Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Title: In Five Years
Author: Rebecca Serle
Publisher: Atria Books 
Release Date: March 10, 2020

Perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day—a striking, powerful, and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

"Love doesn't require a future."

Can I just say I have mixed feelings?

Not because I didn’t love the story but because I’m not sure I agree with the ending. 

What a heartbreaking and beautiful story! In Five Years brought out so many emotions in me.

The novel is a story of two best friends, their friendship and the love, loss and hope they experienced.

From the first moment I opened this book, I knew I wouldn't be able to put it away for any reason. It's one of those books that demand your attention. This story spoke to me in so many ways. As I said earlier, it made me feel all types of emotions. 

The characters:

We have Bella, a free spirit girl who had absentee parents growing up. As a rich girl, life has brought her everything she wanted except love; Love from her parents or love from a significant other. Yet, Bella falls in love easily. Bella is a good person and a good friend with a good heart.

Then, we have Dannie Kohan who is a woman with her feet well planted on the earth. She's all about numbers and she loves her job as a lawyer. When the book begins she’s getting ready for an interview with a new firm but she also suspects her boyfriend, David Rosen is about to propose. Dannie is happy with her life and her five-year plan. Then a dream happens. A very real dream where she wakes up five years into the future, in a different home, in Brooklyn, with a ring on her finger and with a different man. A man named Aaron Gregory. The dream shakes her to her core.

Years later, Dannie meets the man of her vivid dream and she tries to stay away from him but fate or her destiny has other plans for her.

In Five Years had an amazing writing and a well-developed storyline that I won’t easily forget. 

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Title: The Sun Down Motel
Author: Simone St. James
Publisher: Berkley 
Release Date: February 18, 2020

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

This is the way a book should be! Spooky and entertaining to the max!

I love everything about The Sun Down Motel. I could see it in my head happening like a movie. A movie which I probably would be too scared to watch.

The book begins in 1982 with the disappearance of Viv Delaney, a young woman from Chicago who has stopped at the Sun Down Motel while she was on her way to NYC. Viv decides to take a job as the night clerk for the motel but she soon realizes that something very wrong is happening at this place. The doors of the rooms open on their own accord, she can smell smoke when there's no one smoking, noises and voices are heard in the middle of the night. Then, she learns Fell is a town full of secrets. Multiple women have died and Viv starts believing their deaths might all be related. 

In 2017, Carly Kirk is a college student who recently has lost her mother. She decides to take a trip to Fell, NY. She is in search of clues as to what happened to her aunt at The Sun Down Motel in 1982. When she gets to Fell, she finds a roommate, Heather. Heather is a night owl who likes true crime, just like Carly does. In order to investigate her aunt's disappearance, Carly decides to take the job her aunt once had, as the night clerk for The Sun Down motel. Not long after, eerie things start happening to her. Carly with the help of Heather, and a stranger, Nick Harness, knows she must find out the truth of what happened at the motel the night Viv disappeared.

Such a good book. Great story with great writing. Excellent plot and characterization. I was completely immersed in this novel.  I highly recommend it.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Title: Big Lies in a Small Town
Author: Diane Chamberlain 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Release Date: January 14, 2020 

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Quite a great story this one was!

Big Lies in a Small Town has the voices of two women, Ana Dale and Morgan Christopher. One's past and one's present connected in the most unusual way. 

Morgan Christopher has had a rough time. She is only twenty-two but she has already known tragedy. She has a problem with alcohol and she was involved in a car accident. She not only lost faith in her boyfriend Greg that night, but she also lost her freedom. She has been in prison serving her sentence in Raleigh, NC until she's offered a deal of a lifetime. In his will, a famous artist, Jesse Jameson Williams, has requested for her to restore a post office mural done by a female artist in the 1940s. A new lawyer will work on her release if she accepts the job. 

In the 1940s, Ana Dale has won a national mural painting in the town of Edenton, NC. As an artist, recently out of school, she’s excited to have won the competition and she can’t wait to begin painting it. Her mother recently committed suicide and a change in venue is something Ana welcomes. What Anna was not expecting is for the "movers and shakers" of Edenton to have their own opinions about what she should draw, or for a local artist to be jealous of her winning the competition instead of him or for racism to be so prevalent around her and her mural.

Little by little as the story progresses, we learn more about these two women’s lives in different timelines. Their voices were powerful and demanding of the reader's attention.

Diana Chamberlain is a master at threading an interesting story and transporting us to the past and making us live the moment in time.

4.5/5 Fangs 

A complimentary copy was provided by ST. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

Title: Not the Girl You Marry
Author: Andie J. Christopher 
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: November 12, 2019

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days gets a millennial makeover in this romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher.

Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he's not sure he wants her to dump him.

Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who's focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she's determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.

Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.

Not the Girl You Marry is supposed to be a re-telling of the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. So, of course, I wanted to read it. Sadly, I don't think it met my expectations. There were parts I really liked and others were I thought: what was the author thinking!

Not the Girl You Marry's two main characters are Hannah Mayfield and Jack Nolan.

Hannah Mayfield is successful in her work but not in her love life. She has been hurt before. She has fallen in love before to later realized she's the type of girl a guy doesn't want to marry. Her last boyfriend didn't think she was good enough to walk down the aisle together. So when at work, she needs to play nice and as an event planner, organize the wedding of the year, she has to show that she understands love and romance. She must pretend to have a boyfriend who loves her in front of her boss.

Who wouldn't wish to have a world where more Jack Nolans are possible. Jack is super cute, nice and he has always tried to keep his girlfriends happy. Of course, due to a work situation and in hopes of a promotion, he will have to do the unthinkable. He would have to pretend to be a bastard and hurt his next girlfriend.

As a premise, I thought I was going to love it but despite me liking both characters, the situations they got themselves into were too far fetched for me. 

Things that I liked included Hannah's self-discovery of her identity as a biracial woman. I liked that she realized she was worthy and a man didn't complete her. Other things I like about Hannah was her determination and loyalty to her friends. Jack's family was also an interesting one. I kept wondering if another family member could be the protagonist of another book.

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

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Title: Good Girls Lie
Author: J.T. Ellison
Publisher: Harlequin-MIRA
Release Date: December 31, 2019

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new psychological thriller examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to in order to protect their secrets.

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond.

But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder.

When a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

Don’t miss this fast-paced suspense story from New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison!

"Everyone lies. To Themselves, to each other. It's a way to belong, to be included. To look important."

I honestly wasn't crazy about Good Girls Lie.

The beginning was too slow and without much of a story. To me, none of the characters were likable.

Let's meet the cast of women:

First, the novel starts with the introduction of a teenage woman from London, Ash Carlisle. She's starting a new school year in a well-known boarding school for young girls, Goode School. Ash is hiding something. Something painful and most likely deadly. 

Second, there is Becca Curtis, a senior who is most of the time a mean girl. She's abusive but at the same time very lonely. Her mother is a senator who has never behaved warmly towards her. 

Third, there is Camille Shannon, who’s Ash's new roommate. A girl who cries at night but won't tell Ash why.

Lastly, we have Ford Julianne Westhaven. The Dean of Goode School who has inherited the job as part of her family's legacy but who dreams of becoming a writer and moving to New York City. 

When one girl appears to have committed suicide, Ash becomes a suspect. Dean Ford wants to believe Ash's innocence but when more clues point to Ash, she doesn’t know what to believe until a second girl is found dead. 

I had issues with the behavior of the girls and their decisions. I found the mystery to be lacking. 
I’m sad this one didn’t work for me. I had high hopes. :(

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Harlequin-MIRA via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Two Princes by Victoria Danann

Title: Two Princes 
Series: Sons of Sanctuary MC #1
Author: Victoria Danann 

New Biker Romance series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Victoria Danann. No cliffhangers.

Two brothers, one a player, one a playboy, are on a crash trajectory with destiny and two broken hearts.

BONUS PREQUEL INCLUDED: Intro to the Sons of Sanctuary MC. A Season in Gemini

Brigid was a graduate student at the University of Texas. She had no trouble getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle was looking impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with family ties to The Sons of Sanctuary. Perfect. Or was it? 

What Brigid wanted was information to prove a proposition. The last thing she had in mind was falling for one of the members of the club. Especially since she was a feminist academic out to prove that motorcycle clubs are organized according to the same structure as primitive tribal society. 

Brash was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of “NOW”. The image on the cover, although GQ’d up in an insanely urbane way, was… him. 

After reading the article, Brash threw some stuff in a duffle and left his only home, a room at The Sons of Sanctuary clubhouse, with a vague explanation about needing a couple of days away. He left his truck at the Austin airport and caught a plane for New York, on a mission to find a mysterious guy walking around with his face. 

SENSITIVITY WARNING: Sometimes this book is profane. Sometimes it's obscene. And sometimes it's both at once.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A Season of Gemini is the Bonus Prequel in the Sons of Sanctuary MC. It tells the story of Garland St. Germaine and Brant Fornight.

Garland St. Germaine is forced by her father to go to Austin with him after finishing school. He provides her with the commodities since he's the owner of Germaine Enterprises and he's very rich. After getting in trouble for taking a picture during a celebratory occasion, he tells her, she must start business school and that she will go with him to Austin for the summer.

Brant Fornight is the son of the President of the Sons of Sanctuary Motorcycle Club. He's a mechanic who's working for the Yellow Rose Country Resort when he meets Garland. He knows she comes from money but he can't resist her allure. 

First comes their first meeting, then a friendship and soon love. Unfortunately, the summer is close to ending and they have to decide about the future of their relationship.

Great beginning to the series. I was instantly interested in these characters and their love. I was rooting for them to end up together. I disliked Garland's father very much. A cold, unsympathetic and conniving man.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs


Two Princes is book 1 in the Sons of Sanctuary MC series. 

Twenty-three years have gone by since we left Garland and Brant's love story behind. 

In Two Princes, we meet two new characters: Brannach "Brash" Fornight and Brandon St. Germaine 

Brash Fortnight is the son of the President of the Sons of Sanctuary MC. He is part of the MC. He does what is best for the club. His whole life changes, while waiting in line in a supermarket store. He notices a magazine and on the cover, he sees himself. A complete replica of him. Intrigued by the picture, he goes home and researches the man who has his face too.

Brandon St. Germaine is a successful man with his grandfather's company, Germaine Enterprises. He has done a cover for a magazine at the insistence of his mother, Garland. He's a workaholic who can make any business a prolific one. 

Brigid Bailey is a Texas University graduate student. She is doing her thesis on Motorcycle Club life and the way they operate. In order to complete her thesis, she wants to be able to talk to one. A connection with a girlfriend's roommate gives her the invite to talk to the president of the MC, Brant Fornight. After some negotiation, her request is approved but with the condition that she has to live in the compound for three months. A bargain that pushes her to meet and be in constant contact with Brash.

It was fun following this set of characters. I love the twins after already meeting the parents. Their interactions and banter were fun to read. Brigid was also a good one. She was not scared or a pushover. I love how she was able to get away with interviewing the MC and left Brant speechless.

I want to read the next book since it's all about Brandon.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs