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Last Seen Alive (Ellery Hathaway #5) by Joanna Schaffhausen @slipperywhisper @MinotaurBooks @NetGalley #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Susanne’s Review:

Wowza.  

Seventeen years after being abducted by Francis Coben, Ellery Hathaway comes face to face with him yet again.  

Tense, taut, and thrilling, we knew this moment would come, we just didn’t know how it would happen.  

After what happened all those years ago, Ellery Hathway became a detective fighting crime and saving others like her. Ever since that fateful day, Reed Markham has been by her side, one way or the other.  Now the two of them come together again to face the one man who brought them together in the first place. 

Last Seen Alive is a doozy, my friends.  Terrifying, action-packed, twisty, and turny.  This one will leave you breathless, in more ways than one.

Ellery Hathaway and Reed Markham are two of my favorite characters and I so appreciate how their story has developed.  

This was a buddy read with Kaceey and was one we really enjoyed.

Big thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

Can you make a deal with the devil and come away unscathed?

Book five of the Ellery Hathaway series. Sufficient details will provide you enough information to jump in right here. But I strongly suggest you start at the beginning with book one, The Vanishing Season to get the full backstory on our characters.

Ellery survived the unimaginable. She was rescued from a serial killer by FBI agent Reed Markham, making her the only victim to survive deranged killer Francis Corbin. Who now presently sits on death row. But the families of the lost girls and the media won’t let this case be put to rest. They want answers straight from the killer himself. He agrees…if, and only if Ellery herself comes to see him.

What happens when you poke the bear? In this case a sadistic serial killer? Well…nothing good! That’s what!

This series is not for the faint of heart. It’s dark and at times quite shocking and disturbing. But author Joanna Schaffhausen doesn’t add gratuitous violence. Cleverly weaved, It’s everything you would expect in a series revolving around a serial killer.

I‘ve grown to love the lead character Ellery and her desperate struggle to permanently put the past behind her and live a ‘normal’ life. Her relationship with Reed has been tumultuous but you always feel the magnetic pull between the two that’s undeniable.

I believe this may be the final book in this series? (Am I correct Ms. Schaffhausen?)  If so, I will sincerely miss all these wonderful characters. But I do appreciate how you left everything at the end. (If indeed this is the end)😉

A girl can dream…right!?💁🏻‍♀️🙏💖

A buddy read with Susanne. Who was by my side through this entire series, except for book one. Susanne you really do need to go back and read how it all started….Just sayin!🤭

Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books.

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Vacations Like This (A Love Like This #4) by Carina Taylor #goodreadsgiveaway #romcom #fiction #bookreview

Kaceey’s Review:

It’s rare that a rom-com just doesn’t work for me at all. But this was one of those times.

Two strangers, Kimber and Mack, both booked into the same vacation rental in a tiny dot of a small town in Colorado. Each coming to this little berg with very separate agendas. Mack is there to help in the construction of a new resort to attract more tourism. Kimber is planning on penning an article in the hopes of preventing the resort from ruining the charm of this quaint town.

Well, you can see the tropes here…. enemies to lovers…and close confinement (as in stuck together.)  Normally, I enjoy both but something was lacking. I’ll start with chemistry… just no magic at all😔.  The interactions between the two characters just felt awkward and lacking authenticity. The storyline in general just failed to grab me. I wasn’t drawn to this small town, or the fight over the resort.

Perhaps it’s my own fault. This is book four of a series and I‘ve not read the previous three. (Over-looked when I entered this giveaway).So perhaps I was doomed to have a lack of connection.💁🏻‍♀️

Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways.

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It All Comes Down To This by Therese Anne Fowler#thereseannefowler @StMartinsPress @NetGalley #generalfiction #fiction #bookreview

It All Comes Down to This:  Unfortunately, this Book Was a Let Down for me.  And I had VERY High Hopes.

I SIMPLY adored Therese Anne Fowler’s prior book A Good Neighborhood. It was in fact one of my favorite reads of 2019. I, therefore, couldn’t wait to get my hands on her next release..and then I did.

This is the story of three sisters, Beck, Claire, and Sophia, who are more or less estranged when their mother passes away after an illness and what happens thereafter.  

Perhaps if I had liked one of the characters, I would have felt that “pull” – but sadly I did not.  Perhaps if something happened to capture my attention, I would have liked it, but it did not.

Perhaps.

The writing here is good.  I would be lying if I said it wasn’t.  The characterizations are fantastic – real, honest, and frankly, ugly at times, but that wasn’t enough to draw me in.  

Enough said.

Though this novel wasn’t my favorite by this author, I will still be eagerly awaiting her next book, hoping that it’s more in line with A Good Neighborhood. 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the arc.  

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

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The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave #lauradave #mystery #suspense #bookreviewer

Highly Intriguing!

When her husband Owen disappears after a highly publicized scandal at work, Hannah Hall is stunned.  After all, he left his daughter Bailey in her care along with a note with two words written on it:  “Protect Her.”  Bailey is left with much more… a duffel bag full of money in her locker at school.  

Nothing will ever be the same again. 

Bailey has never gotten along all that well with her stepmother Hannah,.. but now, they are all each other has and they must work together to find out what happened.  The relationship between Hannah and Bailey was one of my favorite things about this novel.  Complex, interesting, and refreshingly honest.  Another thing that I loved is that part of this book takes place in Austin, Texas where I used to live, thus I could picture the sites and sounds, perfectly.  

A mystery/suspense that kept my attention.  Considering everything that is going on in the world lately, that is a HUGE feat as most books bore me to tears lately! Kudos to Laura Dave for keeping me in suspense the entire time!  The audiobook was narrated by Rebecca Lowman who did a brilliant job as well. 

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

Published on Goodreads, Instagram and Twitter.

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From the Jump by Lacey Waldon @LacieWaldon @PutnamBooks @NetGalley #romcom #contemporaryfiction #bookbloggers

Susanne’s Review:

Light & Sweet!

Besties since college, five friends are basically inseparable and even vacation together. Truth be told, these guys consider their friendship to be wholly sacred!  

Liv is the only one who has lived her entire life on the straight and narrow….never taking a chance, until now.  Joining all of her friends on a trip to South Africa everything changes and by everything I mean her relationship with the one and only Lucas Deiss… and that spells trouble for “the friendship.”  Upon her return to Los Angeles, Liv needs a place to crash after disaster strikes. Of course, it’s Lucas to the rescue in more ways than one, and try as hard as they might, these two can’t fight those loving feelings.

For Liv and Lucas, these two have to figure out what’s more important, love or friendship, unless of course, they can figure out how to have both.

A light, sweet, cute, and wholly predictable rom-com that kept me entertained throughout.  

A buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnum/G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

Are you still friends with your College mates?

Liv was extremely fortunate. On her first day attending college, she found what turned out to be her lifelong friends. A group of five who couldn’t have been more different. Yet together they managed to overcome their many differences, remaining in close touch throughout the years.

Each year the friends take an exotic trip together. That is, all but Liv. She happens to be the cautious, responsible one. She can’t just pick up and fly across the world! Absurd! But this year is different. She plans on joining the group in Africa!

At this stage of their lives can friendships survive? If so, could that same friendship morph into something more? Or are they destined to crash and burn? 

A sweet, friends-to-lovers rom-com. With just the right amount of chemistry to keep me engaged.

My first read by this author and plan to reach back to read her previous book, The Layover.

A rom-com weekend buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam

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The Bodyguard by Katherine Center @katherinecenter @StMartinsPress @NetGalley #womensfiction #contemporaryfiction

Kaceey’s Review:

A tad predictable but didn’t take away from my enjoyment one little bit!

Hannah Brooks works for a private security firm as an Executive Protection Agent. More commonly referred to as a bodyguard. No, she’s not your typical, hulking figure at six feet plus. Far from it, Hannah is an inch or two over five feet. Rather cute, completely unsuspecting. But make no mistake…looks are deceiving. She is an expert in martial arts and will gladly leave you broken in a puddle of mud if need be.

After the death of her mother and break up with her boyfriend (who just happens to also work for the firm), Hanna is re-focusing her energy hoping to get back to work and find some peace of mind. Her latest assignment might be the perfect ticket.

Jack Stapleton is a Hollywood A-lister here in Houston for a family obligation. Hannah is assigned to his case as the primary agent and must keep Jack in sight at all times. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s drop-dead gorgeous.🤩

But quickly Hannah finds herself so tangled up in it all, she isn’t sure what’s real and what’s an act.

I loved Hannah’s inner voice. Strong yet vulnerable. She was relentlessly stepped on by a lot of the other characters – maybe a bit too much at times. But through it all, always held her head up proudly no matter what and showed an inner strength we all want and need.

I adore Katherine Center’s books. Always guaranteed a fun rom-com that will demonstrate strength. Combined with equal amounts of love and laughter to keep me smiling along the way

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press.

Susanne’s Review:

Swoon-worthy Jack Stapleton, Where art thou?  If you existed, I’d trade places with Hannah Brooks in a Heartbeat!

But then, I think I’ve said that about ALMOST every single one of Katherine Center’s leading men. I guess that means she’s got my number!  Ha. (Truth be told, Jake, from Happiness for Beginner’s holds the #1 spot in my heart on the Katherine Center’s leading male character list – he is the definition of swoon-worthy!)

A Christmas Buddy Read with Kaceey that was the perfect read for both of us!

Hannah Brooks is a Bodyguard.  Yep, you’ve heard me.  A highly sought after, 5 foot 5-inch bodyguard who works for a private corporation, hired to work for a gorgeous male actor who has recently taken some time off to care for his ailing mother.  So why does Jack Stapleton need a bodyguard?  He’s got a crazy stalker who is threatening his life. The problem is that his family is uber traditional and won’t take kindly to having bodyguards around so Hannah is going to “pretend” to be Jack’s girlfriend.  

SO what happens when things start to get personal between Hannah and Jack.  Sparks FLY!  And let me just say that I had a front-row seat!

The Bodyguard had ALL the Feels!  This book dug deep and examined the painful parts of its characters’ lives and was all about accepting people for who they are.  Kudos to Katherine Center for going there!  The Bodyguard also had lots of witty banter, and many laugh-out-loud moments as well.  

This is yet another winner from Katherine Center and it was the perfect holiday buddy read with Kaceey that made us laugh and smile.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

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Survivor’s Guilt By Robyn Gigl @robyngigl @KensingtonBooks #anerinmccabethriller #betweenthechapters #goodreadsgiveaway #fiction #legal thriller #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

This is book two of the Erin McCabe series. Though I typically try to read a series in order, I jumped in after winning the book in our Goodreads Giveaway. The author provides enough background detail that I never felt lost having skipped the previous book. Easily read as a stand-alone.

Ann Parsons confessed to murdering her father and now finds herself sitting in jail awaiting sentencing.  At first glance, the case looks cut and dry.  But the lead detective has a gut feeling there’s more to the story. He quietly approaches attorney Erin McCabe, asking her to meet with Ann and ensure justice is truly being carried out.

Erin McCabe is a transgender lawyer and book deals both with Erin’s personal life as well as the legal drama. I enjoyed each aspect of the book equally.

There were a lot of characters in this book with a high number of moving pieces. At times, this left me a bit confused, but gladly it all came together for a very satisfying ending.

I really enjoyed Erin and her story. I will definitely continue on with this series and am looking forward to the next installment.

Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways

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The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton @NetGalley #thriller #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

What happens when the tables are turned on a con artist?

Charlotte thought she’d met the perfect man. Someone to sail off into the sunset with. (literally). The two begin their high seas adventure working on cruise ships. Taking advantage of everyone possible and in any and every situation possible. 

But when Sam vanishes, Charlotte is left holding the bag….and someone wants revenge!

Told in two timelines. Past and present. I must say I much preferred the present timeline over her past. (But that’s just me).

This book was a struggle to get through and I kept setting it aside. Every time I thought of DNF I’d peruse reviews from my trusted friends who all enjoyed this one. So…on I kept plodding, hoping at some point I will too.

I’ve read one other book by this author and loved it – The Perfect Girlfriend. So, I’m thinking this was just a one off for me with this author. I will be reaching for her next🤞

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing Graydon House

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren @ChristinaLauren #ya #lgbtqia #fiction #bookreview

Simply Perfect in Every Way.

After moving to Provo, Utah, Tanner has had some adjustments to make.  Mainly in learning how to live his life in a predominantly Mormon town.  Having moved from liberal Palo Alto, things are quite different.  Especially for someone like Tanner, who identifies as bisexual. Though his family accepts him for who he is, not everyone in Provo would, thus keeping his sexuality a secret has become a way of life.

Tanner plans to keep his private life private, even from his best friend Autumn until he meets nineteen-year-old Sebastian Brother, who graduated from High School the year prior but is acting as the TA for “The Seminar” a writing class that Tanner is taking. 

Upon laying eyes on each other, both feel “it.”  It’s automatic, instinctive, and a problem.  Why?  Sebastian is Mormon, and Tanner is not.

Neither can run from their feelings and both need the other, yet Sebastian’s faith is strong as is his love for his family. 

What struck me most here is how wholly and fully Tanner’s parents accepted him.  If only everyone was like this. Thank you Christina Lauren for showcasing what unconditional love should look like.  

I adored Tanner, his innocence, his kindness, and his openness in believing in love pure and simple.  

A sweet, eye-opening, inspiring YA novel about acceptance, equality, identity, sexuality, and love.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter. 

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The Night Shift by Alex Finlay #alexfinlay @MinotaurBooks @NetGalley @Mystery @Suspense @bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

It’s New Year’s Eve. 1999. While most of the world is out partying or hiding from Y2K. Five teens are working the night shift at the local blockbuster. Only one will survive the night.

Fifteen years later an eerily similar massacre just occurred at the local ice cream shop. Once again, only one teen survived.

Do you believe in coincidences?💁🏻♀️ Me neither!

This was a fantastic, twisty thriller that kept me guessing throughout. Including lots of twists I never could have imagined.

My second read by this author and looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us next.

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press

Susanne’s Review:

A look back on New Year’s Eve, 1999, and Y2K.  It almost seems like a distant memory, but then again it is!

On New Year’s Eve in 1999 at a Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey – an assailant goes on a shooting spree, killing four teenage girls.  There is one survivor.  Her name is Ella. 

Fast forward 15 years later, another shooting spree occurs in the same town, this time at an Ice Cream shop.  Once again, there is a lone survivor.  Her name is Jesse.

After surviving the Blockbuster attack, Ella became a counselor and as it turns out, she is the only person Jesse will talk to.

The FBI, together with the police are now investigating both shootings as the original suspect got away. 

Caught in the middle of this mess is Chris, the brother of the original suspect who is now an attorney representing the individual accused of the second crime.  Talk about a conflict of interest!  

Tense, taut, and fast-paced, this thriller was quite entertaining, albeit predictable.  

In The Night Shift, Alex Finlay brings back FBI agent Sarah Keller, her boss Stan, and her fabulous husband Bob, who always brought a smile to my face.

A buddy read with Kaceey that both of us enjoyed.

Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the arc. 

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

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Book Lovers by Emily Henry #emilyhenry @BerkleyPub @NetGalley #romcom #womensfiction #contemporaryfiction #bookreviewers #bookbloggers

Susanne’s Review:

Just call me Smitten!  

Book Lovers by Emily Henry is exactly what the doctor ordered!

Bookish Characters.

A Character-Driven Plot.

Fun, Witty, Snarky Banter.

Friendship.

Romance.

Chemistry Galore.

The moment literary agent Nora Stephens encounters editor Charlie Lastra sparks FLY.. as well they should! Charlie is every girl’s dream.. or at least I think so.  If Charlie Lastra was real, I’d do my best to steal him from Nora Stephens in a heartbeat. (Sorry, not sorry Nora!).  

When Nora travels to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina with her sister Libby for a month-long vacation, the last thing she could ever imagine is finding Charlie Lastra there – and yet, there he is. Turns out, Sunshine Falls is Charlie’s hometown!  When a crisis occurs with one of Nora’s client’s she ends up needing Charlie’s help, much to her dismay and my utter delight. 

Filled with witty, sarcastic exchanges that make you laugh hysterically, as well as romantic encounters that leave much to the imagination!  Simply put, Book Lovers is sheer perfection!

This is the third book I’ve read by Emily Henry (the first two being Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation) and each simply gets better and better!  

A buddy read with Kaceey that left us both smiling!

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

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

So…ready to live out your rom-com fantasy life?

Nora didn’t think she was. After all, Nora is a driven, cutthroat literary agent. Her job is cracking the whip, keeping her writers on track to write about these very fantasies. She certainly doesn’t have time to live them. But her dear sister Libby has other plans for her.

Libby takes her to the picturesque, small town of Sunshine Falls NC. (As described in the best-selling book from one of Nora’s favorite clients.)  Unfortunately, she may not be able to fully put the city life behind. She’s shocked to find that her most dreaded editor just happens to be right here in Sunshine Falls too.

Are you serious?! Can she not get away from him? Does she truly want to?

This book takes you on a journey from enemies to lovers’ rom-com with everything in between. The characters developed wonderfully and I instantly connected with all of them. Even the grouchy ones! Lol! The banter between the characters was snarky but also fun and witty. And, always put a broad smile on my face! 

I sometimes have difficulty with this trope as the constant bickering becomes jarring. But cleverly, Emily Henry made their texts and conversations fun…even when they were fighting.😜

I’m a huge fan of this author and cannot wait for her next!

A rom-com weekend buddy read with Susanne that left us both smiling!😊

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing via Netgalley for an ARC to read and review.

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The Moment I Met You by Debbie Johnson @debbiemjohnson @WmMorrowBooks @NetGalley #romance #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

In the words of Taylor Swift, “I remember it all too well”.

There are people able to navigate all of love’s hit and misses and able to move on…forever optimistic.

Then there are those destined to love once for life. Living in the present, yet desperately clutching to the past.❤️‍🩹

Elena and Harry are on the trip of a lifetime, traveling from the UK to Mexico. Their relationship has been on rocky ground for some time, and Elena is having growing pains. They hope this trip is just what the doctor ordered to get their lives and love back on track.

Stepping out of their five-star resort they take a bus tour to a remote village. What starts at a magical evening takes a drastic turn when an earthquake rocks the town. And when the dust settles… it’s utter devastation.

A deeply emotional, beautiful story of life, love, sacrifice and courage.

I adored Elena and how she unselfishly put everyone ahead of herself and her own needs. Her story was inspiring and powerful. Her inner strength in the decisions she made was remarkable. I felt as though I was right along-side, taking this inspiring journey with her.

Of course, by the end I was reduced to a whimpering puddle of tears! Oh come on…you know what a softie I am!💁🏻‍♀️

This is one of those rare reads that touched my heart and will stay with me for a very long time.

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow and Custom House

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In A New York Minute by Kate Spencer @katespencer @GrandCentralPub @NetGalley #romcom #womensfiction #bookreviewer

In a New York minute

Everything can change

In a New York minute

Things can get pretty strange

In a New York minute

Everything can change

In a New York minute

  • Don Henley, The End of the Innocence, 1989

Can you meet your match on a New York Subway? The answer to that question can be found in In A New York Minute by Kate Spencer, a seriously fun, flirty, rom-com that is not to be missed!

On the worst, most embarrassing day of her life, Hayes came to Franny’s rescue. Thereafter, her humiliation is posted all over the internet for everyone to see where Hayes and Franny become known as #SubwayQTs.

Their Meet Cute Becomes In-Famous! How about them apples?! It doesn’t get much cuter than this!

Light, sweet, smart, and funny! In A New York Minute captured my attention from the get-go and it’ll capture yours too!

Fabulous well-written characters, witty, sarcastic, banter, and chemistry to boot? What’s not to love?! 

If you’re in the mood for something light and sweet, this book fits the bill.

Thank you to NetGalley, Forever / Grand Central Publishing, and Kate Spencer for the arc.

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Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams #tayloradams @WmMorrowBooks @Netgalley #mystery #suspense #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

This book launched out of the starting blocks with a bang! And… I was all in! Then the bottom fell out, rapidly losing steam. It veered off in another direction (in fact many directions) and I truly had trouble following along.

Lena’s twin Cambry is discovered dead after an apparent suicide. Lena absolutely refuses to believe that Cambry would take her own life by jumping off a bridge.

Lena arranges a meeting with the officer who was the last to have contact with Cambry prior to her death. She demands answers and he is precisely the person to give them to her.

As previously mentioned, the storyline drifted off in so many directions, making it difficult to keep track of what the twins were living, dreaming, or imagining. And which twin was telling which story.🤪

My first read by Taylor Adams and just wasn’t a good fit for me. 

A buddy read with Susanne that left us both dazed and confused!

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow

Susanne’s Review:

What’s there to say?  

I adored Taylor Adams’ prior book No Exit and had very high hopes. But this?!  Well, it was kind of like a Train Wreck.

Way Over the Top.

Way too much going on, way too far-fetched, way too much to follow, and way too many storylines

Simply too much too much.

That my friends is all she wrote.  

A buddy read with Kaceey that left us both underwhelmed.

Thank you to NetGalley and Willam Morrow for the arc.

Review posted to Goodreads and Twitter.

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Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea #charliedonlea @NetGalley @KensingtonBooks #mystery #suspense #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

I so wish I could say I loved this one. But truly all I can say is, it was… ok.💁🏻♀️

This story plays out in two timelines.

2001. In the midst of the 911 attack, with many references to the day in vivid detail. So for some this may certainly be a difficult read.

A famous author is killed, and the primary suspect Victoria just happens to be meeting with her lawyer at the time a plane hit the first tower.

2021 Avery, a TV investigative reporter travels to New York to investigate the death of this author, as well as the woman accused of his killing. But perhaps Avery has an alternative reason for being in New York.

The transition between timelines was smooth and was able to follow easily. But with a high number of characters and subplots along the way, you’ll definitely need to pay close attention.

For me, it’s been a bit of hit and miss with Charlie Donlea’s books. I’d say I was engaged throughout but not enthralled. 

I toggled between the audio and digital copies. The narrator did an amazing job with the characters and helped to keep me from putting this one aside.

Hoping I will be loving his next release!🤞🤞

A buddy read with Susanne that left both of us a bit underwhelmed.

Thank you to NetGalley and RB Media and Kensington Books for both a digital and audio ARC

Susanne’s Review:

Reading this, a sense of Déjà vu came over me.  

I read this with Kaceey – no surprise there.. and as we got into it, I told her that the plot felt a lot like one of Charlie Donlea’s earlier novels: Don’t Believe It. I recounted the plot of that one to her (it didn’t ring a bell – turns out she had read it when it first appeared on NetGalley years ago, while it was the last book of his I’d read, a few months ago now.  Hence why I remembered it so well and while there are some differences, the plot is quite similar – see my review for that book here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2694670653). I, therefore admittedly, didn’t quite love this one and found it to be somewhat tired and overdone. Shocking? Not shocking.  

Had the plot not felt familiar, would I have loved this? I asked myself that time and again…. (as often plots regurgitated by authors and I obviously do like some of them as I am an avid reader) but I think the answer is still a hard no. There were way too many things going on for me to honestly care and as Kaceey astutely pointed out there was a TON of repetition, which got kind of boring. The last thing of course was the surprise ending, which came out of left freaking field. Like WTH!?!?

So for me, that is all. Have I recounted the plot of the book here? No. Simply because you don’t need me to. There are lots of other reviews out there that already do that. The end result is that I didn’t dislike this one, I just didn’t love it.

A buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you to Edelweiss, Kensington Publishing Company, RB Media and NetGalley for the alc and arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

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The Suite Spot (The Beck Sisters #2), by Trish Doller @TrishDoller @smpromance @StMartinsPress @NetGalley #romcom #contemporaryromance #fiction #bookreviewers

Susanne’s Review:

Well, let’s just say that this “Hit the Spot!”  

A sweet, endearing, funny, rom-com, with a few serious undertones, “The Suite Spot” delivered!

I, admittedly, had a few reservations going into this one. Kaceey and I recently listened to this author’s prior novel, The Float Plan as both books are part of a series (and we were given an arc of The Suite Spot) and sadly, The Float Plan left much to be desired.  Luckily, I had nothing to worry about.  

Here, we have Rachel Beck (Anna’s sister), who, after being fired from her job at a Florida hotel, uproots her entire life, including her daughter, and takes a job at what she thinks is a boutique hotel on Kelleys Island in Ohio.  The joke is on her though as there is no hotel. Mason, the owner, needs Rachel to build and furnish it.  

Rachel is kind, funny and full of spunk.  Mason is gruff, difficult, and extremely handsome.  What develops between these two is a friendship and yes, some crazy sparks.  Yes, this is predictable, but it’s also extremely sweet and fun and it put a smile on my face during trying times.  

A fun, sweet, buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Trish Doller for this fabulous arc.  I can’t wait to see what this author has in store next!

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

I had some concerns starting this read. Having finished the previous book, The Float Plan recently, and finding it well, underwhelming.

Knowing that the focus of this book would be on the other sister Rachel, it did little to squelch my trepidation. In The Float Plan, she came off as unlikeable and just mean?💁🏻‍♀️

But I needn’t have worried. In the end, I ended up loving and rooting for Rachel throughout.

Rachel was just fired from her night hotel-management job.

After an opportunity arises to assist managing a boutique hotel based around a brewery in Ohio, she jumps at the chance. Rachel, with her four-year-old daughter in tow, heads west (well…northwest to be precise).

Once arriving, she quickly realizes the owner of the hotel, Mason has run a bit of a bait and switch. The hotel is nothing more than a blank slab of concrete and a dream. Seriously?

Can Rachel and Mason make their dream a reality?

A cute, sweet rom-com I enjoyed from beginning to end and loved Rachel and Mason!❤️

Pleasantly surprised, I look forward to the next release from this author!

A rom-com weekend buddy read with Susanne!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press.

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The Second Marriage by Jess Ryder @jessryderauthor @bookouture @NetGalley #thriller #fiction #bookblogger #bookreview

Kaceey’s Review:

Second marriages…. How well, (if at all) do you know the family you’re preparing to marry into? What secrets lie beneath the surface, ready to be revealed?

Lily has been home schooling Edward’s nine year-old son Noah. During which time, Edward and Lily have grown close, quickly deciding to make it official and marry. As might be expected, not everyone is thrilled about this Union.

Shortly after the wedding Lily begins questioning everything about Edward’s first wife. Silently she asks herself what exactly she’s gotten herself into.

An engaging domestic thriller I really enjoyed. Some great unexpected twists along the way that truly surprised me. 

I listened to the audio version and the narrator did a fantastic job with Lily!

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture Audio

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Always, In December by Emily Stone @EmStoneWrites @randomhouse #romance #contemporaryfiction #fiction #decemberreads #buddyread

Susanne’s Review:

Well, that was Unexpected! Bring Hankies. Lots of them!

A chance for a December romance. 

Both Hopeful and Haunting.  

The characterizations in this book are honest, real, and raw. The emotions it drew from me are intense and heartfelt. Emily Stone, you got me and got me good!  

Josie and Max, you stole my heart. Max – you are totally Swoonworthy! It’s too bad that you were entirely fictional. 

At this point in time, I have no words.  I am in fact, mostly speechless.

This was one very memorable holiday buddy read with Kaceey that gave us quite a lot to discuss.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing, Ballantine for the arc. 

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

Five sorrowful, tearful stars!🥺

Well, it’s only fitting that I waited till December to read this holiday romance.

Like for so many, Christmas has always been a painful time of the year for Josie. It’s understandable. Both her parents were killed in an auto accident on Christmas Eve. Now as an adult, every Christmas Eve Josie writes and posts a tribute to them in form of a letter. 

This year on her way to post her letter she clumsily runs her bike directly into named Max as he exits his taxi. A quick friendship and a blossoming romance develop over the next few days. Until he vanishes, leaving her without a trace…ghosting her if you will! At this point I hated Max!😠

But hold on…maybe it’s not too late. Can love conquer all?

This book had a sluggish start for me. And with Max’s despicable behavior I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it through. But, just like Josie and Max, I couldn’t quite let go and needed to see it through.

This was exquisitely crafted, though gut-wrenching read that completely blindsided me. (To say the least.) Had absolutely no idea what I was in for and suggest you approach it the same way.

I didn’t just cry…I sobbed uncontrollably. A torrent of tears streamed down my cheeks as I fought to catch my breath.

A buddy read with Susanne that left us both reaching for our Kleenex boxes!😢😢

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine.

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The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz @lisalutz @randomhouse @NetGalley #thriller #fiction #bookblogger #bookreview

Kaceey’s Review:

Can I tell you something? Can you keep a secret?🤫

Owen and Luna have been best friends since college. Now as adults, even while both married (to other people), their friendship remains rock-solid.

But it is about to be severely tested!

While out for a jog Luna comes across the impossible. It’s Owen’s wife. She’s been shot dead. Luna sprints to Owen’s house to give him the news before calling 911. Who would want Owen’s wife killed…and why?

By the way, this isn’t the first murder surrounding these two friends. But like they always say…if you can’t trust your best friend, who can you trust?

Friends forever…right? No matter what? Through thick and thin. Think hard about that before you give an answer.

Told in two timelines, the past when the two first met in college and present, when trying to piece together this latest murder.

This is my first thriller by Lisa Lutz. I loved her previous hilarious, Spellman Series, and I just had a bit of difficulty switching gears to a more serious writing style.

The characters and their relationships through the years were entertaining. The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing. (albeit totally wrong!)

I do want to go back and read her previous thriller The Passenger while I’m waiting for her next release.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine.

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Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering @carolatlovering @StMartinsPress @NetGalley #fiction #domesticsuspense #mystery #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

Just a tad bit of cray! Ok… a whole lot!🤪 

Molly met Jake Danner when he was a rising rock star. Playing a gig in a local bar, Jake and Molly locked eyes and it was love at first guitar solo! But it shouldn’t be a big surprise that life with a rock star isn’t as magical as it sounds. Eventually, Molly moved on to a healthier relationship with Hunter. 

Fast-forward several years, Molly, Hunter, and their daughter are living in a quiet, exclusive community when she meets the mysterious Sabrina. They quickly become besties. Sabrina however, may have an agenda…or two.😉. And Molly’s world is about to be rocked! 

If you enjoy your thrillers with a heavy dose of over-the-top crazy, stalkerish characters this is the perfect book for you. And Sabrina is the type of character we all love to hate! 

Be prepared to clear your weekend calendar, because once you start, you won’t be putting this one down. 

My first read by this author, and plan on going back and reading her previous novel.  

A buddy read with Susanne. 

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press

Susanne’s Review:

While this was not exactly Too Good To Be True, Can’t Look Away, was somewhat entertaining, (even if it took place in a fictional Connecticut suburb (which is something I deplore!)).  

In Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering, we get to see Molly’s life first hand, in both the past (in 2013) and the present (in 2022).

In 2013, Molly was a 23-year-old New Yorker who fell head over heels for Jake Danner, the lead singer of Danner Lane. Doomed from the start these two never got the storybook ending they were hoping for.

In 2022, Molly is married to a man named Hunter and is living in fictional Flynn Cove, Connecticut, an extremely wealthy suburb. Here, Molly quickly becomes besties with a woman named Sabrina who wants more from Molly than just friendship. Sabrina has means and motive and she will not be deterred.  

Life in Flynn Cove should be idyllic but secrets run amok in this tiny little town and Molly’s perfect little life is about to take a drastic turn.  

A CRAZY domestic suspense that kept Kaceey and me absorbed from the start. If crazy is your thang, this just might be the book for you. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Kejana Ayala at St. Martins Press for the arc.

Published on NetGalley, Goodreads, and Twitter

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The New Neighbor by Carter Wilson @PPPress #goodreadsgiveaways #thriller #fiction #bookblogger #bookreview

Kaceey’s Review:

Inconceivable… that you could possibly experience the best and worst day of your life all at the same time?

Aidan has lost the love of his life. The woman who grounded him. Completed him. The mother of his precious twins. Now he’s not sure he can even put one foot in front of the other.

During his last precious moment saying goodbye at his wife’s burial, his phone chimes with an incoming text. Giving it an agitated glance he notices yet another text with the winning Powerball numbers. The very same numbers he’s been playing for years. 

In this time of his most profound loss and sorrow…Aidan has won the greatest prize.

“Crack”

Did you hear that?! Was that a tree limb breaking in the graveyard?  Or is it Aidan’s soul shattering.

He immediately moves his family to Bury, New Hampshire to start over. But the grand home he just bought comes with a dark history. The previous owners all mysteriously vanished.  Now Aiden is receiving threatening letters stating “we are watching you”. The tension ramps up as you witness Aiden imploding. 

Carter Wilson once again writes a gripping and suspenseful thriller that’ll keep you glued to the pages. In fact, I devoured it in one day. With short chapters that leave you hanging, I had no choice but to keep going…I simply couldn’t stop!

My third read by this author and looking forward to his next!

Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways.

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Bet On It by Jodie Slaughter @JodieSlaughter @StMartinsPress @NetGalley #romance #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

Bingo! This was just the 🔥 rom-com I was hoping for.

Aja just moved to Greenbelt, South Carolina. A more desirable, smaller town. A quiet place where she can more easily manage her daily struggles with anxiety. And today is no exception. A simple shopping trip to the local Piggly-Wiggly has Aja frozen in place, ironically enough, next to the frozen foods section in the midst of a full blown anxiety attack. 

A simple gesture of kindness from a stranger

Walker instinctively recognizes what’s happening to Aja and offers to simply stand by her side until the attack passes. He understands only too well, because he too deals with the same issue. And yet another chance encounter finds the two meeting again at the Wednesday night bingo event.

I‘ve noticed lately that many rom-coms have started delving into heavier topics such as mental health. Jodie Slaughter does an exquisite job of shining a light on many of the effects anxiety can have in someone’s life. The support and love from their families and friends was truly touching and heartfelt.

I loved both characters as they navigated their way towards love while also looking after their own hearts and minds. The attraction and chemistry felt oh so real. 

Looking forward to reading more from this very talented author.

⚠️ be prepared…this is a very spicy rom com!

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martins Press

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The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf @hgudenkauf @htp_books @parkrowbooks @NetGalley #mystery #thriller #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

This is one of my favorite types of thrillers. Multiple storylines and leaving it up to you, the reader/amateur armchair detective, to connect all the dots and just maybe figure out how it will all come together. Who’s up for the challenge?💁🏻‍♀️ 

Wylie is a true-crime author. She presently rents a secluded home in the middle of nowhere to finish her latest book. Who could have predicted she’d find herself in the middle of a massive blizzard, leaving her cut off from everyone?  

Josie is an average twelve-year-old girl who’s having her best friend Beckie sleep-over. Unfortunately, and sadly, there’s a great deal of tension in Josie’s home between the parents and the brother. This may not turn out to be the carefree, fun-filled night they were hoping for. 

There is one more crucial storyline threaded into this book. But what kind of a friend would I be if I spilled the beans?! You’ll just have to let it unfold as you read along. No spoilers here!.🤫 

Some of the twists I saw coming, and others totally surprised me. To me, that’s a great combo. When I finished, I actually went back to skim a few parts to see how I missed some of the shockers. And yup!🙋🏻‍♀️. The trail was right there, hidden in plain sight. I just missed it. Might be losing my touch! Lol! 

Heather Gudenkauf writes a superb, captivating😉 thriller that just might keep you guessing throughout! 

I flew through this book in only a few sittings. It was supposed to be a buddy read but sadly I left Susanne far behind as I just couldn’t put it down. (Sorry Susanne)💕 

I’ve always enjoyed this author’s works in the past and am looking forward to her next. 

A pseudo-buddy read with Susanne🤣💞 

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing.

Susanne’s Review:

A mystery suspense that will keep you guessing till the very end!

This is how you do it, my friends!

A dark, chilling, atmospheric read that included a myriad of characters and multiple timelines/storylines all of which kept this girl highly intrigued.

Admittedly, at first, my head was spinning trying to keep track of all that was going on. Luckily the storyline was gripping enough to keep me glued to the edge of my seat.

First, in August of 2000, we have best friends Josie and Becky, whose lives change forever on one evening in late summer.  

In the present day, we have Wylie, a true-crime writer, who arrives in Burden, Iowa to finish drafting a book about events that took place years earlier. Trapped during an insane snowstorm, she comes across an injured boy in the snow and tries to save him. Who is he and where did he come from?  

That my friends is another question and another storyline. 

Everything that could go wrong does, of course. Between the blizzard, the lack of electricity and the internet, and of course, the fact that a murderer is on the loose, no one is safe. The tension is high and the chill in the air is palpable.  

Heather Gudenkauf has been a long-time favorite writer of mine for years now and I can safely say that with The Overnight Guest, she has once again delivered.  

A buddy read with Kaceey that we both enjoyed. I was a bit of a slowpoke reading this one due to having family over during the entire Thanksgiving Holiday but thankfully still got to discuss this one was Kaceey thereafter.  As always, I am forever thankful to my bestie Kaceey for always being by my side.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing Park Row for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, NetGalley, and Twitter.

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These Silent Woods by Kimmi Cunningham Grant @kimicgrant @MinotaurBooks @NetGalley #thriller #mystery #contemporary #bookreview #bookblogger

Susanne’s Review:

Wholly unexpected and oh so Fabulous!

First, let me say that this was not on my radar and all.  I had absolutely no plans at all to grab this until Kaceey convinced me to do so.  I must, therefore say a huge thank you to her as this fantastic character driven fiction and garnered a great discussion between the two of us.  

Cooper and his daughter Finch live off the grid and have done so for years.  Isolated in a remote cabin in the Appalachian woods, their life is about survival, sacrifice and deep, fierce love.  At eight years old, Finch is only now beginning to question their way of life and want for more.  Cooper however is desperate to protect his daughter from the outside world and from the sins of his past.

To say that this book gutted me is an understatement.  I was unprepared for the impact it would have.  I adored all of the characters in this novel equally and was stunned by the writing.  Kim Cunningham Grant, I am now a big fan of yours.

A fantastic buddy read with Kaceey!

Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the arc.  

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

You’ve probably noticed all the five-star reviews for this book by now. And naturally, you’re wondering…does it really live up to all that hype?

One word. YES! It deserves all the stars and praise it’s been receiving.

How far would you go to protect your family?

Cooper, a decorated Army Ranger had difficulty readjusting to civilian life once back home stateside. Suffering from PTSD, he managed his day to day struggles by putting one foot in front of the other, hoping to keep the nightmares at bay.

Cooper has been raising his daughter Finch in a remote mountain cabin. More or less an island of two, managing to shut the outside world out for 8 years. So secluded, only two people are aware of them at all. The nosy neighbor Scotland, who Cooper can’t bring himself to trust. And Jake, Cooper’s best friend and war buddy who brings them supplies on the same day each year. This year, Jake didn’t show up. But someone else did…

Now Copper’s private world is at risk. 

Can Cooper keep Finch safe? Or are all his secrets about to be exposed.

WOW! What an incredibly thought provoking book about love, family, friendship and sacrifice. I adored Cooper and his desperate struggles to be a good man while fighting back his military demons.  And Finch stole my heart in her innocence and wonder.

Beautifully written. I highly recommend.

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to Goodreads and Minotaur Books