Seven Letters by J.P. Monninger

Seven Letters

3.5 Stars

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

Date of publication: October 8th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Where you can find Seven Letters: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

J. P. Monninger, author of the international bestseller The Map That Leads to You, the novel Nicholas Sparks called “romantic and unforgettable”, tells a poignant love story of the ways the world divides two souls—and the way that love brings them together.

Kate Moreton is in Ireland on sabbatical from her teaching position at Dartmouth College when she meets Ozzie Ferriter, a fisherman and a veteran of the American war in Afghanistan. The Ferriter family history dates back centuries on the remote Blasket Islands, and Ozzie – a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States – has retreated to the one place that might offer him peace from a war he cannot seem to leave behind.

Beside the sea, with Ireland’s beauty as a backdrop, the two fall deeply in love and attempt to live on an island of their own making, away from the pressures of the outside world. Ireland writes its own love stories, the legends claim, and the limits of Kate and Ozzie’s love and faith in each other will be tested. When his demons lead Ozzie to become reckless with his life—and Kate’s—she flees for America rather than watch the man she loves self-destruct. But soon a letter arrives informing Kate that her heroic husband has been lost at sea, and Kate must decide whether it is an act of love to follow him or an act of mercy to forget.

First Line:

The Irish tell a story of a man who fell in love with a fairy woman and went with her to live on an island lost to time and trouble.

Seven Letters by J.P. Monninger

My Review:

I don’t know why I kept putting this book off!!! Well, I understand why. Life got in the way, and it wasn’t at the top of my priority list, which happens to the best of us. So, when I realized that I missed the publication date (huge oops!!), I took Seven Letters off of the backburner and read it. It was a good read, and I really should have read it sooner.

Seven Letters went between having a fast-paced plotline, and a medium paced one. That did aggravate me while reading. It provoked me because I like my books to have one speed while reading. If I have to adjust my reading speed continuously, then it takes away from my experience. I also didn’t like that several secondary storylines were either ended abruptly or left hanging.

I liked Kate, but she annoyed me during the book. The choices she made were a huge source of irritation for me. Take her relationship with Ozzie, for instance. She knew he had issues (drinking, possible PTSD), and she jetted once the honeymoon phase was over. But, she did change. Her character matured, and she realized that her choices weren’t the right ones. By the end of the book, she was a different woman, and I liked it.

I felt terrible for Ozzie. But at the same time, I wanted to shake him and say, “Dude, get help!!”. He never told Kate about his time in the service (in his defense, though, she never asked). He never told her about his demons from that time. I do think that he was the better person when he let her go. He knew that his demons were too strong, and he couldn’t live with himself. He needed that time apart to heal.

The romance angle of the book got me. Kate and Ozzie burned fast and bright in the beginning. It was almost too quick and bright, and I knew that something was going to happen. By the second half of the book, they were floundering, and I did wonder if they would ever get past everything. But the end of the book, oh my. Talk about deep romance there. I was in tears from the minute Kate landed in Ireland to the very end.

The end of the book was hard to read. It got almost too much for me to read. I did guess at some of the ending details. The last letter, though, made my heart sing (and I did shed a few tears).

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

I would reread Seven Letters. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey

Because You're Mine: A Novel by [Frey, Rea]

4 Stars

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

Date of publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Where you can find Because You’re Mine: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

But it’s the lies that keep you safe. 

Single mother Lee has the daily routine down to a science: shower in six minutes. Cut food into perfect squares. Never leave her on-the-spectrum son Mason in someone else’s care. She’ll do anything—anything—to keep his carefully constructed world from falling apart. Do anything to keep him safe.

But when her best friend Grace convinces her she needs a small break from motherhood to recharge her batteries, Lee gives in to a weekend trip. Surely a long weekend away from home won’t hurt?
Noah, Mason’s handsome, bright, charismatic tutor—the first man in ages Lee’s even noticed—is more than happy to stay with him.

Forty-eight hours later, someone is dead.

But not all is as it seems. Noah may be more than who he claims to be. Grace has a secret—one that will destroy Lee. Lee has secrets of her own that she will do anything to keep hidden.
As the dominoes begin to fall and the past comes to light, perhaps it’s no mystery someone is gone after all…

Because You’re Mine is a breathtaking novel of domestic drama and suspense. 

Prepare to stay up all night.

My review:

I will start this review with a trigger warning. I am not giving anything away because the author goes into her own experience at the beginning of the book. The triggers are sexual assault, suicide, drug use, and alcoholism. If any of those triggers you, do not to read the book.

I enjoy reading mystery/thriller/suspense novels. I like the charge I get when reading them. I love not knowing what is going to happen next in the book, which is why I decided to review Because You’re Mine. I am glad I did because this book was fantastic!! It was everything I thought it was going to be.

Because You’re Mine has three plotlines. They are Lee, Noah, and Grace. When I first figured that out, I was kind of “eh” about it. If there are many plotlines, I sometimes have an issue keeping track of them. In this case, though, I was good. The author marked each chapter with who it was (Noah, Grace, Lee). She even went one step further and marked it when the book went from past to present. When I noticed that, I whispered a “Thank you.” That is a huge pet peeve of mine when reading books with numerous and intertwining plotlines. They aren’t marked and if there are changes between present and past, forget it.

I will admit, I was a little irritated by the journal entries. I couldn’t understand why they were there. But, as I got into the book, the entries started making sense. Of course, I got who was writing them wrong.

I liked Lee. Life wasn’t easy for her. Raising an autistic child was hard. She had to keep to a precise schedule for Mason, which meant no dating, no men. She was slightly selfish. When she got together with Grace, everything was about her. She never let Grace get a word in edgewise. But, then again, if my only outlet were talking about my past, I would do the same. I will say this; I was not expecting a couple of twists that popped up in her storyline.

I was iffy with Noah. I felt that he was throwing mixed signals at Lee. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t have come clean sooner to her. I did feel bad for him when his secret was revealed. I would not have been able to live with myself after that, which leads to the second secret. If the first secret hadn’t of happened, then the second one definitely wouldn’t have happened.

I thought Grace was a great friend. I felt terrible that she had to hide her secret from Lee. Her stress was palpable. I could understand why she wouldn’t have wanted Lee to know. Her other secret blew my flipping mind. I couldn’t believe it. I put my Kindle down and said “No freaking way.

I thought that Because You’re Mine was a great fit in the mystery/suspense/thriller category. The author did a fantastic job of keeping Lee, Noah and Grace’s many secrets, well, a secret until the end. I did guess Noah’s and had kind of a feel for Lee’s. But Grace’s, no way. Talk about blindsiding someone.

There are a few sex/sexual scenes in Because You’re Mine. The one involving Noah and Grace disturbed me. Not because of the rough sex but because of what Noah said. I got shivers reading it.

The end of Because You’re Mine messed with me. I was not expecting the 180 a particular character did. Talk about making my mouth drop. I was a little aggravated at the lengths that person was going to go through to get back at people. If you read the book, you know what I am talking about. Other than that, it was one of the best endings I have read in a while.

I would give Because You’re Mine an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is language. There is violence. I would reccomend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Because You’re Mine. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

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

Have you read Because You’re Mine?

What were your thoughts on it?

Can you keep secrets like Lee, Grace, and Noah?

Let me know!!

Twisted Family Values by V.C. Chickering

Twisted Family Values: A Novel by [Chickering, V.C.]

3 Stars

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

Date of publication: June 25th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Where you can find Twisted Family Values: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

An unpredictable and entertaining tale of secrets, desires, and forgiveness spanning four generations of an American family. 

In WASPy Larkspur, New Jersey, social expectations and decorum rule, and Marjorie and Dunsfield Thornden are the envy of their neighbors. Their daughters Claire and Cat set the small town’s social calendar by throwing tastefully lavish family parties year round. Because it’s 1977, underage debauchery is to be expected—and Cat and Claire’s children, Bizzy and Choo, are at its very center. 

Underneath their well-maintained veneer, the Thorndens are quite dysfunctional, but have always had their entitlement to fall back on. And while some are finally ready to accept what they’re willing to give up for the life that they think they deserve, secrets that should’ve never been kept—especially not from each other—are bubbling unattractively to the surface.

So when a scandal threatens to unravel this tight-lipped family and their secrets, the Thorndens will have to decide how much they’ll let decorum rule social mores dictate their decisions and how far they’ll go to keep some secrets just that. Any choice they make could mean freedom from expectations but will change the course of their family’s legacy forever.

My Review:

"Don't you just love the smell of diaper cream?"

I wasn’t sure about what I was getting into when I started reading Twisted Family Values. I thought this book was going to be something like V.C. Andrews novels. I was wrong. Twisted Family Values was nothing like those books. Instead, this book was something different. I am still trying to figure out if it is a good different or a bad different.

Twisted Family Values plotlines were sometimes hard to follow. I had a hard time following the main plotline. The number of sub-plotlines in each “chapter” would overwhelm me. I had to reread specific chapters to make sure I understood what was going on.

I did like how the book was split up. Each “chapter” was a different time in Biz and Charlie’s life. There was childhood (up to 13), college age, mid 20’s, late 30’s, and late 40’s. It was interesting to see Biz, Charlie, and their family evolve and devolve through the years.

The book discloses early on that Charlie was not blood-related to Cat and her ex-husband. I didn’t understand why Cat kept that information secret for almost 50 years. Her withholding Charlie’s parentage caused so much harm. I wanted to throttle her at points during the book because of that.

I felt terrible for Biz and Charlie. Because Cat didn’t disclose that they weren’t related, they had to force to hide their feelings for each other. Which resulted in Biz becoming an alcoholic and Charlie being married to a woman he didn’t love. It was painful and disturbing to read.

I did like that the author chose to show that good could come out of being bad. The last chapter of Twisted Family Values highlights this perfectly.

I do want to add that I loved Ruby. Her reactions to catching Biz and Finn having sex was hilarious. Also hilarious, was her reaction to Charlie possibly being her father.

The end of the book was nice, but it was too happy. Twisted Family Values was not a happy book, per se. I was surprised to see HEA’s handed out left and right.

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

I would reread Twisted Family Values I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Between the Lies by Michelle Adams

Between the Lies by [Adams, Michelle]

3.5 Stars (rounded up)

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

Date of publication: March 5th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find Between the Lies: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub


The truth is hiding between the lies.

A page-turning psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until last page, this addictive read will be loved by fans of Shari Lapena’s A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE and Liz Lawler’s DON’T WAKE UP.

What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. 
She doesn’t recognize the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life. 
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets – and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able to trust are lying to you?

My review:

The plot of Between the Lies was interesting. Chloe Daniels wakes up in the hospital with amnesia. She also has no memory of what happened the night she got into a horrific car crash that left her with a brain injury. Moving in with parents and younger sister, Chloe is mending. Her parents are providing details of her life but Chloe senses that something is missing. So begins her search to find out what secrets her parents are hiding. Also, she is determined to remember what happened the night of the accident. But there is danger with her remembering. Someone close to her doesn’t want that to happen. Can Chloe remember what happened that night? Will she find out the complete truth about who she is?

While I liked the plot of Between the Lines, I felt that it couldn’t keep my interest. There were several times during the course of the book where I couldn’t pay attention to the book. I had to force myself to read it. Also, I felt that there was a lag in the middle of the book.

Chloe: I felt awful for her but I admired her determination to get to the bottom of everything. There was a point in the book where I did think that she should slow down. I also felt that she was too trusting. There was a certain character in the book that made warning bells go off every time she was with that person.

Chloe’s father: Talk about disliking someone right off the bat. I knew that he was hiding something from Chloe right from the beginning. My dislike for him grew as I read the book. As a parent, I could understand his need for wanting to protect Chloe. But the way he went about it was all wrong. It was wrong. When everything was revealed at the end of the book, he came across as a controlling, weak man.

Chloe’s mother: Out of all the characters in the book (minor and major), she was the one who had my pity the most. Well, other than Chloe. She wanted to tell her daughter the truth. But she was forced to follow her husband. She was abused by Chloe’s father for the entire book. When she found her backbone, it was almost too late.

I did enjoy reading Between the Lies. I thought that the mystery/thriller angle was well written. I know I have said this before, but it isn’t often when a book keeps me guessing. I was surprised by the secrets. I didn’t figure out who was responsible for everything until I was 84% into the book.

There were parts of the book that I didn’t like. These did factor into my rating. Like I said in at the beginning of this review, the book couldn’t hold my attention. There were several times where I had to force myself to read it. I also felt that there was a lag in the middle of the book. I didn’t like Chloe’s father and I felt that her mother needed to grow a backbone sooner than later.

The end of the book was fantastic. The author was able to wrap up all the storylines in a way that satisfied me as a reader. There were no storylines left hanging. Everything was ended or explained. Which was wonderful!!

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

I would reread Between the Lies. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Between the Lies.

All opinions stated in this review of Between the Lies are mine.

Have you read Between the Lies?

What were your thoughts on it?

Do you think it is ethical for Dr’s to treat their siblings/wives/children?

Why or why not?

Let me know!!

Dragonfire (Dark Kings: Book 14) by Donna Grant

Dragonfire (Dark Kings, #14)

4 Stars

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

Date of publication: October 30th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Fantasy

Series: Dark Kings

Dark Craving—Book 0.1

Night’s Awakening—Book 0.2

Dawn’s Desire—Book 0.3

Passion’s Claim—Book 0.4

Darkest Flame—Book 1

Fire Rising—Book 2

Burning Desire—Book 3

Hot Blooded—Book 4

Night’s Blaze—Book 5

Soul Scorched—Book 6

Dragon King—Book 6.5

Passion Ignites—Book 7

Smoldering Hunger—Book 8

Smoke and Fire—Book 9

Dragon Fever—Book 9.5

Firestorm—Book 10

Blaze—Book 11

Dragon Burn—Book 11.5

Constantine: A History—Book 11.6

Heat—Book 12 (review here)

Torched—Book 13

Dragon Night—Book 13.5

Dragonfire—Book 14

Where you can find Dragonfire: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Passion burns hot in Dragonfire, the next Dark Kings novel from New York Times bestseller Donna Grant. 

It was a soul-deep longing, one that got into his bones and settled there, sending whispers of desire through him. The need, the hunger, grew tenfold with every breath. . . .

As a Dragon King, Roman is sworn to protect all mortals–even though they no longer believe in dragons. But deep in the Carpathian Mountains, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious gypsy who possesses the power to see into his very soul. To reignite the fire in his heart. And to help him find the long-lost sword that could save the dragons forever…

Sabina remembers the stories her grandmother told her. Legends of dragons and kings, fire and ice. And she’s never forgotten the dark prophecy that filled her ancestors with fear–a fate they tried to prevent by stealing a Dragon King’s sword. Sabina knows that helping Roman is dangerous. He is a dragon betrayed, and more powerful than any man. He could destroy her in a single fiery embrace. But how can she resist the longing in his eyes–or the feelings in her heart–when their destinies are bound by desire?

Sabina is a Gypsy living with her brother near the Carpathian Mountains. When she was a child, her grandmother told her a story and made her promise to remember it. The story was about a kind Dragon King who’s sword was stolen by her ancestors. Because of that theft, her family was forced to leave their homeland and becoming Romani. She thought it was a legend until she met Roman and Vlad. Roman is helping his friend V find his stolen sword. Traveling to the Carpathian Mountains, they stumble upon Sabina and her brother Camlo. With urging from her brother, Sabina realizes that she needs to help the Kings find V’s sword. Their journey takes them to a mountain in Iceland where V’s sword might be. But there are wrenches thrown into their plans. A mysterious alliance between Druids and Fae threaten their quest. Can Sabina and Roman find the sword? Will they give into their attraction to each other? Or will everything fail?

I was pretty excited to read Dragonfire. I had read and reviewed Heat and enjoyed it. So I figured that I would like this book also. And I did. What I didn’t know was that Donna Grant is writing other series at the same time she is writing the  Dark Kings series. I figured it out when Eoghan and Thea from Dark Alpha’s Hunger were mentioned a few times in this book. As was the Light Elf Queen and the new Dark Elf King. Along with Rhi, Con, Ulrik, and Mikkel. Then a lightbulb went off over my head and I went “No, freaking way“. I am in awe that someone can do that. I have issues with keeping one thing straight in my head. So forget many series of books with many plotlines and characters.

I liked Sabina and Roman together. I will admit that at the beginning of the book, I was a little confused at who Sabina was supposed to be with. And yes, I didn’t read the blurb…lol. I thought it was going to be V for some reason. Because the book started off with the story that Sabina’s grandmother told about him. But once Roman and Sabina met, the sexual attraction and chemistry came off the pages. There was one point when they were in the caves, where I was chanting in my head “Kiss the girl. Kiss the girl” (and no, I didn’t sound like Sebastian from The Little Mermaid when I was saying it to myself).

When they finally did have sex, it was amazing. I will never look at hot springs in the same way again. What I liked, even more, was that the author didn’t let the sexual tension down. She kept it up. Which meant that the other sex scenes were amazing.

I also liked Sabina and Roman as people. They both had gone through some tough times. Sabina’s was losing her mother and stepfather and taking care of Camlo. She had to be strong and wary. Because of Camlo’s disability, she always needed to be on the defensive. Seeing her open up and trust Roman and V was powerful. Roman’s tough times were when he became Dragon King. When he told the story about how he became Dragon King and who he had to defeat, my heart broke for him. But, what made me like him, was his gentleness with Camlo.

I do wish that the author got more into Camlo and Sabina’s abilities. Sabina had the Sight. But what did that consist of? What could she see (other than people being dishonest)? I know that it came into play when she touched V in the cave but still, I would have loved a better explanation. Also, I would have loved a better explanation of Camlo’s abilities. I was also frustrated when it came to getting information out of him. I know that he had the mind of a child but man, that whole scene dragged out when Roman and Sabina were deep in the caverns. What other abilities did he have (other than talking to animals and the Sight)?

The plotline involving V and his sword was amazingly written. The author did a great job at keeping me guessing about where the sword was. Also the neat twist she put in that storyline, I liked. I wasn’t expecting it. But it did explain a whole bunch.

I also liked the storyline with Sabina and Roman’s journey to get the sword. Dangerous doesn’t even begin to describe it. And with the Others magic making it even more dangerous, my heart was in my throat during the entire journey. The end of that storyline had me in tears. But I forgot one thing. Only another Dragon King can kill a Dragon King.

The secondary storylines were good but man, they were vague. Take Con losing the weapon. That was a first for me. What was the weapon? It was something that Con and the other Dragon Kings feared. Because the “Oh Crap” factor went up when V and Roman got the message. The storyline with the Others infuriated me. Why were they doing what they did and how did they know what was going on it the future. Also, the book that Usaeil found in the hidden library. What is with that? And the very last chapter. I wanted to scream with frustration about that.

Like I mentioned above, I wanted to scream at the end of Dragonfire. But, I did like how the author ended or didn’t end the storylines. She ended Roman and Sabina’s happily and gave a hint about who her next book might be about. Which I can’t wait to read!!

I gave Dragonfire a 4-star rating. This was a well written 14th book in the Dark Kings series. I connected with the characters. The plotlines were well written with no lag or dropped storylines. I did wish that more explanation was given about Camlo and Sabina’s powers. And the end frustrated me. I enjoyed reading this book and cannot wait to read book 15.

I would give Dragonfire an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is violence. There are no triggers. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

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

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Griffin, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Dragonfire.

All opinions stated in this review of Dragonfire are mine.

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

Have you read Dragonfire?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Dear Santa by Nancy Naigle

Dear Santa: A Novel

4 Stars

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

Date of publication: October 16th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Dear Santa: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

A holiday retelling of You’ve Got Mail that will make you fall in love with the Christmas Season!

Angela Carson wants nothing more than to be the third-generation to run her family’s holiday store, Heart of Christmas, successfully. They’ve weathered over sixty tourist seasons, major hurricanes, and urban sprawl, in their old decommissioned lighthouse. But the national chain that set up shop in their small North Carolina town of Pleasant Sands may be more than Heart of Christmas can survive.

Geoff Paisley has been at his mother’s side running the mega-chain Christmas Galore for the last ten years. When his mother falls ill, Geoff promises to answer the town’s Dear Santa letters in her stead. Soon he realizes the woman he’s been corresponding with on Dear Santa is Angela. How could the woman that grates his every last nerve in person have intrigued him so deeply through those letters?

Encouraged by her niece to ask Santa for help, Angela gives in and lets the words fly in a way that, if Santa were real, would no doubt land her on the naughty list. What’s the harm when it’s just a computer-generated response?

When Geoff reveals that he’s her Dear Santa, will Angela be able to set aside their very public feud to embrace the magic of the holiday and possibly find true love?

My review:

What drew me to this book was that it was a holiday retelling of “You’ve Got Mail“. I loved that movie. I have lost count at how many times I have watched it. Put it this way, if it is on TV, forget what I am doing. I am watching it. As a blogger friend pointed out “There can’t be many book lovers that don’t love that movie“. So when Dear Santa showed up on my reviewing radar, I jumped at it. I am glad that I did. This was a cute romance.

Dear Santa is the story of Angela and Geoff. Angela runs a local holiday store, Heart of Christmas. Her business is struggling since Christmas Galore came to Pleasant Sands. She is sick over the possibility of her store closing. After starting a public feud with Geoff, the co-owner of Christmas Galore, she decides to vent on an app designed by them. An app that Geoff’s mother routinely checks. When Geoff’s mother ends up in the hospital, he takes over and answers a letter from Anita C. Miracle. He is taken by her emails and soon takes it off the app and into a regular email. Geoff soon realizes that Anita is Angela. He also realizes that he is falling for Angela. How can he break it to her that he is Guy? And will Anita return his feelings?

While I liked Angela, I did think that she was a pushover for the first few chapters of the book. She did end up growing a backbone but still. She cared deeply about that store and she didn’t want to let it go. It was her last connection to her grandmother. I thought that her marketing schemes to get people to go to the store was fantastic. I loved the idea of Snow Valley!! I liked how she stood up to Geoff. She was funny. I also like that she was honest with herself about her feelings about letting go of the store and Geoff.

I thought Geoff was a jerk for the first half of the book. He didn’t like being in Pleasant Sands and he made no effort to cover it off. He even gloated about putting Angela’s store out of business. I did start to like him after his mother was in the hospital. He started to see how his superstore affected local businesses in the area. He also started to see that his feud with Angela wasn’t going to do him any favors with the locals. I liked that right around that time, he started having feelings for her. And what he did to try to win her over…sigh. That gesture put him on my good side.

As always, the secondary characters made the book. Angela’s niece was adorable. I liked Geoff’s mother. But, I couldn’t stand Angela’s sister. OMG, I wanted to strangle her. She did nothing but put Angela down. I wanted to smack her. I did. There was nothing redeeming about her.

I liked the plotlines in Dear Santa. The two major plotlines were cute. There was no lag in either plotline. The author did a great job at bringing them together at the end of the book. She also did a great job at incorporating the secondary plotlines in with the major ones.

The first plotline was Angela’s closing of her store. That was heartbreaking because her grief came off the pages in waves. In the book, she said it was like losing her grandmother all over again. I wish that her sister understood. I also wish that Geoff could have taken what the family-run/smaller businesses were going through went such a store moved into the area. Not only was Angela losing her store but the local artists that she supported were losing a place to showcase what they made.

The second plotline was Angela and Geoff’s email relationship/their feud. I thought the feud was a little overdone. He could have been nicer to her at the snowball event. She didn’t have to go to the local news and basically call the stuff his store sells cheap. I did wonder when their hatred was going to turn to love. I liked how the email relationship evolved. I didn’t know how he didn’t figure out that it was Angela sooner. The hints she left in her messages weren’t exactly hard to decipher.

I liked how the author wrote the romance part of the book. It wasn’t Instalove (thank you!!). Angela and Geoff had to find common ground and then work their relationship up to that. What I also enjoyed is that there was zero sex. ZERO sex in the book. Another thank you. I like hot, sweaty sex scenes as much as the next person but sometimes I need a break. And I got that with this book. I was able to focus on the story and enjoy it. Not to worry that Angela and Geoff would start tearing each other’s clothes off and do it under a Christmas tree.

The end of Dear Santa was great. I liked how the author wrapped up the storylines. She ended them in a way that satisfied me as a reader. I also loved the epilogue!!!

I gave Dear Santa a 4-star rating. This is a sweet romance. I came to care for the characters. The book was a fast read too. A great book to read to get you in the Christmas spirit.

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

I would reread Dear Santa. I would also recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Dear Santa.

All opinions expressed in this review of Dear Santa are mine.

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

Have you read Dear Santa?

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Mr. Nice Guy by Jennifer Miller and Jason Feifer

Mr. Nice Guy

2 Stars

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

Date of publication: October 16th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Mr. Nice Guy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lucas Callahan gave up his law degree, fiancée and small-town future for a shot at making it in the Big Apple. He snags an entry-level job at Empire magazine, believing it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a famous writer. And then late one night in a downtown bar he meets a gorgeous brunette who takes him home…

Carmen Kelly wanted to be a hard-hitting journalist, only to find herself cast in the role of Empire’s sex columnist thanks to the boys’ club mentality of Manhattan magazines. Her latest piece is about an unfortunate—and unsatisfying—encounter with an awkward and nerdy guy, who was nice enough to look at but horribly inexperienced in bed.

Lucas only discovers that he’s slept with the infamous Carmen Kelly—that is, his own magazine’s sex columnist!—when he reads her printed take-down. Humiliated and furious, he pens a rebuttal and signs it, “Nice Guy.” Empire publishes it, and the pair of columns go viral. Readers demand more. So the magazine makes an arrangement: Each week, Carmen and Lucas will sleep together… and write dueling accounts of their sexual exploits.

It’s the most provocative sexual relationship any couple has had, but the columnist-lovers are soon engaging in more than a war of words: They become seduced by the city’s rich and powerful, tempted by fame, and more attracted to each other than they’re willing to admit. In the end, they will have to choose between ambition, love, and the consequences of total honesty.

My Review:

So, the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the title of this book was the Alice Cooper song. I had this song running through my head the entire time I was reading the book. Too bad I didn’t like the book as much as I liked the song. Which was sad because I wanted to like this book.

I wanted to like Mr. Nice Guy. I thought the blurb was fantastic and described the book well. I was excited to read it. My excitement waned after the first chapter and was gone by the middle of the book. By the time I finished the book, I gave myself a mental high-five for getting through a book that was boring, unrelatable and unrealistic.

Mr. Nice Guy had a good plotline. Lucas is trying to make it big in NYC. Working as a fact checker in a popular magazine, he aspires to be a famous journalist one day. He needs his big break. One night, he picks up a gorgeous woman in a bar. Thinking it was an unremarkable one night stand, Lucas soon sees an article written by a sex columnist that describes their one night stand. Boring and inexperienced were the nicest thing that she wrote. That columnist is Carmen Kelly and she works at the same magazine as him. Lucas writes up a rebuttal signed Mr. Nice Guy and watches as it goes viral. Soon, Carmen and Lucas (who is still known as Mr. Nice Guy) are writing a dueling column. Once a week, they get together, have sex and then write about it. Nothing could go wrong, right?

When the book started off, I felt bad for Lucas. He was working his butt off checking facts but was getting nowhere. While enchanted with the City, he feels that he is getting nowhere. Then he meets and sleeps with Carmen. The article and his rebuttal launches his career into the stratosphere. Then I started seeing a side of Lucas that I didn’t like. He was selfish and self-centered. He gave little thought to his actions and how they would affect people. All he wanted to fame. And when he got it, he wasn’t sure what to do with it. Carmen tried to warn him but he didn’t listen to her. Towards the end of the book, my dislike turned to apathy. All his “good deeds” were done to ease his conscience. To be frank: Lucas was a huge jerk and I couldn’t stand him.

Not that Carmen was any better. She was bitter and it came across in her writing. She wanted to be so much more than a sex columnist and was frustrated that she wasn’t taken seriously. I thought her article slamming Lucas was awful. I did start to like her the more I read about her. She did care about Lucas, as much as she denied it the first few weeks they were doing the article. It was her interactions with Mira, her grandmother, that I saw a different side of her. A side that I liked. Towards the end of the book, I felt bad for her. She got the short end of the stick with what Lucas did. It cost her everything but she found her true calling.

I wouldn’t classify this book as a romance. To have a romance, you need chemistry. I saw none of that in this book. They had zero chemistry together. Zero. The lack of chemistry figured hugely in my review.

Going with the lack of chemistry, I thought the sex was bland and unoriginal. I also thought that them having sex for a magazine article was a mood killer for me. I like it when my characters spontaneous, unexpected sex. Not scheduled sex that was dissected in a magazine article. What also made me go “Eh” was that Lucas slept with two other women while sleeping with Carmen. One being a call girl and there was no mention of condoms being used. As soon as I realized this was happening while he was having sex with Carmen, all I could think of was “I hope he’s getting tested for STD’s” and “I hope Carmen is getting tested“. That wasn’t sexy or a turn on. It skeeved me out.

The secondary plotline with Lucas’s friend Nicolas was weird. I felt that it had no bearing on the story at all until the end. Nicholas was a rich friend who came in and out of Lucas’s life. Then, he started to figure more into it. Also, the same thing went for the storyline with Jays. Which tied into the storyline with Nicholas. It didn’t belong in the book and felt out-of-place.

The end of Mr. Nice Guy was meh. While I understood what happened, I was hoping, praying that there would be more. Instead, it was a lukewarm ending that halfheartedly wrapped up all the secondary storylines. While I understand not every book can have a happy ending, I was hoping for more of a resolution with Lucas and Carmen’s storyline.

What I liked about Mr. Nice Guy:

  1. The storyline. It has potential
  2. Carmen towards the end of the book
  3. That’s it

What I disliked about Mr. Nice Guy:

  1. Lucas. I didn’t like him
  2. Carmen the beginning of the book
  3. Lack of chemistry and sexual tension

I gave Mr. Nice Guy a 2-star rating. While I thought the storyline was interesting, I couldn’t get into the story. I didn’t like the main characters and couldn’t connect with them. I felt that there were zero chemistry and sexual attraction in the book. Also, Lucas having multiple sex partners at the same time didn’t do it for me. I was left feeling unfulfilled by the ending.

I would give Mr. Nice Guy an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is some mild violence. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I will not reread Mr. Nice Guy. I also will not recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Griffin, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Mr. Nice Guy.

All opinions stated in this review of Mr. Nice Guy are mine.

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

In the Mood Fur Love by Eve Langlais, Milly Taiden, Kate Baxter

In the Mood Fur Love

4 Stars

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

Date of publication: October 2nd, 2018

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

Where you can find In the Mood Fur Love: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Three hot stories about sexy shifters from a trio of today’s hottest paranormal romance authors, headlined by bestselling authors Eve Langlais and Milly Taiden!

Bearing His Touch by Eve Langlais
When Becka manages to escape her kidnapper, she finds herself asking help of the man with the nice brown eyes. Stavros can’t say no, not when he knows Becka is his mate, but he does have one dilemma when it comes to claiming her. He’ll have to find a way for her to bear his touch.

Fake Mated to the Wolf by Milly Taiden
Looking for a mate to bring to a party? Wedding? Holiday gathering? Mates Fur Hire is right for you? But what happens when your fake mate ends up being your real one, from New York Times bestselling author Milly Taiden!

The Witch, The Werewolf and The Waitress by Kate Baxter
For centuries, Lowman, Idaho has been Ellie Curtis’s prison. A vengeful witch cursed her with immortality and locked her within the confines of Lowman’s borders, sealing Ellie off from most of civilization for eternity. She’s learned to make the most of it. But when she meets a cocky werewolf who’s part of the élite supernatural law enforcement group, all bets are off…

Colin instantly knew that Ellie was his mate, but when he discovers her secret, he’s determined to help set her free. But in doing so, he might just lose the one thing he knows he can’t live without…

My review:

I know that I have mentioned in another review that I don’t like reviewing anthologies. Doesn’t mean that I like reading them. I find reviewing anthologies difficult. Depending on how long the stories are in the book, my review could go on forever. So, this review is going to be short and sweet.

Bearing His Touch

While I enjoyed this book, it did rub me the wrong way in certain parts. I didn’t like that it took so long for Becka to tell Stavros why she had been kidnapped and beaten. That frustrated me. But,  that was the only thing that annoyed me about the book. Everything else I loved. Stavros was such a goof. I had a laugh over the pot brownies incident. I liked how everything was wrapped up. I did like the twist with Becka’s Poppa. Didn’t see that coming.

Fake Mated to the Wolf

I enjoyed reading this story. I did have an issue with Hawke not knowing what went on in his company. Including what was happening to his mate. I kinda went “Ummmm, ok” when I read that part. But, after that was resolved, I loved the story. I wanted to know more about Robbie and I hope that he is featured in more books. He deserves his happy ending. I did think that Shawna was kind of a jerk to Hawke for 90% of the book. I mean, she knew about how they found their mate. But, she still thought Hawke was two-timing his mate with her? Hello, use your brains girlfriend. I liked the HEA that the author gave to everyone at the end of the story.

The Witch, The Werewolf, and The Waitress

This was my favorite story. Ellie and Colin were such jerks to each other when they first met. I enjoyed watching them fight over that cinnamon roll. Gave me a fit of the giggles. I did feel bad for Ellie. I couldn’t imagine being cursed how she was. Talk about being restricted and lonely. I thought the whole quest to set Ellie free of her curse was great. Including the ending. I will never look at timber wolves, cougars, elk, and coyotes the same again. Shudder. Again, loved the HEA for Colin and Ellie.

There is Instalove in this book but, and I stress this, it worked. Werewolves and werebears are able to find their mates by smelling them. So, I didn’t mind the Instalove at all. Because it fits in with the lore.

The sex in all three stories were hot. I had to fan myself after a couple of scenes because they were that good. If I had to pick the hottest couple, it would be Colin and Ellie. Talk about some steamy sex scenes.

I am not putting up a like/dislike section to this review. If I did that, it would go on forever.

I gave In the Mood Fur Love a 4-star rating. If you like shifter romances with steamy sex scenes, this is the book for you. I will give a trigger warning for Bearing His Touch and Fake Mated to the Wolf. Bearing His Touch has a pretty graphic beginning scene where Becka is being beaten. Fake Mated to the Wolf has a sexist boss and a scene where Shawna is being held hostage in her bedroom by some not so nice guys. Other than that, this book was a great read.

I gave In the Mood Fur Love an Adult rating. There is graphic sex. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread In the Mood Fur Love. I would also recommend it to family and friends with a warning about possible triggers.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review In the Mood Fur Love.

All opinions stated in this review of In the Mood Fur Love 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 Warrior of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior: Book 3) by Lily Blackwood

The Warrior of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior, #3)

4 Stars

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

Date of publication: July 31st, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Highland Warrior

The Beast of Clan Kincaid – Book 1

The Rebel of Clan Kincaid – Book 2

The Warrior of Clan Kincaid – Book 3

Where you can find The Warrior of Clan Kincaid: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):


Derryth MacClaren is on the run. Traveling under heavy guard, she has been sent from her castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf, who has vowed revenge against the Clan Kincaid, and any who support them. When a surprise attack leaves her vulnerable, Derryth ends up in the hands of an enemy warrior who claims her, with the Wolf’s blessing, as his prize. But her captor’s gentle words and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely…and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own.

Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a warrior, trained to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. If he can help the king’s law officer of the North, the Wolf of Badenoch, defeat a rebellious faction of Highlanders, Cull will be met with untold riches beyond possessing beautiful, innocent Derryth. But now that she has informed him of who he really is—Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe…and in his arms?

My Review:

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I have a love of all things Scottish. Heck, BK, my SO, can trace his roots back to Dundee, Scotland (2nd generation Scots on his mother’s side). I love historical romances based in Scotland and/or have Highlander’s. Ever since I had read Heather and Velvet by Teresa Medeiros, I have been hooked. So when I read the synopsis for The Warrior of Clan Kincaid, I thought “Right up my alley“. And guess what, it was.

I liked the plotline of The Warrior of Clan Kincaid. Cull was indebted to the Wolf. The Wolf rescued him from a slave ship in the Mediterranean when he was a child and trained him to a warrior. Cull rose through the ranks to fight for the Scottish King. He also is loyal to the Wolf. When the Wolf says that he has the king’s permission to move on the current Laird Kincaid, Cull doesn’t think twice. Derryth is being sent back to her stepmother to keep her safe as the battle looms. But she wasn’t safe. She was captured by Cull on the journey to her stepmother. She starts to develop feelings for Cull. It is after one magical night that she realizes who Cull is. Can she convince him to join his brothers in battle and embrace his birthright? Or is he too in debt to the Wolf to break free?

I liked Derryth. I loved seeing her transformation from a selfish little girl to a poised young woman. When she was first captured by Cull, I did get a laugh when she started using her wits to keep Cull away from her. I thought her drenching his side of the bed with cold water was funny. When she was held by the Wolf, she used her wits to keep one step ahead of the Wolf. She also revealed to Cull who he was and set that chain of events in motion. I admired her by the end of the book.

I felt awful for Cull. He was a slave until he was 12 when he was rescued by the Wolf. Then he was trained to fight for the King. But he was also used to do the Wolf’s dirty work. Work that included waging battle on the Kincaid’s. He didn’t particularly want to do it. He wanted a rest but if the Wolf said jump, Cull asked how high. All he wanted to was to find a place to belong. A sense of self. He had insecurities from being “Nameless“, which is what the King dubbed him. Which is why Derryth was good for him. She made him think about the future.

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The Wolf was an evil SOB. When he revealed why he ordered the execution of the former Laird of Kincaid, I got queasy, then angry. Love does strange things to people. What was even more messed up was that he knew where Cull was and he let him SUFFER for 5 years. The Wolf should have been hung up by his nads for that one. I loved the afterward. The author explained that he was a true historical figure and what happened to him the last night of his life. Poetic justice!!!

I felt that there was little build up to Derryth and Cull’s romance and relationship. It moved too fast for me. I like at least some romance before the characters start having feelings for each other.

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The sex between Derryth and Cull was super hot. Even though there was a lack of romance, it didn’t mean that there was a lack of sexual attraction. The author waited and banked on that attraction until it exploded between them. Even better, the sex was great for the rest of the book. There wasn’t one sex scene that was great and then the rest were stagnant. Nope, all the sex scenes were fantastic.

The end of the book was great. I did have some issues believing that Cull embraced his family as well as he did. Other than that, I loved it. I loved that justice was served at the end of the book and in the afterward!! I do wish that another book would be written about Ainsley. I would love to see what her story would be.

What I liked about The Warrior of Clan Kincaid:

A) Set in Scotland and had Highlanders

B) The plotline

C) Derryth. Her transformation was great

What I disliked about The Warrior of Clan Kincaid:

A) The Wolf. He was an evil SOB

B) Little romantic build up for Derryth and Cull

C) Had a hard time believing that Cull embraced his family as well as he did in the book.

I would give The Warrior of Clan Kincaid an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Warrior of Clan Kincaid. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Warrior of Clan Kincaid.

All opinions stated in this review of The Warrior of Clan Kincaid are mine.

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