Saturday, November 10, 2018

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

Title: Winter in Paradise 
Series: Paradise #1
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher:  October 9, 2018 
Release date: Little, Brown and Company

A husband's secret life, a wife's new beginning: escape to the Caribbean with New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand. Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband's death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John. After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures. Rich with the lush beauty of the tropics and the drama, romance, and intrigue only Elin Hilderbrand can deliver, Winter in Paradise is a truly transporting novel, and the exciting start to a new series. 

*My review will contain spoilers*

I want to know why Elin went with this particular ending. To say that I was disappointed it's an understatement.

Winter in Paradise tells the story of Irene Steel. A woman in her fifties, married to Russ and who has two grown children, Cash and Baker. 

She recently received a promotion at her job but she understands it really leads to an early retirement. She is very unhappy about this news when she receives a phone call after New Year's telling her that her husband has been in an accident and he has perished in a helicopter crash in the Caribbean. Irene doesn't understand what her husband was doing in St. John. Worse, when he died, he wasn't alone, a West Indian woman was with him. She calls her sons to inform them about the accident and they all fly together to learn more about his death.

Cash and Baker both had bad news before this particular phone call. Cash has lost his two business stores (which Russ gave him the money for) and Baker's wife, Anna a cardiothoracic surgeon, has told him she has fallen in love with another woman. 

Soon after arriving at the USVI, the brothers learn that her father was not as good as they thought. He had a mistress and probably was working in something illegal. Russ owns a secluded villa with nine bedrooms which had to cost millions. 

I'm going to stop here with the plot and I'm going to tell you what I dislike about it.

*Spoilers ahead*

*All the family members had very poor communication. They all kept secrets from each other. A complete disconnect in a family that should be mourning together.

*There is insta-love (which I hate) between both brothers and one island girl, Ayers. Although, it's more like a square since she also has a cheating ex-boyfriend (one that by the end of the book she chooses to go back to because it's the one she knows the best. Really?? Her choice as a woman is to go to the cheating guy because she can't do any better (she doesn't even consider staying alone) or because every man cheats????

*The two brothers were always acting like brats, fighting over the same girl. Neither was good enough. One was a pot head and the other one wanted to live like a bum. Neither had any type of aspiration. Cash lost his two stores and the only thing he was looking forward was to go back to skiing. He didn't seem worried about his future and no money. I thought Cash was so immature. He calls Ayers to tell on his brother. He spent his time trying to undermine Baker. The worst part was that Irene had a favorite son and she was blinded to his incompetence.

*Then there is a particular scene between one of the brothers and Ayers having sex on the beach. No protection needed (or mentioned) and when they get interrupted, life goes on without much fanfare. 

I believe Irene, Huck, and Maia saved this book. They were so much more interesting to me. Huck was grieving the loss of his step-daughter while trying to be a good grandparent to Maia. He was nice to Irene when he didn't need to be. He also supported Ayers emotionally.

Maia was a sweet kid who lost her mother Rosie (Russ's mistress) and yet she was dealing with it in a positive way. She behaves much more like an adult than Baker or Cash ever did. They should learn from her!

I had no idea this was a trilogy and when it ended in a cliffhanger, it took me by surprise. One last thing, I'm still mad at Irene for having favorites. 

Cliffhanger: Yes

2/5 Fangs

Secrets by Aleatha Romig

Title: Secrets
Author: Aleatha Romig 
Series: Secrets: Web of Sin #1
Publisher: Romig Works LLC 
Release date: October 30, 2018

The twisted and intriguing storytelling that you loved in Consequences and Infidelity is coming back at you with an all-new alpha anti-hero in the dark romance series Web of Sin, by New York Times bestselling author Aleatha Romig. 

I’m Sterling Sparrow. You’ve no doubt heard my name or read it on the top of tall buildings. There’s more to my business—my realm—than what is seen above ground. 

Within the underbelly of one of America’s largest cities lives a world where a man’s word is either his most valuable tool or his most respected weapon. When my father ruled that world and that city, he promised me someone who would one day make my reign complete. 

Since that day, long ago, Araneae McCrie has been mine.

She just didn’t know.

My father is now gone. 

The city and the underbelly are now mine.

The time has come for me to collect who was promised to me, to shred her life of secrets and make her who she’s always been—mine.

Have you been Aleatha’d?

*Secrets is book one of the Web of Sin trilogy.

Aleatha has a way with words. She's always able to grab my attention from the very first chapter. 

Secrets is the first book in the Web of Sin series. The dark setting intrigued me and the suspense made me turn the pages constantly.

The book begins with Renee being sent away by her adoptive mother. Their lives are in danger and she must run. Her mother hands her new a new identity and tells her she must move to Colorado. She will cease to be Renee and she will become Kennedy Hawkins. However, before she leaves, her mother reveals her true identity. Her real name is Araneae McCrie.

"The devil has been searching for you. And my greatest fear has always been that he find you."
Ten years later, due to her successful company Sinful Threads, she must return to the place she promised her adoptive mother she would never go back to, the city of Chicago. She will come to regret her decision. Or maybe not, after all, she will land in the arms of Sterling Sparrow. 

"Sparrow, Allister Sparrow. He's currently in charge, but one day it will be his son, Sterling."

Sterling is a very powerful and rich man. Someone who has waited to take Araneae as his wife. He's determined to do so without a second thought. Araneae knows he has the information about her past she is desperate to learn. He holds all the cards. She must do as he says or the people closest to her will get hurt. 

"Sparrow, Allister Sparrow. He's currently in charge, but one day it will be his son, Sterling."

I can't believe the book ends in a cliffhanger. There were so many lies and secrets! Everyone was hiding something. Araneae didn't know who to trust. I feel like there is much more for us to learn about Araneae's childhood and her real parents. I know Sterling has to be the good guy (although he's the anti-hero) and since her life is in danger, he has the means to protect her too. 

I liked Araneae. She had a backbone. Even when she had no choice, she still made her dislike of the situation known. She didn't roll over and that was a plus.

Sterling is a smart man. He served his country, cultivated true friendships along the way and now he's the CEO of Sparrow Enterprises. We know he hated his father Allister Sparrow and that he was promised Araneae when he was too young to know better. He does have an obsession with her and I'm sure he has been following her progress through the years. It will be interesting to know how much he was involved in her life without her knowing. 

I'm excited about the next book and I'm so glad Aleatha is not making me wait long. 

Cliffhanger: Yes

4/5 Fangs

Monday, November 5, 2018

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Title: Every Breath 
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release date: October 16, 2018

Get swept up in an epic romance from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Notebook, a heartbreaking love story spanning decades and continents--from North Carolina to Zimbabwe.

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she's been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family's cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother's early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.

Illuminating life's heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, EVERY BREATH explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties--while asking the question, How long can a dream survive?

Every Breath is a tear jerker. You have been warned!

For the longest time, I resisted reading Nicholas Sparks novels. I had seen the movies like A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, Dear John and The Notebook. So I knew his main characters either didn't stay together or one of them died. As a true romantic, this really hurt my heart. Then, I read The Longest Ride, See Me, and Two by Two and I became a fan of his storytelling.

Every Breath took me on a journey full of destiny, hope, heartbreak and true love.

Tru Walls is going to America for the first time. His biological father has sent him a letter and in it, he has asked Tru to meet him. The meeting will take place in North Carolina, in Sunset Beach. In Africa, Tru is a guide in Zimbabwe. Since early in his life, he has spent time in the bush. He was once married but currently divorced. He has one son he adores and he gets along with his ex-wife Kim. 

Hope Anderson has many things to think about. Her boyfriend of six years, an orthopedic surgeon is currently in Las Vegas. Over the years, he had a problem with faithfulness and they are currently on a break. Hope decides to go to his family beach home in Sunset Beach for the last time. The beach house is going on sale to save money to pay for his father's care who has recently being diagnosed with ALS. Hope will stay there and will attend the wedding of her best friend over the weekend. She's concerned and has no idea how to explain her boyfriend's absence. 

A  chance encounter due to Hope's dog will begin a true love affair between these two souls. Hope will show Tru the magic of a place called the Kindred Spirit, and it will connect them forever. 

After reading, Every Breath, I'm dying to go to Sunset Beach and Kindred Spirit. Whoever decided to start it, had a great idea in the making. 

I can't end my review without thanking Grand Central Publishing, NetGalley and Nicholas Sparks for my copy of Every Breath. The cover alone is gorgeous. 

4/5 Fangs

With over 100 million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world's most beloved storytellers. His novels include fourteen #1 New York Timesbestsellers, and all of his books, including Three Weeks with My Brother, the memoir he wrote with his brother, Micah, have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and were translated into more than fifty languages. Eleven of Nicholas Sparks's novels -- The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven, The Lucky One, The Last Song, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and Message in a Bottle--have been adapted into major motion pictures. 

Website |  Facebook |  Twitter |  Goodreads 

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

Title: The Perfect Couple 
Series: MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers
Author: Elin Hilderbrand 
Publisher:   Little, Brown and Company
Release date: June 19, 2018 

From New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand, comes a novel about the many ways family can fill our lives with love...if they don't kill us first. 

*New York Times bestseller*

It's Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom's wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

But it's going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom's famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect. Featuring beloved characters from The CastawaysBeautiful Day, and A Summer AffairThe Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach read. 

The Perfect Couple had so many components that I enjoyed. I loved that there was a mystery surrounding the death of the maid of honor. The Who Done It, kept me on my toes. There were so many possibilities although I excluded a bunch of suspects from the first couple of chapters. I had a pretty good idea of who was at fault but in the end, I still enjoyed the delivery. 

So let me tell you what the book is about: 

Celeste Otis is marrying Benji Winbury. This is going to be the wedding of the year. The wedding is going to take place in Nantucket were Benji's parents Tag and Greer Winbury reside. 

Celeste is a young woman who works at the zoo. She met Benji when he brought his girlfriend and her son to a snake exhibition. Afterward, Benji broke up with his girlfriend and starting dating Celeste. 

Benji's parents come from money. His mother, Greer is a famous mystery writer. His father is a successful businessman. Celeste's parents, Karen and Bruce Otis, are not wealthy. Karen is also dealing with terminal cancer and she hopes to see her only daughter get married before the disease take her away from her family.

On the day of the wedding, the body of Celeste's best friend and maid of honor, Merritt Monaco is found and since every family member has secrets, it will be up to Chief Ed Kapenash and Nick Diamantopoulos from the Nantucket Police Department to figure out if it was an accident or someone did this to Merritt.

Elin Hilderbrand takes you through the events happening months before the wedding by using multiple characters POVs. The web of lies, deceit, seduction, and death is one you won't want to miss.

My one objection with the story is that I felt Merritt's death was an injustice. I would have like to see a more steep punishment to the culprit and a more thorough police investigation. In some ways, I felt like they dropped the ball at the end.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs