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New Releases This Week {10.29.19}

These are the new releases for the week of October 29 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell– Gifted musician Clemency Thompson is playing for tourists on the streets of southern France when she receives an urgent text message. Her childhood friend, Lucy, is demanding her immediate return to London. It’s happening, says the messageThe baby is back. Libby Jones was only six months old when she became an orphan. Now twenty-five, she’s astounded to learn of an inheritance that will change her life. A gorgeous, dilapidated townhouse in one of London’s poshest neighborhoods has been held in a trust for her all these years. Now it’s hers. As Libby investigates the story of her birth parents and the dark legacy of her new home, Clemency and Lucy are headed her way to uncover, and possibly protect, secrets of their own. What really happened in that rambling Chelsea mansion when they were children? And are they still at risk?

Explosive Vengeance by Kaylea Cross– The government made Chloe Wilson an explosives expert, trained to take out a target with a precise, controlled hit. But there’s nothing controlled about her current situation—or the danger coming after her. When a good-looking stranger is sent to watch her back, she’s not impressed. This mission is personal, and it’s liable to get her killed. The former Valkyrie can’t afford any mistakes or attachments, but this time she has no choice, and soon her new partner proves his worth. When former Pararescueman Heath Barrett gets a call from his best friend asking him to keep tabs on a woman in danger, he has no idea what he’s getting himself into. Far from a helpless civilian, Chloe holds him at knifepoint the first time they meet. She’s a deadly operative being hunted by lethal enemies and by the time he realizes the extent of the danger, it’s too late to walk away. Now they’re both targets, and he and Chloe must face the threat head on—and if they want to survive, they’ll have to do it together.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett– Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly. Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too. Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on.

Left To Die by Lisa Jackson– In the lonely woods around Grizzly Falls, Montana, the first body is discovered, stripped naked and tied to a tree. Alvarez and Pescoli have been hoping for a career-making case, but this is a nightmare. The killer stages car accidents on icy, isolated roads and “rescues” his victims. He toys with them, heals them, earns their trust . . . before subjecting them to a slow, agonizing death. When Jillian Rivers opens her eyes, she’s trapped in a mangled car. Then a stranger, claiming to be a trail guide, pries her free. Though she’s grateful, something about him sets Jillian on edge. And if she knew what was lying in wait for her, she’d be truly terrified. Even with the FBI involved, Selena and Regan have nothing to go on but a series of cryptic notes, and the unsettling knowledge that there is much worse to come. Piece by piece, the killer’s brutal plan is taking shape. But his final move will be the most shocking–and personal–of all.



Book Review: Fix Her Up

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Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey– Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)
Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)
Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)
Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: June 11, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: Oh man, this book was really cute! But it also had a surprising amount of depth to it for what I thought was going to be a quick, light read. I adored the characters of Georgie and Travis. They were amazing. I felt for Georgie the most, trying to be taken seriously as the youngest sister with a bunch of brothers is a tough challenge in a family like hers. Her emotions just jumped off the page at me. I also enjoyed Travis and seeing him fight his feelings for Georgie was fun! There was angst, there was comedy, and there was deep emotions- all of which combined to create a really great story. I wanted to smack her family on more than occasion while reading but when Travis stands up for her finally, all bets were off and I was firmly on his side! I definitely recommend this one!



New Releases This Week {10.22.19}

These are the new releases for the week of October 22 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren– As an adventurous send-off to her childhood, eighteen-year-old Tate Jones travels with her grandmother from their small town in Northern California to London. But the vacation of a lifetime is wonderfully derailed by the appearance of two charming Vermont farmers: grandfather Luther and his handsome grandson Sam. Sam and Tate fall hard and fast. For two glorious weeks, the couple share their hopes, dreams, and secrets. Sam admits he suspects his grandfather is dying and that this could be the last trip they take together, and Tate reveals that she is the hidden daughter of one of the biggest film stars in the world—a secret she’s never told anyone before. But when Tate is exposed by a crush of cameras and reporters, she knows she’s been betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust. She is forced to decide whether she will return to her quiet life or embrace being in the public eye. So when Sam reappears in her world more than a decade later, can Tate forgive the past and rekindle the passion they shared on their magical trip abroad? And does she even want to?

Whisper of Bones by Melinda Leigh– When a body washes up on the state park beach, Deputy Tessa Black’s experience as a former Seattle detective tells her that the death was not an accident. All evidence points to another murder on the remote island. The victim is a local contractor with a shockingly long list of enemies. The more locals Tessa interviews, the more people she suspects—from the bitter ex-wife and estranged current wife to disgruntled former clients and employees. They all have different reasons to want him dead. As Tessa’s investigation heats up, arson and a vicious assault convince her the killer is desperate to hide his crime—and that she’d better solve the case before he claims another victim.

Kiss Me Again by Emma Hart– I have no idea why I said yes. Maybe I’d had one too many wines. Maybe I’d done it accidentally. Maybe I’d been sleep-texting. One thing I know for sure is this: I absolutely do not want Ethan Hawkins in my apartment, up in my business, taking over my space. Yet he’s here. Moving his stuff into my spare bedroom. Sending a wave of panty-melting, musky man-scent my way every time he walks past me. Here’s the thing. We don’t get along–at all. We never have, and I don’t think we’re going to start now that we’re under one roof. There’s also that little issue where I’m kinda, sorta, totally in love with him.

Shelter For Penelope by Susan Stoker– Dubbed the “American Princess” after her rescue from months in the hands of ISIS, soldier and firefighter Penelope Turner has struggled silently since her return to Texas. The media, the danger of her job, the pressure of knowing lives are in her hands…all of it and more has combined to slowly fill Penelope with seething guilt and doubt. Missing memories from her moment of capture cause even more angst. Is she responsible for the deaths of her Army patrol unit? And without knowing what happened, how can she be trusted by her fellow firefighters—or trust them in return? Worse…how can she ever be worthy of the man who believes in her most? It took seeing Penelope in the hands of terrorists—in viral videos seen around the world—for Tucker “Moose” Jacobs to realize just how much he loved his fellow firefighter. He died waiting for her rescue, then died all over again when Penelope abruptly left Texas, trying to outrun her past. Now that she’s returned, the kid gloves are off. Moose is a patient man, but even he has his limits. He loves Penelope, and he knows it’s past time for her to face her fears, and remember she has an entire tribe of friends who not only have her back, but need Pen to have theirs, as well. In the end, Penelope will have to trust Moose, her friends, and most of all herself, if she’s going to make peace with her past…and have any kind of future.



Book Review: The Gifted School

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The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger– Smart and juicy, a compulsively readable novel about a previously happy group of friends and parents that is nearly destroyed by their own competitiveness when an exclusive school for gifted children opens in the community

This deliciously sharp novel captures the relentless ambitions and fears that animate parents and their children in modern America, exploring the conflicts between achievement and potential, talent and privilege.

Set in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado, The Gifted School is a keenly entertaining novel that observes the drama within a community of friends and parents as good intentions and high ambitions collide in a pile-up with long-held secrets and lies. Seen through the lens of four families who’ve been a part of one another’s lives since their kids were born over a decade ago, the story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group’s children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate. It’s a humorous, keenly observed, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids, and the pursuit of prestige, no matter the cost.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: July 2, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book! Having kids in an academically rigorous school, I really identified with the characters and it made the story very real for me. The plot revolves mainly around 4 families and their desperate need to get their children into the new “Gifted” School. The characters were very real, very well developed, and their stories were all intertwined. The story flowed very well and showed the perspective from all the main characters, which was really imperative to the helping the reader identify with and understand the motives they each had. I really liked that the kids had a voice- reading their perspectives was absolutely one of my favorite things about this book. There are secrets that get revealed- in both small and big ways. There is envy, anger, and a little bit of crazy going on in this community. Mix all those things up and you get one heck of an explosive story! 



New Releases This Week {10.15.19}

These are the new releases for the week of October 15 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

Weight Expectations by M.E. Carter– Rian Thompson thought she joined the gym to get healthy. Little did she know she was about to add hundred and ninety pounds of swoonworthy abdominal muscles and arrogance to her life. Every day in Rians’s life follows a predictable pattern, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s got a nice job, a nice place to live, and a nice family – even if they are a little wedding-zilla-ish at the moment. She doesn’t need anything spectacular to be happy. She just needs to get healthy – mentally, physically. . . and maybe spiritually if that happens. But she’ll settle for two out of three until her sister finally gets hitched. Carlos Davies thought his life was perfect. Little did he know it was about to be turned upside down by a woman who is not his type. In Carlos’s mind, his life is damn near perfect. He’s got a great job, a great place to live, and a great stash of pick up lines that always work. It has occurred to him that maybe no one actually takes him all that seriously. But with these bulging biceps and thick, dark hair, does that even matter since he’s never sleeping alone?

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout– Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace. 

Dear Girls by Ali Wong– In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so heavily that she became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads. The sharp insights and humor are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she’s learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life off stage, including the brutal singles life in New York (i.e. the inevitable confrontation with erectile dysfunction), reconnecting with her roots (and drinking snake blood) in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong’s letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and disgusting) for all.

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman– Audrey knows that life is filled with ups and downs, but she can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years. Her dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Even more upsetting is the fact that Audrey has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again. If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, but ironically, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing once and for all Audrey and those she loves. Is it too late for one broken family to heal and find their way back to each other…?