The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

The New Husband by [Palmer, D.J.]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: April 14th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The New Husband: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone–presumably drowned while fishing on his boat–so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted–or dangerously possessive.

But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.


First Line:

It was a chilly predawn morning when Anthony Strauss eased Sweet Caroline, his seventeen-foot Boston Whaler, from the trailer into the water so dark it was indistinguishable from the sky.

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

My Review:

I am going to be in the minority for this review, but I wasn’t a fan of The New Husband. I love psychological thrillers. Honestly, I can’t read enough of them. While The New Husband hit all the markers for what I like in psychological thrillers, it fell flat.

The New Husband’s plotline was medium paced. The author did attempt to ramp up the speed at the end, but it didn’t quite get there. There was a significant amount of lag towards the end of the book. The author did try to get the book back on track, but it didn’t quite get there. There weren’t dropped storylines or characters.

Except for Maggie and Ben, I found the characters in The New Husband fell flat. I had no connection with Nina or Simon. Their interactions annoyed me. Nina came across as too needy and desperate to keep her man. I mean, that whole hair cutting scene and the follow up when she went to get it touched up, made me roll my eyes. Simon and Maggie’s interactions were scary, but what scared me more was Nina’s total disregard for what Maggie was telling her. I wanted to reach in the book and tell Nina that no man should come before her kid. But, then again, Nina did learn that the hard way.

I do wish that the author labeled who the chapters belonged to. The first time that I read Maggie’s chapters (from her POV), I was confused. I had no idea that it was Maggie until I reread the first few paragraphs in that chapter. I don’t particularly appreciate having to do that.

With my complaining about the characters, I did think that the thriller angle of the book was well written. It also kept this book from being a lower rating than what it was. The author did keep me guessing about Simon and his intentions. She also kept me guessing about Glen.

There was a massive twist in Glen’s plotline that made me drop my jaw and say “No way” when I read it. Of course, there was a smaller twist towards the end of the book, but it didn’t pack the punch that the first one did.

The storyline with Nina looking into Simon’s past was fascinating. I liked seeing a pattern emerge from what she found out. I also liked how the author connected Simon’s history to the future.

The end of The New Husband was interesting. I say interesting because of who wrote it and to where it was written. I liked the update, but I can’t say that it surprised me.


I would give The New Husband an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I am on the fence if I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The New Husband. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram: Book 1) by Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine: A Novel (Sunshine Vicram Series Book 1) by [Jones, Darynda]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Sunshine Vicram

A Bad Day for Sunshine—Book 1

Where you can find A Bad Day for Sunshine: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff–an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in–and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.


First Line:

Sunshine Vicram pushed down the dread and sticky knot of angst in her chest and wondered, yet again, if she were ready to be sheriff of a town even the locals called the Psych Ward.

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

My Review:

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read A Bad Day for Sunshine. It kept popping up on my NetGalley homepage. Then I got a Read Now email from them and decided to bite the bullet.

I was surprised at how I felt about the book while reading it. Usually, I either like it or hate it right from the beginning. But in this case, I was neither about it. That “meh” feeling continued throughout the book, and it did play a massive part in why I gave the book a 3-star rating.

I felt that the plotline was dragged down by too many secondary storylines (no matter how brief). I wanted full attention on Sybil’s kidnapping and Sunshine’s past kidnapping. I kept getting overwhelmed with information while I read. I also felt that I should have kept notes because there was a point in the book where I couldn’t keep track of everything.

Saying that I did like the characters. They were all well written, and each had an individual personality, which appealed to me. Sunshine was amazingly strong in overcoming what she did. I also liked that she wasn’t stupid, and she was able to piece together clues fast. She did have a weak spot for attractive men (her BFF, Levi, the other agent), but I didn’t hold it against her. It made her more human in my eyes.

I thought Auri was adorable. She was determined to find out what happened to her friend, Sybil, no matter what. I loved how tough she was also. She dealt with a lot in this book. I won’t go into it, but how she dealt with everything that was happening to her was a testament to her inner strength.

The mystery angle of the book was well written. The author did a great job of keeping who the kidnapper was and why Sybil was taken under wraps until the end of the book. I was shocked by who it ended up being.

Sunshine’s kidnapping was brought up frequently in the book. By the end of the book, it had become one of those plotlines that would be stretched across a couple of books. I know I sound jaded, but I have a feeling I know who took her and who Auri’s father was.

The end of the book was ok. The main storyline, Sybil’s kidnapping, was wrapped up. The author set up for the next book. Do I want to read the next book? Maybe. I am interested in seeing if my theory about Sunshine’s kidnapping is correct.


I would give A Bad Day for Sunshine an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread A Bad Day for Sunshine. I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe

A Hundred Suns by [Tanabe, Karin]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

Where you can find A Hundred Suns: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

An evocative historical novel set in 1930’s Indochine, about the American wife of a Michelin heir who journeys to the French colony in the name of family fortune, and the glamorous, tumultuous world she finds herself in—and the truth she may be running from.

On a humid afternoon in 1933, American Jessie Lesage steps off a boat from Paris and onto the shores of Vietnam. Accompanying her French husband Victor, an heir to the Michelin rubber fortune, she’s certain that their new life is full of promise, for while the rest of the world is sinking into economic depression, Indochine is gold for the Michelins. Jessie knows that their vast plantations near Saigon are the key to the family’s prosperity, and while they have been marred in scandal, she needs them to succeed for her husband’s sake—and to ensure that her trail of secrets stays hidden in the past.

Jessie dives into the glamorous colonial world, where money is king and morals are brushed aside, and meets Marcelle de Fabry, a spellbinding French woman with a moneyed Indochinese lover, the silk tycoon Khoi Nguyen. Descending on Jessie’s world like a hurricane, Marcelle proves to be an exuberant guide to ex-pat life. But hidden beneath her vivacious exterior is a fierce desire to put the colony back in the hands of its people, starting with the Michelin plantations, fueled by a terrible wrong committed against her and Khoi’s loved ones in Paris.

Yet it doesn’t take long for the sun-drenched days and champagne-soaked nights to catch up with Jessie. With an increasingly fractured mind, her affection for Indochine falters. And as a fiery political struggle builds around her, Jessie begins to wonder what’s real in a friendship that she suspects may be nothing but a house of cards.

Motivated by love, driven by ambition, and seeking self-preservation at all costs, Jessie and Marcelle each toe the line between friend and foe, ethics and excess. Cast against the stylish backdrop of 1930s Indochine, in a time and place defined by contrasts and convictions, A Hundred Suns is historical fiction at its lush, suspenseful best.


First Line:

The house of a hundred suns.

A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe

My Review:

When I saw that A Hundred Suns was based in 1930’s French-occupied Vietnam, I was intrigued. I haven’t read a book about that period that A Hundred Suns took place in. I have also been intrigued by Vietnam. To my recollection, I haven’t read any books that take place in Vietnam. That was a huge reason why I decided to read the book.

A Hundred Suns did start slowly and stayed slow for the first 60% of the book. I got that the author had to lay Marcelle and Jessie’s backstories, but it seemed a bit dragged out. Once the scene at the train station happened, though, the book sped up. The last 40% of the book flew by. I wish that the first part of it did.

There was a small amount of lag in the events before Jessie’s unfortunate incident at the train station. It only lasted about a chapter, and the author was able to get the book back on track. Other than that small lag, the writing flowed beautifully, even with two separate POVs (Jessie and Marcelle). The author was able to switch back and forth between their characters seamlessly. I loved it!!

I liked Jessie. She did come across as conniving at the beginning of the book. I mean, she convinced her husband to move to Vietnam. But, as I got to know her character, I could see how strong she was. Her strength was apparent in the last half of the book.

Marcelle was my favorite in the book. She was deliciously devious and pulled off her plan perfectly. Even when Khoi was having issues with what was going on, Marcelle didn’t. She was willing to do anything to get revenge. And oh boy, did she ever. I did feel bad for her, though. Blinded by her hatred, she let it overcome her. She also failed to see that Jessie had nothing to do with what was going on in the plantations. To her, Jessie was the more available of the two options.

I didn’t like Khoi or Victor. Khoi was an enabler. He talked a good game, but when push came to shove, he wasn’t behind Marcelle when she wanted to go to the next step. He kept switching back and forth, and it drove me batty. I didn’t like Victor because he knew what was going on at the plantations, and he contributed to it!!

I thought that the use of Vietnamese (or Indochinese) and French language added an extra oomph to the plotline. As much as I liked it, I do wish that there was a glossary to explain specific terms. I ended up having to use Google Translate a lot to understand so of the words.

I do want to give a small warning. There is drug use (opium smoking) detailed in the book. I did like that the author chose to show how casual people were about smoking opium back then. But there might be people who are triggered by it. There is also a scene from when Jessie visits one of the Michelin plantations, where she witnesses pretty gruesome torture. I like to think that I am immune to stuff like that, and that made me pause while reading.

The end of A Hundred Suns was terrific. As I said, the book took off in that last 40% of the book. I am not going to get into it, but I will say that Marcelle and Khoi got what they deserved.


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

I would reread A Hundred Suns. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy: Book 2) by Emily A. Duncan

Ruthless Gods: A Novel (Something Dark and Holy Book 2) by [Duncan, Emily A.]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Date of publication: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Something Dark and Holy

Wicked Saints—Book 1

Ruthless Gods—Book 2

Untitled—Book 3 (expected publication date: 2021)

Where to find Ruthless Gods: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The stunning sequel to instant New York Times bestseller, Wicked Saints!

Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.


First Line:

There was a darkness.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

My Review:

I was pretty excited when I saw that SMP/Wednesday Books had granted my wish for this book on NetGalley. I hadn’t expected it, though. My wishes never get granted on that site. After my excitement died down, I realized that it was the 2nd book. I was still optimistic about the book, though. Lately, I have been reading books that are 2nd or 3rd in a series, and that was stand-alone. I figured that Ruthless Gods would be the same. Oh boy, was I wrong.

Ruthless Gods had a fast-moving plotline. The author was able to keep the pace up even with the book being split into numerous POVs. That I did like, she marked who’s chapter it was. I had zero issues following along with the book that way. It also worked well with the pacing. Some storylines were left open, and characters that were mentioned but never brought up again. But, considering that this is the 2nd book in the series, I have a feeling everything will be tied together in the 3rd book.

As I mentioned above, Ruthless Gods is NOT a stand-alone book. You do need to read Wicked Saints before reading Ruthless Gods. That way, the backstories/explanation of the different countries/explanation of the religions (which is essential!!) are fully disclosed. I was lost when reading Ruthless Gods because I didn’t read Wicked Saints first.

Another source of irritation for me was the lack of understanding of the different relationships between the character. Nadya and Malachiasz, I got right away. Serefin and Kacper’s was a little muddier. Ostiya, Parijahan, and Rashid’s relationships with each other, and the central 3 was even more mysterious. That is where reading Wicked Saints would have come in handy — now saying that I was impressed with the character growth that Serefin, Nadya, and Malachiasz had throughout the book.

Ruthless Gods had to have been one of the more darker, bloodier young adult books that I have read in a while. The amount of violence was terrific. The author doesn’t even bother to build-up to the first violent scene. It was bam, there you go. Now, that didn’t bother me. I figured by reading the synopsis that it was going to be bloody and violent. But it might bother other people.

I was fascinated by a couple of things in Ruthless Gods. I was fascinated that this book was based loosely in Russia. I do wish that there was some glossary that explained the different terms used in the book. I was also fascinated by the various religions portrayed. I do wish that there was a glossary dedicated to the different saints/terms that Nadya and her fellow monks used. Again, it would have gone a long way to helping me understand everything.

The storylines were well written also. There was almost too much going on in the book at one point, but the author did a fantastic job keeping everything separate. The Nadya/Malachiasz storyline broke my heart. Serefin’s broke my heart too. I couldn’t imagine living like he did and being forced to do the things he did.

The best part of the book was the last part of the book from when Katya was introduced onwards. Everything just snowballed once the group got into that forest. I expected what Serefin and Nadya did. The whole book was leading up to those two crucial things. But, I wasn’t expecting what happened to Malachiasz. That took me completely by surprise. The epilogue was fantastic. I cannot wait to read book three because of what was promised in that epilogue.


I would give Ruthless Gods an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would reccomend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Ruthless Gods. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Highland Sword (Royal Highlander: Book 3) by May McGoldrick

Highland Sword: A Royal Highlander Novel by [McGoldrick, May]

3 Stars

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

Date of publication: March 31st, 2020

Genre: Romance

Series: Royal Highlander

Highland Crown—Book 1 (Review Here)

Highland Jewel—Book 2 (Review Here)

Highland Sword—Book 3

Where you can find Highland Sword: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A VOW FOR VENGEANCE
Fleeing to the Highlands after her father’s murder, fiery Morrigan Drummond has a score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster responsible for his death. Trained to fight alongside the other rebels determined to break Britain’s hold on Scotland, she swears to avenge her father’s death—until a chance encounter with a barrister as proud and principled as she is presents her with a hard choice…and a bittersweet temptation.

A PLEA FOR PASSION
Aidan Grant has never encountered another woman like dangerous beauty Morrigan—and he has the bruises to prove it. Yet she could be the key to defending two innocent men, as well as striking a death blow to the reprehensible Burney. Convincing Morrigan to help him will take time, but Aidan is willing to wait if it means victory over corrupt government forces and freedom for his people…and Morrigan’s hand in marriage. Can two warriors committed to a cause stand down long enough to open their hearts to a love fierce enough to last…forever?


First Line:

The afternoon sun cast a golden glow over the high walled garden beside the keep.

Highland Sword by May McGoldrick

My Review:

I was excited to read Highland Sword. I was excited because this is Morrigan’s book. I wanted to see who would be brave enough to tame her. I also wanted to know more about her. She was rarely mentioned in Highland Crown. In Highland Jewel, she was mentioned, and she did have a couple of scenes that showed how strong she was. Highland Sword more than delivered on that.

Highland Sword is the 3rd book in the Royal Highlander series. It cannot be read as a stand-alone book. You do need to read Highland Crown and Highland Jewel to understand the different backstories in the book. Also, Cinead’s story is fully explained in the first book. The author does explain it here, but it goes more into depth in Highland Crown.

Highland Sword has two, sometimes 3, POVs’. The book is split between Morrigan and Aidan, with Cinead and sometimes his mother’s POV thrown in. The transition between Morrigan and Aidan’s POV’s was wonderfully written. I had no issue following the book went it went back and forth between them.

I loved Morrigan, but I did wonder why she was so standoffish with people. I liked that she didn’t care about going against what was considered the norm for that era. She was independent, and she was handy with just about any weapons, including her fists. I wondered what made her that way. I got my answer and I was horrified. It was then that I understood why she was the way she was.

I liked Aidan. I wished there was more focus on him being a barrister. Seeing how the law worked back then fascinated me. I wanted to know more!! There were points in the book where I thought he was a pushover, but, in hindsight, he wasn’t. He allowed Morrigan to do what she wanted (well, except the last thing she did), and he made sure she was safe.

I wasn’t a fan of how Aidan and Morrigan met. But I wouldn’t say I liked how it was escalated. A knockdown fight between a man and a woman? Nope, not my cup of tea. The romance angle of the book was super slow in getting started. And even after that, I was left halfway wondering if they would break out into a fight again.

I was disappointed to read that Highland Sword was going to be the last book in the Royal Highlander series. There were a few people who I wanted to see get their happy ever afters. But, in the author’s note, there was a hint about more books in that world. I will be anxiously awaiting those.

The end of Highland Sword was sweet. I liked that Aidan and Morrigan got their happily ever after. The epilogue also saddened me.


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

I would reread Highland Sword. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel by [James, Rebecca]

Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: March 17th, 2020

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find The Woman in the Mirror: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.


First Line:

Listen! Can you hear it?

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

My Review:

I haven’t read a good Gothic mystery in a while. A long while, now that I have had time to think about it. That was the main reason why I decided I wanted to read The Woman in the Mirror. I wanted to see if they were as good as I remembered. And guess what, they were!!!

The Woman in the Mirror had fast-moving storylines, which I enjoyed. I feel that if the storylines had been slower than the book would have dragged on. The flow of the book was good. There were no dropped storylines, but I did have a question about Alice’s pregnancy during WWII. I couldn’t quite place what happened (if she had the baby or not).

Speaking of Alice, I felt awful for her. She had some mental issues that followed her to Winterbourne. That alone made her chapters fun to read. I couldn’t tell if she was losing it because of that or if the house caused it. I loved it!!!

Rachel was a different story, though. She inherited Winterbourne from an unknown aunt (she was adopted). Rachel thought it would be a great way to see where her mother came from and see her roots. Of course, what she discovered was something way more sinister.

The paranormal/mystery was well written. I did have an issue with the whole reason why Winterbourne was cursed not being revealed until the end of the book. I also didn’t like how that storyline was resolved. It was a little too tidy. But other than that, both were wonderful. I don’t think I will look at gilded mirrors and murals the same again.

There was a small romance angle of the book. Honestly, I didn’t see it between Alice and the captain. It didn’t grab me. Mainly because of the way he treated her. Of course, that was explained away but still. It left me going, “Really?” I also didn’t see it between Jack and Rachel until the end. I could have gone without the romance, but I can see why the author wrote it in. It made what happened to Alice even more disturbing.

The end of The Woman in the Mirror was terrific. I loved how everything came together. And then there was the epilogue. I had to reread it. The way it was written and what was written!! Will there be a 2nd book?


I would give The Woman in the Mirror 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 The Woman in the Mirror. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

You Are Not Alone: A Novel by [Hendricks, Greer, Pekkanen, Sarah]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: March 3rd, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find You Are Not Alone: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.


First Line:

Two wine glasses are on the coffee table, evidence of a romantic night.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Review:

I was super excited when I saw that Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen had another book out. I had loved their previous books. When I got the email from the publisher asking me to review, I downloaded that book so fast that I think I got whiplash on my pointer finger.

When I started to read You Are Not Alone, I was a bit suspicious, though. I had built this book up in my head that I was afraid it was going to flop and disappoint me. Well, happily, it didn’t. It lived up to my internal hype and then some.

You Are Not Alone is the story about Shay. Shay is a shy 30 something living in New York City. She has no friends, other than her roommate. She keeps a book of statistics. She has done this since she was a child, living with an emotionally and verbally abusive stepfather. Then one day, her life changed for the worse. She witnessed a woman commit suicide by throwing herself in front of a train. Going to Amanda’s (the woman who died) memorial, she meets Cassandra and Jane, Amanda’s best friends. After meeting them, Shay’s life seems to get better. A new apartment, new friends, a new job, a new haircut, and self-confidence. But, Shay starts to notice that things aren’t all that they seem with Cassandra and Jane. A series of events have Shay questioning everything that happened to her after Amanda’s suicide. What do Cassandra and Jane want? And why do they have Shay in their crosshairs?

You Are Not Alone had a fast-moving plotline. Shay’s portion of the book was well written and fast. I believe that all of the events took place within a couple of months of Amanda’s suicide. There was no lag, and there no dropped storylines. But, I did have issues with the book going back in time with several characters. Cassandra, Jane, Amanda, Daphne, Beth, and Stacey all had their backstories told in flashback. The only characters whose backstory was vital to the book were Amanda, Daphne, and Valerie (but only at the end of the book). I didn’t need to read about Cassandra, Jane, Beth, and Stacey’s backstories. They dragged down the main plotline.

I liked Shay. I did have my doubts about her at the beginning of the book. But, as the author revealed the different layers of her character, I started to form a connection with her. She was desperately lonely and awkward. She always felt like she was on the outside looking in. So, I didn’t blame her for connecting with Cassandra and Jane or taking up their offers of friendship. When things went sideways for her, though, I was surprised at her strength. I admired her.

The mystery angle of the book (why Amanda jumped) was well written. There is a twist in that angle that did surprise me. I didn’t see it coming, but it made sense once revealed.

The suspense/thriller angle was well written also. I loved seeing how Shay was built up, and then everything was yanked out from underneath her. I loved how Shay’s mental state was portrayed in the last half of the book. I honestly was wondering if she was going to go off the deep end.

The end of the book was unbelievable. It was one of the best endings that I have read in a physiological thriller to date. And the twist at the very end. I said, “Holy crap,” out loud a few times. I wasn’t expecting Shay to admit what she admitted!!

I do want to throw in a trigger warning. There is a scene where a woman is raped, and there is a scene where a teenager is sexually assaulted.


I would give You Are Not Alone an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread You Are Not Alone. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

A Highlander in a Pickup (Highland, Georgie: Book 2) by Laura Trentham

A Highlander in a Pickup: A Highland, Georgia Novel by [Trentham, Laura]

3 Stars

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

Date of publication: February 25th, 2019

Genre: Romance

Series: Highland, Georgia

A Highlander Walks into a Bar—Book 1 (Review Here)

A Highlander in a Pickup—Book 2

A Highlander is Coming to Town—Book 3 (expected publication date is September 29th, 2020)

Where you can find A Highlander in a Pickup: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A Highlander in a Pickup is the second book in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s romantic comedy Highland Georgia series, full of love, laughs…and highlanders!

When a gorgeous new man—in a kilt—comes to town, life in Highland, Georgia will never be the same…

Iain Connors is the poster boy for the strong and silent type. Growing up a loner at Cairndow Castle in Scotland with only the cliffs and moors for company, it’s understood Iain will assume the mantle of Cairndow groundskeeper when his father is ready to relinquish it. But his stint in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces has opened up a whole new world—and now, rather than settle down, he accepts an invitation to travel to the States to take charge of the Highland Games. After all, he’s led men into battle, how hard can planning a party be?

Anna Maitland is ready to step up for her best friend Isabel Blackmoor, who can’t run the Games in their hometown this year. Surely Anna, a dance instructor with boundless energy, spirit, and charm, is up for the challenge? What she doesn’t anticipate is a man in a kilt who turns up claiming he’s the one in charge. What’s worse about this Iain? He’s so infuriatingly handsome that she can’t help but fantasize about him whispering sweet-nothings in her ear in his rumbly, sexy brogue. . .


First Line:

Anna Maitland was waving the toddler class out the door of her dance studio, the strains of “The Wheels on the Bus” still resonating in her head, when her phone buzzed.

A Highlander in a Pickup by Laura Trentham

My Review:

I was pumped when I saw that A Highlander in a Pickup was available for review on NetGalley. I wanted to see what Anna and Iain’s love story would be like. So, now you’re wondering why a 3-star review if I was so thrilled to read it.

It wasn’t the plotline. A Highlander in a Pickup had a fast-moving plotline. There was no lag, which is a massive plus for me, and there were no dropped storylines or characters.

I hate to admit this, but it was Iain and Anna’s issues that dragged the story down for me. I love enemies to friend troupe as much as the next person. But in this book, it was taken to an extreme. Even though I knew that Anna and Iain were going to fall in love, there was a point where I wondered if they were going to make it there. There was too much bickering between the two during the first half of the book.

I wasn’t a fan of Iain being overly insecure. He overthought everything that came out of his mouth and was afraid of pissing Anna off. There was a point where I started eye-rolling because it was too much. Other than that, I loved him. He was what Anna needed.

Anna drove me crazy go nuts right. I couldn’t get over her behavior towards Iain. Her hostility was unwarranted and at times, made me mad. She couldn’t handle the planning of the games, and it showed. Also, she was super insecure. OMG, was she ever. I did think to myself, at one point, that she needed therapy. It was that bad. But, putting the insecurities and her bad attitude towards Iain aside, Anna was a good person. And that goodness was showcased time and again.

Anna and Iain’s romance was slow to get started because of everything that I listed above. There was an instant attraction that got pushed to the back burner due to Iain’s insecurities and Anna’s hostility. But, once they kissed, there was no going back. That sexual attraction snowballed into some pretty steamy sex scenes.

A Highlander in a Pickup is book 2 in the Highland, Georgia series. This book can be read as a stand-alone book. But, I would recommend reading A Highlander Walks Into a Bar to understand more about the festival and Highland itself.

The end of A Highlander in a Pickup was your typical HEA. I loved that the author gave a hint about who the next book is going feature.


I would give A Highlander in a Pickup an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread A Highlander in a Pickup. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Been there, Married That by Gigi Levangie

Been There, Married That: A Novel by [Levangie, Gigi]

2 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: February 11th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Where you can find Been There, Married That: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Bookbub

Book Synopsis:

A hilarious new novel full of Hollywood glitz, glamour, and scandal.

When he changes the locks, she changes the rules.

Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife – she has the right friends, the right clothes, and even a side career of her own as a writer. Her husband Trevor is a bigshot producer, and from the outside it looks like they’re living a picture-perfect celebrity life, complete with tennis tournaments and lavish parties.

But the job description of a Hollywood wife doesn’t cover divorce, which is the way Agnes’ life is headed after she comes home one day to find her credit cards cancelled and the security passwords to get into her enormous LA home changed. Oh, and there’s a guy there whose job it is to tase her if she tries to enter…which she does. Needless to say, Agnes’ husband is dead set on making sure she loses big time, but Agnes isn’t the type to just lie down and take it. In a world of fremenies and hot nannies, personal psychics and “skinny” jello shots, Agnes may be losing her husband, but could that mean getting her own life back?

Been There, Married That is a drop-dead hilarious battle of wills that will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and keep turning the pages to see what crazy disaster will happen to Agnes next…and how she’ll rise from the ashes.


First Line:

“A toast!”

Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

My Review:

I like contemporary women’s fiction as much as the next person. But, it seems like 90% of women’s fiction that I read ends up being rubbish. So, I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I got the email for Been There, Married That. I debated on deleting the email and pretending I didn’t see it. After reading the book, I wish I did.

The plotline for Been There, Married that was a mess. I do not have a problem following plotlines, but this one tried my patience. There was a significant amount of lag in the book. It happened right when Agnes had her mini-breakdown. The book never recovered. There were also dropped storylines, which is another thing I didn’t like. Don’t introduce a storyline and not complete it. Uggh!!

I found all of the characters (the teenagers included) to be unrelatable. I know that they are supposed to be a parody of what people think Hollywood wife is like, but man, it left a bad taste in my mouth. There were off-colored jokes and racial stereotypes (the Latina housekeeper). Let’s not forget that there were jokes about rehab. There were some funny parts of the book (Agnes being called A-Nus by Petra was one), but overall, I didn’t care for the characters.

The divorce storyline, unfortunately, was true to life. The lengths that Trevor went through to get dirt on Agnes and her sister, I believed. The fact that Penelope was caught in the middle, I believed also. I also believed that money buys things, and in this case, it was a frame-up of Agnes’s sister. Of course, the end of that plotline was as confusing as the rest of the book, but it was the most relatable thing in the book.

The end of the book was a confusing mess. I had to read the last chapters a few times before I understood what happened. I did NOT enjoy that.


I would give Been There, Married That an Adult rating. There are sexual situations. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would not reread Been There, Married That. I would not recommend it to family and friends.

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

All the Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway: Book 3) by Joanna Schaffhausen

All the Best Lies: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 3) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

The Vanishing Season—Book 1 (Review Here)

No Mercy—Book 2 (Review Here)

All the Best Lies—Book 3

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

Book Synopsis:

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now


First Line:

Camilla Flores has always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, starting with the day she was born, six weeks early, in Puerto Rico, before her mother could cross the ocean and land on continental American shores.

All the Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen

My Review:

All the Best Lies is Reed’s story. Reed’s biological mother was brutally murdered when Reed was four months old. A prominent senator adopted him and but he always had questions about his mother. Then, a DNA test threw his world into a tailspin. The results of that DNA test makes Reed take another look at his mother’s unsolved murder. But, someone doesn’t want that murder solved, and they will do anything to keep it that way. What was in that DNA test, and who killed Reed’s mother? And what is tying them together?

All the Best Lies is the 3rd book in the Ellery Hathaway series. This book cannot be read as a standalone. You do need to read books 1 and 2 to understand Ellery and Reed’s relationship as well as Reed’s relationship with his family. If you do decide to pick the book up and read it, be prepared to be confused.

I loved Reed. He was determined to find out exactly what happened to his mother. His reactions to certain people in the book were right on. I would have been mad too!!! The only thing I didn’t agree with was when he went off on his own towards the end of the book.

I liked that Ellery took a step back in this book. What I mean by taking a step back is that her backstory and issues weren’t made the focal point of the book. She was still the same kick-ass ex-cop who went out of her way to help Reed.

I didn’t agree with the romance angle of the book. It didn’t seem right to have a romance between Ellery and Reed. I understood why the author did it (to show how far Ellery had come) but still.

The plotline about Reed’s mother’s murder was fantastic. The author did a great job of keeping the killer under wraps. Several red herrings were thrown out. I went back and forth about who killed Camilla and mentally kicked myself when the killer was revealed. I also loved the twist that was thrown in at the end. I did not see that coming.

The plotline about Ellery and her father broke my heart into little bits. I wanted to smack the crap out of her father. I understood her feelings about what he asked. I would have been torn too.

The end of All the Best Lies was terrific. The author did a great job of wrapping up all of the plotlines and bringing them together. I loved how Ellery was able to get the killer. Well, she had help but still. It was fantastic. I do wonder if there is going to be a book 4.


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

I would reread All the Best Lies. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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