BOOK REVIEW: Perfectly Famous by Emily Liebert.

Today I’m going to look at Perfectly Famous written by Emily Liebert. I received an eARC of the title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Its release date is July 8th 2020, so please enjoy it once it’s out. If you like reading about writers, and big plot twists this one is for you.

Perfectly Famous opens with the reader meeting Ward DeFleur, a famous author who has anxiety about being in front of people, like at a book signing. As she’s about to wrap up the first signing on her most recent book tour, she notices her assistant isn’t around, and then finds out she’s been on the phone because people are trying to reach Ward to notify her that her daughter was abducted and murdered. The tour is over, and Ward will never write again.

One of the fans that attended the book signing, is Bree Bennett. At the time of the book signing she and her then husband had recently decided to divorce, and Ward consoled her. As we move further into the story they have separated, and are beginning to figure out how to co-parent from two households, and Bree is trying to re-enter the workforce as a journalist at a local paper.

Bree pitches the idea that she is going to find Ward and bring her out of hiding as her big break through story. It’s a bit of a hard sell, but her editor goes for it and Bree begins heavily researching Ward’s past. Finding Ward’s brother, and maybe falling for him a bit a long the way. As she goes deeper into the story it becomes apparent that Stevie’s murderer is still out there, and searching for Ward is not the safest idea.

All the while Bree is trying to deal with the life changes her divorce is bringing to her life, including dating, raising her daughter, and psychologically adjusting. While I haven’t experienced these life stages, I thought Liebert handled them well. However, I found Bree a bit too self-centered for my liking, and I often found myself annoyed with her. Ward is a whole other story, but I don’t want to divulge too much leading into one of the many plot twists of the book. It was still an enjoyable read even though I couldn’t relate to the characters.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Swap by Robyn Harding

Today’s post is going to take a look at Robyn Harding’s The Swap. This book was released June 23, 2020 so it’s out there for those of you interested in thrillers to pick up! I received an eARC of The Swap from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Swap takes place on an isolated island in the Pacific Northwest and focuses on a few quite toxic relationships between main character, and sullen teenager, Swallow (Low for short) Morrison, the pottery teacher she idolizes, Freya Light, and her boss, Jamie. The book also follows, to a somewhat lesser extent, Freya and Jamie’s husbands.

Low is the daughter of a polyamorous couple. While this makes her a bit of an outsider, the lifestyle is accepted on the island. As well as regular partner swapping among couples on the island. One day at school, Low sees this beautiful woman pinning an advertisement to the bulletin board–an ad offering pottery classes at Freya’s home.

Freya had been an Instagram influencer, until her professional hockey player husband accidentally paralyzed another player on the ice. They moved to the island for a bit more privacy to get away from the limelight. In her loneliness, Freya becomes quick friends with Low, and shares some of her secrets with her. Low sees herself as the center of Freya’s world–until Jamie enters the picture.

Jamie and her husband desperately want to have a baby, but cannot conceive. They moved to the island in hopes of getting over losing out on an adoption. Being of a similar age, Freya and Jamie become the closest of friends going to lunches, getting drinks, and Low is left out.

After a couples’ night drinking some special mushroom tea, Freya and Jamie swap husbands for the evening, without the other knowing. But what happens when Freya becomes pregnant? She hates children, doesn’t read parenting books, and in general doesn’t prepare for the coming child. Both Freya and Low are concerned, though for their own selfish reasons, for the safety of the baby, and everyone manipulates each other to reach their own desires.

The Swap was an interesting book to pick up. It went places I never thought it would go. I thought I had it figured out several times but I didn’t! I’d recommend this to anyone that likes a story with twists and turns.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: Cabin 1 by Amanda McKinney.

This post is going to take a look at Cabin 1 written by Amanda McKinney. It is the first book in a 3 book spin-off series (Steele Shadows Security) to McKinney’s Berry Springs series. It was originally published in September 2019, and the Kindle edition came out December 2019. I received an eARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cabin 1 introduces the reader to Niki Avery, a local, young prosecutor who is attacked while driving home from a yoga retreat. Two men run her Jeep off the road and attempt to sexually assault her, but in self-defense Niki is able to fight back, and kills one of her attackers. While the other one runs to his truck to grab a gun to kill Niki, she is able to escape and a chase through the dense woods of Berry Springs.

Niki runs and runs until she can’t anymore, but what she doesn’t realize, is that she’s run onto the Steele family’s property. The family of 4 former marine brothers head out onto the mountain in search of whatever, or whoever set off the security alarm.

Gage Steele finds her. Although at the beginning of the night he had only wanted to drink whiskey all night, and find a woman to take his mind off the fact that it is the one year anniversary of his father’s death, he also wants to treat this woman right. He helps her get cleaned up, and becomes overwhelmingly protective of her.

Niki is assigned to Cabin 1, and Gage is assigned to be her security detail until they can end the threat to her life. Through their time together they become increasingly attracted to each other, and they build an intense relationship with lots of steamy scenes.

I really enjoyed this action packed romance novel and I will definitely be taking up the rest of this spin-off series, as well as keeping an eye out for the Berry Springs series by McKinney. I hope you’ll pick up a copy yourself!

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another by Ainissa Ramirez.

This post is going to take a look at The Alchemy of Us written by Ainissa Ramirez. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was released in April 2020, and I highly encourage you to get a copy and learn about everyday items we often take for granted in a new way!

It was really nice reading a nonfiction book for a change. I normally like to alternate between reading fiction and nonfiction to keep a decent balance between the two, but a majority of the eARCs I receive are fiction so sometimes I get off balance.

The Alchemy of Us discusses the importance of eight different inventions and how they changed the way humans interact with the world. Ramirez looks at clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips. Ramirez’s goal was not only to be informative, but to write in an entertaining way so that the material in the book is accessible to the readers, and doesn’t scare them away like science classes often do.

The author did an excellent job of finding stories behind inventions that many might not have heard before. When I was in school I learned about how clocks helped with the Industrial Revolution, but I had never heard of the woman who sold time, or about how clocks affected our sleep patterns.

Not only does Ramirez do a good job teaching the reader about the invention in question in each chapter, but she also excels at bringing to light the unknown inventors behind these technologies. This includes highlighting the women and people of color that history often doesn’t talk about. To be honest, I found these stories of the little known people behind these inventions even more interesting than the stories of the inventors that everyone knows the names of.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Brideship Wife by Leslie Howard.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today we will be jumping back in time looking at The Brideship Wife written by Leslie Howard. I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was released today May 5, 2020–so all of you can go find a copy for yourselves now!

When this book popped up in NetGalley to request I was very excited because so much of the historical fiction genre focuses on the World War II era, so I have been trying to request some books outside of that era.

Charlotte is our main character, and we meet her in 1862, while her elder sister Harriet is trying her hardest to find a good match for Charlotte. But those efforts go awry, and finally Charlotte’s last option is to sail from England, all the way to the British Columbia colony on one of the brideships. Historically these ships brought unmarried, poor, disadvantaged women to the colony in hopes for a better life of more marriage and work opportunities.

This book does a good job of demonstrating what social etiquette was like during this time period, while also allowing our heroine to defy those norms. It was refreshing seeing a well-born young woman who understands working hard. Harriet is banished to British Columbia with her sister, as punishment from her husband. For most of the trip she was still concerned with Charlotte marrying well, not really making a plan for creating a living. It seemed much more realistic, or at the very least more relatable, to show Charlotte finding a position and fumbling her way through making money to support herself.

I also thought it was very interesting to see the effects of laudanum addiction amongst the rich. I have read other books in the past that briefly mentioned rich women taking laudanum for their nerves, but they didn’t really convey an understanding of addiction like Howard illustrates in The Brideship Wife. In general, I loved that the characters weren’t just handed a happily-ever-after.

All-in-all I really enjoyed reading this book, and I’ll definitely be checking out others written by Howard.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier.

Today I’ll be taking a look at Little Secrets written by Jennifer Hillier. I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was released on April 21st–and is an excellent option for readers out there looking for lots of twists and turns.

This book focuses on Marin Machado, a celebrity hairstylist, who just a little over a year ago, had it all. But just before Christmas time her eight year old son was kidnapped. Now 16 months later, she’s still avoiding the grieving process, and not moving on. Her husband Derek, a wealthy CEO, has moved on to an affair with 24 year old McKenzie (Kenzie) Li.

Marin is still moving through the world in a deep depression. She’s already attempted suicide, and is clear in her stance that if she ever learns her son Sebastian has been dead this whole time, she will successfully end her life.

Her best friend Sal, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend with a lot of issues, checks in on her daily to make sure she is still alive.

The private investigator that Marin hired to search for her son after the FBI gave up turns up information on Derek’s affair with Kenzie and turns it over to Marin. And for once, instead of feeling empty, Marin is enraged. Sal tells her that he knows someone who can fix her problem, but can she go through with murder?

The majority of this book alternates between Marin and Kenzie’s points of view, and the further you get into the book the more twists and turns there are.

But will anyone leave this book with a happy ending? I think you should take the time to find out.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey.

Let’s take a look at Feels Like Falling written by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I received an eARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Its release date is April 28, 2020, and I encourage all of you looking for a beachy escape with a strong female lead, pick up a copy.

Now, don’t get me wrong–when we first encounter our main characters Gray Howard and Diana Harrington, their lives are in various stats of disarray. Gray is about to turn 35, is a mother to an 8 year old, going through divorce, recently lost her mother to cancer, and has a sister who is married to an extremist “preacher.” Diana is a 40 year old living in her car, lost her photo lab job “because of” Gray, and still hasn’t gotten over the one who got away 22 years earlier.

That’s a lot of baggage to fix in one book! But Feels Like Falling does it well. I thought that the story was well paced, mixing worries and self reflection, with fun, light romance. I loved how the two main characters become indispensable in the lives of each other–they become the family they need.

I enjoyed every bit the author gave. I became conflicted in the character’s pain, I enjoyed the sarcasm and sass in their personalities, and was happy with the ending. If you’re looking for a book that will give you all the feels–this is a great choice!

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: A Spy With Scruples by Gary Dickson

This post is going to take a look at A Spy with Scruples written by Gary Dickson. It is the sequel to An Improbable Pairing, and was released in March 2020. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book picks up right where the last one left off. While the happy couple, Scott Stoddard, and the former Countess de Rovere are honeymooning, Scott receives word to report for testing that may revise his draft status for the Vietnam War. Apparently he did too well on the test and now the CIA wants him to work for them, and he has no choice. Work for them, or get drafted.

A Spy with Scruples focuses much more on what is going on with Scott, than DesirΓ©e. In the last book, I was impressed that a male author, writing about a romantic relationship would write about such a strong willed woman during the early 1960s, when she was brought up with a certain decorum of how she should act. This book back tracks all of that. She’s now the typical pregnant wife that takes the back seat. We see Scott starting to make decisions to get them back to their carefree lifestyle.

Readers watch as he manipulates the press in multiple countries, and even the CIA, in hopes of getting out of service, without ending up drafted or dead. The book was a decent read, but I was quite disappointed in the drastic change between the style of the first book and the second. I’d be interested to see how this relationship may change, if there were to be a third book now that their lives have returned to a calm state.

I’d be interested in hearing what any of you have thought about this book.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: An Improbable Pairing by Gary Dickson

This post is going to take a look at An Improbably Pairing by Gary Dickson. I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was released January 8, 2019–so if you’re into stories about improbable romance, galavanting across Europe and the 1960s, I suggest you find yourself a copy and read on!

It’s been quite a while since I have read a book with a male protagonist so this was a nice change. Our main man is Scott Stoddard, a 21-year-old traveling from America to Switzerland, where he will attend graduate school in 1963. While aboard the ship he meets the Countess of Rovere, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. And not just him–everyone seems to desire her.

They reunite at a social event she is hosting and it becomes quite clear that he is not the only one with a romantic interest. Scott and the Countess soon begin a passionate love affair, going against the advice of all friends and family. He is a student, and she is older, he is an American, she is European, he’s from the upper middle class, while she is aristocratic. The differences between the two are brought up constantly as challenges they likely won’t be able to beat.

Readers will be submerged into a lifestyle most only find in books. I thought it was a decent read, about an era I usually don’t cover. I hope those of you that pick up this book get as sucked into the time period as I did.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

Today’s post is going to dive into The Better Liar by Tanen Jones. I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was released on January 14, 2020 and I definitely recommend you go pick this one up. (Even if that means virtually right now!)

This story is told through three points of view, alternating between Robin Voigt, her sister Leslie, and Mary. It starts through Robin’s point of view–and…she’s dead.

After being introduced to the thoughts of a dead character, we turn to Leslie, who becomes the main voice, finding her dead sister and quickly thinking through her options. She had gone looking for her sister who had run away almost a decade earlier now that their father died. In his will he left a stipulation that both sisters must be present for either of them to receive the money left to them in the will. A nice $50,000 each. How can Leslie get that money now, without having to dispute through probate?

Easy. She walks away from the body, which has a fake ID on it. Nobody will know she’s been there. And even more convenient, a stranger named Mary is found near her car. They become acquainted with each other and Leslie asks Mary to pretend to be Robin in order to get the money.

Everybody lies in this book–but who is the better liar? I really enjoyed this book and the twists and turns that Jones wrote make sense and are satisfying to the reader. I hope to read more from this author in the future.

Happy reading πŸ™‚