2018 Book #16 – When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham

518BAq-QbIL.jpgTitle: When the Stars Come Out
Author: Laura Trentham
Date finished: 2/16/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #5 in the Cottonbloom 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:

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .

Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?

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.

Love will always find a way!

Willa and Jackson were introduced in previous novels in the Cottonbloom series, Jackson being Wyatt’s twin brother and Willa the auto garage’s only non-Abbott family employee. It took Jackson a while to wake up to the fact that Willa was standing there right in front of him, but when he did she still wasn’t quite ready for all the attention. I resonated with that about her character as I am also not grateful for too much attention. Anyways, so Willa and Jackson finally end up figuring things out and getting together. This was a sweet story and a light-hearted romance and was exactly what I needed right now. I like the series overall, and this was a great story with all our friends from previous books. There wasn’t necessarily anything overly thrilling about the story line but work has been super stressful lately and it was so nice to escape into a sweet and easy love story, especially with it being right around Valentine’s Day. This was a good read and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #15 – A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

51txp+4sRrLTitle: The Devil in Scotland
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Date finished: 2/13/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #3 in the No Oridinary Hero 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:

The dawning of desire
1806, Scotland. Wild, reckless Callum MacCreath is in no hurry to become someone’s husband. But when his responsible, steady older brother Ian announces his engagement to their childhood friend Rebecca, Callum makes a startling discovery: he wants the lovely young lass for himself. But it’s too late, and when Ian banishes him for his duplicity, Callum is only too happy to leave Scotland forever.

…is delicious and dangerous 
1816: Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Will he remember their spirited, fiery connection or does he blame her for his brother’s unexpected death? This time neither of them can deny their scorching attraction. But will their hearts be burned in the blazing heat of scandal?

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.

A second chance with first love

Rebecca loved Callum in her youth, but as Callum was a wild and reckless young man, Rebecca decided that for her future she would be better off married to Callum’s staid and steady brother Ian. Flash forward ten years though, Ian has died and Callum returns from America to figure out what the hell happened to his brother. Rebecca’s character is exactly what I look for in a heroine. Though she was a bit naive in the beginning, it is evident throughout the story that she is intelligent and has such amazing strength as a female character. Callum also is exactly what I look for in my heroes – while he was intent on protecting Rebecca he always treated her like a partner without being the usual overbearing male “I know best and we’re going to do it my way” alpha male. Callum and Rebecca were such a great pair in this novel and it was really wonderful to read. And I loved that the villain from the last three books, including this one, finally got what was coming to him. The plot was ok and was even exciting in parts but this one really was about the love story for me. It was very romantic and I thought the author did a great job of infusing the emotions into the writing.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #14 – You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

51hQYpC879LTitle: You Will Be Mine
Author: Natasha Preston
Date finished: 2/9/18
Genre: Fiction, young adult, horror, suspense
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Pages in book: 304
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:

Love turns deadly in a new heart-pounding thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Cellar and The Cabin!

ROSES ARE RED
VIOLETS ARE BLUE
WATCH YOUR BACK
I’M COMING FOR YOU

Lylah and her friends can’t wait to spend a night out together. Partying is the perfect way to let loose from the stress of life and school, and Lylah hopes that hitting the dance floor with Chace, her best friend, will bring them closer together. She’s been crushing on him since they met. If only he thought of her the same way…

The girls are touching up their makeup and the guys are sliding on their coats when the doorbell rings. No one is there. An envelope sits on the doormat. It’s an anonymous note addressed to their friend Sonny. A secret admirer? Maybe. They all laugh it off.

Except Sonny never comes home. And a new note arrives:

YOUR TURN

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.

Killing for revenge on Valentine’s Day

Lylah and her friends try to outrun a killer bent on revenge and fixated on their little household. They obviously don’t do too well though since more than one of them ends up murdered. The characters in this novel were ok, although I found Lylah to be a tad whiny, but I guess that’s to be expected when your friends are being killed off. The plot of the book was really good. Even though I did kind of see the plot twist at the end coming, it was still super creepy and dark/twisted and I thought it was great. The book was appropriately creepy too, I found myself looking over my shoulder for bad guys while I was reading it. I also like that this was a horror story centered around the Valentine’s Day holiday, I thought that was a fun twist on what is normally just a mushy day. My issues with the story line mostly consisted of what felt like holes in the plot or incomplete sections. At one point Riley and Lylah argue and I don’t think the reader knows what happens to Riley then but Lylah goes upstairs and goes to sleep with Chase. Just felt a little scattered with the plot line in some parts. Other than that I liked the book a lot and I thought it was a great book for what’s normally a romantic holiday.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #13 – By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

51d5zueqM5LTitle: By the Book
Author: Julia Sonneborn
Date finished: 2/6/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Pages in book: 384
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:

An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

Anne Corey is about to get schooled.

An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.

Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.

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.

This book is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which I’ve never read before so I can’t say exactly how the books parallel. Although from the description of Persuasion it sounds like “Rick” was the old fiancee, whereas in this novel the old fiancee is Adam. Reading this novel though did inspire me to read Persuasion at some point (hopefully soon). I was especially drawn in this book to the description of the world that Anne lived in the academic world. I have always loved learning and school, and I considered continuing my education further and maybe teaching college classes. Hearing about Anne’s life and her career as a college professor really drew me into the story. There was one thing that I didn’t particularly like about the book though, I thought that Adam and Anne’s relationship could’ve been developed more in the book. The ending came about a bit suddenly for me as a reader, I felt like they’d hardly had any substantial interactions during the novel. Other than that though, this was a quick and sweet read and I really enjoyed it!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #12 – Christmas Glitter by Ann B. Harrison

51ESHgfyFKLTitle: Christmas Glitter
Author: Ann B. Harrison
Date finished: 2/2/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Publication Date: November 13, 2017
Pages in book: 154
Stand alone or series: #1 in The Moore Sisters of Montana series
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:

After a rough year involving a serious car accident, painful recovery and broken engagement, Dakota Moore moves to Cherry Lake to rebuild her life. To embrace her new community, she volunteers to coordinate the annual Christmas tree gala.

Adam Clements has come home to help his mother run the family business while his father recovers from a heart attack. For the last decade, he’s been a high-flying soccer player, enjoying the life that comes with his popularity. But something is missing and he can’t put his finger on it… until he returns to Cherry Lake and remembers the feeling of home.

Adam tries to keep his distance because he knows he’ll be leaving, but he can’t deny his attraction to Dakota. With the countdown to Christmas on, can Dakota convince Adam that his home is right there in Cherry Lake, with her?

My rating:  1.75 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 would make a great Hallmark movie, it was cheesy and kind of corny and a had a sweet ending. This certainly wasn’t a bad book and I think a lot of people would definitely enjoy it, especially since its set right around the Christmas holiday (which is a great time to fall in love!). For me personally though this book did not do the trick. The main character, Dakota, and even many other women in the novel are very insecure and self-doubting. I understand we all have moments like this but they’re all successful self-employed business owners and I feel like to earn yourself that kind of success you wouldn’t then constantly be downplaying every thing you do like its not good enough. That got to me a little. The descriptions of the interactions between men and women in the book too seemed very old-fashioned in a way that was off-putting to me, specifically when one of the older men in town is trying to talk Dakota into going to have a drink with Adam and afterwards she goes to change. The narration says “Ever since the decision had been taken out of her hands” – you can stop right there, this is not the girl for me. If you want to go that’s fine but don’t say that the decision wasn’t yours to make because that’s pretty ridiculous.

So anyways I don’t want to go on a rant, other than those types of things the book was a cute read and it was exactly the kind of story I’d expect to see on the Hallmark channel during the month before Christmas – heart-warming and sappy. I would recommend it to anyone who’s pining for a good Christmas love story after the holidays 🙂

Link to author website

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2018 Book #11 – The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

51MbMthRSSLTitle: The Things We Wish Were True
Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Date finished: 1/29/18
Genre: Fiction, suspense, thriller
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Pages in book: 290
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:

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

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. This is from my 2016 Backlog list, I read this for the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge for the “a book whose title uses alliteration” category.

This book delved into the minds and lives of a number of different characters in a small town, including a child and a matron of the community. A boy is rescued from the pool one day during the summer, unconscious and unresponsive. The people there too witness the event seem to form a bond over the shared experience but all of them have significant secrets to hide. I think that’s one of the things that bothered me about this book, everyone seemed to be betraying someone and (while its naive) its sad to me to think that people are so deceptive and selfish. All of the characters were so downtrodden and unhappy at different points of the story, it was slightly frustrating to get involved with such flawed (but realistic I guess) characters. That being said, I thought this was such a great story and I love how everything was laid out in the end and all the loose ends got tied up neatly. There were some great plot twists, most of which the reader can see coming due to being able to tie together multiple view points but were still exciting. This was a really good read and I would recommend it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it even after I’d finished it!

 

Link to author website

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2018 Book #10 – The Burial Society by Nina Sadowsky

51j018gCG4LTitle: The Burial Society
Author: Nina Sadowsky
Date finished: 1/28/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 319
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Publisher
NOTE: I received this book for free from the 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:

A woman running from a dark past stumbles upon a tangled nest of seductions and secrets in this psychological thriller of obsession and betrayal.

Catherine, no last name, doesn’t bury the dead. She rescues the living—from intolerable, abusive, dangerous lives. Her darknet-based witness protection program, the Burial Society, is the last hope for people who desperately need to disappear. Catherine takes care of them and provides new identities. She is effective and efficient—until she discovers that her slipup may have compromised a client, maybe even killed her. Powerless to help without exposing her shadowy profession, Catherine makes a drastic move.

With her covert service relocated to Paris, Catherine’s done her best to move on. But when a dark part of her past suddenly appears in the City of Light, she refuses to run—and her life takes a harrowing turn.

Using all the tricks of her unusual trade, Catherine weaves her way through a dangerous landscape of treachery, infidelity, paranoia, and secrets that bind as deeply as blood. But the evil of the enemy she’s pursuing runs deeper still—to the bone. And even Catherine’s most cunning skills may not be enough to save herself.

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.

This book alternates between present day, when Natalie and Jake’s father is found murdered, and three years ago, when Natalie and Jake’s mother, Mallory, disappeared without a trace. The book also alternates between multiple different characters’ points of view, allowing the reader into multiple characters’ thoughts. The author did a great job of transitioning between time frames and mind sets but it was still a lot to keep up, so it did get a bit confusing at times. The plot also was really well done, and there were some great twists and turns in the book. It was just very sad, what happened to pretty much everyone in the book and all the events that occurred. But overall it was a really good story and I enjoyed it a lot.

Catherine was my favorite character in this book. There were some vague references to what had happened to her in her past but I would’ve loved to get more details about her back story. Maybe that will be a sequel

Link to author website

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