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 🙂

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 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell

This post is going to focus on The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell. I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book was released on January 14, 2020 so those of you into thrillers can already go find it!

Mitchell has created a story with a very short cast list. The main character is Roz, a poor, pregnant Irish girl. Then we have her best friend, her friend’s boyfriend and parents, and the celebrity couple looking to adopt Roz’s baby once it is born.

Roz flies to New York to meet the hopeful parents to be, Sheridan, and Daniel. She doesn’t know the identity of who she is meeting because of the identity protection behind the elite adoption site she has chosen to work with. Little does Roz know that Sheridan has figured out her password, and made it appear that they are no longer interested.

After spending almost her entire pregnancy locked up in their basement apartment, Roz still has some fight in her. It also turns out that her best friend back home has been working the case on her own as well.

But boy did this book have its twists and turns. Some of them I saw coming miles away and others I didn’t even notice until after the fact. This book was rated fairly well on Goodreads with a 4.17 rating as of this writing, but I gave it only 2 stars. It was too difficult to get through how certain characters were written. I had such a strong dislike for Sheridan, find her pretty unbelievable that I almost DNF’d the book completely. I also wasn’t a fan of finding out who the baby’s father is. I had almost returned to liking the book, and then found out who the father was, and I returned to not caring for it.

Have any of you read this book and thought differently?

Happy Reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson.

This review will take a look at Together We Caught Fire written by Eva V. Gibson. This novel is a contemporary YA romance that includes a blended family. I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was released on February 4, 2020 and begins with a pretty lengthy content trigger warning. Normally, I’m not a fan of them because when I see these warnings it’s a page by page rundown of the plot that I want to get to as I get to it, but this warning was well done by giving general warnings of subject matter that occurs throughout the novel. In general, this includes suicide, drug use, and self-harm, among a few others that I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I think those were the most graphically described.

Together We Caught Fire focuses on four main teen characters, but it is told from Lane Jamison’s perspective. The other three main teens are her secret, longtime crush turned stepbrother Grey McIntyre, his girlfriend Sadie, and her wild older brother Connor Hall.

I was pretty confused for the first 15-20 pages learning who each of these four were to each other as the book opens with Grey driving, Sadie in the front passenger seat, and Connor and Lane in the back. Lane is known as the “bad girl” at school, while Sadie is the typical preacher’s daughter. Connor used to be evangelical as well, but now is the quintessential bad boy and is a metal worker. He lives in a shared workshop that houses many methods of art.

He and Lane bond over both being artists and I quickly saw Lane forgetting her interest in Grey. Connor, though he has his own problems and flaws, challenges Lane, while also always being there to support her when her traumas take the front seat.

This was an excellent debut from Gibson, that I thoroughly enjoyed. I bought the romances, and relationships between the characters. I liked that the book wasn’t a light fluffy romance, but a gritty real one that highlighted that relationships are work and there will be good and bad in any relationship, whether romantic, familial, or friendship.

I encourage you all to go find a copy and read it. It’ll give you all the feels.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson.

This review is going to focus on The Dating Charade, written by Melissa Ferguson. I received an eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cassie Everson’s story is an interesting one, and one I feel isn’t written very often. Though the trope of not wanting kids, and ending up with kids is done, but not normally to this scale.

Cassie has had a lot of bad dates. So many that she decides to delete her online dating profile. But not before Jett sees her profile and remembers his childhood crush on her. Jett’s charms, with the help of Cassie’s best friend, seem to be succeeding at winning the girl. Until each feels they need to keep as secret from the other.

Cassie is the director of the Haven, a program to help at risk girls. Her favorite teen is Star, who has two young sisters. After her first magical date with Jett, Cassie become aware of the abuse and neglect Star and her sisters have been hiding as she sees the police and child protective services at their apartment. She takes temporary custody of the girls while waiting to hear if there is a family member able to take them in.

Meanwhile, Jett’s sister surprises him by stopping by with his twin nephew and niece, and surprise, a newborn nephew, TJ before leaving them there with their young uncle. Jett struggles to figure out raising a newborn and two toddlers with the help of his roommate Sunny and their neighbor Sarah.

The problem is, Cassie and Jett are both thoroughly aware that each other’s dating profiles stated that the other does not want children. Afraid of scaring off the other, they try to hide the children from each other coming up with lame excuses as to why they need to cancel or cut dates short.

Though I found both lead characters admirable, I became fed up with how long they kept the truth from each other. There is more drama to this book than romance. It was an enjoyable read, but not what I was expecting, nor what I was quite looking for in a read.

I think those interested in romantic comedies, blended families, and hot firefighters would find this book worth reading 😉 It was released on December 3, 2019, so find a copy and pick up this debut by Melissa Ferguson.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron.

This review is going to take a look into the world of historical fiction and castles. The Painted Castle is the third and final novel in Kristy Cambron’s Lost Castle series. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was published October 15th and I highly recommend readers pick up a copy.

Kiera Foley had been working on a PhD in Art History when she was ostracized from the art world. She retreated back to Dublin and we find her working in the family pub when a dark and mysterious man shows up and makes her an offer. Little does she know, it’s an offer that she can’t refuse. She arrives in the English countryside and is delivered to a rundown manor housing a painting of Queen Victoria the she must study for authenticity.

This book tells the story of the manor and those that lived there in three different points in history. The life of the viscount and artists in the 1840s, the widow of the viscount and a base full of soldiers during World War II, and that of Keira in modern day, as they work to restore the honey cottage and beautiful library that was found bricked up on the premises.

Cambron does an outstanding job of using the three couples’ stories to create the big picture of one place throughout time. And although this book is categorized as Christian fiction, it is not as heavily based on the Christian faith as some. I think those that love to get lost in the English countryside and read about art would thoroughly enjoy this book. I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in the trilogy to learn more about Keira’s mysterious brothers.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Let It Snow by Nancy Thayer

This review is going to take a look at Nancy Thayer’s latest Christmas novel, Let It Snow. This book was released on October 15, 2019, so it’s available for all of you looking for more holiday reads as we get closer to Christmas! I received an eARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Let It Snow is set on the lovely island of Nantucket, and follows shopkeeper Christina Antonioni, and her fellow three shopkeeper friends, and the family of their landlord–the Bittlesmans. Christina is a likable thirty year old woman who has recently lost both of her parents. She runs a toy store on the wharf in a shed with heat provided by an electric heater.

Every day for lunch she meets with the other wharf shopkeepers for lunch. Oscar Bittlesman has sent a letter to them all that he will be increasing their rent by 10%, a sum that will put them all out of business.

In time, Christina meets Wink, Oscar’s granddaughter, and puts her to work in her shop. She also meets Wink’s handsome uncle, Andy. Through the book Christina spends a lot of time with Wink and Andy, and falls for Andy. It’s a cute story and it spends time showing what small town life on the island is like.

Much of the story is spent trying to get Oscar to realize what the wharf stores are like so he won’t raise the rent. But honestly, the rent problem doesn’t seem to be as realistic of a problem to me as the problems in the book from my review earlier this week. By the end of the book Christina is engaged to Andy and would no longer have the financial issues if Oscar raised the rent. Her fellow shopkeepers would have the problem, but because they aren’t the main characters the consequences of the stores closing is glossed over.

Also, I had a hard time believing some things. Yes, she lives on a small island, but she’s also thirty. I don’t think that she was written like a thirty-year-old. Other than finding a partner, and having children her life is completely settled.

I enjoyed the romantic plot of Christina and Andy, and really enjoyed the storyline between Christina and Wink. I think readers looking for a light holiday romance would enjoy this.

Happy reading 🙂