2019 Book #43 – The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin

41BKiHPdKILTitle: The Starter Wife
Author: Nina Laurin
Date finished: 7/11/19
Genre: Suspense, psychological thriller
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Pages in book: 307
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
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:

From the bestselling author of Girl Last Seen comes “a spine-tingler” (Booklist) of a psychological suspense, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Jessica Knoll.
 
Local police have announced that they’re closing the investigation of the suspected drowning of 37-year-old painter Colleen Westcott. She disappeared on April 11, 2010, and her car was found parked near the waterfront in Cleveland two days later, but her body has never been found. The chief of police has stated that no concrete evidence of foul play has been discovered in the probe.

I close the online search window, annoyed. These articles never have enough detail. They think my husband’s first wife disappeared or they think she is dead. There’s a big difference.My phone rings, jarring me away from my thoughts, and when I pick it up, it’s an unknown number. The only answer to my slightly breathless hello is empty static.When the voice does finally come, it’s female, low, muffled somehow. “Where is it, Claire? What did you do with it? Tell me where it is.”

A woman. A real flesh-and-blood woman on the other end of the phone. She’s not just in my head.

A wave of panic spreads under my skin like ice water. It’s Colleen.

 

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 sounded very interesting so I was glad to be able to read it. I haven’t read anything by this author before but the premise behind the book sounded like a couple of other thrillers I’ve read and enjoyed. This book had some crazy awesome plot twists and turns that rocked my socks. The main character was definitely flawed and seeing most of the book from her point of view really delves the reader into the extent of her psyche. There were some “holes” that I didn’t think ended up making the most sense but it didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the book. The book was kind of sad but it was really good, some of the plot twists really shocked me. The plot line kept me on the edge of my seat, I didn’t want to put it down.

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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2019 Book #37 – Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor

51oeFmRMi2L.jpgTitle: Rogue Most Wanted
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 6/30/19
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Pages in book: 380
Stand alone or series: #5 in the Cavensham Heiresses 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:

Wanted: an engagement of convenience. Found: A noble suitor.

Raised on a remote Scottish estate by her adoring grandfather, Lady Theodora Worth has inherited an earldom as well as the land itself. But when an upstart duke challenges her claim to the title and the Ladykyrk estate, Thea is suddenly in need of a husband—in name, at least. An elderly neighbor with a thoroughly modern sensibility and a dashing great-nephew just might be the answer to Thea’s prayers. Except she has no intention of marrying the first man she meets. That would be utterly ridiculous.

It just can’t be him. . .

Lord William Cavensham is entirely too devoted to his family’s estate—ever since he was jilted as a lad–to wed, but he agrees to meet the woman his aunt has taken under her wing—and introduce her to possible suitors. But after just one meeting with beautiful, spirited Thea, Will is determined to help her reclaim her title. And even moreso, he can’t stop thinking that perhaps marriage to this bold, passionate woman may be the one thing he’s been missing all along?

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’ve read all of the books in the Cavensham Heiresses series up to now and I was interested to hear William’s story. William was such a dreamy character – he was honorable and stalwart and swoon-worthy. And he had such a loving and supportive family, most of which have been featured in a previous book in the series. It was fun to revisit with some of the couples and see their interactions with both Will and Thea. Thea was a fierce woman in her own right, and I loved that the plot was about Thea fighting for her right to her inheritance and how it looked at what a patriarchal society this took place in. Thea was loving, honest, and kind and so much appreciated the gift of Will’s involved and boisterous family. Will and Thea had a little trouble getting together and I got a little frustrated that they couldn’t see what was right in front of them, but it almost turned out just as well that their friendship developed so deeply to start. I really enjoyed this book, it was a romantic and interesting story and I’d recommend it!

I also think it’s interesting that the next book is about Avalon and Devan since Avalon was disparaged in this novel – I’m excited to see how her character turns around and the different layers to her story.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #35 – The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor

51xfHg4LizLTitle: The Good, the Bad, and the Duke
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 6/4/19
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Pages in book: 364
Stand alone or series: #4 in the Cavensham Heiresses 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 lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied, in The Good, The Bad, and The Duke by Janna MacGregor.

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

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 read this as part of my Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge: 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR checking off line #27 – a book you meant to read in 2018. Especially since I’ll need to read the next book in the series within the next month, I was really wishing I had read this book in 2018!

The characters and emotions of this story really draw in the reader. Daphne was very obviously devoted to Paul and it was so touching to see the extent of her feelings for him. And Paul’s character was perfectly dangerous – like the historical “bad boy.” The story line ended up getting a little cliched towards the end for me but overall it was a sweet and romantic story and I enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series this month.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #34 – Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot

41vGuBSXnaLTitle: Bridal Boot Camp
Author: Meg Cabot
Date finished: 6/1/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Pages in book: 51
Stand alone or series: Related to another upcoming release of hers, No Judgments
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:

Looking for a tropical escape?

Welcome to Little Bridge, one of the smallest—and most beautiful—islands in the Florida Keys, home to sandy white beaches, salt-rimmed margaritas, stunning sunsets, and some of the quirkiest—but also kindest and most resourceful—people you’ll ever meet.

Physical trainer Roberta “Rob” James moved to Little Bridge hoping she’d found paradise, but things haven’t turned out quite as she’d hoped. The closest Rob has come to her “happily ever after” is happy hour at the Mermaid Café with her buddy Bree, the bartender slash waitress who’s got romance problems of her own.

But Rob’s situation suddenly changes when sheriff’s deputy Ryan Martinez accidentally enrolls in her bridal boot camp class. Turning mush into metal in time for the big day is Rob’s passion (because even the happiest bride could use a little toning).

But what happens when a guy who’s all mush meets a girl who’s all metal?

They discover they have a lot to learn . . . about each other, themselves, and the island paradise they’ve come to call home.

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 love love love Meg Cabot’s books. And while this was a short (very) story, it was still cute and interesting. It’s meant to lead into the next full length novel she has coming out later this year, No Judgments. I thought this novel was a tad lacking in Cabot’s distinctive humor and style, although it’s hard to pack enough humor into a short 51 pages. I’m looking forward to reading her novel coming out later this year and seeing where this story leads us!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #30 – My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

51dnsu+ESALTitle: My Favorite Half-Night Stand
Author: Christina Lauren
Date finished: 5/20/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Pages in book: 385
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:

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

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 read this during Bout of Books 25 but I also read this as part of my Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge: 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR checking off line #16 – a book by two or more authors.

I’ve loved the last couple novels I’ve read by Christina Lauren (technically a pen name for two authors writing together) and I had been approved to read this title last year but ran out of time. This book had Lauren’s signature humor – I laughed out loud and was still struck by the emotions evident within the story lines and between the characters. This wasn’t my favorite of the plot lines from what I’ve read of Lauren’s books (Millie was a little dishonest for me) but I still really enjoyed it. I loved Reid’s character, and I loved how well he and Millie interacted with each other and how their relationship and chemistry were so intense. Their group of friends were so funny too and the antics they got into were immensely entertaining. I always love how much joy I get out of reading Lauren’s books – they are light and easy to read and they lighten the burden on me that at times is reality. I’d definitely recommend this book, as well as any of the other ones I’ve read by this author so far!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #27 – The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

5124XuOubiL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Date finished: 5/13/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Kiss Quotient 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:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

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.

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I have heard a lot about this author since her last release, The Kiss Quotient. I was excited to check out her most recent release and I’m so glad I got the chance to read this one! It’s so good, I read the whole thing in a day because I just couldn’t put it down! This book was so entertaining – Khai as a main character was super funny and endearing. I loved the chemistry between Esme and Khai too – it was emotional and intense, but at the same time so very sweet. I especially appreciated that the author wrote the story from both Khai and Esme’s points of view. I have found that reading pieces from both points of view allows readers to see into each character’s mindset and understand both of their character development better. I loved all the side characters too, Quan and Michael’s interactions with Khai were especially entertaining. And I didn’t even realize that Michael was the main character in the author’s first book, The Kiss Quotient, and now I can’t wait to read that one too! There were some kind of cheesy parts to this book, and the ending came together a little quickly for me. I thought that the author could’ve lingered in the resolution to the story a little but who knows. I really enjoyed this book, it was so good that I immediately wanted to start reading it again. I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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