Monday, April 5, 2021

Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez
The Friend Zone #3


Title: Life's Too Short
Series: The Friend Zone #3
Author: Abby Jimenez 
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: April 6, 2021

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist.

Vanessa lives life on her own terms — one day at a time, every day to its fullest. She isn’t willing to waste a moment or miss out on an experience when she has no idea whether she shares the same fatal genetic condition as her mother. Besides, she has way too much to do, traveling the globe and showing her millions of YouTube followers the joy in seizing every moment.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter, she is housebound, on mommy duty for the foreseeable future, and feeling totally out of her element.

The last person she expects to show up offering help is the unbelievably hot lawyer who lives next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. But as they get closer, Vanessa realizes that her carefree ways and his need for a structured plan could never be compatible for the long term. Then again, she should know better than anyone that life’s too short to fear taking the biggest risk of all. . .

Well, Abby Jimenez, has done it again. I have fallen in love with this couple in the most charming way.

Life's Too Short is full of humor, sweet moments, and awareness. We only have one life to live and you have to make a decision on how you want to live it.

For Vanessa Price, the answer is simple. She wants to live in the now and in the fullest way possible. She wants to travel and do things that make her happy. She has lost loved ones and with her sister's death, she knew she had to make a change. 

Vanessa quits her job, cashes in her savings, began a Youtube channel, and went on living. Now, she has loyal followers in the millions who support her (for the most part). Then, her traveling ceases completely when her half-sister falls into drugs again and Vanessa must take care of her niece until she is clean again.

Adrian Copeland is a lawyer. He owns the building where Vanessa lives and he's her neighbor. When a child's constant crying interferes with his night, he will knock on Vanessa's door for the first time. Vanessa looks overwhelmed with a crying child in her arms, and Adrian will offer to help her while she cleans up. After this exchange, a friendship will blossom until they realize they want more from each other.  

Can they take the next step? 

I love how Abby Jimenez introduced these two characters. Everything that they did together that included the baby and the dog was wonderful. I laughed so much reading it but I also shed a few tears. 

Life is Too Short is wonderful in all the ways that matter and Abby Jimenez has become one of my must-read authors.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Forever via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune


Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: March 17, 2020

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

What a wonderful story this one is!!

The House in the Cerulean Sea is remarkable in all its greatness. From start to finish, there was nothing more that I wanted to do but to keep on listening. 

The characters all became dear to me in every way possible. They were all so charming in their own special way and I love how Linus was able to give them something while getting something back in return.

Linus Baker is a man that likes order. He abides by the Rules and Regulations and has the book to prove it. Linus has been in the same job for almost two decades but has never wanted a supervisor job. As part of the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, his job is to investigate the orphanages housing magical children and to make a recommendation as to keep them open or closed for good. 

When Linus gets a memo from Extreme Upper Management and he's asked to travel to investigate Marysas Island Orphanage, his shock is real. He has never heard of the place. It's even worse when his assignment takes him (and his cat Calliope) to the island and he meets the children living there and the man supervising them, Arthur Parnassus.

Linus has four weeks to learn more about the children and Arthur. As the days pass, to say the children were not what he was expecting would be a lie. Yes, they can be perceived as dangerous but exactly to who?

The House in the Cerulean Sea is a moving story with magnificent characters, wonderful humor, and love in all its manifestations. Quite priceless.

Simply put, it was cerulean magic.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

The One by John Marrs

Title: The One by John Marrs 
Author: The One by John Marrs 
Publisher: Random House Audio

How far would you go to find The One?

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner the one you are genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

A word-of-mouth hit in the United Kingdom, The One is a fascinating novel that shows how even the simplest discoveries can have complicated consequences.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The One is a futuristic novel with enough interesting characters to keep you turning the pages, or in my case listening to every chapter. 

A discovery has been made. A gene has been found that can tell you who is your soulmate. When you meet the One, you know they are it for you. With Match Your DNA, now anyone can find that special someone who will make your life the happiest. 

Yet, not everyone is happy. Match Your DNA has broken marriages and relationships left and right. Then, of course, there are so many questions.

What if your match has decided not to run the test? 

What if the person you matched is not morally bound like you are? 

What if the test ruins your life?

The One will follow five characters' "love stories" after finding their match. 

How could anything go wrong?

John Mars does a wonderful job at making us think about the implications of something like this happening in our time. There is a scene in the book where two characters are debating the pros and cons of Match Your DNA. I thought it brought solid points to the table for both sides.

If you asked me to pick a favorite "match" couple, I will have to go with Nick's match undoubtedly. 

I read the next two books in this world and I'm glad I went back to listen to this one. I was happy to follow the characters through each of their personal ordeals and knowing what the future held was a plus.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter


Title: The Serial Killer’s Wife
Author: Alice Hunter
Publisher: Avon UK
Release Date: May 27, 2021

They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part…

Beth Hardcastle's life is upended when the police come knocking on her door. 

Her husband, Tom, a wonderful father, and loving husband, is taken for questioning over the death of his ex-girlfriend Katie, who disappeared eight years ago. 

Beth is shocked. Is her husband guilty? 

Beth can only think that her wonderful life is imploding. She has to protect her daughter, Poppy, the best way she can while keeping her store open too. Living in a small town, she knows people can turn on them in the blink of an eye. 

Thankfully, there is Adam. He has gone through something awful too and he seems to understand her and wants to help them.

But is Beth hiding something? Does she know more than she should?


As soon as I saw this novel on NetGalley, I knew I wanted to read it. From the cover to its name, it called to me. 

For the most part, I will say that I enjoyed it despite seeing the twist a mile away. I found myself still reading along. 

Good debut novel. 

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Avon Books UK via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker


Title: We Begin at the End
Author: Chris Whitaker
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: March 9, 2021

There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.

Walk has never left the coastal California town where he grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.

Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess―her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.

A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.

Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love―in all its different guises―wins

If you want to be depressed about the world by all means grab this book.

I’ll be an OUTLAW, sorry meant an OUTLIER and say it: The story felt short for me. I do believe the author had great characters especially Duchess and Walk but something was missing for me to rate it higher.

What did I like about We Begin at the End?

-I liked how much Duchess loved her brother, Robin. She was willing to do anything for him. 

-Walk being there for his best friend Vincent, Star, Star's kids and his town despite what was happening in his personal life.

-Hal's patience with Duchess.

-Dolly being there when she was needed.

-Martha bringing spice to Walk's life.

What did I learn from We Begin at the End? 

If you have been born into a bad life, you will live a bad life and you will probably die because of your bad life too. 

In my opinion, this novel didn't have much hope, redemption or forgiveness. 

The ending frustrated me. I don't need to read rose-colored glass stories but if a story is having an against all the odds type of feeling, then I want more from it. 

Take my opinion for what it is, my opinion. I know so many of my book friends truly loved it and I'm glad they did.  

Lastly, I switched back and forth from the ebook to the audio. The audio narrator did a good representation of the characters and kept the flow of the story.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker

Title: She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be
Author: J.D. Barker 
Publisher: Hampton Creek Press
Release Date: March 31st, 2020

A haunting tale of suspense, rendered with the masterful skill only Barker could muster.

After the loss of his parents, young Jack Thatch first met Stella as a child--this cryptic little girl of eight with dark hair and darker eyes, sitting alone on a bench in the cemetery clutching her favorite book. Gone moments later, the brief encounter would spark an obsession. She'd creep into his thoughts, his every waking moment, until he finally finds her again exactly one year later, sitting upon the same bench, only to disappear again soon after.

The body of a man found in an alley, every inch of his flesh horribly burned, yet his clothing completely untouched. For Detective Faustino Brier, this wasn't the first, and he knew it wouldn't be the last. It was no different from the others. He'd find another just like it one year from today. August 9, to be exact.

Isolated and locked away from the world in a shadowy lab, a little boy known only as Subject "D" waits, grows, learns. He's permitted to speak to no one. He has never known the touch of another. Harboring a power so horrific, those in control will never allow him beyond their walls. All of them linked in ways unimaginable.

David Pickford is a beautiful man. David Pickford is a beautiful man. David Pickford is a beautiful man. David Pickford is a beautiful man. David Pickford is a beautiful man. David Pickford is a beautiful man. David Pickford is a beautiful man. 

Now I understand why all my friends love this book.

It was everything I wanted from a fantasy. For me, it was like Heroes and X-man had a kid while an 80's soundtrack was playing. 

How cool is that?

At the center of the storyline we have a few main characters:

Jack Thatch (or Pip): an eight-year-old boy who meets a girl on a bench while visiting his parent's grave on August 8, 1984. You see, Jack's parents died in a car accident and he was the sole survivor. His aunt Jo is now his guardian. 

Stella Nettleton: the girl on the bench. The girl with an extraordinary vocabulary for her age. A girl who uses gloves and reads her favorite book by Dickens, Great Expectations. She will arrive year after year in a white SUV surrounded by people dressed in white.

Subject D: a boy who wears a mask. A boy with power so grand that he has to be confined for years. 

Detective Faustino Brier: The cop who knows every year someone will die on August 8th. A body "burned but not burned" will appear. on August 9th.

Detective Joy Fogel: who will join forces with Brier to discover the mystery of his Wall of Weird.

Duncan "Dunk" Bellino: a kid who becomes Jack's friend.  As a teenager, he will make some not so legit choices.

"Preacher": a guy with a good sense in cars. 

With this fabulous cast, how can you not enjoy it? I certainly did. My heart was beating fast. The action at the end was non-stop leading to a very fulfilling culmination. 

I do wish this was not the end.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Flight by Laura Griffin
The Texas Murder Files #2


Title: Flight 
Series: The Texas Murder Files #2
Author: Laura Griffin
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 30, 2021

When former forensic photographer Miranda Rhoads moves to the seaside town of Lost Beach, she's decided to make her living as a wildlife photographer and put crime scenes behind her. But her plans are quickly upended when one morning, she comes across a couple sleeping in a canoe, entwined in an embrace. Looking closer, she realizes the man and woman aren't asleep – they've been murdered.

Detective Joel Breda sets out to find answers – not only about the unidentified victims in the marshy death scene, but also about the aloof and beautiful photographer who seems to know more about his investigation than he does.

As they begin to unravel the motivation of a merciless serial killer, Miranda and Joel must race against the clock to make an arrest before the killer can find them first. 

As a fan of her Tracers series, I always welcome a book by Laura Griffin.

In Flight we get to know two new characters: Miranda Rhoads and Joel Breda.

The novel begins with Miranda, a photographer, taking pictures of birds at sunrise. After her perfect shot is done, she encounters two dead bodies arranged on a boat. The coupled looked staged. A feather is found at the crime scene. Miranda, who is a CSI on a break, calls the cops after taking pictures of the bodies to preserve the scene since rain is on its way.

Joel Breda is the lead detective of the small town of Lost Beach. He’s in charge of finding the killer. He knows that Miranda can be of help, Her expertise could be invaluable to the investigation. He will do anything to convince her to join his team.

But the closer they get to the answers, the clearer it is that Miranda’s life is in danger. 

Who is trying to hurt her?

Laura Griffith writes great romantic suspense. I’m always ready to jump into the story because I know I will relish it. 

The Flight was no different. Enjoyable characters that I wanted to learn more about. Of course, there are always secondary characters that make you think: I want to read about them next!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Berkely via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.