Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Author: Abbi Waxman
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 9, 2019

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page. 

I can enthusiastically recommend this story to someone who enjoys romance, trivia, and books!

Nina Hill lives a quiet life. She works in a bookstore, she loves reading, she has her cat, Phil and she enjoys a movie night with friends and her trivia night. Nina doesn't deviate from her carefully created life. She likes to be in control. Otherwise, her anxiety might get the best of her. 

Nina doesn't really date. She has no time in her planner for a man although she can admit to herself and to her trivia teammates that she likes the guy from their opposing team. His name is Tom and he mostly contributes to the trivia game with sports. So Nina thinks that he probably doesn't read. Why would she go out with someone who doesn't read?

Then, to make her life more difficult, she is notified that her father, whom she has never met, has died and she has a huge family she didn't even know she had. Worse, they want to meet her. 😧

They do say something about best-laid plans, don't they?

I laughed out loud a couple of times, I smiled a lot, and obviously, I enjoyed the ramblings from Nina's mind. 

Quirkiness should be Nina's middle name. It suited her and it made me like her quite a bit. 

I'm actually sad to see this story end. I wish there was a way to continue to enjoy these characters.

The Bookish Life on Nina Hill is the perfect book for a book lover!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre

Title: Every Last Secret 
Author: A.R. Torre 
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: December 1, 2020

Welcome to the neighborhood. Watch your husband, watch your friends, and watch your back.

Cat Winthorpe has worked hard to get what she has: a gorgeous home; social standing; and William, her successful, handsome husband. Then a friendly new couple moves into the estate next door. While cautious, a good neighbor like Cat greets them with open arms and warm hospitality.

Neena Ryder isn’t a fellow lady of leisure. A life coach with off-the-rack dresses, personal issues, and a husband who hasn’t delivered, she’s anxious to move up in the world. This beautiful new town is a step in the right direction. It’s also making Neena aware of what she doesn’t have. Namely, William. When Neena’s infatuation escalates into obsession, it’s just a matter of eliminating a few obstacles to get the life she wants. The life next door.

As Neena’s secret fixation grows, so does her friendship with Cat. But beneath their cordial interactions is a wealth of temptations, secrets, and toxic jealousy. For both women, the desire for a perfect life can turn perfectly dangerous.

As a reader, one thing I know for sure is that I won’t be disappointed by Alessandra’s work. 

Her writing was flawless in Every Last Secret. I sped through the pages like my life depended on it. Nothing was more important than knowing what was going to happen next. 

This is the story of two very different women, Neena Ryder and Cat Winthorpe. Each can tell the other one might be a problem. The battle has begun and only one will win it.

In one corner we have Neena Ryder. Neena is the new company's life coach hired by Cat's husband William. Neena comes from nothing and although she has loved her husband Matt, she is now ready for an upgrade. Neena is ambitious and she doesn't believe Matt's demolition business can compete with the money some of her new neighbors have. William her new boss, is a hunky man. He is rich, powerful, and connected. Success is something Neena is attracted to and what she believes she deserves to have.

Neena will begin a seduction plan to win William. Her ultimate goal is to make William fall for her. 

On the other corner, we have Cat. She seems to have everything. A handsome husband, his love, a beautiful home, and plenty of money to spend as she pleases. After meeting Neena, she knows the woman wants more in life but in the beginning, Cat is very sure of Williams's loyalty. Once Cat realizes that Neena is interested in him as a man, and William is not as responsive to Cat's needs anymore, the game is on. 

I honestly can say that I love to see these two women sparring. They were playing chess and I couldn't wait to see how one would outdo the other one and checkmate was called. My money was on Cat. Quiet, organized, and lethal in her own way. (I wouldn't cross her.) Yet, Neena had the street smarts and the Ph.D. which helped with her manipulations.

Was the ending too good to be true? Maybe, but I'm not complaining. 

The next question is when is another A.R. Torre book coming out? 

4/5 Fangs

Cliffhanger: No

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson #3

Title: Iron Kissed
Series: Mercy Thompson #3
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: January 2, 2008

Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape - but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.

Mercy's loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can't decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her...

It's difficult to write a review on a book you have read so many times. 

The first time I read it was in 2010 and to this day, Iron Kissed is still one of my favorite books. 

In Iron Kissed, Mercy will have to help Zee who has been imprisoned by the humans after finding him at the scene of a crime. Mercy knows Zee is innocent but when the Fae turned on Zee, she won't rest until she can find the true killer to save her friend's life.

Iron Kissed is also the book where Mercy will make a choice in regards to her love life. Is it Sam, the man she fell in love with when she was sixteen? or is it Adam, the alpha of the werewolf pack she has fallen for?

Not to say I don't like Sam but hands down, I was Team Adam (and still am).

Mercy is such an amazing heroine. She is resourceful, smart, caring, and deadly when she needs to be. She likes to protect the people she cares about and this is mostly the main reason why she is always in danger.

Like Samuel said: "You have a real gift for getting into trouble, don't you?". Yes, she does but she also knows how to be a survivor in a world where things go bump at night. 

This book is also the one responsible for me loving Ben. He becomes one of my favorite characters in this series after his insight and emotional speech helps Adam understand what Mercy couldn't say. 

I won't deny it. Iron Kissed always brings tears to my eyes. 

Earlier, I said I was team Adam but I'm really Team Mercy. She is the one I enjoy reading about. 

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

Title: The Girl in the Mirror
Author: Rose Carlyle 
Publisher:  William Morrow
Release Date:  October 20, 2020

Written with the chilling, twisty suspense of The Wife Between Us and Something in the Water, a seductive debut thriller about greed, lust, secrets, and deadly lies involving identical twin sisters.

Twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam.

Called to Thailand to help her sister sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. When she makes it to land, Iris allows herself to be swept up by Adam, who assumes that she is Summer.

Iris recklessly goes along with his mistake. Not only does she finally have the golden life she’s always envied, with her sister gone, she’s one step closer to the hundred-million-dollar inheritance left by her manipulative father. All Iris has to do is be the first of his seven children to produce an heir.

Iris’s “new” life lurches between glamorous dream and paranoid nightmare. On the edge of being exposed, how far will she go to ensure no one discovers the truth?

And just what did happen to Summer on the yacht?

Only Iris knows . .





All that for it to end this way! Arrgh

Was the premise a good one? Absolutely. Twins (mirror twins) almost conjoined twins if they had stayed a little longer in the womb: Summer and Iris are the main topic of discussion. 

Summer with all her perfect body and Iris with her dextrocardia and other organs on her right side instead of her left. 

Summer, the sweet perfect twin while Iris, full of envy and freaky-how-I-imitate-my twin behavior.

Summer with the perfect husband, Adam. Iris with a failed marriage to Noah.

Then, of course, there is the money. The twins' father's revealed a bomb when the girls were  just teenagers. Whoever delivers a new child after they marry will be the sole proprietor of the Carmichael fortune. Unfortunately, the twins are not the only ones that can inherit. They have stepsiblings and their brother to compete for it.


Poor Iris. She never got a chance. What the heck Ben, you couldn't tell them apart? Moron. And poor Ester, you know Summer is going to find a way to get rid of her. 

Did I guess the twists? Yes, from the beginning. I knew Summer was alive and not pregnant. I also guessed that Adam was in on it. I knew they wanted Iris's baby but I was hoping Summer wouldn't get away with it.

Iris had all this growth as a person, as a daughter, as a stepmother, and as a mother. Why let her die? 

Summer had no growth just plain evil.  A psychopath dreaming of crocodiles killing her victims. 

Was the book a good one?

Oh yeah, the suspense was killing me. It was a race to answer the one question I had. Was Iris going to be a victim or a survivor?

Adam you conniving bastard with your freaky sex! What an arse! Hope Summer kills you too.

Do I feel strongly about the emotions The Girl in the Mirror brought out in me? Yep, I had many.

I will read anything Rose Carlyle writes from now on.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering


Title: Too Good to Be True
Author: Carola Lovering
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: March 2, 2021

From Carola Lovering, the author of Tell Me Lies, comes Too Good to Be True, an emotionally nuanced psychological suspense, and an obsessive, addictive love story, for fans of Lisa Jewell and The Wife Between Us.

Skye Starling is overjoyed when her boyfriend, Burke Michaels, proposes after a whirlwind courtship. Though Skye seems to have the world at her fingertips—she's smart, beautiful, and from a well-off family—she's also battled crippling OCD ever since her mother's death when she was eleven, and her romantic relationships have suffered as a result.

But now Burke—handsome, older, and more emotionally mature than any man she's met before—says he wants her. Forever. Except, Burke isn't who he claims to be. And interspersed letters to his therapist reveal the truth: he's happily married, and using Skye for his own, deceptive ends.

In a third perspective, set thirty years earlier, a scrappy seventeen-year-old named Heather is determined to end things with Burke, a local bad boy. Inspired by the sophisticated mother of her babysitting charges, Heather vows to leave her impoverished hometown behind and make a better life for herself in New York City. But can her adolescent love stay firmly in her past—or will he find his way into her future?

On a collision course she doesn't see coming, Skye throws herself into wedding planning, as Burke's scheme grows ever more twisted. Meanwhile, three decades in the past, Heather's longed-for transformation finally seems within reach. But of course, even the best laid plans can go astray. And just when you think you know where this story is going, you'll discover that there's more than one way to spin the truth.

I enjoyed this one so much! Yes, the ending was an unbelievable one but I went with it. 

Too Good To Be True was a page-turner suspense with a great twist that I did not see coming. I actually had an "Oh wow" moment. 

Skye Starling is a young woman who is working as an editor. She is also a very rich woman. She has a trust that would make anyone more than comfortable in life. Yet, even though it looks like she has everything or she could buy it if she wanted to, she is unlucky in love. She has OCD and is unable to stop her compulsions of knocking on all pieces of wood or kissing clocks. So the men she has met so far, fall short 100%. Some of them total losers for sure. And then, Skye meets Burke Michaels.

Burke is a man in his forties. He looks like a successful businessman who is also handsome and interesting. He is a recovering addict who doesn't hide it. Burke doesn't care about Skye's compulsions. He understands her. There is of course one tiny problem. He is already married!!!

I think that in order to get the maximum enjoyment of Too Good To Be True, is to not read the blurb. It has way too much information and since I went in blind, I had a blast reading it.

Skye had all my sympathy. Dealing with a debilitating OCD is hard. Her meds were not completely useful but at least her therapist was a great one. 

I won't comment on Burke because I don't want to give out any spoilers. Just know my friends that you might want to have an open mind about the ending.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Friday, November 20, 2020

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Malibu Rising
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 25, 2021

A lifetime holding it together. One party will bring it crashing down.

Malibu: August, 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over-especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud-because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about promised she'll be there.

And Kit has a couple of secrets of her own-including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

What makes a book a great book? Is it writing? Is it the premise? Is it the characters? Or is it the author's voice? I don't know but I can tell you, I thought the Malibu Rising checked all the boxes above. It was superb!

I had so much fun with the multiple storylines which is weird because usually I’m against too many characters moving around all over the place. Nevertheless, in this case, it completely worked for me. 

Let's meet the Rivas:

Mike Rivas, the father, an unfaithful man, a famous rock star. A sperm donor who has four children and a trail of ex-wives and broken hearts.

Nina, the oldest daughter. A supermodel. The one who made all the sacrifices for her siblings. The one that took over their care without thinking about herself. Her husband left her and she is not even sure how is she going to deal with the upcoming party.

Hud, the surfer photographer who's keeping a big secret from his brother, Jay.

Jay, the well-known surfer who has a secret of his own. 

Kitt, the youngest daughter. The road to self-discovery has began, What better way to do it than during the famous Rivas party.

Is the 1980s and everyone wants to go to the party of the year! Everyone and anyone who is someone wants to attend the Rivas party. And what a PARTY it is. There is no invitation. The only condition to be a guest is to know the address. If you do, you can show up and have the time of your life.  Or not....

Over the years, the Rivas party has become the one event the siblings enjoy together. Yet, this year things are going to be different.

I love all the Rivas kids. They had an unbreakable bond and surfing was their glue. 

Of course, I had a soft spot for Nina.

I can't finish my review without mentioning the beautiful cover. I love it. It's perfect for these characters. I already pre-ordered my copy.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab


Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 6, 2020

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

"never pray to the gods that answer after dark.”
I hated the ending! 


Because I'm a dreamer.

I had hoped the story would go in a different way.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue had a provocative proposition.

Addie La Rae is a woman who from a young age knew she wanted her freedom. Freedom to live her life the way she wanted it. She didn't want to be like her friend Isabelle and get married and have children. No, Addie wanted more from life but when she is told she must marry, she runs to the woods and prays to the gods to help her. A mistake she will come to regret since who answers is none other than the Darkness. She strikes a deal with him and she will become immortal until she surrenders her soul. 

"Then take my life when I am done with it. You can have my soul when I don't want it anymore."

Not too long after, Addie will begin to believe her immortality is a curse. No one will remember her. She will be there but a second later, she will be forgotten. Nothing will really belong to her for 300 years until she meets Henry.

Henry runs a book store in NYC in 2014. An encounter with Addie will make her hope for a new beginning. She is not sure how, but Henry is able to remember her.

"I remember you."

Yet, there is someone who has never forgotten her, the darkness himself, Luc. He has been with her every year. Is Addie ready to surrender?

“And there in the dark, he asks if it was really worth it.
Were the instants of joy worth the stretches of sorrow?
Were the moments of beauty worth the year of pain?
And she turns her head, and looks at him, and says 'Always.”

Was the writing beautifully done? Absolutely. V.E. Schwab did a marvelous job of bringing the characters to life. She perfected the pass of time emphasizing the ambiance during each time period. I was there with Addie when she was in Paris, Germany, Los Angeles, NOLA, and of course in NYC.

I still dream of a different ending.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Dark and Secret Place by Jen Williams


Title: A Dark and Secret Place
Author:  Jen Williams 
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: June 8, 2021

When prodigal daughter Heather Evans returns to her family home after her mother's baffling suicide, she makes an alarming discovery--stacks and stacks of carefully preserved letters from notorious serial killer Michael Reave. The "Red Wolf," as he was dubbed by the press, has been in prison for over twenty years, serving a life sentence for the gruesome and ritualistic murders of several women across the country, although he has always protested his innocence. The police have had no reason to listen, yet Heather isn't the only one to have cause to re-examine the murders. The body of a young woman has just been found, dismembered and placed inside a tree, the corpse planted with flowers. Just as the Red Wolf once did.

What did Heather's mother know? Why did she kill herself? And with the monstrous Red Wolf safely locked inside a maximum security prison, who is stalking young women now? Teaming up with DI Ben Parker, Heather hopes to get some answers for herself and for the newest victims of this depraved murderer. Yet to do that, she must speak to Michael Reave herself, and expose herself to truths she may not be ready to face. Something dark is walking in the woods, and it knows her all too well.

A serial killer is targeting young women. After he kills them, he arranges flowers onto the corpses. He cares more about them dead than alive.  The gruesome discoveries mimicked the same pattern once used by serial killer, Michael Reave, the Red Wolf. Yet, Michael is in prison, so who is killing them?

Heather Evans comes back home after her mother commits suicide. She’s saddened by her loss despite not being close to her mother. She left home when she was sixteen. 

While cleaning her mother’s things, Heather makes a discovery. She discovers correspondence between her mother and the famous serial killer the Red Wolf. She doesn't understand her mother's connection with him and she starts investigating her mother's past. A past she might not want to find out after all.

I hate to say it but I didn’t enjoy this one. Not sure if it was the slow delivery or it was because I didn’t think that the characters were interesting enough.

In my opinion, something was lacking with the premise. 

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

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

Don't Tell A Soul by D.K. Hood
Detectives Kane and Alton #1

Title: Don't Tell A Soul
Series: Detectives Kane and Alton #1
Author: D.K. Hood
Publisher: Bookouture
Release Date: October 30, 2017

The floor was stone cold on her bare skin. Her heart pounded in her chest. ‘Not a soul knows where I am,’ she thought as she took in the darkness around her. And then she heard his footsteps…

When a body is found stuffed into a barrel at a garbage dump, covered in long red lacerations, Detective Jenna Alton and her new deputy, David Kane, rush to the scene.

Nothing ever happens in the small American town of Black Rock Falls, so Jenna believes the victim must be one of two recent missing persons, and she fears for the life of the other.

Both were strangers to the town, but there’s nothing else to link them. Jenna knows someone must have seen something, but no one’s talking; how well does she really know the people around her?

Then a disturbing clue makes Jenna suspect a connection with other disappearances in the town’s history. Just when she begins asking the right questions, she realises she’s being followed. Is she next on the killer’s list?

In a race against time, Jenna and David must unlock the dark secret at the heart of the town, before it’s too late…

“I seem to attract crime”.

My curiosity has been piqued.

So where do you go when you had plastic surgery and Witness protection has to place you somewhere in the States? Well, you move to Black Rock Falls, Montana of course.

David Kane is the new Deputy Sheriff at Black Rock Falls. The first night he gets there, he's witness to a car accident. A truck has tried to run over a car. To his surprise, he discovers that the victim's car is none other than his new boss, Sheriff Alton.

Sheriff Alton is not what he was expecting. She seems too young for her job however she's very confident and knowledgeable. He also believes she's hiding something or hiding from someone.

His job is also not what he was expecting. He was expecting to relax in a new town without major drama but he soon discovers that the town is full of surprises. Two people have gone missing without a trace and then a body is found at the garbage dump. It's up to him and Sheriff Alton to discover the truth behind these disappearances.

I really like the beginning of this series. I thought both characters were very likable and interesting. Both were hiding in plain sight and you know that at some point their past is going to come looking for them.

I'm intrigued, so I will continue reading the next installment.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

Friday, November 13, 2020

Love in Lockdown by Chloe James


Title: Love in Lockdown
Author: Chloe James
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: March 4, 2021

Sophia is afraid lockdown will put her life on pause – just as she was she was going to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.

Jack is used to living life to the fullest, and is going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until that night he hears a woman crying from the balcony beneath his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile back on her face.

Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.

Charming and sweet is the best way to describe this book.

Nothing better than a nice story to lift your spirits and I believe Chloe James achieved this with Love in Lockdown.

Sophia Trent and Jack Stanton are living in the same building without ever meeting in person. Jack has some health issues and he’s unable to leave his apartment during the pandemic lockdown. Sophia, on the other hand, is able to continue with her job as a teacher. She studied law but after developing epilepsy she gave up her career and now works with kids. Due to her illness, her boyfriend of five years didn’t want to stay with her. 

One day after that NHS clapping, she becomes emotional and starts crying. Jack who lives above Sophia can hear her and they strike a conversation. Soon this becomes the norm. Sophia sends treats his way, while he sends special cocktails using a box and rope to her apartment balcony. Together, this duo and with the help of WhatsApp start helping their courtyard community.

Love in Lockdown brings some solid points about the pandemic including mental health issues that can arise from isolation, the need to help the elderly and other vulnerable populations, the importance of telemedicine and exhaustion of the healthcare workers, the need for teachers to help kids during these dire times.

My one complaint about the book would be the ending, I felt it needed more. Something was missing in the romance department.

3.5/5 fangs

Cliffhanger: No

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