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Monthly Book Report: June 2017

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I went on a reading frenzy in June, y’all. We’ve spent so much time at the pool and in the hot tub that I’ve had ample opportunity to read some great books! 

1. What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman– Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness? Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn’t a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end—a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household. In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth? 

I really enjoy every Laura Lippman book that I read. I could not put this one down. I had to see how it ended. And I did not guess the ending, not even close! There were some serious twists and turns that I was not expecting and it was great! I love books that keep me guessing!

2. Bound Together by Christine Feehan– For five years, Viktor Prakenskii has put his life on hold in order to take down the world’s most feared motorcycle club from the inside. But carrying out the insane violence and seeing the club’s exploitation of the innocent has brought his traumatic past roaring back. And there’s only one cure: to see the wife he left behind…Blythe Daniels thought she’d never see Viktor again after he murdered her stepfather and left without a word. She rebuilt her life without him, becoming a personal trainer and physical therapist…becoming strong enough for others to lean on. But when Viktor comes back to Sea Haven, he’ll make Blythe question everything she thought she knew about good and evil—and the dark desires of the heart.

I love this series. This is the final book in the Sisters of the Heart series and it was fantastic. I love that Christine Feehan brought back so many different characters from her Sea Haven series for this final conclusion. It was amazing! And she’s doing another spin off series with characters from this series so I’m doubly excited! 

3. Just One Touch by Maya Banks– Raised in a strict religious cult since she was a young girl, Jenna has no connection to the outside world beyond vague flashes of memory that seem to be from another life. Memories she clings to when the cult leaders discover her extraordinary ability to heal—and punish her. Years held captive and forced to do the cult’s bidding have turned Jenna into a meek, timid woman…or so they think. In truth, she is merely biding her time, waiting for the perfect moment to escape.When a terrified young woman tries to steal the SUV of Devereaux Security’s toughest recruit, Isaac’s anger quickly turns into a strange sort of protectiveness for the beautiful, bruised stranger. But when they are caught in a firestorm of bullets and Isaac is hit, he’s sure the end is near, until Jenna touches him and closes his wounds. As he tries to bring Jenna to safety, she refuses to tell him what danger haunts her or how she healed him, but Isaac vows to do whatever it takes to gain her trust…and her heart. Because with just one touch, Isaac knows he wants Jenna to be his—forever.

I really enjoyed this book. The premise was something I’ve never read before and that always interests me! Especially these days when it seems like a lot of books are just written by a formula. There was plenty of action and suspense as well as a lot of romance and hot alpha maleness. That’s one formula I definitely can approve of!

4. Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott– When Olivia Brookes calls the police to report that her husband and children are missing, she believes she will never see them again. She has reason to fear the worst; this isn’t the first tragedy that Olivia has experienced. Now, two years later, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas is called in to investigate this family again, but this time it’s Olivia who has disappeared. All the evidence suggests that she was here, in the family home, that morning. But her car is in the garage, and her purse is in her handbag – on the kitchen table. The police want to issue a national appeal, but for some reason every single picture of this family has been removed from albums, from phones, from computers. And then they find the blood…Has the past caught up with Olivia?

I went into this book totally blind. I didn’t read reviews or spoilers. I also didn’t realize it was part of a series until I just looked it up on Goodreads. It reads as a standalone. This book was good! It was suspenseful and I had to know how it ended! I figured it out about halfway through but seeing how the events would play out kept me interested. 

5. When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker– Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for—a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home. The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on—in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.

This book was really good. It kept my interest and I needed to see what would happen. The premise was so sad but the story wasn’t really a tearjerker. It was more of a mystery than an emotional read. I’m not sure if that was what the author intended but I liked it a lot. 

6. Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid– Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped. Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

The premise of this one got me interested. I couldn’t imagine how this scenario could possibly turn out well. It was a great story. The characters are real and their reactions to things felt real. I enjoyed reading about how the relationships evolved and changed and developed. 

7. Fierce Obsessions by Suzanne Wright– When raven shifter Riley Porter was given sanctuary by the Phoenix Pack, she let them believe she had left her flock. Reluctant to divulge the secrets of her past, she was still embraced as family. Only Tao Lukas, the protective and passionate Head Enforcer of the pack, was resistant to the enigmatic shifter. Until Riley started to arouse in him something other than suspicion. Tao doesn’t trust lone shifters, especially ones so guarded—and tempting. But the sexual tension between them is making them both come undone, and vulnerable to more than desire. All Tao wants is for Riley to stay with him and to trust him with the truth of her past.
As Riley’s mysteries come to light, so does a danger that threatens not only her life but the safety of the entire pack. For Tao, keeping Riley safe means keeping her close—forever—as his mate.
 

It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of Suzanne Wright. Her series are some of my favorites and I love to re-read them all. This book is #6 in her Phoenix Pack series and it was amazing. Tons of action, a bad ass heroine, lots of romance, and all my favorite characters- what could be better?

8. Distorted by Christy Barritt– Mallory Baldwin is a survivor. A former victim of human trafficking, she’s been given a second chance, yet not a night goes by that she doesn’t remember being a slave to weapons dealer Dante Torres. Despite being afraid of the dark and wary of strangers, Mallory is trying to rebuild her life by turning her tragedy into redemption. To former Navy SEAL Tennyson Walker, Mallory seems nothing like the shattered woman he rescued two years ago, and he can’t help but be inspired by her strength and resilience. So when a stalker suddenly makes Mallory vulnerable once again, Tennyson steps up as her bodyguard to keep her safe. Mallory and Tennyson’s mutual attraction can’t be ignored, but neither can Mallory’s suspicion that Tennyson is keeping a terrible secret about her past. As the nightmare closes in, it’s not only Mallory and Tennyson’s love that comes under fire but their very lives as well. Will their faith sustain them? Or will the darkness win once and for all?

I really liked this book. It’s part of a series but I’ve not read the others and I assume this is a standalone. I surely didn’t have any issues with missing backstory or underdeveloped characters. There’s lots of action and suspense. I enjoyed it a lot!

I have a bunch of books picked out to read in July! I can’t wait to find some new favorites. 

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Monthly Book Report: May 2017

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I didn’t have much time to read in May. I was busy trying to get my house in order to host our Memorial Day picnic with family and friends. But I did manage to read 6 really good books that are definitely worth sharing. 

1. Tortured by Nicole Williams– When he left for a twelve-month deployment, she knew it would feel like forever before they saw each other again. She didn’t realize how right she was. When Lance Corporal Brecken Connolly gets taken as a POW, Camryn hopes for the best but steels herself for the worst. In the end, steel was what she needed to survive when he didn’t. She moves on the only way she knows how—gilding herself in more steel. Years go by. She builds a new life. She leaves the old one behind. Until one day, she sees the face of a ghost on the news. Brecken seems to have risen from the dead, but she knows she can’t perform the same miracle for herself. While Brecken was held in a torture camp for the past five years, she’s been trapped in her own kind of prison. One she can’t be saved from. The man she mourned comes back to join the living, but the girl he wanted to spend his life with isn’t the same woman he comes back for. Brecken isn’t the same person either. The past five years have changed them both. While he’s determined to put the pieces back together, she’s resolved to let hers rot where they shattered. Broken or not, Brecken wants her back. He’ll do anything to achieve that. Even if it means going against the warden of Camryn’s personal prison—her husband.

I loved this book. It was very emotional and full of ugliness but also full of powerful loyalty and love. I will warn you though- if you are triggered at all by domestic violence then you will want to skip this book. It was hard reading at times but so worth it. 

2. Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson– Evie Blackwell’s reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor’s new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results–and quickly. Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn’t be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client. With a deep conviction that “justice for all” truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

This is book 2 in the series but you can follow the storyline even if you haven’t read book 1. I really love this series! Evie Blackwell is a great main character and all the supporting characters fit really well into the story. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I just love Dee Henderson! She is a Christian author but her books are not slap you in the face with religion. It’s subtle and well placed and authentic.

3. A Simple Favor by Darcey BellIt starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time. But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over. Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

Oh man, this book. This book was a mind blower. It was full of twists and turns and holy cow moments. I thought I had it figured out but I was wrong. I love books that keep me guessing and hold my attention. If you like suspenseful books that you can’t put down until the very last page then you’ll love this one!

4. Rescuing Kassie by Susan Stoker– Graham “Hollywood” Caverly feels the chemistry with Kassie Anderson in the emails they’ve been exchanging through a dating site. When they finally meet in person, and that online chemistry proves to have real-life sizzle, he knows she’s the one. He couldn’t be happier when their first date, at an annual Army Ball, goes better than he could have imagined. Until Kassie drops a bomb. Kassie doesn’t want to approach Hollywood on the dating site, but threats to her family leave her no other choice. She definitely doesn’t want to fall for the man. But fall she does. Hard. After she admits the ruse–and after some understandable anger on both their parts–Kassie wonders if, in Hollywood’s arms, a happy future is within her grasp. But her past always finds her, and in Kassie’s case, that’s a dangerous proposition–because she’s connected to an old enemy of Hollywood’s Delta Force team. Very intimately connected… And it will take Hollywood, his Delta brothers, and even some outside help to do what should have been done the first time–eliminate the threat once and for all.

This is one of my favorite authors. Rescuing Kassie is the 5th book in the Delta Force Heroes Series. Each book is a stand-alone with no cliffhanger endings and the same characters appear in each book so the stories all connect in some way. This book was really good and I loved seeing all the old characters reappear. 

5. Curveball by Mariah Dietz– Shakespeare believed there was always humor in tragedy and tragedy in humor. My life proved his theory as fact. At eighteen I was a single parent moving to this small town to be with the man I loved. The one who was supposed to love and cherish me in return. Finding out he had a wife was tragic. Remaining in love with him in spite of her was more tragic. My mom and best friend setting me up on a long string of blind dates was an ongoing tragedy. Nine years later, I’ve learned to see the humor in most situations. My mom and best friend setting me up on disastrous blind dates. My son’s jokes. The fire alarm going off each time I cook. My constant bright spot always adding to the humor was my son, Hayden. But when Hayden had a life-threatening allergic reaction, the man who came to help my little boy became my own savior. His laugh, his smile, and the way his eyes lit up when he spoke to my son made him a beacon of light in both our lives. But I wasn’t the only one who noticed him. When I began having feelings for the man my best and only friend had fallen for, I knew following my heart would once again lead to a fresh round of heartbreak. Love led me to this town. Lies kept me there. Would history repeat itself? Or had life just thrown me another Curveball?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I’ve never read anything by this author before but the blurb got my attention so I gave it a try. And I loved it! It had everything- infidelity, betrayal, manipulation, and love. All the makings of a great story. Ha! 

6. Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake– Jill Lassiter’s three-year-old daughter disappears from a playground only to return after 40 frantic minutes, but her mother’s relief is short-lived–there’s a tiny puncture mark on Sophia’s arm. When doctors can find no trace of drugs in her system, Jill accepts she’ll never know what happened, but at least her child is safe. Except Sophia isn’t. Someone is watching the Lassiter home in an affluent Pennsylvania suburb, infiltrating the family’s personal and professional lives. While Jill struggles to balance building her photography business with parenting high-spirited Sophia, and David is distracted by pressure to make partner at his law firm, both of them are holding on in a marriage that’s already been rocked by loss. Three months after the incident at the park, Sophia disappears again, but this time Jill and David become the focus of police and media scrutiny and suspicion. Facing every parent’s worst nightmare a second time, Jill discovers that someone doesn’t just want Sophia for her own, she wants to destroy the entire family.

Oh man, this was another great book. I borrowed this one from the library and it was so good. I figured out parts of the story line pretty early on but it still held my attention and then there was a big twist that I did not see coming. I really enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down! 

I’m working on my list for summer reading and I’ll share it when I’m done. I want to spend a lot more time reading this summer and I think having a list will keep me on track. 

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Monthly Book Report: April 2017

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I read 12 books in April! But only 6 of those were really great reads for me so we’ll just talk about them. I had a hard time getting into some of the books this month. I was distracted by my to do list and it was hard to just relax and enjoy the read. May has already started out strong with a couple of great books waiting to be read!

1. Once and For All by Cheryl Etchison– Rule #1: Military and matrimony don’t mix. But if there’s one person Staff Sergeant Danny MacGregor would break all his rules for, it’s Bree—his first friend, first love, first everything. Maybe he likes playing the hero. Maybe he’s trying to ease ten years of guilt. Either way, he’ll do whatever he can to help her. Wish #1: A little bit of normal. Bree Dunbar has battled cancer, twice. What she wants most is a fresh start in a place where she can find a new job, and where people aren’t constantly treating her like she’s sick. By some miracle her wish is granted, but it comes with one major string attached— the man who broke her heart ten years before. The rules for this marriage of convenience are simple: when she’s ready to stand on her own two feet, she’ll walk away and he’ll let her go. Only, as they both know all too well, things don’t always go according to plan.

I loved this book. It was a random check out from the library when nothing else was catching my eye. And it turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the whole month. Full of romance and angst and hot military men. It wasn’t a light fluff read though, it dealt with serious issues and those issues were dealt with really well. I already bought book 2 and can’t wait to dive into it. 

2. Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens– Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Oh man, this book was really good! I’ve read several of her books and they’ve all been great reads. This one had me guessing the whole time. I thought it was obvious which way the story was going. I thought I had it figured out. Then there was a twist and I still thought I had it figured out. But I was so wrong. I had no idea. I could not put this book down. I finished it in less than 36 hours. Trigger warning: there are some scenes of domestic violence so if that’s a trigger for you then this might be a book you want to pass on.

3. I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi– Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch…until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths. Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge…but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?

I’ve never read a book from this author before but I definitely will. This book was fantastic. It was another random library check out that turned out to be amazing. I spent the entire book trying to figure out why the main character would do what she did only to be completely blindsided and shocked by the ending when the reasons are revealed. Blown away. Highly recommend this one!

4. When Stars Collide by Micalea Smeltzer– Waking up in Vegas married to the guy of your dreams sounds like a good thing, right? Not when you’re Thea Montgomery and said guy is your brother’s best friend. Thea and Xander have always avoided the connection between them because her brother would never approve. Now, they’re married— the strongest bond you can have as a couple—and they’re not even a real couple…unless they want to be. Thea wants an annulment immediately, but Xander’s waited too long to see her become his and he won’t let her go easily.
If she wants a divorce, fine, but he wants the summer to convince her that he’s the one. If at the end of the summer she still wants to end their marriage he’ll sign the papers, but until then…All is not fair in love and war.

I’m a total sucker for surprise marriage stories and this one didn’t disappoint. I don’t read many New Adult books anymore because so many are disappointing. But this one was great. I liked both main characters and the side characters were interesting and well developed. This is book 2 in a series but I have not read book 1 and I didn’t feel lost or confused at all. 

5. When Constellations Form by Micalea Smeltzer– It’s been three years since Xander and Thea’s impromptu Vegas wedding. Since then, they’ve dealt with family drama, his grueling NFL schedule, and her college classes. Now that Thea’s graduated from college, it’s finally time for them to move out and start their life together. Things couldn’t be any more perfect. And then a curveball is thrown their way. Midnight feedings and a screaming infant wasn’t a part of Thea’s five-year plan, but, suddenly, it’s very much her soon-to-be reality. Xander is thrilled at the prospect of parenthood while Thea can’t wrap her head around it. But, ready or not, here comes baby.

This is the follow book to the one above. It’s set 3 years after the surprise marriage in Vegas. I liked this book. I liked catching up with the characters and seeing where their lives went after the first book. But to be honest, I didn’t like this one as much as the first book. It was good but it wasn’t great. 

6. Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul by Ruth Soukup– STUFF. It’s everywhere. Lurking in corners and closets, spilling onto counters and coffee tables, creating havoc everywhere we look. And it’s not just the physical clutter that weighs us down. Oh no, it is the stress of overbooked schedules, and the weight of life that sometimes feels oppressive and totally out of whack. New York Times bestselling author Ruth Soukup feels your pain–she has been there too. Through personal stories, Biblical truth, and practical action plans, she will inspire and empower each of us to finally declutter not just our home, but our mind and soul as well. Unstuffed is real, honest, and gets right down to the question we are all facing–how can we take back our lives from the stuff that is weighing us down?

Definitely one of my favorite reads of the month. Hands down. As regular readers know I’ve been on a mission to declutter my house. I checked this book out of the library after seeing several recommendations on blogs and social media. And it was great. It was a quick easy read but it really helped me put some things in perspective. Highly recommend!

As I mentioned, I have several great books on tap to read in May! I anticipate an amazing month of reading and I can’t wait to share them with you next month.

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Monthly Book Report: March 2017

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I read 4 good books in March that I would recommend. I read a few that I would not recommend so we won’t talk about those. I didn’t have a lot of free time to read this month unfortunately but there were a few books that I knew I wanted to read so I used my reading time wisely.

1. Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson– After a career on the rodeo circuit, Ben Sterling longs to settle down on his farm and start a family like his brothers. He’s searched all over for the woman of his dreams. Yet the only one to spark his interest is the new owner of the local café. Getting her attention, however, won’t be easy. Sissy Sue Bentley has worked hard to make it on her own, and she doesn’t need another man in her life. From her alcoholic father to the men she’s dated, who were after only one thing, they are nothing but trouble. Except Ben keeps showing up whenever she really needs help. Sissy struggles to deny her growing feelings for him—but soon Ben’s tender concern has her hoping for a happier future. Then her past comes barreling back into her life, and it will take more than the love in Ben’s heart to hold them together.

I love Catherine Anderson, she’s one of my favorite authors and I’m always excited when she has a new release. I enjoyed this book. It took awhile to get the story build up but once it got going it was really good. I liked both main characters and I liked them together. There were some twists that I wasn’t expecting. This is part of a series but each book stands alone. 

2. Cole by Tijan– I shouldn’t have remembered him. He was just a guy who walked through a restaurant. I didn’t know his name. We never made eye contact. There was no connection between us at all. But I could feel him.
The tingle down my spine. The command in his presence. The snap of tension in the air around him. That was the first time I saw him, and I was captivated. The second time was different. He was in the mysterious back elevator of my apartment building. Our eyes met for a fleeting second before the doors closed, and I was staggered. My breath was robbed. My senses on high alert. My body hummed. That was just the beginning. He was the leader of the mafia. I was about to fall in love with him, and his name…Cole Mauricio.

I love Tijan. Her Carter Reed series is one of my most favorites ever and this book is part of that series. There’s action, there’s violence, there’s a hot alpha male, and there’s mafia. What else do you need? I definitely recommend reading this series in order so you get the full story. 

3. Moving Target by Lynette Eason– When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don’t show up for Quinn’s surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord. Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it’s not long before she realizes she’s in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don’t win this game, they die.

This series is so good! There’s so much action and suspense and romance. It’s fantastic. This one is probably my favorite of the series. I could not put it down! You can read the books in any order but they are really good when you have the backstory on all the characters. 

4. Claiming Grace by Susan Stoker– For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years. Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved. Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

Susan Stoker is another one of my favorite authors. This is the first book in her new series. I enjoyed it, probably not as much as her other 2 series but it was really good. I think I love her other characters so much that starting a new series was hard for me. I know, I’m a freak. 

I’m looking forward to reading some more great books in April. It’s getting warm outside so I plan to spend some time out on the deck reading while the kids play in the yard. I love Spring!

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Monthly Book Report: February 2017

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I read a lot of great books in February! I read 11 fantastic books, to be exact. It was a great reading month for me! And 9 of them were borrows so they were free to read! That’s a great month, for sure!

1. The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent– When Autumn Carpenter stumbles upon the social media account of the family who adopted her infant daughter years ago, she finds herself instantly drawn into their picture-perfect existence. From behind a computer screen, Autumn watches Grace’s every memory, from birthdays to holidays to bedtime snuggles. But what starts as an innocent fascination spirals into an addictive obsession met with a screeching halt the day the McMullen family closes their Instaface account without so much as a warning. Frantic and desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Autumn applies for a nanny position with the McMullens, manipulating herself into Grace’s life under false pretenses. And it’s only then that Autumn discovers pictures lie, the perfect family doesn’t exist, and beautiful people? They have the ugliest secrets.

This book. THIS BOOK. It was so good! I didn’t see the ending coming and there were some twists and turns that I definitely wasn’t expecting! I love that in a book. This was more in the contemporary mystery/suspense category, which I really enjoy.

2. Kill Me by L.P. Lovell– Una: To many, I am little more than a myth. The Kiss of Death, a hired killer, revered by some of the greatest criminal organisations in the world. Trained by the bratva themselves, without conscience, without mercy, the perfect soldier. I’ll kill anyone… for a price. Death doesn’t discriminate, she sells to the highest bidder, but even I have a weakness. Nero: I want one thing—power. But power is merely a game of strategy. The pieces are on the chess board. Death is my queen, and also my pawn. She’ll paint this city red in exchange for the one thing she wants. Now all I have to do is watch it all play out. She’s nothing more than a weapon, and yet, I find myself wanting to dance with death, to possess her. And I always get what I want. A game of power. A risk that could cost her everything. An obsession that would see the world burn at their feet. A bloodied king. A broken queen. Kill me or kiss me?

I enjoyed this book. It was unexpected. The heroine was a badass and I liked that. I probably won’t continue reading the series but this book was pretty good. It’s violent and dark and fast paced. 

3. Protector by Michelle Horst– I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of person. I wanted to save the world, or at least leave my stamp behind. In my own naïve way I thought I could bribe karma but life has a way of teaching us lessons. I never knew how selfish I was until my life was ripped away from me. Taken. I’m forced to watch as they torture and kill my family … and I know I’m next. I hear their screams. I watch them die. It’s the worst kind of torture. Then he comes. He made a promise to my brother. It’s the only thing keeping him bound to me. A promise to protect me. I should set him free of the promise … but I don’t. He’s my shield against karma. He’s my protector.

Woah- this book was just WOAH. It’s definitely violent so if that bothers you then you’ll want to skip this one. I felt for the heroine, she really got a bad hand dealt to her. I didn’t see the twist coming which always makes me happy. I do recommend this one and I hope this is going to turn into a series because I would definitely read more about these characters!

4. Becoming Mrs. Lockwood by K.I. Lynn– Every girl has dreams of meeting Prince Charming, or at least I know I did. A fairy tale-like meeting of love at first sight. Real life and fairy tales are very different. I’m just a small town Indiana girl that had a chance encounter with one of Hollywood’s golden boys. You may think you know where this story goes—not even close. Life is different. Marriage is hard. It’s even worse when you’re strangers.

This book definitely requires you to suspend reality a little bit in order to enjoy it. And I had to get over the age difference which at first made the story a little icky to me. I almost stopped reading but I kept going and I did end up enjoying the story. 

5. Turbulent Desires by Melody Anne– ER nurse Lindsey Helm used to be strong. Then a late-night attack at the hospital nearly killed her and left two close colleagues dead. Now Lindsey has retreated from the world. She knows she needs to move on, but every hint of danger seems threatening—including a certain sexy flyboy who’s determined to show Lindsey what she’s missing. But falling for F-18 pilot Maverick Armstrong is a risk she can’t afford. Maverick knows that fear can eat away at the soul, and he won’t leave Lindsey to that fate. She needs someone to reach her and to remind her of the exhilaration and unbelievable passion of being touched. He’ll help her heal, and then he’ll walk away. He has to walk away. Because Maverick swore he would never fall in love and never marry. But this is a rescue operation, and Maverick will stay the course—even if things get hazardous. Even if saving Lindsey means surrendering his heart in the process.

I really really enjoyed this book. It definitely has triggers for violence but it was a really well written story. It gave me all the feels and I loved the interactions between the main characters. It’s part of a series but I read it as a standalone with no problems. 

6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver– For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night. However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

I’ve had this book on my TBR list for awhile and once I saw that it was turned into a movie I knew I had to read the book first. I refuse to watch movies based on books if I haven’t read the book first. And I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting and I couldn’t put it down! Highly recommend. 

7. Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb– As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action. Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”…While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions: What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

I just love this series. I love it so much. Every book is great and the characters all feel like old friends now. This is book number 44 in the series and if you haven’t read all of them yet, what are you waiting for?? 

8. Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton– U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her. Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down. One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love.

I love me some military books. The heroes are always yummy and alpha and hot. This was the first book in a new series and it was fantastic. I love that the relationship between the two main characters wasn’t easy. It was hard and real and they dealt with their issues in adult ways. I devoured this book in less than 12 hours because I could not put it down!

9. Into the Blue by Chanel Cleeton– Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée. Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca. Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?

This is book 2 in the series and it was good too. Probably not as good as book one but still a solid 4 star read for me. I enjoyed seeing repeat characters from book 1. The angst level in this book was higher than in book 1 and the conflict wasn’t as strong for me, but definitely worth the read.

10. On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton– A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction. Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory. But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together.

And this is book 3 in the series. It was as good as book 1 for sure. It deals with two of the pivotal characters from book 1 and I loved it so much. Seeing them work through their issues and find a future together was amazing! I hope there are going to be more books in this series because I just love these character so much!

11. Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova– Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease. Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing? As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

This book was a recommendation from a reader, thanks Amanda! And it was good! I could not put this story down. I had to keep reading. I had to know the end. And the end….not what I was expecting. It was a heartbreaking read full of hard stuff and tears but also full of love and family. I cannot recommend this one enough!

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