TBR

April To Be Read Stack

Hello readers!

I thought it might be interesting to you to see what I have on my bookshelf to read every month. I periodically post book reviews, (when I’m feeling energetic, not always) and if I do, then you will have an opportunity to read the book so you know what the heck I’m talking about.

You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

Here is my April 2020 TBR stack:

  1. The Last Sister by Kendra Elliott
  2. Last Day by Luanne Rice
  3. When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal
  4. A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni
  5. Protecting What’s Mine by Lucy Score
  6. Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly
  7. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
  8. The Neon Lawyer by Victor Methos

Happy Reading!

TBR

March To Be Read Stack

Hello readers!

I thought it might be interesting to you to see what I have on my bookshelf to read every month. I periodically post book reviews, (when I’m feeling energetic, not always) and if I do, then you will have an opportunity to read the book so you know what the heck I’m talking about.

You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

Here is my March 2020 TBR stack:

  1. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  2. When I was You by Minka Kent
  3. The Guy on the Left by Kate Stewart
  4. The Names of the Dead by Kevin Wignall
  5. The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy

Happy Reading!

 

Book Corner

Book Review: Dirty Letters

I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.

Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.

Until one day it did.

Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.

Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.

Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.

But what I found could change everything.

First of all, can we take a minute to appreciate the male HOTNESS of the model on the book cover. Wow.

Secondly, the first line of the blurb is KILLER. Love it.

I’ve always been fascinated by building relationships sight unseen. I would like to think that one has a better chance of building a solid relationship by getting to know the PERSON first before becoming distracted by the gift wrapping … but maybe that’s an unrealistic view because physical attraction is a big part of a relationship.

So when I read the blurb to this book, I was immediately intrigued. It sounded pretty close to an idea I had for a story a few years back (and one I might still cultivate).

It started out really cute. I loved how the authors built up the suspense between the characters but I would have liked to have had more letter writing and more tension building before they actually met. And by that I mean, I wanted to see more character development. The transition from writing each other and being friends to suddenly crossing the friend line was just too abrupt for me. I wanted more friendship and a gradual jump.

And then when that jump finally occurred, I wanted it dirtier. They were almost too polite with one another.

The transition from friendship to downright talking dirty was smooth, I just wanted to see MORE of it.

And the part where Griff doesn’t want to see her was a nice touch but the reason why Griff didn’t want to see her … I actually rolled my eyes. It seemed cliche but I understood why the authors picked that occupation because it directly conflicted with Luca’s “issues.”

I thought Luca’s (platonic) relationship with her therapist was cute and believable since the therapist was pretty much a stand-in father to Luca. I feel like that relationship really brought some humor to the story and made Luca more likable, in my opinion. Though again, I understand why the authors picked Luca’s phobia, it almost felt like they picked a phobia out of a hat because it just didn’t seem to fit Luca’s personality and I often times felt like her character was inconsistent.

I felt like Griff tried harder than Luca did and at times, it almost felt like he was chasing her, nay, obsessed by her at times.

Overall, it’s a cute story and the premise was different and interesting. I just wish we could have seen more of their relationship develop via the letters before they actually met.

Book Corner

Book Review: Hidden in Plain Sight

By day, Roberta Lake is a computer software and hardware specialist with an uncanny knack for understanding the inner workings of the technology she works on. By night, she is a CIA Brain Trust operative, putting her abilities in mind communication, infiltration, and control to use on people instead of gadgets.

In other words, Roberta Lake is a psychic assassin.

Under the watchful eye of the Brain Trust, as well as her handlers, the Three Wise Men, Roberta takes out her assigned targets from afar with the help of her alter ego, Bobbi Waters—the true killer of the two—and only after she determines whether the target truly deserves to die.

This arrangement spins out of control when the Brain Trust suspects Bobbi is fracturing from Roberta, becoming a separate persona. Roberta is deemed a threat to the organization, and this time, it’s her life that’s being targeted. What’s worse—they want to know her secrets first, and she’d rather die by her own hand than be the blueprint for an unstoppable force of psychic killers let loose on the world.

I downloaded this book from NetGalley so in essence, it was gifted to me for my review. (More about NetGalley soon).

First off, the book cover and the blurb are what sucked me in – the eye really captured my attention. And I like the title, though after reading the book, I think “Hidden in Sight” would have been a more appropriate title because for me, this story was anything BUT plain.

It’s an intriguing premise and though I personally don’t believe in psychics and the paranormal, I do believe it’s possible on some level, if not probable. So I’m coming at this read from that opinion.

I was confused right off the bat. The author does a really good job of pushing me right into the middle of Roberta’s story but it took me several chapters before I started to get a feel for what was happening. For example, I thought Roberta and Bobbi were two separate people for several chapters. And I couldn’t figure out the relationship between Roberta and her boss Magi and why were they jumping right into sex? Though an interesting read, I felt cheated in some respects because I wanted to see more character build up before the action.

Though I certainly understand why the author chose to open the story this way, and it was interesting, if not terribly confusing, I feel like if an author is going to open up her story this way, then allow me a moment to catch my breath and catch up to the premise. I needed to know more about Roberta, how she discovered her abilities, who these characters were and why they were important to the story. Though I’m not a fan of back story, a little back story goes a long way.

This story felt more like part four of a series. And I can definitely tell that the author is working that angle with this premise, and I think it’s a good idea, but to me, this was like walking into a movie theater late and jumping right into a story that A. I have no idea what it’s about, B. where it’s going, and C. why I should care enough to stick around and figure it out.

I wanted to know more about how Roberta discovered her talents. I wanted to see her struggles and her emotional journey that led to her decision to terminate bad people. I wanted to know more about her family history and why this ability is prevalent in her family. I wanted to know how she was recruited and by whom. I wanted to experience her first kill and the creation of Bobbi because after the author reveals who Bobbi is, I totally bought the REASON Roberta created her. I wanted to experience Roberta’s moral dilemmas and struggles. I really wanted to see more relationship building between her and Magi – I’m suddenly thrown into the middle of a sex scene and a few chapters later Magi is professing love. Whoa guys, slow down! And I wanted to know why Roberta felt so uneasy about Jenny. Other than that character being annoying, why did her gut tell her there was something off about her co-worker? What actions caused Roberta to be suspicious about Jenny? Simply being annoying doesn’t quite justify why Roberta felt the way she did about Jenny.

I felt like a runaway train trying to make out details from a blurred landscape – it was exhausting and frustrating.

And perhaps that’s the author’s intent, to spoon feed backstory to the reader as the series progresses, I can appreciate that approach, but I needed a bit more backstory IN THIS STORY because it took me a while to play catch up.

This premise also reminds me a lot of the TV show, “Alias” with Jennifer Garner. The character is recruited from college for her raw talent and then cultivated and groomed to be an effective tool for an agency’s agenda.  Then, her and her handler develop feelings for one another which complicates their working relationship. That premise has always fascinated me and being a fan of “Alias” I really liked the strong female character and her ability to kick ass virtually all the time.

Which brings me to another point of contention: Roberta is seemingly invincible.

I’m all about strong, powerful women. But Roberta doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses. Her ability to compartmentalize and turn her mind off/on is certainly impressive, but short of killing her physical body, what weaknesses does she really have? We’re lucky that Roberta has a strong moral compass and she’s capable of compassion and love as evidenced by her interactions with her family, but surely there is a physical limitation to her supernatural powers? If so, this story didn’t reveal it. And though her ability to control a target’s mind, and other entities, (no spoilers), it’s almost too much power, too easy, in some ways. I want to see a weakness that is not readily apparent and not many people know about but when someone stumbles across it, it absolutely cripples Roberta and she has to come up with creative ways to handle it.

At this point, Roberta is more machine than human. Which may be what the author is going for, but in order for me to care about her, the possibility of losing her will only enrich the story, in my opinion.

Overall, the story is well written, fast-paced and interesting. I think the author has the potential of taking Roberta on some incredible journeys, I would propose slowing down and allowing the reader to enjoy the experience.

*All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.

Book Corner

Book Review: Talking to Strangers

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?

While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers, you’ll hear the voices of people he interviewed–scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There’s even a theme song – Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout.”

Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

Yes, it’s true, I rated this book three stars.

It wasn’t due to lack of interesting content, all of the examples that Mr. Gladwell presents are interesting, his points are well taken, they are also well articulated, when he gets around to making them. And the thought that the “supposedly” brightest minds in the world are incapable of detecting bullshit is more than a little alarming. (As evidenced by his examples).

I gave this book three stars because of the way this book is laid out. Mr. Gladwell gives us example, after examples, to prove points that he doesn’t quite allow the reader to digest before moving on to give us yet another example or another aspect of communicating so that by the time I reached the halfway mark, I was ready to just scream, “JUST GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!”

I suppose, after reading the above blurb, I was expecting a mind-blowing, profound solution to talking to strangers – a how-to guide to communicating and understanding a stranger’s non-verbal language. I was expecting some tips and tricks on HOW to talk to strangers, but Mr. Gladwell instead shows us, through historical events, that it’s nearly impossible to truly know a stranger’s motives.

With all due respect, Mr. Gladwell, duh.

In essence, this book is about reminding us not to jump to conclusions when speaking to total strangers. We don’t really know the motivation behind someone we just met. We may think they are honest, they may appear sincere in their body language and facial expressions, but Mr. Gladwell’s point is: it’s virtually impossible to truly know people.

This quote perfectly sums up this book: The right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility.

Not exactly earth shattering advice.

However, let’s be fair, there are a lot of television shows, movies and online sites that tout the ability to teach someone to tell if someone is lying or not. And if the person’s motivations match their non-verbal language, then we will likely correctly interpret whether someone is telling the truth, but if someone truly wanted to fool us, it wouldn’t be hard to do.

As Mr. Gladwell states, we all default to believing people are inherently good. We want to believe that people are honest and truthful because no one wants to believe that people are capable of lying or generally being assholes. And now, with the aid of the media, we are constantly reminded to be careful, don’t trust anyone, people have ulterior motives and no one really cares about anyone but themselves, (it’s all about ME), that now I think the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and most people default to thinking the WORST of people right off the bat. Which Mr. Gladwell shows us is also a very dangerous road to travel.

So, what now? How do we successfully communicate with strangers? I don’t have the answer to that question and I don’t feel like Mr. Gladwell answered that question either, he simply reminds us that in order to effectively communicate with people, one must be patient, kind and understanding because people are the byproduct of their life choices and personal history and if we understand that crucial factor, then we are more likely to understand a person’s motivations and temperament.

If you’re looking for a how-to book on how to talk to strangers, this is not it. But if you want a glimpse into the human psyche and a thought-provoking read, then enjoy.

Book Corner

Book Review: Verity

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

Oh my words, dear readers, the  premise of this book … THE PREMISE! This was a really interesting, disturbing and thought provoking read. At first, your sympathies lie with Verity – poor Verity. She was involved in an accident that left her basically a shell of a woman. She’s present, but she’s not. And though I understand Lowen’s situation and the temptation of taking the job of becoming one of her favorite author’s ghostwriter, I find myself disgusted with her for taking the job and for developing feelings for Jeremy, Verity’s husband.

So, I’m not a fan of Lowen’s at first.

But then Lowen finds Verity’s autobiography and now Verity is not who we all think she is.

Bit by bit, the reader learns more about Verity and the evil that resides inside this shallow, selfish, apathetic woman. Now, I’m cheering Lowen and Jeremy along because it’s clear that Verity is crazy and doesn’t deserve Jeremy.

I love how Hoover alternates between what is happening and Lowen’s gradual read through Verity’s autobiography. Though I wanted Lowen to read faster, I’m really glad Hoover resisted the temptation because the drawn out suspense was what really pulled me in.

I love that this was a suspenseful book without the usual suspense elements. Perhaps suspense is the wrong word, tension is a better word and the growing tension between all of the characters kept me immersed in the story. In the meantime, Lowen and Jeremy are trying to fight their attraction for each other but the reader is cheering them on.

There is a lot of creepy factor in this story, too. Is Verity faking it? Or is Lowen’s over-active imagination playing tricks on her?

The climax of the story is pretty great but what shoves it into five stars for me is the very ending where Lowen finds a letter and it throws her, and the reader, into utter disbelief and confusion; did it really happen that way, or didn’t it? Was it a writing exercise or did it really happen the way Verity portrays in her autobiography?

My theory is, it really happened and Verity wrote that letter as a way of further manipulating her gullible husband and as a last-ditch effort of trying to disguise the evil that seeped from every pore of Verity’s body.

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was how the book opened and how Lowen and Jeremy met. I think beginning the book at the office would have been sufficient and I felt like Hoover’s opening felt out of place to the rest of the story and not necessary though it didn’t really put me off – just felt like a strange decision on Hoover’s part. Then again, maybe that opening had a deeper meaning and went completely over my head – the whole story was so full of unexpected surprises.

One last thing – I couldn’t figure out why my spellchecker didn’t put a red line under Verity’s name.  I’ve never heard that word before and to my knowledge, it wasn’t a word. Oh, contraire readers. I looked it up – Verity means truth. Holy shit, I love this book even more because there wasn’t a truthful bone in Verity’s body – or was there?!

Highly recommend you read it. It’s a great spin on a twisted premise. It’s a story that stays with you long after you read it and makes you go HMMMMM….

___________________________________________

I finished my GoodReads challenge for 2019! I read 100 books! That is a personal best for me and I probably could have made it to 105 but I decided to give myself a break from reading for a few weeks before diving into next year’s challenge. I will try my best to write reviews on all the books I read next year. I’d still like to start a reading group, in fact, I started one way back when on GoodReads but never did anything with it, but it just seems like so much organizing … I’ve had a few peeps at work express interest so maybe I’ll do something with it at some point. Would this be something you would be interested in? Leave me a comment below!

Book Corner

Book Review: Losing Leah Holloway

Five years ago, Claire Fletcher escaped her abductor. But some scars never fade, and surviving was just the beginning…

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.

First of all, if you haven’t read Finding Claire Fletcher, I would highly recommend it. Though Losing Leah Holloway is not about Claire, she is a character in this story that gets pushed into the drama and to understand her character and her struggles, reading Finding Claire Fletcher will help you understand Claire better.

I gave this story four stars but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I just didn’t love it. And I think I didn’t love it because the “main” characters played more of a secondary role in the story, which makes no sense and on the surface sounds really weird, but in this story, it worked, I just wish the story centered more on the main characters and less on Claire.

Though Claire is an interesting character and the reader feels like she knows Claire through the previous book and she is central to the beginning of the story, (her and her sister witness the car driving off the bridge and Claire is the one who saves the children), she’s not really who the story is about. She is a character who keeps things moving – the glue that makes the story stick together.

This story is not about Claire specifically, it’s about the story that happens around Claire – on her peripheral, and it’s …… interesting.

Once again, the premise is different and disturbing. Though I ultimately predicted where the story was going I wasn’t quite sure how it would end. It was somehow satisfying for Claire to be the catalyst at the beginning of the story and then be the inhibitor at the end of the story as well. That approach felt well rounded and complete, somehow, even though the main story wasn’t really about her.

I know this sounds confusing, but Ms. Regan does a good job of making it work and I appreciated the creative approach to this story. It was almost as if Leah’s story was told through Claire.

And though interesting and entertaining, I still felt like it missed something. Though the author takes us back in time and you can see Leah’s rationale for doing what she did, I still felt like I didn’t really know her, D.J. or Rachel. I would have like to get inside their heads a bit more just to fully flesh out the story.

But I understand why Ms. Regan didn’t approach it this way because again, it was a story that happened TO Claire, it wasn’t Claire’s story.

At any rate, I really enjoyed the bread crumbs that Regan dropped into the story. Things are definitely not as they appear and Leah’s life is all about appearances. I find this concept fascinating because it makes me wonder what sort of lives people are TRULY living when they drop their facade.

We all have a public face, a public persona, but who are we, truly? I can tell you with 100% conviction my public face is NOT who I really am.

What goes on behind closed doors? What are people really thinking? How exhausting is it to maintain that facade? What is the thing that makes that carefully constructed castle finally crumble?

This is really what this story is about. Human endurance and reaching the breaking point. It’s a story about desperation and depression and the lengths people will go to mask those feelings and fake normal. It’s about finally opening the “forbidden” drawers in your psyche, pulling out the horrors folded within and allowing them out to air dry.

And if that doesn’t sound pretty, it’s because it’s not.

Book Corner

Book Review: Play Dirty

Love this cover, too.

After five long years in federal prison, Griff Burkett is a free man. But the disgraced Cowboys quarterback can never return to life as he knew it before he was caught cheating. In a place where football is practically a religion, Griff committed a cardinal sin, and no one is forgiving.

Foster Speakman, owner and CEO of SunSouth Airlines, and his wife, Laura, are a golden couple. Successful and wealthy, they lived a charmed life before fate cruelly intervened and denied them the one thing they wanted most — a child. It’s said that money can’t buy everything. But it can buy a disgraced football player fresh out of prison and out of prospects.

The job Griff agrees to do for the Speakmans demands secrecy. But he soon finds himself once again in the spotlight of suspicion. An unsolved murder comes back to haunt him in the form of his nemesis, Stanley Rodarte, who has made Griff’s destruction his life’s mission. While safeguarding his new enterprise, Griff must also protect those around him, especially Laura Speakman, from Rodarte’s ruthlessness. Griff stands to gain the highest payoff he could ever imagine, but cashing in on it will require him to forfeit his only chance for redemption…and love.

Griff is now playing a high-stakes game, and at the final whistle, one player will be dead.

Play Dirty is Sandra Brown’s wildest ride yet, with hairpin turns of plot all along the way. The clock is ticking down on a fallen football star, who lost everything because of the way he played the game. Now his future — his life — hinges on one last play.

Disclaimer: Sandra Brown is one of my all-time favorite authors. If I ever get off my lazy butt and actually write something, her style of writing appeals to me and I would want to emulate that to the best of my ability.

So I’m coming at this review a bit biased. But I will try my best to be objective and fair.

I haven’t read a Sandra Brown book in quite some time. Mainly because I’m on a Kindle Unlimited kick and I refuse to pay money for books when I have so many options at my fingertips for $10 bucks a month through Kindle Unlimited.

I was so surprised when I saw a Sandra Brown book pop up in Kindle Unlimited that I snatched it up.

The reviews on this story surprised me a bit, at least on GoodReads – it has 4.3 out of five on Amazon.

I usually go by the reviews on GoodReads as opposed to the reviews on Amazon as I have found my peeps on GoodReads seem to align with my personal tastes better.

But Play Dirty on GoodReads only has 3.92 stars out of five.

And I think I know why.

The premise of the story is unusual and ethically questionable. It’s disturbing but fascinating at the same time and that’s a large reason why I liked it; it was different and interesting. Most stories follow a certain format and I appreciated the fact that this story did not.

At first, I was a bit repulsed by the premise. A wealthy couple pay for a stud. Our star quarterback basically prostitutes himself out to get back on easy street and at first, you don’t like Griff but you can understand his desperation and reasons why he might decide to do this deed, though you may not like it very much.

And though the reasons why the wealthy couple go this route as opposed to other more conventional routes makes sense … in a bizarre, okay it’s your money and if you’re willing to do this way then go for it.

Still weird. But interesting enough to keep me reading.

What I thoroughly enjoyed from this story was the unpredictability. Nearly every scenario took me somewhere I wasn’t expecting. It’s like Ms. Brown got to a comfortable spot in her story, stopped and thought, “what new hell can I put these characters through?” And I LOVED it. I get so tired of reading stories that follow a formula. True, writers can vary how they get to the answer of the problem but ultimately, we all get there eventually.

And though this story ultimately reaches a satisfactory ending, it’s more of a REALISTIC ending.

I like unusual, real stories. Life is messy and weird and confusing at times and though the premise of this story is unusual and likely not probable, it’s possible. Which for me, is the only thing required. I can buy pretty much anything if leading up to the situation is possible.

Truth really IS stranger than fiction.

I liked how Griff wasn’t a wealthy, asshole alpha male. Wait, let me rephrase that, he was until he cheated and landed himself in jail. I love how Brown started the story AFTER all of that occurred though it would be interesting to read a story about Griff’s life BEFORE he went to jail, too.

Griff is majorly flawed. He allowed his greed and big ego to overshadow common sense and it landed him in big trouble. So when he was released from jail, he wasn’t broken but he was certainly different.

When you’re first introduced to Griff, he’s a douche. He cheated. He went to jail. He is looking for a fast buck to get his life back on track. Everyone hates him because of what he did. He’s pretty much at the bottom of the barrel and at first, your sympathies lie with Foster, a wheelchair-bound man just trying to achieve his greatest desire, to have a child. I didn’t really feel much for Laura at first. She’s just the vehicle stuck between the two men doing what she is being told. If anything, I felt impatient with her and couldn’t understand why she would go along with her husband’s unusual request.

But then, Brown starts to throw me bits and pieces of character backstory and motivations and suddenly my interest piques and my sympathies shift.

And instead of giving me these tidbits all at once, Brown does a great job of spoon feeding me more and more as the story progresses so that by the end, it’s not the same story you began with.

I LOVED that aspect of the story.

I also really love how Brown writes. She provides just enough detail to place you in the scene but leaves out enough for your imagination to kick in and fill in the blanks. Her dialogue was snappy and realistic and the story just kept moving forward. I didn’t really feel like there were any stagnant parts, every part had something interesting.

Though the parts where Griff and Laura meet for the first few times are incredibly awkward and cringe worthy, it was believable and horrifying at the same time. Brown placed those characters in an impossible situation and yet somehow, they made it work.

Whenever I stop to think about story ideas for my own writing, THIS is the sort of plot I’m looking for. I want to write something that makes my reader squirm, shift loyalties and be surprised. I want to write about messy lives and awkward situations and put my characters through hell. This story does all of that and Brown does an excellent job of balancing different genres,: mystery, thriller, romance, into one cohesive, entertaining read.

I’m inspired.

Book Corner

Book Review: What I’ve Done

Morgan Dane’s new client has blood on her hands—and no recollection of what happened—as the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling series continues.

Haley Powell wakes up covered in blood, with no memory of the night before. When she sees a man lying in the backyard, stabbed to death, she has only one terrified thought: What have I done?

Agreeing to take the case as a favor to her PI friend Lincoln Sharp, Morgan must scale a mountain of damning circumstantial and forensic evidence to prove her client innocent. Haley couldn’t appear more guilty: her bloodstained fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and she has no alibi. But Morgan can’t shake the feeling that this shocked young woman has been framed.

Someone out there is hell-bent on sabotaging her defense, targeting Morgan, her partner, and especially Haley. Someone who will stop at nothing—and whose next move will be deadly.

Definition of cozy mystery – “a sub-genre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. Cozy mysteries do not employ any but the mildest profanity. The murders take place off stage, frequently involving relatively bloodless methods such as poisoning and falls from great heights. The wounds inflicted on the victim are never dwelt on and are seldom used as clues. Sexual activity, even between married characters, is only ever gently implied and never directly addressed, and the subject is frequently avoided altogether.”

That definition sums up the Morgan Dane mysteries. Clearly, I like the character enough to keep coming back, this is my fourth time and there is a fifth story that I will read at some point but it is simplistic and though not entirely predictable, the author does a good job leading us down the path to a very probable solution.

Morgan is a defense attorney and I like how her character is learning about investigating crimes the same time as her readers. I like how she’s a strong female and has a level head about her but is still a female and does have physical limitations. Hence the reason for her love interest, Lance.

I also really like that Morgan is a non-traditional female in that she has lost her husband and is raising three small girls, lives with her grandfather and employs a rather interesting nanny. Nothing about her “family” is traditional, though more and more common nowadays and yet it works for me.

Though I personally prefer my mysteries to be a bit more gritty and messy, it’s nice to read a cozy mystery from time-to-time if for no other reason than to cleanse my rather disturbing palate.

If you’re looking for an easy, entertaining read, I would recommend the Morgan Dane series.

Book Corner

Book Review: Tapping The Billionaire

A secret duo of romance authors team up under the pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you a sexy, laugh-out-loud new series. Are you ready to meet the Billionaire Bad Boys?

Blind dates? Online dating profiles? Been there, done that.

Georgia Cummings has zero luck with dating, and the era of the internet is not her friend.

No matter how fast she runs, how many corners she turns, she can’t find her way out of this weird, alternate universe where men think dick pics are a replacement for small talk and getting to know a girl. One more crotch selfie and she might write men off for good…

But why can’t she stop fantasizing about him?

Kline Brooks is the quintessential billionaire bad boy—dark, styled, short hair, muscles for days, and a panty-dropping smile.

Except—he isn’t.

As his employee, he won’t touch her with a ten foot pole.

But she won’t touch him either.

Too bad their hormones missed the memo.

Disclaimer:
If you’re the type of woman who prefers crotch selfies to small talk, this book isn’t for you.

If you enjoy random men you’ve never met filling up your inbox with dirty words and porn—for reasons focused more towards diddling your donut than laughing at the absurdity—this book isn’t for you.

If you HATE laughing, this book isn’t for you.

If you want your male leads to grunt, thrust like jack rabbits, and have one-track minds that prefer a nice pair of tits to brains every hour of every day for the rest of forever, well, then, this book still isn’t for you.

But.

If you enjoy a good swoon, a hearty laugh, witty banter, and some hot as f*@% f*@%ing, then consider Georgia Cummings your Girl Friday and Kline Brooks your next irresistible book boyfriend

So ………………..

The disclaimer annoys me.

Actually, the whole blurb annoys me and does not, at all, represent the book. I think I would have liked the story better if it had mirrored the blurb.

I mean, I guess I know what they’re going for here – if you like a more serious story, then you may not appreciate the humor in this story.

And there is humor. I personally respond to stories of relationships that have a solid sense of humor interlaced throughout, but I sort of feel like this story DOES contain lots of grunts, growls and other choice sex terms throughout.

In fact, almost TOO much.

I felt like the story spent the majority of time on the sex part of their relationship. And that DOES NOT do it for me.

Let me back up a minute …

This story takes place between a high-ranking person within the company and the owner/boss of the company. Nothing new here. It’s a common fantasy of many women to have a sexual relationship with a powerful man, someone who can make or break your career. There is an element of danger in the relationship, makes it exciting on some level.

But the authors are trying to sell me on the idea that these two, very hot, very attractive, very smart individuals have worked closely together for two years before they really notice each other?

I mean, I get noticing each other, maybe a fantasy or two, but the transition between these two work colleagues to so much more happens at warp speed and that ruins the story for me. It’s like, “Excuse me.” To “Oh HI! Let’s have sex!” I like some build up, some teasing, some friction before going right into the nasty.

Not sexy, at least to me.

And the male character is just too perfect. He’s a gentleman. He’s super hot. He’s super rich. He’s super respectful of her feelings and taking her V card.

I mean, that’s great, too bad more men AREN’T like this, but it doesn’t make for a very good story.

It’s sort of boring.

I wanted to see more intellectual interaction between the two. We get it, THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER AND CAN’T KEEP THEIR HANDS OFF EACH OTHER, but to me, there is so much more to a rich relationship than just sex.

I felt like the characters had potential, I just feel like the authors didn’t take the time to fully flesh them out. Instead, it was all about the sex. Which they wrote in detail, A LOT.

Ho hum.

There are only so many ways one can write about the physical side of a relationship before it becomes … boring.

And the event that temporarily broke them up…..

Come on. Really??? It was so WEAK!

These are two intelligent professionals who both act like children over an event that literally would have taken one phone call and five minutes to explain. Instead, the authors put their characters through some torturous days before clearing the air. It was just trivial and felt contrived. If these two lovebirds, who clearly love each other, have professed their love for one another and crave to be together allow one little text message to tear them apart, are they really meant to be together? What sort of reaction would they have if something really big happened?

I nearly put this story down several times. But then the authors would throw in something funny, or cute, and I would think, “Okay. Here we go. It’s getting better.”

No. Not really.

It’s like the authors know the formula for a cute little romance, threw two characters together, came up with a haphazard back story, a frail, and quite frankly, lame, “deal breaker” into the story and called it a book.

There. Done. Meant our deadline. Whew.

There are two more books in this series so far. I already know who the story in book two will be about based on the epilogue of this book and I already don’t care much for the characters. So I’ll pass, thanks.

I mean, if you haven’t been reading romance for very long, then you’ll likely enjoy this. But if you’re like me, who has been reading romance for years and expects more conflict, more depth, to the story, I wouldn’t recommend it.

It’s all fluff and very little substance.