Disgrace by Brittainy C. Cherry

Book Description:

Published: June 28, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again.

After fifteen years together, he walked away from me, and into the arms of another.

I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know my worth. I didn’t know how to exist without him by my side.

All I wanted was for him to come back to me.

Then, Jackson Emery appeared.

He was supposed to be a distraction for my mind. A summer fling. A confidence boost to my bruised heart.

We were perfect for one another, because we both knew we wouldn’t last. Jackson didn’t believe in commitment, and I no longer believed in love. He was too closed-off for me, and I was too damaged for him.

Everything was fine, until one night my heart skipped a beat.

I didn’t expect him to make me laugh. To make me think. To make my sadness somewhat disappear.

When our time was up, my heart didn’t know how to walk away.

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again, yet slowly my prayers began to shift toward the man who wasn’t right for me.

I prayed for one more smile, one more kiss, one more laugh, one more touch…

I prayed for him to be mine.

Even though I knew his heart wasn’t destined to love.

Review –

First and foremost, Disgrace is the story of a woman who has suffered horribly in her marriage – going home to find herself. After multiple (seven, to be exact) miscarriages, gut-wrenching betrayal, and an impending divorce, the heroine, Grace, doesn’t really know who she is anymore. She’s lived her life as the perfect daughter, the perfect community member, the perfect wife, and where has it gotten her? Going through a divorce at 30 with nothing to show for her marriage but damaged self-esteem and a douchebag ex.

What I loved most about Grace was that even though she was struggling to find herself and still kind of wanted to be the people-pleaser she’d been raised to be, she wasn’t ever weak. Confused, sure. But not weak. She never turned her back on Jackson, the hero, or his family, even though doing so would’ve made her life considerably easier. She was broken, but not beaten, and when push came to shove, she was a good person and a solid friend to Jackson. Her strength of character was nothing short of inspirational.  

And Jackson…oh, honey. My heart just broke for him. He’d lost his mother, his dad was the town drunk, everyone called him a monster, and he was stuck in a town where charity and kindness seemed available to everyone but him. And worst of all, he couldn’t leave because he’d promised his mom (on her deathbed, no less), that he’d take care of his father.

The ‘Prologue’ is where we first meet ten year old ‘Jackson Emery’ as he learns one of life’s heartbreaking lessons when he sees his mother walking out the door proclaiming that she’s not in love with his father any more. Life from that point onwards forever changes him and his father. 

So, here’s this (inwardly) sweet, gentle man stuck living a miserable lonely life in an awful town and pretending to be a complete asshole so that no one would ever know just how much their cruel nicknames and petty gossip really hurt him. He’s exactly what Grace says he is: a gentle monster. I loved every single word written from this gentle monster’s point of view. He was FLAWLESS.

Did he treat Grace badly in the beginning? Yes, he said some awful things to her. But his actions contradict his words, and it didn’t take long for Grace (and me as a reader) to see what a good man Jackson really is. Jackson is officially on my list of all-time favorite book boyfriends. (His former manwhore ways are completely forgiven)

There are so many other things I could say but I don’t post spoilers. There is sadness, frustration, a huge surprise twist and redemption.

So, long-story-short, if you love an emotional, deeply touching romance that’ll make you cry a little because it’s all so beautiful and so REAL, give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed.                   

 

 

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: July 17, 2018

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Review –

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend.

A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

I double-dog dare you to read a Colleen Hoover book and NOT cry. This one was a tearjerker deluxe,(at least for me). The highs and lows of Quinn and Graham’s relationship were emotional and jarring. There is love, happiness, frustration, sadness, loneliness  and despair, but finally after a horrible tragedy they open their  hearts and feelings to each other and there is an HEA.  

You need to read this book!!!!!!

 

 

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Book Description:

Published: August 6, 2019

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Review –

This book is equal parts old-school gothic suspense and modern psychological thriller,The Turn of the Key seamlessly blends an homage to Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw with a page-turning story of surveillance, paranoia, and domestic drama.

It follows  a young woman who accepts position as a nanny at a state-of-the-art smart house in the Scottish Highlands, only to wind up imprisoned for the death of one of the children in her care, this book is one of the most binge-worthy, genuinely addictive suspense novels you will read during this quarantine event.

From the outset, readers know that things won’t end well for Rowan (the nanny)… in fact, they will end so badly that Rowan will ultimately find herself in a jail cell, awaiting trial for the death of a child under her care. But how did things go from so idyllic to so disastrous?

It takes a special story to hold a reader’s attention when the outcome is known from the outset, and that’s exactly the kind of story Ruth Ware crafts in The Turn of the Key. Readers will be spellbound  by Rowan’s experience settling in to her new life at Heatherbrae House; the beauty of the Highlands, the apparent generosity of Rowan’s new employers, the incredible amenities found within Rowan’s new home–the author paints a picture of a true dream scenario for her protagonist. But as time goes by, tensions and suspicion begins to build. The children in Rowan’s care prove to be more difficult than anticipated, and her new employers leave home for weeks on end, leaving Rowan to fend for herself. As bizarre and inexplicable occurrences begin to take place in the home, Rowan launches an informal investigation into the home’s history–and what she learns will hint at a sinister past and potential evil lurking in the home to this day. And that technology that made the home so appealing? It means that Rowan’s every move is being monitored, or is it?

As previously stated, readers know that Rowan has been arrested in conjunction with the tragic death of a child under her care. The Turn of the Key then, finds Rowan telling her side of the story – what really happened, and who she believes is actually responsible for this tragedy. You know those crime novels that you end up loving the most when you go into them knowing very little about the story’s plot? This book  is one of them. The less you know here, the better – just sit back and let the authors’ brilliant plotting sweep you up in a story of a building’s dark history and its modern-day consequences. There are so many twists and turns, and when the ending comes your mouth can’t help but fall open!!!!!

Fantastic read!

When You Disappeared by John Marrs

Book Description:

Published: July 13, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

When Catherine wakes up alone one morning, she thinks her husband has gone for a run before work. But Simon never makes it to the office. His running shoes are by the front door. Nothing is missing – except him.

Catherine knows Simon must be in trouble. He wouldn’t just leave her. He wouldn’t leave the children.

But Simon knows the truth – about why he left and what he’s done. He knows things about his marriage that it would kill Catherine to find out. The memories she holds onto are lies.

While Catherine faces a dark new reality at home, Simon’s halfway around the world, alive and thriving. He’s doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the truth.

But he can’t hide forever, and when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he is.

And wish she’d stayed in the dark.

Review –

The very description of this book intrigued me, what would I do in the position of the main character Catherine?  How does she go on?  What thoughts are running through her mind when she discovers her husband has gone and never returns?  Also, and why does Simon to do this?  So much about this book just screamed “READ ME”.

The book opens on the day that Simon walks out of his life and you see the impact this has on his friends and family, watching the ground beneath their feet crumble and their lives are inexplicably changed.  But we also experience the life that Simon goes on to lead in the twenty-five years he spends estranged from his family before returning “home”, and allowing Catherine to find out who he really is and his reasons for leaving like he did.

From the onset, my heart went out to Catherine.  How awful it must have been for her to try and hold things together for the sake of her children while wanting to curl up and stop living.  Her marriage had some issues, and life wasn’t always easy with small children around but she thought that things were stable, that life was ok ay and that she and Simon were okay.  Not knowing that all the while that Simon had an ulterior motive, that he was planning to walk out on them all and not look back and leave them to try and pick up the pieces and get on with life.  From that moment I didn’t like Simon, I couldn’t help but feel a hatred towards him, yes I admit, I hadn’t read all of his story yet to find out what was driving his decisions but part of me didn’t want to find out.Part of me wanted to stop there and then, but of course I listened on. It’s always a good sign if an author can evoke such strong emotions from their readers with the characterization in their books and I have to admit that John Marrs has done that with When You Disappeared, he seems to have found a formula in his writing that makes readers hate characters but at the same time feel that they aren’t 100% sure of their gut instinct, keeping them questioning whether there may be an underlying story that might just save a character…….

Narrated from alternating perspectives, readers experience the lives of both Simon and Catherine, seeing how their lives have progressed in the intervening twenty-five years, leading up to the moment that they meet again.  I did feel that it pulled at my attention somewhat, the jumping back and forth between the two main characters did feel a little disjointed but it did add to the overall suspense and intrigue so kept me on my toes.  The pace felt that it matched the plot well, not an adrenaline packed, fast paced read, but more a slow build to increase the tension levels and keep readers wondering what might happen.

Why did Simon leave ? How did Simon and Catherine change as individuals? Did they find love again?  Were they successful and happy or did grief and hatred turn their lives into something even they wouldn’t believe possible?  To find out, you will have to read the book. 

Fantastic Five Star Read!!!!!

This book was previously published as The Wronged Sons.

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Book Description:

Published: May 1, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.

Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.

Review –

“In this promising first novel from nonfiction bestseller Molloy (However Long the Night), the May Mothers, a parenting group, gather at a Brooklyn bar for an adults-only Fourth of July celebration. The outing’s organizers—Nell Mackey, Colette Yates, and Francie Givens—are intent on showing harried single mom Winnie Ross a good time, so they arrange for Nell’s nanny, Alma, to watch Winnie’s son, Midas, and delete the baby monitor app from Winnie’s phone. Drinking commences and Winnie wanders off, leaving her phone and house key with Nell, who misplaces them. Shortly thereafter, Alma calls Nell to report that Midas is missing. When the NYPD fails to find him, the media turns its attention to Winnie and the other May Mothers, prompting Nell, Colette, and Francie to launch their own increasingly reckless investigation. The mystery of Midas’s disappearance may be the skeleton on which Molloy’s plot hangs, but it’s her characters’ anxieties that give the story life and substance. Molloy doesn’t fully earn her book’s big twist, but her clever narrative structure heightens tension and creates uncertainty while spotlighting the solitary struggles of motherhood. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Weed Literary. (May)” Publishers Weekly

Not a favorite of mine, I only gave it three stars because, for me, it dragged.

 

The Sisters by Nancy Jensen

Book Description:

Published: November 8, 2011

Format: Audio

Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat, Bertie Fischer and her older sister Mabel have no one but each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong. A choice made in desperate haste sets off a chain of misunderstandings that will divide the sisters and reverberate through three generations of women.

What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through World War II and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities that are shaped by unspeakable secrets. As the sisters have daughters and granddaughters of their own, they discover that both love and betrayal are even more complicated than they seem.

Gorgeously written, with extraordinary insight and emotional truth, Nancy Jensen’s powerful debut novel illuminates the far-reaching power of family and family secrets.

Review –

A single tragic event shapes four generations of American women in this heart-wrenching debut and had me screaming in my mind for the sisters to have a “do-over”. 

What is meant to be an escape from an evil step-father by Mabel and Wallace, Bertie misconstrues as the betrayal of a lifetime. There is so much miscommunication in this story that I was breathless sometimes for a minute or more waiting to hear what unnecessary dreadful event would befall the sisters. 

I won’t say what happens but suffice it to say that ending is devastating  and left me sad and shaken .

Lesson: Talk your problems out to the people closest to you or you could lose them forever.

Excellent read !

 

Of Winged Creatures & Nesting Grounds by A. Wilding Wells

Book Description:

Published: October 17, 2016

Happy
Trapped in a cage…

I was running against time and desperate to conquer my fears with my “don’t forget to be awesome” plan.
One night, I was sulking over my uglier-than-homemade-sin life and reeling from another painful loss. As I thought about my new life, a handsome gent named Hunt Hardick sat next to me. He looked like a good start and was likely a hell of a finish. Suddenly, my plan took on a life of its own.

Hunt
After a long day as one of San Francisco’s most prominent ob/gyns, I stopped at a bar for a bourbon and a mental break from my ex, who I couldn’t seem to bleach from my system. One glance at Happy’s tearstained angelic face and I was done. I’d never been a guy to turn down a stunning woman who also looked like a beautiful project.

Hunt was a key in my locked cage that once opened meant I might fly away.

An emotionally charged, rich with feeling story about survival, triumph, and a girl named Happy Go Lucky who had a plan. A plan that didn’t include the ruggedly sexy gynecologist who inserted himself in her life.

Review –

Of all the people who received an ARC of this book I am probably the only one that didn’t think it was fantabulous.

I think from the beginning,:  the names of the characters were a turn off. Hunt Hardick and Happy Go Lucky.

Hunt has just had his heart-broken, but remains the eternal optimist. He’s strong and confident while she’s like a deer in headlights, so their dynamic is quite a cat-and-mouse game… with TONS of tension.Happy is a woman with so many plans but doesn’t really know how to go about them. She wants to experience so many new things but hasn’t really taken the first step to achieve it. They leave you wanting to scream at them.

I have loved her other books,(check out my other reviews) but for me, this one missed the mark.

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Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3) by Kresley Cole

Book Description

January 6, 2015
Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.Heartbreaking decisions
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her–until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts . . . and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana–or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first . . .?

Review –
I just finshed reading this book and I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. I had thought the ending of Book 2 was a cliff hanger but the ending of Book three has it beat. Maybe it’s my fault. I thought this would be the end of the series, The Arcana Chronicles,so I kept telling myself that certain  things had better start happening, like ending the game and finding Evie’s grandmother, but now I see that should have been a clue.  There are too many loose ends to tie up so all can say is : Kresley Cole, you’d better write fast, but in reality I know if will be at least a year before she releases the fourth book. Darn!!!!!!
I rated this book 5 stars *****
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Interview of A Master by Jason Luke

Book Description

February 7, 2014
It’s the interview like no other.
It’s the interview of a lifetime.
It’s THE Interview with a Master.
When Jonah Noble reveals details of his life within the world of BDSM, the tale he tells is intensely erotic, profoundly sensual, and brutally honest.
This is His world. His way.
There is only one question the man will not answer…(BDSM erotica from a man’s POV, written by a man. Contains some explicit language)

Review –
This was offered on a site where  I receive daily with suggestions for free or very cheap e-books and I guess I need to check my preferences because I’ve never asked for this genre before.  That being said, this book(although short) was very well written, had a good story line and only light  BDSM.  I though I knew what was going to happen at the end and I was right and tears fell down my cheeks and I bet I’ll never say that again about an erotic novel concerning the BDSM lifestyle. I though it was very well done.
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