It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

Book Description:

Published: May 16, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

Review –

What a roller coaster ride! My head is still spinning from all the twists and turns this book took to relate the journey of three girls who meet their Freshman year at college and became roommates and friends/enemies for the next 20 plus years.

One girl gets way with murder and one girl is later murdered and you don’t find out the killer until THE VERY END.

Loved it. Highly recommend it!

Five stars!!!

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Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Book Description:

Published: September 27, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Review –

I truly find it hard to relate everything I feel about this book. The conclusion to this epic duology delivered in EVERY way possible. Crooked Kingdom enthralled and delighted, even while some of the content reduced me to tears. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, and Wylan will forever be marked as one of my most beloved fictional crew.

 Crooked Kingdom is filled with character bonding, as well as interaction and development within the numerous friendships within the main group.

Even while the crew work seamlessly together, they remain distinct and unique individuals, driven forward by their own goals and personal backstory. The amount of character development in this book is phenomenal. By halfway through the book, I was fully invested in every single story – even for characters we previously did not see much of like Wylan.

Besides the characters bonding more as a unit and also as romantics pairs there is an arresting storyline, filled with cunning tricks and plot twists. Leigh Bardugo absolutely shines during her fight scenes, with the action becoming almost cinematic. The constantly turning wheels of Kaz Brekker’s mind is also equally formidable. We all love a story about an underdog, and watching Kaz scheme his way numerous setbacks had me on the edge of my seat, but the payoff is always so immensely satisfying.

Not all couples end up together-there is a death of a major player- I won’t say who but it was worthy of several Kleenex and I still can’t believe he’s gone.

I wish the author had Kaz pronounce his real feelings for Inej, instead he just holds her hand, without gloves. This may not sound like much to those who have not read Six of Crows, but it’s a major deal for Kaz Brekker!

The catch phrase of this series is NO MOUNERS, NO FUNERALS and we learn more about it in this book. This is what the author has to say about the quote:

“No mourners, no funerals. Another way of saying good luck. But it was something more. A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.”

Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom

Fantastic book, fantastic series!!!

 

 

 

Slow Burn (Driven #5) by K. Bromberg

Book Description:

Published: February 24, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

One Night. That’s all it was supposed to be.

Reeling from the sudden loss of her sister, Haddie Montgomery has sworn off relationships. All she wanted from Beckett Daniels was a sexy distraction to help her escape her pain for just a little while….There weren’t supposed to be any strings attached—so why can’t she shake the memory of that unforgettable night from her thoughts? Or the taste of his kiss from her lips?

No matter how hard Haddie tries to forget about him, Becks relentlessly tries to prove that she should start living for today. But she is determined to avoid romantic commitment, and she can always use her ex-boyfriend’s reappearance to help snuff out the slow burn within her that Becks has sparked….

Or will fate force her to realize that this kind of connection doesn’t come along very often and a chance at love is worth the risk?

Review –

Slow Burn can be read as a stand-alone; you do not have had to read the Driven Trilogy to understand it or enjoy it. (Although, I must admit, it’ll be even that more special if you do!)

The start of this book is super sexy with Hattie and Becks giving into their explosive chemistry on the night of Rylee and Colton’s wedding. Hattie makes sure Becks realizes that this is a one-time encounter and that they need to keep things simple after the night. (No Strings) What was a little bit irritating was that she then proceeded to tell and think the same thing for the next 5-6 chapters and pretty much through the first half of the book. It was kind of like, okay we get it you want things to stay simple, let’s not repeat it anymore; really and truly lets just not and please stop pushing Beck’s away.

Hattie is dealing with a lot and this might be some of her reason for not letting Becks in. She recently lost her sister from Breast Cancer and is feeling the loss from Rylee not being in her life full time now that she is married and living somewhere else; so pushing Becks away seems like the easiest thing for her to do, to protect herself from any further heartbreak. You can guess where this is going, and you would be right. It’s predictable but it is sooo good and you will be blown away.

Thankfully Becks isn’t willing to go away that easily; especially when he realizes that Haddie has the voodoo pussy, just like Rylee had the same thing to Colton.

Loved the book but gave it a three out of five stars because of all the unnecessary repetition.  Remember to have plenty of tissues handy when you get to the last third of the book.

 

 

 

 

Twist (Dive Bar #2) by Kylie Scott

Book Description:

Published: April 11, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they’re emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets… apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.

Review –

Kylie Scott breathed new life into a plot centered around meeting online and mistaken identity and it had everything to do with Alex and Joe’s respective personalities. Joe is a classic good guy and he was very swoon-worthy. A guy other than Joe likely would not have tried so hard to make things up to Alex after she discovered he was the Eric she’d been emailing all along. While they slowly settle into friendship, it is clear they have a lot to learn from each other.

Whereas Joe says yes to everyone in his life, setting up more than a couple codependent relationships, Alex says no to everyone, functioning more like a hermit. We’re at our healthiest when we’re somewhere between those two extremes. Joe proposes Alex gets out of her comfort zone by saying yes to things and he’ll learn to set boundaries by saying no.

I love the humor the author combines with sexual chemistry/tension and for me it makes the story much more believable and enjoyable.

There are ups and down in their relationship and one twist that I didn’t see coming (I love when that happens) and Alex is hurt badly but it all works out in the end.  Can’t wait for the third installment of the Dive Bar series, Chaser, which comes out in April.

Five stars.

Devil’s Cut (The Bourbon Kings #3) by J.R. Ward

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.

Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.

As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing’s for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.

Review –

This was the last book I finished in 2017 but I wanted to review it so here goes.

In this, the last in The Bourbon Kings series, many things happen. Edward Bradford Baldwine, eldest of the Bradford family, awaits arraignment in Washington County Jail for the murder of his father, William. He’s losing any hope of pairing up with Sutton Smythe, the love of his life. Chantal Baldwine is plotting to leverage her pregnancy—by William—into a heftier settlement in her divorce from William’s son Jonathan Tulane. And the entire Bradford clan is grieving, less over William’s death than the loss of the millions that he embezzled.

Easterly, The Baldwine mansion and compound build high on a hill, could be lost because of the huge debt owed to many creditors and banks because of the greed of William.

We learn the true killer of William, Chantal loses her baby will Lizzie becomes pregnant , Gen tells Samuel T. that he is Amelia’s father and also tells her daughter about her father (this causes one heart moment) Edward is not a true Baldwine and we find out who his father is and he and Sutton have their hea. To sum it all up – the author successfully ties every thread of romance-tinged Kentucky drama into several sparkly bows. 

The Bourbon Kings is a fantastic series that I highly recommend.

Dirty (Dive Bar #1) by Kylie Scott

Book Description:

Published: April 19, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she’d marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?

Review –

The moment Vaughan finds Lydia (aka Runaway Bride) in a torn wedding gown and much of ample cleavage on display, in his bathtub, the steamy chemistry between them starts. They really have nothing in common, other than appreciation of the other’s body.

Vaughan is a failed musician who has come back from LA after ten years to his home town. Lydia has known her bridegroom to be for four months and minutes before the ceremony receives a video of him and the best man having sex. She bolts and climbs an 6-8 foot fence and see a small window open in a house next door. She climbs in, falling on her face and then Vaughan walks in.

They are “crazy at first sight” is how they describe what they have (crazy about each other) and the sex, well, it was mind-blowing. All of the sex scenes were very well done and not just sex for sex sake. Along with the hotness there is humor and that makes the story even more endearing.

Each of them say they are going to get on with their lives, Vaughan going back to LA to pursue music again and Lydia just getting on with her life having been humiliated in the press. Regardless, they fall for each other and even though things don’t go smoothly, there is a HEA and I must admit I shed a few tears.

Loved it and am looking forward to listening to Twist, the next in the Dive Bar series.

 

Where Secrets Sleep (House of Secrets #1) by Marta Perry

Book Description:

Published: February 24, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In Amish country, not everything is as simple as it appears…

After suffering a terrible betrayal, Allison Standish flees Philadelphia for the small Amish village of Laurel Ridge. There, she comes into an unexpected inheritance—her late grandmother bequeathed her a mansion housing various shops. Allison intends to sell Blackburn House, until one of her tenants, single father Nick Whiting, challenges everything she believes about her estranged grandmother and the Amish community, and she decides to stay—temporarily.

Soon, strange stipulations in her grandmother’s will bring to Allison’s door distant relatives and seething townsfolk who think Blackburn House shouldn’t belong to an outsider. As anonymous threats escalate, Nick is protective of Allison, and she finds herself falling for the handsome carpenter. But when she discovers her grandmother’s death may not have been accidental, Allison must face the truth that someone wants her gone…permanently.

Review –

WHERE SECRETS SLEEP contains likeable characters you’ll find quaint if your are familiar with small town rural America and all the intricacies that make it a well-rounded place to live. It’s a charming story that focuses on the relationships of the Amish with the Englisch, exposing their differences as well as their willingness to be compatible as neighbors. There are some references to Amish faith and how it affects their way of life, but this story isn’t about faith, or just the Amish, as much as it’s about learning to live a fulfilling life. This story is modern but still exemplifies the less modern way of life in an Amish community.

There is a sweet  romance  between Allison and Nick and some violence that is typical in a romantic suspense that reads more like a cozy murder mystery. Blackburn House is the perfect setting for a blending of characters from the charming Amish spinster, to the city girl who is transplanted into rural America and is attracted to a handsome carpenter with a cute child, to the meddling Englisch bookstore owner who can’t keep his nose out of anyone’s business, mixed in with various other characters including some devious villains.

This book was a very pleasant read and I throughly enjoyed it and will look forward to reading others in the series.

 

Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

Book Description:

Published: August 4, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child’s mother, it is wrong…

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother’s belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew – dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Yan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later…

Review –

Roberta treasures books so much that she pines away in her beloved job at Old and New Bookshop, watching Philip, her boss and the man she can’t yet admit to herself that she loves, take the beautiful Jenna as his lover. But secrets begin to spill out of the books—secrets that will change her understanding of the past and hopes for the future.

One fateful day, Roberta’s father, John, brings in an old suitcase labeled “Mrs. D. Sinclair,” filled with her grandmother Dorothea Pietrykowski’s old books. Between the pages, Roberta discovers a letter dated Feb. 8, 1941, signed by her grandfather Yan Pietrykowski, warning Dorothea that what she is about to do will dishonor her, imperil her very soul, and wrong some unnamed mother and child. If only Roberta could ask her grandmother or her father about the letter, but at 109, Dorothea has entered hospice care, and John’s health is failing, as well.

Meanwhile, Jenna confesses to a bewildered Roberta that she’s pregnant with a child fathered by her ex-boyfriend and not her current boyfriend, Philip, the owner of the bookstore.

The authors’ debut novel nimbly weaves together Roberta’s and Dorothea’s stories—the reader almost expects to pull a shadowy missive from its spine. Roberta’s life is a mess; she stifles her feelings for Philip, twisting her desires into a sad affair with a married man. But Dorothea’s story is the stuff of films: disowned, disappointed in marriage, crushed by multiple miscarriages—Dorothea rises above it all to manage her own farmhouse, to take into her home two young women, part of the Women’s Land Army, and to find new love with Yan, the dashing Polish Squadron Leader.

I felt so sorry for Yan, because even though he broke Dorothy’s heart saying that he couldn’t offer marriage to her if she was going through with her plan with he baby (you’ll have to read the book so find out which baby) but later, after the war, has a change of heart and tries to find her, but doesn’t succeed. We never find out what happens to him.

A breathtaking, beautifully crafted tale of loves that survive secrets.

Fantastic read!

 

Stuck Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Book Description:

Published: April 11, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

It started out like any other morning on the train.
Until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle.
He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world.
Who did the stuck-up suit think he was…God?
Actually, he looked like a God. That was about it.
When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out.
I might have picked it up.
I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers.
I might have held onto the mystery man’s phone for days―until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.
When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me.
So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk’s office.
I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first though.
I didn’t expect him to text back.
I didn’t expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.
I didn’t expect to fall for him―all before we even met.
The two of us couldn’t have been any more different.
Yet, you know what they say about opposites.
When we finally came face to face, we found out opposites sometimes do more than attract―we consumed each other.
Nothing could have prepared me for the ride he took me on. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for where I’d wind up when the ride was over.
All good things must come to an end, right?
Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

Review –

I love it when a contemporary romance has substance to it, like a plausible plot, instead of just sex for the sake of sex.

In this stand alone novel a rich, stuck up, angry man in a suit loses his phone on the train and an Italian girl with a smart mouth and color on the tips of her hair finds it and after a few days returns it to him with a few pictures of her legs,butt and cleavage plus her number. Graham finally discovers who she is and the two start a hot and heavy relationship. The sex scene, which did not happen at their first meeting, was very well written and not over the top. What made it so good was the chemistry they had and their suggestive texts to one another.

They both come into the relationship with baggage, she has trust issues because of her father leaving when she was young and he not wanting to get hurt again after his fiancée cheated on him with his best friend.

It was fun watching Mr. Stuck Up Suit soften and allow his real self to emerge from his tough exterior and to watch her learn to trust again and take a chance on love.

Along the way there is a death, an ex-girlfriend/fiancée , a new-found daughter, and a happily ever after. 

( But it takes awhile to get there.)

I really enjoyed this book and will now look for more books by this team of authors.

 

No One Left to Tell (Baltimore #2) by Karen Rose

Book Description:

Published: June 2012

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A car crashes in front of rookie PI Paige Holden’s home. And suddenly, she finds one of her pro bono clients dying in her arms—from a gunshot wound. With her last breath, the woman whispers cryptic words into her ear and hands her a blood-smeared flash drive.

Five years ago, State’s Attorney Grayson Smith put a murderer behind bars. But when Paige Holden shares the flash drive with him, its contents cast doubts on the conviction—and lead him and Paige into a world of blackmail, dark secrets, and a decades-long string of murders. An investigation they’ll survive only by trusting each other—and the truth.

Review –

Bestselling author Karen Rose returns to Baltimore for this steamy follow-up to 2011’s You Belong to Me. Fledgling PI Paige Holden and Assistant State’s Attorney Grayson Smith start on opposite sides before becoming a formidable team delving into the deadly secrets behind a murder conviction. Holden hears the last words of a dying Elena Muñoz, who tells Holden cops were chasing her as she presses a flash drive into the PI’s hands. Elena’s husband, Ramon, a gardener, was framed for the murder of Crystal Jones during a party given by Rex McCloud at the estate of his grandfather, retired state senator James McCloud. Elena’s evidence and an attempt on Holden’s life prevented by Smith launch the pair on a mission for justice. Both Holden and Smith have carefully guarded secrets that keep their passions smoldering before bursting into flames. Rose’s deft combination of hot heroine and cool hero should please her many fans.
Lots of action and many unbelievable  near death attempts on Paige and Grayson but all in all it made for a great read.