One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan- a 5/5 Star Review!

As the old saying goes: “Secrets, secrets, are no fun. Secrets, secrets, hurt everyone”. But everyone has secrets, don’t they? Some secrets hurt more than others. Like Grace, whose husband decides to tell her his secret. That he’s cheating with a friend. Their daughter’s friend who is more than half their age. And he decides to tell her this at dinner for their 25th Anniversary.

Other secrets we keep so we don’t get hurt or judged by others. Like young Audrey, who is dyslexic and just trying to get through high school. But it is hard to do when she has an erratic and constantly drunk mother.

Both Grace and Audrey meet by chance while each are escaping from their respective chaos in Paris. Both had more in common than they could have possibly expected and develop a strong friendship where they teach each other what it means to be completely honest and to bring out the best in each other. I loved that this book explored friendship love, parental love, love lost, and romantic love all in one story based in the city of love.

This is yet another wonderful book by Sarah Morgan! It is an emotional roller coaster full of secrets: heartwarming yet tense, funny yet serious, hopeful yet grieving. The amount of character development among multiple characters was astounding. There was one character in particular that I absolutely had feelings of rage whenever they were involved in the plot but towards the end I found myself (begrudgingly) rooting for. It also is a great book that highlights the important benefits of traveling, particularly internationally, as well as the importance of a strong relationship with grandparents.

As someone who simply adores my grandmother, Mimi is my favorite character of the book. She is one of the main character’s grandmother who is sassy, independent, unconventional, and just plain fun! She also has a secret that she has been hiding for decades that is later revealed.

I have read many other books by Sarah Morgan:

but, out of all of them, this was the hardest. This was simply not a book that I could finish in one sitting. Hear me out, it does get easier to read as the plot develops but, for me it was hard because, both main characters also had complicated relationships with their respective mothers. In particular, they both had difficult and unstable childhoods due to their mothers’ addictions. I could relate to each of the main characters as this was something I had also experienced. This made reading the book difficult as it brought up a lot of things that I had spent a lot of time repressing. Which also made this book cathartic in that it helped me work through some of it rather than repressing it. (Ms. Morgan, you can bill me later for the therapy 😉 ).

Therefore, if you are one who has also had to deal with a difficult childhood with a parent battling addiction, this book may be heavier than expected. However, I do still recommend it as it can also be healing.

I would also recommend this book for readers who enjoy stories about friendship, traveling, and romance. I would recommend this book for adult readers as it does have foul language, heavy topics, and sexually suggestive scenarios.

Please note: an electronic ARC of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!).

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It’s Getting Scot in Here (Wild Wicked Highlanders #1) by Suzanne Enoch- this blog’s first 5/5 Star Review of 2019!

FINALLY! I had been struggling to find a book that I actually liked in 2019 and it has been a struggle.  Or, it was a struggle until I had the great opportunity to read Suzanne Enoch’s It’s Getting Scot in Here.  If the title alone doesn’t get you, the plot definitely will. Niall MacTaggert may very well be my new definition of swoon-worthy because I blushed, I giggled-I was swooning!

Amelia-Rose is stuck.  She and her big mouth has landed her in a position where she has barked off every suitor her mother has chosen for her.  Her mother insists on her marrying a man with a title, as she should have when she was younger.  Her father supports her mother but supports his drinking habit more.

The MacTaggert brothers are also stuck.  They barge into London enraged yet encaged in a binding agreement between their father and their absent mother, Francesca, which forces them to marry a woman from London.  Even worse: one of them has to marry a woman that their mother has already chosen.  Their mother who abandoned them as children and took their youngest sister with her to London while they grew up in Scotland.

Amelia-Rose is chosen by Francesca to be married to Coll, the most brutish of all three, and the eldest who will take on the title.  Coll keeps getting into trouble and his younger brother, the dashing peacekeeper Niall (I am still swooning, by the way), steps in for him to court Amelia-Rose and save her from embarrassment from the ton.  No one expected them to fall for each other.

I love the bantering between Niall and Amelia-Rose.  I love his persistence in making sure that she stays true to her character, not what people tell her to be.  I also loved that the brothers were very respectful and supportive of their sister that they did not get the opportunity to see grow up.  The brothers were simply a hilarious trio of mischief.   It was very entertaining when the three of them were in the same scene.  They call each other out yet still humor and maintain a level of respect.

The pacing was great in this book and it is very easy to get caught up in the world that Suzanne Enoch creates.  The villains are very clear in this book and still haunt me.   The character development, particularly of Niall, is very strong and I cannot praise this book enough!

In conclusion, I am thrilled that this is the first book in the Wild Wicked Highlanders because I simply must have more of these storylines!  It has the perfect balance of humor, romance, and conflict. I loved every page and I highly recommend this book to readers of romance, regency romance, and highlander romances.

For those who may be triggered/offended:  There was mild foul language, alcohol use, bullying, violence,  sibling separation, divorce/parental separation, and parental abandonment.

Please note: an electronic advanced reader copy of the book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  (Thank you!)

 

Want to get the book? Click here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250296375

 

You can check out Suzanne Enoch’s website here: http://www.suzanneenoch.com

 

 

Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser-DNF at 51%-A 2/5 Star Review

Two friends separated geographically and by one friend being a new parent.  They finally find time to connect via Skype.  The conversation is awkward then interrupted by a waking child.

One friend is left waiting, the other struggling with pain to get to the now-wailing child.

One friend sees an intruder break-in but has no way of alerting the other friend.

What happens next?

 

Gripping, right?  That’s not only the premise of the story but it is also the very first chapter in summation.  I have to say: the first two chapters were very riveting!  It felt like the plot was moving quickly and I kept being surprised.  Then the resulting chapters I was either confused at the characters’ reactions or bored with the inner monologues and kept skimming.  The inner ramblings of the narrating characters ended up being the downfall for the book for me.  It showed that the characters are as awful internally as their actions have shown.  Their secrets that they kept from one another appears to have been intended to contribute towards the idea that this book is a psychological thriller.  However, in my opinion, it was just a boring novel about entitled suburban strife.  However aversive the adult characters may have been, the children were redeeming in that they were adorable and pure. 2 stars: One for Nori and One for Rosie.

Back to the inner monologues: there were many diatribes in narration, mostly justifying how horribly they are treating the other characters, that I kept finding myself skimming.  They were so lengthy at times that I was relieved when the chapter was finally over so I could put the book down for awhile.  Or I would keep putting the book down because it was a series of the worst things that could happen to a character, happening to each character, more than once.  I am not sure if the author was going with the idea that “bad things happen to good people” because these characters were not exactly great people.  Which is drilled into the readers’ head repeatedly.    Or maybe the author was trying to use catastrophic events to help build character.  But at the point that I stopped, halfway through, that still did not appear to have happened.  Instead, the characters all seem to be self-absorbed and blaming the other for one bad event or another.

There were so many bad things happening with each character that I stopped being surprised at any new element thrown in.  OF COURSE! I kept screaming at my Kindle.  OF COURSE the HR guy’s name is Toby, just like in The Office.  OF COURSE they’re going to mention that his name is like the guy in The Office.  OF COURSE Toby isn’t that great, no one in the book is.  OF COURSE there’s a shady neighbor.  OF COURSE the intruder is not who they originally thought.  OF COURSE there are money issues involved.  OF COURSE their life fell apart, everyone in this book is falling apart! You get the idea.

In conclusion: I would not recommend this book at all.  I would especially not recommend it for younger than adult audiences.  Lastly, I would not recommend this book for those who may be triggered or offended by: foul language, infidelity, intruders/break-ins, stalkers, addiction, marital strife, or arson.

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

 

Adele by Leila Slimani- DNF at 15%-a 1/5 Star Review

DNF at 15%

This book is just not for me. I cannot relate to the main character and I found her to be self-centered with a complete disregard for others’ feelings or any consequences. So far it has only been told in Adele’s point-of-view but it is not an interesting one. She just goes from assessing who she can see herself having sex with on the train to being annoyed by her son’s general existence. It did not seem like the plot was going to be any more than a chronology of emotionless sexual partners.

I would not recommend this book for any reader but I would especially not recommend it for anyone who may be triggered or offended by: foul language, explicitly sexual scenarios, and infidelity.

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

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton-A 5/5 Star Review!

Aiden Bishop awakens in an unknown forest with only one name resonating in his mind-Anna.  He does not know where he is, when it is, and he does not even know his own name.  The only thing he knows is that he has to get out of here.  Fast.

As he later discovers, he cannot get out of Blackheath until he solves the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle repeating the same day in a different body.  The clues will be given to each character and the events cannot and should not be changed.  Meanwhile, danger lurks in the shadows, in every corner, and not everything is what it seems.

Although the main character, Aiden Bishop, has to inhabit 8 individual bodies, the storyline remained the same and details from previous perspectives bring clarity to the mystery.  Not only does Aiden have to figure out who murdered Evelyn Hardcastle to save his own life, he also has to figure out how to save the life of both Evelyn and Anna.  This is made more difficult as there are others who are also trying to escape and manipulate him to advance their chances.  There is also the issue that the more bodies that Aiden resides in, the more voices and characters compound his psyche.  As if that was not complicated enough, he also has to do all of this while protecting his hosts from being prematurely murdered by The Footman who is stalking him and ready to pounce at any moment to shorten his day and thus reducing his chances of solving the murder and escaping.

All of these factors intertwine into a fantastic plot with surprises, mystery, and an epic finale.  I would recommend this book for all adult mystery readers.  It is very fast-paced and I felt myself rooting for Aiden and Anna through their many obstacles.  I loved the small details that became big clues later on in the story.  The fact that this is Stuart Turton’s debut novel is incredible!

Conversely, I would not recommend this book for readers who may be triggered or offended by the following: arranged marriage, murder, revenge, death, graphic violence, and suggestions of rape.

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

First Earl I See Tonight (Debutante Diaries #1) by Anna Bennett-A 5/5 Star Review!

In order to protect her family, Fiona must do something unconventional: propose to an Earl.  Not just any Earl, but the angry and recently single from an engagement Earl Ravenport.  Also, their marriage needs to happen in a matter of weeks in order to save her family.  Who would possibly say no to that?

This book was fantastic! It had romance, humor, adventure and an especially heartless villain.  It also tested loyalties among the characters as well as how far one is willing to go for the ones they love. Easy and fun to read with the narratives alternating between Fiona and Gray.  It was especially hard to put down around the 75-80% mark where all of the tiny details sprinkled along the way turned into a storm (literally) of chaos where I just kept saying “no no no no no no”.  This was the part of the book that I think was the best!

Favorite character was Earl (“Gray”) Ravenport because the author was able to slowly reveal his warm, funny, and charming personality.   Initially he comes across as defensive and distant (often described in the book as “cold”) but through interactions with his grandmother and Fiona he finally warms up.

Furthermore, I enjoyed the use of the Fortress in disrepair like Gray was after his broken engagement to Lady Helena.  Yet with his grandmother as his main motivation and Fiona’s help he was able to get a lot of progress on restoring it, and himself.  It reminded me a little bit of Beauty and the Beast, without the animated furniture, in that Belle’s love for Beast was able to restore the castle (and Beast) to it’s original beauty.

Lastly, I really appreciated the use of the relationship between Fiona and her sister Lily, as well as the relationship with Gray and his grandmother.  I am fortunate enough to be very close with my sister, just as Fiona and Lily are close.  I am also fortunate to be very close with my grandmother whom is well-loved by everyone she meets, just like Gray’s grandmother.  I hope the next book in the series is about Fiona’s sister, Lily, as it seemed to have set up a conflict that could continue for her that I would like to see resolved.

I would recommend this book for adult readers who enjoy romance, especially regency romance, the strong bonds of sisterhood, and the restorative power of love.

On the other hand, I would not recommend this book for readers who may be offended or triggered by the following: graphic violence, foul language, suicide, blackmail, betrayal, gambling, prostitution, and sexually explicit scenarios.

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

A Lady’s Escape (Everton Domestic Society Book 2) by A.S. Fenichel-A 5/5 Star Review!

Millicent Edgebrook has had plenty of experience of societal backlash from the ton. Orphaned as a teenager and sent to live with her endearing yet notoriously eccentric scientist uncle, her reputation was not off to an easy start. An indecent incident with a boy during this trying time had her feel as if she were ruined forever-all as a teenager! Therefore, she decides to make something positive out of her life and become an Everton Lady.

Ladies of the Everton Domestic Society dedicate their lives to accomplish certain tasks requested by their clients. Accompanied by a chaperone, they are to be professional at all times and get the task done efficiently. They certainly are not to be distracted. They certainly are not to be flirtatious. And they most certainly are not to fall in love with their client. But who can truly stand in the way of true love?

I enjoyed this book and it was very easy to become immersed in this environment. I enjoyed the symbolism of chess as the power play between king and queen, yet also used as a symbol of Millicent and Preston as being treated as equal players. Furthermore, I enjoyed the dog and the kitten that were rescued and became family pets. They were my favorite characters in the book as they were not only adorable characters but also another way that Preston and Millicent bonded.

This is the second book in the Everton Domestic Society, however, it can be read as a standalone. This book also references characters from the Forever Brides series but can be read even if the reader has not read those series as the author provides a brief background on each of those characters. On the other hand, I had read the Forever Brides series (see my reviews: Forever Brides #1Forever Brides #2Forever Brides #3 , & Everton Domestic Society #1) and was very happy to see those characters added into this series as it was like catching up with old friends!

I would recommend this book for adult readers who enjoy regency romances, romances that defy society standards, and romances that develop after adversity. I would also recommend this book for dog, cat, and chess lovers. However, I would not recommend this book for those who may be offended or triggered by fire, parental death, manipulation, and explicitly sexual scenarios.

Please note: an electronic ARC of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review-thanks!