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Women by Charles Bukowski #fiction #classics #bookreviewer

Susanne’s Review:

In Women, Bukowski as Henry Chinaski details a life lived to excess.  From sexualizing women to excessive drinking and gambling.  Pleasing himself is his only concern.  Vulgar, rude, and crude, Chinaski is his own man.

This book is repetitive beyond all get out and will get on your every nerve and yet you can’t help but continue reading.  

Afraid of his feelings, he runs from them and instead finds comfort in the arms of other women, which I admit to finding both funny and sad.  

Emotionally abused as a child, Bukowski never learned how to love or treat others respectfully.  Drinking to excess and pushing all boundaries is how he deals with life and everyone in it.  While he rejected social norms, I admit to questioning his reasons.  While living life to the fullest is what made him happy, the fact that his addiction was borne out of the abuse he suffered as a child, admittedly made me sad.

Learning more about the man who is supposed to be a prolific writer, is what has made me delve into these books. Unfortunately, the writing style in this one did not quite win me over.  It was extremely choppy, repetitive, and appeared to simply be a collection of Bukowski’s conquests as detailed through the character of Henry Chinaski.  

I have one additional book on my list to read before I look into a few of his poems.  We shall see.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this book.

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The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood @EverSoAli @BerkleyPub @NetGalley #romcom #contemporaryfiction #womensfiction #bookreviewers

Susanne’s Review:

Bring on those Warm Fuzzy Feelings!

The Love Hypothesis has it all, fake dating, friendship, all the feels, and Chemistry Galore!  

When Olive Smith gets herself into a bind and needs to find a fake boyfriend fast, she locks lips with a Grad School Professor.  Not just any Professor, but Adam Carleson, the hottest professor on staff, who is known for being an a$$ to everyone, except for Olive.  When they lock lips, SPARKS fly.  Thereafter, they agree to “fake date,” which is mutually beneficial to both of them, for different reasons.

Smart, funny, and witty, this rom-com got my attention and was close to perfect.  Truth be told, it was absolutely fabulous, except for one scene that had me blushing, covering my eyes and skimming through the pages.

A buddy read with Kaceey had us both smiling and left us wishing and hoping.  

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the arc.

Kaceey’s Review:

What a fun sweet rom-com. 

Definitely one of my favorites for this year!

Olive Smith is working on her Ph.D. With little to her name and only a couple of close friends, all her time is devoted to lab work. But when Olive tries to ensure her friend Anh that she has no interest in Jeremy, Anh won’t believe her. Leaving Olive no choice but to take drastic measures. She grabs the first man she sees in the hall outside the lab and kisses him! This way Anh will see that Olive has a completely different love interest.

But the man she ends up kissing is one of the professors known for his grumpiness and bad attitude! Great! There goes Olive’s career in science!🤦🏻‍♀️

But an idea forms that maybe they can help each other by entering a “fake relationship”.

I loved Olive and how she always puts everyone before herself. She was a lonely young woman with a heart of gold.

I even warmed up to Adam. 

The tall dark and brooding professor. 

I think he’s just misunderstood!😜

It is a spicy 🌶 🌶 rom-com! So word of warning…be prepared for some heat along the way!

A buddy read with Susanne. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing.

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Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente @catvalente @NetGalley #macmillan-tor/forge #thriller #fiction #mystery #bookreviewers #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

Well….. I’m really at a loss for words. 😬

This was one of the strangest, most bizarre books I have ever read! Like ever!😂

Did I enjoy it…. Umm…yes…sort of.

Did I hate it…. Well yes, that too!

Did it leave me speechless…absolutely!

Sophia is living her best life. 

She couldn’t be happier. She lives in the most exclusive neighborhood. And her husband is is everything she dreamed of. She feels she was made for him.  

But hey does everyone keep asking her if she is happy? Careful how you answer that question Sophia! 

Do I recommend this book? 

Maybe?😉💁🏻‍♀️

A super-fast buddy read with Susanne!

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Tor/Forge

Susanne’s Review:

Well, that was Wild!

Comfort Me with Apples might just be the Weirdest, Wildest, Strangest Book I have ever read.  

Engaging, Interesting, and Wholly Captivating, this is one storyline that is wholly new, refreshing, and to be frank, eye-popping!

At first, I wasn’t even sure what I was reading and once it all came to light, well, my first reaction was WTF!  

Yep, you heard me right, I thought, WTF is this?!  

Sophia is married and living in Arcadia Gardens with her husband.  Everything is perfectly perfect.  Why wouldn’t it be?  Her husband is away all of the time for work and they miss each other a lot, but their lives and their love for each other is perfect.  

Sophia however questions things from time to time.  Not that she questions things aloud, she wouldn’t dare!  Such things are not allowed.  

This sounds kind of like The Stepford Wives doesn’t it?  What I can tell you is that the premise is nothing like it.  It is in fact, freaking cuckoo crazy and if it’s on your tbr, you’re in for a wild ride.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey that left us both reeling.

Kudos to Catherynne M. Valente for coming up with something so utterly refreshing. You definitely beat all.

Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Nachos For Dinner by Dan Whalen @WorkmanPub #cookbook #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

Happy hour anyone?

What’s your favorite bar snack? Well… since margaritas are one of my favorites drinks it only makes sense that Nachos would be the perfect pairing!

Now maybe you aren’t quite ready to head out in the world and deal with crowded restaurants. I have the perfect solution for you!

Nachos at home!💃

This book will give you the step by step recipes for your most traditional nachos all the way to the over the top “seriously…that’s a nacho”?!

For example….

Chicken and waffle nachos

Shrimp and grits nachos

Apple pie nachos

You get the idea! Anything imaginable can be made into Nachos For Dinner.

Grab you margarita and your imagination…. And dig in!

Thank you to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company

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Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis @LisforLia @AtriaBooks @NetGalley #womensfiction #contemporaryromance #fiction #bookbloggers

Susanne’s Review:

Do you Believe in Kismet?

I can’t really say that I do, but Eight Perfect Hours gave me pause.

The night Noelle Butterby gets stranded on the motorway her life changes in an instant.  As a blizzard hits and the road closes, Noelle starts to panic.  Once her phone dies things go from bad to worse, that is until someone taps on her car window.

Enter Sam Attwood.  A very attractive American who is also stranded on the motorway.  When Sam notices Noelle’s distress, his first instinct is to help.  

With no end in sight, Sam and Noelle decide to pass the time together, talking, laughing, and sharing stories.  

Once Eight Perfect hours pass, however, both think that’s it – yet neither can forget the other.  The reason?  Kismet.

That’s right, I said Kismet.  As in FATE, Destiny.. the whole nine yards.  An unbreakable connection that exists between two people regardless of where life takes them.

Believable, heartfelt, sweet, and genuine, Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis is a novel that will carry you away and give you hope, when you need it most.  While I thought it was a tad unrealistic, I adored it and admit to hoping such relationships existed in real life.  

A fabulously sweet buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Kaceey’s Review:

You know how sometimes you just need a feel-good book to reboot your heart after a long week (month…year)? Well, this fit the bill perfectly.

Noelle just left her class reunion sad and frustrated. A blizzard unexpectedly interrupted the festivities that were to include the opening and retrieval of items from a time capsule.

Leaving the party, Noelle finds herself stuck in her car on a snowy highway. With her phone dead, she has no way to contact her family.

In the next car is a handsome American named Sam. who comes to Noelle’s rescue and the two spend the next eight perfect hours together until the roads are cleared.

Will Noelle and Sam ever see each other again? Did fate bring them together? Or was this just a chance meeting… like two ships passing in the night?

This was such a sweet and heartwarming read that I just lost myself in. I loved Noelle and felt for her predicament of having to choose between her family or herself.

The author opens the book with the proverb regarding the invisible red thread. (Are you familiar with it?) 

It is a beautiful adage that tugs on my heart every time I read it.❤️❤️

This was my second read by Lia Louis and I adored this book as much as her previous Dear Emmie Blue. 

I cannot wait for her next.

A buddy read with Susanne

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books.

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Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby @blacklionking73 @Flatironbooks #blacktopwasteland #fiction #crimedrama #libraryloan #bookreviewer #bookblogger

Susanne’s Review:

A Slow Burning Character Driven Suspenseful Crime Drama that will have you holding onto the seat of your pants!

What can I say about Blacktop Wasteland that hasn’t already been said?!  The writing here is stellar and the characterizations are brilliant.  

Beauregard (Bug) Montage is a character with heart.  A family man who cares about taking care of his own about all else.  A man who is the best at what he does and has no fear.

When money is tight and he desperately needs to find a way to survive, an opportunity arises that Bug simply can’t pass up.  Though the consequences are dire, Bug has no fear.  

For those of you who are like me and are late to this party, when you settle in to read this, put everything else aside. You won’t regret it.  Kudos to S.A. Crosby for writing such a captivating, hard hitting, novel.  

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this book to read and review. Thank you also to my book buddy Kaceey who already read this one and convinced me to read it.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

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The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish @louise_candlish @AtriaBooks @NetGalley #thriller #mystery #fiction #blogtour #bookreviewers #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

Jamie has taken a job somewhat below his skill set (at least his partner Clare thinks so). All the same, Jamie is happy working the cafe with not a care in the world. Well, except his commute. But that’s about to change!

Jamie and Clare befriend a young couple Kit and Melia hoping it will bring back a spark to the partnership and perhaps life.  

Jamie and Kit start commuting into the city together on a riverboat. Perhaps a drink on the boat on the way home. Maybe even a second one at the pub once back on dry ground.

But when Kit vanishes all eyes turn to Jamie. After all, he was the last person seen with Kit. And witnesses say they weren’t exactly getting along!

This is the third book I’ve read by Louise Candlish. And I must admit I’m a bit hit and miss with her work. Though this latest falls right down the middle.

None of the characters are very likable. But that worked well in this case.  

I enjoyed the premise and writing. And though I had some of the storyline figured out, the author was still able to throw in a few surprises for me. Thank you!

A buddy read with Susanne

Thank you to Megan Rudloff at Atria Books via Netgalley

Susanne’s Review:

Money. It’s What Some People Have and Others Want. When it Comes to Relationships, and the Impact it has on them, Well, it Can be a Doozy!

Jamie and his partner Clare have been together for what seems like forever. Now middle-aged, they live the high life, thanks to Clare, who inherited a fortune. Jamie used to work a high-powered job until something happened. Ever since, he’s worked in a coffee shop, much to Clare’s chagrin. Unable to take the tube to work, he decides to take the riverboat and it is there that he meets a whole host of new friends: Kit, Gretchen, and Steve.

Kit and his girlfriend Melia are in their twenties and struggle to make ends meet. Living beyond their means, these two are desperate for something beyond their reach. Melia is young, gorgeous, and if truth be told, devious among other things.

When Kit begins taking the riverboat with Jamie the two hit it off.

Pretty soon, a friendship of sorts forms between the two couples, odd as it seems, given the disparity between them.

It’s smashing at first until it’s not. One morning Kit doesn’t show up for the riverboat. It is then that the police are waiting to question Jamie. And so it all unravels.

Surprise, surprise.

Secrets and lies, here they come.

A few are quite predictable and a few, well, ha, a few, they got me.

A somewhat suspenseful mystery suspense that was a tad slow in the beginning and picked up the pace at the tail end, “The Other Passenger” is yet another winner by Louise Candlish that I highly recommend.

Another buddy read with Ms. Kaceey that gave us lots to discuss.

Thank you to Megan Rudloff, Atria Books, and Louise Candlish for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Cause Of Death by Jeffery Deaver @JefferyDeaver @NetGalley #fiction #bookblogger #bookreview

Kaceey’s Review:

How well do you really know your spouse?

Jon thought he knew his wife Patience. (Or his pet name for her – Pax). But he is soon to discover that there may be pieces of her last that she kept from him.

Jon heard the news that his wife Pax was killed in an accident on a mountain road. Her car drove off the shoulder and tumbled down the embankment. The police are quick to say it was an accident. But Jon believes there must be something more. He thinks she may have been murdered! But who would kill his wife? And why?

This was a super quick short story that I read in only a sitting. I was intrigued right from the start what secrets would unfold.

This would have made for a great full length book with the characters given more time to develop. But Jeffrey Deaver provides enough depth to give you the connection you need.

I’ve read most every book written by this author and he never disappoints!

Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Original Stories.

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Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert @TaliaHibbert @HarperAudio #rom-com #fiction #romance #bookblogger #bookreview

Kaceey’s Review:

The heat is on!🔥🔥

Eve has watched her sisters Dani and Chloe become successful in their professional lives as well as in love. But Eve can’t seem to get herself going. Failing at most everything she tries. Nothing seems to fit for her.

Her parents finally give her an ultimatum. She needs to venture out and find a job and live on her own or they will cut her off financially.

Ok! It’s time for Eve to start living! While taking a drive she comes across a B&B in need of a new chef. Well, Eve loves to cook so why not! Only as desperate as Jacob is to fill the position, he’s reluctant to give Eve a try.

But when Eve breaks his arm (an accident folks!) Jacob has no choice but to hire her to help him run the B&B. But he doesn’t have to like it…

Definitely my favorite of the series.

This was a fabulous addition to an incredibly well written series. I just loved Eve and how unapologetic she was. Even though her inner voice may be telling her she was a mess, she always showed how tough she really was.

Talia Hibbert has created three sisters that exemplify strength, a strong sense of womanhood and self confidence. I think any woman reading this series can take something positive away from any of these sisters.

I listened to the audio version. (Which I have for all three books in this series). And highly recommend that format.

Thank you to libro.fm for a 🎧 copy to listen and review.

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This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith @LeesaCrossSmith #fiction #contemporaryfiction #bookreview #libraryloan

Susanne’s Review:

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes, well, you might find

You get what you need

  • The Rolling Stones, Let it Bleed, 1969

The Day Tallie Clark drives by a bridge and sees a man standing on it precariously, her senses tell her to take action. Stopping the car, she immediately rushes to his side. The fact that it’s pouring rain doesn’t phase her. All that matters is him. Somehow, Tallie convinces him to step down and join her for a cup of coffee and that moment changes everything.

Befriending Emmett and even inviting him into her home, the two form a bond, an unbreakable one you might say, formed over a weekend. Though technically Tallie saves Emmett, the two end up helping each other more than they know.

Going into this novel, I truly had no idea what to expect. I knew that several of my Goodreads friends had read it and loved it so I added it to my library queue and here we are. At first, I was surprised and honestly found this storyline to be a bit shocking and over the top. I can’t honestly see a scenario where a woman would invite a strange man to stay in her home. To me, this seems wholly implausible, and yet, I kept going as something about this was also compelling and endearing to boot. Tallie, extending this invitation, and Emmett, accepting. Each and every one of their interactions gave me hope.  

Powerful, impactful, and thought-provoking, This Close to Okay, packs a punch. 

As a disclaimer, this novel covered some extremely heavy-duty topics: suicide, grief, adultery, divorce, infertility, adoption, therapy, family, friendship, love and mental health (to name a few) and it did with grace.

If you’re looking for a novel that will give you exactly what you need, and then some, this is it.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this stellar novel.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes #caroline kepnes #you #mystery #suspense #fiction #thriller #bookblogger

Susanne’s Review:

Oh Joe, Say it isn’t So!

After having liked “You” and found Joe’s crazy antics to be wildly entertaining, I had high hopes for “Hidden Bodies”.. Sadly it didn’t quite deliver. 

Why, do you ask?

Joe’s personality was sorely lacking here.  His obsessive personality which was funny and ok, yes I’ll say it, wholly endearing in “You” was missing that “je ne sais quoi”… that special something that made him funny, sarcastic, and likable.  Here, he was simply obsessive, pathetic, and more often than not, boring.

I quickly lost interest and couldn’t wait to be done.  Here’s hoping the next book in the series gets back to the essence that is Joe.

A buddy listen with Kaceey that left us both unsatisfied.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook. 

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

Well, Joe is at it again. 

The poor guy just can’t help himself.

He is quick to fall in love. 

But even faster to seek revenge if he feels betrayed. Careful ladies! He can turn on a dime and will follow you across the country to seek his justice.  

This was a fun addition to the series. And it should really be read in order for you to get the entire picture of Joe.  

And though Joe lacked some of the wit and charm he displayed in book one, I was still rooting for him (sort of). In a twisted kind of way.🤪

I listened to the audio of this book. And highly recommend that version as it adds a whole new dimension to Joe!

Book three of the series, You Love Me is on my shelf calling out to me. Can’t wait to see what Joe has in store for us next!

A buddy read with Susanne.

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Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham @michaelrobotham #suspense #mystery #fiction #bookreviewers #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

This is book 8 of the Joseph O’Laughlan series. And once again Michael Robotham has delivered another great addition to his very popular series. 

As always Joe, a clinical psychologist is drawn into a police investigation despite promising his estranged wife he was done with that line of work. But Joe was left no choice. His reputation is on the line. 

And once Joe commits to something, there is no turning back. Both professionally and personally.

Joe is one of the strongest and most vulnerable characters I have come across. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. And though that has become a big part of his life he refuses to let it beat him. 

What’s important to Joe is his family. He is a devoted father to both his daughters. And he has never stopped loving his wife, even through their separation. Will we see a reconciliation?

No spoilers here.

I listened to the audio version and the narrator does an amazing job with Bringing Joe to life.

A buddy read with Susanne of a series we both love. Up next…The Other Wife!

Susanne’s Review:

I love Joseph O’Loughlin dearly and I always have.  I simply can’t help it. 

This is why, when Kaceey asked me to read the remainder of this series with her, I jumped at the chance, even though I had previously read this book and knew what would happen at the end.  Joseph O’Loughlin has my heart and thankfully, Kaceey likes him too!  

Complex, courageous, fallible, funny, kind, and caring, logical, self-aware, and extremely vulnerable, Joe is a man who loves his family desperately.  Separated from his wife Julianne, he holds out hope for their reconciliation.  

Far from perfect, he admits it. Joe has made a lot of mistakes and has paid for them dearly. Suffering from Parkinson’s, he makes the best of every day. 

It is his perseverance, strength, wit, and his love for his family that makes me love him so.

As a Clinical Psychologist, Joseph O’Loughlin is a profiler who works with the police to hunt down killers. This time, a mother and daughter are brutally killed in their farmhouse and it’s up to Joe to try and figure out who did it.  

A game of cat and mouse that becomes personal.  

A pulse-pounding thriller that ratchets up the suspense.   

A shocking end that changes everything and one that I remembered every second of from my first go-round and which, frankly, I despised.  Nevertheless, I adored diving back into the life of Joseph O’Loughlin, in “Close Your Eyes” and am anxious to see what’s next.  

A buddy listen with Ms. Kaceey, which I’m so glad we finally got to.

Posted on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell @DavidBellNovels @BerkleyPub #thriller #bookblogger #bookreview

Kaceey’s Review:

Every summer I look forward to the latest book by one of my favorite authors. And once again David Bell delivers a fantastic thriller I devoured over the long weekend.

Professor Connor Nye is desperate. He lives in the academic world of publish or perish. And after struggling for years he realizes his time is running out.

Madeline, one of Professor Nye’s very talented students, submits her thesis and vanishes the next day… Connor sees no harm in submitting it to a publisher as his own. I mean… no one will know he didn’t write it… except maybe Madeline! But she’s missing…right?

Oh Connor! You should have known better. It all comes crashing in on him when the premise of the book details an open murder investigation. Now the detectives are knocking on his door.

Can Conner come clean? It would mean losing everything.

As always David Bell writes an exciting thriller that will keep you turning the pages and pointing your finger at everyone.

Though I had a hard time warming up to Connor I enjoyed watching him squirm as his world started to crumble. (Lol! I’m really not that mean!)😂

Already looking forward to next year’s book by David Bell.

Thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Berkley Publishing.

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The Child In The Photo by Kerry Wilkinson @bookouture #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

I have been a huge Kerry Wilkinson fan. But lately… I’m not sure what happened?🤷🏻‍♀️. This is the second book in a row of his that I’ve just struggled to get through. This latest one took me close to a month to read! Yup…a month! And I finally just skimmed to the end just to finish.

The premise was great. Hope receives a newspaper clipping of a baby that went missing. Strangely enough that baby has the same scar on her ear as Hope. Is that photo of her? Could her parents have kidnapped her? Hope is determined to find the truth.

As good as that premise sounded (though not all that original) this book just never grabbed me. I never felt connected to Hope thus had a difficult time following her quest.

There are some great positive reviews for this book so please take a look at those when deciding on this book. I am definitely in the minority here.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture.

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The Book of Magic (Practical Magic, #2) by Alice Hoffman @ahoffmanwriter @simonschuster @netgalley @edelweiss_squad #fiction #literaryfiction #magicalrealism #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Alice Hoffman, you have surpassed my wildest expectations!  

With The Book of Magic, the fourth book in the magic series, Ms. Hoffman has accomplished what I consider to be an impossible feat.  Writing a final installment, that is, in my opinion, better than all prior books in the series.  

I adored The Rules of Magic and Magic Lessons and frankly didn’t think any book could surpass those, yet The Book of Magic did exactly that.  Bravo Ms. Hoffman, Bravo!

Weaving together all prior books, here we have the final book in the Practical Magic series, with

Aunts Jet and Franny Owens, Uncle Vincent, Sally and Gillian, and Sally’s children, Kylie and Antonia.

Troubling times are ahead for the Owens family, though this should not come as a surprise.  The curse that Maria Owens bestowed upon this family still hovers.  

When Jet Owens hears the knocking of the deathwatch beetle, she knows her time is drawing to a close and that a lot of work must be done before she draws her last breath. 

The Rules of Magic of course, still apply here “Do as you will but harm no one, What you will give will be returned to you threefold” and of course, no falling in love. The issue is of course, that Sally Owens has raised her children as if magic does not exist, thus they know nothing of the curse until it strikes. For Kylie Owens, this spells disaster.  

What happens next, is well, pure magic.  

Almost from the start, chills ran down my spine and made my pulse quicken at the predicament the Owens family found themselves in. Racing against time, Franny, Sally, Gillian, and Vincent desperately try to save Kylie and destroy the curse once and for all.  

Written from the heart, The Book of Magic is character-driven fiction, magical realism and literary fiction all rolled into one.  

The Book of Magic is filled with LOVE. Fierce, wicked, and pure. Love is what defines the Owens family and it will prevail.

This is a novel that will most definitely be on my Goodreads best-of-list for 2021. 

To Alice Hoffman, thank you for sharing the Owens family with us for all of these years.  To Hannah, Maria, Faith, Jet, Franny, Vincent, Sally, Gillian, Kylie, and Antonia Owens: You are loved, Always.    

Thank you to Simon & Schuster, Edelweiss, and NetGalley for the arc.

Published on NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

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When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash @WileyCashAuthor @WmMorrowBooks @customhousebks @netgalley #southernfiction #fiction #mystery #bookreviewer

Susanne’s Review:

Simple Brilliance.

The night Sheriff Winston Barnes and his wife Marie are awoken by the sound of a plane flying low overhead, both he and his wife get an eerie feeling.  Upon investigating the incident, and discovering that the plane crashed down in an airfield nearby, he realizes why.  

Sheriff Barnes notices that several things have gone awry, most notably, that there is a body of a local citizen dead next to the plane,  and that he’s been murdered. 

As if tensions weren’t high enough, the mayhem that ensues thereafter makes things go from bad to worse, for the residents, the Sheriff, his wife, and his daughter Colleen, visiting from Texas. 

When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash is a simple, lyrical, multilayered, character-driven novel with heart. It’s Southern fiction that grabbed my attention from the get-go and held it throughout. This being my first novel by Wiley Cash, I had no idea what to expect. That said, I admit to going into this novel with very high expectations, all of which were met.  Mr. Cash’s novels are now on my backlist and I can’t wait to get started.  

Thank you to NetGalley, William Morrow and Custom House, and Wiley Cash for the arc. 

Review to be Published on Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter. 

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A Caller’s Game by J.D. Barker @jdbarker @HamptonCreek @NetGalley @recordedbooks #thriller #suspense #mystery #bookreviewer #bookbloggers

Susanne’s Review:

A Fast-Paced Thrill Ride!

Jordan Briggs is a no holds barred satellite radio talk show host. She’s known for taking no prisoners.  Little does she know she’s about to get played and the game is a deadly one.

The minute she takes a call from a man named Bernie, everything changes and I mean everything.  Bernie you see has an agenda, and it’s all about revenge and Jordan is at the top of his list.

Detective Cole is at the right place at the right time, or is it the wrong time?  Once he realizes that Jordan Briggs and her entire crew are in trouble, he takes it upon himself to help.

A suspenseful, fast-paced, full roller coaster of a ride, “A Caller’s Game” kept me glued to the edge of my seat, desperate to get to the end.

The author’s note at the end is not to be missed.

A huge thank you goes to NetGalley, Hampton Creek Press, RB Media/Recorded Books and J.D. Barker for the arc.

A buddy read with Kaceey.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram. 

Kaceey’s Review:

Ready…Set…GO!

Jordan Briggs is a very controversial radio host. A rising star with a huge following.. Jordan won’t hold back! She tells it like she sees it! 

But what happens when someone calls into her show and wants to play a game? Could be fun? Higher ratings? Or… it could end up being a deadly mistake!

Right from the start, this book is nonstop action! And it doesn’t let up until the final chapter! Hold on tight because you are in for a ride!

This book would make a fabulous movie! All I needed was my 🍿 comfy chair…and 🎬

Ok, I’ll admit, some of it was a bit over the top. But it was all in good fun. JD Barker has quite the imagination and we as readers are lucky enough that he shares it with us.

Oh and make sure to read the author’s note at the end. It gave me chills!

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hampton Creek Press.

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Getaway by Zoje Stage #zojestage @mulhollandbooks @NetGalley #thriller #mystery #bookreviewers #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

You know how sometimes everyone just loves an author? And though you’ve had a less than stellar previous experience you jump back in because you know for sure it will work this next time. A terminal case of FOMO.  

Yes, that’s me!🙋🏻‍♀️. And as you guessed, I tried…I conquered…and no, it still didn’t work!😫

Imogen, Beck, and Tilda are about to embark on a hike of a lifetime down the Grand Canyon. Going in the off-season to ensure privacy (really didn’t know there was such a thing when it came to hiking in National Parks). A time to reflect on their lives and friendships and hopefully emerge from the canyon stronger.  

Only they realize they are not alone on this trail. Their food and belongings have been rifled through. Items critical for their survival…missing.  

Is it more unsettling not to know who’s responsible? Or come face to face with the culprit? 

The storyline was painfully slow and the first half of the book consisted of everything you ever wanted to know about hiking/camping. (Not my cup of ☕️).

Once the hike finally started and we were moving forward (excuse the pun😜). I settled in for what I hoped was going to be a good ‘ole creepy read.

Unfortunately, my eyes started rolling🙄 and didn’t stop till the end. The premise sounded so good. I really thought I was going to have an edge of my seat thriller. But these women just made one bad mistake after another and I lost all interest in their “getaway”.

If this book is on your list, I hope it works out better for you.

A buddy read with Susanne

Thank you to NetGalley and Mulholland Books.

Susanne’s Review:

No Way, No Day.

I’m all for hiking (though I wouldn’t do it in this heat!) and I love the Grand Canyon, but the decisions made by Imogen, Beck, and Tilda in Zoje Stage’s “Getaway” had me scratching my head. 

When sisters Imogen and Beck, and their friend Tilda go hiking through the Grand Canyon they expect that it will be a way for them to reconnect after growing apart.  Little do they know that they are walking into a death trap, literally. 

After a day of hiking, some of their supplies disappear.  Then, they notice someone following them. Instead of hightailing it out of there, they decide to keep at it, and that my friends, is their first mistake.  

If only I found this book to be gripping, but detailed descriptions about hiking took their toll page after page. Bad decisions thereafter, had me rolling my eyes and shaking my head.  In the end, I simply decided that I was the wrong reader for this novel.

Another buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you to NetGalley and Mulholland Books for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter

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What’s Done In Darkness by Laura McHugh @LauraSMcHugh @randomhouse #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

Do you have plans this weekend? No? Good! Because once you start this book you will not be able to put it down.

Sarabeth’s life was turned upside down when her family gave up everything from their lifestyle to their possessions and joined a very conservative church on the outskirts of small town Arkansas.

Sarabeth’s siblings all took to the new lifestyle. Homeschooled. The girls in long plain looking dresses. No internet, tv or cell phones. Of course she is rebellious. She wants her old life back. Her friends…the mall. When she finds out that her mother has picked a groom for her and she is to be married by her 18th birthday, all her plans to escape now become urgent.

But before Sarabeth’s has a chance to leave…she is abducted. Held captive for a week in a dark room chained to a wall. Then just as suddenly dumped by the side of the road. Will anyone believe what happened? Or will her family think this was just a stunt to leave the family and church?

This was a taught psychological thriller that gripped me right from the beginning. I found myself flying through it wanting to solve the mystery behind Sarabeth’s disappearance.

My only negative was the ending wrapped up a bit too quickly with a couple loose ends, otherwise I would have given this amazing thriller all five stars.

Highly recommend! Will be looking forward to more from this very talented author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing.

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Golden Girls by Elin Hilderbrand @elinhilderbrand @littlebrown @NetGalley #womensfiction #contemporaryfiction #libraryloan #audiobook

Susanne’s Review:

What If, You Could Look Down on Your Family From the Great Beyond and Impact Their Decisions?

Vivian (Vivi) Howe is a successful Nantucket novelist who is extremely close to her family when a hit-and-run accident strikes her down, killing her instantly.  Her family is, of course, crestfallen.  Little do they know that Vivi has been granted the ability to view her family from the Beyond and to guide them (using 3 nudges) in case they take the wrong path.  

Willa is the eldest, happily married, pregnant (again), and desperately hoping this time it sticks.  Without her mother, Willa is left trying to pick up the pieces. 

Carson is the middle child, a bartender at an upscale bar on Nantucket, who was going down the wrong path before losing her mother and is now self-destructing on booze, drugs, and a secret affair.  

Leo, the youngest, is angry and lost.  Not knowing where to turn, he is taking out his pain on those who don’t deserve it.  

A bit of a different story for Elin Hilderbrand, as this one has a paranormal element to it, it was still filled with love, family, friendship, and lots of life lessons.  While I had a bit of a hard time connecting since I don’t believe the premise is possible, I found the “What If” idea of it quite compelling.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook and NetGalley and Little Brown and Co for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

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The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin @EileenGarvin @DuttonBooks #GoodreadsGiveaway #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #beekeeper #bookreviewer #bookblogger

Susanne’s Review:

First, a huge thank you to #GoodreadsGiveaway for this book.  To say that I loved it doesn’t put my feelings into words!  

There are times when we hear bees before we see them, that familiar bzzz, that makes us look around and turn our heads.  Amazingly enough, however, Queen bees are known for making another sound, which only those who are musically inclined can hear.  A piping sound, in G sharp.  When the gifted few can hear it, they know, the Queen and her hive are thriving.

Alice Holtzman is a Beekeeper, among other things.  After losing her husband unexpectedly, Alice works a job simply to pay the bills. She’d like nothing more than to raise honeybees full-time as they are the only thing in her life that makes any sense and bring her peace. 

The day Alice meets eighteen-year-old Jake after nearly colliding with him, while she is carting more honeybees back home to raise, both of their destinies change.  Jake is a paraplegic, who is only now recovering from the accident that changed his life forever.  Trying to figure out how to move forward, Alice’s honeybees show him the way.  

Twenty-four-year-old Harry’s luck has been down and out for quite a while. When he arrives on Alice’s farm looking for work. He too belongs.  Socially awkward, uncomfortable, and anxious, Alice and Jake give Harry something he had been lacking for all of his life. Friendship and guidance.

Together, Alice, Jake, and Harry form an unlikely alliance, showing that you can find strength when you least expect it and conquer all.  

The Music of Bees captured my heart.  The character of Jake was my favorite.  I found his heart, resilience, and growth throughout the novel to be quite something.  

Thank you again to Goodreads Giveaways for the win.  

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert @TaliaHibbert #romcom #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

Book 2 in The Brown Sisters series. Danika Brown is highly motivated in life. Her professional career in the academic world comes before anything. And that includes love. Oh don’t get me wrong she has time for a hook up here and there. But has no interest in a serious relationship.

Zafir works at Danika’s university. He has always had his eye on her but never thought she felt the same way. Stuck in the friend zone. But when a video of him rescuing her during a afire drill goes viral maybe their is a way to move their relationship to the next level.

This was a fun and spicy rom com🌶. I loved the strong woman Danika was. And the love Zafir felt for her melted my heart. (Seriously…where are these men in the real world?!😂🧐).

I listened to the audio version and the narrator did a fabulous job representing Dani.

Though book one Get a Life Chloe Brown is still my favorite, this was a great follow up. I have the next release Act your age Eve Brown on my shelf and hope to start it soon!

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After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid @tjenkinsreid #fiction #contemporaryfiction #audiobook #libraryloan #bookblogger

Susanne’s Review:

A Taylor Jenkins Reid novel that I almost gave up on immediately…  (and yes, I had my reasons!)

Thankfully, I kept going and it totally paid off!

The beginning of this novel was so Schmaltzy and Schmoopy, I honestly couldn’t take it!  It was so very over the top, it made me ill. Then thankfully, it took a turn (which I knew it would) and became much more realistic, thus, I breathed a sigh of relief and continued on.

Let me explain:  Lauren and Ryan are college sweethearts.  MADLY in love. And when I say Madly, I mean, Over the Top, Sickly Sweet, In Love. For the first few years they are together, they are extremely happy.  After they get married, however, their love starts to fade, and then well, their marriage falls apart. Now, I didn’t mean to cheer or anything (and forgive me for this as I’m not cold-hearted.. I swear), but their relationship was so unrealistic that when it fell apart, I was grateful, as it was so schmoopy that I was almost gagging.  

As things fall apart, Lauren and Ryan decide to take a break, a trial separation if you will, for one year, to try and find their way back to each other and find themselves in the process.

Told through Lauren’s eyes, we see Lauren grow, find herself, and discover what it is she wants out of life and in a relationship.  It is here, through this journey, that Lauren became a stronger more self-assured woman, and it is through this that I felt a connection to this novel.  Bravo TJR for making me feel such a connection to a novel that I was initially wavering about!  While I would have loved to have seen more of Ryan’s perspective, I ended up enjoying this novel and was cheering (truth!) for this couple when I got to the end of “After I Do.” 

A novel about love, marriage, family, friendship, and life lessons that will make you believe.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

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The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer @CaitlinWahrer @doubledayca @NetGalley #fiction #suspense #thriller #bookreviewers #bookbloggers

Susanne’s Review:

A Close-Knit Family.  A Violent Assault.  The Aftermath.

Though they are brothers, Tony has been like a father to Nick.  Seventeen years apart, Tony has taken care of Nick for most of his life, having basically raised him with his wife, Julia. 

The night Nick is assaulted by another man in a hotel room everything changes.  A police report is filed and an investigation ensues. 

Torn apart by it all, yet having to go on, day by day, Nick has to face “The Damage” that has been done. 

Tony is distraught.  His baby brother is hurting and he wants revenge.  Julia’s family has been destroyed.  A former defense attorney, she must figure out how to fix “The Damage” before it’s too late.  

This is thought-provoking, brilliantly written, character-driven fiction that made me think about actions and consequences, “The Damage” is a stellar debut by Caitlin Wahrer.  The fact that this is a debut novel blows my mind.  If only all books were this good, I’d be a very happy camper.  

“The Damage” is a mix of genres. It’s both general fiction and mystery / suspense.  It’s also got one of the best character-driven plots I’ve read all year long and will be on my Goodreads best-of-list for 2021. If it’s not on your tbr, you’re missing out!

A buddy read with Kaceey that left us both reeling.

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Random House Canada – Doubleday Canada and Caitlin Wahrer for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, Instagram and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

Five shiny debut stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nick has had a difficult upbringing. He was raised by parents who were let’s just say less than stellar. His support and love comes from his much older brother (17 years) Tony and Tony’s wife Julia.  

Now in University, Nick is finally settling into life. He has a great group of friends he lives with and is comfortable in his sexuality. 

A night of drinking and a hookup with a very sexy man leaves Nick in the hospital…battered physically and emotionally.

Tony and Julia step up. 

They will do whatever is necessary to get Nick back on his feet and able to move forward in life.  But the damage has been done. Can this family move forward? Or will this event define them for life?

This was a very powerful book and the subject matter was handled so delicately and with such finesse. This read will stay with me for a very long time.

The story unfolds from multiple perspectives and timelines. The characters were all real and flawed. You could feel the pain as they each tried to heal in their own way.

I highly recommend this book. 

Thank you to Carolyn for her amazing review that put this book on my must-read list!

A buddy read with Susanne that when we finished we both just sat there and said “wow”.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada 🇨🇦