BOOK REVIEW: The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright by Beth Miller.

This review will take a look at the book The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright by Beth Miller. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was released yesterday, January 9, 2020 from Bookouture.

At the start of the book we meet our leading lady, Mrs. Kay Bright. She has led a remarkably predictable (read boring) life thus far. Her thirtieth wedding anniversary to her dull husband Richard is approaching, and she has come to the realization that she’s done. Done with working at her husband’s stationary shop, done with never traveling, and done with marriage.

Pretty much the beginning of the book is one big–‘what if’ that has Kay in conflict with pretty much every other character in the book, and then working to resolve those conflicts throughout the book. Her biggest fight is with her daughter, Stella, with both of them blowing up at each other in reaction to Kay leaving her husband.

The story unravels in alternating points of view, learning about Kay’s story, and then Stella’s. They are also broken up by the letters that Kay sent her best friend Bear over the years. Bear moved to Australia with her family as a teenager, and since then Kay and Bear wrote letters to each other in alternating months. But something is off–Bear hasn’t replied for a few months now so with a gentle push from their other best friend Rose, Kay decides to travel to Australia to visit Bear.

Upon finding Bear, Kay gets to catch up with her best friend in person, and realizes something is wrong. Only she couldn’t figure out what exactly until Bear decides to travel to Venice with Kay. Bear insists on staying in a fancy (read super expensive) pallazo and going to an exclusive restaurant, paying all of the bills.

Kay’s time spent with Bear helps her realize what she really wants to do with her future. Once home she works to resolve the various conflicts she has with family members, and fulfilling her promise to Bear.

While Kay is traveling and finding herself her daughter is going through her own problems. We follow her through fights with her flatmates and boyfriend. She finds a new love interest in a librarian (yay librarians!), and slowly things become more positive for her.

This book was a slower start for me, since I found it harder to relate to Kay’s story because of my age. However, as the book progressed I was brought into the story and began having a deeper connection with characters and realized the connection between the letters we read, the title, and Bear. I think this was a lovely, heartfelt book and many readers will enjoy Miller’s writing.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Unmanageable by Lavinia Kent

This review is going to focus on Unmanageable by Lavinia Kent. This is the second book in her Forbidden Cove series. I received an eARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The main character of this title is lawyer Veronica Andersen. She lives in Forbidden Cove and commutes daily to the city. Sometimes it’s hard for her to get back home with work events at night, which makes it hard for her to care for her dog she got from her brother after he passed away in a car accident. She’s hired a neighbor to walk her dog when she needs it.

But when she opens the door she doesn’t find the older woman she’s expecting. She finds the woman’s nephew, the sexy Brian Walsh. The two feel an immediate connection, and after an initial hook-up Veronica invites him to be her date to her sister’s wedding.

The two insist they don’t want anything serious, and Veronica doesn’t take the time to get to know Brian. She even judges him for his current lifestyle of being a dog walker and doing sunset yoga on the beach.

But what she doesn’t know is that he was a star goalie in the NHL until a recent injury ended his career. Eventually the two can’t be kept apart and they work on their differences and learn about each other.

This was a fun, interesting read, and I will definitely be picking up other titles in this series.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Weekend Fling by Stacey Lynn

This post is going to dive into Stacey Lynn’s 4th novel in her Crazy Love series. The book is titled Weekend Fling. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Willow Parks is the female lead in this story. She has her own part-time editing business, and also works in a coffee shop on the ground floor of the building that sexy Trey Collins happens to live in.

Willow is busy holding down two jobs and caring for her mother and doesn’t have time to get back on the dating scene, but Trey has other ideas about that. He’s a self-made millionaire who needs a date to his best friend’s wedding. He’s been interested in Willow since he met her when she began working in the coffee shop, but she constantly rejects him. But Willow is at her breaking point with responsibility and admits she could use a weekend away from work, and caring for her mother. She agrees to a weekend getaway with Trey to go to the wedding.

She is taken aback by all the money she is quickly surrounded by. And while their relationship becomes quite steamy over the weekend, they both wonder if it could be more after the weekend is over.

During the wedding reception Willow receives a phone call from her friend Cara, who she asked to keep an eye on her mother for the weekend. Cara tells Willow that they are at the hospital. Willow becomes full of doubt about everything and also doesn’t want to throw all of her baggage on Trey so she tries to sabotage things on the relationship front so she can get a handle on all of her family problems.

I thought this contemporary romance had a bit more depth to it than a lot of others that I read, where the problem introduced to wreck everything is usually not as large, or realistic. Often when reading romance (as much as I enjoy it) I find myself saying… “That’s not a real problem…”. But this story reveals several problems ranging from self-doubt to financial problems, to mental health problems.

I honestly had a hard time putting this book down and I think anyone interested in contemporary romance would have a fun time with this one. It was released on November 26th so go get a copy! I can’t wait to go back and read the first three books in Lynn’s Crazy Love series!

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Trouble With Hedge Witches Series Bundle by Sarina Dorie

This review is going to focus on the Trouble with Hedge Witches 4 book series by Sarina Dorie. I received an eARC of the series through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The first book in this series bundle is The Witch of Nightmares: Dark Fairy Tales of Magic and Mystery. This introductory book introduces readers to the main character, 14-year-old Abigail MacQuillan and her journey with fate. We are introduced to the Morty Realm, the Unseen Realm, and the Fae Realm, each having its own rules about magic.

This installment has readers following Abby on her journey to find her lost family. Can she accomplish this while protecting her younger brother, and staying away from dark magic?

The second book in the series is A Cauldron Full of Curses: Dark Fairy Tales of Magic and Mystery. This installment follows Abby as she deals with the loss of her family, learning how to use her plant magic, and becoming an apprentice to a wicked hedge witch, Baba Nata. Abby and her friend Lucifer, who is another apprentice of Baba, learn to fight against the Fae that prey upon lost humans.

The third book in this series is A Pocket Full of Poison: Dark Fairy Tales of Magic and Mystery. In this book you will learn that revenge comes at a price.

Readers will follow Abby and Lucifer as they continue to learn how to harness their magic. Baba Nata begins to teach Abby the darker magic that she will need to use against the Fae. How far will Abby go to avenge her brothers? Will she keep the act in her seduction, or fall for a Fae?

The last installment to this series bundle is Abigail Lawrence’s Untold Story: The Witch’s Familiar, which is also part of Dorie’s Womby’s School for Wayward Witches series.

This segment takes place almost thirty years after the last book, and Abby has led a life in the Morty Realm, reconnecting with Grace, and her nephew Adam. Over time she marries Adam, and they adopt two daughters. This story focuses on Abigail after she receives news that her twenty-two-year old daughter Clarissa is in danger and recovering from an attack at the school she teaches at.

Lucifer, who has been stuck in cat form for the last thirty years begins to act strange while back in the Unseen Realm and runs away. Much of this story is searching for Lucifer, and trying to find a way to return him to human form. Will she succeed?

This series was an interesting read, and I enjoyed reading about the different plant and animal magic affinities that different characters controlled. I started to lose some interest in Abby’s story in the third book because she was so entrenched in her desire to kill the Fae without listening to anything Lucifer would say about how it would change her. I hope you enjoy reading this series. Each installment is a quick, roughly 100 page, read.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Shape of the Night by Tess Gerritsen

This review is going to take a look at the book The Shape of the Night by New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen. I received an eArc of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book was released on October 1st–so get out there an read a copy!

This novel is set mostly in a Maine coastal town with some appearances by Boston. Our main character, Ava Collette is a food writer, and while punishing herself she has decided to get away from Boston to test some recipes for her very late book.

The cookbook she is writing is about traditional New England cuisine, so where better than Maine to write!? She finds an old home available to rent of the summer called Brodie’s Watch. It is the former home of a sea captain that perished at sea. At first all is normal, until she begins hearing weird sounds.

Ava becomes all consumed with trying to figure out who is watching her and what is happening. She begins to wonder if it’s her, and the binge drinking to cope with tragedy, or if it’s all real? Who can she trust in this small coastal town where locals fit in and tourists aren’t trusted.

Gerritsen does a great job of writing the story in a way that it could actually be a ghost, or it could be this other more logical option throughout the entire book. Even after finishing the book I was left wondering–but was the ghost real? The story instills a real feeling of being right there the entire time. I felt like I was by the ocean in Maine. I drooled over the recipes Ava made, just like her carpenters. It was an entertaining read and I encourage you to go read it so you can be in Maine too!

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Furies by Katie Lowe

This review is going to focus on The Furies, written by Katie Lowe. I received an ARC through NetGalley. This book was released on October 8th and is a great option for a Halloween read–so check out your local library or bookstore of choice and grab a copy.

The story of the Furies is set in 1997-1998 at Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girl’s boarding school. We follow Violet, the main character, on her journey through what is meant to be a fresh start after the abrupt passing of both her father and younger sister in a car crash that she survived.

Violet finds herself drawn to one girl at the school, Robin, who allows Violet to join her group of friends, consisting of Alex, and Grace. Elm Hollow Academy has a history with the witch hunt in the UK, with the founding headmistress being accused of witchcraft and executed on campus.

But, before she died, Ms. Boucher, had created an advanced studies class, which is now taught by Annabel. There are only four students, Robin, Alex, Grace, and now Violet. The classes focus on mythology and the occult, and the girls quickly start believing that the spells and rituals will work to their whims. And once they cast a spell, and their desire comes true, the group really begins to believe in the Furies.

Drugs, sex, and alcohol all take part in the chaos that ensues. Especially once the second girl in two years is found dead, sitting on a swing.

Katie Lowe did an good job of setting up the characters in this story. The group dynamics were quite interesting to follow, and there was plenty of mystery to solve. In a school filled with 16 and 17-year-old girls the resulting drama and pettiness comes through well. It was an interesting read, and a decent read for Halloween when the reader may want something dark, but not especially frightening.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: In the Warsaw Ghetto by Glenn Haybittle

This post is going to focus on In the Warsaw Ghetto by Glenn Haybittle. I received an eARC through NetGalley. It was published on July 30, 2019. This book took me quite a while to get through–much longer than I expected.

When I read the summary and saw the beautiful cover of a ballerina in a rundown building I thought this would be a story that tried to take an uplifting route through World War II. I assumed Ala Silberman would be a dancer, impacted by the move to the ghetto, but somehow overcoming the atrocities performed against the Jewish people. Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

I found the first half to two-thirds of the book incredibly difficult to get through. It was much slower paced than the last bit of the book, and did a lot of the building of scene, when life was still as “normal” as it could have been for the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. The book is told in alternating chapters between Ala Silberman, and her uncle Max.

Ala has been training to be a ballet dancer when she and her family is forced to live in the ghetto. In the beginning she leads a privileged life compared to many of the others in the ghetto because her family has ties to the Judenrat.

Max is still in love with the ghost of a girl he was close with while at university. They have been apart for a decade, and she has married and had two daughters. Once times become a bit harder, he finds Sabina once more, now separated from her husband. Max cares for her and her daughters to give them a better life within the ghetto.

As the story continues and years pass, living conditions within the ghetto get much worse. The reader is able to see what life is like through various characters that were previously built up. More and more are deported to Treblinka, or killed within the ghetto. Finally, there is a Jewish uprising against the Germans in the ghetto, which really sped up the reading.

This was a really heavy book to read thematically, but it was also somewhat enlightening to read. I feel like it brought you more into the world that the Jews lived in, instead of only learning about the atrocities committed against them by the Nazis. In school, students learn that Nazis are bad, and what they did was bad, but the deeper lessons are often glossed over, and I think this book did a good job of bringing some of those to light for the reader.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: I Wanna Sext You Up by Evie Claire

This review is going to look at the new romance I Wanna Sext You Up by Evie Claire. It was released yesterday, Tuesday August 20, 2019–so go find a copy! I received an eARC of this title through NetGalley. I Wanna Sext You Up is the second installment in Claire’s Let’s Talk About Sext series. The books can be read consecutively, or independently.

This romance centers on Lorie Braddock, a rookie pharmaceutical sales representative who is trying to sell a new way to treat diabetes patients. One of the young doctors on her circuit, Dr. Saam Sherazi, is highly career driven and has ignored, kicked out, and even banned some of the representatives on Lorie’s team from his office. She also happens to be a former beauty pageant queen, a real southern belle.

Lorie goes above and beyond and gets a meeting with Saam. She notices that they have the same phone and puts her’s out on the desk to show him. In her rush to leave–you guessed it–she grabs the wrong phone, and in returning their phones to each other, they have to meet again, which leads to sparks, and of course sexts, flying.

Will Lorie and Saam be able to navigate making a relationship work? Or will they get stuck losing out on each other for the sake of others and their jobs? This was a quick, fun read so I suggest you take a little time and go find out! I know I’ll be going back to find the series’s first installment Let’s Talk About Sext at some point to return to the work romance world that Evie Claire has created.

Happy Reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries

Sabrina Jeffries latest new series The Duke Dynasty series begins with Project Duchess released on June 25th. I was lucky to receive an eARC from NetGalley just prior to its release and really enjoyed the book.

The Duke Dynasty series will focus on a family of grown children of an often widowed mother. She married well three times, and provided heirs to each Duke she married. Project Duchess follows the story of Fletcher “Grey” Pryde the fifth Duke of Greycourt and Beatrice Wolfe, a cousin through marriage that he meets at the funeral of his stepfather.

Grey had a dark childhood and trusts no one with much of anything really, let alone his heart, but he is also immediately drawn to Beatrice because she is different from the ladies that were brought up politely in the Ton. Beatrice raises and trains dogs, walks through the woods in sturdy boots, and most importantly, doesn’t let Grey win his way in an argument easily.

Though in mourning Grey helps Beatrice and his sister prepare for their coming out parties and along the way falls for Beatrice. Though their feelings are mutual, neither fully trusts each other for most of the novel, refusing to share their past traumas with each other.

I found this a delightful read with the right amount of danger and romance. I can’t wait for the next installment of the series to come out!

Happy reading 🙂  

BOOK REVIEW: The Things I Know

Recently I finished reading an eARC of The Things I Know by Amanda Prowse which was released on June 11th. I received this eARC through NetGalley.

The Things I Know tells the story of Thomasina ‘Hitch’ Waycott who lives on a family farm outside of Bristol, England. She was born a little bit different from the ‘normal’ kids and grew up constantly made fun of, an outsider. The story line follows her growth from believing what others are saying to standing up for herself and her family and loved ones.

I found this story interesting because although there was a love story involved, the main plot was actually about Thomasina learning to stand up for herself and figuring out what she wants to do with her life. Various problems are thrown her way, from bullies, to men, family problems, and as with every other farm book, the potential sale of the family farm that has been in the family for generations. I don’t read very many English stories that aren’t regency era so it was fun to read a more modern story from England.

I enjoyed witnessing the problems and solutions unfold, each in their own time. The flow of the story happened at a good pace. I didn’t feel rushed by any of the chaos that ensued or that any of the plot lines overlapped too much. By requesting this book I was attempting to work on diversifying the types of books that I read so that I am not just reading the same exact thing over and over, and I think this novel succeeded in helping me accomplish that goal. I would definitely read another of her books.

By the way, Thomasina REALLY likes chickens 🙂

Happy reading!