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Weekly Book Club {9.12.18}

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Man, I’m on a roll with these library picks! I’ve found so many new authors and new books this year all out of a desire to not spend so much money on books. I probably would never have paid for some of these books because they’re mostly in the $10-15 range and I’m on a budget. But having them available from the library has been awesome for me. 

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The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown One woman is about to discover everything she believes-knows-to be true about her life…isn’t. After hitting her head, Lucy Sparks awakens in the hospital to a shocking revelation: the man she’s known and loved for years-the man she recently married-is not actually her husband. In fact, they haven’t even spoken since their breakup four years earlier. The happily-ever-after she remembers in vivid detail-right down to the dress she wore to their wedding-is only one example of what her doctors call a false memory: recollections Lucy’s mind made up to fill in the blanks from the coma. Her psychologist explains the condition as honest lying, because while Lucy’s memories are false, they still feel incredibly real. Now she has no idea which memories she can trust-a devastating experience not only for Lucy, but also for her family, friends and especially her devoted boyfriend, Matt, whom Lucy remembers merely as a work colleague. When the life Lucy believes she had slams against the reality she’s been living for the past four years, she must make a difficult choice about which life she wants to lead, and who she really is.

My Rating: 4 Stars

This book. I spent most of it unsure how to feel about the situation. On one hand I felt bad for Lucy but on the other hand I felt really really bad for her boyfriend, Matt. By the end of the book I identified more with Matt and though Lucy was pretty unlikable. But I was invested and I needed to see the end to know how it worked out. Anytime a book has me that invested I know it was a good read, even if I didn’t love the main character!

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The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir– Esther Ann Hicks–Essie–is the youngest child on Six for Hicks,a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage–and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media–through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell–Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Wow. This book. Y’all. It was raw, it was gritty, it was uncomfortable to read at times. And I loved it! I’m not going to spoil the story for you but oh my gosh, it’s so good! I’ll confess I had the story wrong in the beginning. I thought I knew the who, what and why but I was so wrong. This book gripped me from page 1 and I had to finish it! Definitely recommend!

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Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis– Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife. Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself? Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan. Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Brown changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Jill Shalvis is one of my favorites. I enjoy pretty much everything she writes. This book was amazing. It gave me all the feels and I could actually envision the scenes as I was reading them. I love when that happens! Lanie was an amazing main character and I really loved her spunk and determination. The Capriottis were the family we all wish we had- close, loud, and a bit crazy. I think I enjoyed the book so much because I could visualize them as my family in another decade or so. Definitely highly recommend this one. 

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Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris– Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story. Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her. Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed probably 75% of it and then bam- the ending ruined it for me. I will say that I had absolutely no clue where the book was going to take me. I had no idea the who, what, or why until the very end. So on one hand, it definitely kept me in suspense. But honestly the ending felt like a cop out instead of a big reveal. I ended the book feeling more frustrated than satisfied. 

 



Weekly Book Club {9.5.18}

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What a great group of books I’m going to share with you guys today! All of these came from my local library and all of them were hits for me! 

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How Hard Can it be by Allison Pearson– Allison Pearson’s brilliant debut novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, was a New York Times bestseller with four million copies sold around the world. Called “the definitive social comedy of working motherhood” (The Washington Post) and “a hysterical look―in both the laughing and crying senses of the world―at the life of Supermom” (The New York Times), I Don’t Know How She Does It introduced Kate Reddy, a woman as sharp as she was funny. As Oprah Winfrey put it, Kate’s story became “the national anthem for working mothers.” Seven years later, Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as “sparkling, funny, and poignant…a triumphant return for Pearson.” Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new “shaping” underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter’s surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

I loved this book! I think I loved it so much because I could relate to a lot of what Kate was going through. The story sucked me in and I could feel what she was dealing with. I could easily put myself in her position and that helped keep me totally engrossed in the story. I found myself giggling at a good portion of this book, nodding along in solidarity, and getting teary eyed at some parts. Definitely recommend this one. 

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Go Ask Ali by Ali Wentworth– At once endearing and hilarious, thoughtful and far-fetched, this third collection offers Ali at her wisest and wittiest as she delivers tips, pointers, and quips on a host of life’s conundrums and sticky situations, including the funny, sometimes embarrassing yet unforgettable situations that have shaped her inimitable world view as a wife, mother, actress, comedian, and all around bon vivant. Thoroughly entertaining, Go Ask Ali is packed with thoughts and musings from “the girlfriend you want to have a glass of wine with, the one who makes you laugh because she sees the funny and the absurd in everything” 

My Rating: 4 Stars

I love Ali Wentworth. I adore her. This book was really funny, honest, and down to earth. I could picture myself sitting on her couch with a cup of coffee having a chat about life while I was reading this book. It made me laugh out loud and cringe with empathetic embarrassment. I thought it was as funny as her other books and I definitely recommend it!

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Save the Date by Morgan Matson– Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect. The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge. There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute. Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

My Rating: 5 Stars

I adored this book and I almost didn’t read it! I downloaded it from the library on a whim without really knowing much about it. I’m so glad I did! I can’t believe I almost missed out on this one. I loved this family so much. From the sibling interactions to the parents to the extended family- they are all awesome characters! I laughed, I gasped, I groaned, I teared up. It was seriously like watching a favorite movie- I put it in the category of The Family Stone or This is Where I Leave You which is a huge compliment because I adore both of those movies! Definitely a must read!

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The Ever After by Sarah PekkanenJosie and Frank Moore are happy… at least Josie thinks they are. As parents of two young girls in the Chicago suburbs, their days can be both busy and monotonous, and sometimes Josie wonders how she became a harried fortysomething mother rather than the driven career woman she once was. But Frank is a phenomenal father, he’s handsome and charismatic, and he still looks at his wife like she’s the beautiful woman he married more than a decade ago. Josie isn’t just happy—she’s lucky. Until one Saturday morning when Josie borrows her husband’s phone to make a quick call—and sees nine words that shatter her world. Now Josie feels as if she is standing at the edge of a sharp precipice. As she looks back at pivotal moments in the relationship she believed would last forever, she is also plunging ahead, surprising everyone (especially herself) with how far she will go to uncover the extent of her husband’s devastating secret.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

I almost didn’t read this one. The subject matter is a difficult one for me to read. But it was recommended by a friend so I dove right in head first and hoped it wouldn’t be a mistake. The book was hard for me to read, probably because of just how much I could relate to the main character. It was uncomfortable and took me back to dark places in my life. But it was incredibly well written and the emotions/actions of the main character were spot on in my experience. The book stuck with me for quite awhile, which rarely happens with as many books as I read. Definitely recommend!



Weekly Book Club {8.29.18}

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This week’s book club is full of amazing reads. All of these are 4.5 and 5 star reads for me, which hasn’t happened in awhile! And all of them were once again downloaded from my library!

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Beyond Control by Kat Martin– When Victoria Langford got engaged, she told herself to give love a chance. Six months later, she’s on the run from her angry, abusive ex-fiancé with her four-year-old daughter and nowhere to go. Seventy miles north of Dallas, the Iron River Ranch is pretty much nowhere. That’s what its new owner, Josh Cain, wanted when he came back from Afghanistan. Big skies, quiet nights, no trouble. One look tells Josh the pretty redhead with the adorable little girl will give him trouble of the most personal kind. But he’s seen trouble before, and he doesn’t scare easy. Not when “accidents” start happening around the ranch. Not when Tory’s best friend back in Phoenix is abducted and brutalized. Not even when it looks like their current problems are only the tip of the iceberg. But if he gets too close to fierce, determined Tory, Josh knows his nights are going to be anything but quiet. And that’s one possibility no amount of training can prepare him for.

My Rating: 5 Stars

This book was so good. So so good! I was hooked from the very first page and could not put it down! I think I finished this one in less than 4 hours- that’s how good it was! The action, the emotions, the characters…they all grabbed me immediately. I highly recommend this one!

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Shadow Keeper by Christine Feehan– The paparazzi can’t get enough of infamous bad boy Giovanni Ferraro. But unknown to them–and the women he beds–he’s just playing a role. Keeping the spotlight on himself keeps it off the family business. And if this lethal shadow rider can’t hunt in the dark, he’ll find his pleasure elsewhere. Sasha Provis grew up on a Wyoming ranch and thought she knew how to protect herself from predators. But in the nightclub where she works, she’s fair game–until one of the owners steps in to protect her. Giovanni is gorgeous. He’s dangerous. And his every touch takes her breath away. The devil at her heels may have finally met its match.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

This is the first book I’ve read from this series. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of other Christine Feehan’s series. They’re amazing and I re-read them often. I wasn’t sure about this new series though. It’s very different. And it turns out- I loved it! I loved the characters, I loved how strong the female characters were, and I love me some alphas males. This book had tons of action, romance, stress…it had it all. I will definitely be going back and reading the other books in this series. 

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Shelter In Place by Nora Roberts– Sometimes, there is nowhere safe to hide. It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived. The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art. But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

This book was so so close to a 5 star read for me. I think the only reason it’s not is because of the huge time span the book covers. It made it a little distracting for me. But the story line is great, the characters are great, and the ending was great. Nora Roberts books are usually either hit or miss for me. And this one is a hit! She tackled a really touchy and time relevant subject and did it in a way that made you feel all the emotions. 

 

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell– THEN: She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. NOW: It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter. And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away. Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? Who still has secrets to hide?

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book! It was so close to being a 5 star read for me. The reason it wasn’t is something pretty minor but I couldn’t get past it. I don’t want to spoil the story so I won’t say more about it. Just know that it was something that probably wouldn’t bother 99% of people. I’m just weird. The story itself is good! It draws you in and then won’t let go. I had to know what happened and how it ended and I felt like the story was wrapped up with enough answers to satisfy my curiosity. Definitely recommend this one!



Weekly Book Club {8.22.18}

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Sharing 3 more great reads that I borrowed from the library! I’ve really broadened my reading horizons by using the library this year. And I’ve found so many new authors that have become favorites! Unfortunately that means my own unread shelf is still….unread. But that’s ok! More books to look forward to in the future, right?

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The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy– An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing. They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives. When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media. Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.

My Rating: 4 Stars

I enjoyed this book! I read it fairly quickly because I wanted to see how it ended. I liked seeing the different dimensions to the womens friendships and how they related to each other. I also liked seeing how some members of the May Mothers devolved as the story went on- it was really interesting to see how differently they reacted to the missing baby! I’ll admit- I did not see the ending coming. It was a surprise to me and those are the best kinds of books!

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Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins– One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back. Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments. With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

My Rating: 5 Stars

I loved this book. I loved it so much. I pretty much love every book written by Kristan Higgins but this one is definitely a huge winner for me. I loved all the different multi-dimensional relationships. Some were uncomfortable to read about and it felt very very real to me. I liked Nora and I was rooting for her throughout the book. I have so many feelings on this book but I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just tell you to read it!

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Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel HollisFounder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice. Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward. From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

My Rating: 4 Stars

I enjoyed this book! It was funny, it was full of great antidotes, and it was real life. Rachel held nothing back. Reading this book honestly felt like being curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee and chatting with a close friend. And that’s a compliment I don’t give out often. Highly recommend this one!



Weekly Book Club {8.15.18}

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Three more books from the library this week….are you sensing a theme here? Ha! I may never buy a book again. Ok that’s bit extreme, but I have saved a ton of money this year so it’s a win for me…and my credit card!

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Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer– The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable. As weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhood, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path? Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Oh my heart. My breaking heart. This book gave me all the feels. I could relate to the story so much because of our time as foster parents. This book was a very realistic look at the consequences of addiction and how it can destroy a family. I found the book to be very well written and exceptionally real. I found myself really torn between rooting for Annie to get clean and rooting for Lexie to keep the baby. It was an emotional wringer and I loved every page. 

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After Anna by Lisa Scottoline– Noah Alderman, a doctor and a widower, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie, and for the first time in a long time he and his son are happy. But their lives are turned upside down when Maggie’s daughter Anna moves in with them. Anna is a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble that is brewing. Events take a deadly turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused of the crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her only daughter, but the realization that her daughter’s murder was at the hands of a husband she loves. New information sends Maggie searching for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

My Rating: 4 Stars

I initially picked this book because it dealt with PPP (postpartum psychosis) which if you’ve been around here awhile you’ll know I also dealt with after the birth of my last child. I’m always interested in books that deal with PPP but rarely do they portray it in any kind of realistic way. This one definitely did and it showed the real life consequences that PPP can have on a mother’s life. So I automatically found myself rooting for and identifying with Maggie. The story was well paced and told in a unique way with Noah’s portion being told in reverse and Maggie’s portion told chronologically. This made the story so much more interesting for me. I can say that I did not see the ending coming. It was a huge twist for me, and a bit unbelievable, but definitely interesting. 

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Jagged by Lauren DaneVicktor Orlov took one look at the wary gaze and slow-to-trust personality of the deliciously sexy and fascinating Rachel Dolan and knew he wanted more than just a casual friendship. But as a natural protector, he also knew bossiness and overprotective maneuvering would push her away rather than draw her close. He’ll use every tool in his easygoing arsenal to convince her to take a chance on them. Rachel’s flourishing new career as a tattoo artist has brought color back into a life previously damaged by a series of bad choices and violence. She knows she can trust Vic—it’s herself she’s not sure of. She doesn’t want to be caged or controlled. Doesn’t want to be protected so much she has no ability to make her own choices. And damn if the man doesn’t know it. When Vic finally drops all pretenses of “just friends” and focuses all his careful affection and irresistible seduction on her, Rachel knows she’s falling hard for the laid-back pretty-boy Russian she discovers has a relentlessly steel spine when it comes to her. And she can’t resist.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

This is the first book in the Whiskey Sharp series that I have read so this may have been a 5 star read for me if I’d read book one first. As it stands, this was a solid 4.5 star read and I enjoyed it a lot. There was a lot of family drama and strange dynamics between Rachel and her parents that probably would have made more sense had I read the first book prior to this one. I loved the relationship between Rachel and Vicktor. They were both great characters with distinctly strong personalities but they meshed so well together. I do highly recommend this one and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series!