Sunday 30 September 2018

Review: The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him, as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: "Why was I here?"

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published (first published September 23rd 2003
Genre: Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

This book is not new and has been reviewed hundreds of times so I'll keep my thoughts short and sweet on it.

When Eddie died in a tragic accident he met five different people that intersected his life in one way or another. They were meant to give him clarity and answer the question "Why was I here?" Some of the people were expected but others were not.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven was a short and easy book to read. I flew through the pages and was anxious to know who Eddie would meet and what they would bring to the table. Many things about his life were explained and he was given clarity on a number of things as well.

I enjoyed every minute of this book. It doesn't get preachy or speak of religion but tells one story of what could possibly happen after the end. I appreciate that about it and therefore think that it would appeal to a large number of people.

About the Author

Mitchell David Albom is an author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. His books have collectively sold over 35 million copies worldwide; have been published in forty-one territories and in forty-two languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.

Connect with Mitch


Thursday 27 September 2018

Review: Bend the Rules by Susan Amanda Kelly

Everyone deserves a second chance and Mary Holmes, accountant extraordinaire, is determined to make the most of hers. Sure, she’d love to get her old life back - she used to be thin, well-dressed, engaged-to-be-married, on the corporate ladder and regularly bought three kinds of lettuce. Back then, she could afford the hair products needed to keep her hair sleek. But one unused wedding cake, a regrettable public safety incident and a teensy prison record later, her life goals have shrunk to being able to afford to eat regularly. To do that, she needs to make a success of her second chance… an accounting job with Vetruvious Security.

Everything is proceeding according to Mary’s detailed, color-coded, new-life plan until Vetruvious Security hires a specialist, Crash Coolidge, to work undercover to smash a truck cargo heist ring. Crash is sexy, insolent, sexy, disheveled, sexy and scarily relaxed about the prospect of killing people. Even in a tough-guy company like Vetruvious Security, Crash is the equivalent of a Rottweiler surrounded by Chihuahuas. After Mary is assigned to his team, her life-plan rapidly derails. She is targeted by the sinister and mysterious head of the heist gang and only Crash stands between her and an undignified death.

Mary finds herself doing things that most definitely were not in her employment contract like stripping the shoes from a corpse; adopting a deaf, rank-smelling guard dog; clue-hunting with Crash’s crazy, supermodel sister and lurking in a biker bar to locate a specific tattoo artist. All because Mary ends up wanting a second chance for Crash Coolidge as much as she wants one for herself. And she must find the sinister and mysterious head of the heist gang before Crash does. Because she doesn’t want Crash to do something reckless that lands him in prison. Not when he has become a vital part of her detailed, color-coded, new new-life plan.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Gomboc Words 
Genre: RomCom
Kristine's Thoughts:
** I received a copy of this book directly from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Bend the Rules is a book that you want to read when you don't want to take life too seriously. It is the second book in a series but it can be read as a stand alone. This was the first book for me and \I was able to follow along.

It was at times over the top and there were some definite laugh out loud moments in Bend the Rules. The absolute highlight of this story was Mary. Her character was what made reading this book worthwhile. The plot itself was average at best but Mary was a joy to read. With her second hand suit and her colour coded systems, she was a fish out of water in almost every situation which made her humorous and enjoyable to follow. She really did make it for me. Without her, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the plot at all. I was indifferent to Crash and all of the other secondary characters, but I thoroughly enjoyed Mary. Perhaps there was a bit of her that we can all relate to that made her so endearing.

This book came to me right when I needed something not so serious to get lost in. I'm now curious if this author always writes about quirky and unusual characters. I guess there is only one way to find out!

About the Author
Susan Amanda Kelly loves making up stuff in her head. She is easily distracted, inclined to stop mid-conversation and stare off into space. She once spent five hours at sea, on a boat, muttering: "Where would he hide the body?" She hopes the video footage of that trip has been wiped. She finally decided to put the characters that inhabit her head, onto paper. It was like opening the door on a lunatic asylum... glorious bedlam. She hopes her readers come to love her characters as much as she does. She writes high-octane novels packed with romance, crime and humor. They're PG13 because of some strong language and steam (the heroes are hard to resist).



Tuesday 25 September 2018

Review: The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House—the story of a love affair and a mysterious murder that cast their shadow across generations, set in England from the 1860's until the present day.

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Atria Books
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Kate Morton is one of my all time favourite authors. I have devoured all of her books and I was extremely excited to get an advanced copy of The Clockmaker's Daughter. It is because of this that it pains me to write what I am about to write.

I struggled quite a bit with this book. It took me days to get through it which has never happened with any of Morton's prior novels. Normally I would be so engrossed that I would not notice the passage of time. Instead I felt the clock ticking as I turned each page. I wouldn't say that the book was horrible but it was average at best and by far my least favourite of all of her books.

The Clockmaker's Daughter jumped back and forth between different time frames and different characters. It was told from the perspective of these many characters. This is a theme and style that I can normally get behind. In fact, I normally love it. In the case of this book however, I found it confusing at times and hard to keep track. There were many moving parts and a large cast of characters to keep straight. Almost too many.

The plot had some shining moments but I found it to be a little chaotic yet slow moving at the same time. I loved the idea of different people at different times in the same house. There were enough pieces that held my interest to keep me from putting the book down but it ran at a rather dull pace. By the time it started gearing up for the climax and the inevitable ending I had already figured out what was going to happen. There was no overwhelming shocker or surprise twist like I have enjoyed so much in her previous work.

The fact that I am a huge fan made it really hard for me to rate this book and I'm sure it has influenced it in some regard. I'm not sure which way though. Either my expectations were too high so I rated down or I love her books so much that I rated higher than it deserved. Regardless, I am still a big fan and I will still wait patiently for her next novel. I liked it well enough but I didn't love it.

About the Author

KATE MORTON was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim.

"I fell deeply in love with books as a child and believe that reading is freedom; that to read is to live a thousand lives in one; that fiction is a magical conversation between two people - you and me - in which our minds meet across time and space. I love books that conjure a world around me, bringing their characters and settings to life, so that the real world disappears and all that matters, from beginning to end, is turning one more page."

Kate Morton's five novels - The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper and The Lake House - have all been New York Times bestsellers, Sunday Times bestsellers and international number 1 bestsellers; they are published in 34 languages, across 42 countries.

Kate's sixth novel, The Clockmaker's Daughter, will be published in September/October 2018.  

Connect with Kate

Monday 24 September 2018

Review: No One Like You (Chateau Jolie #1) by Heather McGovern

In the quaint mountain town of Windamere, North Carolina, the three Sargent sisters are determined to make their hotel and winery, Chateau Jolie, a success. And one by one, they’re finding that nothing pairs better with new beginnings than unexpected love…The downside of living in a charming small town is that it’s impossible for Brooke Sargent to avoid anyone. Especially someone as big, handsome, and friendly as Trevor Bradley. At his brother’s wedding, they flirted and danced…before Brooke recalled that she’s not ready to trust any man after her divorce, let alone one who’s the competition. Her family’s struggling chateau is planning to host the local senior prom—without the Bradley family’s renowned Honeywilde Inn muscling in and stealing the glory.

Trevor has thought of no one else since the night he and Brooke connected. Even though she shot him down—hard—he’s seen the warmth beneath her guarded facade. Working together, they could give the high school students a spectacular prom. Navigating the rough terrain of Brooke’s business, while proving himself to his own siblings, won’t be easy. But Trevor loves a challenge—especially one that could win him the woman he can’t stop wanting . . .

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 266 pages
Expected publication: October 30th 2018 by Lyrical Shine

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you**

This appears to be a spin off of another series by McGovern.  Although it left me slightly curious about the Bradley family, it didn't impact the ability to enjoy this story.

As always, I fell in love with the male lead.  Trevor was the perfect specimen, kind, understanding and of course hot.  The way he continuously came to Brookes aid made me swoon as there are not a lot of people in life who are so selfless, male or female.

The story was light, romantic and easy to read.  I had thought I was familiar with McGovern's work however when I search make in my archives it appears she is new to me (at least recently).  I enjoyed her writing style and will certainly read more of her work in the future.  I look forward to the stories featuring Brooke's sisters.

About the Author

Sunday 23 September 2018

Review: The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: November 13th 2018 by Atria Books 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Kristine's Thoughts:
** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I really enjoy historical fiction, more specifically, ones surrounding WWII. Although fictional they always manage to teach me something about that terrible time in history that I end up researching when I'm finished. I have such a keen interest that my recent travels have taken me to places like Russia that I have read about and researched after. However, I was not very familiar with what happened in Bucharest and Romania in general. That is what drew me to this book and made me want to read it.

This book began in 1941, in the throws of WWII, when Romania was aligned with Nazi Germany and the Jewish citizens were at risk. A young couple left their daughter on the steps of an apartment building in order to give her a chance of surviving. If they all stayed together they all would have died. Natalia was placed in an orphanage where she was quickly adopted by another young and wealthy family that was unable to have children of their own. This was her story.

I could not pry myself away from this book. Not only did it take place in Bucharest during WWII but also after when it was under Soviet occupation and the family was behind the Iron Curtain. It followed this family from when they were an affluent and wealthy family to a family with nothing. Throughout all of their struggles there was one constant, the love the family had for each other and the risks they would take for each other. It was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.

I don't want to go into too much detail. I actually feel like the synopsis gives away too much of the story. This book gave life to a story from the author's past that had none. It was based on her mother who was left on the steps but never got to know the story behind her birth parents. This novel gave her a fictional story to change that. I highly recommend reading her notes at the end of the book. I found them to be as interesting as the novel itself.

It was a complicated story that took place during a complicated and constantly changing time in history so I admit there were times in the story that I got a little confused. Veletzos managed to put me in the middle of the story. I felt like I was there and enduring all of the struggles with Natalia and her family. I could feel the bombs, the heartache, the worry and the hunger. Her attention to detail is what I think made that possible.

This story is going to stick with me for a very long time. Also, you can bet that I will now be adding it to my list of places to research so that I can learn more. I enjoyed every minute of it.

About the Author
Roxanne Veletzos was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved to California with her family as a young teen. Already fluent in English and French, she began writing short stories about growing up in her native Eastern Europe, at first as a cathartic experience as she transitioned to a new culture. Building on her love of the written language, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has worked as an editor, content writer and marketing manager for a number of Fortune 500 companies. Since 2012, Roxanne has been writing historical and contemporary fiction and is the author of two novels.

Connect with Roxanne

Saturday 22 September 2018

Review: Honor Among SEALs (Hearts of Valor #2) by Dixie Lee Brown

Navy SEALS are trained to take on all enemies in extreme situations—but there’s nothing more dangerous than matters of the heart . . .

This is Matt Iverson’s story.
Working for a security company with his brothers-in-arms has given former SEAL Matt “MacGyver” Iverson a reason to get up every morning. But keeping a runaway bride from harm isn’t in his job description . . .

Former Marine Kellie Greyson is in over her head. A cold-hearted ultimatum leaves her no choice but to wed mob boss Tony Palazzi. But when she overhears his deadly plans for her after she says ‘I do,’ Kellie flees his casino, only to wind up in a seedy Vegas bar. The next thing she knows, she’s waking up beside a protective powerhouse of a man . . .

Though Kellie’s body kickstarts his into high gear, MacGyver is all business trying to convince her that they need each other. Both are looking for missing people—and all roads lead to Palazzi. MacGyver will have to lay all his cards on the table to get Kellie to trust him in a game they might not survive . . 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Lyrical Liaison

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!**

I have to admit I really enjoyed this story.  I have not read the first in the series however it appears that it was not necessary to the second one.  Although I think I am convinced to go back and check it out.

What I liked about this story is that it is not the typical contemporary romance that one may expect.  The storyline took off at a lightening speed and didn't slow down until..well the end.  A lot of suspense and action was loaded in to this story in what felt like an incredibly fast read.  Filled with bad guys and good guys. I should clarify hot SEALs!  Also filled with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.  I was pleasantly surprised by this.

Then there is the romance aspect filled with the instant attraction, plethora of roadblocks and strong personalities.  Did I mention how hot MacGyver was?  The perfect dreamboat.  Gorgeous and tough on the outside and soft with a heart of gold on the inside, pretty much every girls dream.  Honorable mention goes out to Chip the dog who is every girls other hero.

I don't usually seek out suspense type books, not that I don't enjoy them but simply because there is do much else out there that I don't get around to it.  This story made me wonder why.  This story first and foremost is a romance, but has enough other stuff going on that separates itself from the standard formula.  I will be on the lookout for more from this series and this author.

About the Author

Thursday 20 September 2018

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Audiobook, 12 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Simon Schuster Audio 
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction
Kristine's Thoughts:

I listened to this book and I was blown away. It was an absolutely stunning story that I found I couldn't get enough of. I wanted to know everything about the famous Evelyn Hugo and her many husbands.

Evelyn requested Monique to tell her life story to even though nobody knew why. At 79 years old, the academy award winning actress was finally ready to tell her true story. That included all seven of her husbands and her one true love. Monique couldn't figure out why she would want her to write Evelyn's biography but saw the benefit it would be to her career and future.

The reader (or listener in my case) was then swept away in Evelyn's story starting in the 50's and continuing through decades. She revealed her transformation from a nobody to a Hollywood starlet that everyone wanted a piece of. Without giving anything away, she revealed the lengths she went to in order to get what she wanted, to hide what she needed, and the true story behind each of her husbands.

As I listened to this book I often forgot that Evelyn Hugo was a fictional character. She felt as real and famous as she was penned in the book. It made me think about the lives of real famous people of that era and even now. How much of what we have seen is actually real and how much is just a publicity stunt?

Ambition and love were at the forefront of Evelyn's story and I found myself getting lost in it. As her entire story was revealed, so was Monique's connection to her life and it left me speechless.

I loved this book and highly recommend it!

About the Author
Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, and two other novels. She lives in Los Angeles.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Review: Sail Away with Me (Blue Moon Harbor #3) by Susan Fox

Bookseller Iris Yakimura grew up on Destiny Island and it’s the only place where her painful shyness doesn’t cripple her. An avid romance reader, she believes that one day the right man will come along—one who loves her just the way she is. She never imagines that man will arrive in time for the holidays, like a gift. Or that he’ll be a celebrity musician with a bad boy vibe—and a warm 
heart . . .

Julian Blake spent most of his teens on Destiny Island, before fleeing a mentor turned abuser. Music saved him. He has avoided the island, but now his injured father needs him. Plagued by unsettling memories, Julian’s solace comes from surprising places—and from smart, stunning Iris. When he feels compelled to expose his abuser, will Iris find the courage to stand by his side in the spotlight that will ensue—much less embrace a love that might take her far from home? . . 

Paperback, 368 pages

Expected publication: September 25th 2018 by Zebr

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!**

This is the third in the Blue Moon Harbor series.  While I had read the first in the series, I had somehow missed the second.  Characters were referenced and present from the second book however it did not impact the ability to follow along in this book.

I may have mentioned in my review of the first story and I will repeat it in this review.  I really appreciate that the setting of this book (and series) is set in Canada and written by a Canadian author.  Many of the references were familiar to me and lets be honest, in this day and age it is important to support as much Canadian content as possible.  I even appreciated the reference to the official languages act although I do not support its inequity on a national level.

This story was a touching one dealing with the ugly subject sexual assault.  This part of the story is what captured me.  In the shadows of such ugliness, beautiful things came to light such as friendship, family and supporting each other no matter what.  It really was touching.

On the flip side, I have to admit that Iris really got on my nerves.  I know plenty of shy people, including myself and I just couldn't identify with her shyness that was so crippling.  While I can assume that it does exist, it didn't feel realistic to me.  While I am shy, I am able to function in society and work without cowering away from the world.  I certainly wouldn't reject happiness because of it.  The fact that it was such a major part of discussion throughout the book prevented me from fully getting behind her.  As a result I have some mixed feelings about the story.  On the bright side, what Iris lacked for me, Julian made up for.

Overall I liked this story, I just didn't love it.

About the Author

Susan is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor.

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Review: America's Sweetheart by Jessica Lemmon

Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .

Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared a lot of firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Loveswept
Series: Real Love #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kristine's Thoughts:
** I received an advanced readers copy from Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

America's Sweetheart is the fifth book in the Real Love series but it can be read as a stand alone. I have read some of the books in the series but not all of them and it did not impact my enjoyment of this book at all.

Allison and Jackson were high school and college sweethearts who were together for more than four years before Allison's move to California and her path to stardom separated them. Ten years passed and then a devastating scandal happened. Allison returned home to hide out only to find Jackson spending most of his time in her childhood home doing a massive renovation. You can imagine the sort of things that lead to. This is a second chance romance at its very cutest and best.

I have read a few of Jessica Lemmon's books from this series and others but it has been a little while so I forgot. I forgot how much I enjoyed her writing and her characters. There is a sweetness mixed with sexiness that made me smile as I turned the pages. She definitely knows how to pull at the romantic heartstrings of her readers. Allison and Jackson were so sweet together and it was easy to pull for them. First loves, first everything really so who wouldn't want a happily ever after for them. I know I certainly did. However, the star of the book was not the famous one (for me) but the small town business owner with the giant heart. Yes I am talking about Jackson. I adored everything about him and his unselfish ways. He was always putting Allison first at the risk of his own happiness. Sigh... I admit to a little book crush.

Fans of second chance romances will really enjoy this book. It had the perfect combination of sweet and sexy. It simultaneously pulled at the heart strings and heated up the pages creating the perfect balance. I am really glad that I had the opportunity to read America's Sweetheart and for the reminder of how much I enjoy Lemmon's writing in this genre. Now I need to go back and read the ones I missed!

About the Author
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

Jessica is a social media junkie who loves to hear from readers.

Connect with Jessica

Monday 17 September 2018

Review: Forever Found by Allyson Charles

Head vet at the Forever Friends animal rescue shelter, Gabriel Moretti is known as the Dog Whisperer because of his gift for soothing rambunctious patients. But it’s the two-legged species that has him, and his libido, working overtime. Marla Popov single-handedly saved the shelter from financial ruin. But the bossy trust funder is even more irritating than her snooty Standard Poodle. You’d think keeping his attraction on a short leash would be a no-brainer for Gabe. Unfortunately, Marla is also
smart, beautiful, and intriguing . . .
Most of her life, people have been eager to tell Marla just what she wants to hear. So now that she’s nearing forty, she doesn’t expect to be refused—especially by a sexy younger man like Gabe. She also doesn’t expect it to sting so much. But when she discovers a scheme involving illegal dog fights, she gets a chance to show what she’s truly made of. And as she and Gabe team up to fight it, they discover a surprising respect for each other—and passion that might just grow into love. . .

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Lyrical Shine

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!**

This was the second book in the Forever Friends series.  I had not read the first however took the chance that I could read this without missing anything...although I may go back and read Brad's story.

I am a massive dog lover.  My dog is by my side almost 24/7 as I am lucky enough to work from home and she is my pride and joy.  I didn't know how I would handle this storyline since it is about animal cruelty.  Fortunately any details of the actual dog fighting was left mainly off of the page but there are some descriptions of some survivors at the shelter.  This is fair warning for other out there like me who thought the storyline might be too much.

The main story was Marla and Gabe, the most unlikely couple.  Talk about polar opposites....or maybe not.  The more I think about it, if I met these people in real life they would annoy the heck out of me.  Gabe was constantly grumpy albeit hot.  I don't care how hot someone is, if they are constantly a downer and impolite that would wear off very quickly.  On the flip side, Marla was constantly sticking her nose in other peoples business and making impulsive stupid decisions. They shouldn't have seen anything in each other. Maybe they really work together so that they are not inflicted on others? I say this in jest as they actually did work as a couple.  While I feel the "feelings" aspect came on way to quickly, it does fall in line with the regular formula of these stories.

The highlight of the story for me was the supporting cast of characters both two legged and four legged.  I loved Maddie the poodle with her attitude and devotion to her master.  I laughed as I saw some of the same character traits that I observe daily with my dog.  I also loved Dax.  He just seemed to me to be a perfect train wreck.  I am glad to see the next book in the series will feature him.

Totally random but I do feel the need to comment on one statement that was mentioned in the book.  The statement that said "everyone likes Hawaiian pizza".  This statement made me laugh the most.  While I agree that it is great, my friends and I sat around the table literally five days ago having a 30 minute debate on the merits of pineapple on pizza.  Let me tell you that there is a very passionate camp of people out there who feel differently!  I digress...

For me this book was a good read.  Entertaining, not too long and best of all featured several dogs!

About the Author

Allyson Charles lives in Northern California. She’s the author of the "Pineville Romance" series, small-town, contemporary romances published by Lyrical Press. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest disappointments is living in a state that doesn’t have any Cracker Barrels in it.


Sunday 16 September 2018

Review: Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee

Kirsten Green is my best friend.

Kirsten Green has gone missing.

I killed Kirsten Green. Seventeen-year-old Hayley Reynolds is unwanted at home, and an outsider at school. Pushed away by her best friend Kirsten Green, she makes a deliberate, chilling decision – if Kirsten can't belong to her, then she won't belong to anyone...

DI Beverley Samuels has the body of a schoolgirl on her hands – a murder that brings back the hauntingly painful memories of the case she's tried so desperately to forget. There's something deeply disturbing about this crime – and yet with little hard evidence it's up to her to decide who she will believe...

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: September 18th 2018 by Aria 
Genre: Thriller/Young Adult
Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

I always like to start with the positive so I will mention how much I liked the cover of this book. In fact, it is what drew me to it in the first place. Then I read the synopsis and I knew I had to have it.


I found this book so boring that it took me two weeks to get through it. Not only was it boring but it was so ridiculously repetitive. Was Hayley's favourite band New Order? In case that didn't translate well it was my really bad attempt at sarcasm. References to the band were so numerous that I started to hate them just a little.

I didn't like any of the characters. Of course, I wasn't meant to like Hayley but I couldn't even get behind or appreciate the creepy, messed up villain that she was meant to be. DI Beverley Samuels was just as messed up as Hayley and her story was so long winded and dull that it really hurt the bigger picture. The entire thing moved at a snails pace.

In my opinion, even a twist couldn't save this book. It was definitely not for me.

About the Author
Susan Gee was a finalist in the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and the Daily Mail ‘Write a Best Seller’ Competition. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester University.

'Kiss Her Goodbye' is her first novel.

Susan lives in Stockport with her husband and two children.

Connect with Susan

Saturday 15 September 2018

Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

Hardcover, 403 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by Doubleday

Terri's Thoughts

I was at a dinner party the other night and someone brought up this book.  Upon my return home I saw the movie trailer on TV and thought this was a sign that I must pick up the book.  If there was any chance I would be going to see the movie, I of course had to read the book first.  I chose to listen to the audio book version for this.

I am not going to go in to any details of the plot as this book was published in 2013 and the movie has been out for at least a month so I think most people know what it is about by now.  Instead I am just going to spit out random thoughts that crossed my mind as I listened to the story.

The burning question I have is if any of this story is based on reality?  Seriously, do people like this actually exist out there?  I would like to think no but fear the answer is probably yes.  The shallow and me, me, me attitudes of the folks in this story is truly obnoxious (not all but most).  It also made for a pretty funny read.  I couldn't even imagine running in these social circles however I think I could have a heyday with it in small doses.

I had a difficult time envisioning how/why this story was adapted in to a movie as it was mostly superficial however there was an underlying depth within that I suspect is more what the movie focused on.  For the most part you had to dig deep to find this depth as the story mainly focused on the opulence and extravagance of the filthy (or should I say crazy) rich Asian jet set.

I am currently conflicted as I see this book is actually part of a series.  While I had some good laughs and the ending was left quite open, I don't know if I want to invest more time with these characters.  They were just so extremely "crazy".  I will probably go see the movie and then decide if I want to finish the series.

I had a good time with this story but I am not sure I am convinced about what the hype is all about.  The jury is out for me.

About the Author

Kevin Kwan is the author of "Crazy Rich Asians," the international bestseller now being adapted as a major motion picture. The sequel, "China Rich Girlfriend," will be released on June 16, 2015. Born and raised in Singapore, Kwan has called Manhattan home for the past two decades but still craves pineapple tarts and a decent plate of Hokkien mee.