Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley @OakleyColleen #contemporary fiction #fiction #bookreviewer #bookcommunity

Susanne’s Review:

Oh So Good!

Jubilee Jenkins is allergic to humans.  As in if someone touches her skin, she could literally die.

That in a nutshell caused Jubilee to hide from the world for 10 lonely years.  

All this time, Jubilee’s mother has taken care of her financially but after her mother’s death, Jubilee is cut off and that means that she must brave the world again in order to survive. 

Talk about a dichotomy wrapped in an enigma!

Then there’s Eric, who’s adopted son Aja is quite the handful. Truth be told, Eric is failing when it comes to being a father to both Aja and his daughter.  New in town, when Eric and Aja meet Jubilee, somehow, she strikes a chord in both of them.  

A book about friendship, love, healing and taking chances, that stole this girl’s heart.  If you haven’t read this book already and it’s not on your radar, it should be.  Captivating, compelling and endearing, “Close Enough to Touch” is contemporary fiction at its absolute best.

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

Published on Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram. 

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead @colsonwhitehead #fiction #historical fiction #literaryfiction #bookreviewer

Susanne’s Review:

Utterly Gut-Wrenching!

A fictitious novel about a real reformatory school in Florida that existed in the Jim Crow era, “The Nickel Boys” broke my heart.  I think perhaps it broke the heart of everyone who read this book before me and I will hazard a guess that it will break the hearts of everyone who will read it after me.

The fact that this was a real place makes this even more devastating.  

Boys or “delinquents”  as they called them, were sent to Nickel for a variety of reasons.  Many did nothing wrong.  What was offensive at the time, was the color of their skin or the way they talked. Some of their crimes were minor.  Regardless, their punishment did not fit the crime.  In “The Nickel Boys” Elwood Curtis was sent to Nickel for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What he and others experienced at Nickel was nothing short of a travesty.  There are in fact no words.

A powerfully heartbreaking story (and a must-read) that packs a huge punch.  

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook, which was brilliant.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram.

Cherish by Tracey Garvis Graves @tgarvisgraves #fiction #romance #audiobooks #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Swoon-Worthy Detective Daniel Rush from “Covet” gets his own story and it’s a doozy! 

At the tail end of “Covet,” Detective Daniel Rush was shot and readers are left wondering what happened to him.  To say that gave me heart palpitations is an understatement!  (He was after all the best part of that novel.  (Sorry, not sorry!)

When Daniel is brought into the ER, Jessie Rush, Daniel’s ex-wife is there, as she is still his emergency contact.  Days go by with no change from Daniel and then finally, he awakens from the coma.  The road will be a long one but he’ll have Jessie by his side.  

Love has always existed between these two. Torn apart by tragedy, brought together by tragedy, in “Cherish” – Daniel and Jessie find their way back to each other.  

An endearing novella that gave me exactly what I wanted, more of Daniel Rush!  If you’re looking for books to Cherish – I’d personally Covet this entire series by Tracey Garvis Graves!  (See what I did there?!)  

To be published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

A Million Things by Emily Spurr @SpurrEmily @BerkleyPub @NetGalley #fiction #bookblogger #bookreview

Kaceey’s Review:

All the stars ⭐️ 

I went into this read rather blind, as I do for most of my reads.  

At first, I was shocked, wondering what I had signed up for. But intrigued enough to continue.

Midway I was so captivated I could not put it down. Thinking about the characters any time I had to step away.  

By the end, I was in tears. Wanting to crawl into my book and hug the characters.

This is a story of life, strength, and resilience. It centers around 10-year-old Rae and her dog Splinter with their older, lonely, neighbor, Lettie. I am keeping it vague and let you discover the depth within the pages yourself.

Set a weekend aside, have your tissues handy, and enjoy! I cannot wait to hear what you all think!

Definitely one of my favorite reads for 2021.  

A buddy read with Susanne! Thank you Susanne for finding this gem for us!

Thank you to Elisha at Berkeley publishing for an ARC to read and review.

Susanne’s Review:

Simply the Best!!  Brilliant & Completely Heart-Wrenching!

When I picked “A Million Things” for my book buddy Kaceey and I to read, I had no idea what I was getting into, I saw that this novel had great ratings and that was all I needed to know.  

As soon as we started reading it, both of us were blindsided.  Shocked beyond all recognition if you will.

This book was NOTHING like anything we had ever read before and honestly, we both asked ourselves what we had gotten ourselves into… and yet we kept reading. There was just something addicting about it.  

Once we got a little bit further and realized what we were reading, we were all in.  Completely Hooked!

What became readily apparent is that “A Million Things” stole our hearts.  It is beautiful, devastating, gut-wrenching, and incredibly smart.  

So, what is it about you, ask?!  I wish I could tell you but that my friends would be spoiling the plot which, in this case, is something I just cannot do.  All I will say is that it features a young girl named Rae.  Bright, sweet, smart, and precocious, Rae captured my affection in every way possible.

The only other thing I’ll say is that this IS a MUST-READ!  It is truly one of the most incredible and inventive books I’ve ever encountered and it needs to be on your TBR. 

A buddy read with Ms. Kaceey that impacted us both greatly.  

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

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves @tgarvisgraves #contemporaryfiction #romance #womensfiction #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Beautifully Realistic, Honest & Heartbreaking!  

If your marriage was devoid of intimacy or love, would you turn to another for comfort and companionship?

That is the million-dollar question, isn’t it?!  

For Claire Canton, the answer is yes.  When Claire’s husband Chris finds a new job after being unemployed for almost a year, it seems like a blessing.  Chris was despondent for much of the last year and their marriage suffered because of it.  Now that he has a new job, she had hopes that it would bring them back together, but that’s not the case.  Instead, Chris has to travel 4 nights a week, and being away from home and having to work much of the time when he is around, Claire has never felt lonelier even though she has become solely responsible for their two kids.

When Claire meets Detective Daniel Rush at a traffic stop, their attraction is palpable.  When they meet again a few weeks later, and he offers her a graphic design job with the police department, Claire can’t help but be intrigued.  Thereafter a friendship ensues.  That’s all it is, really, friendship, though feelings develop, neither act on them. Their feelings and their want for each other, however, is unmistakable.

That begets the question, is it possible to betray your spouse without sleeping with another?  Is an emotional affair cheating?  

Daniel Rush is Swoon Worthy.  Devastatingly Handsome and extremely careful never to cross the line with a woman he has fallen over heels for.  In case it’s not obvious, he had me at hello. (lol).

“Covet” asked many a question and blurred many a line.  While I don’t condone cheating, I’m also not one to judge and this book made you wonder whether Claire made the right choice.  I guess we’ll never know considering this is fiction after all! 

Either way, this was another winner by Tracey Garvis Graves!

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding @rhardingwriter @GalleryBooks #fiction #bookblogger #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Whoever said keeping secrets from your family members couldn’t hurt wasn’t a part of “The Perfect Family.”  

Simply Unputdownable!

Thomas and Viv Adler are married with two children, Eli and Tarryn.  All four of them are keeping secrets from each other and because of it, harm has come to them.

You see, someone is out to get the Adlers and they are becoming the talk of the neighborhood.

It starts with eggshells on the window, progresses to a smoke bomb in the front yard, the slashing of tires, the burning of a bush on their stoop, and keeps progressing from there. It’s been escalating and yet, no one in the family is fessing up.

Dangerous, delectable, and wholly suspenseful, “The Perfect Family” was twisty, turny, and quite unpredictable.   

This was the Perfect Buddy Read with Ms. Kaceey!

Thank you to Gallery Books, NetGalley, and Robyn Harding for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

Kaceey’s Review:

Every family has its share of secrets..

Welcome to the Adler household. Thomas and Viv give the impression of being in a very happy marriage. But do we really know what goes on behind closed doors? Even the two of them may have no idea as secrets are rampant!

Their two teenage children are keeping their lives shrouded in secrecy too. 

When the home starts to be vandalized at night each family member starts to speculate which member of the family is somehow responsible

Told from all four perspectives. Each character had a very distinct voice and all were very well developed. 

This is the third book I’ve read from this author. Once again Robyn Harding delivers a captivating and suspenseful domestic thriller that will keep you guessing.

Already looking forward to more from this author!

A buddy read with Susanne

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

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers @garnetmorgue @parkrowbooks #contemporaryfiction #romance #mentalhealth #bookreview #bookblogger

Susanne’s Review:

Refreshing, Relevant, and Romantic!

Grace Porter, or “Porter” as almost everyone calls her has been on the fast track her whole life, studying and working as hard as possible to get her Ph.D. and finally achieve greatness.  Her goal to be the best was drilled into her by her father, and nothing else mattered.  After 9 years of almost killing herself, she has come to realize that sometimes, not everything is within her control.  

After failing to achieve what she thought would be within her grasp, Porter lets loose on a drunken night in Vegas and yep, you guessed it, she goes and gets married to a stranger.  Under normal circumstances, this is not something Grace Porter would ever do, and yet, her life is far from normal.  Cracking under the pressure has never been allowed. Grace however needs a time out and it’s about time she takes one.  Depressed and extremely anxious, Grace takes a trip to NYC to meet Yuki Yamamoto, her new wife.

Figuring things out does not happen overnight as Porter has never looked inward.  With the help of Yuki, and her friends Ximena, Agnes, Meera, Raj, and her mother, Porter finally does exactly that.  

What I loved most about this novel was all of the different friendships Grace and Yuki had and how true and solid they were. In my opinion, a person can get through anything as long as they have friends behind them. I also appreciated how mental health and therapy were portrayed and that both were portrayed realistically.

A Coming of Age novel that includes some really important topics, including Anxiety; Depression; Burnout; Mental Health; Discrimination in Hiring; LGBTQIA; Romance; Friendship; and Family Dysfunction.

Kudos to Morgan Rogers, whose #ownvoices debut novel stole my heart.

A huge thank you to Mimi Chan at Goodreads and Park Row Books for the physical arc.   

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson @JoshilynJackson @HarperAudio #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Susanne’s Review:

You Know the Old Saying “Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold?”  Well, it certainly applies here.

For Bree Cabbat, it’s clear that someone has enacted revenge on her family the moment that her baby boy Robert is kidnapped, and she is blackmailed into taking revenge on her husband’s law partner in order to get him back.  The question of course is why. 

Crazy convoluted and absolutely wild, when Bree uncovers the truth, with the help of her best friend Marshall, all hell breaks loose.  

This of course begs the question, what would you do if you were put in this situation?  I think the answer is anything.  

A novel about actions and consequences, accountability and desperation, revenge, family, love and loss.  

While I really liked the beginning of this novel, I felt as though it began to unravel some as we got towards the end.  People’s actions became unbelievable to me and I therefore had a hard time continuing on.  That being said, I enjoyed most of this novel and would recommend it to fans of mystery/suspense.

I listened to the audiobook of this and thought the author did a brilliant job narrating.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you Harper Audio, NetGalley and Joshilyn Jackson for the alc.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram

Kaceey’s Review:

This was my second read by this author and once again I felt it just missed the mark for me.

It only takes a moment. Your focus is elsewhere. When you turn back…your child is gone. Poof! This is what happened to Bree when her young son strapped in his car seat vanishes when her attention turns to her other children.

When Bree is contacted by the kidnappers she is told she only needs to perform one small act and her son will be returned to her unharmed. Easy peasy! Well not so fast….

I’m all about suspending my believability in order to enjoy a thriller. But this one really asked a bit too much from me. 

The author narrated her own book and I thought she did a fabulous job bringing the characters to life.

A buddy 🎧 with Susanne

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Audio for an 🎧 ARC

Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor @cltaylorauthor @AvonBooks #fiction #bookreview #bookblogger

Kaceey’s Review:

What happened to Jenna?

That’s the question her sister Fran is desperate to answer! Jenna vanished from a retreat two years ago. Blood was found on the edge of the cliff. But her body was never discovered. Fran is determined to get answers and solve the mystery behind her sisters disappearance.

Fran signs up to attend the retreat guided by the same team duo that held her sisters retreat. Under disguise can she find the answers she is looking for?

Told in dual timelines. Jenna from the past and Fran in the present.

C.L. Taylor writes a suspenseful read that will keep you glued to your kindle. I thought I had this one figured out but I was completely off base! 🤦🏻‍♀‍

I hope the twists are just as surprising to you!

This is my second read by this author. And though I didn’t love this one as much as The Strangers it was still a very solid thriller. I cannot wait to read more from this very talented author.

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

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain @randomhouse #paulamclain #libraryreads #suspense #audiobooks #bookblogger #bookreviewer

Susanne’s Review:

Taut, Terrifying and Realistic.

So darn good, scary, and realistic, it gave me heart palpitations! If this isn’t on your TBR Add It Now!

The Year is 1993: The Place is Mendocino, California.

A Detective with a troubled past returns to the place she once called home: Mendocino and the place where Cameron, a local teenage girl has been abducted. Detective Anna Hart is a missing person detective in San Francisco. Now she’s in the right place at the right time and can assist Will, the Sheriff of Mendocino, who also happens to be an old friend, in the search for the missing girl.

Cameron is not the first, nor will she be the last girl to be taken from the surrounding area. The story opens with the abduction of Polly Klaas which took center stage in real life and in “When the Stars Go Dark.” Somehow, Paula McClain was able to weave fact and fiction together both beautifully and tragically.

As the investigation continues, tensions mount, and hearts break.

Here, the timeline flips back and forth between past and present. That is, Anna Hart’s past and present, as Anna’s past has a lot to do with her current line of work and the demons she faces every day. The time period this novel takes place in has a major impact on the way this story is told as well as the outcome of it.

Brilliantly plotted, taut, and extremely suspenseful, this slow-burn mystery suspense was both hard to listen to and hard to put down.

The worst part for me in listening to this was simply knowing that children are abducted and assaulted every day.

I listened to the audiobook version of this which was narrated by the stupendous Marin Ireland. If you are looking for an extremely important and relevant mystery/suspense to read and enjoy, I highly recommend “When Stars Go Dark” by Paula McLain.

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

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.