Monthly Archive: December 2016

THE GIRL I USED TO BE by April Henry

The Girl I Used to Be

by April Henry

Published by Henry Holt and Company
240 pages
Genre: YA; teen lit; mystery
2.5 / 5

My Review:

Orphaned as a toddler, Olivia thinks she knows the truth about her family: she and her parents were on a camping trip, during which her father murdered her mother and abandoned Olivia at a local Walmart.

Now, fourteen years later, Olivia learns that her father did not kill her mother. He is not to blame. Nor is he still alive: a bone from his body was found not too far from where Olivia’s mother died. Olivia, then, is not the daughter of a murderer.

But if her father didn’t do it, who did? Is that person still around, still a threat? And why did he or she kill Olivia’s parents and let her live?

April Henry packs quite a few mysteries into this book, aside from the central one of who killed Olivia’s parents. There is the mystery of why, and the mystery of why Olivia was left alive, and the mystery of whether the killer is still around, and the mystery of whether the killer feels threatened by Olivia. She tries to conceal who she is, but even if she doesn’t announce her true identity, surely someone will get suspicious based on the questions she’s asking. Sometimes all of these threads feel a bit forced and convoluted.

What hurts this book is Olivia. She’s a difficult character to get close to, largely because she’s spent the last fourteen years pushing people away. She’s also been living a lie to some extent. But even when she tells you her inner thoughts, she keeps you at a distance. This makes it difficult to really care about her, and Henry needs you to care about Olivia in order to care about what happens to her. The occasional plot holes don’t help, either.

There are also some pacing issues, and some of the supporting characters are under-developed. There is potential, though. You can see the bones of a good book in here, but the directions in which Henry takes it sort of muddle the pages somewhat.

I don’t know. I struggled with the rating to give this book because when it’s good, it’s above average. But pacing, plot holes, and a somewhat unsympathetic heroine hurt it.

Blurb:

When Olivia’s mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia’s father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there’s a killer still at large. It’s up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?

 

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About the Author:

April Henry is the New York Times-bestselling author of 20 mysteries and thrillers for teens and adults. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.

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Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

THE SEXY ONE by Lauren Blakely

The Sexy One

by Lauren Blakely

Published by Lauren Blakely
270 pages
Genre: romance
4 / 5

My Review:

Abby knows she shouldn’t be attracted to Simon, much less act on that attraction. She’s his young daughter’s nanny, and if she and Simon were to become a thing, it could ruin everything. Abby adores her charge, and she does not want to jeopardize that little girl’s feelings or stability.

Simon knows he shouldn’t be attracted to Abby, much less act on that attraction. He has someone who truly cares about his daughter, who provides her with more loving steadiness than she got with her mother. If he and Abby become a thing, it puts everything the two of them have worked to establish.

What is so wonderful about this book is how Lauren Blakely takes the trope of ‘father falling for nanny’ and turns it into something fresh and, dare I say it, sweet. The feelings Abby and Simon have for each other grow and develop as they bond over his child. I kept waiting for some histrionic drama to happen, and I am so thankful that Lauren Blakely avoided that stuff. Like I said – she takes a situation you’ve seen before but avoids predictable pitfalls.

And, my goodness, is this book HOT. Blakely delivers the quiver, faithful readers. The sexy times are scorching hot, with just the right amount of detail and deliciousness, and they are perfectly paced.

This is a quick, sexy read that you will enjoy.

Blurb:

Let me count the ways why falling into forbidden love is not my wisest move…
1. She works with me every single day.
Did I mention she’s gorgeous, sweet, kind and smart?
2. She works in my home.
Playing with my five-year-old daughter. Teaching my little girl. Cooking for my princess. Which means…
3. She’s the nanny.
And that makes her completely off-limits… But it doesn’t stop me from wanting her. All of her.

***

The other nannies in this city don’t call him the Sexy One for nothing. My boss, the amazingly wonderful single father to the girl I take care of every day is ridiculously hot, like movie star levels with those arms, and those eyes, and that body. Not to mention, the way he dotes on his little girl melts me all over. But what really makes my knees weak are the times when his gaze lingers on me. In secret. When no one else is around.

I can’t risk my job for a chance at something more… can I? But I don’t know how to resist him much longer either…

 

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About the Author:

Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that’s full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends.

She lives in California with her family. With twelve New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone hit romances like BIG ROCK, MISTER O, WELL HUNG, and THE SEXY ONE which were all instant New York Times Bestsellers.

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Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Excerpt Reveal: SEPARATION GAMES by CD Reiss

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Separation Games
by CD Reiss

Series: The Games Duet # 2
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

“CD Reiss writes the best erotica I have ever read.”

Meredith Wild, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hacker Series

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Synopsis:

The stunning conclusion to the New York Times Bestseller.

There’s one, unbreakable rule in the game.

Stay collected. Compartmentalize. Think your next move through. Never let your heart dictate your tactics.

The heart is impulsive.

The heart makes bad decisions.

The heart doesn’t see the long game.

Because the heart may have decided to get Adam back, but when the endgame comes, the heart’s going to be the first thing to break.

Excerpt:

Adam pulled me to the next door to the left. It opened into a small theater with about two dozen red velvet seats with lights at the bases.

“There was this guy in Marine Park who collected vintage pornography. When he died, one of the clubs uptown took it and preserved it. When all the clubs merged, they reels moved here.”

“We’re going to watch porn together?”

He guided me down an aisle. “Yes.”

“How adventurous of us.” I smiled at him, flirting.

He smiled back a little, but was reserved in his enthusiasm. We sat in the center.

“Now I’m sorry I wore pants,” I said.

The lights dimmed to black. I took his hand, and he paused before dropping our entwined fingers in his lap.

“I’m trying to illustrate something. I want to talk. So I’m glad you wore pants.”

The bullseye countdown appeared. Adam leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and exhaled. They went back to the screen as if all necessary strength had been gathered.

She’s blindfolded, arms tied above her. He’s lashing her.

“These are from the late sixties,” he said as the picture flickered. There was no sound. “The stuff here is very real. There’s no retouching. It’s 16mm, so there’s none of the porny quality of video.”

He’s wrapping her tits in black tape.

“I see,” I said.

He was right. The frame was raw. The beauty of her submission wasn’t on the film. I didn’t feel as though I was watching something. I felt as though I was witnessing something.

He’s clamping her nipples until they’re elongated meat.

“This is called tit torture,” he said matter-of-factly. “Every step of this was worked out beforehand. You’re not seeing the dozen things he’s not doing.” He twisted in his seat to face me. He was backlit, so I couldn’t see his expression. “Give me an adjective. What do you think of it?”

“Is this your thing?”

“Answer me first.”

I loved him. I wanted him. I’d get on my knees and submit to him.

“It’s gruesome.”

“It’s not my thing.” He sat back and faced the screen. The light flickered on his face. “There’s so much more though.”

He’s putting the business end of a hairbrush in her anus.

I’ve never seen skin that shade of purple.

What is she eating?

In all of them, the submissive may have cried or screamed, but she always came back for more. She kissed the Dominant’s hand or looked at him admiringly. Her lips did a dance of gratitude.

Thank you.

Ten minutes in, I couldn’t hold my questions anymore. “Why are you showing me this? You don’t want to wrap me in duct tape.”

“Someone might. I want you to know what it looks like first.”

“Adam Steinbeck!” I stood and put my fists on my hips. “You fucking shit!”

He crossed his legs, shrugging as if it wasn’t his fault. He just worked here. “What?”

“You’re trying to scare me.”

“I’m trying to inform you.”

“To hell with this. I’m going out there right now and getting someone to fuck me with a wooden spoon.”

I stomped down the aisle. He grabbed my arm. I spun around to face him. Behind him, a woman was getting choked, and every time she breathed, the ecstasy on her face was unmistakable.

“Let go of me,” I growled.

“Look at it. You weren’t meant for this.”

But he was? But Serena was? Was I too good? Too weak? Too strong? None of that mattered.

“You love me. Say it, Adam.”

“I’m keeping the love I have left.”

“Why can’t you love a submissive?”

“I don’t know.”

“You can’t love weakness?” I asked.

“I said I don’t know.”

“You’re unworthy of a woman who would kneel for you?”

“What do you want out of me?”

He was hurting me. I jerked my arm away, and he let go.

“I want you to leave me for a reason. A real reason. I left you because I was unhappy. I thought we were incompatible. You’re leaving me because you asked me to submit to you and I love it. You’re leaving me because you love me a little but not enough. What is all that? It’s not a reason.”

“I’m protecting you!”

“You’re protecting you.”

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Separation Games

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Begin the Games Duet with Marriage Games

Available now!

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About the Author

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CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up she’s at the well hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

She’s frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn’t ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

Connect with the Author:

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A FINE BALANCE by Susan Johnson

A Fine Balance

by Susan Johnson

Published by Susan Johnson
372 pages
Genre: romance; crime
3 / 5

My Review:

Jack Morgan is one of those guys who has done a little bit of everything. He was an NFL star. He was an undercover police officer with the LAPD (which I found rather interesting considering how popular and well known he was while playing football). And now he’s a deputy sheriff in an area in which growing, selling, and using pot is as common as drinking water. Oh, it’s still illegal there, but Jack and the rest of the community ignore it until things go awry.

And things are going awry.

There are some possible drug-related murders, and then there is Jillian Penrose, a woman for whom Jack is almost completely unprepared. From the moment he meets her, he wants her, in every sense of the word. He’s supposed to be kicking her out of her house, but there she stands, a little boy in tow, and Jack feels a need to protect her and help her.

He also feels a need to let his naughty bits connect with hers.

Jack, though, is not the easiest Hot Hero to like. For one thing, he uses sex with fluidity and alacrity. He will bed someone in the name of work and then head to Jillian for some more loving lovin’. He smokes pot, the very drug he’s professionally obligated to fight against, and he decries his ex-wife’s infidelity even as he practices it himself.

Jillian, meanwhile, is almost too good to be true, so much so that she occasionally became – dare I say it – boring.

You may recognize Susan Johnson by her other pen name, CC Gibbs. I enjoyed Gibbs’ Knight trilogy quite a bit, and there were similarities between it and this book. One of those similarities is the way Johnson / Gibbs writes the sexy times. They are DELICIOUS and oh-so-hot. You can almost forgive Jack for all of the bed hopping because it means you get more hot headboard rocking. But sex scenes are really only good if they serve a narrative purpose, and I wasn’t always sure that Jack’s rationale for having sex lined up with who he is as a character. I’ll say this much for him: the man is a machine.

Johnson juggles her plot lines fairly adroitly, letting you see how they intersect and why. I may not have always liked Jack, but I understood him. He’s a guy who had it all and now is trying to convince himself that he still does.

As Hot Romance Novels go, this one is above average, and Susan Johnson certainly delivers the quiver. It may not be the most compelling romance / crime mystery around, but it’s hot.

Blurb:

Ex-NFL
Ex-LAPD Undercover
Ex-husband

Jack Morgan, Deputy Sheriff, is back on his home turf where life used to be laid back. The community pot culture was tolerated by local law enforcement so long as everyone understood the rules of engagement. Keep your head down, your mouth shut, don’t make waves.

But, lately, criminal gangs have moved in and everything’s gone to hell.

So professionally, Jack’s working his ass off to help keep the peace, while personally, he’s pretty much doing the same. His open door policy for the ladies is keeping him busy. He doesn’t go out looking for it, but if some women knocks on his door, he figures it would be rude not to ask her in.

Then one day, as a favor, cause he doesn’t do that shit, he serves an eviction notice.

A red head, with a little boy in her arms, opens the door.

Jack sucks in a breath.

She’s STUNNING.

Suddenly, his busy, complicated life becomes incredibly more complicated.

 

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About the Author:

A New York Times Bestselling Author from the Midwest, Susan has  recently returned to writing under her own name after a few years writing under the pen name CC Gibbs for her billionaire erotica series (featuring Dominic Knight and Rafe Contini). Johnson favors “larger than life” characters. Her heroes, the real focus of her stories, are invariably rich. The heroines put up a good fight and manage to cure the hero of a little of his arrogance by the story’s end.

Why did you start writing?

What I hope to do is not just entertain, but also inform, seduce, perhaps even astonish and disturb, all with a painter’s eye for atmospheric reality and lyrical detail. Within this reality I strive to make my characters come alive–so you can hear them breathe. Long ago, as they say, in another time, when fast food hadn’t reached our area and the only shopping was what the feed mill offered, I was reading a book that annoyed me .  My husband was lying beside me in bed, watching TV.  Turning to him, I sort of petulantly said, “How the hell did this book get published?”

“If you think you’re so smart,” he replied, with one eye still on the TV,  “why don’t you write a book?”

So I did. And very badly.  I’ve since learned how to do, he said, she said, and a great variety of other adverb heavy, sometimes lengthy explanations of why my characters are saying what they’re saying, along with finally coming to an understanding of what things like POV means. (Point of View for you non-writers).  Although, I still don’t fully comprehend why it matters if you switch POV, and I cavalierly disregard it as much as possible. So while my technical skills have hopefully improved, what hasn’t changed is my great joy in writing.  There’s as much pleasure today in listening to my characters talk while I type as fast as I can, as there was the first time I put dialogue to paper–in long-hand,  then, in my leather bound sketch-book.

How did you first get published?

I first wrote a contemporary very loosely based on some charming passion I’d experienced. Then I purchased a copy of WRITERS MARKET, read the introduction on query letters, etc, (I was a complete novice) selected three publishers and mailed out the first three chapters. The publishers all asked to see the complete manuscript, but none bought it. Well, I thought,- no one wants that story.

I decided to write another-this one a historical based on my great-grandmother’s unhappy love affair that I’d just learned of.   Being a romantic at heart, I decided to give my great-grandmother a fictional happy ending to her life instead of the suffering she endured. But this time, I had no intention of writing an entire book that perhaps no one wanted. So I wrote the first three chapters and an outline and mailed it out to just one publisher this time. WRITERS MARKET suggested an author select a publisher most likely to publish your style of book and at the time Playboy Press was one of the biggest romance publishers. They published a great range of romances, including the hot and steamy stuff I wrote.

I received a letter from Nancy Coffey asking to see the rest of the manuscript.  I took three weeks sick leave from the University of Minnesota where I worked as an Art Curator and wrote a rough draft.  Once I was back at work, it took me another couple of months to clean up the manuscript and then I sent it to Playboy Press.  They bought it, SEIZED BY LOVE was published about six months later, and I’ve been very happily writing ever since.

Where do the ideas come from?

I have a pretty good sized library at home (over 10,000 books) and I’ve been an avid reader for years.  Also, there’s so much history that interests me, I consider what kind of hero would fit into that milieu and then find a woman who will make his life interesting in a variety of ways. These days I find a lot of inspiration online through Google and Pinterest.

Where did you grow up?

I was raised in a small town in northern Minnesota where the road literally ended just four miles past our house.  At that point the highway ran into the lake and across the water lay Canada.  So I know what boonies means.  Now in my adult life, I’m living in another kind of boondocks in central Minnesota, this time in a forest of hardwoods surrounded by corn fields.  Inspired by this propensity to find myself in sparsely populated areas, I’ve been forced to rely on my imagination for amusement.  And making up stories that I can people with gloriously handsome  men and clever, beautiful women who say and do whatever comes to my mind is as close to heaven as any creative artist would wish.

Are you from a Finnish background?

Yes, I am.  Both my grandparents were from Finland.  My paternal grandparents were from an area near Vasa and my maternal grandparents were from Viipuri. My grandparents didn’t speak English, so I understand it or at least did-fairly well. My sister spoke Finnish as a child, but I never learned.  Now, I’m sorry I didn’t.

Have you written under any other names?

Hot Streak by Jill Barkin and my new billionaire series as CC Gibbs. Many of my older titles have also been re-released with new titles outside of North America as written by CC Gibbs as well.

How long does it take to write a book?

It depends on the book and on how much research I have to do before I begin writing. But generally, it takes me about six months to finish a story. The novellas, of course, take less time.  Rafe’s story kept getting longer and longer-which is often the case.  I never have a hard a fast plan when I begin writing, so my characters tend to take me where they want to go and I just follow.

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Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Cover Reveal: THE DO-OVER by Julie Richman

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Title: The Do-Over

Author: Julie A. Richman

Publication Date: January 26th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Photographer: Wander Aguiar

Cover Model: Forrest Harrison

Cover Designer: Jena Brignola

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Synopsis:

~ Sometimes, one degree is all that separates you from the one you were meant to be with ~

Wes Bergman was sex on a stick.

We’d been circling one another our entire lives, mingling at the same clubs… attending the same events…sharing mutual acquaintances…yet we’d never actually met.

Until . . . we both boarded a Windjammer Cruise in the Caribbean. And it was like meeting my long, lost best friend for the first time. I hadn’t ever connected with a guy that way before.

But Wes had a girlfriend. So, when the week was over, he walked off the ship, unknowingly taking a piece of my heart with him.

Now, over a decade later, newly divorced, I’m the proverbial fish out of water. Dating has totally changed. Apps. Swipe left. Swipe right. Catfishing. Men my age want two things: twenty-five-year-olds—like my ex’s new child bride of a wife—or just a quick hook-up.

After a string of bad dates, I finally did something I never thought I’d do. I had a hot one-night stand with a really handsome guy I met online who didn’t even know my real name.

Turned out Mr. Fling is a big shot for my company’s newest client. And just my

luck, that client’s CEO is none other than . . . Wes Bergman.

Now I’m separated by one degree again from the man who stole my heart.

And Mr. Fling could destroy my chance of what I want most –

A Do-Over with Wes.

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Pre-Order Links:

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About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Julie A. Richman is a native New Yorker living deep in the heart of Texas. A creative writing major in college, reading and writing fiction has always been a passion. Julie began her corporate career in publishing in NYC and writing played a major role throughout her career as she created and wrote marketing, advertising, direct mail and fundraising materials for Fortune 500 corporations, advertising agencies and non-profit organizations. She is an award winning nature photographer plagued with insatiable wanderlust. Julie and her husband have one son and a white German Shepherd named Juneau.

Connect with Julie:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJulieARichman

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Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JulieARichman

Website: http://juliearichman.com/

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EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN by Chris Cleave

Everyone Brave is Forgiven

by Chris Cleave

Published by Simon & Schuster
433 pages
Genre: fiction; historical fiction
4 / 5

My Review:

This, faithful readers, is not an easy book to read.

Not because it is uninteresting or poorly written – the central story is fairly compelling, and this is Chris Cleave we’re talking about. The writing is evocative and engrossing.

But this is a book that deals with some heavy subjects that frequently challenge you. Racism, for one thing. And racism directed at a child, which makes it feel somehow even worse. Wishing she could be a spy, Mary instead gets a job as a wartime teacher, and one of her charges is a black boy. He is treated abysmally, and Mary finds herself nearly powerless to fight against it, especially with a bigger ‘war’ going on.

Cleave also addresses questions of love and friendship and the different layers of loyalty that we face. Friendship before romance? Romance before country? Country before friendship?

Mary and Tom meet when each is involved in educating children during WWII, although Tom’s role is more administrative. Mary spurs him to be a better man, though, one more emotionally connected to children facing discrimination. When Tom’s friend Alistair comes home after fighting in Dunkirk, and the attraction between him and Mary is instant and strong. But she’s with Tom, something both she and Alistair respect.

I liked Mary a lot, and when Cleave uses her POV, I was more invested. Alistair’s perspective will shock you with what he experiences during the war. Tom’s POV, on the other hand, feels laborious at times. I didn’t connect with him the way I think I should have. The emotional distance I felt with Alistair seemed more purposeful, though. Alistair suffers mightily, and even though I can’t directly say that I know how he feels, his suffering resonated with me.

So perhaps that’s another reason why this book is difficult to read: it’s uneven in characterization and pacing, as well as in emotional resonance. Still, even at its worse, Everyone Brave is Forgiven is better written than three-fourths of the other books out there. That’s one thing you will have no difficulty understanding and embracing: Chris Cleave weaves words together in ways that will leave you breathless.

 

Blurb:

London, 1939.

The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.

 

Buy Links:

 

About the Author:

Chris Cleave’s newest novel, EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN, was an instant New York Times bestseller when it was published this year. His debut, INCENDIARY, was an international bestseller and multiple prize-winner. His second novel, the Costa-shortlisted, New York Times #1 bestseller LITTLE BEE, has found phenomenal worldwide success. (In the UK, Australia and NZ it goes by the title THE OTHER HAND.) His third book, GOLD, confirmed his status as “one of our most powerful, important and psychologically insightful novelists”.

Cleave’s novels are published in thirty languages and have been adapted for screen and stage worldwide. He is a regular newspaper and broadcast contributor to the cultural debate on parenting, literature and human rights.

Outside writing, Cleave’s interests are refugees, education and psychology. He is 42 and lives in London with his wife and three children.

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Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, & Review: SOLO by Jill Maness

Solo

by Jill Mansell

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
514 pages
Genre: women’s fiction
3.5 / 5

My Review:

When you read a Jill Mansell book, you know that you are in for some quirky characters who fall in and out of love, frequently sabotaging their own chances for love, and doing so with warmth and humor. You can see yourself in these people, and you cheer them on.

Solo, however, turns all of that on its head.

This is the first Jill Mansell novel I’ve read in which I resoundingly disliked every character I encountered. Not only did I not wish them well, I started rooting for them to suffer dire heartache and sadness.

You have Tessa, a woman who consumed with her need for independence that she shoves everyone away from her, to the point that you wonder why any of them want to be her friend, much less her lover. Tessa’s knee-jerk reaction to problems in a relationship is to run. Not to talk to the person, not to treat him or her with respect, but to flee. She’s pig-headed and stubborn and wholly unlikable.

Tessa’s best friend is Holly, a brash, tacky heiress who decides she is in love with a man who regards her with no respect and who treats her horribly. Why does she love this man? I can see why she would be physically attracted to him, but based on the way he behaves towards her, what is there to love? Holly is stupid and unsympathetic and wholly unlikable.

Ross and Tessa share a romantic and hot one night stand, after which he leaves her cab money. He decides he loves her, but why? And he continues to believe he loves her, but why? All she does is treat him nearly as awfully as his brother Max treats Holly, and she runs away from him at every turn. Not that Ross is anything fabulous. He’s a rogue and a lothario and is wholly unlikable.

Max, the man Holly loves, is Ross’s equal when it comes to behaving like a sexual dog. He feels entitled to his prurient conquests, and he treats those around him with disdain. He’s a narcissist and a womanizer and is wholly unlikeable.

There are other unlikable characters, including Grace, a girl who works at the hotel owned by Max and Ross, as well as the various women whom Max and Ross bed. The only two characters even slightly likable are Grace’s mother and a guy who decides he likes Holly.

As for the story itself, this is not Jill Mansell’s strongest, I am sad to report. Even at its weakest, though, I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know if these people would crawl out of their own arses long enough to figure out how to be grownups. So that says something, doesn’t it? I also wanted to see if the “villains” would get their due (they don’t, at least not in the ways I hoped they would).

The more I think about this book, though, the more I realize just how purposeful the title is. These four characters are focused on being “solo” in one way or another, whether Tessa’s desire to rely only on herself, or Holly’s to be the only one in Max’s life, Max’s to be the only one in another character’s life, or Ross’s to be the only one in Tessa’s. Going it solo, though, doesn’t work out so well.

And maybe that’s the reason why, even at its weakest, this is still a book worth reading.

Blurb:

It all starts at a party, as these things often do…

  • A one-night stand with far-reaching consequences
  • Momentarily enamored guests going home with all the wrong people
  • An unfaithful wife struck by jealousy and getting a dose of her own medicine
  • A shocking family secret revealed at the worst possible moment

One fling follows another, and now the whole community is embroiled in a great big web of deceit, the untangling of which will charm you, amuse you, make you laugh and make you cry.

 

Whatever’s going on in your life, Solo by Jill Mansell is the perfect distraction right about now…

 

Buy Links:

 

Giveaway:

5 Finished Copies of SOLO
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT, TO THE MOON AND BACK and YOU AND ME, ALWAYS. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, ‘like a leftover from the dark ages’. She lives in Bristol with her family.

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Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

BAD MOMMY by Tarryn Fisher

Bad Mommy

by Tarryn Fisher

Published by Tarryn Fisher
231 pages
Genre: women’s fiction; psychological thriller
5 / 5

My Review:

It’s all in how you tell your story.

Do you edit as you go along? Do you leave out the parts that you don’t want to think about or that make you look bad? Do you excise anything that does not tell the story you want to tell?

Does it matter if the story is told from a psychopath or a sociopath? Psychopaths have no conscience. They will lie right to you with zero remorse. Sociopaths do have a conscience, albeit a teeny tiny one. The sociopath will still lie to you, but he may feel a little bad about doing so. What about a writer? Isn’t a writer’s job to fabricate tales and stories?

Is every story told a true one?

Each of us has our own truth. How we tell that truth depends on the prism through which we see it. In Bad Mommy, Tarryn Fisher tells a chilling story of three people, each with their own truths. Be careful about what you believe. Be careful about which truth you trust.

Be careful about the story you tell yourself, because that may be the most dangerous story of all.

Tarryn Fisher writes in a way that mesmerizes you, even as she terrifies you. Go into this book knowing no more about it than the two sentences in the blurb. Then come back and tell me what you thought.

Fig Coxbury has a story to tell. Will you believe it? Should you believe it?

Blurb:

When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it’s not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It’s because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.

 

Buy Links:

 

About the Author:

Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of nine novels. Born a sun hater, she currently makes her home in Seattle, Washington with her children, fiancé, and psychotic husky. Tarryn writes about villains.

website | facebook | twitter | instagram | pinterest | goodreads
 

 

Cover Reveal: PUCKED OFF by Helena Hunting

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Pucked Off by Helena Hunting
Publication Date: February 21st, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Social Butterfly PR is thrilled to present the cover for PUCKED OFF, a sexy, new standalone coming soon from Helena Hunting!

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Synopsis:

***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series***

I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance.”

I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.

Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.

I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.

At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.

I shouldn’t want her.

But I do.

I should leave her alone.

But I won’t.

Add to Goodreads

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Pre-Order Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn./2hOwiPo
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2gi1Blb
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2gBS6O2
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2g4xhY5
Nook: http://bit.ly/2gcXaEs
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2gyCH0Q
iBooks: http://apple.co/2fnVHNQ

About the Author:

NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Connect with Helena:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/helenahunting Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelenaHunting
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/Zt1xm5
Facebook Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/385795934890523/
Website: http://www.helenahunting.com/

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Cover Reveal: TRIUMPH by Cecilia London

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book-info

Title: Triumph

Series: The Bellator Saga, Book 6

Author: Cecilia London

Genre: contemporary and erotic romance/romantic suspense/epic romance

Release Date: February 6, 2017

Cover Artist: S.K. Hartly with Luminos Graphic House

***

about-the-book

triumph-ebook-smaller“All of your ideals, your hopes and dreams…they cease to matter if you abandon them in your darkest hour. We have to see this through to the end.”

Jack McIntyre and Caroline Gerard have never shied away from a challenge. As dual commanders of the American rebel forces, they now face the greatest adversity of their lives. Every decision has permanent consequences. Relationships are tested and restored. Hard truths come to light. When the reality of their situation finally hits them, there is one thing they know for certain.

No sacrifice is too great for love.

goodreads
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about-the-author

BUSINESS CARD FRONTCecilia London is the pen name of a native Illinoisan currently living in San Antonio, Texas. She’s filled several roles over the course of her adult life – licensed attorney, wrangler of small children, and obsessed baseball fan, among others. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series. You can catch all of her quirky updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or at her website.

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