Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Until it Fades by K. A. Tucker

K.A. Tucker
Atria Paperback | ISBN: 9781501133381 | On sale: June 27, 2017 | 368 pages | $16.00
Atria eBook | ISBN: 9781501133398 | On sale: June 27, 2017 | 368 pages | $7.99

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania (population three thousand outside of tourist season). 

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed date, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has rescued: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling. 

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works. For a time. 

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. There’s an immediate connection, and it’s more electric than the bond of two people who endured a traumatic event. It’s something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something she is afraid to trust. 

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine...before the spark fades?

Until It Fades came to me at the right time. I needed something sweet and it hit the spot perfectly.

Just like K.A. Tucker says in her acknowledgments, this romance is different than her prior work. I was a little worried I wasn't going to love it. Sometimes when an author changes her style, it doesn't work for me. I'm glad this wasn't the case. I fell in love with the characters and I couldn't wait for them to be together. 

Catherine Wright made some terrible choices. As a teenager, she fell in love with her art teacher who's a lot older than her. When their latest rendezvous is discovered by her mother, she's forced to go to the police to accuse him. She, later on, recants her testimony and she becomes the pariah of Balsam, Pennsylvania. She's not the only one affected by her actions, her parents and younger siblings suffered too. Soon after, Catherine leaves her family home to distance herself from her family and her mother's recriminations. She seeks a new job as a waitress but she has a new complication. She's pregnant.  Fast forward seven years and Catherine's still at the same job but her daughter Brenna is a happy kid despite them not having much money.  Catherine is talking to her parents again and her mother helps her with babysitting on weekends while she's working. However, fate has plans for Catherine. In the blink of an eye, she's faced with a horrible car accident. One of the victims is still alive. She tries to help him but he's big and heavy. When the car ignites, she knows she's running out of time but leaving him is not something she wants to do. 

Brett Madden is a famous hockey player. Some say he might be the best there is. He's also the son of a famous beloved actress and the spotlight loves him. He's not sure how he survived the car accident that took the life of his best friend but he's very grateful to the person who saved him. He wants nothing more than to meet his savior. When he finally learns it is a woman who pulled him out of the Corvette, he wants to see her to thank her in person.  When he does, he feels an instant connection to Cath. He wants to get to know her better but she has created huge walls around her heart. Also, the reporters who have descended on the town trying to find more about the good Samaritan, are making Cath's life difficult. Brett will do whatever is necessary to make her life easier even if it means stepping away.

At the beginning of the novel, I wasn't sure I was going to like Cath. She was selfish and rude but with time and life hitting her hard, she matures into a very nice person. She's a hard worker, a good mother who wants the best for Brenna and who wasn't going to let a man hurt or use her again. 

Brett was too good to be true. It's true. Still, I couldn't help but fall for him. He was sweet, attentive, and patient. 

Overall, Until It Fades made me happy. I enjoyed reading it. Cath deserved happiness and Brett was there to provide it.  The only thing missing was a big epilogue. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

K.A. Tucker is the author of He Will Be My Ruin and the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series. She currently resides outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon

Title: The Summer House 
Author: Hannah McKinnon
Publisher: Atria
Release Date: June 6, 2017

When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer. 

Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from their dysfunctional lives for a summer reunion at the family’s Rhode Island beach house. Clementine, her youngest child and a young mother of two small children, has caused Flossy the most worry after enduring a tragically life-altering year. But Samuel and his partner Evan are not far behind in their ability to alarm: their prospective adoption search has just taken a heart-wrenching turn. Only Paige, the eldest of the headstrong Merrill clan, is her usual self: arriving precisely on time with her well-adapted teens. Little does her family know that she, too, is facing personal struggles of her own.

No matter. With her family finally congregated under one seaside roof, Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. The Merrill children are both shocked and outraged and each returns to memories of their childhoods at their once beloved summer house—the house where they have not only grown up, but from which they have grown away. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves. Featuring McKinnon’s “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) voice, this warm-hearted novel is perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe.

The Summer House was a great way to begin my summer. It follows three siblings reunited at their vacation home to celebrate their father's eightieth birthday.

Flossy is the strong mother who wants her children together one last time before they sell their home. She's also trying to reconnect with them and help them through their individual heartbreaks. It's hard for her to say goodbye to the summer home, leaving all the memories behind but she knows they need to move forward.

Paige is the oldest. She's a strong-willed woman and she has always been competitive. Her practice as a veterinarian is flourishing but she's exhausted from working long hours. Her marriage is strained after her husband loses his job, and her teenage children are starting to give her headaches too. 

Samuel has had a very stable relationship with his husband Evan. He's a workaholic but he also enjoys his time with Evan. After they both decided that it was time to add to a baby to their home, their hearts are crushed after their first attempt at adoption fails. 

Clementine is the youngest child. She has two kids and a year ago she lost her husband in an accident. She's still trying to put back together the pieces of her life. She's still grieving. 

As you can see, all these characters are suffering. They all have secrets but those won't last long after their time together when their sibling rivalry, jealousy, and heartache make their presence known.  

The Summer Home had a well-paced flow. Hannah McKinnon does a fabulous job in the development of her characters. It was hard not to side with one of the siblings. My favorite was Clem. 

If you want a good women's fiction with a summer background look no further. This one is for you.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

Title: The Fourth Monkey
Author: J.D. Barker
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: June 27, 2017

The most anticipated thriller of the year - Optioned for both film and television

Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, “A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

The Fourth Monkey had a great twist which strikes at the right time! 

As a lover of thrillers, I couldn't pass on this book and I'm glad I didn't. The last half of this novel had me completely enthralled. 

The Fourth Monkey starts with the death of the serial killer known as the Four Monkey Killer or 4MK. Yet, even from the grave, he's able to throw the city of Chicago back into chaos one last time. 


Well, with his dead body a box containing the ear of another 4MK victim is found. This serial killer has taken the lives of numerous individuals over the years. He's very smart, methodical and he chooses his victims for a reason. When he has his next target he proceeds to cut their ear off and he sends it in a box as his calling card (S7ven anyone?). Then, the eyes, and last their tongue. So definitely gross stuff.  

Detective Sam Porter has been trying to catch the 4MK for the last five years. Recently put on leave, Sam is called at home when the 4MK body is found. Sam knows he has to join his team in search for the new victim. Since they need a set of fresh eyes, the team decides to add a new smart CSI to help them out. They need to follow the clues left by the 4MK. They know a young woman is running out of time. 

The Fourth Monkey Killer had a great set of characters. More specifically, 4MK. I like how the 4MK was portrayed. His diary shed a great insight into the reasons for his pathology. It was really interesting to learn about his beginnings. You are going to think I'm crazy, but even though he did despicable things, I didn't hate him. How can that be? I guess the answer to that question would be the fabulous writing is all to blame. 

I'm looking forward to reading another novel by J. D. Barker now. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga #2)
by Kiersten White

Hardcover496 pages
Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by Delacorte Press
ISBN: 0553522353 

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

WOW!!! Now I Rise was such a kickass book! This book was fascinating, heartbreaking, dark, bloody, and addictive. 

The plot of this book was interesting and very compelling. I really enjoyed reading about the fall of Constantinople and Lada taking Wallachia back. There were times where I felt the book were a bit slow, especially in the beginning, but I still wanted to continue the book. This book had action, politics, humor, brutality, and so much more. 

Lada was as bloodthirsty and ruthless, which I was LIVING FOR. I sympathized with Lada, surprisingly, and then there were other times when she made me almost hate her because of her decisions. Lada didn't think twice about killing and betraying people to get what she wanted. She became almost obsessive about her goals with Wallachia. As much as I hated her in those dark moments, I also really loved those moments? I loved how she was just as mean as the male Vlad the Impaler was. She wasn't any softer or kinder version just because she was a female. I might have hated the consequences of her actions, but I always found her so badass. OKAY, MAYBE I AM A BAD PERSON FOR LOVING HER DARK SIDE, BUT I CANNOT HELP IT. HER BLOODTHIRSTY SIDE IS JUST SO POWERFUL AND AWESOME AND I DON'T CARE. SHE SHOWED ALL THOSE MEN THAT A FEMALE IS NOT TO BE MESSED WITH AND THAT THEY ARE JUST AS POWERFUL AS MEN. HECK YEAH!

Radu was as precious as ever in this book. I talked about how I loved the darkness of Lada's character, but with Radu, I loved how sweet he was. Radu felt so human and relatable. He was always trying to do what was right, just, and true. He struggled with some inner darkness, but he tried to fight it to do what he felt was the right thing to do. His character development in this book was phenomenal and it was truly incredible. I cannot wait to see how he continues to grow. RADU WENT THROUGH SO MUCH IN THIS BOOK AND I WISH I COULD JUST GIVE HIM A HUG. HE DESERVES ALL THE HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD. PLEASE, JUST LET MY CUPCAKE, RADU, BE HAPPY. 


If you are looking for an epic and unforgettable book, then you need to get your hands on Now I Rise!

4 / 5 Fangs

*This ebook was given to me in exchange for an honest review. * 

The Wicked Heir by Elizabeth Michels

Title: The Wicked Heir
Author: Elizabeth Michels
Series: Spare Heirs, #3
ISBN: 9781492621393
Pub Date: July 4, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance

The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Fallon St. James: The Mastermind

When the love of Lady Isabelle Fairlyn’s life is betrothed to her twin sister, Isabelle vows to find a suitable replacement before the end of the season. He must be a talented dancer, have a keen fashion sense, and be perfectly dashing in every way.

Fallon St. James is the farthest thing from perfectly anything. As head of the secretive Spare Heirs Society, he must stick to the shadows…even as Isabelle’s friendship pulls him reluctantly into the light.  But when Isabelle gets involved with the one man who could destroy Spares, Fallon must decide between protecting his life’s work—or risking everything to save the woman whose warm smile leaves him breathless.

Enter to win a copy of The Infamous Heir, the charming first book in Elizabeth Michels’ Spare Heirs series!

 “Am I dead?” Isabelle’s voice croaked as if she’d never used it before.
“No. Thankfully not,” came a male voice from the far side of the room.
She gasped and pulled herself up a bit against the pillows. Why was there a man with her in a strange bedchamber? Had he hit her on the head and brought her here? Isabelle’s mind reeled with questions, each punctuated by the pain in her skull.
Coals from a near-dead fire sprang to life in the grate across the room, lighting a tall silhouette. The man dusted his hands off and turned toward her. “You did have me worried there for a bit though.”
Blinking into the haziness that was the other side of the room, she forced her eyes to adjust to the light. There was something familiar about his deep voice, the confidence in his movements, but she couldn’t make sense of any of this. “Whose bedchamber am I in?”
“Mine.” St. James came into focus as he moved to her side, but his answer was no answer at all.
This room couldn’t belong to St. James, and she couldn’t be lying within it. None of this was real. It was all a dream caused by the bump on her head. She must have hit it quite hard to envision herself in such a place, with St. James of all people. It was rather amusing, really, aside from her throbbing head. That part wasn’t amusing at all. But the setting she’d placed St. James in did bring a smile to her face.
A large bedchamber filled with plush furnishings and covered in busy floral patterns—ha! And in her mind she’d made her most stern—and only male—friend claim he lived there. Dreams were entertaining at times. St. James’s chosen place to sleep would be on a cot beside a desk. Or perhaps he never reclined at all; he only caught a quick nap in a chair between meetings. She giggled, which only drew him closer. A look of concern made him look more serious than ever as he stood surrounded in flowers.
She scowled back at him and laughed. “St. James, I’m in your bed—your overly feminine bed,” she whispered up to him. “Are we married in this dream? Don’t you want to kiss me, have your way with me here on our wedding night?”
“Devil take it, you’re delusional. I’ll have the doctor return,” he muttered. He leaned against the bed, next to her, and lifted a hand to check something on her forehead.
“Oh, a doctor! Yes, I’ll need one of those. I am injured. Horribly injured! Save me, St. James. The only way I’ll live is if you kiss me.” She reached up and grabbed the fabric of his waistcoat, pulling him closer. He braced a hand on the bed on the other side of her body, smoothed her hair back from her face, and watched her. The fabric of his waistcoat was textured by the pattern of gray threads stitched into it and was rough under her fingers, drawing her attention from the intense look in his eyes. How odd to have such detail in a dream.
“Your clothing feels so real.”
He’d removed his coat and cravat. His waistcoat hung open, and his clothes were rumpled, as if he’d slept in them. She’d never seen him in such a state of undress. She moved her hand to his shirt and splayed her hand across his chest. The heat of his skin warmed her fingers as his heart beat beneath her palm. Dream St. James had a broad chest and muscles that twitched at her touch. She lifted her hand to his shoulder, her other hand skimming up his side. His breath hitched in his chest. It was odd that she’d never noticed the real man’s fit form, never before caught the look in his eyes that was one part caring concern, one part intense desire.
He moved his hand over her hair, the pad of his thumb caressing her cheek. St. James was her friend, only a friend. She wouldn’t be able to face him for a week once she woke from this scene, him sitting so close, her touching him. “This dream…”
“Isn’t a dream,” he said, not breaking the contact he had with her.  Instead he searched her eyes and continued to touch her cheek, her temple, in soothing, gentle caresses, as if she might break.
It took a moment for his words to sink into her aching skull. “It isn’t…” She froze in her exploration of his body, her gaze dropping to her hands that had been roaming over his chest for well over a minute. “What?”
“You aren’t dreaming. I found you on the floor of the museum earlier today.”
“And you brought me here? Why? Wait… Earlier today?”  She had to leave. She had to find her family. She tried to push St. James away to sit up, but he didn’t budge.
“You were unconscious. I know you’re confused, but you’re safe now…in my home, my bed.”
“Your… No, truly. Where am I?” She ripped her gaze from his to scan the room beyond him, looking for anything that made sense of the past few minutes. This room could not be Mr. St. James’s private quarters. It didn’t fit what she knew of the man. And why was she in his private anything? She couldn’t be. Her reputation. Victoria’s wedding. She needed to gather her things and leave this place, wherever it was.
“You’re in my bedchamber—truly.”
“What?” She stared up at him, taking in the sympathy and, unfortunately for her, honesty in his expression.
“You need to rest,” he said in a tone that would command armies but not Isabelle on her sister’s wedding day.
“I need to leave,” she stated as she pushed against his unyielding chest in an effort to sit up…

Elizabeth Michels is the award-winning author of the Tricks of the Ton series and the new Spare Heirs series. She attended Park University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design.  This Historical Romance author enjoys living in a lake-side town in North Carolina with her husband and son. Elizabeth is a lover of happily-ever-afters, laughter, and things that are sparkly. Tiara optional while reading, but highly recommended. 

Twitter: @SouthernTart