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Weekly Book Club {9.7.17}

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Today is the first post in my new weekly book club series! Instead of doing one big post with all the books I read at the end of the month I’ve decided to do a post weekly. Partly because I feel like I can’t share as many good books as I want because the post would be sooooo long. And also because I find myself forgetting important details that I meant to share about the books at the beginning of the month. Clearly I’m getting old. So let’s give this a try!

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The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan– The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy. Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.

My Rating: 5 Stars

So this is book 2 in the Game On series. I read the first book, The Hook Up, awhile ago and it was fantastic. My local library finally added the second and third books to their online ebook catalog so I was able to check out book 2 and I’m on the wait list for book 3. I loved this book. I loved Ivy and Gray. They were real characters and I felt emotionally connected to both of them. This book had humor, conflict, love, anger…it touched on all the emotions. I loved Ivy’s smart mouth and I loved how Gray had to tear down her walls. The banter between them was hilarious and they built a friendship first, which was awesome. You all know how much I adore football and I really appreciated that this book was not about a quarterback! Give the tight ends some love! And I really appreciated that Gray was not a stereotypical dumb jock. He was very very smart! You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy this book though. The story is about much more than football. I will definitely read the rest of this series. 

Favorite quote- “The fact is, Ivy, for me, there is one absolute truth. The sum of my existence equals you.” 

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter– Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night. Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever.

My Rating: 5 Stars

This book. Holy cow. I almost don’t know what to say about it. I was hooked right from the very first paragraph and could not stop reading. It is definitely a dark book with lots of twists and turns and details. You absolutely cannot skim this book. You must read it, every word, which shouldn’t be a problem because HOLY COW. It deals with some sensitive issues and does have some triggers. But if you can get past the dark, the story is amazing. It’s shocking, and gritty, and real. It deals with the secrets in a family and how they can come back to bite us. It shows how hard it is to truly move on after a traumatic event and how those events shape us forever. It shows that not everything is as it appears at first glance. The relationships in this book are all very complicated. The relationship between sisters, between father and daughter, between husband and wife….I highly recommend this one! 

Book Club will be back next week with my current reads!

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Monthly Book Report: August 2017

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So August was much busier than I anticipated. I knew it was going to be jammed packed with school starting mid-month and football games starting up. But holy cow, I haven’t had time to take a deep breath in weeks. I did manage to devour some great books this month though! This will be my last monthly book report. I’m going to start sharing the books I really enjoyed more often than just once a month. 

1. The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham– Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls. When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever.

I enjoyed this book. It was not truly a mystery because you know who did what very early on in the story. But it was suspenseful because I had to keep reading so I could find out what the ending was going to be. I read this in less than 48 hours. Definitely recommend if you liked The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. 

2. All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda– It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched. The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing. Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

This one was different. In a good way but also in the way the story was told. It was written in reverse order of the events. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one before. It was intriguing but also a bit confusing at times. I enjoyed it and I definitely did not figure out the ending before it happened. Again, I recommend if you liked The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. And make sure you have some time to dedicate to this one, you have to pay attention or you’ll be lost in the timeline. I had to re-read several chapters when I got distracted. 

3. The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon– Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They’ve hired him ten personal assistants-and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay. Isabella Sawyer’s employment agency can’t afford to lose Eli Crane’s business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won’t rest until she tames this wicked beast.

This one was my light fluffy read of the month that ended up being really emotional and deep. It was a good storyline with likeable characters who had chemistry that was off the charts. It’s book 3 in a series but I haven’t read the others and I wasn’t lost or confused. If you like wounded alpha males and strong sassy women who take them on, then you’ll enjoy this book. 

4. Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy– When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The adults are lulled by the ship’s comfort and ease. The four children—ages six to eleven—love the nonstop buffet and their newfound independence. But when they all go ashore for an adventure in Central America, a series of minor misfortunes and miscalculations leads the families farther from the safety of the ship. One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone. The disintegration of the world the families knew—told from the perspectives of both the adults and the children—is both riveting and revealing. The parents, accustomed to security and control, turn on each other and blame themselves, while the seemingly helpless children discover resources they never knew they possessed. 

I enjoyed this story a lot. It was one of those stories that strikes you right in the heart because it’s every mother’s worst fear come to life. I read this one quick because I had to know how it ended. There are small storylines entwined in the bigger storyline which kept my interest the whole time. Warning: there is a rape scene involving a teenager but it’s not overly detailed. 

5. Bring Her Home by David Bell– Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life. As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all. When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family.

This book was fantastic. It was a tightly written story with multiple storylines happening underneath the main one. I had no idea who the villain was going to turn out to be and there were a couple of really big twists that I did not see coming at all. I thought I had it all figured out halfway through but I was so wrong. I read this one in less than 12 hours because I could not put it down! Highly recommend. I already reserved 3 more of his books at the library after reading this one. 

6. Class Mom by Laurie Gelman– Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom–or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it’s her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max–this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President sees her as the-wisest-candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree. From recording parents’ response times to her emails about helping in the classroom, to requesting contributions of-special-brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen’s methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from Jen’s past, a hyper-sensitive -allergy mom,-a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife-wannabe, causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.

Oh my gosh. This is hands down one of my favorite books of the entire year. It was AMAZING! It was hysterically funny, totally real, and I could not put it down. If you don’t read one other book I’ve recommended this year, read this one. If you have kids in school, if you’ve ever been the class mom, if you’ve ever deleted the emails from a class mom….read this book! It’s written by Laurie Gelman, who is the wife of the Gelman on Live with Kelly and Ryan! I hope she is writing another book right now because she is hugely talented at it. I’m the varsity football team mom AND the class mom for 1st grade this year so this book really had me laughing!

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Monthly Book Report: July 2017

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I was a reading machine during July. Long days at the pool gave me ample time to enjoy some uninterrupted reading time. I read some gems too! Out of 26 books I read, 10 of those were 5 star reads for me! That’s practically unheard of these days in my little book corner. Since I read so many I’m going to just give my highlights of the month. If you want to see all the books I read, you can follow along on Goodreads with me. 

1. Kiss, Marry, Kill by Sidney Halston– It was just supposed to be a regular Thursday afternoon…and then he saw her. Sitting in seat L214, one seat over from his at the baseball game, right next to her douche of a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. An impromptu kiss for the kiss cam, and Jax knew his life would never be the same. Five years and a tour in Afghanistan later, Jax is back stateside running his own private security firm, Iron-Clad, with his best friend. He isn’t the man he used to be… but Megan isn’t the sexy and sweet, though sheltered, twenty-two-year-old he left behind, either. And she’s in trouble. Megan Cruz has made something of herself. She’s turned her dreams of pop stardom into a reality. But when a deadly stalker breaks into her home claiming to be her number-one fan, the only person she can turn to is the boy who got away. But Jax isn’t the same carefree charmer who stole her heart, then broke it when he joined the military. This man is seductive, hard, guarded. And he’ll do anything to protect what’s his.

I loved this book and I cannot wait for book 2 to be released at the end of this month! It had action, romance, suspense, and a hot alpha. What could be better? Nothing. The book was fast paced well written. The characters were awesome and real. I cannot recommend this one enough.

2. Flatlines by S.M. Smith– Beth Hughes is a professional life saver. She works long hours as an emergency room nurse, treating every ailment from the stomach bug to a broken bone to a collapsed lung. Oliver Hughes is a professional trainer. He works long hours mapping out diets and workouts for some of the NPFL’s top athletes. But despite how knowledgeable they are in taking care of other people, they barely know how to take care of each other. And when one night of loneliness leads to Beth’s slow destruction, it’s going to take a tremendous amount of grace and forgiveness to put back together what she thinks she destroyed. Support and encouragement may find them in the least likely of places, but the odds still seem stacked against them. And just as she thinks she’s figured out how to fight for herself and what she wants, Beth is forced to look at the facts. Hope may be blooming, but opportunity comes knocking and Beth and Ollie are left to wonder: can they really revive their marriage before it flatlines? 

I had no idea what this book was about when I dove into it. I didn’t even read the blurb. It was recommended by a friend and I loved it. Definitely not a light, fluffy read though. It was intense and emotional and real. 

3. Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost– Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both.

This is book 3 in the Night Prince series. I adore this author. I loved her Night Huntress series and this is a spinoff series from that one. Highly recommend if you like hot vampires with an attitude and snarky heroines who don’t any crap. 

4. Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost– For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him. A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.

And this is book 4,the final book, of the Night Prince series. It was just as good as the rest of her books. Lots of action, lots of old friends, lots of romance, and lots of angry vampire fighting. Pretty much everything I love in a romance book. Definitely start with book 1 if you want to read this series because they need to be read in order. 

5. Give Me Hell by Kate McCarthy– Mackenzie Valentine is wilful, fiery, and determined to prove she doesn’t need anyone. Desperate to break free from the over-protective parents and three older brothers who dictate her every move, she runs away at the age of seventeen to hunt down the only boy who makes her feel alive. Jake Romero has no choice but to leave the best thing that ever happened to him, taking him down a path that leads to notorious gang, the King Street Boys. When fate throws Mackenzie back in his life, he turns her away in her time of need, knowing he now lives a life in which she doesn’t belong. Except his decision has shattering consequences, leading to secrets, lies, and the ultimate betrayal. Years later, their lives continue to entwine, and when his past returns demanding retribution, Mackenzie intervenes and gets caught in the crossfire, leaving behind a devastation that no one sees coming. Can their relationship withstand the hell it’s endured, or is it too late for love? 

This is book 4 in the Give Me series and it’s one I have been waiting for. It was sooooo good. Definitely read this series in order though or you’ll be totally lost. 

6. Pieces of Me by Shiloh Walker– Nobody knows that better than Shadow Harper. It seemed like a dream come true when a rich, suave older man noticed her during her second year of college. Stefan Stockman seemed to love her obsessively. He came into her life and swept her off her feet, seduced her, married her…and then slowly, eventually, that dream come true became a living nightmare. Now, three years after she finally escaped him, she’s trying to put her life back together. Haunted by memories, struggling with post-traumatic stress, she spends most of her time locked away in her home on Pawley’s Island, a small town on the South Carolina coast. Her rare moments of joy come from her trips to the nearby beach. She compulsively checks the locks on her doors, makes sure she has her cell phones—five of them—and if she misses something on her schedule, it throws her into a panic. When she accidentally leaves a sketchbook on the beach, an anxiety attack seems imminent. Her art has become her salvation, her sanity, and losing even one sketch is like losing a piece of her soul. When she returns to hunt for the sketchbook, already fearing it’s gone for good, she’s surprised to find it still sitting there, saved by a sexy fellow beach lover—the mysterious Dillian Jenkins. He’s brash, bold, brutally handsome…and gentle. He’s the exact opposite of the man who’d tormented her for years, and Shadow finds herself slowly, almost reluctantly, falling for him. Even obsessing over him. When her ex-husband once again intrudes on the happiness she’s finally discovering, Shadow turns to Dillian. But will she find shelter there…or another betrayal? 

Hands down, this was one my favorite books of the year. It was fantastic, unputdownable, and amazing. I was torn between needing to keep reading at 3am because I had to know what happened and wanting to make it last as long as possible. Highly recommend this one. 

7. The Darkest Sunrise Series by Aly Martinez- Book One: Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience. “You’re pregnant.” “It’s a boy.”  “Your son needs a heart transplant.” Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Lies. Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun. Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky. “He’s gone.” For ten years, the darkness consumed me. In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise. “Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”

Book Two: Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Bullshit. Words destroyed me. “I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.” “Daddy, he can’t breathe!”  “There’s nothing more we can do for your son.” Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Lies. Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me. Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness. “He’s gone.” In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise. “Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”

This series killed me. Dead. It was amazing. I was smart enough to wait until both books were available before diving into book 1 because I know this author’s writing well. And I knew I wouldn’t want to wait for book 2. I was so right. The story was amazing and heartbreaking and beautiful. I did not see the twist coming at all. Definitely a favorite!

8. The Retrieval Duet Series by Aly Martinez- Book OneI proposed on our first date. She laughed and told me I was insane. Less than a day later, she said yes. It was a whirlwind, but we were happy… Until we got greedy and wanted a family. It was a life I couldn’t give her, not for lack of trying. Fertility just wasn’t on our side. We sought out doctors and treatments. Spent money we didn’t have. Lied to our families. Smiled for our friends. Put on a brave face for a world that didn’t understand. Finally, we were successful…Until we were forced to bury our son. We were left broken, battered, and destroyed. They say love is in the details, but it was the details that ruined us. This is the story of how I took back what had always been mine. The retrieval of my wife and our family. 

Book Two: I fell in love with a man who didn’t exist. What started out as romance ended in hell. His words turned to razor blades. His kisses converted to fists. His embrace became my cage. His body transformed into a weapon, stealing parts of me until ultimately….I broke. I hated him. My sole job in life became to protect our daughter. I wasn’t sure I’d ever escape the prison he’d skillfully crafted from my fears. Until the day our savior arrived. This is the story of how I escaped the man who thought he owned me. The transfer of my life and my family.

And yet another amazing favorite series by Aly Martinez. This one was just as fantastic and a definite favorite. Highly recommend! Definitely read in order or you won’t understand what is going on. 

9. The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell– In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side. Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband. For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie? As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.

I checked this book out of the library when I was just looking for a light fluffy read. It was really really good. I was invested in the story and in the lives of these characters. Definitely a great read!

I expect I’ll get a lot less reading done in August but I’m hoping for a few really good ones to share with you next month!

 

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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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