The Chesapeake Bride (Chesapeake Diaries: Book 11) by Mariah Stewart

The Chesapeake Bride

Title: The Chesapeake Bride

Author: Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books, Pocket Books

Date of publication: August 29th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 385

POV: 3rd person

Series: The Chesapeake Diaries

Coming Home – Book 1

Home Again – Book 2

Almost Home – Book 3

Hometown Girl – Book 4

Home for the Summer – Book 5

The Long Way Home – Book 6

At the River’s Edge – Book 7

On Sunset Beach – Book 8

That Chesapeake Summer – Book 9

Driftwood Point – Book 10

 The Chesapeake Bride – Book 11

Where you can find The Chesapeake Bride: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a new chapter in her celebrated Chesapeake Diaries series.

Architect Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers. Newly divorced, she’s focused on building ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay for her father’s construction company. Traveling to Cannonball Island—where there has been no new construction in nearly one hundred years—Cass is sensitive to the heritage of the island and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy a home for herself. Even the fact that Owen Parker—a local who she dismisses as a lightweight and a player—seems to be everywhere isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen Parker is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as girls. He’s a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia, a shrimp boat in Louisiana, and surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship on the Chesapeake Bay, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it was time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. And he’s totally smitten by the pretty architect on the scene, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying. 

Trigger Warning: None

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The Party bv Robyn Harding

The Party: A Novel by [Harding, Robyn]

Title: The Party

Author: Robyn Harding

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Date of publication: June 6, 2017

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Number of pages: 352

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find The Party: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.

My review:

The Party is one of those books that when I finished, I exhaled and thought “What the heck did I just read”. I thought it showed perfectly how relationships can be destroyed when pressure is put on them….more so if they are already fracturing. It was an intense read and I did just sit there and think about the book for a while after I read it. It got that under my skin. As a mother of an 11-year-old girl, I often wonder how high school is going to be for her and if she is going to feel like she is going to have to be something she’s not to fit in. I will tell you this, I will not be like Kim or Lisa. Too extreme on either end. One wants to control her daughter and the other letting her daughter having too much freedom.

I am going to admit that Kim bugged the crap out of me the entire book. She was self-righteous. Everything that she did had to be better than everyone else, she was extremely condescending to her husband and kids and she basically thought that she was above everyone. She rubbed me the wrong way. Even when I was supposed to feel bad for her, I didn’t. I almost felt that she brought this on herself by being the stuck-up snob that she was. But then again, greed was a reason in the lawsuit too.

Lisa, however, I did feel bad for, at first. Her daughter was disfigured and hospitalized. But her greed started showing very early in the book and by the time they went to court, I felt disgust for her. She had convinced herself that her daughter wouldn’t be able to do anything in life because of her injury and she refused to listen to Ronni when Ronni begged her to drop the lawsuit. At that point, Lisa was out to ruin Kim and Jeff, professionally and publicly, because they didn’t offer to pay for Ronni’s hospital bills right away (which they should have done right off the bat, to be honest). Even her boyfriend got clued in when she declined a settlement….because she wanted the full amount in the lawsuit.

Honestly, in my eyes, Ronni was the only one who lost in this book. She was mercilessly bullied by people she had once considered friends and didn’t have any friends, she lost her eye and her mother had turned into someone who she didn’t even know. So when certain events happened in the book about her, I truly wasn’t surprised. I actually figured that what happened would happen and expected it to happen earlier.

I am really not going to get into the storylines because they all crisscross with each other, but I will say that I found them all very compelling. Actually, the storyline with Lauren and Jeff creeped me out….a lot. But I did think that he did the right thing in the end.

The end of the book wasn’t a happy ending. While some storylines were resolved, other’s weren’t and that is what made the ending good. I was taken by surprise by the slight twist at the end. I actually wished that there was an epilogue or something because I wanted to see what happened.

Now my questions for the book:

Why were certain events about that night not revealed until almost until the end of the book? I mean, it makes sense with what happened but I wish that the author made those characters make their scenes sooner

Why the total 180 with Lisa? I mean, I kinda liked her as the laid back, pot smoking mom. But when she morphed into Ms. Greedypants, I just lost interest and empathy for her.

Why didn’t Hannah try harder with Ronni? She went to the same school and she had to of seen her. If she missed her that much, she should have tried harder. But, then again, she is a teenager and we all know how they are.

How many stars will I give The Party: 4

Why: I really liked the story and the messages that it got across. Even with my dislike of Kim and Lisa, the story was beautifully written with compelling storylines and hot topics. I couldn’t put the book down.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Language, violence. Also, triggers for bullying

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

The Last Chance Matinee (The Hudson Sisters: Book 1) by Mariah Stewart

The Last Chance Matinee: A Book Club Recommendation! (The Hudson Sisters Series 1) by [Stewart, Mariah]

Title: The Last Chance Matinee

Author: Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Date of publication: March 21st, 2017

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Number of pages: 432

POV: 3rd person

Series: The Hudson Sisters

Last Chance Matinee – Book 1

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

From New York Times, bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes the first novel in her all-new series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish. In the process, they find not only themselves, but the father they only thought they knew.

When celebrated and respected agent Fritz Hudson passes away, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Allie and Des Hudson are products of Fritz’s first marriage to Honora, a beautiful but troubled starlet whose life ended in a tragic overdose. Meanwhile, Fritz was falling in love on the Delaware Bay with New Age hippie Susa Pratt—they had a daughter together, Cara, and while Fritz loved Susa with everything he had, he never quite managed to tell her or Cara about his West Coast family.

Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce, allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals, and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend—but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old, decrepit theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Guided by Fritz’s closest friend and longtime attorney, Pete Wheeler, the sisters come together—whether they like it or not—to turn their father’s dream into a reality, and might just come away with far more than they bargained for.

My review:

The Last Chance Matinee starts off with a bang. The reader is introduced to Allie, an alcoholic, out of work television producer, Des, a former child star who now takes in foster dogs and helps with rescue organizations and Cara, a free-spirited yoga instructor who is still reeling from her divorce and the death of her father and mother. It is at the reading of a will that a bombshell is dropped, their father had two wives and two families. His East coast and West coast families and all 3 women are sisters. But what shocks them, even more, is the stipulation but on the will. Allie, Des, and Cara have to live in their father’s hometown and restore a theater. If any of the sisters leave before the renovation is complete, then none of them get their inheritance.

I am going to say, I really liked this book and I really liked Fritz. He had such a huge presence in the book and he genuinely had his daughters’ best interests at heart…even if they didn’t think so. I kinda felt bad for him too. He was in a marriage that he felt that he couldn’t get out of and he made mistakes that he was trying to make up for in his last months. I think giving them the theater to restore was his way of getting them together so they could get to know each other.

Allie, I couldn’t stand. She was such a witch with a b and she was so freaking negative. Listen, I totally get that she was upset when she found out about Cara but she was such a jerk to her afterward. I mean, Cara had nothing to do with the choices that her father made. Actually, she was a by-product of those decisions. I so wanted to yell that into the book. She was also very much so hung up on her ex-husband and I couldn’t believe that she started pumping her daughter, Nikki, for information about a woman that she suspected he was dating. Hello, they are divorced and he can date whoever he wants. Let’s also not forget her drinking. That is a huge problem. Oh, and she is very resentful of Des, too. Going back to when she was 12 and Des got her own TV show. The woman needs a therapist, stat.

Des, however, I really liked. I actually connected with her on so many levels, it wasn’t even funny. She was very accepting of Cara and she dealt with Allie beautifully. She also had a passion for rescuing/fostering dogs which I really enjoyed reading about. She understood that her father wasn’t happy with her mother and she understood (well kinda understood) why he did what he did.

Cara, I felt awful for. Her ex-husband left her for a very close friend, they are getting married and then she finds out that her father was a bigamist and she has 2 sisters. But she dealt with it graciously but she didn’t take anything from Allie about her mother being “the other woman”. She was a free spirit too, thanks to her hippie mother raising her that way (it isn’t a bad thing) with a wonderful outlook on life. I mean, she celebrated her ex getting married with a bottle of champagne with Joe….lol.

There was a twist in the book that took me by surprise and it went beautifully with the end of the book. I honestly can’t wait to see what book 2 brings and to see if it lives up to book 1!!!

How many stars will I give The Last Chance Matinee: 4

Why: I enjoyed reading this book. It was fast-moving with characters that I could connect to. It would be a perfect beach/pool book.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Language. Otherwise, a pretty clean book.

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

The Devil’s Triangle (A Brit in the FBI: Book 4) by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison

The Devil's Triangle (A Brit in the FBI, #4)

Title: The Devil’s Triangle

Author: Catherine Coulter, J.T. Ellison

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Putnam Books

Date of publication: March 14th, 2017

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Number of pages: 512

POV: 3rd person

Series: A Brit In The FBI

The Final Cut – Book 1

The Lost Key – Book 2

The End Game – Book 3

The Devil’s Triangle – Book 4 (expected publication date: March 14th, 2017)

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

From #1 New York Times–bestselling author Catherine Coulter, the thrilling new novel in the remarkable series featuring Nicholas Drummond and Mike Caine.
FBI Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine have a new mandate as the government’s Covert Eyes, assembling a handpicked team of top-notch agents to tackle crimes and criminals both international and deadly. But their first case threatens to tear the fledgling team apart when the enigmatic thief known as the Fox reappears with a plea for help.

Master thief Kitsune has stolen the staff of Moses from the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, and now that she’s delivered, her clients are trying to kill her. On the run, she asks Nicholas and Mike to help her discover the true identity of her clients and stop the threat against her life. Under strict orders to arrest the Fox and bring her back to New York, the Covert Eyes team heads to Venice, Italy, to meet with Kitsune, and finds nothing is as it seems. Kitsune’s secret clients are the Koaths, a family descended from Moses himself, who will do anything, anything, to find Ark of the Covenant and wield its power, as their long and bloody history can attest. To execute their plan, they’ve spent years perfecting a machine that can control the weather, manipulating worldwide disasters that spin the entire globe into chaos.

From New York to Venice, from Rome to the Bermuda Triangle, Nicholas and Mike and their team are in a race against time, and nature herself, to stop the Koaths and recover the famous Ark of the Covenant. But can they trust Kitsune, their sworn enemy, to help them save the world from a family of madmen?

My review:

I know that I have stated in earlier reviews that I absolutely hate picking up and reading a book mid-series. Why is that? Because there is always tie-ins to the other books in the series and I am left wondering “What did I miss in the earlier books?” While The Devil’s Triangle did have those moments, I am happy to say that they were few and far between. The only time I even started to wonder what was with the scenes with Kitsune and the Covert Eye team. There was so much history there that I wished I had read the earlier books.

The Koath twins, Ajax and Cassandra, just oozed evil. I couldn’t believe how evil they were. I mean, they thought nothing of discussing killing people and they thought nothing of using their connections to the local police and army to execute those killings. All the while keeping up very public personas that they were these good people who did great things for the world. I am glad that the author didn’t try to make them any less evil (well, Cassandra was given a kind of conscious that lasted for all of 3 pages). I also liked that you could see Cassandra and Ajax’s sanity unraveling as the book went on and as they continued to make major mistakes.

While I didn’t read the earlier books (see above statement), I did like Kitsune. I mean, she pulled off stealing the staff of Moses and then eluded the Koath twins and their goons until she allowed herself to get caught. She was very resourceful and I liked how she had the Covert Eye team recruited to help her with her mission (read the book to find out what it was).

The action was intense. From when Kitsune decided that she had to kill the goons outside the Koath twins house to the end, it didn’t let up. I felt like I couldn’t take a breath or I would miss something. And yes, for those of you who have weak stomachs or like things all sunshine and butterflies…..there are people killing people in this book. Most who need it….some who don’t.

I thought the plotline of the weather control machine with ties to DaVinci and Tesla was fantastic. I actually have no problem imagining that someday, there will be a machine like that (if there isn’t one already). Add in the plotline about the search for the Ark of the Covenant and intertwine it with the weather control machine and it made for a great read!!!

The end of the book was pretty good. A bit anticlimactic but good. I am wondering if there will be a book 5.

How many stars will I give The Devil’s Triangle: 4

Why: This was a great book with a couple of fantastic storylines woven into it. The way the author brought them all together was fantastic and I couldn’t read enough of it.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence and language

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

Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn

Dead Souls: A Novel by [Fenn, J. Lincoln]

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Date of publication: September 20, 2016

Genre: Horror

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

From the award-winning author of the acclaimed novel Poe comes an edgy and bone-chilling new novel.

When Fiona Dunn is approached in a bar by a man who claims he’s the devil, she figures it’s just some kind of postmodern-slash-ironic pickup line. But a few drinks in, he offers her a wish in exchange for her immortal soul, and in addition, Fiona must perform a special favor for him whenever the time comes. Fiona finds the entire matter so absurd that she agrees. Bad idea. Not only does Fiona soon discover that she really was talking to the devil incarnate, but she’s now been initiated into a bizarre support group of similar “dead souls”—those who have done the same thing as Fiona on a whim, and who must spend their waking hours in absolute terror of that favor eventually being called in…and what exactly is required from each of them in order to give the devil his due.

My review:

What would you do if the devil approached you, offered your heart’s desire and all you have to do is give him your soul and perform a special favor for him? Would you take him up on his offer or would you walk away?

That is what Fiona ran into in this book. After seeing her boyfriend of 3 years hugging another woman at the airport, she returns home to find that she has locked her keys in the apartment. Upset, she heads to the local bar, where she approached by a man who claims to be Scratch. He wanted to know if Fiona would give him her soul to get what Fiona wanted. All she had to do was perform a special favor. At this point, I would be calling over the bouncer to have him escorted off the property. But for some reason, Fiona didn’t, and she agreed.

Imagine her surprise when she wakes up in her bed and in the apartment that she locked her keys into. Imagine her surprise when her neighbor approaches her with her clothes and an envelope with her name on it. There is a card inside with her name, date, and favor.

Things start to get super creepy. Fiona starts going to a support group of people who have also made a deal with the devil. They ranged from a college student who wanted to levitate to a lesbian who wanted to be straight (yes, you read that right, even I did a WTF there) to a couple who desperately wanted children to a mysterious photographer. They meet once a month to see if they are all still there and to check their cards.

I am going to shut up at this point because the book got creepy and surreal. The favors got called in on everyone in the group.

The ending of the book was surprising. I expected some of it, but I didn’t expect the other thing what happened. Totally didn’t expect it and it kind of threw me off.

How many stars will I give Dead Souls? 5

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

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