Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Review Books, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Dark Memento (Verona Bay, #1) by Katie Reus


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Title: Dark Memento by Katie Reus
Series: Verona Bay, Book 1
Narrated By: Heather Costa, Jeffrey Kafter
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook (7 hrs and 3 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Blurb: Welcome to Verona Bay, a small coastal town where the secrets just won’t stay buried—and people aren’t always who they seem.

She was the one that got away…

Eight years ago Serenity Washington watched as her twin sister was murdered. She was lucky to escape the same grisly fate. With her sister’s killer in jail, she relocated and tried to move on with her life. She married a man in the Air Force and started a family, but when her husband dies unexpectedly she moves back to the last place she remembers being happy—Verona Bay, FL.

Now that she’s come home, it’s all starting again…

Within months of Serenity’s homecoming, she receives a ‘gift’—a bracelet from her sister that was never recovered after her death—and a taunting note. Terrified for herself and her young daughter, she turns to the local sheriff for help. But there’s only so much they can do without proof that the gifts aren’t more than sick pranks. There’s been no DNA, no fingerprints left behind—nothing to indicate who’s leaving them. As the horrifying gifts arrive with increasing frequency, Serenity has no doubt that she’s the ultimate target. But with her sister’s murderer—a confessed serial killer—still behind bars, she has no idea who’s stalking her.

She turns to the one man she’s been trying to keep her distance from…

Former Marine Lucas Jordan has been hung up on single mom Serenity since she moved back to Verona Bay, but she’s made it clear she’s not looking for a relationship. When she’s targeted, however, all bets are off. He won’t sit by while she’s terrorized, and with her and her daughter’s lives in danger he’s prepared to stand his ground and protect them both. Together they face the impossible task of trying to figure out who to trust before they all wind up six feet under.

img_4544This book started immediately with a traumatic incident. Serenity and her twin sister Savannah Washington were kidnapped and tortured by the serial killer Michael Black. It was suspenseful and angst-filled in the first few chapters. Serenity escapes but her twin sister didn’t survive the ordeal but the killer was captured.

Serenity tries to build her life despite the PTSD, she got married and had a daughter. When her husband dies, Serenity moves back to her hometown of Verona Bay. She opens a business and begins to establish her life but Serenity begins to receive mementos taken from her during her imprisonment. It appears that she is being stalked again. She’s afraid and her high school friend Lucas Jordan wants to help her. But Serenity is afraid to let him into her life because people close to her are being hunted and murdered. Its not safe to be around her and she isn’t sure the FBI can protect her and her daughter. Lucas is determined to protect Serenity and young daughter Harper, but as more than just a friend. This one was a nail bitter!

It was really well written, suspenseful and I couldn’t stop listening. There was some darkness, but Serenity was a fighter. Her will to survive was undeniable. She wouldn’t allow the serial killer to break her and she was determined to win for herself and her twin who didn’t make it. This is a really good beginning to a new series.

*I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest opinion.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books

Review: Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1) by Talia Hibbert


Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)Title: Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Narrated By: Adjoa Andoh
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Format: Audiobook (10 hrs and 17 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Blurb: Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost – but not quite – dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.

Ride a motorcycle.

Go camping.

Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.

Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.

And…do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford “Red” Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than 10,000 Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior….

 

*Sighing* It is me, not the book. I just don’t seem to really connect the British Rom-Coms.The narrator did a great job, the plot of the story was a good one but the characters just didn’t engage me.

Chloe Brown is a website designer who was roughing it in life. Chloe has Fibromyalgia, a chronic and debilitating disease which kept her in constant pain. She needed pain killers daily life and the side effects were off putting to even her closest friends. Thanks to her health, her inner circle dwindled to just her two sisters and her grandma. After almost getting run over by a car, Chloe decides that she was done just barely surviving, she wants to really live!

Chloe moved out of her family’s home and into her own space, where she meets the super of her building, Redmond ‘Red’ Morgan. The two of them make quick but incorrect assessments of the other and so Chloe and Red think very lowly of the other.

In her bid to add some excitement to her life, Chloe makes a List of things she wants to and enlists Red’s help to achieve them. Then the reader got to learn more about both character’s journey thus far. Red was a lot more complex than he initially appeared and the reader was able to understand his reasons for mistrusting Chloe.

They seem to get on each other’s nerves but there was also a physical attraction that has been building and that chemistry allowed them to really bond with each other.

The author did a great job portraying a woman dealing with a chronic medical issue and a man escaping a painful past. What appeared like a cute romantic comedy actually dealt with some serious issues like mental abuse, body image and interracial romance. Talia Hibbert interwove these topics with humor so it didn’t feel so heavy or preachy.

The problem for me is that I knew things were supposed to be funny, but they didn’t tickle my funny bone. It’s like that for me with a lot of British authors. I just don’t connect with the humor and sometimes the writing even though I get the main point of their story. I did think this story was well done and I would recommend this book to all despite my indifference.

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Audiobook, Dystopian, Review Books, Science Fiction

The Fighter (Men of the North, #9) by Elin Peer


The Fighter (Men of the North, #9)
Title: The Fighter by Elin Peer
Series:
Men of the North #9
Narrated By:
Audra Cook
Release Date:
February 12th, 2019
Format:
Kindle Edition, 292 Pages
Genre:
Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance

BLURB: Raven is a force of nature who won’t take no for an answer. She uses her humor and feistiness to blaze through every obstacle, and right now the biggest one is her rigid boss Leo Da Vinci.

Leo wants her to stay safe in an office categorizing unsolved cases, but Raven is longing for action. That’s why when one case turns out to be the unsolved murder case of Dina, the ruler’s sister who died when she was fifteen, Raven sets out to solve the mystery and bring the murderer to justice. Little does she know that coming face to face with the troubled past of the Northlands might set off an unwanted avalanche of events and endanger the lives of herself and the people she loves.

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I have always loved Raven. She always stood our and as she branded herself, a pioneer. I am glad that Christina and Boulder adopted her because I don’t know any other Nmen who would have nurtured Raven’s rebellious spirit. I don’t even consider Raven rebellious, she is just someone who doesn’t accept status quo. She bucks societal norms and she doesn’t like to be told she weak or lacking.

Raven’s acceptance into the law enforcement training academy was bound to make waves, but the change was more in Leo and ruling class of Nmen. Her tenacity and decision to solve a cold case led to Raven realizing love and also accepting that marriage won’t make her less than her male counterpart.

As far as the story, the resolution of Dinah’s death (Magni & Khan’s older sister) revealed many secrets that impact the ruling family. I suspected Marcus Auerlius knew what happened but I am glad it wasn’t him. Khan and Magni’s seem poised to taking the country in a new direction, and I can’t help but see Pearl and the other Motherland females written all over this decision. Slowly, and I mean slowly, there is a merging of ideals, and I look forward to the day the Nmen would be less misogynistic and Motherland citizens as less judgmental.

This series continues to be an intriguing look on society for me.

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Audiobook, Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Review Books, romance, Romantic Suspense

Blog Tour & Review: The Kingmaker (All the King’s Men Duet, Book 1) by Kennedy Ryan


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“Powerful, gripping, unflinchingly honest and sensuously gorgeous writing.”

— Kristan Higgins, New York Times Bestselling Author

The Kingmaker, the first book in the addicting All The King’s Men Duet, from RITA ® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

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Power. Passion. Betrayal.

Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King’s Men Duet.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.  In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it. My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied. And neither will I.

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The story was writing so well and this narrative was so authentic as it drew on current issues/events pertaining lands considered sacred to Native Americans. My only issue was that there wasn’t enough romance in this first book to balance the heaviness of the controversial themes.

What I liked: Each character was well developed. Lennix was a passionate, principled and strong willed woman. Maxim has the same drive to make the world a better place in the same way as Lennix. Their personal convictions lead them in different directions, but I loved that each character had goals that didn’t revolve around a significant other. Both main characters and their friends seemed like honorable people. It was great that each character had authentic friendships and they were brutally honest with each other. They needed friends who could tell them when they were being pig-headed.

What I did NOT like:
While I appreciate and actually support the message, it just overshadowed the romance.
Though I respected their passion for their causes, both Lennix and Maxim felt overly idealistic. I also felt that the romantic connection, although very powerful, seemed to just last for a blink of the eye. Just when the strong physical attraction started to building into something more solid, it was terminated.
Which leads to my next issue, for a strong willed man, I was surprised that Maxim waited ten years to reach out to Lennix. I guess his personal goals really did supersede everything else in his life. I think his single minded focus didn’t leave room to really pursue the woman he said he developed deeper feelings for. Ten years seemed out of character since Maxim goes hard for everything else he wants. I wanted love to help smooth out their blunt edges.

Kennedy Ryan is an awesome writer and she obviously researched these issues in depth, but the story became more political than romantic and majority of the characters interactions revolved around the societal issues. I just wanted more of their personal lives, specifically the journey as a couple because that love could have been that healing force in this book. They actually made each other stronger and more hopeful about the future. I will check out book 2 to see how Maxim’s dad will try to come between the lovers.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Pre-order the stunning conclusion, The Rebel King!

Releasing November 17th

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Be notified FIRST when The Rebel King goes live: http://bit.ly/2oRuDhf

Excerpt

“What do you want?”

The look he pours over me is hot oil, burning me even through serviceable layers of cotton. His heated perusal caresses my face, sluices over my breasts and hips, and then pools at my feet.

“Oh, that you won’t ever get again,” I say, my voice a soft, certain promise. “I don’t screw liars. I’m particular that way.”

“Never say never,” he drawls, tilting up my chin with his finger.

“Nev–”

He crushes the word between our mouths. It falls apart in the scorching, sweet tangle of lips and teeth. With one hand, he digs his fingers into my hair. The other splays across my lower back, his grip on me almost convulsive, urging me up and closer.I’m in stasis. I’m completely startled by the kiss, unable to respond. I send a desperate message to my brain.

Move. Pull back. Push him away.

But the urgent glide of his hand down my spine to cup my ass melts my thoughts to liquid and they swim in my head. I can’t pull back, and all hope of resistance dissolves when he presses his thumb to my chin, prying me open. He stalks my tongue, hunts down a response, licking and sucking and groaning and growling. His hands tighten on me until I strain up to seek him, yanking his hair, pulling him even closer.

“Dammit, Nix,” he mutters between kisses. His hand wanders down my neck and across my shoulder, and cups my breast, twisting the nipple through flimsy barriers of cotton and lace. He shoves up my skirt, pulling my legs wider, and pushes my panties aside, his fingers invading me. My body remembers this mad craving that claws out of my bones—that wants out. That wants him. Under his rough touch, my body blooms and my hips rock.

“That’s it,” he says, taking my earlobe between his lips.

My head falls back and I moan. It’s so damn good. His touch awakens me. His hands, his kisses bring me to life. It feels like I’m taking my first deep breath since we were last together, and it fills my lungs, seeps into my pores.

“I missed you,” he says, sucking my lips and kissing the corners, quick, hungry. “I’m sorry. Baby, I—”

“Stop talking.” I reach between us to loosen his belt, catching his zipper and dragging it down, dragging him out. “Shut up.”

About Kennedy Ryan

A RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins


From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Blurb: Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley. 

My Thoughts: This book was just so good. It was intense and full of lot of different emotion moments.
This is a story told from several different voices, but the main POV is that of Emma and her cantankerous grandmother Genevieve.
Emma was taken in by her paternal grandma Genevieve after Emma’s mom committed suicide and Emma’s dad was unable to care for her. Genevieve was an old school dowager with exacting standards, so when Emma became pregnant her senior year in high school, Genevieve kicked her out.
17 years later, Emma gets a call to come and spend the summer with her dying grandma. This began the summer journey of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.

I think this is a story that one should read so this review will be spoiler free. Each character was flawed and the author did an amazing job developing them so you could see why they were the way they were. I don’t make an excuses for their behavior nor do I condone some of the actions, but I could see how they got there.

The secondary characters like Emma’s daughter Riley, Jason and the boys, Miller, grandfather Pop, and the house staff add such depth to this story. There is such care taken to write this story that I am frankly still taking it all in. There is anger, sadness, love, laughter, crazy kids, extended family and their support, growth hope and rediscovery. This book really did have a little of everything that a good woman’s fiction book should have.

I really loved the way we got a chance to be in everyone’s head a little. Some people just refused to grow and others just inspired me to be better. But all in all, the author delivered a great tale with a happy ending. Definitely one of the best reads of 2019.

Audiobook, Blogger Themes, Fiction, Review Books, romance

Forbidden Letters (Men of The North, Book 0.5) by Elin Peer


Forbidden Letters (Men of the North #0.5)Forbidden Letters by Elin Peer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLURB: “Few dared live as close to the border as us. Not even the long-standing peace treaty between our two nations could make people forget how the savage Men of the North used to hunt down and kidnap women here.” 

If only Devina hadn’t been so damned curious by nature, she would have never picked up that letter thrown across the Northern wall. Now, she is horrified to see that it’s from a teenage girl who is only weeks away from being auctioned off in a bridal tournament. With no time to waste, Devina is determined to help the girl escape, even if it means putting herself in danger.

THOUGHTS: I’m amazed that with so many books in this series, author Elin Peer continues to deliver high quality story-telling, complete with a well developed plot, fleshed out characters and an emotional appealing romance. I am in awe and I’m just speechless.

Forbidden Letters is a prequel in the Men of North Series. It gave us some background into the continual breakdown of relations between the Mothlanders and Nman due to some prejudices due to the war. What a subtle commentary on societal prejudices and stereotypes, but written without a heavy-handed dose of opinion. I didn’t feel like it was preachy at all.

Devina and Tyton are one of my favorite couples in this series. They were both brave and flexible despite their societal views at that time. Tyton reminded me of Alexander Boulder, Christina’s husband, because he was protective without being overbearing or aggressively alpha. But he really worked and sacrificed to have relationship with Devina who lived in the other side of the wall. Devina reminded me of Christina for similar reasons.

Tyton’s Family was exactly what Devina needed and I love their journey to love as it was full of twist and turns. The story flowed so well, the pacing was perfect and the story left me feeling really happy at the end. The unfortunate thing was the society was even more fractured by their quest to be together.

I recommend that readers DON’T start with this one. I believe I enjoyed it more having read the other stories in order first. But you won’t be disappointed with this series. It’s entertaining and humorous and has an HEA in every book.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren


Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books – Gallery Books
Genres: General Fiction (Adult); Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: December 4, 2018

BLURB: Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

I thought this story was a cute and fluffy story. Millie and her four friends decided to sign up on a dating website to get dates for their work social event. When Millie uses an alias Catherine, she connects with a date and they hit it off online.
Some specific phrases that her online guy used led Millie to deduce that her online mystery man was in fact her best friend Reid. Millie had found Reid physically attractive but they had never connected in this way before. Millie is torn on whether to continue the charade or tell Reid that she is Catherine. Meanwhile, the online couple gets closer and closer, prompting Reid to want to meet face to face.

The group of friends was my favorite part of the group. They were funny, they teased each other but they were supportive as well. The writing was entertaining and flow was pretty consistent. I loved Reid and Millie together and wondered why they didn’t put all their cards on the table sooner. There was a part of them that saw the other, they just didn’t communicate honestly and allow themselves to be vulnerable. It was angst enough to give the story an emotional kick. I love how Millie redeemed herself and the role the friends played in it all. Overall, an enjoyable and fun read for those who enjoy romantic comedy or contemporary romances.