2019 Book #60 – The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

51QgvPrXOnL._SY346_Title: The Arrangement
Author: Robyn Harding
Date finished: 8/13/19
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Publisher: Gallery / Scout Press
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favors are optional.

Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.

So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.

Emotionally powerful and packed with page-turning suspense, The Arrangement delves into the sordid, all-too-real world of shadowy relationships between wealthy, powerful men and the young women who are caught in their web.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2019! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because this year they have a bunch of fun games and challenges, including one of my favorite things, reading bingo! This book will be checking off my “Start and finish 2 ARC’s between August 1st and August 30th” box since I’ve done that at this point!

I had read another book by this author, The Party, and enjoyed it a good amount. This next book by her was described as “a Pretty Woman tale that turns toxic and deadly” and that tag line really grabbed my interest. This book turned out to be really good – I both liked and hated how dark and twisted it was. Natalie was a deeply disturbed young woman but the other POV, her sugar-daddy Gabe, wasn’t much better. The plot twist at the end of the book was a tad predictable but was still done really well and everything came to a satisfying ending. I love how the book started with Nat saying she had killed someone to really ramp up the tension right from the beginning and draw in the reader. The book overall was a quick and pretty easy read – the chapters flew by. Everyone was just so deeply damaged in this book, it made it a little depressing with how sad I felt for each of the characters involved. Overall I liked the book though and I definitely recommend it.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #57 – To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley

51hTVVGAldLTitle: To the Stars and Back
Author: Camilla Isley
Date finished: 8/9/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, romantic comedy
Publisher: Pink Bloom Press
Publication Date: June 14, 2019
Pages in book: 231
Stand alone or series: #4 in the First Comes Love series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When Hollywood’s sexiest bachelor meets the girl next door their relationship doesn’t follow the script…

On-screen, Christian Slade is America’s favorite heartthrob. Off-screen, letting romance into his life isn’t as easy. The women he dates all seem to want a piece of his glamorous life rather than his heart, and trust doesn’t come easy for him.

Then along comes Lana. A beautiful rocket scientist who’s also sweet, smart, sexy, and has absolutely no idea who he is. But what will happen when she finds out?

Will their worlds prove too far apart or could love really be like in the movies?

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2019! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because this year they have a bunch of fun games and challenges, including one of my favorite things, reading bingo! This book will be checking off my “Author I’ve Read before” since I’ve read a number of books by this author before.

So far I’ve read the other 3 books in this series and I have to say overall this is just a great series. The books are laugh out loud funny and short enough to hold your interest but long enough to still have a well developed story line. If you’re looking for a fairly quick but still engaging and fun read, these are the books for you! This was a cute story, and I liked so many of the details that were included within the story. I loved all the science facts included and how smart Lana was. Even better was how passionate she was about teaching and about helping others – it was positively endearing. And I also loved her cats, they sounded so cute! Christian was an ok hero for me but I couldn’t really connect with him, he felt a little two-dimensional to me even towards the end. I still really enjoyed the book though and I’d recommend both it and the other books in the series!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #39 – It’a Hot in the Hamptons by Holly Peterson

51ZWbPBNkDLTitle: It’s Hot in the Hamptons
Author: Holly Peterson
Date finished: 7/4/19
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Library Thing NOTE: I received this book for free from  Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

In the Hamptons, no rules apply, especially in matters of money—and the heart…

Raised in East Hampton, Caroline never thought she’d be one of the “city people” who spent summers and weekends at the beach. But, once her husband’s business takes off, a job stint transplants the couple permanently into Manhattan life—where the phrase When you marry for money, you work for it every day, reflects her neighbors’ lives. And where entitled husbands, like hers, embark on affair after affair with little consequence.

Time for the wives to get even.

When Caroline’s friend Annabelle suggests they experiment as their wayward mates have, Caroline resists at first. That is, until a scroll through an iPad makes her reconsider…and a pact between two friends is made.

The agreement quickly turns serious when Caroline begins to confront the man her husband has become, or perhaps always has been. Will a summer affair give Caroline clarity or make her lose hold on the reins of her life? And, when an old lover returns, is she ready to risk all for a chance at happiness…

My rating:  2.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I requested to review this book because I loved the cover. I was dubious on the description but the cover looked like a perfect summer read. And I’m still sure that it would be the perfect summer read for someone, but unfortunately it wasn’t for me. I felt like the plot line was really good, and I was able to appreciate some of the great plot twists in the book, but overall the plot just didn’t appeal to me on a personal level, mostly because of the characters. They were all so entitled and flawed and it was just so sad. I couldn’t connect with a single character and that made the book a little hard to get through for me. It was just a personal issue with the characters though so I’d still recommend giving this one a try – it has great plot twists and a great setting for a summer read!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #17 – The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

51dBmN-P1PLTitle: The Wife Between Us
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Date finished: 2/20/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Pages in book: 342
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Our perception of the truth

This book has been gaining a lot of popularity and I’ve seen it mentioned a number of places. But to be honest when I was about 50 pages into the book I was wondering how this book could possibly be so popular. The beginning of the book does get a tad repetitive and Vanessa sounds really whiny in the beginning, until the reader gets to the first twist and uncovers more of the story. I think that was my favorite part of this book was how at each twist and turn the reader gets another piece of the puzzle that will make up the whole picture. The description of the book didn’t stand out to me until I read the book, the reader’s perception is altered multiple times and it becomes harder and harder to know where the “truth” lies. Lies and truth co-mingle based on the character’s perception and the reader’s perception as well. While there were a couple of dry pieces to the story, overall I really loved the plot of this one and the facets of the story as the reader progresses through the book. This was a great book and I would most definitely recommend it!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #78 – Royal Affair by Marquita Valentine

51BVpnpqK6LTitle: Royal Affair
Author: Marquita Valentine
Date finished: 9/6/17
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Pages in book: 235
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Royals in Exile series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A sheltered princess goes wild—and makes the best mistake of her life—when she falls for a roguish reporter in this fun, sexy romance from the bestselling author of Royal Scandal.

Online muckraker Brooks Walker has a reputation for exposing the political elite. Now he’s set his sights on the Sinclair siblings, who’ve been embroiled in their fair share of drama ever since their exile to North Carolina. But Brooks has never been afraid to get his hands dirty—until he meets a royal wallflower at a charity ball who makes him reconsider everything. Is Brooks feeling guilty because he knows all the sordid details of her family’s history? Or because he’s putting their relationship first, before his journalistic integrity?

As the “spare” twin, Princess Charlotte has always been the responsible one. So when her sister finally agrees to fulfill her duty as queen, Charlotte gives herself permission to break a few rules by flirting with the very off-limits CEO of Walker Media. Brooks is the worst sort of man to start an affair with, but Charlotte just can’t help it. The trouble is, since she’s no good at playing games, soon she’s tiara over heels in love. And when Brooks comes clean, Charlotte must decide whether his confession is worth a royal pardon.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Charlotte Sinclair, Princess of the Isle of Man, and Brooks Walker, expose journalist extraordinaire. Charlotte can’t help her attraction to Brooks even though he is the one that outed their family for being royalty in hiding. As Charlotte is not the Queen-to-be though, she has a little more freedom to make her own decisions and she decides to start an affair with Brooks. And as they spend more time together and get to know each other better, they realize how well they fit together. But when Brooks is presented with a story about Charlotte that could explode his career, can he really but his whole life on the line for love?

Overall I really liked this book. This book was Definitely WAY more steamy than the first book in the series, Charlotte and Brooks’ chemistry leaps off the page. At the same time I really liked the plot better in this book too, there was more development of the characters I thought and the intrigue and plot twists flowed a little better than in the first book. I also like how the author is continuing to develop the overall series, I’m interested to see where we go in the next book. My only confusion really with this book was why we had to jump like 5 years into the future, it felt like no time had passed at certain points and at other points it was obvious 5 years had passed. The whole idea just felt a little off and left a few holes in the story. Like has Imogen been ruling as Queen this whole time? Why was Davies just making his move now, 5 years after he was fired? There were some points of the plot that I thought could’ve been explained better or developed further but at the same time this one was a quick, easy, light read and adding more in would’ve made it longer. Either way I liked this one and I’m interested to see where the series goes next!

The bottom line: I liked the plot of this book better than the first book in the series. Just as forewarning this book is VERY STEAMY. Like super steamy. Still a good plot though, I liked it.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #8 – Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

514djmp1kl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: Everything You Want Me to Be
Author: Mindy Mejia
Date finished: 1/29/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense/thriller
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.
High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.
Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about the murder of Hattie Hoffman, a high school senior less than two months from graduation who is found murdered in an abandoned barn near a lake in her very small town. The whole town is rocked by this grisly murder, and fearing that there is now a psychotic murder somewhere in their midst the town is demanding answers. Del is the sheriff, and although the mayor is putting a lot of pressure on him to find out what happened Del’s real motivation is his best friend Bud, Hattie’s father. Del is desperate to find out what happened to his friend’s sweet daughter, who he thought he knew well. But it turns out everyone can hide secrets if they’re dark enough, and Hattie’s secret is a doozy. The reader knows that it somehow involves Peter Lund, a teacher from Hattie’s school, before the book even gets going since he has such an important role in the book. And Peter is in fact somehow involved, but the ending, and the murderer, is something that the reader won’t see coming.
Overall this book rocked. I loved the way that the story was presented, with the three separate points of view. The story line itself was riveting and I loved the way the author wrote this book, there were so many passages that stood out to me and really just made me stop and think about how wonderfully this book was written. Hattie as a character jumps off the page and really just comes so alive for the reader. And the murderer really is just not someone that I would have expected at all, I loved the way the ending was done because it keeps the reader guessing until the last minute. The whole thing was just overwhelmingly sad but I loved that the author didn’t shy away from this either. The book includes not only the suspense of what happened and trying to resolve the mystery but also deals with the raw grief that comes from losing a child and of the community that is left to deal with the aftermath of the murder. I loved this book and I would highly recommend it!

Favorite quotes: 
“I took a step closer, compelled beyond reason toward this girl who kept shedding masks like a matryoshka doll, each one more audacious that the last, a psychological striptease that rached me with the need to tear her apart until I found out who or what was inside.” (Peter)

“It wouldn’t matter if I never saw her again, never hugged her. I would cut off my hands and feet just to know her heart was beating.” (Mona, Hattie’s Mom)

The bottom line: This book was awesome, I loved the plot and the way the story was presented with the three points of view. Though jumping back and forth between past and present can be hard to follow at times, I think it was absolutely the best way to present the story. This was a great thriller and I would highly recommend!

Link to author website

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2016 Book #82 – I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

51odMX3ZyhL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: I Take You
Author: Eliza Kennedy
Date finished: 9/3/16
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Pages in book: 305
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Library Thing NOTE: I received this book for free from Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.
Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.
Unapologetically sexy with the ribald humor of Bridesmaids, this joyously provocative debut introduces a self-assured protagonist you won’t soon forget.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Lily Wilder and her upcoming wedding to fiance Will. We first meet Lily as she is out with her bridesmaids partying it up. She gets called into work while she is drunk and high, and she goes in and ends up having sex with her boss. Shocker! Bigger shocker, this is not the first time she’s cheated. Lily is a lawyer, not that this is specifically relevant to her having sex with her boss, just relevant to the overall plot. Lily is getting married very soon in her hometown of Key West, FL, but finds out while she’s down there to get married she also has to prepare a witness to be deposed as part of a multi-billion dollar case her firm is defending for their client, EnerGreen. Also once she gets down there she is bombarded by her parents with demands that she reconsider such a hasty marriage. Oh and don’t forget the family drama, what with her mom, two of her three step-moms, and her Dad all in one place. And as they get closer to the wedding date, Lily starts to realize that she doesn’t know Will as well as she thought.
Overall I really liked this book a lot. Lily overall was a really interesting character, she is significantly flawed and yet the reader can’t help but find her endearing. She is hilarious, and when paired with her friend Freddy I swear I couldn’t stop laughing. Lily gets in over her head with pretty much everything while in Key West, her personal life and her work life both included. We watch as she valiantly struggles to right herself after a couple tumbles, and although we as the reader have seen all her flaws, we also end up rooting for her to triumph in the end!

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, it was hilarious at many points and I found myself continually laughing out loud. I found the ending to be a little unconventional/unpredictable. The book was funny and held my interest though, I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

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