Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Title: The Bride Test
Series: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 7, 2019

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

Looking back to 2018, I can say that The Kiss Quotient was my favorite romance novel. The characters, their limitations and the way they fell in love brought happiness to my heart. So with that being said, you can guess how desperate I was to get my hands on The Bride Test. With all my heart, I was hoping to love it as much as its predecessor. Yet, it was not meant to be. I liked it but I didn't love it. 

Why you ask?

My answer has to be that I felt there was a lack of connection between both main characters. I love Khai and Esme as separate entities but I didn't FEEL their love for each other which was disheartening.

The novel begins in Vietnam where a desperate mother is trying to find the perfect wife for his autistic son. Khai Diep's mother thinks she has found the perfect one in Esme Tran. 

Esme is a young woman. Her mother is Vietnamese and her father is an American whom she has never met. Her family is poor and she lives with them in a small bedroom. She works cleaning bathrooms and here is where she meets Khai's mother. When she's offered to come to America and have the chance at a better life, she knows she has to take it. Not only for herself but to help her family.

Khai Diep believes he can't love. He's autistic and when his best friend died, he couldn't cry. He knew that day that he was different. He felt that something was wrong with him. Since then, he doesn't believe he can love. He won't have any romantic relationships. When his mother brings Esme to his home, he's shocked. He doesn't want Esme there but he also doesn't want to upset his mother. He hopes he can avoid Esme for the next three months and then she will be out of the picture. 
Funny how things don't happen the way we want them too. Esme founds herself liking Khai even though she doesn't understand him half the time. 

I like Esme. She was trying to do what was best for her and her family. She had ambition and purpose without being heartless. She was patient with Khai and she appreciated his uniqueness. 

Khai was an extremely interesting character. His autism and the way he handled it was well portrayed by Mrs. Hoang. His love for numbers, running in his suit, not wanting to have light touches and so many other details made him endearing to me. 

Like I said earlier, I love both characters, I just didn't feel their love for each other. No one is more disappointed than me. I think I have no one to blame but myself. I had such high expectations for The Bride Test

I do hope the next book makes me fall in love again. I'm hoping it's Quan's story. He was fantastic as a character in The Bride Test. He stole so many good scenes and he was prepared to do the right thing while helping Khai realize what love was.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

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

A Rainbow Above Us by Sharon Sala

Title: A Rainbow Above Us 
Series: Blessings, Georgia # 8
Author: Sharon Sala 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: June 25, 2019

Hurricane Fanny left no one in Blessings, Georgia unscathed--including Rowan Harper, the only surviving member of her family. Rebuilding her life now seems almost impossible.

Bowie James comes back to help repair his grandmother's house, but he doesn't intend to stay long. He and his mother were forced out of Blessings a decade ago, and he's neither forgiven nor forgotten those responsible.

But Rowan is kindhearted, beautiful, and lost, and Bowie discovers that he can entrust her with his deepest secrets. If only their love could bring hope and healing to everyone around them, maybe they'd be willing to give it a chance...

****This review contains some mild spoilers. Please don't read it if you don't' want to know ***

From time to time, I need to read a sweet story. Sharon Sala’s Blessing series is all about heart and romance during adversity in a small town in Georgia.

If you’re looking for extreme angst this is not for you. You won't find twists or unbelievable shocks either. Just a straightforward romance.

Most of the stories have insta-love in them which I’m not a fan at all but for some reason, it’s perfectly acceptable in this series.

The book tells the story of Bowie James who comes back to town to help rebuild his grandmother and aunt's home after it was damaged by Hurricane Fanny. Currently, they're living at the nursing home. Pearl and Ella have created a bond with a young woman, Rowan Harper. Harper lost her home and her father during the Hurricane. She's thankful for Pearl and Ella's friendship and their offer of shelter.

Bowie lost his mother when he was eighteen. He loves his aunt and grandmother and when his aunt calls him, he knows he can't leave them stranded. Bowie builds homes for a living and helping with their home renovation is the least he could do for them. But coming back to Blessings will mean bringing back the longtime feud between his family and the Boones.

The feud began three generations ago. It became worse when Randall Boone raped Bowie's mother when she was sixteen. Then when Bowie was a young man, Randall, and his brothers beat him up and told his mother and him to leave town or worse. Ten years later, Bowie is only back to help his grandmother and aunt. Yet, on his first night back, Randall’s brothers, Melvin and Emmitt, try to attack him but Bowie defends himself. The next morning, his car is keyed by Emmitt's son, Emmitt Lee Jr. The cops are called in and they take the kid away. Bowie wants to be left alone but the Boones don’t seem to want to let him be.

Putting aside the last twelve hours, Bowie is happy to start rebuilding. Bowie is ready to pick up “ his girls” (Pearl and Ella) but he wasn’t counting on meeting Rowan. His aunt and grandmother had offered Rowan a place with them when their house becomes livable again.

As the days' progress, Bowie realizes Rowan's a beautiful woman inside and out and he’s lucky she has helped his family and happy she's in his life.

In a small town, nothing it's kept quiet for too long. Secrets and bad deeds have a way of surfacing. The town soon realizes the unfairness that had been bestowed upon Bowie and his mother.

I enjoyed A Rainbow Above Us. It was fast-paced, romantic and had plenty of small-town charm. The town of Blessings is a character on its own. Most of its people are good people. They rise to the occasion and lend a helping hand.

4/5 Fangs

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

Summer People by Elin Hilderbrand

Title: Summer People 
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Every summer the Newton family retreats to their beloved home on Nantucket for three months of sunshine, cookouts, and bonfires on the beach. But this summer will not be like any other. When Arch Newton, a prominent New York attorney, dies in a plane crash on his way home from a business trip, his beautiful widow Beth can barely keep things together. Above all, though, she decides that she must continue the family tradition of going to Nantucket, and at the same time fulfill a promise that Arch made before he died.

Beth invites Marcus, the son of Arch's final and most challenging client, to spend the summer with her and her teenage twins Winnie and Garrett, who have mixed reactions to sharing their special summer place with this stranger. Always a place of peace before, Nantucket becomes the scene of roiling emotions and turbulent passions as Marcus, Winnie, and Garrett learn about loss, first love, and betrayal. And when they stumble upon a shocking secret from Beth's past, they must keep it from destroying the family they've been trying so hard to heal.

Summer People was disappointing. I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. I found them self-absorbed, selfish and unrelatable. If I have to say which is the character that irritated me the least, I would have to go with Marcus. He had his moments but for the most part, he was ok.

Summer People is about the Newton family. Arch Newton, the father, has recently perished in a plane crash while flying back home after a business meeting.

Beth is the mother and she has teenager twins, Winnie and Garrett. Arch was a famous lawyer. Before dying, he had taken a case where a woman had murdered two people, one of them a child. Arch was defending her pro bono. Arch had developed a friendship with the accused's teenage son, Marcus and he has invited him to Nantucket to spend the summer with his family. Then, Arch's plane crashes without any survivors.

In the aftermath, Beth decides to take her family and Marcus to Nantucket just as Arch had planned to do. All of them are overwhelmed with grief. Beth is lost without Arch and she's not sure how to deal with her own children. She knows Garret is always angry and Winnie is refusing to eat and wearing Arch's shirt every day. Also, Garrett is against bringing Marcus but Winnie is excited about befriending him. Marcus is upset that his mother has committed this horrendous crime and escaping from NYC to Nantucket with this rich family is something he welcomes. Then Dave and his two daughters, make an appearance. Dave is part of Beth's past. At first, she wants to avoid him but later on, she won't be able to do so. As the summer unfolds, Garrett is taken by Piper and he wants to spend as much time with her as he possibly can.

There were so many things I dislike about this book. Beth, Winnie, and Garrett were all self-centered. Beth likes the idea of David loving her and giving him hope, to later on, backpedaling from his advances. Then, there was Garrett's "love" for Piper and him saying he couldn't live without her until something happens and then he couldn't run away from her fast enough. Winnie whining all the time and acting like a brat. In my eyes, both children did something unforgivable and I couldn't believe Beth let it go without a bigger scene.

I had loved so many books by Elin Hilderbrand but Summer People is not one of them.

Cliffhanger: No

1/5 Fangs

Brant’s Return by Mia Sheridan

Title: Brant’s Return
Author: Mia Sheridan

A stunning, heartfelt new stand-alone by New York Times best-selling author Mia Sheridan - available in audio first!

Brant Talbot runs a glitzy network of high-end bars in New York City, enjoying all the benefits of the lavish lifestyle he's worked so hard to achieve. When he learns that his estranged father is dying, he must return to his family’s Kentucky horse farm - and to a past he thought he left behind. 

While facing long-buried truths, he collides with his father’s secretary, Isabelle Farris. Despite his undeniable attraction to the beautiful, independent young woman, he sees secrets in her eyes and believes she has designs on Graystone Hill. 

Now the one woman he can’t afford to trust is about to become the one he can’t let go.

Ahhhh. Such a romantic book!

I love Mia Sheridan’s Archer's Voice so much and since then, I have been a fan of her books.

Mia's stories have faith, love and are full of hope.

Brant's Return is not any different.

Isabelle was the victim of a horrendous crime. A home invasion left her without her husband Ethan and her four-year-old daughter Elise. Three years later, she’s working at Graystone Hill. She’s part secretary for Harrison Talbot, part horse trainer/whisperer. She also helps with the equine therapy which she used herself six months after she lost her family. Sadly, Harrison has been diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. Isabelle recently found out Harrison has a son, Grant Talbot who’s a successful business owner in New York. Knowing Harrison is dying, she believes Grant and Harrison are running out of time. She decides to call Grant to make peace with Harrison before he passes. 

Brant Talbot has not spoken to his father for over a decade. When his mother died, he severed ties to his father and to Graystone Hill. He’s the owner of many new bars in NYC. He’s in the process of buying one more when he gets the call from Isabelle. Curious about her and also the declining health of his father, he embarks on a trip back home. He has a shocking revelation when he arrives home. Belle is not like any other woman he has met before. She’s intriguing and she put him in his place. He also can tell she has lost much but loves being around the horses and she truly cares about his dad. Conflicting emotions develop for him. He has been used to having control and keeping his emotions buried while Belle has a very different way of dealing with hers. 

Belle and Brant were so good together. There was chemistry and attraction. They helped each other heal from past events. Belle showed Brant how to open up his heart again. 

The whole legend about Captain Skye and Glasblair was a truly gifted element to their romance. I loved every part of it. 

I liked the secondary characters and two of them, Aaron and Hank deserve their own books. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Dangerous Love by Jamie Begley

Title: Dangerous Love
Author: Jamie Begley
Publisher: Young Ink Press
Release Date: February 28, 2019 

A Jamie Begley Anthology


There wasn’t anything Shade didn’t know about his wife, or so he thought. When another man wanted Lily, it didn’t come as a surprise. What did was that she hadn’t told him.

His “Angel” had been sent from heaven just for him, not for another who was trying to steal what was his.

Some lessons had to be learned the hard way and “when you burn, you learn” was his favorite lesson to teach.


Ice had never believed in happily ever after … until he fell in love with Grace. He had put a ring on her finger, trying to tie her to him before she came to her senses and realized there was nothing redeeming about him. So, he wasn’t surprised that their marriage was on the rocks.

She might be chasing rainbows, trying to find the man she believed he was, but rainbows never lasted, and Ice had never pretended to be anything but what he was—a cold-blooded Predator.

She didn’t realize you don’t have to chase after something that’s already been caught.


Hammer and Jonas were on the hunt for a woman to share. However, either they couldn’t agree on the right woman, or she wanted no part of being in a ménage. That they found Mika on Valentine’s Day gave them hope that they had finally found the woman that they could spend the rest of their lives with … until she disappeared the next day, leaving them with an empty bed and no way to find her.

She might have escaped for now, believing she had gotten off scot-free, but the bounty hunters were determined to catch their fleeing third.

She might not know it yet, but some halos were made to be shared.

Dangerous Love is an anthology involving three sets of couples during Valentine's Day.

The first one, Heaven Sent has Lilly and Shade as the protagonists. Shade knows something is off with Lilly. She looks scared but he doesn't know why.  Finding out who's scaring Lilly is his top priority.

In Chasing Rainbows, we finally figure out what had Grace and Ice fighting so much. in T.A.'s book, we knew they had a problem but we're not told exactly what it was. I've always liked this couple and I was glad they got their own little chapter and they were able to resolve their problems.

Lastly, on Halo For Three, we have the two bounty hunters, Hammer, and Jonas on the prowl for the right woman to accept their way of living. When they meet Mica, they think they have found her. 

What a treat this was! I got to revisit the Last Riders, Predators, the bounty hunters, the Biker Bitches, and so many more characters. All the stories were all appealing to me. Greer as always makes me laugh so much with his attitude towards every man. Yet, as we all know, he gives a little bit of himself constantly when someone needs help. Shade has become one of my favorite characters. He always has a motive for everything he does and he's always involved in the life of everyone without anyone realizing it. This time, he was pushing Gavin to begin his new journey. I like the brief interaction Grace and Lilly had and how they were comparing notes. I like how Killy had to help her partners when they couldn't do it on their own. Mica was a revelation and I hope we're able to see her and her guys in future books.

I know Ginny and Gavin have to be next and I'm so excited about their story. I hope it's like Jamie Begley's earlier books.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin

Title: Stone Cold Heart
Series: Tracers #13
Author: Laura Griffin 
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: March 26, 2019

When local rock climbers stumble upon abandoned human bones in a remote Texas gorge, Sara Lockhart is the first to get the call. She has a reputation as one of the nation’s top forensic anthropologists, and police detective Nolan Hess knows she is just the expert he needs to help unravel this case. Although evidence is scarce, Nolan suspects the bones belong to a teenage climber who vanished last summer.

But as Sara unearths strange clues, she finds chilling similarities to a case from her past—a case that now threatens to rock Nolan’s community. While Sara digs deep for answers, the stakes rise higher as another young woman disappears without a trace. Investigators work against the clock as Sara races to discover the truth, even if her harrowing search brings her face to face with a stone-cold killer. 

Something weird happened to me while I was reading Stone Cold Heart. I was more interested in the suspense and the unsub than in the romance. As a romantic at heart, this was really shocking to me. No doubt only Laura Griffin can distract me from a HEA!

Stone Cold Heart is the 13th book in the Tracers series. Each book has a new couple investigating a case. 

Newcomer Sara Lockhart is a forensic anthropologist. She's at a wedding when she's called by detective Nolan Hess to assist on an investigation. Human bones have been found at a National Park. Sara has recently relocated to Texas after spending some time in Guatemala. She accepted a job at the Delphi Crime Center. Sara is confident in her performance. She's a hard worker and prefers to stay away from any romantic notions. Her last relationship ended with her breaking up her own engagement.

Nolan Hess feels a responsibility to his town. A girl disappeared almost a year ago and her family is still looking for answers. Nolan wants nothing more than to bring the family some closure. He would love to capture the person responsible for her disappearance and put them behind bars for a long time. When human bones are found at the park, he thinks they could be the remains of the missing girl but Sara has her doubts. Then, a new young woman disappears in a city close by.

Stone Cold Heart had the perfect components of a romantic suspense. Laura Griffin is able to create the right environment for the crimes. In this case, the parks, the rock climbing and the caves were an excellent addition to the mystery. The idea of a serial killer dumping bodies so close to other people enjoying the outdoors was scary. I was biting my nails trying to figure out who was the killer. I knew it had to be close to them but I wasn't sure who it was until the end. 

Stone Cold Heart is a great complement to the Tracers series. I hope we see many more stories to come. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Devil's Day by Andrew Michael Hurley

Title: Devil's Day by Andrew Michael Hurley
Author: Andrew Michael Hurley
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: April 30, 2019

A new novel by the author of The Loney, which was praised by Stephen King as "an amazing piece of fiction."

In the wink of an eye, as quick as a flea,

The Devil he jumped from me to thee.

And only when the Devil had gone,

Did I know that he and I'd been one . . .

Every autumn, John Pentecost returns to the farm where he grew up, to help gather the sheep down from the moors for the winter. Very little changes in the Endlands, but this year, his grandfather—the Gaffer—has died and John's new wife, Katherine, is accompanying him for the first time.

Each year, the Gaffer would redraw the boundary lines of the village, with pen and paper but also through the remembrance of tales and timeless communal rituals, which keep the sheep safe from the Devil. But as the farmers of the Endlands bury the Gaffer and prepare to gather the sheep, they begin to wonder whether they've let the Devil in after all.

I couldn't connect with this story or the characters. I should have known better and stopped reading it. I tried multiple times to continue reading. I forced myself to finish it when I think I should have quit instead.

Why didn't it work for me?

Mostly, because nothing happens. The prose is so slow that became irritating. The book is very (VERY) descriptive but I felt a lack of substance to the story. I don't think anything important happened in the first 25% of the book. Lastly, the main character was flat to me. 

I'll proceed to give you an idea of what the book is about. 

John Pentecost is moving back to the Endlands to help his father. He brings his pregnant wife  Kat with him. His grandfather, Gaffer recently passed away. The Gaffer had many responsibilities including delineating limits. John is back to the Endlands to help gather the sheep and help them come down from the moors. This is what the residents of the Endlands called the Gathering. The day before the Gathering, they have a celebration called the Devil's Day. Legend says the devil came to the Endlands a hundred years ago and killed many people and the animals too. 

As you can see, the story is intriguing from the outside. I thought when I was reading the synopsis that pregnancy and the devil reminded me of Rosemary's Baby but it was nothing like it.

I'm sad this didn't work for me but I'm sure others might enjoy it.

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

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

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros

Title: The Last Letter
Author: Rebecca Yarros 
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Release date: February 26, 2019


If you’re reading this, well, you know the last-letter drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there was any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.

“If I ever hide something from you, it’s because I’m terrified to risk losing you. That whole roller-coaster thing? I’ve never felt like this. Never had my heart leave my body and belong to someone else. I don’t know how to have a relationship, and I’m bound to screw this one up.”

I should've known better after reading the dedication at the beginning of the book that tough times were coming. Yet, I was not prepared for the heartache I felt after reading The Last Letter. My heart was broken in tiny pieces.

The Last Letter was so well written that it felt real. The emotions, the characters, the military romance were all "possible". They had a ring of truth to them.

What's The Last Letter about?

Ella lives in Telluride, Colorado. She runs a Bed and Breakfast place. She's divorced but has a pair of twins, Maisie and Colt. Her brother Ryan is overseas. She doesn't know where he's at but when she asks him if any of the guys in his team needed some mail, Ryan told her to send letters to "Chaos", one of his teammates. 

Not too long after establishing a pen pal relationship with Chaos, Ella learns that one of her children is very sick but she doesn't have time to be shocked. She needs to do whatever is necessary to help her child. Then, more devastating news is given to her.

Beckett (Chaos) didn't have a happy childhood. He joined the military and Ryan became his friend but his best friend is his special ops dog. He would do anything for her. After the death of a teammate, Beckett is ready to leave the military and go in search of Ella. When he gets there he doesn't want to tell her he's Chaos. At first, Ella is not happy with someone coming to "watch over" her but after a while, she starts trusting him and caring for him. Her children also get attached to him.

So what could go wrong? 

For Ella, lying is not forgivable and as the reader you know, Beckett has been lying to her. It won't be pretty when she learns the truth.

The Last Letter is more than a military romance. It's about loss, regret, sickness, grief, hope, and forgiveness.

Cliffhanger: No

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

4.5/5 Fangs

Hell's Corner by David Baldacci

Title: Hell's Corner 
Series: Camel Club #5) 
Author: David Baldacci 
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release date: November 9, 2010

Oliver Stone and the Camel Club return in #1 bestselling author David Baldacci's most stunning adventure yet.

An attack on the heart of power . . . 

In sight of the White House . . . 

At a place known as . . . 


John Carr, aka Oliver Stone-once the most skilled assassin his country ever had-stands in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, perhaps for the last time. The president has personally requested that Stone serve his country again on a high-risk, covert mission. Though he's fought for decades to leave his past career behind, Stone has no choice but to say yes.

Then Stone's mission changes drastically before it even begins. It's the night of a state dinner honoring the British prime minister. As he watches the prime minister's motorcade leave the White House that evening, a bomb is detonated in Lafayette Park, an apparent terrorist attack against both leaders. It's in the chaotic aftermath that Stone takes on a new, more urgent assignment: find those responsible for the bombing.

British MI-6 agent Mary Chapman becomes Stone's partner in the search for the unknown attackers. But their opponents are elusive, capable, and increasingly lethal; worst of all, it seems that the park bombing may just have been the opening salvo in their plan. With nowhere else to turn, Stone enlists the help of the only people he knows he can trust: the Camel Club. Yet that may be a big mistake.

In the shadowy worlds of politics and intelligence, there is no one you can really trust. Nothing is really what it seems to be. And Hell's Corner truly lives up to its name. This may be Oliver Stone's and the Camel Club's last stand

“Everyone has choices. You make them and then you live with the consequences.”

I hope this is not the end of The Camel Club. I'm invested in these characters and I want to know what is next for them.

Hell's Corner begins with a bang. B.O.O.M. Literally!

A stroll through Lafayette Park for Oliver Stone will prove to be more than a headache for him. A bomb has been detonated so close to the White House in spite of all the security surrounding the place. At first, it looks like a terrorist attack targetting the visiting British Prime Minister but after a while, it seems like there is so much more to this very carefully planned attack.

Oliver Stone is pulled to help his government again. A new badge and a new partner is given to him. His new partner is Mary Chapman, an MI-6 agent. Yet, like always with Oliver Stone having his past as John Carr, so many other agencies are not happy with him. Oliver will need to watch his back and when he can trust his own government, he will enlist the help of his friends from the Camel Club to help him investigate the terrorist attack before another one happens.

Hell's Corner was full of action, intrigue and killer suspense. One action, trigger multiple responses and it seemed like Oliver and Mary were always one step behind. They could trust no one but they both wanted the same thing: The truth. 

There were two great twists which I loved. The second twist was perfect.

I do hope I get one more book so I can get some answers to the open-ended ones. If not Bon Voyage to Oliver, Annabelle, Mary, Harry, Reuben, Caleb, and Alex.  

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs