Love Her or Lose Her (Hot and Hammered, #2) by Tessa Bailey

*Kaceey’s Review:

It’s all about the fine art of communication!

This is book two of the Hot and Hammered series. And yes, I was fully prepared this time.🙈 I was poised to hit the fast forward button on my audio as the (shall we just say highly descriptive) spicy scenes lit up the airwaves!
After all, it’s a safety issue. I couldn’t have the narration steaming up my windshield while I was driving. Or even driving right off the road, right!?💁🏻‍♀️

This book focuses primarily on Rosie and Dominic. Their marriage is in big trouble and there may be no saving it! Even the marriage counselor admitted he wasn’t sure they could work it out! Rosie and Dom have been in love since they were teens. Truth is, they’re still hot for one another. But the communication between them has broken down completely. Can they discover how to speak each other’s love language? Or is it time to move on?

I listened to the audio version of this book, as with book one of the series. Once again the narrators did a fabulous job of capturing the essence of their characters, bringing you on a private journey into their failing marriage!

Can’t wait for the next installment of the series!

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered, #1) by Tessa Bailey

*Kaceey’s Review:

It’s quite possible I’m still blushing!☺️

I read all the reviews! I heard it was a steamy read! Yet I failed to believe a story revolving sweet little innocent Georgie having a long standing crush on a washed up baseball player could be a hot read!

Well ladies and gentleman…the gloves are off! Yikes! Heed the warning!

I listened to the audio which gave it that much more of a steamy air!
If this is your cup of tea… I recommend the audio! The narrators were a perfect match for the characters. They did a fantastic job!

I have the follow up Love Her Or Lose Her on hold at the library! Just need to recover a bit from this one before diving back in! (Is it hot in here?)💁🏻‍♀️

Published on Goodreads.

Reasons why Everyone needs a little Evan Smoak (aka Orphan X) in their life.

  1. Evan Smoak lives by a code. He believes in “Random Acts of Kindness” – specifically helping those in need before helping himself.
  2. He won’t stop until the job is done, regardless of what it costs him.
  3. As “The Nowhere Man” he’s a Myth. Truly Undercover. If you ever need lessons in how to go incognito, he’s your guy.
  4. If your Self-Defense skills could use a little refresher, the Orphan X series might be useful.
  5. Evan is totally Crush-Worthy! Women and men alike SWOON over him. I know that I’d jump in the line of fire (0r into the pages of a book in this case) to do battle for him.
  6. Both Evan Smoak and Joey could teach lessons in Sarcasm and Wit for those in need. Talk about great Life Lessons!
  7. Are you interested in becoming a Vodka Connoisseur? Gaining insight from Evan Smoak could help you out in that department, and increase your credibility.
  8. Do you need Lessons in how to Win People Over? Evan Smoak is your guy.
  9. Are you in Need a Natural Adrenaline Rush? The Orphan X series delivers it instantaneously. Pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, eye-popping, and jaw-dropping. Prepare yourselves. That is all.
  10. Finally, are you hoping to find a Thriller Series with a little Romance on the side? Watch Evan Smoak’s moves. They’re Killer!

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

*Kaceey’s Review:

A brilliant debut!

Matt Pine is an NYU student with a lovable and eclectic group of friends. Matt is going to need those friends. He’s just received tragic news… his entire family has been killed while vacationing in Mexico.

Unfortunately, Matt is no stranger to bad luck in his life. His older brother Danny was convicted of murdering his girlfriend and now behind bars. And Matts’ father has never lost confidence in the belief that Danny is innocent.

It seems like a huge leap of faith to imagine the death of his family could possibly be connected to Danny’s conviction. Right?

This was a fabulous introduction to an author I’m confident we’ll be seeing more of in the future. The characters were all given clear and concise voices. The writing and storyline flowed easily!

Recommend for all thriller lovers!

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for an ARC to read and review.

Published on Goodreads.

*Susanne’s Review:

A Pulse Pounding Thriller!

Matt Pine is a student at NYU when he receives the terrible news that his entire family has been found dead while vacationing in Mexico. At first the deaths appear to be accidental.

Soon however, Matt’s own life is in danger.

Years prior, Matt’s older brother Danny was incarcerated for murdering his girlfriend. Danny still maintains his innocence. A Podcast has since surfaced which also suggests that Danny was wrongfully convicted.

Are these events linked? Is anyone safe?

A heart stopping mystery suspense that will leave you guessing! While I had my suspicions and was right on, I enjoyed this thriller and look forward to seeing what Alex Finlay comes out with next. 3.5 Stars.

Another buddy read with Kaceey!

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

Published on NetGalley and Goodreads.

Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

*Kaceey’s Review:

One of my all-time favorite authors has done it again! An absolutely superb, stand-alone thriller to add to his (and my) collection.

Nap is a police detective who has never fully recovered from the death of his twin brother Leo. Along with his girlfriend Diane, Leo died tragically when the couple were just teenagers.

Unbelievably, that same night, Nap lost his girlfriend Maura…only she went missing, and was never heard from again. 15 years later he is still the walking-wounded. Emotionally devastated and left to ponder “what if?” He also carries on a constant inner-dialogue with his deceased brother. A very unique and clever angle that took me a bit to get used to, but once I warmed up to it I completely enjoyed his inner conversations.

With a knock on the door, news comes that his long lost girlfriend Maura may have resurfaced. Only problem…it’s tied to the death of another childhood friend. Could this be related to why Leo died mysteriously so many years ago? As Nap starts digging into the past, there are others out there determined to keep the secrets of the past buried forever.

Absolutely outstanding! Loved everything about this book from start to finish! As good as his Myron Bolitar series, this one does not disappoint! There is even a cameo appearance! Yeah! Would highly recommend to all Harlan Coben fans!

Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group – Dutton and Harlan Coben for an ARC to review.

Published on Goodreads.

*Susanne’s Review:

“Don’t Let Go” is the Best Standalone Harlan Coben has EVER written.  Hands Down.

Detective Napoleon Dumas, known as “Nap” lives and works in a small New Jersey town.  He has been searching for answers his whole life.  Or at least for the last fifteen years -since his senior year of high school to be exact.  That is when Nap lost his twin brother Leo.  When Leo and his girlfriend Diana were found dead – on the railroad tracks in their hometown.  No one ever determined the exact cause of death.  At that exact same time, Nap’s high school girlfriend Maura disappeared.  Vanished, almost into thin air as if she never existed.  It tore him apart, losing all three of them at once.  He has never been the same. 

Now, fifteen years later, Nap is informed that Maura’s finger prints are found at the scene of a crime in a neighboring town (involving someone else from their high school).  Nap is astounded and he feel that this incident has to be linked to what happened to his brother.

In order to uncover the truth, Nap enlists help from his mentor Augie and his best friend Ellie, both of whom have been with him from the get go.  The ride it takes them all on is dangerous, twisted and full of surprises.

“Don’t Let Go” is one of the best books Harlan Coben has ever written.  It contains interesting, intriguing characters who you can’t help but care about deeply, its brilliantly written and has an extremely well-developed plot.  The mystery is complex, compelling and completely exhilarating.  While I guessed the ending fairly early on, it did not spoil the book for me in any way whatever. 

For those of you who have read Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series, this book reminded me a lot of those.  Best friends Nap and Ellie’s friendship reminded me of Myron and Esperanza’s (especially the in the earlier sports agent books).  I immediately loved Nap and Ellie’s characters and this story – in fact, I adored it.  Nap’s past, his search for answers, the crime he decides to solve on his own – it all creates an incredible story – one that sucks you in and that won’t let go until you turn the final page.  Though I admit that the Myron Bolitar series is my favorite of Harlan Coben’s works, I would love to see more of Nap in the future.

A huge thank you to Edelweiss, Leila Siddiqui, Penquin Publishing Group and Harlan Coben for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review

Published on Edelweiss and Goodreads.

Two of the Best Friends in Fiction: Myron Bolitar and “Win” Horne Lockwood III

You two have my heart, though I know I’m not alone in saying that.

I do, however, believe with every fiber of my being that I am Harlan Coben’s #1 fan having begun reading his books in the ’90s. In this, I’m sure Kaceey would disagree, seeing as she would say that title belongs to her. (It’s ok Kaceey, on this, we can agree to disagree! Bawaaah!)

Having read every book Mr. Coben has ever written, Myron and Win are hands down both of our favorite characters.

A few years ago, while reading a Coben novel, Kaceey told me that she thought of me as Win, and her as Myron. Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time I’d been referred to as Win. Sabrina, another one of my other best friends, has over the last 18 years, referred to me as the “Win to her Myron.” The first time I heard that it gave me pause. Yes, I’m loyal to a fault and will do anything for my friends, prefer to stand on the sidelines and let others get the glory, (sound familiar?) but I do not have a killer instinct, of that, I am sure. Almost immediately after being told this, I took it for the biggest compliment ever. While I adore Myron Bolitar, my love for “Win” knows no bounds, and therefore being told that I resemble him well, might just be one of the best compliments I’ve ever received, even if Win has a few psychopathic tendencies!

While Myron and Win may be fictional characters, to me, they feel entirely real, thus when they hurt, so do I. For years now, I can recall several times where I have sobbed uncontrollably over their friendship and where I’ve been left reeling, waiting with bated breath for their next adventure.

They had come here for answers and now Myron thought that maybe he really did know them all.  

“Go,” Win said.

Myron hugged Win.  Win hugged back.  The hug was fierce and right and lasted a long time.  No words were exchanged – they would have just been superfluous. .. as Myron held his friend in his arms he knew that nothing would ever be the same between them. Something was gone forever.

Live Wire – Harlan Coben, 2011

To say that Kaceey and I are anxiously awaiting the release of “Win” – Harlan Coben’s next novel about my (ok, “our”) beloved, is an understatement.

Home by Harlan Coben

*Kaceey’s Review:

My favorite of the series so far. Actually, upon further reflection, this is my favorite Harlan Coben book, period!

Myron and Win are two of my all-time, most entertaining book characters! Together again, their magic just sparkles! An outstanding book by one of my favorite authors. Ok enough gushing! (For now!)

The plot unfolds when ten years ago, two boys, Rhys and Patrick are kidnapped. Both families are left in shambles. One of the boys just happens to be the son of Win’s cousin.
Now 10 years later, Win receives an email out of the blue that may just lead him to one of the boys.
Naturally, questions arise as to where they had been all this time. But more importantly, where is the other boy?

The witty banter is nonstop throughout this book. I read from beginning to end with a permanent smile on my face. Harlan Coben makes it seem so easy. The words just flow and the storyline is seamless.

I was concerned that the intensity of this book wouldn’t hold till the end – hoping that I wouldn’t be let down in the end. I needn’t worry! The ending meshed perfectly to the book as a whole. I was left with a big ole’ grin on my face and tears running down my cheeks.
Well done, Mr. Coben!

This book earned a place on my shelf of all-time favorites.

Also Published on Goodreads.

*Susanne’s Review:

Win, or Windsor Horne Lockwood, III, has always known exactly where home was. He just hasn’t been there in a while. Home is where his best friend Myron Bolitar is. Myron is Win’s true north. Always has been. Always will be.

In Home, by Harlan Coben, Win needs Myron’s help, not the other way around. While in London, Win sees a boy, one who looks like one of two young boys who went missing 10 years prior (Patrick Moore). The other young boy (Rhys Baldwin, Win’s nephew) is nowhere to be found. In trying to rescue Patrick and find Rhys, Win knows he can’t do it alone. He knows he needs help from his best friend and the only person he can trust in this world: Myron. Together, they make a formidable team. In trying to solve this mystery, and find the boys and bring them home, Myron and Win enlist the help of Esperanza, Big Cyndi and even Mickey Bolitar, Ema and Spoon, because, well, they are better together.

I won’t spoil this for anyone who has not read it, but let me just say, that I devoured this book and loved every second of it. I don’t recall having read a Myron Bolitar book where Win’s point of view was in the first person, but I really enjoyed it and felt liked I was getting to know him more intimately. While I adore Myron, I will admit that Win is my absolute favorite character, simply because he loves Myron unconditionally.

Harlan Coben out did himself with this one. This is without a doubt his best novel to date and is his best Myron Bolitar/Windsor Horne Lockwood III, novel. It had heart and soul and was a great mystery to boot. I laughed, and cried, more than once. I absolutely loved it and loved that Myron and Win had to get the team back together in order to figure this one out. Big Cyndi was prominently featured and was a hoot as always. What was obvious from the first chapter was that these characters are the heart and soul of Harlan Coben and they have never left him, and neither will we.

Thank you Mr. Coben, this was worth the wait!

Also Published on Goodreads and Amazon

If You Dare (Deanna Madden #3) by A.R. Torre

*Kaceey’s Review

And here I find myself at the end of my much loved erotic thriller series! 😩

Deanna our adorable and lovable serial killer finds two detective knocking on her door. She knows she is guilty of many things but fails to ask the ever important questions…”why are you here? What do you think I’ve done?”

But more importantly where is Jeremy? And why won’t he pick up her calls?

This is book three of the Deanna Madden series. I have torn through this series like no other and am heartbroken to reach the end.

Though this last book lacked the heat of the first two it delved a bit deeper into Deanna herself and her love for Jeremy.

The ending is left with just a small open crack that there may be another book on the horizon.🙏🏼
I hope so! I need more of Deanna! And what about Jeremy? Is this the end of the road for him…for them? Maybe love doesn’t conquer all.😢

Once again the narrator Jorjeana Marie did a fabulous job bringing A. R. Torre’s characters to life.

I highly recommend this series! Definitely start at the beginning! And if you enjoy audio…definitely choose that option.🎧

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

*Susanne’s Review

Endearing and Wholly Entertaining!

“Nothing to See Here” is one wild novel that will capture your heart from the get go.

Lillian is a gal who has always felt like she was an outcast. Unfortunately for her, life did not exactly turn out the way she imagined.

The day her dear old friend Madison calls in a favor, Lillian can’t say no, even though it’s the most absurd thing Lillian has EVER heard.

Madison is in need of a governess for her two stepchildren, Bessie and Roland, who just recently lost their mother. It turns out however, that Bessie and Roland aren’t like most children. Whenever they get anxious, mad or upset, they well, spontaneously combust. The problem of course is that it happens often and Madison’s husband Jasper, is an important politician and no one can know about their little problem. This is where Lillian comes in.

A brilliantly plotted, character driven novel, which I found to be refreshing, sweet and quirky, “Nothing to See Here” immediately drew me in. How could it not? Lillian, Bessie and Roland’s interactions were so heartwarming and real (regardless of the fact that they burst into flames), I couldn’t help but feel for the characters. To say I love these three is an understatement!

While I couldn’t help but compare this book to Joe Hill’s “The Fireman” a novel that is a cross between fiction, science fiction and fantasy, (which I loved) about a superbug known as “Dragonscale” that’s highly contagious and causes those who catch it to burst into flames (and which fully explains the reasons why people spontaneously combust), I was able to suspend disbelief in “Nothing to See Here” and simply enjoy this fictional story for what it was, even if I wasn’t given all of the answers I needed.

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and must give mad props to Marin Ireland for her stellar narration. Ms. Ireland, you are becoming one of my favorite narrators and your work in this book was outstanding! This was my first novel by Kevin Wilson. It will not be my last. 4.25 stars.

A huge thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this audiobook to borrow.

One Two Three by Laurie Frankel

*Susanne’s Review:

“One Two Three” by Laurie Frankel is unlike any book I’ve ever read before. It is wholly originally, complex, compelling, profound, quirky and brilliant.

When I saw this book on Netgalley, I knew I had to read it, as I loved Laurie Frankel’s prior book, “This is How it Always Is.” This novel is completely different though it is also utterly compelling.

Triplets Mab, Monday and Mirabel are teenagers who live in the town of Bourne. Raised by their single mother Nora, the four of them are as close as can be, even though all they have ever known is struggle. The same goes for every other resident who lives in Bourne.

Bourne isn’t an ordinary town you see.

Years ago, Bourne was polluted, the water unsafe to drink, all because a chemical company screwed up and then closed up shop. Nora has been fighting for justice ever since.

What is amazing about this novel is that the story could have been depressing but somehow told through the eyes of Mab, Monday and Mirabel, (also referred to as “One Two Three”) who are kind, funny, and utterly captivating, it became something else entirely. Sweet, funny and charming, these three characters stole my heart for reasons you will have to find out for yourself. How this book about environmental contamination, birth defects, cancer, and a legal battle evaded being wholly depressing, I cannot begin to explain except to say that Laurie Frankel’s characters brought this story to an entirely new level. The characters are adorable, quirky and deftly written and they will stay with me for a while. This novel made me laugh a lot (yes, I know that sounds strange considering) and tear up a bit but all in all I enjoyed it immensely. While this novel was a tad bit long and drawn out in a few places, I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to those who enjoy character driven fiction.

Thank you to NetGalley, Henry Holt & Company and Laurie Frankel for the arc.