Review: Let’s Talk About Six by Aine Toner @aineltoner @BooksManatee

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 11, 2018

Publisher: Manatee Books

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

Love and relationships are tough in 21st century Dublin, as six characters, bound by circumstance are about to find out…

Beth – in love with boyfriend Adam, Beth thinks life coupled up is great – sex on tap, and no worries about regularly shaving your legs…but when Adam no longer seems interested and an unexpected web history shows he might be looking for something else, Beth starts thinking of revenge.

Adam – Adam loves Beth. Very much. But there’s something he’s hiding from her – something’s been wrong for quite a while and he’s scared to face up to the truth. Thankfully, he has support from his other woman…but how long can Adam keep his secret?

Declan – forty-something, shy, and ruled by his militant mother, Declan owns sex shop Firm to the Touch. Desperate for a romantic love affair, all he wants is for his dream woman to notice him…OK, so they have nothing in common, but opposites attract, right?

Lily – a woman who does things her own way, Lily leaves a trail of broken-hearted men whenever she goes. Only now, Kristian is on the scene, and Lily wants him – for good. With a reputation for making bad life decisions and being a fickle seductress, can Lily change her ways and get her man?

Johnny – the ultimate ladies man, Johnny leaves notches on every bed post, so when one night stand Kate falls pregnant with his baby, his whole world turns upside down. Now it seems, Johnny feels more for Kate than just lust…but will he get the opportunity to show everyone that a (saucy) leopard can change their spots?

Kate – a paediatric nurse who can’t remember the last time she had a five-minute shower, permanently tired Kate is juggling work, being a mammy to Matthew, and now the attentions of gorgeous doctor, PJ O’Malley. But is a serious relationship really what she wants…and is PJ O’Malley really The One?

Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean you always make the right decisions…

Review:

This was a saucy little read, a really fun one full of inappropriate humor and naughty jokes. I appreciate that sort of thing and found it to be hilarious and a real breath of fresh air. Toner isn’t afraid of pushing the envelope a little and she wrote sexy book that follows an outrageous group of people that are interconnected in some way.

Each of the six characters, Kate, Bethany, Adam, Declan, Lily and Johnny all narrate and each has a distinct voice and unique point of view. The chapters are snappy and I found the pacing to be brisk and engaging, I was always interested in what each of them were doing and saying. Of the six main characters I found myself liking Declan the most, he’s utterly clueless in the most lovable way and there was something endearing about his odd behavior. I enjoyed the rest of them as well, even the ones making shady decisions and behaving badly. Pick this one up if you’re having a bad day and need a laugh, the combination of sugar and spice makes for a racy read with softer, gentler moments to balance it all out.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances #MeetTheGirlfriend

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Kensington

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Laura Cavendish can’t wait to meet the woman who’s won her son’s affection. Despite a successful career in television and a long, prosperous marriage, Laura’s world revolves around kind, talented Daniel. She pictures his new girlfriend, Cherry, becoming a close friend and confidante . . . one day, even a daughter-in-law.

But although Cherry is beautiful and amiable, Laura can’t warm to her. There’s something about the possessive way she touches Daniel, the little lies Laura detects. Cherry seems to resent Laura, driving a wedge between mother and son—until one day Daniel is injured in a terrible accident. Six months later, with Daniel still in a coma and facing death, Laura makes a fateful decision—and carries out an astonishing deceit.

A handsome doctor for a husband, with a trust fund and a family villa in St. Tropez—it was all supposed to be Cherry’s. Now, instead of living with Daniel in his impeccable home, she’s jobless and broke. And then Cherry discovers Laura’s stunning deception. But Cherry is too clever, too ambitious to let her get away with it. She’s already transformed herself into Daniel’s dream woman. Now she’ll become Laura’s worst nightmare.

Review:

This book was not was I was expecting but I don’t mean that in a negative way, I guess I was thinking it would be fast paced, intense and twisty and instead it was slower, with a subtle intensity and while it definitely had some surprises it wasn’t as twisty as I had imagined it would be. I do think it’s best to go into this knowing as little as possible about the plot so I won’t be delving into that too much, you really need to discover things on your own to fully appreciate this book.

This is a slow burn, it opens with an intriguing beginning and then it flips back in time. You hear from Laura, her son Daniel and his new girlfriend Cherry and there sections sometimes overlap and aren’t clearly labeled which is usually a popular choice. This wasn’t an issue for me, I actually found myself appreciating this structure and found the switches in narratives to be smooth and uncomplicated. I didn’t find either woman to be likable but they were very entertaining, there was a real feeling of cat and mouse and I was always wondering who would do what next, that aspect was unpredictable though there were some minor plot points that I saw coming. I wasn’t bothered by this though as the writing was so strong and there was a powerful, palpable sense of anticipation and apprehension that steadily increased as the story unfolded.

Read this if you’re looking for a character driven drama about manipulation with chilling moments and are able to be patient enough to wait awhile before the story really heats up. There was something intoxicating about being drawn in slowly instead of hit in the face with a crazy, action packed plot that worked well for me. As strong as things were by the last quarter of the book I do have to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed by the ending, it was a little weak. But I can overlook it this time because I was addicted and throughly entertained by most of it.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and the Great Thoughts Ninja review team for my review copy.

Review: Keep Her Safe by K. A. Tucker

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 23, 2018

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Blurb:

Noah Marshall has had a privileged life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years: she doesn’t deserve her commendations or her medals—in fact, she deserves to be locked behind bars for what she did to a fellow officer to save her own reputation. When she finally succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life, she leaves Noah alone to carry the burden of this shocking secret, which she makes him vow never to share.

Gracie Reynolds wasn’t born into trailer park life, but after ten years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that she is a byproduct of a white mother and a black father. And they certainly don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop. Here, she and her mother can almost forget the shame he brought upon them…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep one night, asking questions.

Together, Noah and Gracie set out to uncover the truth about the Austin police department’s dark and messy past­—but the scandal they uncover is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

Complex, gritty, sexy, and suspenseful, We Sold Our Souls solidifies K.A. Tucker’s reputation as one of today’s most talented new writers of romantic suspense.

Review:

I didn’t pick up on the fact that this one is labeled as a romantic suspense novel before I read it and that’s completely my fault, somehow when I first read the description I assumed it was a mystery police procedural type of read even though it says romantic suspense in the blurb! All of that to say, my expectations were not correct when I started this and I think it had an impact on my overall feelings about this one so keep that in mind when reading this review.

This is told using various timelines and several viewpoints and that portion of the book was very well done. The switches back and forth were seamless and the writing was fluid and engaging. The core of the plot was interesting and I always love a cold case type of mystery with an unsolved crime being unearthed years later. Noah and Grace were both well drawn and the secondary characters were as well and there were quite a few here, this was a well though out plot but I think veteran mystery readers will have a fairly easy time sussing things out.

Now for how my expectations effected my enjoyment and overall feelings about this. It really felt like I was reading a new adult romance and I totally wasn’t in the mood for that when I started this. It wasn’t too over the top but there is definitely romance and I could’ve done with less of the kissy stuff and more action and intensity. Again, totally my fault but I do want to make sure anyone eyeing this knows romance plays a pretty big role and the suspense takes a backseat. I also felt like parts of this were drawn out, maybe it’s because I could see where things were heading early on but I had a few moments where I was thinking, come ON already!

If you’re into RS this is a solid read, if you’re looking for a mystery without gore and graphic details, this is a good one. If you’re like me and prefer gritty, dark thrillers with tense moments and surprising twists this is probably not the book for you, however I can see it working for many people as long as they know what to expect.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

What I Read Last Week:

The English Wife was a really well written historical fiction with a mystery.

The Woman in the Window was an outstanding psychological thriller, cinematic with Hitchcock vibes.

The Immortalists was a thought provoking read, ideal for book clubs.

An Engineered Injustice was a great legal thriller.

The Little French Guesthouse was a wonderful audiobook.

Two Girls Down was an intense missing persons story.

Between Me and You was a love story told in a clever way.

Deep Blue Trouble is an ass licking thriller, LOVED it!

Currently Reading:

Up Next:

These are a few I’m debating between, I’m not actually sure which ones I’ll read this week.

How was your week? Mine was meh, most of my family was sick and that’s never fun! We had a pretty crappy winter break, lots of illness and annoyances. I’m excited they’re heading back to school this week, we all thrive on a schedule and I’m dying to get back to it!

Blog Tour: Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK

Release date: November 15, 2017

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Thriller

Blurb:

Single-mother Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson’s got an ocean of trouble on her hands. Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT—Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything—alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row. Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson “The Fish” Fletcher, and JT walks free. Following Fletcher from Florida to California, Lori teams up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor and his team. But Dez works very differently to Lori, and the tension between them threatens to put the whole job in danger. With Monroe pressuring Lori for results, the clock ticking on JT’s life, and nothing about the Fletcher case adding up, Lori’s hitting walls at every turn. But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Deep Blue Trouble today!

Review:

Early last year I read the first book in this series, Deep Down Dead and was totally blown away, it was a gritty, action packed read and I’ve been dying to read this book ever since. I am so excited to share that DBT surpassed any of my expectations and I loved this one just as much as the first.

Broadribb weaves a story that is relentlessly paced right from the very first page. If I were asked to describe this book briefly I would say it’s that rare read that truly gets your heart pounding with the type of intensity that makes you anxious, a real nail biter. Add in the most kick ass female lead I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about and you’re in for an epic adventure alongside a fast talking, sharp and wily mother with a heart of gold.

You would think a story full of action would be lacking in character development but then maybe you’ve never read a Broadribb book, because somehow she still manages to craft characters that are totally well rounded and intriguing to boot. We get a deeper look into J. T. and Lori’s relationship this time around and a peek at their history which just made me so eager to dive even deeper in the future, I’m really rooting for these two!

I honestly could ramble about this one for a whole lot longer than I already have, but I’ll finish by saying that if you’re a thriller fan and you haven’t read this series you seriously HAVE to. They’re not your run of the mill police procedurals, you have a bounty hunter, mama bear who takes no prisoners with an extremely messy past AND the type of action that leaves you breathless. Honestly, what more could you want? If you’re me, a movie version of this book, this is seriously begging to be brought to life.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 9, 2018

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch comes an honest, touching, and funny exploration of falling in and out of love, told from two perspectives—one rewinding history, one moving it forward—and each with bias and regret.

When their paths first cross, Ben Livingston is a fledgling scriptwriter on the brink of success; Tatum Connelly is a struggling actress tending bar in a New York City dive. They fall in love, they marry, they become parents, and they think only of the future. But as the years go by, Tatum’s stardom rises while Ben’s fades. In a marriage that bears the fallout of ambition and fame, Ben and Tatum are at a crossroads. Now all they can do is think back…

A life of passion, joy, tragedy, and loss—once shared—becomes one as shifting and unpredictable as a memory. As the pieces of their past come together, as they explore the ways love can bend and break, Ben and Tatum come to see how it all went wrong—and wonder what they can do now to make it all right.

Review:

The structure of this is ambitious and at first glance you may think it sounds confusing but I didn’t find it to be too hard to follow. It alternates with one chapter told from Ben beginning in 2016 and working it’s way backwards to 1999 when him and Tatum first meet then her chapters are told in chronological order. There are no big surprises since you know from the very start that where they are today is nowhere near that young, happy go lucky couple from their early days, but there was something bittersweet about reading one chapter full of resentment and bickering and then the next one is a sweet little anecdote from the past. It was unique and put a fresh spin on a love story and I admire the risk the author took, I can imagine it wasn’t easy to write.

I’ve read a couple of Scotch’s books now and I what I really like about her style is that she can show relationships that appear real, they’re flawed, imperfect and wholly relatable. Getting to see a marriage from both sides was interesting, sometimes their individual perception of an event was so completely different from each other it was crazy but I think that’s an honest observation and true for any relationship. I liked the way the format played into the plot in the end, it was a little AHA moment that I appreciated. If you’re looking for a relationship drama/love story with a clever spin give this a try.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and the Great Thoughts Ninja review team for my copy.

Review: Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 9, 2018

Publisher: Doubleday

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

Review:

Good God this was one hell of a roller coaster ride! From the strong opening sentence all the way until the end this one had me glued to the pages as I wondered what happened to Bailey and Kylie Brandt?! Missing children stories always get to me, no idea why I’m so drawn to them because it’s such a nightmare thing to imagine happening to my own kids, yet they never fail to gain my attention and Two Girls Down was one of the most riveting missing persons stories that I’ve read in awhile.

Vega and Cap are not your usual duo in terms of people investigating a case which provides a unique point of view. She’s a sort of bounty hunter and he’s an ex cop turned PI who is mainly is hired to catch cheating spouses. They’re an unlikely partnership especially as they have never met each other before the Brandt case, but they are a force to be reckoned with and I’m really hoping that they’ll be a sequel. Vega is such a badass, I love reading about someone reckless, you have no idea what they’ll do next and that keeps things so exciting. Cap isn’t quite as unpredictable as Vega, he has a daughter to worry about so he walks the straight and narrow a bit more than she does but he has a certain type of charm that appealed to me.

I’m avoiding the plot because it went in so many dark places I didn’t see coming, I binge read this and think that’s the best way to tackle this one. It’s fast paced with a ton of red herrings and misdirections and the final resolution surprised me so much, I had never even considered the possibility and that’s rare for me. While the resolution of the case satisfied me I was a little underwhelmed by the actual ending, after such a strong book I had hoped for a bit more, but overall a really fantastic read, I would definitely read another book from Luna.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Throwback Thursday #Audiobook Edition: The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard #TBT @bookouture

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Release date: April 28, 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

Narrator: Helen Johns

Blurb:

Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?

When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.

Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.

Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.

Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?

Fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Nick Alexander will want to join Emmy for a glass of wine as the sun sets on the terrace at La Cour des Roses.

Review:

 

I’m joining in again with Throwback Thursday which was created by my good friend Renee at It’s Book Talk . She started this weekly feature as a way to highlight old favorites and read books that have already been published. I have so many older books on my TBR that get ignored in favor of review copies and I figure participating in Throwback Thursday will help me to read at a least one older title a week!

 

Oh this book was an absolute joy to listen to! It was bright and humorous with plenty of feel good warmth. It opens with Emmy finding her long term boyfriend, Nathan in a…ahem…delicate situation with Gloria,  one of the owners of the guesthouse where Nathan and Emmy are supposed to having a romantic vacation. So clearly this one grabbed my attention right away, as much as I felt awful for the lovely Emmy the way Pollard wrote the scene and then Johns delivered it was just too hilarious! It set the perfect tone for the story and was highly memorable.

As much as this has romantic elements the plot doesn’t hinge on a love story and I really liked that. It focuses more on Emmy doing what makes her happy, with or without a man in her life and I found the way everything played out to be realistic and true to real life. I adored Emmy and found myself wishing I had a friend like her myself and then there was Rupert a charming old guy, his meddling and bossiness made me giggle. The location was gorgeous as well and both the author and the narrator did a fantastic job of bringing the story to life! There’s a sequel and I’ll definitely be reading it ASAP, I can’t wait to catch up with these lovely characters.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: An Engineered Injustice by William L. Myers Jr. @williammyersjr

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 23, 2018

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Genre: Legal Thriller

Blurb:

What if the deadliest train wreck in the nation’s history was no accident?

When a passenger train derails in North Philadelphia with fatal results, idealistic criminal defense attorney Vaughn Coburn takes on the most personal case of his young career. The surviving engineer is his cousin Eddy, and when Eddy asks Vaughn to defend him, he can’t help but accept. Vaughn has a debt to repay, for he and his cousin share an old secret—one that changed both their lives forever.

As blame for the wreck zeros in on Eddy, Vaughn realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. Seeking the truth behind the crash, he finds himself the target of malicious attorneys, corrupt railroad men, and a mob boss whose son perished in the accident and wants nothing less than cold-blooded revenge. With the help of his ex-con private investigator and an old flame who works for the competition, Vaughn struggles to defeat powerful forces—and to escape his own past built on secrets and lies.

Review:

Last summer I read (and loved) Myers debut, A Criminal Defense and realized how much I’ve missed reading a good legal thriller. When the author contacted me about reviewing this one it was a no brainer, I loved that while the law most definitely plays a huge role in his writing it’s not over complicated and confusing. Things are told in a fast paced manner with legal terminology laid out in simple terms while the plot itself is complicated with many puzzle pieces and various angles making it impossible to work out on your own. I’m thrilled that this book was executed in the same impeccable manner and I now I have a go to author to satisfy my legal thriller craving.

I actually didn’t realize this was going to be a follow up to ACD but as soon as I started I recognized the characters. While it’s not necessary to read both, this works fine on it’s own, I highly recommend both of them and with reoccurring characters it’s always best to have as much background as possible. The idea behind this both terrifies me and intrigues me, the notion that someone could engineer a horrific train crash for their own gain is just about as awful as it gets. It’s pretty clear from the blurb alone that this isn’t what it seems but the path to the truth was riveting and shocking.

I fear saying much more regarding the plot because it’s so strong that it’s best uncovered on your own and I would hate to ruin even a small part of that brand of enjoyment. Besides a clever plot the writing style is sharp and the last part of the story that is actually in the courtroom is just amazing. The tension is palpable, I had no idea what would happen next and then the very ending was unexpected and so satisfying.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 9, 2018

Publisher: G. P. Putnam and Sons

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

Review:

I love the questions that the premise alone of The Immortalists raises, if you could find out the date you will die would you? If you would, how would that shape your life? Would you live in fear knowing the clock is ticking to a specific end date? Or would you live each day to the fullest and be fearless and daring? So much to ponder here and I predict this will be a popular pick for many book clubs in the months to come.

This read like a family saga that spans decades but it was presented in a new and unusual way. Each of the Gold siblings tell their story with each one taking up about a quarter of the book. It begins in the late sixties and ends in 2006 and while I found all of their sections compelling, I enjoyed Simon’s the most. His is mainly set in the early eighties in San Francisco and his gentle spirit and journey to finding what truly makes him happy really touched me.

This was a thought provoking read that will make you question your own mortality and manages to teach some important life lessons without being cheesy. Benjamin has a lovely way with words, I can see this being classified as literary fiction without that pretentiousness that sometimes accompanies that genre.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher and the Great Thoughts Ninja review team for my copy.