Friday, June 29, 2018

The Friend

Book: The Friend
Author: Teresa Driscoll

On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.

She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bare her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.

Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?

Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.-Goodreads

Review: Sophie is a stay-at-home mom to 4-year old Ben. When single mom Emma moves into the village with a young son, they become friends. Emma rubs everyone the wrong way but Sophie can't see it-she's thrilled to have a new friend and someone for Ben to play with. Told almost exclusively from Sophie's point of view, we follow a present day time frame where Sophie is on a train and has discovered something has happened to Ben and another timeline, a few months earlier, as the women develop their friendship. 

I enjoyed this book but there was a big miss here with Emma. This book is almost entirely Sophie's point of view (with a few chapters from Emma and Sophie's husband). I think a more even split with Emma would have spiced things up quite a bit. 

Grade: 3/5

Sometimes I Lie

Book: Sometimes I Lie
Author: Alice Feeney

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?-Goodreads

Review: You know those books you read where they are super slow in the beginning but the back half blows you away? This is one of those books. It started very 'blah' for me and I was bored with 'coma Amber' and 'Amber leading up to the coma.' I'm glad I stuck with it because I loved the second half of the book and couldn't put it down. 

This was a slow burn with a great ending. Loved it!

Grade: 4.5/5

The Kind Worth Killing

Book: The Kind Worth Killing
Author: Peter Swanson

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .-Goodreads

Review: Cheating, murder, mystery, devious characters everywhere you turn..I LOVED this!! There were twists and turns and it was pure, delicious fun. This is my favorite read of the year. I am officially a Peter Swanson fan!

Grade: 5/5

Losing Leah Holloway

Book: Losing Leah Holloway
Series: Claire Fletcher #1
Author: Lisa Regan

When Claire sees a car full of children careen into a river, she rushes to the rescue. But the driver, a mother named Leah Holloway, prefers to drown. For Claire and her ex, Detective Connor Parks, it doesn’t add up. What would motivate a woman with a beautiful family and a successful career to resort to such unspeakable extremes? What Connor finds out confirms Claire’s suspicions of something dreadful behind Holloway’s picture-perfect facade: a link between the terrified mother and a serial strangler targeting Sacramento soccer moms.

As Claire and Connor are drawn back together, their investigation leads them to unearth everything Holloway was hiding. What they find could be the only way to stop a killer from striking again.-Goodreads

Review: Leah is a hard worker, committed wife and loving mom to 3 young children. So what could possibly cause Leah to drive her SUV off a bridge with the intent to kill herself, her 3 children and her neighbor's twins? Claire is on the scene and helps rescue the kids but Leah drowns. Claire and Connor team up to figure out what happened. 

I'm once again impressed with Lisa Regan's storytelling abilities. Told in alternating timelines, we follow Connor and Claire in the present timeline trying to figure out what happened while we follow Leah before the crash. Knowing Leah tried to kill 5 children was horrifying and trying to figure out why kept me turning the pages. 

Grade: 4/5

Finding Claire Fletcher

Book: Finding Claire Fletcher
Series: Claire Fletcher #1
Author: Lisa Regan

With his career on thin ice and fresh ink on his divorce papers, Sacramento PD Detective Connor Parks goes searching for solace at the bottom of a bottle…and winds up in the arms of a beautiful woman. By morning she’s gone, and the one clue she left behind sends Connor on a desperate mission to unravel a decade-old mystery—her abduction.

Presumed dead for the last ten years, Claire Fletcher has been living her life as “Lynn,” a woman in the terrifying grip of her captor. After her unforgettable night with Connor, Claire clings to the hope that she’ll see him again, that he’ll follow her into the dark. But anyone who gets close to Claire has a way of turning up dead…and she’s unwittingly made Connor next on the list.

Before long, it becomes disturbingly clear: finding Claire Fletcher isn’t just going to be dangerous—it could be deadly.-Goodreads

Review: Wow-this book was an engaging, disturbing read. 15-year old Claire Fletcher is abducted walking to school one morning. What follows are years of torture and abuse (physical, sexual and psychological). Ten years later, Connor (a detective) meets a woman a bar and they share a sweet night together. In the morning, he finds a note with her name and address. He soon discovers that "Claire" has been a missing person for the last decade. Connor starts to investigate to find out what happened to Claire and bring her home. 

What happened to Claire is every parents worse nightmare. Horrific on every level. I think the author did a good job with the psychological aspect showing how he was able to control Claire. I don't think her actions seemed in line with a victim at some points (i.e. her bar escapes and ability to interact with other men) but overall, this was a powerful read. 

Grade: 4/5

Prince Charming

Book: Prince Charming
Author: CD Reiss

Keaton Bridge is exactly the kind of guy a straight-arrow like Cassie doesn’t need.
For one thing, he’s a criminal—and she fights crime for a living. And being criminally handsome isn’t helping her say no, either. Everything about him screams trouble, from his British accent to his mysterious past.
And Cassie doesn’t do trouble.
Keaton’s got his own trouble. He’s trying to go legit, and an FBI agent hanging around is the last thing that will help his credibility. All it took was one night of passion to sear her into his skin. Now he can’t imagine living happily ever after without her.
All they have to do is walk away.
But neither of them ever walks away from danger.-Goodreads

Review: Does anyone do romance better than CD Reiss these days? This was a fun, sexy read. Cassie is an FBI agent and Keaton is a criminal...or is he? Their chemistry is undeniable, but could a relationship ever work? 

This was a fast, fun read. Very enjoyable. 

Grade: 4/5

A Court of Frost and Starlight

Book: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1
Author: Sarah J. Maas

Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys, and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated--scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.-Goodreads
Review: I love Feyre. I love Rhys. I love the Night Court and all their friends. I also love a book (or novella in this case) that has an actual plot. There was nothing going on here. I'm not sure what the point of it was. It was short but in just shy of 300 pages there could have been something more going on. Now, do I regret reading this? No, because at the end there was a teaser chapter for the next book and all I can say is...Nesta!! OMG I am so excited!

Grade: 2/5

Love and Other Words

Book: Love and Other Words
Author: Christina Lauren

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly teen friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.-Goodreads

Review: Unpopular opinion alert! I am a huge fan of the writing due of Christina Lauren but this was a disappointment. Perhaps my expectations are too high. The Beautiful series is such a perfect mix of love, romance, sexiness and laughter that when I go into one of their books, I expect to fall in love with the characters and laugh. This book wasn't bad, it was just okay. Told in alternating timelines, we follow Macy, a pediatric resident in San Fran who is living with her fiance. Life is going along when she runs into her teenager love, Elliot. They haven't seen each other in years and all the feelings start coming back. But why haven't they spoken in so long? In another timeline, we follow teenager Macy and Elliot as they meet up on weekends and become friends, best friends and then boyfriend/girlfriend. Half of the book was Macy and Elliot as teens and they spent most of their time reading next to each other in a closet. I'm a huge reader myself so there is nothing wrong with this, their relationship just wasn't that exciting or passionate. When we finally get to the big reveal of what happened (I would have been furious too), I felt like nothing was addressed but I honestly wasn't invested in them as a couple to care that much. 

Not my favorite Christina Lauren book but I'll continue to read them. 

Grade: 2/5

Something in the Water

Book: Something in the Water
Author: Catherine Steadman

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .-Goodreads

Review:  Have you ever read a book where you are so frustrated with the main character that you wanted to throw your kindle against the wall? Repeatedly? That was my reality reading this book. I finished this 2 weeks ago and I still can't decide if I hated it or loved it. Let's dive in.

The book starts with Erin digging a grave. We know who is dead and I wish the author had kept this tidbit out because it killed any suspense for the remainder of the book. The book then jumps back a few months. The book is told from Erin's perspective. Erin is a documentary filmmaker doing a film on a few prisoners who are about to be released from prison, while her fiance Mark, is a banker. Before their wedding, they experience financial difficulties and it's very clear early on that this couple is not honest with each other. On their honeymoon in Bora Bora (because when you are facing major money problems, a trip to Bora Bora is just what the doctor ordered), they find a mysterious bag floating in the water. What follows are a series of bad, stupid and infuriating decisions. 

On one hand, I couldn't stop turning the pages. On the other hand, I was so annoyed with Erin, I was hoping something bad would happen to her (man, I'm a terrible person). Because we knew the ending  immediately, there wasn't much suspense. I think the end left some holes as to some characters motivations and I wish that had been fleshed out more. I will def read more of this author in the future though. 

Grade: 3/5

Due Process

Book: Due Process
Series: Joe Dillard #9
Author: Scott Pratt

A young exotic dancer claims she was sexually assaulted at a party thrown by a university football team.

Three players stand accused.

In the ninth installment of the bestselling Joe Dillard series, Dillard finds himself defending one of the players accused of assaulting the young woman. The case receives national attention, quickly escalating into a platform for deep-seeded division and hatred. It also ensnares Dillard, along with his son, Jack, and Charleston Story into a web of lies and deceit spun by a mysterious figure with a hidden agenda.

Meanwhile, his wife, Caroline, continues her fight against metastatic breast cancer, and his sister, Sarah, comes back into the picture. Culminating in a courtroom scene worthy of Perry Mason, Dillard must take on one of the most difficult cases of his career. Will justice prevail? Or will the weight of the criminal justice system grind Joe and his client to dust? -Goodreads

Review:  This book is essentially the Duke Lacrosse case from 2006. A white stripper accuses black football players of being raped at a party and despite a distinct lack of evidence, the DA takes the case to trial. While the storyline itself was fine, I could not connect with any character. The protagonist, defense attorney Joe Dillard himself, seemed completely unrealistic. Perhaps this is because I read book #9 in a series without the others, but this didn't work for me on any level. 

Grade: 1/5

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Rough Edge

Book: Rough Edge
Series: The Edge #1
Author: CD Reiss

You married a decent man.
A rock solid, arrogant war hero who knew exactly who he was and what he wanted. He wanted you, and you gave yourself to him.

You are his only desire--the only woman in his orbit--but the intensity of that desire is turning dangerous.

Love may be the death of both of you. -Goodreads

Review: I finished this book last night and it's a difficult one to review. I would classify this more as a dark romance/erotica then traditional erotica, which was unexpected. Greyson, a psychiatrist, has recently left the Army and moves to NYC to start her own practice and be with her husband. Caden, her husband, is a heart surgeon (they met when they were both deployed). Their married life changes when Caden senses a "Thing" watching him and wanting his wife. The only way Caden can make the "Thing" go away is to have rough sex with Greyson. While Greyson realizes something isn't right with her husband, she finds she enjoys the rough encounters.

This was well-written and I definitely finished the book wanting to know if Caden's condition is a real manifestation of PTSD. Unfortunately, I did not find any of the intimate scenes sexy knowing the main character was acting out as a way of coping with PTSD. I'll probably continue with the series to see how the author handles everything. 

Grade: 3/5