

Review:

You know how sometimes when you read a rom com you half heartedly laugh but you never really full blown crack up? There was none of that here, I fully laughed my ass off repeatedly because this was just so outrageously fun and over the top you can’t help but laugh.

It took the old enemies to lovers trope and flipped it on it’s head, Naomi and Nicholas are engaged and have moved from love to hate and the whole book is one big scheming battle of the wills between them. Is it slightly ridiculous because every single one of the issues that led them to hate each other would’ve been easily resolved with just a little communication? Absolutely, but where’s the fun in that? This was wildly entertaining simply because these two are so ridiculous and I loved it. There is redemption in the end and there was definitely some personal growth on both sides, both matured and weren’t as obnoxious by the end, which definitely helped balance out the outrageousness from the beginning. Overall this was a really refreshing and hilarious read that I can definitely recommend.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin

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Release date: June 2, 2020

Publisher: Ballantine

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Blurb:

It’s 2 a.m. in a dive bar on the Lower East Side, May 2001. Cecily figures it’s the perfect place to order a beer and try to forget that she’s just been dumped by the man she suspects she’ll always think of as The One Who Got Away. Her best friend warned her to hunker down and avoid any risk of late-night drunk dialing, and she should have listened, because she’s so tempted. . . .

“Don’t do it,” says the guy on the barstool next to her. “Don’t call him.”

He talks her off the ledge, and they have another beer. Then at last call, they toast to “moving on” before going their separate ways. Except as she’s about to say goodbye, she decides to ask his name instead. And just like that, her life is changed forever.

But has she found her soulmate only to lose him a few months later?

Review:

Emily Giffin’s earliest books are my all time favorites and this was reminiscent of them in the best way. In fact, there was a cameo from Rachel, Ethan and Darcy in this book and I was so excited I actually shrieked. It made me so nostalgic that I’m actually thinking about rereading them… Anyway, it felt like vintage EG to me and while I’ve enjoyed all of her books I feel like this one is better than her last few and definitely solidified her place on my must buy author list.

Usually romances aren’t twisty but this one is, there were definitely some unexpected surprises and made this a page turner. I also expected this to be super heavy since it’s set in NYC right before 9/11 and while it had some sad moments, it wasn’t overly depressing at all. It was engaging, emotional and heartfelt with a really relatable character in Cecily. Definitely recommended for fans of the author and if you haven’t read her yet go grab Something Borrowed and Something Blue ASAP!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The New Husband by D. J. Palmer

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Release date: April 14, 2020

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone–presumably drowned while fishing on his boat–so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted–or dangerously possessive.

But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves. 

Review:
Who likes watching Lifetime movies from time to time? I do, even if they’re always predictable and formulaic, they can be mindlessly entertaining, right? This book was basically the equivalent of one of those movies for me. Was it bad? No, the writing was decent, it entertained me and I kept reading it, which is actually saying a lot right now because I’ve stopped reading way too many books to count over the past few weeks. Did I love it? No, but I did like it. Do I recommend it? Sure, with some caveats though. If you know going into this that not everything is plausible and that you have to suspend a little disbelief you’ll be ok. You should also know that if you’re a seasoned thriller reader you will probably be able to predict what will happen next for the most part. But, if you go into this with the right expectations and are prepared to just allow yourself to be distracted by a wild story, you’ll probably like this.
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Swap by Robyn Harding

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Release date: June 23, 2020

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging…that is, until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.

Robyn Harding brings her acclaimed storytelling, lauded as “fast-paced, thrilling, gut-wrenching” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six, to this dark and suspenseful thriller for fans of Megan Miranda and Lisa Jewell.

Review:

Mark my words, this will be the juiciest read of the summer! It has people behaving badly, sex, lies, betrayal and deceit, doesn’t that just sound like the perfect summer read?! I was lucky enough to read this poolside a few weeks ago and I hope by the time this is out this summer you all will able to enjoy it the same way that I did because you almost have to read this by the water, it’s a must haha.

This is full of the type of characters that I love to hate, people making questionable decisions is something that always fascinates me and there’s plenty of that here. Multiple viewpoints, a scandalous plot and great writing made this one hell of an addictive read. There were definitely lots of surprises that shocked me and and was just overall a really entertaining read.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

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Release date: April 21, 2020

Publisher: Minotaur

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.

Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.

Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek. 

Review:

Listen up thriller fans because I have a must read book for you guys! I don’t say that lightly because I’ve been very picky about thrillers for the past year or so and it takes a really amazing book for me to call it a must read. This one sucks you in from page one and doesn’t let you go until you’ve turned the last page, it’s a nonstop, fast paced read with killer twists and top notch writing, what more do you need?! Maybe a few plot details to convince you? Marin is living every parents worst nightmare, her son goes missing on her watch when she gets distracted for seconds by a text. Jump to over a year later and her marriage to Derek is in shambles and then she finds out he’s been cheating on her. The other woman is younger and Instagram famous, does it get any juicier? Yes, but that’s all I’ll say. This one is out next month and while you wait if you haven’t read Jar of Hearts go download it now!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne

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Release date: March 17, 2020

Publisher: HQN

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn’t so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured in a car accident, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.

It’s just for a few months—that’s what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.

As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it’s never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness.

Review:

If you’re looking for a comfort food type of read right now you have to give this book a try! RT books provide me with the greatest escape and they always leave me feeling hopeful in the end and I think we all need a little hope right now. This one just came out yesterday but she has an extensive backlist of books as well and I can definitely recommend quite a few if anyone is interested.

This follows a family of strong women as they struggle to reconnect. Olivia goes back home to Cape Sanctuary to help her mother Juliet after an accident and you also hear from Caitlin, Olivia’s niece and Juliet’s granddaughter. All three are strong, inspiring women with relatable and realistic issues and I adored all three. If you read The Cliff House last year there are a few scenes with the characters from that book which I always think is so fun for fans! Another fantastic read from one of my favorite authors when I need a feel good type of read, highly recommended by me.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Body Politic by Brian Platzer

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Release date: March 3, 2020

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

New York City is still regaining its balance in the years following 9/11, when four twenty-somethings—Tess, Tazio, David, and Angelica—meet in a bar, each yearning for something: connection, recognition, a place in the world, a cause to believe in. Nearly fifteen years later, as their city recalibrates in the wake of the 2016 election, their bond has endured—but almost everything else has changed.

As freshmen at Cooper Union, Tess and Tazio were the ambitious, talented future of the art world—but by thirty-six, Tess is married to David, the mother of two young boys, and working as an understudy on Broadway. Kind and steady, David is everything Tess lacked in her own childhood—but a recent freak accident has left him with befuddling symptoms, and she’s still adjusting to her new role as caretaker.

Meanwhile, Tazio—who once had a knack for earning the kind of attention that Cooper Union students long for—has left the art world for a career in creative branding and politics. But in December 2016, fresh off the astonishing loss of his candidate, Tazio is adrift, and not even his gorgeous and accomplished fiancée, Angelica, seems able to get through to him. With tensions rising on the national stage, the four friends are forced to face the reality of their shared histories, especially a long-ago betrayal that has shaped every aspect of their friendship.

Review:

I don’t think I was in the right headspace for this book and I really should’ve thought about that before I picked it up. With all the uncertainty in the world I’ve been gravitating to lighter reads and this one was pretty heavy and depressing which is just not what I need right now. It’s not a bad book, in fact the writing was strong, but between the heavy subject matter and the feeling that the storyline was a bit scattered, I just couldn’t get into this one. I will say that while the characters weren’t very likable or enjoyable they were well developed and complex, but I didn’t like them all that much so it was hard to care about them. It also focused heavily on politics, specifically in 2016 and I get enough of that in real life and look to reading for a total escape. Not much more for me to say except I really wish I would’ve liked this one more because I thought I would.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

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Release date: March 17, 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home. 

Review:

I know many of us have been on a search for the next five star thriller as of late and hallelujah you guys DRG is it! This one was dark, twisted and disturbing which is just how I like my thrillers and I could not get enough of this one.

You hear from Patty in the present as she’s being released from prison and Rose Gold in the past and I was equally hooked on both timelines. Munchausen by proxy is something that has always simultaneously fascinated and sickened me and that’s basically how I felt reading this book but I mean that in the best possible way. These two are both seriously psychologically damaged people and the author developed their characters in a manner that blew me away. It’s a seriously impressive debut and a highly compulsive read that I highly recommend if you like your thrillers super dark.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Revolver Road by Christi Daughtry

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Release date: March 10, 2020

Publisher: Minotaur

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Even in the chill of February, no place touches Harper McClain’s heart like Savannah. She should be walking beneath the historic city’s towering oaks, surrounded by graceful mansions. Instead, she’s hiding miles away on Tybee Island after a mysterious voice on the phone warned her that someone wanted her dead. The call was too specific to ignore. The caller knew everything about her. But that was months ago, and she’s getting tired of being scared.

Her only escape is her work at the newspaper, where the hottest story in town is the disappearance of Xavier Rayne. The singer had a hit album on his hands, and was about to go on tour, but then he walked out of his beachfront home and vanished. The police believe he drowned, but Harper suspects his disappearance may be more ominous than that. Something doesn’t feel right about it.

His bandmates and actress girlfriend say he’s run away before. They expect him to come home. Until a body washes up with two bullet holes in it. Now everyone in Rayne’s life is a suspect. As Harper digs deeper into the case, though, the threats against her own life return. The phone call she received was very real. A killer from her past is coming for her.

Now she must solve two murders, or end up dying on Revolver Road… 

Review:
This is the third in a series and while I’m sure you could read this on its own I wouldn’t recommend it. Part of why I’m such a fan of these books is because I’ve become so invested in Harper and her history, so if you start here I don’t think you’ll really appreciate her as a character quite as much as if you read from the beginning. BUT, I’ve really enjoyed all three books and can definitely recommend them all.
While the story Harper is working on is entertaining enough it’s pretty standard fare as far as a mystery goes. What really kept me engaged was digging deeper into Harper’s past and finally getting some answers to long awaited questions. I also love the setting of Savannah, it’s well drawn by the author and I can easily envision what’s going on. There’s also so much interesting stuff going on in Harper’s personal life, both personally and professionally that I’m excited to see what happens next. Definitely a great addition to a solid series.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

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Release date: March 10, 2020

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef. 

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club. 

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned. 

Review:

I’ve been dying to find out more about Mack since reading (and absolutely loving) The Bromance Book Club last year and I’m so glad he played a starring role in the latest installment. The fact that he was the founder of the book club immediately fascinated me, what really made this super charming man pick up a romance novel in the first place? Besides learning so much about him, you also get to hear from Liv (Thea’s sister from book one) in alternating chapters. It has the same hilarious humor and supporting cast of characters as the first book but it also has a fresh plot that made this one just as much fun as the first.

Once again this had the perfect balance of sexiness and humor for me and there was also plenty of depth as Liv is dealing with the fallout from not only losing her job, but also from trying to take down her former boss who is a sexual predator and the lowest of the low. There’s a lot going on here but also a lot to love and I’ll be following this series as long as the author keeps writing it!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.