The One by John Marrs

The One

4 Stars

Publisher: Harlequin (U.S. & Canada), Hanover Square

Date of publication: February 20th, 2018

Genre: Adult Fiction, mystery, thriller

Where you can find The One: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book Synopsis (from Goodreads):

How far would you go to find The One?

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance, and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

A word-of-mouth hit in the United Kingdom, The One is a fascinating novel that shows how even the simplest discoveries can have complicated consequences.

Trigger Warning: stalking 

Continue reading “The One by John Marrs”

Off Limits by Clare Connelly

Off Limits

3 Stars

Publisher: Harlequin (US & Canada), Harlequin Dare

Date of publication: February 1st, 2018

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Off Limits: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“I want to taste you tonight.”

With chemistry this hot, it’s worth getting burned… 

Billionaire Jack Grant is totally off-limits to Gemma Picton. He’s wild, deliciously dangerous…and her boss. When working late turns X-rated, it’s better than her wildest imaginings—and Gemma’s imagined a lot! But Jack has major emotional baggage, so when Gemma starts wanting to heal his heart as well as enjoy his body, she knows she’s in big trouble…

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Off Limits by Clare Connelly”

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick

House of Shadows

Title: House of Shadows

Author: Nicola Cornick

Publisher: Harlequin, Graydon House

Date of publication: October 17th, 2017 (original publication date: December 5th, 2015)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Number of pages: 464

POV: 3rd person (Elizabeth and Holly) and 1st person (Lavinia’s journal entry)

Where you can find House of Shadows: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The wooded hills of Oxfordshire conceal the remains of the aptly named Ashdown House—a wasted pile of cinders and regret. Once home to the daughter of a king, Ashdown and its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of romance, deceit, and destiny…

In the winter of 1662, Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, is on her deathbed. She entrusts an ancient pearl, rumored to have magic power, to her faithful cavalier William Craven for safe keeping. In his grief, William orders the construction of Ashdown Estate in her memory and places the pearl at its center.

One hundred and fifty years later, notorious courtesan Lavinia Flyte hears the maids at Ashdown House whisper of a hidden treasure, and bears witness as her protector Lord Evershot—desperate to find it—burns the building to the ground.

Now, a battered mirror and the diary of a Regency courtesan are the only clues Holly Ansell has to find her brother, who has gone missing researching the mystery of Elizabeth Stuart and her alleged affair with Lord Craven. As she retraces his footsteps, Holly’s quest will soon reveal the truth about Lavinia and compel her to confront the stunning revelation about the legacy of the Winter Queen.

Trigger Warning: Domestic violence (Lavinia)

Continue reading “House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick”

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Best Day Ever: A Riveting Psychological Thriller about the Perfect Marriage by [Rouda, Kaira]

Title: Best Day Ever

Author: Kaira Rouda

Publisher: Harlequin, Graydon House

Date of publication: September 19th, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Women’s Fiction

Number of pages: 352

POV: 1st person

Where you can find Best Day Ever: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…”

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? 

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

Trigger Warning: Domestic Violence

Continue reading “Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda”

Something Like Happy by Eva Woods

Something Like Happy: A Novel by [Woods, Eva]

Title: Something Like Happy

Author: Eva Woods

Publisher: Harlequin, Graydon House

Date of publication: September 5th, 2017

Genre: Health, Mind & Body, Women’s Fiction

Number of pages: 432

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find Something Like Happy: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

With wry wit and boundless heart, Eva Woods delivers an unforgettable tale of celebrating triumphs great and small, seizing the day, and always remembering to live in the moment.

“It’s simple, really. You’re just meant to do one thing every day that makes you happy. Could be little things. Could be big. In fact, we’re doing one right now…”

Annie Hebden is stuck. Stuck in her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life, no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, Annie is still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through the perfect existence she’d once taken for granted—and hiding away is safer than remembering what used to be. Until she meets the eccentric Polly Leonard.

Bright, bubbly, intrusive Polly is everything Annie doesn’t want in a friend. But Polly is determined to finally wake Annie up to life. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it’s that your time is too short to waste a single day—which is why she wants Annie to join her on a mission…

One hundred days. One hundred new ways to be happy. Annie’s convinced it’s impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey that will force her to open herself to new experiences—and perhaps even new love with the unlikeliest of men—Annie will slowly begin to realize that maybe, just maybe, there’s still joy to be found in the world. But then it becomes clear that Polly’s about to need her new friend more than ever…and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking.

“A special book that will make you laugh through your tears with its heartfelt take on happiness and friendship.”—Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Something Like Happy by Eva Woods”

Dark Horse (White Horse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping: Book 1) by B.J. Daniels

Dark Horse (Whitehorse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping, #1)

Title: Dark Horse

Author: B.J. Daniels

Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue, Harlequin

Date of publication: July 18th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Mystery

Number of pages: 256

POV: 3rd person

Series: Whitehorse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping

Dark Horse – Book 1

Dead Ringer – Book 2 (expected publication date: September 1st, 2017)

Where you can find Dark Horse: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Burdened by family secrets, this cowboy rides alone 

For twenty-five years, the case of the McGraw twins kidnapping has remained unsolved. As the eldest son, Cull oversees the McGraw horse ranch, wary of prying eyes. So when true-crime writer Nikki St. James comes forward with new information, Cull can’t believe his father invites her onto the compound. His family has suffered enough—he’s not about to let St. James snoop and ruin them completely. But Nikki finds the eldest McGraw’s protectiveness as endearing as it is aggravating. After all, this case is personal to her, too… And her secrets can set the truth free—if they don’t destroy the McGraws first. 

Trigger Warning: Kidnapping

Continue reading “Dark Horse (White Horse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping: Book 1) by B.J. Daniels”

Take It to the Grave: Part 1 of 6 (Take it to the Grave: Book 1) by Zoe Carter

Take It to the Grave Part 1 of 6: Take It to the Grave - Sarah's Story\Take It to the Grave - Maisey's Story

Title: Take It to the Grave: Part 1 of 6

Author: Zoe Carter

Publisher: Harlequin Special Releases

Date of publication: June 1st, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Number of pages: 64

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: Take It to the Grave

Take It to the Grave – Book 1

Take it to the Grave – Book 2

Take it to the Grave – Book 3

Take it to the Grave – Book 4

Take it to the Grave – Book 5

Take it to the Grave – Book 6

Where you can find Take it to the Grave: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

It started with an anonymous note…

Sarah Taylor-Cox has a perfect life—a gorgeous husband, a picture-perfect house in the Hampton’s and a beautiful baby, Elliot. Now, the invites are being sent out for Elliot’s christening, and the Taylor—Coxes are determined the party will be the event of the year.

There’s just one chink in Sarah’s carefully constructed calm demeanor—her sister, Maisey, will be coming. The sisters used to be close, but now their lives couldn’t be more different. Surely though, they will slip back into their old ways, and the party will go off without a hitch…

Then, Sarah’s difficult relationship with Maisey is pushed to the back of her mind when she receives a note, one which makes her whole body shake with dread: I know your secret. I’m going to tell.

Part 1 of 6: a riveting new installment in this darkly compelling psychological thriller

My review:

Serial novels are the bane of my existence. On one hand, I love them because they are short and if written right can definitely make you want to read the next book. But if written wrong, they can turn you off of serial novels. Unfortunately, Take It to the Grave is the latter.

I couldn’t get into Sarah’s story. She came across as a neurotic mess that is haunted by something in her past. There is only the barest of clues given, a memory of her and her sister with their father playing in a meadow. Again, I know this is a serial so I know that the clues to the mystery would be dragged out but I really expected more background given. The relationship with her in-laws was toxic and her husband came across as a jerk. I mean, she had to hide the fact that she wasn’t breastfeeding from her mother in law (who was the mother in law from hell) and had to deal with her **friends** making unacceptable comments about her weight.

Maisey, however, was the complete opposite, in ways. She was damaged goods like Sarah but in different ways. She has difficulty maintaining any close relationships and kept people at arm’s length. Towards the end of her story, it is told why she is the way she is but it doesn’t explain the weird flashbacks about the baby or the fact that Maisey has the compulsive need to lie to people to keep appearances up.

I will say that the author did do a great job setting up the scenario for the rest of the books but I do wish that some of the extra scenes really didn’t need to be in the book. Like the sex scene in the Porta-potty. I really could have not used to visual of Sarah getting off in one of those. I think I actually gagged while reading it.

The end was very compelling and if I liked the book, I would have loved to read the next one. But unfortunately, I will have to pass on it.

How many stars will I give Take It to the Grave: 2

Why: I couldn’t connect with Sarah or Maisey. I also thought that some of the clues that showed up in the book about what happened to Sarah and Maisey didn’t give enough information. Also, the sex scene in the Porta potty really, really grossed me out and was the final straw in me not liking the book.

Will I reread: No

Will I recommend to family and friends: No

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and language

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

Wed by Fortune (The Fortunes of Texas: All Fortunes Children: Book 6) by Judy Duarte

Wed by Fortune (The Fortunes of Texas: All Fortune's Children Book 2479) by [Duarte, Judy]

Where the book can be found: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Genre: Romance

Series: The Fortunes of Texas: All Fortune’s Children #6

Publisher: Harlequin (US & Canada), Harlequin Special Edition

Book Synopsis:

You are cordially invited 

to witness the courtship 

of Graham Fortune Robinson 

&  

Sasha-Marie Gibault Smith 

 

Graham has always thought of Sasha as his “little sister.” 

Sasha has always considered the rugged rancher out of her league. 

Now that Sasha is all grown up, there is nothing keeping them apart… Except she has a daughter. An ex-husband. And a very noticeable baby bump. And the always proper Graham suddenly finds himself thinking very sexy thoughts about the sweet single mom! 

Perhaps Fortune is finally smiling on Graham—in the form of the true love this rich, unencumbered cowboy has always longed for!

My review:

3 Things I liked about Wed by Fortune:

  1. Sasha-Marie and Graham’s characters. They were cute together and the romance was adorable, in a bumbling way. I also loved how Sasha’s 7-year-old daughter fell in to love with Graham. OMG, the feels.
  2. The boys home substory.  I loved it. I thought that it great that the author decided to write about something like this.
  3. Sasha’s daughter. I thought she was the cutest thing ever!!!! From her not so subtle attachment to Graham to her wanting to be a cowboy, she stole every scene that she was in this book

3 Things I disliked about Wed by Fortune:

  1. Sasha’s ex. While he makes a couple of appearances in the book, what is revealed about him is awful. He is a selfish man-child, plain and simple. One scene, I actually wanted to shove a boot up his butt.
  2. Graham’s relationship with his father. Ok, I will be blunt, Graham’s father is a manwhore. I mean, who has 8 children with his wife and then goes on to father at least 4 other kids (as of this book). And he wasn’t very supportive of Graham at all, it seems.
  3. That this is the 6th book. While it is a standalone book, I felt that I was missing out on key plotlines.

How many stars will I give Wed by Fortune? 3 1/2

Why? It was too wham-bam-thank you ma’am and the book stalled about halfway through. I will say that this would be a great beach/pool book, though. No complicated plot.

Will I reread it?  Yes, after I read the first 5 books in the series.

Will I reccomend it to family and friends? Yes

Age range? Teen on up.

Why? It is a relatively clean book. A couple of kissing scenes and one sex scene that has zero description to it.

Other books in the series:

Fortune’s Heir (Book 1)

Fortune’s Perfect Valentine (Book 2)

Fortune’s Perfect Husband (Book 3)

Fortune’s Special Delivery (Book 4)

Fortune’s Prince Charming (Book 5)

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

**Here**Deception Island (The Legionnaires: Book 1) by Brynn Kelly

Deception Island: An action-packed romantic suspense novel (The Legionnaires Book 1) by [Kelly, Brynn]

Publisher: Harlequin (US & Canada), HQN

Date of publication: May 31st, 2016

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller

Series: The Legionnaires

Book synopsis:

Rafe Angelito thought he was done with the demons from his past—until his son is kidnapped. Blackmailed into abducting an American heiress, the French Foreign Legionnaire soon finds himself trapped in paradise with a woman who’s nothing he expects…and
everything he desires. But when he uncovers her own dark secret, Rafe realizes he’s made a critical mistake—one that could cost him everything.  

Playing body double for a spoiled socialite was supposed to be Holly Ryan’s ticket to freedom. But when she’s snatched off her yacht by a tall, dark and dangerous stranger, the not-quite-reformed con artist will make a desperate play to turn her captor from enemy to ally, by any means necessary.  

Yet as scorching days melt into sultry nights, Holly is drawn to the mysterious capitaine, with his unexpected sense of honor and his searing touch. When they’re double-crossed, they’ll have to risk trusting each other in ways they never imagined…because in this deadly game of deception, it’s their lives—and hearts—on the line.

My review:

Oh my Lord, was this book good!!! Everything about it was gold. From Rafe’s background as a child soldier to Holly’s prison incarceration to the circumstances leading up to Rafe kidnapping Holly, it kept me reading until the book was finished. I finished this book in one sitting.

When I read a Harlequin book, I expect a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am“. I expect a novel with a hero who thinks he is a god, a heroine who can’t see beyond herself, lukewarm sex scenes and an insipid plot. Not with this book. The twists and turns of the plot, not knowing where it will take you, was fantastic. The sex scenes were HOT, HOT, HOT and did not take away from the plot at all.

As for the story, it sucks you in. For those of you who are parents, you know you would do ANYTHING to get your child back. Which is what Rafe does after finding out that his son is kidnapped by a person out of his past. The more you learn about Rafe and his past, the more your heart bleeds for him.

Holly’s story is as tragic but they don’t get into it until they are on the island. The only thing we know about her is that she is an ex-con. Who was approached by an US senator to impersonate his daughter on a sailing trip around the world. What the author reveals along the way explains why Holly is the way she is and again, it is heartbreaking.

I do like that the author chose child soldiers and human sex trafficking as subplots for the books. Both are heartbreaking and both need to be stopped. Look for links at the end of the review to see what you can do to help end both.

There is a huge twist at the end that took me by surprise. Like majorly huge and the author did a great job at not even dropping a freaking hint about it!!! Put it this way, I put the book down and said “Whoa” after the twist was revealed. That’s how big it was.

The ending was perfect. To be honest, if it ended any other way, I would have been disappointed.

How many stars will I give Deception Island? 5

Why? This book sucks you in from the first page and doesn’t let you go. You can’t help but get emotionally entangled in the characters lives. It is beautifully written and doesn’t skimp on the terrors that Rafe and Holly had to had to endure in their past and present. Plus the love story was really good too…lol.

Would I reread it? Yes

Would I recommend it to family and friends? Yes

Age Range? Adult only. Like I said above, the sex scenes are intense. Also, there are scenes of rape and extreme violence.

Where to find the book: Amazon 

Barnes and Nobles

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