2018 Book #70 – Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

51fPxsHhIwLTitle: Jane Doe
Author: Victoria Helen Stone
Date finished: 8/14/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller, psychological suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: August 1, 2018
Pages in book: 267
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:

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

My rating:  5.0 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 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Start & Finish 2 ARCs in August” box (I’ve technically finished 6 at this point but I’m being strategic with my boxes and 6 is more than 2).

I hope to goodness that someone makes a movie out of this one. #1 it would be amazing (if they did it correctly). #2 this book rocked and I just loved it. Jane as a character was cold-blooded and vengeful, which fit her story in every way possible. There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about this book. Stephen was the perfect villain, someone you love to hate and who gets worse with each turn of the page. He was absolutely a pompous ass and a completely horrible person. Building up so much hatred for him throughout the book just made the ending that much more amazing. This book had one of the best endings I’ve experienced, an immensely satisfying experience for the readers as we vicariously live through Jane’s journey to get the perfect revenge. I couldn’t put this book down but at the same time I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t even mind that Jane was a sociopath, it almost made it more amusing – there were a lot of very dry humor and logical observations about Stephen the asshole. I also thought Jane’s commentary on the cat was funny, calling it a fellow sociopath and all. Honestly this book was a great read and I’d highly recommend it, especially for anyone who likes to see a villain’s complete annihilation.

Link to author website

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

Advertisements

2018 Book #63 -One Wedding, Two Brides by Heidi Betts

51rKq75qdXLTitle: One Wedding, Two Brides
Author: Heidi Betts
Date finished: 7/25/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: July 23, 2018
Pages in book: 263
Stand alone or series: Fairy Tale Brides series #1
Where I got the book from: Author’s Pal
NOTE: I received this book for free from Author’s Pal 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:

Jilted bride Monica Blair can’t believe it when she wakes up next to a blue-eyed, smooth-talking cowboy in the middle of nowhere and with a ring on her finger. It had sounded like a great plan at the time. Get married, get revenge, and get her money back. So why is she cleaning out stables and trying to keep her hands off the hot cowboy helping her?

Ryder Nash would have bet his best Stetson that you’d never see him walk down the aisle. But when the city girl with pink-streaked hair and a frog tattoo hatches a plan to expose the conman who married his sister, no idea is too crazy. And even though Monica might be the worst rancher’s wife he’s ever seen, he can’t stop thinking about the wedding night they never had.

What was supposed to be a temporary marriage for revenge is starting to feel a little too real…

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 be sure to check out my Blog Tour post on this book!

I thought the cover on this book was so cute and fun, it really attracted me to want to pick up the book. This was an ok romance novel, it was a solid story and would make a good beach read. Ryder and Monica were both sweet and fun, they were super cute together. This was a fun and light-hearted read, just like the cover leads us to believe! There was a but more mush than I usually care for, but there definitely was romance. This was a pretty good read and I would recommend checking it out if you like a light-hearted cowboy romance.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #105 – The Rebel of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

510nfh8ppl-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: The Rebel of Clan Kincaid
Author: Lily Blackwood
Date finished: 11/8/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Highland Warrior series #2
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 IS A BATTLEFIELD
Since childhood, Magnus has been led to believe he is the Laird Alwyn’s bastard, and raised to hate the Clan Kincaid. But when he learns he is without a doubt the son of the murdered Laird Kincaid, his life as he has always known it is shattered. Now, hiding his knowledge and his fury, he returns to Burnbryde Castle, awaiting the chance to strike against the man whose treachery robbed him of his legacy. His first act of rebellion: to steal a kiss from the redheaded beauty who’s betrothed to the Alwyn’s eldest son and heir.
Since her arrival at Burnbryde, Tara Iverach has been confined to a tower to guard her virtue before she marries. But after a surprise embrace with a lean, bare-chested Highlander who claims to be the Alwyn’s oldest son, she can’t contain her excitement over her good fate. Unfortunately, he is the wrong eldest son, and she is set to marry his cruel and lecherous half brother, Hugh. Can Magnus conquer his rivals and claim his Kincaid destiny before the woman who’s captured his heart becomes his sworn enemy’s bride?

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 picks up right where the first book in the series left off, right after Niall discovered that Elspeth’s friend Magnus is not really the Alwyn’s bastard but his lost brother, Faelan. After the “battle” that left both their parents dead, the three brothers were split up, with the hope that at least one could survive to carry on the Clan Kincaid. Magnus had no idea who he really was though and is now full of anger and hatred at the life that was taken from him. He continues on with his life as normal in the the Alwyn clan, looking for a way to extract his revenge. The Alwyn has aligned himself with the Earl of Buchan, a son of the king. Buchan’s ward, Tara Iverach, has been living in a priory for the last five years but now is betrothed to the Alwyn’s son, Hugh. Hugh is quite the despicable human being though and Tara is so desperate to escape her fate that she asks for Magnus’ help. But with a battle with Buchan and the Alwyn versus the Kincaid quickly approaching, can Magnus extract his revenge and also keep Tara safe?
Overall I really liked this book. I was so psyched at the end of the first book when we found out that Magnus is in fact Niall’s brother, it was a great plot twist. I’m dying to find out if the third brother is still alive and where he’s been all these years. And I’m glad some justice was finally served – the Alwyn and Buchan are total asshats and I loved the sense of justice that’s instilled at the end of the book. And I just loved Tara’s character, she was so strong and brave. There are a few deaths in the book and some of the mentality of the characters can be a bit brutal, but that is fairly expected of a book about the Highlands. There was one question that kind of bugged me after the book ended that I didn’t feel was really resolved: Why would Tara’s parents have left the Buchan named as ward for her and her sister when he was so obviously a selfish asshat? Other than that, this was a great book and a great continuation of the series/story line. I can’t wait for book #3 so I can find out about the youngest son. I would recommend this one as well as The Beast of Clan Kincaid.

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, I was hooked after the first book in the series, I can’t wait to find out what happened to the third brother! Good story line for this one too, little dark since a bunch of people die but still really good.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #62 – The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis

51QOBycgsIL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Girl Who Came Back
Author: Susan Lewis
Date finished: 6/13/16
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Pages in book: 400
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 Jules Bright hears a knock on the door, the last person she expects to find is a detective bringing her the news she’s feared for the last three years.
Amelia Quentin is being released from prison.
Jules’s life now is very different from the one she knew before Amelia shattered it completely. Knowing the girl is coming back, Jules must decide what to do. Friends and family gather around, fearing for Jules’s safety. They know that justice was never served; each of them wants to make the Quentin girl pay.
The question is: What will Jules do?
And which of them—she or Amelia—has the most to fear?

My rating:  3.5 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 book tells the story of Jules Bright. When we are first introduced to her there are many subtle hints to the reader that she is still recovering from a traumatic event, though we don’t find out for quite a while into the book what actually happened. This was one of the things that frustrated me as I thought it was a little too far into the story but at the same time this is a good tactic to increase the reader’s tension. After we’re first introduced to Jules, the book alternated between the present day and Jules’ memories of her past that led up to the present point. I have to be honest in that these transitions between memories and present day were not always 100% clear to me and I didn’t always know how much time had passed since the last memory, so it was hard to coordinate a timeline in my head. It was confusing at first but it did seem to get better/easier as the book went on. So anyways, the book is (for the most part) about Jules Bright and her husband, Kian, and their family. Other characters are mentioned early in the book, before the reader is even properly introduced to them, and this also added to the confusion I felt at first. I pieced it together eventually though.
Overall I liked this book ok. It was hard for me to get into the story, I felt like the beginning confused me enough that I almost wanted to give up. But once I got into the meat of the story it was much easier to get through. There is a murder in the book (I won’t tell you who because that would ruin a great plot point) and while it didn’t make me dislike the book, the description of the murder is pretty grisly. Definitely not for the faint of heart! Other than those things I already mentioned, I thought the book was quite good. Once I was about midway through the book, I didn’t want to put it down. And the author was able to evoke a lot of emotion from me, especially anger at Amelia. The ending was left a little bit open in my consideration but I like to think that justice was served. I would recommend this one for summer reading.

The bottom line: This was an ok book for me. It had some points with great amounts of tension but overall this one just wasn’t my favorite. I would still recommend it for summer reading with the warning that it has a grisly murder and is a tad confusing at first.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #52 – Wicked Whispers by Tina Donahue

61AEh1qCkUL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Wicked Whispers
Author: Tina Donahue
Date finished: 5/25/16
Genre: Erotic historical
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Pages in book: 222
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Dangerous Desires 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:

Follow the heart through darkness . . .
As the Inquisition gains force, even the faintest rumor can brand one a heretic. In this world it is Sancha’s gift–or curse–to be blessed with the gift of healing. But the villagers are in need of her arts more than ever, and she feels it is her duty to help them at the risk of losing her life. And at the sacrifice of her heart . . .
Enrique has never wanted a woman as he does Sancha. Determined to have her love, he woos her with exquisite passion, giving her refuge to pursue her healing in secret. But their very desire and escape from the ruthless forces of the world may be their undoing. And together, they must pit themselves against a jealous rival and archaic tradition to secure their place in a hopeful new dawn . . .

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 was invited to read this title through NetGalley and though I don’t usually read novels in this particular genre I decided to give it a try. This book was set in the late 1480’s in Andalusia, Spain. This book is the second in a series by this author, the series so far has featured two sisters from the same family. This book is about Sancha Lopez de Lara, sister to Isabella who was featured in the first book. Sancha is a healer and spends much of her time studying medical journals, which was actually quite dangerous during that time period due to the Inquisition. Regardless of the danger, she spent her time helping those less fortunate, that is until she meets Enrique. She feels an attraction to Enrique unlike anything she’s ever felt before, but he wants her to give up her healing practice to make sure that she’ll stay safe. While she loves Enrique, this isn’t something she wants to consider as she feels an obligation to use her knowledge to help those in need, no matter the cost of herself. When Sancha’s life is threatened by rumors though, Enrique will do whatever it takes to protect her.
Overall I liked this book more than I expected to. I don’t usually read erotic novels because, well, I’m kind of a prude I guess. And there’s a generalization that novels in this genre have no plot line, are just about sex, and for the most part are not meant for recreational reading but for something a little more… involved. To go on a little rant, that’s always been one of the things that frustrated me most in people’s assumptions about romance novels. I think a lot of people confuse romance novels with erotic novels, because they think people are reading romance novels for the sex scenes. No everyone is different but honestly there aren’t usually an overwhelming amount of sex scenes in romance novels. There are a couple (maybe) but the main point of romance novels isn’t sex its emotions, like love. The point of erotic novels is (for the most part) sex. The plot line tends to focus around the main characters’ lust. And while this book did focus a lot on sex, there was an actual plot line and it turned out to be quite interesting. I did find some of the conversations and scenes to be somewhat awkward or they felt forced, but the drama in the last few pages was interesting and felt real. I love revenge plots so the ending of this book really grabbed me. This isn’t the type of book that I would normally pick out for myself to read, but it turned out to be an ok read. There was a lot of commentary about women being obedient to man, which didn’t particularly appeal to me but it was fitting for the time. This isn’t really a genre that usually appeals to me but if you like books in this genre or even if you like historical romances with steamy sex scenes, this book would be a good read for you!

The bottom line: This book wasn’t really one that I would have picked on my own. It had a solid plot line and was ok but probably isn’t something I would read again. If you like erotic novels or even historical romance, this book may interest you. Also if you like a hero that lived during a time when a woman was supposed to be super obedient then this book may interest you.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #38 – White Hot by Sandra Brown — PLUS Movie Review!!

51Gi0Iy4cvL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_Title: White Hot
Author: Sandra Brown
Date finished: 4/23/16
Genre: Fiction, romantic suspense
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2004
Pages in book: 419
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Amazon – purchased

Blurb from the cover:

When she hears that her younger brother Danny has committed suicide, Sayre Lynch relents from a vow never to return to Destiny, her small Louisiana hometown. Planning to leave immediately after the funeral, Sayre instead finds herself drawn into the web cast by Huff Hoyle, her controlling and tyrannical father, who owns the town’s sole industry and, with her older brother, runs the lives of everyone who lives there. But underneath the Hoyles’ rigid control, trouble is brewing. Old hatreds foster plans for revenge, past crimes resurface, and a maverick deputy sheriff determines that Danny’s death was not suicide. Tensions mount, threatening to ignite a powder keg of long-held hostility.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my Book Riot 2016 Read Harder reading challenge, marking off the “read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie and debate which was better” since that is exactly what I did. So if you read my blog you know that overall I am definitely a fan of Sandra Brown. Her novels are always enthralling, drawing me in from the first page. I try to only read her books on my days off or vacation days because I know once I start reading it I won’t be able to put it down. So when I saw that one of her books was being made into a movie on the Hallmark channel, well my gosh I was ecstatic. Unfortunately I don’t get the specific channel on my house that it was being aired on, but luckily my mom does and was nice enough to tape it for me! I finished the book Saturday and then watched the movie. The book (and the movie) are about the Hoyle family and all their drama. The book is full of revenge, deception, murder, and ultimately some romance.
Overall I liked this book a lot. I don’t think it was one of my favorites of Brown’s but as always she crafts a masterful story. There aren’t many authors that I read where there are plot twists that I don’t see coming but Brown always seems to catch me unaware. While I really liked the book, the movie just did not hold up to what I expected after reading the book. There were so many plot points from the book that didn’t make it into the movie that it almost would have been better had I watched the movie without ever reading the book. It was pretty much 2 different stories. I was really disappointed how different Sayre was in the book and the movie. In the book she was portrayed as this bad-ass red head who had survived a lot to become the successful person she was today. But the Sayre from the movie pretty much just cried all the whole time, it was awful. I was so much looking forward to the movie version of a good book but I ended up just being disappointed.

The bottom line: This was a great read. There were definitely some plot twists I did not see coming and the ending was what I wanted though it was slightly abrupt. The movie honestly was such a let down. It was almost nothing like the book, while most of the words were similar they were told in a different location and in a different order and some of the plot points are just completely skewed and half of them are missing. I would recommend the book definitely but would probably say skip the movie.

Link to author website

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

2015 Book #88 – Friction by Sandra Brown

51-iNctMrSL

Title: Friction
Author: Sandra Brown
Date finished: 8/18/15
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Pages in book: 416
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:

Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to deskwork and with his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.
Holly, ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford’s obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet.
But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat.
Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them.
FRICTION will keep you on the edge of your seat with breathtaking plot twists and the unforgettable characters that make Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors. It is an extraordinary novel about the powerful ties that bind us to the ones we love and the secrets we keep to protect them.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for ARC August reading challenge, it is #9 on list from my sign up post. I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I am a HUGE fan of Sandra Brown’s books, one of my first posts ever on my blog I talked about her book Deadline that I had read in 2013. There was a huge plot twist in the end that I never saw coming and it just floored me. I think that was my main issue, because Deadline really took my so much by surprise I was sitting through most of this book waiting for the other shoe to drop and for there to be that WTF moment and it happened but it wasn’t the shocker that I thought it would be. So I finished the book almost like still waiting for something more to happen instead of just enjoying what I was reading. So I guess my advice with this book is just to enjoy it and not look too much into the story because it is a good story but if you think too hard you’re going to make it harder for yourself to enjoy it.
Anyways so this book was about Judge Holly Spencer and Crawford Hunt, a Texas Ranger who is petitioning for custody of his daughter (Georgia) from the girl’s grandparents. I guess when Georgia was still a baby, her mom died and then Crawford came like unhinged and the grandparents had to take care of the baby for awhile and now they don’t want to give her back. Which honestly is one of the few things I ended up not liking about this book. Crawford’s father-in-law Joe was like a complete jerk to him and thought he should’ve gotten more of what was coming to him than he did. Crawford so obviously loved that little girl I don’t understand why Grace and Joe were trying to keep her from her own father, it still makes me mad just thinking about it. Moving on, Holly was the judge deciding whether Georgia would be returned to her father or not. But before Holly made her decision, a freaky scary guy came into the courtroom and started shooting up the place. Crawford helps to save Holly’s life and then from there we have to try and figure out who the shooter was.
Overall I really liked this book, it had a great story line and it was a quick read for me even though it was a fairly long book. I really just love how Brown draws you into the story and you just have to know what’s going to happen so you keep reading (even if its way past your bedtime). Her books are continually ones that I end up with book hangovers because I just can’t ever seem to get to a point where I can put it down and go to sleep. This book was another good one of hers, though I have to be honest Deadline is still my favorite I’ve read of hers so far. The tension between Holly and Crawford literally crackles and you can feel the magnetic pull between the two. No matter how hard they try to fight it, they are drawn to each other time and again. This book will keep you on your toes through the end!

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this book, I was hooked into the story from the beginning. It was a good suspense, I wouldn’t say it is my favorite written by this author but it is a good book! I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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