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Book Review: Lost You

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Lost You by Haylen Beck– Libby needs a break. Three years ago her husband split, leaving her to raise their infant son Ethan alone as she struggled to launch her writing career. Now for the first time in years, things are looking up. She’s just sold her first novel, and she and Ethan are going on a much-needed vacation. Everything seems to be going their way, so why can’t she stop looking over her shoulder or panicking every time Ethan wanders out of view? Is it because of what happened when Ethan was born? Except Libby’s never told anyone the full story of what happened, and there’s no way anyone could find her and Ethan at a faraway resort . . . right?

But three days into their vacation, Libby’s fears prove justified. In a moment of inattention, Ethan wanders into an elevator before Libby can reach him. When the elevator stops and the doors open, Ethan is gone. Hotel security scours the building and finds no trace of him, but when CCTV footage is found of an adult finding the child wandering alone and leading him away by the hand, the police are called in. The search intensifies, a lost child case turning into a possible abduction. Hours later, a child is seen with a woman stepping through an emergency exit. Libby and the police track the woman down and corner her, but she refuses to release Ethan. Asked who she is, the woman replies:

“I’m his mother.”

Genre: Contemporary Thriller

Published: August 6, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I had no idea what to think about this book. I went into it fairly blind because I hate spoilers so I spent the first couple of chapters a little lost and trying to figure out where it was all going. But it was worth sticking with the book! I don’t want to give anything away so it’s hard to review this book- everything feels like a spoiler! I will say that the pacing of the story is great, the characters are engaging, and I liked the ending! The author did a good job of giving the readers both of the women’s thoughts and stories which made the book even more engaging because I wasn’t sure who I should be rooting for- honestly I think both Libby and Anna were a bit nuts. This is definitely a book about the dark side of surrogacy and what can happen when emotions derail and sanity becomes unstable! I would have liked to have more of the husband’s story- I think his perspective would have added a lot more to the story. But as it is, I definitely recommend it!



New Releases This Week {10.8.19}

These are the new releases for the week of October 8 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

Getting Played by Emma Chase– Dean Walker is all about keeping life simple. He’s effortlessly talented and intelligent—spending his summers playing drums in the local band and the rest of the year teaching high school in the same Jersey town where he grew up. He likes his love life simple too, enjoying the commitment-free hook-ups his good looks and sexy charm have always made oh so easy. Then he meets Lainey Burrows. And his simple, easy life gets turned upside down. One wild one-night stand was all it was ever supposed to be, so Lainey is shocked when she discovers that her sizzling summer fling is also her son’s new math teacher. But that’s nothing compared to the most unexpected twist of all—their hot hook-up left Lainey knocked up, and now they’re about to become parents. Together.

Daddy Dilemma by Avery Flynn– One night and my life completely jumped the tracks. Actually, a pack of expired condoms did that –– the rest of the night was pretty amazing. Open bar at a friend’s wedding. Bad dancing all around. Stupid trivia bets with my fellow Ice Knights hockey teammates. And Tess Gardner. The factoid-blurting, fandom-T-shirt-wearing, no-I-don’t-want-a-relationship-with-you woman makes me forget for one night that I’m a man with a routine, and my future all mapped out. Still, it sucked she left our room without giving me her number. Fast forward to when she tracks me down and tells me I’m going to be a daddy. Jaw meet floor. Now I’ve insisted that she and our little peach pit move in with me after her apartment floods. She agrees as long as there’s no funny business, no shotgun weddings, and no more nights spent naked together. Sounds easy enough. I was prepared for the late night runs for more pickles and peanut butter but I wasn’t prepared for Tess. She’s like a glitter rainbow sparkling in the middle of my all-neutrals house, messing up my rigid schedule and turning my world upside down. What the hell do we do next?

Child’s Play by Danielle Steel– A senior partner at a prestigious New York law firm, Kate Morgan couldn’t be prouder of her three grown children. Tamara, Anthony, and Claire all went to great schools, chose wonderful career paths, and would have made their father proud. A single mother for years after the death of her husband, Kate keeps a tight rein on her family, her career, and even her own emotions, never once asking herself if she truly knows her children . . . or if her hopes for them are the right ones, and what they want. She is about to find out. During one hectic summer in Manhattan, Kate’s world turns upside down. One child has been keeping an astonishing secret while another confesses to an equally shocking truth. A wonderful match and picture-book wedding are traded for a relationship that shakes her to her core. A totally inappropriate love affair and an out-of-wedlock baby complete the chaos. Challenged as a mother and as a successful independent woman herself, Kate struggles to keep up with a dizzying and escalating chain of events, and begins to realize that she has a part to play in the chaos. Because Kate too has kept secrets from her children. Sometimes the surprising choices our children make are the right ones . . . better than what we wanted for them. More often than not, parenting is about letting go of our dreams and embracing theirs.

I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson– Zahra Gaines is missing. After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie’s best friend–the only person who ever really understood her–and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her. Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie’s return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie’s every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever…As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend’s new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance–one that might be better off buried.

Faker by Sarah Smith– Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self. One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.



Book Review: Things You Save In A Fire

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Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center– Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: August 13, 2019

Acquired: Public library E-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: This book had layers and depth that I wasn’t expecting. I was anticipating an easy, light, fluffy beach read. That’s not at all what I got. And I loved it. I had a hard time connecting to Cassie as a main character in the beginning. I thought she was hard-headed, closed off, and too distant to be a good main character. I was so wrong. Once I understood why she was that way and the things that she had experienced in her life I was completely sucked into her story. I began to admire her stoic strong shell and how she conducted herself. The story really took off for me once she began working at her new fire house. I could feel the emotions that she kept buried from her new co-workers. I was so pleased with the number of funny moments that happened in this book. I think that’s what made this a 5 star read for me- the contrast between the serious and the funny. Without the moments of humor, this book would have been way too heavy. I highly recommend this one!



New Releases This Week {10.1.19}

These are the new releases for the week of October 1 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

Down Too Deep by J. Daniels– Following the sudden death of his wife, Nathan Bell has spent nearly two years burying himself in work and neglecting his biggest responsibility: his daughter. Overcome with guilt, he wants to connect with little Marley, but he doesn’t know how to do it alone. And then Jenna Savage throws him a lifeline. A single mom of twins, Jenna is more than capable of taking care of Nate’s adorable two-year-old, and wants to help Nathan however she can. Soon, attachments are made, forcing Jenna and her kids into new territory. And the closer everyone becomes, the more right it feels. Falling in love forces Nathan to face his biggest fear, and when hearts, both big and little, are on the line, the only thing scarier than needing someone is losing them all.

Deep Ambitions by Irene Hannon– Former Army Night Stalker Rick Jordan usually has his camp for foster children to himself during the winter months. But someone has visited recently–leaving a trail of blood. One of the two clues left behind tips Rick off to the identity of his visitor, who soon turns up dead. The police deem it an accident, but Rick isn’t convinced. With the help of private investigator Heather Shields, he sets out to decipher the remaining clue. Except someone doesn’t want them to succeed–and will stop at nothing to keep them from finding the truth. With her trademark psychological suspense ratcheting up the tension on every page, bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon takes you on a search for a cold-blooded killer with an ambitious goal and deadly intent.

It’s All About the Small Things by Melanie Shankle– Is my ordinary, everyday life actually significant? Is it okay to be fulfilled by the simple acts of raising kids, working in an office, and cooking chicken for dinner? It’s been said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” The pressure of that can be staggering as we spend our days looking for that big thing that promises to take our breath away. Meanwhile, we lose sight of the small significance of fully living with every breath we take. Melanie Shankle, New York Times bestselling author and writer at The Big Mama Blog tackles these questions head on. Easygoing and relatable, she speaks directly to the heart of women of all ages who are longing to find significance and meaning in the normal, sometimes mundane world of driving carpool to soccer practice, attending class on their college campus, cooking meals for their family, or taking care of a sick loved one. The million little pieces that make a life aren’t necessarily glamorous or far-reaching. But God uses some of the smallest, most ordinary acts of faithfulness–and sometimes they look a whole lot like packing lunch.

The Lying Room by Nicci French– It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel. After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting? An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair.

The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld– A year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life. The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need—and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies—her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood—the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her. As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you’ve been found? But will they find the answer too late?

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston– Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation. Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby. When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available. This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?



Book Review: The Lemon Sisters

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The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis- Brooke Lemon has always led the life she wanted, wild adventures—and mistakes—included, something her perfect sister, Mindy, never understood. So when Mindy shows up on Brooke’s doorstep in the throes of a break-down with her three little kids in tow, Brooke’s shocked.

Wanting to make amends, Brooke agrees to trade places, taking the kids back to Wildstone for a few days so Mindy can pick up the pieces and put herself back together. What Brooke doesn’t admit is she’s just as broken . . . Also how does one go home after seven years away? It doesn’t take long for Brooke to come face-to-face with her past, in the form of one tall, dark, sexy mistake. But Garrett’s no longer interested. Only his words don’t match his actions, leaving Brooke feeling things she’d shoved deep.

Soon the sisters begin to wonder: Are they lemons in life? In love? All they know is that neither seems to be able to run far enough to outpace her demons. And when secrets surface, they’ll have to learn that sometimes the one person who can help you the most is the one you never thought to ask.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: June 18, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: #3 in the Wildstone Series

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: I loved this book! Jill Shalvis is one of my most favorite authors and it’s rare that I don’t love something she writes. I will admit that this is the first book in the Wildstone series that I’ve read. I don’t know how I missed the first 2 books but I will be reading them ASAP! One of my favorite things about this book was the contrast between the sisters. Brooke was the free-spirit sister who couldn’t wait to get out of her hometown and who had an exciting career until a helicopter crash left her grounded with PTSD. Mindy, on the other hand, was the sister who stayed in their hometown, got married, had children, and became a baker. I really liked reading about their childhood from their different perspectives. 

When Mindy shows up on Brooke’s doorstep with children in tow in the middle of a nervous breakdown, Brooke sees the opportunity to get to know her niece and nephews even if that means going back to her hometown and confronting the messes she left behind. The kids added so much to this story! They were hilarious and adorable and kept the story flowing easily. I cringed a bit at the relationship repair that needed to happen between Brooke and Garrett, although the repair that needed to happen between Mindy and her husband, Linc, was just as intense. I found myself sympathizing with both Brooke and Mindy for different reasons and I could see myself in both of them which made the story extremely real for me. I highly recommend this book and in my opinion you can read them in any order.