Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: July 17th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find Baby Teeth: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

My review:

I enjoy reading thrillers. I love it when a book gets under my skin and I can’t stop thinking about it. When the publisher offered me the book through the widget and I read the synopsis, I thought “Sure, why not“. I figured that the book would be like John Saul’s books. Creepy kids who end up doing horrible things because they were possessed. For the first half of the book, it was that. Then it got creepy and got under my skin (not in a good way).

Baby Teeth’s plot is pretty straightforward. Hanna wants her Daddy to herself in the worse way. But to have that, her Mommy needs to go away. So Hanna starts a campaign to drive Suzette out of the house. When she realizes that isn’t working, Hanna decides that Mommy needs to go.

Suzette is stressed to the max. Taking care of a special needs child is a full-time job. She needs a break. But Hanna will not let that happen.

Alex is oblivious to what Hanna is doing and writes off Suzette’s complaints as petty. That is until something happens. What happened?? Read the book.

Hanna was so evil. The things she did to Suzette was awful. Like taking pictures of a naked, sleeping Suzette and putting that picture next to a dead woman. Or impersonating a long-dead witch. Or messing with Suzette’s Crohn’s medication. I was disturbed that a child could hate her mother that much and at such a young age.

Suzette did bother me for most of the book. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t record Hanna talking or even set up a nanny. It baffled me. Instead, she ranted and raved about how Hanna was doing this and doing that with no evidence. No wonder Alex was oblivious to what was going on. It wasn’t until the tack incident that he finally figured it out. Also, her attitude towards Hanna bothered me. She treated her like she was a burden for most of the book.

I mentioned in the first paragraph that I thought that this book was going to be like John Saul’s books. I did think that Hanna was possessed by the ghost of the witch. There was nothing that suggested otherwise. Until midway through the book. Then my mind was changed.

Like I said in the first paragraph, this book got under my skin. By the end of the book, I was disturbed by it. I have read reviews where people thought this book was fantastic. As a mother, I was disturbed by the lengths that a 7-year-old went through to try to kill her mother. I kept comparing this book to “Rosemary’s Baby” and other horror books that are similar. What made this book stand out from them was that it was raw and gritty and different from any other book in the thriller category.

There was not a happy ending to Baby Teeth. The implication in the last chapter was chilling and kept me up thinking about it the rest of the night.

I am not going to do a Pros/Cons of this book. I can’t do that without giving spoilers.

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

There are triggers in this book. They are abuse (of a parent by a child), PTSD like symptoms, and Crohn’s disease.

I am on the fence about recommending Baby Teeth to family and friends. I would have to make sure that they like thrillers and can deal with what this book is about. I would also include a warning about the triggers. I am on the fence about rereading this book too.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Baby Teeth.

All opinions stated in this review of Baby Teeth are mine.

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

The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

The Subway Girls

4 Stars

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

Date of publication: July 10th, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find The Subway Girls: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend—the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose—does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever.

Nearly 70 years later, outspoken advertising executive Olivia is pitching the NYC subways account in a last ditch effort to save her job at an advertising agency. When the charismatic boss she’s secretly in love with pits her against her misogynistic nemesis, Olivia’s urgent search for the winning strategy leads her to the historic Miss Subways campaign. As the pitch date closes in on her, Olivia finds herself dealing with a broken heart, an unlikely new love interest, and an unexpected personal connection to Miss Subways that could save her job—and her future.

The Subway Girls is the charming story of two strong women, a generation apart, who find themselves up against the same eternal struggle to find an impossible balance between love, happiness, and ambition.

My Review:

I like reading women’s fiction and historical fiction, I have had issues finding books that can focus on both of those genres. They are few and far between. So when I read the blurb for The Subway Girls, I almost didn’t get this book. I almost passed it over. I am glad that I didn’t because I would have missed a fantastic book that takes place in 1949 and present day.

I liked how the storylines mirrored each other. I didn’t get confused when going between the time periods because they were doing (or trying to get into) the same field of work. Even the mindset of the men (past and present) were the same. The only time the storylines stopped mirroring each other was when Charlotte was in the Miss Subways contest and Olivia was working on finding a way to keep her job. Even then, it was only for a couple of chapters. Then it was right back to mirroring each other.

I thought Charlotte was progressive for her time. She was trying to get into a field that was dominated by men (think Don Draper). She was optimistic until she got the last rejection letter. I liked how she called the guy and told him to keep her in mind. She had no real interest in doing the beauty contest, she entered on a whim. She needed the money but thought that she would at least have a job if they got back to her. I loved her reaction to being asked to do something that she was uncomfortable with. I was chanting “You go girl” the entire time.

I liked Olivia but I felt that she wasn’t as developed as Charlotte’s character was at first. Then she gained depth. She was a strong person but she also had a certain vulnerability to her. I didn’t get her being in love with her boss. I felt that the book didn’t have to go that way. I also felt that her co-worker was a little too hostile to women. Considering what happened at the end of the book, I wasn’t surprised. But still. I liked how she made time for her elderly next door neighbor and her grandson.

Rose’s betrayal set the tone for the last half of the book. Not going to get into it but Charlotte did the absolute right thing when she did what she did.

I loved how the author brought the two storylines together. How I didn’t see what I didn’t see is beyond me. The author did a great job at keeping Ben’s grandmother’s identity a secret. There were a few red herrings thrown out. Same goes for Olivia’s Subway Girls revival. I was so mad when the events happened the way they did.

I should mention that the contest was based on a contest that was run in New York City. The author had an afterward where she described how she took that contest and made it her own.

The end of the book cleared up some details that I figured out but needed to see in print. I like that it ended happily but realistically.

What I liked about The Subway Girls:

A) That it was based on a real contest.

B) Well developed characters

C) Interesting plot with plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

What I disliked about The Subway Girls:

A) Olivia’s relationship with her boss.

B) Charlotte not being taken seriously in her career choice

C) Rose’s betrayal

I would give The Subway Girls an Older Teen rating. There are sexual situations but nothing graphic. There is language. There is mild violence.

There are no trigger warnings in The Subway Girls.

I would recommend The Subway Girls to family and friends. This is a book that I could see myself rereading.

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

All opinions stated in this review of The Subway Girls are mine.

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

One for the Rogue (Studies in Scandal: Book 4) by Manda Collins

One for the Rogue (Studies in Scandal, #4)

4 Stars

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

Date of publication: June 26th, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Studies in Scandal

Ready Set Rogue – Book 1

Duke with Benefits – Book 2

Wallflower Most Wanted – Book 3

One for the Rogue – Book 4

Where you can find One for the Rogue: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

LOVE IS THE GREATEST DISCOVERY OF ALL

Geologist Gemma Hastings has no interest in pursuing romance—and no patience for Lord Cameron Lisle, an esteemed fossil hunter who has a way of always honing in on her territory… .annoyingly handsome though he may be. But when a shocking attack puts Gemma in very real danger, she may have to accept Lisle’s offers of protection. Even if that means entering into a dangerous flirtation. . .

Lisle was once amused by Gemma’s dedication to her work. But now that he understands how much he’s underestimated her—a woman whose beauty is matched only by her genius—Lisle is desperate to prove his respect…and prove himself worthy of her. But is he too late? A bitter rival, desperate to steal Gemma’s scientific findings, is still at-large. Can Lisle help uncover the culprit and keep her safe—forever, in his loving arms?

My review

British paleontologist and fossil hunter Mary Anning was born in 1799.

I like it when historical romances take a different spin. I love reading Regency Era romance but sometimes they follow the same plot. So when I come across one that does something different, I have to read it. One for the Rogue does that.

Gemma is a geologist with an interest in fossils. Her interest in rocks, sand, and fossils are not a passing fancy. She is an expert in her area and in any other era would have been considered a genius. But, this is the Regency Era. Upper-class women were only valued for their dowries and bloodlines. Any woman who was interested in anything scholarly was labeled as a bluestocking and shunned by Polite Society. So, it was interesting to see the direct opposite of that happening in this book.

Gemma and 3 other gifted young women were invited to stay at a well-known woman scholar’s house for a year. During that time, they will be able to pursue their area of interest. If they manage to stay in the house for the year, they inherit everything that is in it. Out of the 4 girls, Gemma is the last one left and she is the most determined to finish her year. But, she needs to decipher the clue left behind by her benefactress. The only thing is that the clue is half-finished, with her benefactress dying before it could be complete. What she wasn’t counting on was a rival being murdered the same night she finds the artifact left for her. She also wasn’t counting on developing romantic feelings for her brother-in-law. She needs to push aside those feelings, find her fossil and the killer before the killer finds her.

Gemma was a breath of fresh air. She didn’t care what society thought of her. She wanted to be left alone, with her fossils and rocks. She wanted to be taken seriously by her male contemporaries. She wanted nothing to do with love. She had no time for it. I loved it. I loved how she decided that she was going to solve Sir Everard’s murder. Forget the constables, she was going to solve it herself. I also liked how she roped Cameron into helping her. I also liked how direct she was. She told Cameron that she didn’t want to marry him (after being caught kissing) but she would have him for a lover. LOVED it!!!

Image result for Not wanting to get married gif

I did like Cameron but he rubbed me the wrong way. Until Sir Everard’s murder, he went back and forth on what he thought of Gemma. It wasn’t until Sir Everard’s murder that he started taking her seriously. I also thought his view on marriage was very skewed. He took something that he saw as a teenager and let it dictate what he thought about marriage. Listen, if I found out what he did, I would have thought the same thing. But, I wouldn’t let it affect me years down the road. I did think that he let himself be caught kissing Gemma. I believe that he wanted to be caught. Just the vibe I got from that. I liked that he was with Gemma every step of the way during her “investigation“.

I liked that the author didn’t have to dedicate much time to build up a relationship between Gemma and Cameron. They already had a relationship from the earlier book. That left time for the author to build up the romance. It also left time for the author to develop their relationship from not liking each other to falling in love.

There is sex in One for the Rogue. I know that most people like reading “clean” historical romances. Not this chick, I like sex in these types of books. It flushes the book out. What was surprising to me was how in charge Gemma was. She was a virgin but she knew what she wanted out of her relationship with Cameron. She wasn’t afraid to tell him. She didn’t want to marry him. I found it silly that Cameron was being forced to marry Gemma. After being caught kissing <eye roll>. If I had to marry every guy that I kissed, well, let’s say that I would have a lot of husbands…lol.

Image result for funny eavesdropping quotes

I did find it frustrating that Gemma jumped to the conclusion about things after hearing only half a conversation. Like my grandmother used to say “Don’t do no good listening in on other people talking. You only hear half of what is said and assume the other half.”

I loved the mystery part of One for the Rogue. It kept me on my toes and left me surprised when the mystery was solved. I was not expecting the murderer to be who it was.

The end of One for the Rogue was typical. All the storylines were wrapped up in a way that satisfied me as a reader. I do hope that there is a book that gives the chaperone her own love story. She deserves one!!!

What I liked about One for the Rogue:

A) Gemma. She was ahead of her time in this book.

B) Zero relationship build up for Gemma and Cameron.

C) The mystery angle. Kept me on my toes

What I disliked about One for the Rogue:

A) How smart women were treated in the Regency Era

B) Cameron and his issue with marriage

C) Gemma jumping to conclusions. Drove me crazy

Image result for happily ever after gif

I would give One for the Rogue an Adult Rating. There is explicit sex. There is mild violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings in One for the Rogue.

I would reread One for the Rogue. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

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

All opinions stated in One for the Rogue are mine.

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

Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

Before and Again

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: June 26th, 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Trigger Warning: Traumatic loss of a child

Where you can find Before and Again: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends―and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made―though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself―or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.

My Review:

I did something that I keep swearing that I’ll stop doing. I judged the Before and Again by its blurb. I figured it would be one of those chick lit books where the heroine was insufferable. Guess what. It isn’t. Instead, this is a beautifully written book about accepting loss and second chances. I will warn everyone, you will need Kleenex. You will cry. Not a “maybe” you will cry but a definite yes you will cry.

I felt bad for Mackenzie/Maggie. In a short amount of time, she lost everything. She decided to start over in Vermont because of the media frenzy that surrounded her court case. She fought hard for every bit of peace and quiet. When her ex-husband showed up as the new owner of the spa that she worked in, she could see her hard-won peace of mind slipping. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to handle it if my ex showed up. I would have lost it. I don’t blame her for acting the way she did. She was dealing with a lot.

What got me the most with this book was the amount of pain and guilt that Maggie had. My heart broke every time she thought about Lily. When Edward showed up in her town, it brought back all those memories that she tried to suppress came back…good and bad. Everything that she didn’t get a chance to resolve started bubbling up. My heart broke during those scenes between Edward and Maggie. So much was left unsaid 5 years before. So much that it drove them apart.

I will be honest, I didn’t like Grace at all. She was self-absorbed. I thought her friendship with Maggie was one-sided for most of the book. Maggie tried to be there for her and kept getting pushed away. Even when Maggie was instrumental in finding out Grace’s big secret and getting her help, she was still ungrateful. She kept pushing her away. Made me think that she was an ungrateful idiot. Plus, her reaction when Chris was first brought in for questioning grated on me too. More concerned about what people would think about her than the trouble her teenager was in.

The storyline with Maggie’s mother was another one that had me ugly crying during it. The regret that her mother had been almost tangible. I felt bad that it took 5 years and a broken hip for the reconciliation to happen.

The end of the book was what I expected. Everyone’s storyline got wrapped up. Some I was happy with and some I was not. I did think that Grace’s big secret should have been revealed earlier in the book. I felt that it was kind of a letdown when she finally told what it was. I also didn’t like how Maggie’s brother showed up out of nowhere after no contact for 5 years. And acted like everything was OK. Everything was not OK.

What I liked about Before and Again:

A) Well written characters

B) The storylines. Fantastic

C) Great world building

What I disliked about Before and Again:

A) How much this book made me cry

B) Grace. Couldn’t stand her

C) Maggie’s brother showing up out of the blue

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

There are trigger warnings in Before and Again. They would be a traumatic loss of a child.

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

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Before and Again.

All opinions stated in this review of Before and Again are mine

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

Broken Promise (Sons of Broad: Book 3) by Tara Thomas

Broken Promise (Sons of Broad #3)

3 Stars

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

Date of publication: June 26th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Trigger warning: Kidnapping, Torture

Series: Sons of Broad

Shattered Fear – Book 0.5

Hidden Fate – Book 0.6

Twisted End – Book 0.7

Darkest Night – Book 1 (review here)

Deadly Secret – Book 2

Broken Promise – Book 3

Where you can find Broken Promise: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In this next novel in the explosive, brand-new romantic suspense Sons of Broad series from Tara Thomas comes a novel of deadly secrets and hidden danger. In the sultry streets of Charleston, one family, ruled by its powerful, take-no-prisoners sons, has risen to the top. But a merciless enemy is out to destroy them…and everyone they hold close…

Exclusive bonus content available only in the print edition!

SHE SWORE TO KEEP HER PROMISES. 

BUT CAN SHE KEEP THEM SAFE…AND PROTECT HER HEART?

Charleston Police Officer Alyssa Adams made a promise years ago to protect innocent women from harm. Now, she won’t rest until she can reunite every lost daughter with her family.Bring closure to every grieving husband. And, most of all, find out what happened the night her own sister disappeared, more than ten years ago…

As the eldest of the Benedict brothers, Kipling will stop at nothing to protect his family from a threat that aims to destroy them once and for all. But when a long-lost sibling is kidnapped by a powerful adversary, Alyssa is the only one he can turn to get her back.

As Alyssa and Kipling band together to find their lost siblings, a powerful attraction builds between them that they can’t ignore. As the truth comes to light, will one broken promise tear them apart?

My review:

I should keep a list of what I don’t like when reading series. Everyone knows my extreme dislike of picking books up mid-series. But, that’s not the case here. This is a whole different dislike. I don’t like skipping books in a series. Like picking up books mid-series, I get lost. I miss a huge chunk of the story between book 1 and book 2. That wasn’t the case with Broken Promise. The author did a great job of explaining what happened in the last book without overwhelming this one.

Now, I betcha you all are wondering why I rated Broken Promise a 3. I couldn’t get into the book. Alyssa and Kipling’s relationship seemed forced. That, in turn, made the sex scenes a little uncomfortable to read. I didn’t like how Jade was treated by/her entire relationship with The Gentleman. And those are the reasons why I gave it a 3.

I did like some parts of the book, believe it or not. While I didn’t like them in a relationship, I did like Alyssa and Kipling. I also liked the relationship that Kipling had with his brothers. I also liked how Jade was tied to Alyssa. Actually, that part of the book was bittersweet.

What I didn’t like about the book:

I couldn’t get into the book. I must have some sort of connection to the plot in order for me to like it or dislike it. I couldn’t with this book. I know it was because of the tandem storylines that were going on. The Kipling/Alyssa storyline and the Jade/The Gentleman storyline.  Normally tandem storylines don’t bother me. But this one did.

I felt that Alyssa and Kipling’s relationship was forced. They went from battling each other about what was going on to magically falling in love while dealing with a serial killer. Not realistic at all. So, because I felt the relationship was forced, it made the sex scenes uncomfortable to read. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sex scene. I also like a sex scene where the woman likes it rough, which Alyssa did. But I couldn’t get into it. Which made me sad.

Jade’s relationship with The Gentleman was beyond screwed up. He took an innocent 5-year-old and shaped her into a ninja killer (yes, you read that right). The abuse Jade suffered was barely scratched at but what was revealed was awful. Which brings us to why he did to Jade what he did. Let’s say that he was one disturbed dude. He also took his anger over Helen out the wrong way. I was surprised at who The Gentleman was, though. It was not who I thought it would be.

What I liked about the book

I loved Alyssa. She was a good cop. She was determined to solve her sister’s cold case. She had a feeling that her sister’s murder was tied to The Gentleman somehow. I did feel bad for her. Her family was horrible. Her stepfather was a bully and her mother allowed it. I was glad Kipling was there and stood her stepfather down. Because of that, they got a huge break in her sister’s case and what is going on with Kipling’s family.

I also liked Kipling. When The Gentleman contacted him with the news that he had Jade, Kipling jumped to action. No question. That was his sister and he was going to find her. Even though I found their relationship forced, he did look over Alyssa too.

I liked his relationship with his brothers. He worried about them and tried his best to protect them. But, in the end, it was his brothers that came to his rescue. That is the type of relationship that siblings should have.

I can’t discuss how Jade is tied to Alyssa. But I will say that it came as a huge surprise. I was as shocked as Alyssa was when she connected the dots. My exact words were “Dayum“. Talk about bittersweet. I also got beyond angry with certain other people in Alyssa’s life about that. Not cool, that they did.

So to recap…

What I disliked about Broken Promise:

A) Couldn’t get into the book

B) felt Alyssa and Kipling’s relationship was forced

C) Jade’s relationship with The Gentleman

What I disliked about Broken Promise:

A) Alyssa. Enjoyed her character

B) Kipling. Also enjoyed his character

C) How Jade is tied to Alyssa

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

There are trigger warnings in Broken Promise. They are kidnapping and torture.

I am on the fence about recommending Broken Promise to family and friends. I am also on the fence about rereading this book. I am willing to read more books by the author.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Broken Promise.

All opinions stated in this review of Broken Promise are mine.

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

Blog Tour: Breathless by Celeste Bradley

Breathless

5 Stars

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

Date of publication: June 12th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Historical romance

Where you can find Breathless: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A sensuous, delightful romantic women’s fiction novel from New York Times bestselling authors Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan!

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes-and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter, Fitch Wilder, is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

Continue reading

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: June 12th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find Jar of Hearts: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

My Review:

I like a good mystery. I also like a good suspense. I have found it hard to find a book that can keep the suspense up while unraveling a mystery. So, I have become very picky about what I read. When the publisher approached me to review Jar of Hearts, the blurb caught my attention. I was very interested in a mystery about what happened after the murder and trial. I thought that it made for an interesting storyline. So I accepted. I am glad I did. Not only did this book keep the suspense high but the mystery was fantastic.

When I started reading Jar of Hearts, I had no pity for Geo. She showed little to no remorse for her part in Angela’s death. She was more worried about what was going to happen to her in prison and that made me not like her. But, as the book went on, her remorse and sadness started to show. I started to pity her when it was revealed what happened that night. The trauma she endured that night shaped her into the woman that she was 14 years later.

I liked how the author kept what happened the night Angela died under wraps until almost the end of the book. I wasn’t surprised at what happened. I was surprised at Geo’s role in it when it was revealed. What happened afterward took me by surprise also.

Geo’s relationship with Calvin was complicated. He was her first love but she also hated and feared him. He wanted to own Geo completely and wasn’t afraid to use physical violence or mind games to get her to stay with him. I had no issue seeing him turning into a serial killer. His transformation started the night that Angela was killed.

I thought that second storyline of the other serial killer was pretty good. I thought I had it figured out until Geo last flashback. Looking back, there were hints but I didn’t see them. I was surprised at who it was and who that person was to Geo. I was also surprised at who came to Geo’s rescue.

The storyline with Kaiser didn’t make sense to me at first. I didn’t need to know that he was sleeping with his partner. That was unneeded information. But his relationship with Geo and Angela was. I do think that his relationship with Geo after jail was complicated. I was not expecting what happened to them to happen. Now that came out of left field.

I know that the book stressed that Geo and Angela were besties and had been besties for years. But I didn’t see that. I saw a spoiled girl used to getting her own way ruling her friends. The whole cheerleader practice fiasco was what made me feel that.

The end of Jar of Hearts was one shock after another. All I can say about it is “Wow“. The epilogue got me too. I guess some people deserve their happily ever after. I wasn’t expecting who Geo was experiencing hers with.

What I liked about Jar of Hearts:

A) The suspense was kept high throughout the book

B) Everything was kept under wraps until the end of the book.

C) Interesting storyline

What I didn’t like about Jar of Hearts:

A) Geo showing little to no remorse in the first half of the book

B) Kaiser’s storyline. Didn’t need the sexcapades with his partner. Him doing the police work was fine.

C) Geo and Angela’s friendship. Screamed friendemies to me. Also Geo and Calvin’s relationship. Super creepy

I would give Jar of Hearts an Adult rating. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book. There is explicit violence. There is language. There is sex with a few rape scenes thrown in (F/F, M/F). There is also a brutal scene of a body being dismembered.

There are trigger warnings with Jar of Hearts. They would be: rape, attempted rape, domestic violence, and assault.

I would recommend Jar of Hearts to family and friends. I would give a heads up about the triggers. This is a book that I can see myself rereading.

I would like to thank Minotaur Books, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Jar of Hearts.

All opinions stated in this review of Jar of Hearts are mine.

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