Review: The Closer You Get by Mary Torjusson

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Release date: April 21, 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

They promised to tell their spouses they were leaving and then meet to begin their new life together. But he never shows up.

A new twisting novel of psychological suspense from the acclaimed author of Gone Without a Trace.

Coworkers Ruby and Harry are in love–but they’re married to other people. They decide to tell their spouses that their marriages are over and to start their new lives together. Ruby, who has wanted to leave her controlling husband for a while, tells him she’s leaving him and waits at the hotel where she and Harry are to meet. But Harry never shows up.

Suddenly, Ruby’s life has fallen apart, and she’s lost everything. Harry won’t answer her calls, and she’s fired from her job. She finds a cheap apartment in a run-down part of town, all the while wondering what happened to Harry.

Just as Ruby thinks she’s hit rock bottom, strange and menacing things start to happen–someone is sneaking into her apartment, and someone is following her home late at night–and she is going to have to fight for her survival. 

Review:

There is something about this authors style that just really appeals to me, there’s something subtle about her writing and there’s always this great undercurrent of tension running throughout the story. She also writes fairly short chapters keeping things moving at a fast pace and right now when I grab a thriller that’s basically a necessity for me. It did start out slower than it ended, but that’s kind of her signature style and the last quarter of the book things really gain momentum and there were several pretty decent twists and turns. Did this provide a much needed escape for me? Absolutely. Was it anything groundbreaking? No, but I was entertained and not put off by the parts I did see coming before they actually happened. Overall a fun type of thriller, I’m definitely a fan of MT!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

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Release date: April 21, 2020

Publisher: Avon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings [eyes emoji]

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for…

He’s got a [peach emoji] to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard… 

Review:

If you’re looking for a contemporary romance with humor, depth, sexiness and diversity you must read the Modern Love series. This is the second book and you could totally read it on its own but the first book, The Right Swipe is fantastic as well. I like to think of these books as smart romances with heroines who may be flawed but are sharp as hell and their issues and problems are handled in a mature and believable manner. Add in a super cute romance and kick ass feminist characters and I was a happy girl.

I do want to warn that there are some heavy issues discussed here, PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks just to name a few but they’re really well balanced with lighthearted plot aspects so I didn’t feel like it was too heavy. This had a few steamy moments but it was more tender than the first book and was lacking a little of the heat and chemistry of TRS but I didn’t care, I was totally into Katrina and Jas and adored how sweet they were together. Definitely recommended by me for any romance fans!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr

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Release date: April 14, 2020

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don’t really know each other.

When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.

Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.

Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it.

Set in the stunning coastal town of Half Moon Bay, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr’s new novel examines the joys of sisterhood and the importance of embracing change. 

Review:

I can’t even tell you how much comfort Robyn Carr’s books have brought to me lately, I’ve been listening to the Virgin River series and am obsessed with it and was thrilled that she also had this new release as well. She’s the queen of writing authentic and relatable characters who you fully support and adore but she also always infuses her stories with other characters that aren’t as likable but they’re messy, flawed individuals who just seem so very real. Throw in a deeply emotional read, romance, complicated family dynamics and a pretty setting and it’s everything I could ever want.

I always seem to gain some insight and wisdom about life and relationships when I read an RC book and this was no exception. While I always find myself thinking about different passages later on, the addition of humor and heart are what really make her books unforgettable reads. As two sisters, Addie and Justine navigate several challenges, both separately and in their relationship with each other I emphasized with them and also related to them so many times. This is a book that will make you feel all the feels but when I finished I felt hopeful and cozy and really, that’s so important to me nowadays. Another winner from one of my go to authors!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer

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Release date: April 14, 2020

Publisher: Graydon House

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

With her father recently moved to a care facility for his worsening dementia, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home and is surprised to discover the door to her childhood playroom padlocked. She’s even more shocked at what’s behind it—a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers and miscellaneous junk in the otherwise fastidiously tidy house.

As she picks through the clutter, she finds a loose journal entry in what appears to be her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing their mother died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker. Beth soon pieces together a disturbing portrait of a woman suffering from postpartum depression and a husband who bears little resemblance to the loving father Beth and her siblings know. With a newborn of her own and struggling with motherhood, Beth finds there may be more tying her and her mother together than she ever suspected.

Exploring the expectations society places on women of every generation, Kelly Rimmer explores the profound struggles two women unwittingly share across the decades set within an engrossing family mystery that may unravel everything they believed to be true. 

Review:

This was one of my most anticipated books for 2020 after absolutely loving The Things We Cannot Say. That book meant so much to me and it touched a part of my soul, it’s definitely one of my all time favorite books and I don’t say that lightly. All of that to say, I had incredibly high expectations for this one and I’m thrilled to say that once again, KR has written a gorgeous story that I won’t forget.

There’s two timelines here, one in the late 1950’s and the other in the 1990’s and both were equally compelling. The author has an uncanny knack for writing about women’s issues from the past that still have relevance today and she explores them with grace and sensitivity. Post partum depression is at the core of this book and seeing the difference between how it was handled in the past (or really not even discussed at all) and in more contemporary times was heartbreaking and thought provoking. This was not an easy read, but it’s an important one and while I myself was lucky enough not to experience PPD after the births of my children I was still able to very easily connect and sympathize with the women in the story. Highly recommended by me and if you’re looking for an author to read during quarantine KR is an amazing one!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park

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Release date: April 7, 2020

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: YA

Blurb:

Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?

Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate’s colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate’s problems, and Kate needs the money too.

If the two of them team up, Nate has a true shot at winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…

Review:

In these super weird times I’m finding comfort in a variety of genres and reading YA romance again is reminding me of just how fun it can be. There’s something soothing to me about reading a somewhat predictable rom com right now, it’s helping me keep my mind occupied and providing me with an entertaining escape and this one surely did that for me!

The thing I loved the most about this one was that while it was adorable it was also quirky and awkward which is quite a great combination in my opinion. Nate and Kate are both lovable nerds and I found them both to be super endearing. The romance here is very low key and this focuses much more on the family dynamics of both Nate and Kate which was fine with me, I never expect too much romance from a YA rom com anyway and I found Nate’s family to be so sweet, I especially loved his little sister Lucy and Kate’s relationship with her father was heartbreaking and just made me like her even more. Overall an enjoyable read that made me want to read more from the author.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Goodreads|Amazon

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.