The Breakdown by B.A. Paris-a 4/5 Star Review!

Cass and her husband, Matthew, live in a house far away from many things. Only a couple of neighbors down the road but it is quiet and peaceful. That is, until one stormy night on her way home a woman is stranded on the side of the road. Cass made the decision that she would later regret: she does not help her. The next morning, the woman is found dead.

Riddled with the guilt of not having done anything, and horrified that this could happen in her small and remote neighborhood, Cass gets spooked and lives in fear. When she discovers that the woman was her new friend, Jane, she nearly falls apart. Does the murderer know that it was Cass who passed by?

Let me begin with the end. The end of the book really ties everything together and makes up for the redundant middle of the book. Although many thriller books are compared to Girl On The Train, I will add this one to the list for this very reason. I gave up on Girl On The Train because the middle was so redundant on how she is drunk every day. I later had the book spoiled for me and wished I had carried on. I almost did the same for this book. The middle of The Breakdown becomes cumbersome to read as it does not feel like much of anything is progressing. The daily actions of Cass waking up devastatingly convinced to have early onset dementia like her mother had, taking pills, falling asleep, waking up again to pretend to be normal when her husband comes home, and going to bed again happens so often. However, there are snippets of clues subtly dropped within this chunk of monotony that it is easy to miss them. I would not say that this book is something that I could not put down. For a lot of the book I had a hard time actually picking it back up, but I am glad that I did as the ending makes up for everything.

I would recommend this book for anyone who could endure Girl On The Train. I also recommend this book for readers who enjoy getting in the mindset of the narrator. This reads in first-person narrative and does not jump back and forth between past and present.

For those who may be offended, there are themes of manipulation, stalking, murder, early onset dementia, and overdose.

Please note: An electronic advanced reader copy was generously provided by St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hunted: ALIAS #2 by Lisa Hughey- a 3 Star Review

Maria Torres has had a large part of her life taken away from her.  She was kidnapped and held captive for many years until she finally had the courage and opportunity to escape.  That experience has been haunting her life, making it very difficult to establish relationships and even trust others.

Dwayne Lameko has had a crush on co-worker Maria Torres since she joined the company.  He can charm most women, except for her.  She shuts down when he is near and refuses to tell him anything about herself.  She shocks him when she volunteers to go in on a mission and is even more shocked when he is assigned to be her partner.  Can they get over their awkward boundaries and work together as a team?

I read the first book in the series, Stalked: ALIAS #1 (see review here: Stalked ARC (ALIAS #1) by Lisa Hughey-5/5 Star Review), and I enjoyed the fast pace and high-powered action scenes.  The plot in that book was well developed, as were the characters, and there was a great balance between action and passion.  That being said, this book was a bit of a let down.  I went into Hunted expecting the same level of pace and character development but the story line felt truncated.  It focused more on the awkward romance growing between evasive Maria and alpha Dwayne than the thrill of the mission.  Furthermore, the “plot twist” was predictable.

I would not recommend this book for readers who may be sensitive to violence, sexually explicit scenarios, kidnapping, rape threats, and foul language.

Please note:  an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Charming Predator by Lee Mackenzie-2/5 Star Review

Lee Mackenzie has climbed her way back up from rock bottom.  At the bottom of the pit she was known to those close to her, particularly her husband, as Donna.  This book is the true story of how she met and married her husband, Kenner Jones, despite being countries apart.

Donna had traveled to London and met Kenner at a tourist shop.  Through conversation, Kenner discovers that Donna is in need of a place to stay.  So he offers his mother’s hospitality and Donna takes him up on it.  She endured story after story from Kenner’s mother, Primrose, but took it as worth the money she saved.

Donna had returned to her home country, Canada, and started receiving letters from Kenner.  Kenner had ended up in prison as the victim of a misunderstanding and his mother is in need of financial assistance.  Donna sends money from each paycheck to Primrose and continues to correspond with Kenner.  This is the second step down into the pit of naiveté.

Upon Kenner’s release, Donna goes back to London to visit him.  He proposes.  She accepts and goes back to Canada to save up for their wedding and future.  They marry in Canada and then everything starts to fall apart.   The deception builds as their marriage crumbles.  Donna is caught in a landslide of broken dreams, debt, and torn between her husband and her future.
This is all told in Donna’s point of view and partly in letters from Kenner to Donna.  These letters provide a deeper glance into who Kenner portrayed himself to be.  Without these letters, I do not believe I would have continued to read the book.  I would have just tossed it aside as a bitter tale of a woman scorned.  The other added depth to the book was the inclusion of other people deceived by Kenner.

Although this book is classified as true crime (which is my tv preference) it did not leave me gasping in disbelief.  Rather, it left me putting it down often and picking up another book instead.   It felt like when one goes to get a coffee with an acquaintance or old friend and the cell phone tucked away in a purse or pocket is more tempting than hearing more bitter stories.  It was predictable and the details that were focused on did not add to the story, in my opinion.

I would not recommend this book for anyone offended by deception and miscarriages.  I did not note any foul language, violence, or sexual themes.

Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Merman’s Kiss (Monsters for Mates #1) by Tamsin Ley-2/5 Star Review

Brianna’s world is over. She lost her baby and her marriage. She puts on weights and walks off a pier into the ocean wanting to end it all. What she did not plan on was entering a whole other world underwater. Merman Zantu finds her and breathes life back into her. Shortly thereafter, they fall into lust and mate. Brianna’s life starts over in a new world with a new mate because when merman mate, they mate for life.

Zantu has a hard time selecting a mate because all mermaids are greedy, manipulative, and leave mermen and their merchildren behind. Having recently witnessed this happen to his brother, he avoids mermaids even more, viewing them as predators. While treasure hunting, he comes across a human who needs rescued and breathes into her allowing her to breathe underwater. Saving her life forever changed his.

I tried to like this book but it was irritating at times. Zantu calls Brianna “my little angelfish” redundantly and the sweeping concept that all mermaids are greedy and malicious did not add to the book. Furthermore, it felt like they were having sex every five pages and then they were telling each other that they love each other after only a brief amount of time. The final redundant part for me was how Zantu kept thinking about how females cannot be trusted because they will leave you. Yet Zantu left Brianna behind on more than one occasion!

It was a novella and easy to read in one sitting. It is difficult to tell if this book was originally written with the intention of shorter length because it felt like a lot was left out. The plot holes seemed to be covered up by more sex scenes. Furthermore, there were big transformations that happened but were not explained how. It just did not feel like it flowed well, in my opinion.

I am adding the second star because there was a lot of detail regarding the marine world. Not only with what it was supposed to physically look like, but how all of the marine creatures interacted.

I would not recommend this book for those who dare bothered by explicit sex scenes, suicide attempts, infidelity, abandonment (particularly maternal abandonment), depression, violence, and coercion.

Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Foolish Bride by A.S. Fenichel-5/5 Star Review!

Elinor and Michael are engaged. This engagement came from love rather than a business transaction, which is rare in their town. Michael is in the military and takes one last mission before their wedding to secure a title for he and his new bride.

It is this final mission that changes everything.

Michael is injured and is no longer able to bear children. Elinor’s father has just received a higher ranking title and refuses to allow any bad gossip to spread about his daughter. He cowardly dissolves the engagement as Michael is still on bedrest to recover.

Elinor refuses to allow the engagement to be dissolved and fights for their love. But it is Michael that she fights because he has given up on their romance in the hopes that Elinor may marry someone more suitable.

Along comes Preston, a Duke, who seeks Elinor’s hand. Michael fights his jealousy, Elinor fights her conflicting feelings, and the ton is in a gossiping frenzy. Will Elinor choose love or convenience?

I have only read a couple of regency romances that I enjoyed which caused me to hesitate to read this one. I feared it would be too many details about the ton, dresses, and overall scenery rather than focusing on the plot. I was pleased that this was not the case with Foolish Bride. The plot moves so quickly that I read it in one day!

Furthermore, there was strong character development with both Elinor and Michael. Elinor began their courtship acting as the role of “perfect wife” as her mother had raised her to be. The devastation after her engagement was called off caused her to reveal her stronger, unfiltered self. Michael, after being called out by Elinor, realizes that he had been selfish in how he handled the fall out of their engagement as well as how he had treated his own siblings.

Lastly, I was very pleased to find that this book is a part of a series. It read as a standalone and (thankfully) there was not a cliffhanger. My favorite character was Michael’s best friend, Thomas Wheel. I was excited to discover that the next book revolves around him and Elinor’s best friend, Dory. I will be on the hunt for the first book in the series, Tainted Bride, and look forward to the third!

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a romantic story about fighting for love. I also recommend this book for readers who enjoy surprises as well as historical fiction.

On the other hand, I would not recommend this book for readers who may be put off by explicit sexual scenarios, violence, mild foul language, and kidnapping.

Please note: An electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella’s-5/5 star review!

Katie (“Cat”) Brenner is a country bumpkin trying to find herself in the big City, London. She has a decent job at Cooper Clemmow with the hopes of moving up in the company now that she has the foot in the door. 
Her boss, Demeter, has everything that Cat wants: great job, great house, great husband, and great kids. What is actual perfection and what is an illusion? 
I have read almost all of Sophie Kinsella’s standalone books, with the only exception being Finding Audrey. I get excited for each new release because I know it is going to take me right to my happy place. The same applies for My (Not So) Perfect Life. I forced myself to slow down reading this book because I wanted to savor it. It was romantic, a bit silly at times, and yet there was a lot of character development amongst multiple characters. It gets deep yet some characters are shallow. There are misconceptions that get out of hand yet there is empathy. It is modern yet It comes back to the age-old question: is the grass always greener on the other side? 
I highly recommend this book, as well as Sophie Kinsella’s other books, for anyone looking for a relatable and humorous light read. 
I would not recommend this book for any reader that is offended by foul language, bullying, or sexually suggestive scenarios. 
Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

The Girl Before by JP Delaney-5/5 Star Review!

Emma Matthews has been through a traumatic experience. She has been burglarized and attacked in the safety of her own home. She doesn’t feel safe there anymore so she and her boyfriend, Simon, are on a seemingly endless hunt for a new, safer, place. They come a cross One Folgate Street where the application process is grueling but the home is an architectural and technological masterpiece. Rarely does anyone get accepted and even more rarely do those accepted actually stay.

Jane Cavendish has been through a traumatic experience. She has just lost her baby at birth and she is looking for a new start. She comes across a place called One Folgate Street and decides that it is the only place that she could consider home. The architect, Edward Monkford, has outlandish demands for the tenants of his home and his obsession with minimalism and perfection are difficult to accommodate. However, he thinks Jane is the perfect match for the home. After she is accepted, that is when things become very strange and she sets out to find the truth. Is the truth better off hidden?

I am 2/2 on 5-star books so far in 2017! This book was hard to put down.  The chapters were short with the narration switching from Emma to Jane and from the past to present, respectively. This book kept me guessing throughout the book and until the last few chapters, it is very hard to figure out the actual identity of the villain. It is not a flat plotline, rather, there are so many twists and turns that it is almost dizzying. Lastly, this book covers many topics but they blend together so well that it did not seem overwhelming to read.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys plot twists. I also recommend this book for any reader who enjoys sifting through red herrings.

However, I do not think this book would be for any reader that is offended by violence, foul language, sexually suggestive scenarios, stillbirth, mild drug use, stalking, rape, burglary, infidelity, murder, and conversations about abortion.

Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.