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

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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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

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #73 – Results May Vary by Bethany Chase BLOG TOUR

51TqxsdHhSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Results May Vary
Author: Bethany Chase
Date finished: 8/9/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
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:

Can you ever really know the person you love?
She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, art curator Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can’t get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband’s other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story’s ending will mean forgiving the man she’s loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.
Compassionate and uplifting, Results May Vary is a bittersweet celebration of the heart’s ability to turn unexpected troubles into extraordinary strength.

ResultsMayVary_Ecard_2b

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 will count for my ARC August reading challenge for this month. This book is about Caroline Hammond, whose life up until we meet her could be described as ideal. She has a husband who worships her, a beautiful home in a town she loves, and a fulfilling job as curator at a museum, MASS MoCA (real place). Her life seems to shatter though when she discovers (accidentally) that her husband has been having an affair. With a man. Having had no inkling that her husband was attracted to men, or a lying jerk either, she calls into question everything she thought she knew about the man she’s been with for 17 years (half her life). This book is really about Caroline’s journey on the road to forgiveness and independence, as she discovers what may become of her marriage and what may become of her future.
Overall I really just loved this book. Caroline as a character was easy to relate to and interesting to talk to. Honestly one of my favorite things about her was that her sister could tell she was drinking when she started to talk more formally, I think I’m going to start doing that from now on because it is too funny! As a reader I was drawn into the story right from page one and just could not put this book down. The author really paints such a vivid picture for the reader, I would look up from reading and not have any idea where I was. The author was extremely talented at giving descriptions of the backdrop and Caroline’s internal monologue without being too wordy. And I really loved how Caroline talked about art and the museum, it was inspiring to see how passionate she was about her job and about art overall. This book deals with a lot of ups and downs for each of the characters as they make their way through the story, including devastating blows to the heart and to the ego. It was amazing the wealth of emotions that the author was able to draw out of me as I read this book: frustration, anger, love, and eventually forgiveness. The plot was riveting and really had some great plot twists to keep the reader engaged. I think that this is one of my favorite books of the year so far, I would definitely recommend reading this one!

The bottom line: This book was awesome, the author really taps into the emotions of the reader and makes the story come alive. I would look up from reading and not know where I was. Story was heart-wrenching and touching, with some good twists in the plot to keep the reader on their toes. I would definitely recommend!

ResultsMayVary_Ecard_6b

ADDITIONAL CONTENT!!!

As part of the blog tour I was given access to some additional content from the author, Bethany Chase. Since I’m a New England girl through and through her narrative on why she picked the Berkshires for the setting to this book really spoke to me. I’d like to share this with you readers as well!

The Setting: Why Bethany chose the Berkshires for Results May Vary

I set Results May Vary in the Berkshires because, like Caroline, I went to college at Williams and fell in love with the region. It reminds me a little bit of the Virginia Blue Ridge where I grew up—I am a mountain girl, through and through—but it has its own flavor, which is very much a New England one. It has beautiful old 18th-century houses, and a winding river or two, and maple trees everywhere that really do turn just the most outrageous colors of coral and red and gold in October.

The area is an interesting cultural hotspot—in Williamstown itself you have not just the college but also the world-class Clark Art Institute (I debated long and hard between having Caroline be a curator at the Clark vs MASS MoCA, but went with the latter in the end because it suited the plot better), and the Williamstown Theater Festival. Nearby you have the Tanglewood concert series, the beautiful Hancock Shaker Village, and then of course MASS MoCA, which is not just one of the largest contemporary art museums in the country but also a multi-disciplinary facility that hosts music, dance and theater as well as visual art. North Adams is interesting because it is a former industrial town that has been in a resurgence for the last 15 years or so, which is very intentionally led by the museum. One of the reasons I think the region is so great is that it has the beauty and charm of a small town, rural environment, yet packs this amazing cultural punch that far exceeds what you might expect from its population.

And, of course, it is beautiful. Those leaves! Those mountains! Those velvety white snowstorms, and the way they make you hunker down inside in front of a roaring fire. And then the spring that slinks slowly over the landscape, apologizing for the months that preceded it, until it bursts into the full green roar of May. I hope everyone gets to experience the Berkshires in their lives, not just in one season but in all of them.

ResultsMayVary_Ecard_1b

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #51 – People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper

51XE0ajiVKL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: People Who Knew Me
Author: Kim Hooper
Date finished: 5/24/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Pages in book: 294
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: The Reading Room NOTE: I received this book for free from The Reading Room 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:

Everything was fine fourteen years after she left New York.
Until suddenly, one day, it wasn’t.
Emily Morris got her happily-ever-after earlier than most. Married at a young age to a man she loved passionately, she was building the life she always wanted. But when enormous stress threatened her marriage, Emily made some rash decisions. That’s when she fell in love with someone else. That’s when she got pregnant.
Resolved to tell her husband of the affair and to leave him for the father of her child, Emily’s plans are thwarted when the world is suddenly split open on 9/11. It’s amid terrible tragedy that she finds her freedom, as she leaves New York City to start a new life. It’s not easy, but Emily—now Connie Prynneforges a new happily-ever-after in California. But when a life-threatening diagnosis upends her life, she is forced to rethink her life for the good of her thirteen-year-old daughter.
A riveting debut in which a woman must confront her own past in order to secure the future of her daughter, Kim Hooper’s People Who Knew Me asks: “What would you do?”

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. Reading the description of this book I was intrigued, and while not dying to read this book at first, I definitely wanted to know more. This book hooks you right from page one though and sucks you in for the rest of the story, only spitting you out at the end feeling lost and a little heart-broken. I couldn’t put this book down, the story line really progresses masterfully by alternating between the past and the present, consistently only giving the reader enough of a glimpse so that you’re dying to learn the rest of what happened. This book was about Emily Morris, who disappeared from New York a week after the tragedy of 9/11 without telling any of her family or even her husband that she was still alive. As a reader, when I first heard that she had done this I was appalled. How could she abandon her life and her loved ones without a word? What about the pain she was causing them? These are questions, I have to be honest, I struggled with through most of the book. As we learn more about Emily/Connie’s background, there is a certain understanding of why she took the path she did, but it is still heart-breaking. When Emily/Connie learns that she has cancer though, she has to start thinking about where her thirteen year old daughter Claire would go if she died. And with these thoughts come the realization that she must tell her daughter Claire the truth about her past and Claire’s parentage.
Overall I liked this book a lot. Like I said, I couldn’t put it down and I was hooked on the story from the very beginning. Some of the subject matter was tough for me since I could not at all imagine myself doing what Emily/Connie did. At the same time though, put in that extreme situation I couldn’t help but wonder, who can say what I would actually do? Emily had to deal with way too much stress on her young marriage and its no wonder that her unhappiness from that situation manifested in such an extreme way and that she walked away without looking back. That is one of the things that I ended up really liking about this book: even though some of the decisions that Emily/Connie made really turned my stomach, I couldn’t help but really think about what I would have done put in the same situation. It is easy to say I would be noble and honest when I’m not faced with making that choice and dealing with the consequences of that choice. But it is hard not to wonder if I might end up taking the easy way out. Who can say what any one of us would have done in Emily’s shoes.

The bottom line: This book had a couple of great plot twists included and even beyond the excitement of those I just couldn’t put this book down. It was like when you’re watching a video of a car crash and you know the crash is coming but you want to see really just how much the car caught on fire in the end. This book was heart-wrenching, scandalous and for me was really thought provoking psychologically. I would say this one is a must-read for this summer!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #42 – The Blue Bath by Mary Waters-Sayer

51xE13On2YL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Blue Bath
Author: Mary Waters-Sayer
Date finished: 5/3/16
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Pages in book: 320
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:

Kat Lind, an American expatriate living in London with her entrepreneur husband and their young son, attends an opening at a prestigious Mayfair art gallery and is astonished to find her own face on the walls. The portraits are evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist, Daniel Blake. Unbeknownst to her, he has continued to paint her ever since. Kat is seduced by her reflection on canvas and when Daniel appears in London, she finds herself drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that suddenly no longer seems so far away.
When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal not only her identity, but all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with the true price of their beauty and with all that she now could lose.
Moving between the glamour of the London art world and the sensuous days of a love affair in a dusty Paris studio, life and art bleed together as Daniel and Kat’s lives spin out of control, leading to a conclusion that is anything but inevitable.

My rating:  4.25 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. Also just as a side note, I did an author interview with Mary Waters-Sayer (author of The Blue Bath) which you can check out here! This book was about Kat Lind, who is currently living in London with her husband Jonathan and her son Will. The book alternates between present day and Kat’s memories of what happened 20 years ago when she was studying abroad in Paris. There were a few different interwoven topics being dealt with in this book: unconditional love of mother and child, death and loss, and, of course, overall there was a great deal of love. Kat hasn’t seen Daniel Blake since she left him in Paris twenty years ago but when she sees him again at his gallery show, it is almost like no time has passed. Kat had an intense and almost violent passion for Daniel, one that encompassed her whole life. Since leaving him though, she has moved on and found a new love with Jonathan and her son Will. But can anything really replace that first young love? Kat discovers that even though they have aged since, her and Daniel still have a reckless passion that can not be ignored. But how much is she really willing to sacrifice to be with him again?
Overall I really enjoyed this book a lot. The writing was in itself almost like a painting, the author strung the words together in a way that painted a vivid picture for the reader and made me feel like I could almost reach out and touch the scene. The chemistry between Daniel and Kat is tangible and the description of Kat’s love for Will is everything I would expect, unconditional and as encompassing as her (different kind obviously) love for Daniel once was. I had a few questions pop up as I got towards the end with some of the goings-on, but it didn’t hinder the story for me, instead it almost added to the feeling of being in a haze that Kat must have felt at those times. I felt as if I was really able to put myself in Kat’s character. And there was a twist ending that was indeed satisfying. Great read and definitely one that should be on everyone’s TBR!

The bottom line: I found this story captivating, I couldn’t put it down. I was trying to read it during every second of free time I had. Vivid imagery brings the story alive for the reader, the words are strung together in an almost lyrical prose that surrounds the reader with beauty. A must read!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page