Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves #traceygarvisgraves @StMartinsPress @NetGalley #womensfiction #contemporaryfiction #blogger #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Sometimes Love Can Be Found in the Most Unexpected of Places.

Layla is an elementary school music teacher who is newly divorced and is trying to make a fresh start.

Josh is a single dad, who is recently separated from his wife of twenty years.

Every day, Josh walks his daughter to school, and every day, he chats with his daughter’s music teacher, and each day Josh and Layla wonder about each other until the day one soul reaches out to the other.

A relationship that builds like a slow song until it reaches the crescendo.  

Told in alternating chapters by Layla and Josh, “Heard It in a Love Song” by Tracey Garvis Graves, allows you to get to know each character in the past and the present while each develops feelings for the other.

If only this had led to my caring for the characters.  For some reason, however, the way this story was told didn’t lend itself to my feeling invested in either Layla or Josh’s life stories or in their romance and I cannot put my finger on exactly why that is.  All I can say is that, in the end, something was missing. That said, while I didn’t enjoy the romance, I really liked the musical aspect of the story and was wholly immersed in it.  This was the 7th book that I’ve read by Tracey Garvis Graves and I will be anxiously awaiting her next release.  

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Tracey Garvis Graves for the arc.  

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

The Watcher Girl by Minka Kent @amazonpublishing · Publisher #fiction #thriller #bookreviewer

Kaceey’s Review:

Grace has returned home with the hopes of creating some much-needed closure with ex-boyfriend Sutton. But what precisely does Grace want with Sutton? After all, he’s moved on with a new wife and daughter. 

The first 50% of this book was unputdownable! Very creepy, highly exciting. I felt the build up towards an inevitable explosive end you’re certain is just around the next corner. And then…zippo. Nothing. I actually thought I somehow missed the twist. Nope, it was there, It just fell flat.😕 

This book reminded me of the anticipation of an ice-cold soda on a hot, summer afternoon. You’re parched and the soda in the fridge is calling your name. You fill your glass tumbler full of ice and grab that frosty soda. Finally, twisting off the cap to hear the explosion of bubbles. Only to get ‘pfft” as all your excited little taste-buds ask, “what happened?”😫 

When I began this book up I wasn’t aware it was a follow up to The Memory Watcher, which was a solid five-star read for me. I suggest starting with that read to get the entire background on Grace.   

Though the ending was a letdown for me I will definitely be picking up this author’s next release. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer.

The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon @Gen_Gannon @WmMorrowBooks @Goodreads #GoodreadsGiveaway #fiction #contemporary #bookreviewer

Susanne’s Review:

One awful mistake. Horrific consequences.  

Two couples, Grace and Dan and Priya and Nick go through IVF to try and conceive.  

Both couples end up at the same Fertility Clinic. What happens is every woman’s nightmare. 

One child, two families, and a custody battle.  

Heartache and Heartbreak.

Devastating, and unimaginable, Grace, Dan, and Priya face choices no one should ever have to make.   

Character-driven fiction at its finest, “The Mothers” by Genevieve Gannon is a sad, well-written novel about mistakes, choices, and most importantly what it means to be a mother.  

“The Mothers” is a thought-provoking, evocative, tear-jerker of a novel. Though I guessed the ending, I still quite enjoyed this brilliantly done piece of fiction. 

Thank you so much to #GoodreadsGiveaway and William Morrow for my Win!

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrews #kathleenmcinerney #contemporaryfiction #mystery #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Highly Entertaining!

When Conley Hawkin’s new job falls through, her only option is to hightail it home to Silver Bay, and a job writing for her family’s paper, The Silver Bay Beacon. 

Soon Conley is in the thick of things after witnessing the death of a local Congressman. Seeing as she is a reporter, she can’t help but write the story for her family’s paper, causing quite the stir.  Some of the townsfolk however, aren’t happy with the investigative reporting being covered by the Beacon and make their feelings known.

Good thing Conley has a few people on her side!

An audiobook that kept me completely charmed throughout by the storyline created by Ms. Andrews and by one of my favorite narrators, Ms. Kathleen McInerney!

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

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Just My Luck by Adele Parks @adeleparks @NetGalley @HarlequinBooks #suspense #thriller #bookreviewers

Susanne’s Review:

Anxiety Inducing!

I used to think winning the lottery would be an amazing thing, however after reading this book, I have changed my mind. 

From greed, to overzealous spending, to truly despicable characters, “Just My Luck” gave me heart palpitations.  

Lexi plays the same numbers on the lottery year after year with nothing to show for it, until one day when she wins it big. I’m talking 18 Million Pounds (think 25.5 Million Dollars). For years their friends had a pool and played the same numbers, but the weekend before, their friends pulled out of the pool and low and behold, the following week Lexi wins and now their friends want a piece of the pie.

Can you say MEOW?! 

A display of how despicably people act when money is on the line. 

From the exorbitant purchases made, to his complete disregard for his wife, Jake, Lexi’s husband, made my blood boil. Though this novel ramps up in suspense as the novel gets going, I admit that the premise made me way too anxious and frankly, gave me nightmares.   

Thank goodness I had a glass of bourbon in hand, and a buddy to read this book with!  Kaceey – I wouldn’t haven’t gotten through this one without you!

Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin – Mira and Adele Parks for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

A winning lottery ticket.  All your dreams are about to come true.  But what if it turns into a nightmare instead?

Lexi and Jake just hit the jackpot! They are over the moon and ready to spend their winnings.  But there may be one small problem.  Two other couples went in week after week on lottery tickets with Jake and Lexi…until last week. 

Can these two couples still stake a claim to the winnings?

This read captured me from the beginning as I was caught up in the excitement with our winning couple.  But as the former friends spoke up wanting their share my anxiety was off the charts.  Why you ask?💁🏻‍♀️. I’m not sure what it was about this scenario that left me completely unsettled. 

I do play the lottery occasionally but after reading this book I will not be participating in a lottery pool!🙈

A buddy read with Susanne!

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing.

Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams #lyssakayadams @BerkleyPub @NetGalley #romcom #bookbloggers

Kaceey’s Review:

This is a series I have been loving from the start. A male book club dedicated to the reading of romance novels in order to help better themselves and make them better partners for their wives and girlfriends. Fun right!?

And to this point it was. But with this latest release of book 4, I was left a bit disappointed. It lacked the fun and romance of the previous books.

The focus of this latest release is on Vlad the Russian hockey star and his estranged wife Elena. They have been separated for virtually their entire marriage. Vlad now wants to make the marriage work. After all, she is the only woman he has ever loved. 

There are some fun moments with the losers club (the neighborhood women who have lost their men- for one reason or another). The animals that are drawn to Vlad as though he is the Pied Piper. 

I share a heritage with Vlad and Elena so reading about all the Russian foods Elena cooked up made me long for my mom’s cooking, 😥.

Unfortunately, instead of keeping the focus on the romance itself, other serious themes kept distracting both me and the characters. It just didn’t fit, not in a light humorous rom-com. 

I’m still a huge fan of the series and will be picking up the next release!

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to Berkley publishing via NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.

Susanne’s Review:

A Beloved Series.  A Bit of a Let-Down.

As a HUGE fan of the Bromance Book Club series, I could not wait for “Isn’t It Bromantic?” – the next book in the series even though I had my doubts that any book could possibly top “Crazy Stupid Bromance” (Noah and Alexis’ story).  Sadly, I was right.  

Admittedly, Vlad has never been my favorite character, so perhaps, I was setting myself up for disappointment.

Vlad is a famous hockey player. He’s sweet, lovable, and has a horribly upset stomach at the most inopportune times. Little did he know that all this time he was gluten intolerant!  Poor guy!  Estranged from his wife and childhood best friend Elena, Vlad wants nothing more than to make her happy. Sadly, Elena wants nothing to do with him. That is until Vlad gets injured playing hockey and needs someone to care for him.  Enter, his wife.  Taking care of Vlad during his recovery puts these two in very close quarters and as it turns out, both do in fact have feelings for each other, if only they’ll admit it to the other.

Enter the Bromance Book Club and The Losers (Vlad’s widowed neighbors who check in on him from time to time).

Sadly, I felt that the entire romance between Elena and Vlad was forced and missed the witty banter between the book club members, which was lacking. 

Looking at other readers’ reviews, I appear to be an outlier when it comes to this book. Though this novel wasn’t my favorite, I can’t wait for the next Bromance book by Lyssa Kay Adams.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey.

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

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson #carterwilson @PPPress @NetGalley #thriller #bookreviewers #bookbloggers

Susanne’s Review:

Secrets can be deadly.

After Rose’s husband meets a tragic end, she and her son leave Wisconsin in order to escape to her hometown of Bury, New Hampshire, and the family she left twenty years ago, for good reason.  

Hot on her tail is a Detective from Milwaukee who is positive that Rose has something to hide, which of course, she does.  The question, however, is whether Rose is hiding something about her past, or her present.  

A mystery/suspense that was, unfortunately, lacking in the suspense department for this armchair detective as I guessed both plot points from the very beginning.

“The Dead Husband” is the second novel that I’ve read by Carter Wilson and while I enjoyed this, I preferred “Mister Tender’s Girl.” 

A buddy read with Kaceey.

Thank you to NetGalley, Poisoned Pen Press, and Carter Wilson for the arc. 

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

Kaceey’s Review:

Is it true… you can never go home?

Well, no one told Rose that. As she packed up her son and her life and returned home to Bury New Hampshire. Back to her father’s house. A place she swore she would never return to. 

So what made Rose finally come home. Well, perhaps the fact that her husband tragically died. But can she leave the past behind?

Not so fast Rose!

Detective Colin Pearson is hot on her trail. He is convinced Rose is responsible for her husband’s death and will go to any length to prove it.

A family filled with secrets. They are about to be unraveled and no one will come out unscathed. 

This was a fast and fun thriller though perhaps not the most memorable in a genre that is currently exploding with wild twists determined to shock the reader. Yes, we did have a few stunning moments but they felt a bit far-fetched. 

Overall I enjoyed the writing by this author and look forward to reading more of his books.

A buddy read with Susanne

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for granting my wish.

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn @laurellizabeth #fiction #mystery #thriller #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Lies and Deception!  

Everyone knows they always come back to haunt you!

Who:  Ambrosia Wellington

What:  10 Year College Reunion; Invitations Sent Out by Mail and Email

Where:  Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. 

When Ambrosia Wellington receives the invitations to attend her 10-year college reunion, she is, shall we say, LESS than enthused.  Nor does she have any plans to attend.  

Then her husband Adrian gets wind of it and can’t wait to go.  Now Ambrosia (“Amb”) is stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Amb has been keeping quite a few secrets from her dearly beloved and if they attend her reunion, everything could come crashing down. 

Told in both the past and the present, “The Girls Are All So Nice Here” is a suspenseful tale of college that turns ugly quite fast. 

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, right?!  

Thrilling, Shocking, and Twisty Turny, this Suspenseful Tale made me glad I commuted to college.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook narrated by Erin Mallon who kept me entertained throughout.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.

The Missing Hours by Julia Dahl @JuliaDahl @msjuliadahl @juliadahlauthor @MinotaurBooks #fiction #themissinghours

Kaceey’s Review:

Have you seen Claudia? 

When Claudia Castro awakens in her dorm, she quickly realizes something is very wrong. A fast glance in the bathroom mirror confirms it. YUP! Split lip, black eye. No doubt something drastic happened last night…but what?! 

As the fog of the evening in question clears and things become clearer, Claudia immediately goes dark. Off the grid, no sightings or social media. Question is, was that by choice or has something happened to her. 

Her family is frantic to find her. Others are searching for her as well…although their intentions are highly questionable. 

A few difficult themes through-out this book, that at times made reading difficult. The book blurb doesn’t reveal much so I’m keeping my review vague. You’re welcome! 

The second book I’ve read by Julia Dahl. I enjoyed the first in her series, Invisible City and own the following two. This latest stand-alone has a very different feel than her previous series. More intense and a bit edgy.  

Thank you to Minotaur Publishing via NetGalley and Goodreads giveaway for access to both a digital and physical copy to read and review. 

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller @ClaireFuller2 @Tin_House @NetGalley #fiction #literaryfiction #bookreview

Susanne’s Review:

Wholly Unexpected.

When twins Jeanie and Julius are hit with the death of their mother, they are left to fend for themselves for the first time in their adult lives. The problem? At 51 years old, neither has ever had to, as they have always lived with and relied on their mother.

A mother who left her children wholly unprepared for life.

Afraid, alone, shocked and despondent, Jeanie and Julius must learn to take care of basic needs.  Working, making money and finding a new place to live, all while discovering that their mother wasn’t exactly who they thought she was.  

Time and again, these two are hit hard, devastated by life’s circumstances.  

Digging deep, Jeanie works hard and is determined to save herself and her brother from the depths of despair.   

A slow moving story that I enjoyed but that took quite a bit to get going. While I liked this novel, I didn’t quite love it. I admit to being confused by a mother who didn’t raise her children to care for themselves, and become independent forward thinking adults.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tin House for the arc.

Published on Goodreads and Twitter.