Don’t Look Back (Unbroken Heroes: Book 6) by Dawn Ryder

Don't Look Back (Unbroken Heroes, #6)

2 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback

Date of publication: August 28th, 2018

Genre: Suspense, Romance

Series: Unbroken Heroes

Dangerous to Know – Book 1

Dare You to Run – Book 2

Deep into Trouble – Book 3

Take to the Limit – Book 4

Close to the Edge – Book 5

Don’t Look Back – Book 6

Where you can find Don’t Look Back: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In Don’t LOOK BACK by Dawn Ryder, she is the only woman worth fighting – or dying – for…

Shadow Ops Agent Thais Sinclair has sworn off falling in love for good. It’s what’s kept her calculated, steady, and on-task in a world dominated by men. She needs nothing and no one but her own wits and strength to guide her. But when she’s slated to shadow the one man who could reveal their entire operation, all bets are off.

Dunn Bateson, the illegitimate son of a Southern debutante, has always had to fight harder than the rest to get what he wants. Now, the last thing he needs is Thais following his every move. She is so strong, sly, seductive. . . No woman has ever captivated him so completely. Thais may only have room for her mission in her heart, but is Dunn up to the challenge of showing her that she’s worth every risk he is willing to take?

My review:

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Don’t Look Back justifies my dislike of picking up books mid/at the end of the series. What I dislike even more is being confused by a book. And I was confused by this book. I would have been fine if the focus was on Dunn and Thais. Maybe a secondary main plotline about Carl’s evil doings. Instead, I got a book that was told from many points of views. I got many storylines going on. I was confused by where Thais’ storyline was going and what the Shadow Ops wanted to be done with her. I could go on and on but you get the drift with where I was going.

I didn’t dislike Don’t Look Back. Stripping away the “extras” that came with it, I thought that Dunn and Thais’ story was fantastic. Their backstories were tragic. I felt that because of everything that was crammed into the book, I didn’t get a chance to know them. I felt that their story was lost under the many other plotlines. I wanted to know them better. I wanted to know why Dunn’s mother left him. I wanted to know exactly what Thais’ mother trained her to do. Even more so, I wanted to know what Thais’ husband and brother-in-law were doing that justified her killing them. Maybe these questions were answered in the earlier books but I don’t know. I didn’t read them.

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My other problem with the book was that there was no distinction when the POV’s changed. I kept going back and rereading the previous paragraph because I got confused. There would be a scene between Thais and Dunn and it would change to Kagan or any of the Shadow Ops and then would change to Carl and then change back to Dunn or Thais. All within the same chapters. Something like this (*****) would have been great. It would have made reading Don’t Look Back go so much smoother than it did. I did keep in mind that I was reading an ARC but still. Very annoying.

The Thais and Dunn’s sex scenes were fantastic. I liked that Thais didn’t want to be treated like a fragile doll. She liked it a little rough. I also liked that Dunn was able to provide that and more to her.

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The suspense angle of the book didn’t do it for me. Because of all the POV’s, I wasn’t able to get as involved with the book as I would have been. So, I wasn’t able to get deep into the suspense part of the book. It was there but I thought it was lukewarm, at the best.

The end of the book was a confusing mess. There was too much going on. Also, the very ending threw me. I had an issue imagining what happened happening.

What I liked about Don’t Look Back:

A) Thais and Dunn’s sex scenes. They were awesome

B) Thais and Dunn’s backstories were fascinating

What I disliked about Don’t Look Back:

A) Too many POVs’

B) No distinction when POV ended and went to a different one.

C) The ending was a confusing mess.

I gave Don’t Look Back a 2-star rating.  I couldn’t get involved with the characters. There were too many POVs’. There was no distinction between POVs within the same chapter. And the ending was a confusing mess. I did like the sex scenes, but that is about it.

I would give Don’t Look Back an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is graphic violence. There is language. I would not recommend anyone under the age of 21 read this book.

I would not reread Don’t Look Back. I also would not recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Paperbacks, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Don’t Look Back

All opinions stated in this review of Don’t Look Back are mine

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Maybe for You (Whiskey and Weddings: Book 3) by Nicole McLaughlin

Maybe for You (Whiskey and Weddings, #3)

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback

Date of publication: August 28th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: Whiskey and Weddings

Maybe I Do – Book 1

Maybe This Time – Book 2

Maybe for You – Book 3

Where you can find Maybe for You: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

She’s never had a no-strings fling. He’s never had anything else. But maybe this time will be an exception?

After a year of mourning her fiancé, Alexis Parker has worked hard to rediscover what she wants out of life. Fresh out of the military and back stateside, her brother offers her a marketing job at the Stag Distillery. Ready for a new challenge, Alexis agrees to accompany her new co-worker Jake Cooperon a Stag cross-country promotional tour. He may have an infamous playboy reputation, but Alexis is surprised to find out that there is more to him than meets the eye. And she likes what she sees. . .

Jake promised Alexis’s brother that he’d be an absolute gentleman. Of course, that was before he and Alexis hit the road, and they both agree that what Alexis’s big brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him. The plan: to keep their fling confined to the RV, and everything will go back to normal once they head home. Things progress in ways neither of them could have imagined, and Jake realizes that he and Alexis make a perfect mix. Can he convince her that he’s ready to shake things up and give true love a shot?

My review:

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Maybe for You broke my heart. I should have known that this book was going to make me cry by the first chapter. Alexis’s pain over Nate’s death was gut-wrenching. It came off the pages in waves. My heart broke for her. She needed to start healing. The first step to doing that was her taking the post in Italy. What I liked is that the author didn’t detail Alexis’s time in Italy. All I knew is that when she came home, she had somewhat healed and was starting to live again. Which was great and set the tone for the rest of the book.

I liked Alexis. What I liked is that she was human. She wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes. She had the same insecurities. It made for a more believable character. I connected to her. Mainly in the last half of the book. Everything that she felt, I felt. She did have her flaws. She kept pushing Jake away. She kept him at arm’s length. She was confused about what she felt about him. I loved it!!!

I liked Jake. He was exactly what he presented. The only thing is that he liked the ladies and the ladies liked him. I did think that it was messed up that the father of a grown woman complained to his business partners about Jake sleeping with his daughter. I also found it a little creepy. I liked that he was there for Alexis no matter what. I did agree with what he said when Alexis found out what she did. He wasn’t perfect. He had a temper. He had a rep as a playboy. But it was those imperfections that made his characters.

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I loved that the romance in this book wasn’t Instalove. I don’t have anything against Instalove but it gets old in romance novels. So, when I see a novel where the relationship is built up, I love it. So, yes, I was happy with the romance in this book. Jake and Alexis had a year to build a relationship via text. For some people, that might not be enough but Jake and Alexis talked every day for a year. A relationship was built. I also liked how the author chose to have Alexis and Jake overcome their relationship issues. They fought like normal people but they always ended up talking it out.

Like the romance, the chemistry between Jake and Alexis grew during the first few chapters. I did have one small complaint. Not even a complaint, an observation. But how did she not feel hin when she was grinding up against him? I mean, its pretty obvious. Not talking from experience or anything…lol. Anyways, that chemistry leads to some red-hot sex. I needed a fan after the first scene. The other sex scenes, while not as hot, were still hot in their own sense. But nothing was like that first scene.

Now, I haven’t read the other books. The author did a great job at keeping the other characters, Dean and Charlotte/T.J. and Jen, in the background. I liked it. So yeah, the author did a great job at keeping them in the background where they belonged. Saying that, though, the secondary characters did make the book. If I had to have favorites, it would be Charlotte and Regina. Charlotte because she didn’t take crap from anyone. Regina because she was sweet and understanding.

The secondary storylines added depth to the book. Instead of taking over a book and leaving questions, they added to it. The author was able to tie them to the main storyline by the end of the book.

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The end of the book was fantastic. I won’t lie, I had tears running down my face. It was that moving and a perfect ending for this book!! Also, the epilogue made me cry too. Ugly crying for the last half of the book FTW!!

What I liked about Maybe for You:

A) Alexis’s healing

B) The romance between Alexis and Jake

C) The epilogue

What I disliked about Maybe for You:

A) Alexis’s keep pushing Jake away

B) Jake’s temper

C) The other sex scenes weren’t as hot as the first one.

I gave Maybe for You a 4-star rating. The characters were relatable and the plotline was engaging. I did think that the sex scenes, after the first one, lacked some of the heat of the first one. I also didn’t like Alexis pushing Jake away many times. But other than that, it was a good read.

I gave Maybe for You an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is some very mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Maybe for You. I would also recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Paperbacks, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Maybe for You.

All opinions stated in this review of Maybe for You are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae

4 Stars

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

Date of publication: August 28th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find Eight Goodbyes: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

One universe, nine planets, 204 countries, 809 islands, and 7 seas. And I had the privilege of meeting you.” – Unknown

When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded—while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe.

Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.

Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways they never imagined. 

To move forward, she must let go of the past, and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.

My review:

I was iffy for a while with Eight Goodbyes. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. The way it was written definitely added to my first feelings about it. Let me explain. The book is broken up into two halves. In each half, the book is further broken up into sections. Those sections are labeled “First Goodbye, Second Goodbye, and so on“. Within the section, the storyline goes between Tessa and Simon. Like I said, it was a bit confusing for me to read at first because (for example), Tessa’s part of the book would end and Simon’s would pick up. No letting me, the reader, know that there was going to be a switch. It just happened. To be honest, that is a huge pet peeve of mine in books.  But, as the book went on, I started liking how the POV’s changed without notice. Which is the first and only time you will read me putting this down.

Eight Goodbyes is Tessa and Simon’s love story. Meeting on an airplane, Tessa and Simon enter a very unconventional relationship. For most of the first half of the book, Tessa is uncertain if she wants to be with Simon. Simon, however, is head over heels in love with Tessa and would do anything to be with her. Tessa soon realizes that Simon is hers and she is willing to have her happily ever after. But a tragedy separates them for 3 years. A chance phone call from Simon makes Tessa realize that some things are worth fighting for. Will she fight for her love? Or will she let it slip through her fingers?

I am going to be blunt here. I didn’t like Tessa for 90% of the book. Did I pity her? Yes, she had an awful backstory. But I didn’t like her. I thought the way that she treated Simon was horrible. Example: She invites him to Las Vegas. He shows and she blows him off to sleep with her male model. Then tries to rationalize it to Simon when he confronts her. This same pattern went on until Greece (minus the sleeping with her male model). I wanted to throttle her. Here Simon is, offering her his heart, and she is stomping all over it. But, the author did something that I didn’t expect. She made Tessa grow up in the 2nd half of the book. She was damaged but she was mature. There was a point where Tessa is looking at old pictures and realizes how immature she was. She also realizes how badly she treated Simon. By the end of the book, my dislike for her turned into respect. Not a lot of woman would stick around when Simon revealed certain things.

While I liked Simon, I thought he was a pushover in the first half of the book. There were points where I wanted to shake him and say “Dude, you had a nice girl in Maxine. Go back to her“. Instead, I had to read while he is being left out of important things that are going on in Tessa’s life. When Tessa agreed to marry him, I did wait for the other shoe to drop. Sadly, it did with horrible consequences. When he was reintroduced in the 2nd half of the book, I was shocked by what happened to him. I also felt bad for him when Tessa broke her “surprise” to him. I was expecting him to tell her to go take a hike after that. I know I would have.

The chemistry between Simon and Tessa was there. Even though Tessa was a jerk, it didn’t mean that they had sparks. They did. The chemistry was red hot. Sparks flew when they got together.

The sex scenes were perfect. They weren’t too explicit but were explicit enough to know what was going on. I wouldn’t describe them as red-hot but they were close.

The secondary characters were the backbone of this book. They added a depth to the storyline that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

The second half of the book was a heart-tugger for sure. I have to hand it to the author, she knew how to turn a character around.

The end of the book made me cry. Not going to say why but it struck a nerve with me. I loved how all the secondary storylines were resolved and tied into the main storyline. I liked the little twist that she threw in at the beginning of the second half of the book. I wasn’t expecting it!!

What I liked about Eight Goodbyes:

A) Tessa at the end of the book

B) The chemistry between Simon and Tessa

C) Simon.

What I disliked about Eight Goodbyes:

A) The book was confusing to read at first

B) Tessa at the beginning of the book

C) Simon’s reaction to Tessa’s news.

I gave Eight Goodbyes a 4-star review. This was a good romance. The characters might not have been likable but the author showed that people could change. I did find the book confusing to read in the beginning. Also, Tessa was not a favorite of mine. But the book evened out and I ended up enjoying the book.

I gave Eight Goodbyes an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Eight Goodbyes. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Vesuvian Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Eight Goodbyes.

All opinions stated in this review of Eight Goodbyes are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Project Prometheus (Assassin Fall: Book 2) by Aden Polydoros

Project Prometheus (Assassin Fall, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Entangled Publisher, Entangled: Teen

Date of publication: August 28th, 2018

Genre: Young Adult

Series: Assassin Fall

Hades Rising – Book 0.5

Project Pandora – Book 1 (review here)

Project Prometheus – Book 2

Where you can find Project Prometheus: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The Academy stole everything from Hades, their perfect assassin. Angry and leaving bodies in his wake, he finds two other ex-assassins doing the same thing.

Tyler and Shannon once killed for The Academy. Now they’re tracking and hunting down its scientists. So why is The Academy only after Hades?

Shannon will do whatever it takes to protect Tyler, even if it means teaming up with a former rival. While she seeks answers to her past, Tyler wants to learn the truth about the mysterious white room, which no one has ever seen except him.

As for Hades? He simply wants revenge.

They all need answers, even if it means returning to the organization where it all started.

My Review:

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Excited didn’t even begin to come close to what I was feeling when I saw that book 2 in the Assassin Fall series was up for review.  I had read and reviewed Project Pandora and was sucked right into the world that was created. A world that was intense and surreal. A world where teenagers were trained to be the perfect assassins. A world that was flawlessly carried over to Project Prometheus. So, yes, I was excited.

Project Prometheus starts off shortly after the end events of Project Pandora. Hades was taken from the hospital and is being held in the basement of Six’s father’s house. Tyler and Shannon are tracking down the scientists that worked for The Academy. After Hades takes care of business with Six’s father, he tracks down the other scientists to get answers. Will they get the answers that they want? Will Hades get his revenge? You need to read the book to find out.

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Hades is one of the most charismatic characters that I have read to date. His personality came off the page. I wondered as I read the book if Six hadn’t been killed if he would have been as focused on revenge. Part of me says “No” but a big part of me says “yes“. He loved Six and would have done anything for her. His reaction to her death was exactly what I thought it would be. He became cold-hearted. But, underneath that cold exterior, you could see peaks of a decent person coming through. Just a peak, here and there. It gave me hope.

Tyler was an enigma. After he was shot, I was expecting him to die. Instead, he defied the odds and lived. His memories of that white room piqued my interest. And his terror at that one Dr chilled me to the bone. Out of the 3 teenagers, Tyler was the more relatable to me. He connected with Caroline, even protecting her when the gunfight happened. I wish that more information was given about the white room and Project Prometheus. I have a feeling that he is going to be even more dangerous than Hades.

Shannon was a loyal friend (or is it girlfriend??) to Tyler. She had some interesting flashbacks too. Makes me wonder if she is part of another project. Her loyalty to Tyler was insane. She went out of her way to make sure he got medical attention when she could have dumped him at a hospital. She found Dr. Miller, a scientist who worked at The Academy and forced her to administer aid to him. I can’t wait to see where the 3rd book goes with her.

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Dr. Miller shocked me. I was not expecting the two major bombshells that went along with her plotline. One, I should have seen coming. Because of the hints that were given in both books. But the other one blew my mind away. It actually made me a little sad to see her go down that road. Only because I got a glimpse at a different person than what was exposed.

The end of the book was a whirlwind of activity. I am not going to go into the ending but I will say that there was a huge twist. A twist that I am not too sure if I am completely happy with it. Guess, I’ll have to read book 3 to find out what is going to happen.

What I liked about Project Prometheus:

A) Hades. I kinda had a crush on him

B) Tyler.

C) Shannon

What I disliked about Project Prometheus:

A) Just base information is given about the white room

B) Couldn’t figure out if Shannon was part of yet another project

C) Dr. Miller. Was NOT expecting what happened with her storyline

I would give Project Prometheus an Older Teen rating. There is no sex but there are sexual situations. There is language. There is violence, some of it graphic.

I would reread Project Prometheus. I would also recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank Entangled Publishing, Entangled Teen, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Project Prometheus.

All opinions stated in this review of Project Prometheus are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Foundryside (Founders: Book 1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside (Founders, #1)

4 Stars

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Date of publication: August 21st, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk

Series: Founders

Foundryside – Book 1

Where you can find Foundryside: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new fantasy series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett. 
Sancia Grado is a thief and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. 
But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims. 
Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them. 
To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s underway—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

My review:

This was my first time reading anything by Robert Jackson Bennett. I didn’t know what to expect from Foundryside. So wasn’t I surprised when I realized I was reading fantasy with steampunk elements in it. I don’t know if I had mentioned it on this blog before, but I am a huge steampunk fan. I love it. I rarely read it. Even more rarely do I review those books. So yeah, I was a pretty happy person.

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What I also liked about Foundryside was the place that Tevanne was modeled after. Foundryside was set in a jungle on an unnamed continent. The book is set in the city. I say almost because Sanica’s memories take us back to the plantation that she was a slave at. That was on an island, which was owned by one of the Houses. Other than that, it was pretty much well contained. I liked it because I had to only remember the name of the city and the houses it was carved into. The houses in the city reminded me of Italian cities. Italian cities that have fallen onto bad times but the likeness was there.

Foundryside starts off slow. While it doesn’t creep like some books, it also doesn’t gain momentum until the middle of the book. I would be complaining about it but it worked in this case. In doing this, the author allowed me to get to know the main characters and the city. Everything was explained, which I liked too. In my experience with books this size, there are plotlines that are dropped or holes in the plot. Not in this case.

Going with what I said above, the characters were filled out. What I liked is that they weren’t all likable. That they all had their flaws and that the author didn’t try to hide those flaws. Instead, he took them and made those flaws a part of each character’s personality.

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I also liked how the author explained scrivings. Scrivings are industrial made magic that is used in everything in this society. Foundations, carriages, wheels…etc, they were all scrived. The only thing that couldn’t scrived is humans. It was forbidden. Until Sanica. Sanica is the only scrived human in Tevanne. Or so she thought. There is another scrived human and it blew my mind because of who it was.

I want to get into what Clef was but it is almost too hard to explain. A key that talks only to Sanica don’t even begin to touch the surface with him. He was one of my favorite characters.

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While Foundryside was a bloody mess in the 2nd half of the book. While I was expecting a little death, I wasn’t expecting how many people died. It did turn me off the book a bit. But I do think that the book couldn’t be written any other way. People had to die for Sanica to have her transformation. They also had to die to expose Estelle as the insane woman that she was.

I loved the end of Foundryside. I loved Orso giving Ofelia Dandolo what amounted to the middle finger. I also liked what Orso sprang on Sanica. But my favorite was the very ending of the book with the meeting between Ofelia and her prophet. It gave an interesting twist on things as well as opening things up for a 2nd book.

What I liked about Foundryside:

A) fantasy/steampunk combination

B) filled out characters

C) How the author explained what scrivings were.

What I disliked about Foundryside:

A) How slow the book was at first

B) How the book was a bloody mess during the 2nd half of the book

C) What happened to Sanica at the plantation

I gave Foundryside a 4-star rating. This was a well-written book with fleshed out characters. The book is slow to start and it does get bloody the 2nd half of the book. But I liked it. It was a good read.

I would give Foundryside an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is graphic violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Foundryside. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Crown Publishing for allowing me to read and review Foundryside.

All opinions stated in this review of Foundryside are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey

Not Her Daughter

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: August 21st, 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse, Kidnapping

Where you can find Not Her Daughter: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma Townsend is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful Entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal—and when a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her, far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now she’s gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return—and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back.

Emotionally powerful and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.

My review:

Not Her Daughter is one of those books that you need to read with tissues. It is also a thought-provoking book. It makes you think how far would you go to help an abused child. And how far is too far? What this book also showed is how people turn a blind eye to problems that aren’t their own. At any point, the school/neighbors/babysitter could have stepped up for Emma. But they didn’t. No one wanted to rock the boat. No one wanted to take that extra step to help Emma until Sarah arrived.

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I know this is going sound weird, but I kind of felt for Amy right after Sarah took Emma. My sympathy was taken away as the story went on. She became unlikable. She only thought about herself. Not about Emma. Not about her husband or son. Just about herself. I came to the conclusion at the end of the book that she was some sort of sociopath. She deserved everything that happened to her after Emma was taken.

On the same note, I couldn’t believe how clueless Emma’s father was. How could you not notice your wife mistreating your child? How could you not see the bruises or even the fact that your child was malnourished? I know most people would feel bad for him, but I didn’t. He lived with his head in the sand. He did end up doing the right thing in the end by leaving Amy but still. Too little, too late.

Sarah was such a great character to read. She was conflicted and man, did she have her demons. I thought seeing Sarah so torn on taking Emma was great. She wasn’t a bad person but she did something that was horrible. Even if it was to protect a child. Her demons did show up during the book. Between the ex that she shouldn’t have let get away to her very childhood, she was forced to face them. I like how it was done during the book. I also liked how Sarah learned and grew from facing them.

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Emma was the only one that I felt completely bad for. Her mother hated her. Why? Because she was prettier than Amy. Yes, you read that right. So, she ended up getting the short end of the stick. She was neglected, beaten and not fed right. Then Sarah comes along and takes her. Don’t get me wrong, it was for the better. Emma thrived with Sarah. But still. Even at the end of the book, Emma was treated like some sort of hot commodity. Emma did get a chance to make her choice and I was pretty happy with what she chose.

The child abuse angle was very well written. The author did a great job of giving enough detail so you knew what was going on. But she didn’t give too much. I have read books that give too much detail. Which is fine. But in this case, it wasn’t needed.

The kidnapping angle held enough oomph to keep my attention. Sarah’s run from the law while trying to heal a wounded child and deal with her own issues. The author did a great job at not dropping the ball with that. The urgency was there and it did not let up. I did think that Sarah going to her ex’s cabin was a bit of a fail but I could see why she did it.

I do not like more than 2 POV’s. I get thrown off the storyline. But in this book, it works. I got to see what was going on in all 3 people’s minds as this drama unfolded. It fascinated me and kept me reading.

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The end of the book was anticlimactic for me. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t that. I felt let down. After everything that happened in the book, I expected more out of the ending. I loved the epilogue. Thought it was one of the best ones I have read to date.

What I liked about Not Her Daughter:

A) Thought provoking

B) Sarah.

C) The epilogue

What I disliked about Not Her Daughter:

A) Amy. She was an unlikable character

B) The abuse Emma endured

C) The people in the book that turned a blind eye to what was going on with Emma.

I would give Not Her Daughter an Adult rating. There is language. There is violence. There are sexual situations (but no real sex). I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in Not Her Daughter. They would be child abuse and kidnapping. If any of those trigger you, I suggest not to read this book.

I would recommend Not Her Daughter to family and friends. I would also reread this book.

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I would like to thank St. Martin’s Griffin, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Not Her Daughter.

All opinions stated in this review of Not Her Daughter are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

The Phantom Tree

4 Stars

Publisher: Harlequin-Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada), Graydon House

Date of publication: August 21st, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery

Where you can find The Phantom Tree: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“My name is Mary Seymour and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.”

Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait – supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better… The woman is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child.

The painting is more than just a beautiful object from Alison’s past – it holds the key to her future, unlocking the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance, and the enigma of Alison’s son.

But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbors secrets in its shadows…

Trigger Warning: Infanticide

Continue reading “The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick”

Blood Cure (Blood Type: Book 3) by K.A. Linde

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: August 21st, 2018

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy

Series: Blood Type

Blood Type – Book 1 (review here)

Blood Match – Book 2 (review here)

Blood Cure – Book 3

Where you can find Blood Cure: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The stunning conclusion to the Blood Type series finds the world in chaos and turmoil with one final battle left to determine who will survive—humans or vampires.

She had the world on her shoulders. Now she has nothing.

Reyna Carpenter was twenty-one when she became a live-in blood escort for the ruthless and darkly handsome vampire Beckham Anderson. She thought this was just a small price to pay for feeding her brothers back home.

But nothing went as planned. Not even her tumultuous relationship with Beckham. And now she wonders if anything will ever be the same again.

As she finds herself in the midst of a losing rebellion, she and her trusted friends must flee from a city conquered by the vampire élite. With their plans blown to pieces and everything they knew and loved gone, their future hangs in the balance.

Despite all she has lost, Reyna must rise from the ashes, reclaim the life that was stolen—and complete her mission, once and for all.

K. A. Linde’s addictive Blood Type novels are best enjoyed in order:

My Review:

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OMG. What did I read? What happened in this book!! I can’t even!!! I was expecting Blood Cure to be good but I wasn’t expecting it to be THAT good. I couldn’t believe what I read. I couldn’t believe what was revealed. Kudos to the author for pulling off an ending that stunned me.

If the series lacked sex in the first two books, it was more than made up in Blood Cure. Reyna and Beckham went at it like rabbits. Also, the chemistry that they had been insane. I needed a fan after a couple of the sex scenes…they were that hot.

I liked that Beckham finally told Reyna about his past. I wasn’t too surprised by what he told her. I had a feeling that he wasn’t a nice guy back in the day. But the true scope of what he was and what he did made me shudder. What he did to his sister was awful and heartbreaking. Reyna didn’t even blink twice when he told her. It didn’t even bother her when he admitted what he did. He was remorseful but still.

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Reyna was the star of this book. She was determined to beat Harrington at his game. She became the figurehead for Elle after Visage tried to take the group down. After finding out about her blood, she was willing to let the Dr study it. I couldn’t get enough of her in this book and was sad when it ended. Beckham was her only weakness.

What I said about Beckham aside, I liked him. He became fully fleshed out in this book. His worry for Reyna came across loud and clear. He was willing to risk his life so that Reyna could meet her goals. I did think that he should have seen Penny for who she was sooner. Also, I was creeped out about his past. Other than that, I loved him.

Harrington was truly an evil man. But, I felt bad for him. When his past was explained, I could understand why he was the way he was. But that doesn’t excuse the direction he pointed Visage in or what he did to Reyna when she was being held captive. I thought the end of his storyline was perfect!!!

I do have a small complaint about Jodie. I understood her need to find her cousin but man, really, a strip club? I was surprised at who she hooked up with at the end of the book. Very surprised.

I loved the storyline involving Reyna’s blood, soulmates, and Beckham. I was happy to see Beckham try to make right with his sister. I was happy to see that Reyna’s blood was able to pave the way. But it was sad. That poor woman.

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All the storylines in the Blood Type series were ended in Blood Cure. The author did a fantastic job of wrapping them all up. I did have a question about Graves. Who or what the heck was he? It was never answered in the book. I was thinking some sort of incubus but I don’t know. All I know is that he was a combination of sex and danger.

The end of Blood Cure was as good as I expected it to be. Like I mentioned above, I enjoyed how Reyna beat Harrington at his game.

What I liked about Blood Cure:

A) Beckham finally coming clean to Reyna about his past

B) Reyna

C) The sex

What I disliked about Blood Cure:

A) Harrington

B) Jodie. She drove me nuts in this book

C) What Beckham did to his sister.

I would give Blood Cure an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is graphic violence. There is language. I would recommend no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Blood Cure. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Blood Cure.

All opinions stated in this review of Blood Cure are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Strange Circumstances by Marshall J Stephens, Weston Kincaide, David Chrisley

Strange Circumstances

4 Stars

Publisher: Kincaide Publishing

Date of publication: January 29th, 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Where you can find Strange Circumstances: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The future’s a gamble. Few people know what they really want, and those that reach it often find that it isn’t what they expected. Strange Circumstances is an anthology of stories exploring the predictability of fate and destiny… or rather their unpredictability. In the twelve twisted tales and fifteen flash-fiction pieces, Strange Circumstances explores the boundaries of our universe to see what lurks in the unknown, hidden within the mysteries of science, magic, extraterrestrials, religion and the paranormal. Amid celebrities who hit their peak and vanish, a tree that grows up from the floor of a moving train car, unspeakable conspiracy, monstrous espionage, and wicked sorcery, there is something within these pages for anyone who enjoys dark tales and twists of every sort.

My review:

I normally don’t review anthologies. I feel that it isn’t fair to the authors when I can’t do an in-depth review of their stories. So I stopped reviewing them. I didn’t stop reading them because, personally, I love them. I love the different writing styles displayed by different authors. When Weston asked me to review Strange Circumstances, I accepted. I have enjoyed reading this other books and figured that this one would be the same for me. Which it was.

I am going to keep this review short and sweet. This was a great book. The short stories were intriguing and in some cases, scary. The flash fiction at the end of the book was something I have never read before. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them but they were great. Just a snippet of a story. Enough to get my imagination going. Loved it!!!

I am not going to do a What I Liked/What I Disliked about Strange Circumstances.

I gave Strange Circumstances a 4-star rating. The short stories were well written. The flash fiction was something new and I l enjoyed reading them.

I would give Strange Circumstances an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is some mild language. There is some mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Strange Circumstances. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Weston Kincaide for allowing me to read and review Strange Circumstances.

All opinions stated in this review of Strange Circumstances are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Last Straw (Pigeon-Blood Red: Book 2) by Ed Duncan

The Last Straw (Pigeon-Blood Red Book 2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Creativia

Date of publication: November 25th, 2017

Genre: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Series: Pigeon-Blood Red

Pigeon-Blood Red – Book 1

The Last Straw – Book 2

Where you can find The Last Straw: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When a teenage girl witnesses a carjacking gone bad, she is marked for death by a crime boss with no apparent motive. A black lawyer and a white enforcer with an unlikely history forge an uneasy alliance to protect the girl from a hitman with an agenda of his own. 

After they find out that the crime boss is the father of the black teenage carjacker, Paul Elliott – lawyer and close friend of the witness’s family – begins counseling them. 

As the long-simmering feud between Rico and John D’Angelo reaches boiling point, bodies start to pile up in rapid succession… and old scores will be settled.

My review:

I like suspense/mystery/thrillers/crime books. I like them because most of the time they can get my pulse running. Also, I am unable to put the book down. That was the case with The Last Straw. This book had me hooked. You know a book is good when you start dreaming about the characters.

As much as I liked The Last Straw, I felt lost at times while reading it. I didn’t understand the connection between Rico and Paul until Paul explained it. I don’t like being in the dark about backstories. I don’t like starting a book and thinking to myself “What are they talking about? What happened?” Unfortunately, that happened in this book. So, if you are to read The Last Straw, you need to read Pigeon-Blood Red first.

I thought the characters were well written. They were 3D and had depth to them. I liked Rico. He was an uneasy anti-hero. He came across as first as an unfeeling killer but as I read the book, he definitely had feelings. He had a strong moral compass. He had no problem killing people but drew the line at killing children. He didn’t have any friends yet he felt compelled to protect Paul against a rival hitman. If there is a 3rd book, I can’t wait to see where the author takes his character.

I didn’t get that same sense of development in Paul. I didn’t feel the connection to him that I felt to Rico. I do think that Paul wouldn’t want to be a person to tick off. That’s for sure. Because he can definitely take care of himself. The end of the book showcased that perfectly.

The Last Straw’s plot was intriguing. Teenaged girl witnesses a botched carjacking. The carjacker is the illegitimate son of a notorious crime boss. She is marked for death but the first attempt takes out her father instead. Paul is determined to protect her from whoever is killing her. Rico is on the hunt for the person who attacked his escort girlfriend when his boss pulls him aside and asks him to take a job. The job: To take out a girl who will be testifying at the murder trial of his son. Rico passes, only to be brought back into it when he realizes that the girl’s protector is Paul. Determined to protect Paul and the girl from the hitman contracted, Rico has to go against a hitman who hates him. And one who is willing to do whatever it takes to finish the hit and take Rico down. Can Rico thwart him?

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This book is bloody. So, if you don’t like violence and blood in a book, don’t read it. I liked it because it was a no holds bars books. It didn’t hold back or pussyfoot around things. Instead, it was in your face and made you think about things. It also made me value the boring life that I live…haha. I also did wonder at one point in the book how the police were dealing with all the bodies.

The secondary characters definitely made the book. But the one that stands out for me was Beverly. She loved her son but she also wanted to see justice done. She went out of her way to make sure that the girl wasn’t going to be touched by her son’s father (which was a lie). She made herself into something from nothing. A strong woman who tried to instill right from wrong in her only child. I liked her.

D’Angelo was freaking nuts. When it was revealed why he hated Rico, I laughed. All that hatred over a woman….smh. He held onto that hatred like a dog with a bone. I could see that he was becoming unhinged towards the end of the book. I did wonder if he was going to go after Rico or try to harm Rico’s charges (can’t say, friends, because Rico didn’t have any). You have to read the book to what he does. I will say that he deserved what was coming to him at the end of the book.

Speaking of the end of the book, it was an explosive bloody end. There were a lot of deaths. Some deserved, some not. But it was the end of the book that put a smile on my face. A classy way to end the book!!!

What I liked about The Last Straw:

A) Well written characters

B) Intriguing plotline

C) Secondary characters that made the book

What I disliked about The Last Straw:

A) Need to read book 1 first

B) Paul’s character wasn’t as developed as Rico’s was

C) D’Angelo

I gave The Last Straw a 4-star rating. This book was a great read with well-developed characters. But you do need to read book 1 first to understand the relationships between Rico and Paul.

I would give The Last Straw an Adult rating. There is sex. Not explicit but it is there. There is graphic violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Last Straw. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Kelsey from BookPublicityServices for allowing me to read and review The Last Straw.

All opinions stated in this review of The Last Straw are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**