2019 Book #86 – The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

41xn3v0LgqL.jpgTitle: The Family Upstairs
Author: Lisa Jewell
Date finished: 11/4/19
Genre: Thriller/suspense
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Pages in book: 349
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:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

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

I have read a couple of this author’s books in the past and enjoyed them, but this one really blew me out of the water. The twists and turns were outstanding, even the ones I saw coming and especially the ones that I didn’t. All of them really were “gasp-worthy,” I thought this was a really well done mystery. I also thought the book was really well paced. The chapters were short so it felt like the story was flying by, though there were a couple areas where I found it a little dry. Many of the characters were flawed but they were supposed to be. Henry’s character especially was intense and really mysterious – even after finishing the book I’m not sure that I trust how he portrayed himself in the chapters he narrated. Overall this was a really interesting story that absorbs the reader and keeps them engaged even after the book has ended. I really enjoyed it and I’d definitely recommend it.

Link to author website

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

2019 Monthly Status Update: October

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October was a busy month for me work wise (as per the usual lately if I’m honest). I was doing a reading challenge and I only wish I had been able to devote more time to reading since I missed getting book bingo by only a couple books. Even so, I had a great time reading during October and since Halloween is my favorite holiday I tried to allow myself some spooky reads for the month! So anyways, here are some highlights from September for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 7
# pages read this month: 2,501
# books read year-to-date: 82
# pages read year-to-date: 29,217

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

 

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Pestilence by Laura Thalassa – did not post a review on this but it was so different and fun and it was one of my favorite books of the month! (4.0 stars)

Other Posts this month:

October Reading Challenge – Bookish Bingo!
The Widow of Rose House BLOG TOUR!! 

Next Month TBR List:

-The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
-Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher
-The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
-Don’t Close Your Eyes by Christie Craig
-Don’t Breathe a Word by Christie Craig
-The Princess Plan by Julia London

That’s a fairly manageable TBR list for me over a month so i’m also hoping to read something else among either my backlog, my owned books, or the next book from the Fated Mates podcast, which I’m trying to keep up with! Over the next month I’ll be trying to get a lot done at work while also gearing up for the holidays and getting ready for lots of family time, which I love! Here’s hoping you all had a colorful October and are looking ahead to a warm and loving November.

2019 Book #82 – The Lady’s Deception by Susanna Craig

51dl92DyeEL (1).jpgTitle: The Lady’s Deception
Author: Susanna Craig
Date finished: 10/27/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Pages in book: 288
Stand alone or series: Rogues & Rebels #3
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 a runaway English bride find love with a haunted Irish rebel?
 
Paris Burke, Dublin’s most charismatic barrister, has enough on his mind without the worries of looking after his two youngest sisters. The aftermath of a failed rebellion weighs on his conscience, so when the young English gentlewoman with an unwavering gaze arrives, he asks far too few questions before hiring her on as governess. But her quick wit and mysterious past prove an unexpected temptation.

Rosamund Gorse knows she should not have let Mr. Burke think her the candidate from the employment bureau. But after her midnight escape from a brother bent on marrying her off to a scoundrel, honesty is a luxury she can no longer afford. With his clever mind and persuasive skill, Paris could soon have her spilling her secrets freely just to lift the sorrow from his face. And if words won’t work, perhaps kisses would be better?

Hiding under her brother’s nose, Rosamund knows she shouldn’t take risks. If Paris learns the truth, she might lose her freedom for good. But if she can learn to trust him with her heart, she might discover just the champion she desires . . .

My rating:  2.5 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. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “protagonist has a cat” box since a kitten played a big part of the interactions between the two main characters.

I haven’t read anything by this author before but I really liked the cover and was interested in giving it a try. I liked the book a good amount but there was a lot that I wasn’t thrilled with also. Rosamund was so very strong willed and I really liked that about her character, but at the same time she was so unbearably naive. And Paris was in some ways a great example of a romance novel hero but he was also very selfish and self-absorbed. There was a lot in this book too that seemed to be related to characters from previous novels in the series – I think I would’ve felt more connected to the story line if I had had some involvement in those story lines as well. And their relationship felt like it was progressing slowly but then it went warp speed when they started getting physical and it just didn’t feel developed enough for what was happening. Overall I liked the book ok but wasn’t especially excited about it.

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #80 – The Duke’s Stolen Bride by Sophie Jordan

512jesA6P5LTitle: The Duke’s Stolen Bride
Author: Sophie Jordan
Date finished: 10/22/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #5 in The Rogue Files series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss 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:

An urgent dilemma…

To save her impoverished family, Marian Langley will become a mistress. But she will not be just any mistress. Marian intends to become so skilled, so coveted, that she can set her own terms, retaining control over her body and her fate. Only one problem remains: finding a tutor…

A scandalous solution…

Other men deprive themselves of pleasure for propriety’s sake. Nathaniel, Duke of Warrington, would much rather be depraved. He slakes his desires with professionals who ask nothing of him but his coin. Marian’s proposal—that he train her without taking her virtue—is an intriguing diversion, until their lessons in seduction spin out of control.

And a most unlikely duchess…

When Marian is blackmailed into engagement by a man she despises, Nate impulsively steals her away. Though he never intended to take a wife, he can’t tolerate the idea of Marian forfeiting her freedom to another. But can he bear to give her what she demands—a real marriage?

My rating:  2.75 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. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “a character goes missing” box since Marian gets herself kidnapped towards the end of the book (*spoiler alert* I guess though it’s not a huge plot point).

I had actually read the last book in this series also (#4) and didn’t really realize it til partway through the book. Which is fine. Anyways, I had mixed feelings about this book. There was a lot that I did really like – the chemistry between the two main characters was fantastic and I swear the pages caught on fire during a couple of their intimate scenes. Also the book overall really captured my interest and I wanted to see how the book would end. At the same time though, there were some problematic areas of the book for me. The biggest is probably the scene where Marian and Nate have sex for the first time – there is some questionable consent in the scene that made me unhappy. It involved Nate being the one not fully consenting, but I don’t think that should be treated any differently than how a reader would think of the scene were a woman in his place. I also just overall wasn’t into the plot line personally. The fact that Marian had to basically throw herself at him, and then let him walk all over her in order to strike the deal she needed, was not my cup of tea. I’m sure it will 100% work for certain readers but it didn’t for me. Overall this was (I thought) a well written book but it just wasn’t the right fit for me personally.

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #75 – A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen

51yHyvPrGzLTitle: A Duke in the Night
Author: Kelly Bowen
Date finished: 9/30/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Pages in book: 337
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Devils of Dover series
Where I got the book from: Publisher/Author
NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher/author 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:

An enchanting historical romance from the 2018 RITA award-winning author that New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean calls “a charming, clever, and engaging storyteller.”
Named to All About Romance’s “The Best of 2018!”
Duke. Scoundrel. Titan of business. August Faulkner is a man of many talents, not the least of which is enticing women into his bedchamber. He’s known-and reviled-for buying and selling companies, accumulating scads of money, and breaking hearts. It’s a reputation he wears like a badge of honor, and one he intends to keep.Clara Hayward, the headmistress of the Haverhall School for Young Ladies, on the other hand, is above reproach. Yet when she’s reunited with August all she can think of is the way she felt in his arms as they danced a scandalous waltz ten long years ago. Even though her head knows that he is only back in her life to take over her family’s business, her heart can’t help but open to the very duke who could destroy it for good.My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I thought the plot line of this book sounded really interesting. And I ended up enjoying it! I really liked both Clara and August’s characters in this book – they were both pretty well developed and I loved how attached they were to each other. I especially loved Clara’s character and how passionate she was about the work she was doing with her students. This book definitely had some very feminist ideas – the work that Clara was doing with her students was very forward thinking. The students were all super interesting too, and Clara’s siblings also. I’m really interested to know what Clara’s brother was up to all the times he was sneaking off, I wonder if we’ll get a book about him too. I’m also kind of interested to read Rose’s story but I love Clara so much it’s hard to think that I’d like Rose just as much but you never know. I did think that the ending of this book wrapped up a little quickly, the last maybe 4 to 6 pages wrapped up all the open points in the book. Other than that I liked the book, I’d recommend it!

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #71 – Immortal Born by Lynsay Sands

51BXdg0-nKLTitle: Immortal Born
Author: Lynsay Sands
Date finished: 9/17/19
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Not sure exactly the number but its #30-something in the Argeneau family series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss 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:

Nothing compares to the physical chemistry between an immortal and his life mate—or to the spellbinding thrills in a new Argeneau novel by New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…

A simple promise to protect her friend’s infant son has turned Allie Chambers’ existence upside down. Caring for—and feeding—an orphaned vampire baby has been tricky enough. But as little Liam grows, so does his appetite. He needs more blood than she can personally supply. And when her attempts to steal from a blood bank go awry, Allie wakes up surrounded by doctors, cops…and the gorgeous, mesmerizing Magnus, who she can neither trust nor resist.

Magnus never expected to find his life mate breaking into a blood bank. Clearly, Allie is already entwined with his world—in deeper, more dangerous ways than she realizes. A band of vicious rogue immortals is in pursuit, and Magnus’ first task is to keep her safe. His second: to awaken her to mind-blowing pleasure, and hope she’ll accept the life, and the passion, that only he can offer.

My rating:  3.0 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 used to read this series a long time ago, it was probably one of the first paramornal series I read ever. I was excited to get back to the series and be able to read one of the newer novels! I’ve been reading Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series a lot lately so it was kind of hard to switch into this other author’s vampire world – each author does their own world-building and creates different quirks intrinsic to their own vampire group. That being said there was a lot of explaining in this novel so it was a good one in the series to pick up. The whole like first half of the book was plot and world-building, so much so that when we turned to look closer at Allie and Magnus’s characters I felt like they weren’t as well-developed as the plot was. They just didn’t leap off the page to me, though they were both fierce and loving and good people. The whole town atmosphere was a little cheesy / unbelievable for me but it’s nice that they had so many friends. Overall I liked it but didn’t really love it. (I think I like her Highlander novels a lot better lately) I’d still recommend it if you like vampire / paranormal romance! And especially if you like a “small town romance” which I think is pretty prevalent in this one too.

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #65 – Christmas in Kilts by Various authors

61R+s8NYm7LTitle: Christmas in Kilts
Author: Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Bronwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, and May McGoldrick
Date finished: 9/1/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Pages in book: 494
Stand alone or series: Many of the stories are part of other 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:

Tis the season to fall in love! These five bestselling authors bring you great tiding of highlanders and romances this holiday season!

A HIGHLANDER’S HOPE by Terri Brisbin
A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander who visits for the holidays and brings with him an offer and hope.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall
When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She’s ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he’s trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family’s wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent
What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas… maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick
An encounter between an English officer and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.

My rating:  2.5 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.

I had originally requested this book back in late Fall 2017, thinking it would be a great into to the Holiday season. And I stand by that thought, I think if I had read this during a different time I might have enjoyed it a little more. I liked a couple of these stories ok but I can’t say that I loved any of them. Granted I was reading them over Labor Day weekend when Summer is just wrapping up and it was still really warm. I feel like part of the draw of these novellas specifically is that they’re geared to the Holiday season. I think I liked the last one (Sweet Home Highland Christmas by May McGoldrick) best, as it was (I thought) the cutest story line while not being overtly corny. There were things I liked and disliked about each book, however overall now of them particularly grabbed my interest. They were still sweet and easy reads and I sometimes enjoy an anthology since you can take each novella as it’s own part. I’d recommend it if you enjoy Highlander novels or Christmas novellas.

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