The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Description:

Published: January 9, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

Review –

“An angry ex-wife is stalking a young, innocent fiancee who is a carbon copy of her former self…or so it seems.

The use of a multiviewpoint, chronologically complex narrative to create suspense by purposely misleading the reader is a really, really popular device. Two words: Gone Girl. While we are not the fools we once were and now assume immediately that we are being played, the question is whether we still take pleasure in the twists and revelations that follow. Pekkanen (The Perfect Neighbors, 2016, etc.) and Hendricks’ debut collaboration falls into the first wife/second wife subgenre of this type of story (e.g., The Girl Before, The Last Mrs. Parrish). In all of these, an unbelievably handsome, wildly successful, secretive, rigid, orderly, and controlling husband—here it’s Richard, a 36-year-old hedge fund manager with “a runner’s wiry build and an easy smile that belied his intense navy-blue eyes”—marries the same type of woman more than once, sometimes more than twice. Of course, he’s not who he seems. Perhaps the female characters are not, either. Here, we meet Nellie, an adorable New York preschool teacher who is not quite sure she wants to give up the fun, shoestring, highly social lifestyle she shares with her roomie to move to a sterile suburb with Richard. But the wedding date—of course he hasn’t even told her the location, just “buy a new bikini”—draws ever closer. Something bad happened to Nellie in Florida a long time ago that has made her anxious and hypervigilant. Meanwhile, Vanessa, the spurned wife, lives with her artist Aunt Charlotte (a great character), is boozing heavily, and is about to lose her job at Saks. She’s stalking Nellie, determined to prevent the marriage at all costs. Since you know there’s got to be more to it than this, the fun is in trying to figure it out before they tell you. We didn’t! One of the subplots, the one about the bad thing in Florida, was as good or better than the main plot.” Kirkus Reviews

Excellent read!   4 1/2 stars

 

Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Gerber

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Review –

“Picking up just after the end of Legendary (2018), Garber continues to build the world of Caraval with a final installment, this time focusing equally on both Dragna sisters’ perspectives.

After they released their long-missing mother from the Deck of Destiny, Scarlett and Donatella hoped to rebuild their relationship and gain a new sense of family. However, Legend also released the rest of the Fates, and, much to their dismay, the Fallen Star—essentially the ur-Fate—is only gaining in power. As the Fates begin to throw Valenda into chaos and disarray, the sisters must decide whom him to trust, whom to love, and how to set themselves free. Scar’s and Tella’s passionate will-they-or-won’t-they relationships with love interests are still (at times, inexplicably) compelling, taking up a good half of the plot and balancing out the large-scale power games with more domestic ones. Much like the previous two, this third book in the series is overwritten, with overly convenient worldbuilding that struggles nearly as much as the overwrought prose and convoluted plot. While those who aren’t Garber’s fans are unlikely to pick up this volume, new (or forgetful) readers will find the text repetitious enough to be able to follow along.” Kirkus Review

I was disappointed with this final book of the Caraval series. I loved the other two, but for me, this one fell flat. It’s true that the sisters had their hands full with fighting the Fates, keeping their romances alive and surviving to love another day, so I don’t know why I felt like there should have been more.

The thing I COULDN’T get enough of was the vivid imagery and the lush fantasy with which the author filled all three books in the series. Her descriptions are colorful and majestic.

 

 

 

 

Affliction (Knights Rebels #2) by River Savage

Book Description:

Published: November 29, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

Three little words are all it takes to rip his world apart. Lost in his own affliction, Sy has been living in a darkness that he doesn’t ever want to let go of.

Until she arrives and shines her light so bright that nothing else mattered.

She was only in it for the chase, for the thrill of capturing the unattainable.
But what happens when her world shatters around her, spiraling her into the darkness beside him?

Can his affliction be her resurrection?
Or will two lost souls living in the depths of deception let it destroy them?

Review –

Affliction is the second book in the Knights Rebels series, and is Holly and Sy’s story. I enjoyed seeing these two come together, and it doesn’t happen in the average way. Both of the characters suffer from a trauma, and you see how they help each other heal, despite the secrets they both keep from each other. I want to keep this review straight and to the point so I don’t give out too many spoilers, but what I enjoyed most from this story was seeing the emotional development. There is quite a bit of sensual interludes, and boy are they HOT!! So no worries on that score, but you also see that as the plot develops you see the character become more entrenched in the story, and we see Sy and Holly grow emotionally. This is a roller coaster of grief, pain, determination, and finding love exactly when you need it most. For those that haven’t tried this author or the first book, I would highly recommend you try out the first book, Incandescent because you get more background on the story and trust me you won’t regret it if you enjoy biker romances.

I did think the book was way too long and could have been cut back by at least a third.

Rage Against the Dying (Brigid Quinn #1) by Becky Masterman

Book Description:

Published: March 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In her hey-day, ex FBI agent Brigid Quinn not only worked serial killer cases but became their prize. Small and blond, from a distance she looked vulnerable and slight. . . the perfect bait to catch a killer. But as Quinn got older, she realised she needed to find a protegé, a younger field agent to take her place. So Quinn trains a twenty-two year old and lets her loose in the field. The plan works. Until the Route 66 killer not only takes the bait, but kills the bait too.

Years on, Quinn is trying to move past the fact that she has a young woman’s death on her conscience. She’s now the perfect Stepford Wife – until she gets a knock on her door. The girl’s body has finally been discovered. Quinn is pulled back into the case and the more she learns about the killer the more she comes to believe, despite the overwhelming forensic evidence to hand, that they have the wrong man.

Review –

This is my first reading/listen from this author and at first I was conflicted. The character of Brigid Quinn didn’t grab me but the more the story line evolved the more complex she became.  What you see is sometimes NOT what you get!

The authors debut sets a retired FBI agent who thinks she’s seen it all against a serial killer who provides new horrors she’s never seen.

Before shooting an unarmed suspect back in Georgia sent her into early retirement in Tucson, Brigid Quinn had earned a reputation as a brave sex-crimes undercover agent and a skilled investigator. Now that she’s living the good life with her husband, Carlos DiForenza, a priest turned professor, she thinks that’s all behind her, from the adrenaline rushes to the scandal. But she couldn’t be more wrong.

When long-haul trucker Floyd Lynch confesses to being the Route 66 killer who killed eight women over a dozen years—the eighth of them being Jessica Robertson, who’d been working as bait under Brigid’s supervision—Laura Coleman, a Tucson FBI agent who’s always admired Brigid, shares her suspicion that Lynch’s confession is bogus and asks Brigid to work the case with her.

There are only three complications: Brigid isn’t entitled to work any cases anymore; Coleman disappears shortly after getting eased off the case herself; and Brigid shortly has her hands full covering up her own killing of murderous rapist Gerald Peasil.

Readers who can accept the coincidence of two sex killers sharing the same zip code and Brigid’s unconvincing explanation of why she doesn’t just report Peasil’s death, which would manifestly be covered by a self-defense plea, are in for a ride as thrilling as they can find outside the pages of Jeffery Deaver (who’s regularly invoked here), in the company of a heroine whose clear-eyed disillusionment gives each wisecrack a trembling sense of mortality.

I could not believe all the “trouble” Brigid found herself in, most of which she caused herself, but it kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would go wrong next. 

This book in the first in the Brigid Quinn series and I’m looking forward to reading the others very soon.

Five stars !!!!!

The Ex-Wife by Jess Ryder

Book Description:

Published: June 5, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

You’ve got everything she wants …

Newly married Natasha has the perfect house, a loving husband and a beautiful little girl called Emily. She’d have it all if it wasn’t for Jen, her husband’s ex-wife who just won’t leave them alone …

Then Natasha returns home one day to find her husband and Emily gone without trace. Desperate to get her daughter back, Natasha will do anything even if it means accepting an offer of help from Jen. But can she trust her? And do either of them really know the man they married?

If you loved The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl or The Couple Next Door then this dark, twisting psychological thriller from Amazon chart bestseller Jess Ryder is guaranteed to have you gripped.

Review –

The story begins with an intriguing prologue set in a hospital which doesn’t give anything away. The plot then unravels through alternating chapters narrated by Natasha and Anna. Natasha has a wonderful marriage and lives a life of luxury with her husband, Nick and daughter, Emily. The only issue with her picture-perfect marriage is Jen, Nick’s ex-wife, who seems to be in their lives a bit too much. Naturally, Natasha is not too pleased about this. Things take a nastier turn when Nick and Emily disappear. The second narration tells the story of a woman on the run. We don’t get to know much about Anna until later in the story. However, it was easy to feel the tension in her story. I kept wondering who was after her and why.

This story is very well narrated. It is captivating and full of surprises. The plot is masterfully developed and so were the characters. I had some clear favorites from the first page. However, my feelings about other characters kept changing with each new chapter. Not knowing what would happen next is what I enjoyed most in this story. I couldn’t predict any of the twists and I love the fact that the author just kept them coming.

With a fast pace, complex characters and well executed twists, (many that you won’t see coming)this ended up being quite an enjoyable, addictive read. A great read and a great psychological thriller!

Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings #1) by Helena Hunting

Book Description:

Published: March 4, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

An emotional love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

As Hayden and Tenley navigate their newfound but slightly unstable relationship, they want to trust each other, but Hayden is hiding a dark and shameful past that he doesn’t ever want Tenley to find out about. And Tenley has secrets of her own that could make Hayden run away forever. When Tenley asks Hayden to put a beautifully elaborate tattoo across her back, the two form what they thought was an unshakeable bond. But when Tenley’s past shows up on her doorstep, will Hayden stand by her side…or run?

Review –

 This is a love story between two very damaged souls, who become co-dependant on each other .

When Tenley asks tattoo artist Hayden to ink an intricate design on her back, he is immediately intrigued by her and senses that she is hiding something from him. Something dark and tragic. He feels this immediate chemistry and connection with her. He senses the suffering and loneliness that they both share.

With all his ink and piercings, Hayden represents everything that Tenley has longed for. A wildness and freedom that she has never dared to take. She sees him as an escape from the pain she is suffering, but the emotional connection they begin to have together is more than she expected. A bond that goes beyond the physical. Both are hiding secrets, Tenley lost nine people, including her parents and fiancée in a plane crash and she blames herself, Hayden, found his parents shot to death in their bedroom and he blames himself. He also has a past full of drugs and sexual exploits with multiple women.

Neither are willing to share their past with the other and this leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. When Trey, Tenley’s fiancée’s brother, comes to her about an estate situation she packs up and goes back to Minnesota to put things right. She leaves without explaining anything to Hayden. This is where Book One ends,

Listening to this story was like witnessing a train wreck. I knew that their relationship was doomed because of the lack of communication. They thought having extremely good sex, often, would be enough to secure them as a couple .,

I have already started Book Two, Inked Armor, and can’t wait to finish it.

 

Lie In Wait by Eric Rickstad

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Silent Girls comes another unforgettable thriller set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, featuring Detective Sonja Test

Even in a quiet Vermont town, unspeakable acts of the past can destroy the peace of the present

In the remote, pastoral hamlet of Canaan, Vermont, a high-profile legal case shatters the town’s sense of peace and community. Anger simmers. Fear and prejudice awaken. Old friends turn on each other. Violence threatens.

So when a young teenage girl is savagely murdered while babysitting at the house of the lead attorney in the case, Detective Sonja Test believes the girl’s murder and the divisive case must be linked.

However, as the young detective digs deeper into her first murder case, she discovers sordid acts hidden for decades, and learns that behind the town’s idyllic façade of pristine snow lurks a capacity in some for great darkness and the betrayal of innocents. And Sonja Test, a mother of two, will do anything to protect the innocent.

Review –

Detective Sonja Test of the Canaan (Vermont) Police Department is working her first murder case involving a fifteen-year-old killed while babysitting a local attorney.

Jessica Cumber was killed in the home of Jon Merryfield, a lawyer who had built his career by taking on cases of underprivileged victims of violence. He was current representing a gay couple in a community divided by the issue of legalizing gay marriage in Vermont. The police arrest popular high school senior Brad Jenkins, whose father is a close friend of Jed King, leader of the gay hate group “Take Back Vermont”, for the murder. The question for the investigating officers is, Was Jessica Cumber a victim of random violence, or was her murder somehow connected to the Take Back Vermont organization? There is no evidence to suggest that Jessica knew Brad Jenkins as anything other than a schoolmate, and yet Sonja Test senses there’s more that she’s not seeing.

Lie In Wait is written largely as a police procedural, with a lot of character development on all sides of the murder investigation: the officers, the accused, the victim, and everyone else in their respective spheres of influence. Too, considerable time is spent on the investigation itself, questioning anyone who might have something to contribute, often not making much obvious progress but it only takes a random detail here or there to tie all the pieces together.

The author manages to create a real sense of place with the Vermont setting- the cold, snow and rural-ness really play in to the overall atmosphere. As well, the author manages to develop many strong, distinct characters- he writes in many POVs but each character is clearly their own. Most importantly, the actual mystery is solved in an unexpected way, with big secrets being exposed at the end.

Though often moving forward in fits and starts, this is an engrossing novel of suspense with a riveting storyline.

 

 

 

Four Letter Word (Dirty Deeds #1) by J. Daniels

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2016

Fate. Hate. Love. Lies.

Which four letter word will change their lives forever?

Sydney Paige was never so mortified to hear the words “wrong number” in her life. She meant to tell off the guy who broke her best friend’s heart but unleashed her anger on a perfect stranger instead. And now her world is turned upside down by the captivating man who wants to keep her on the line.

Brian Savage is living a life he’s quickly come to hate-until Sydney’s wild rant has him hooked and hungry for more. Soon the sexy woman on the phone becomes the lover in his bed. But Brian has secrets, and the closer he lets Syd get, the harder it is to shield her from the devastating mistakes of his past . . .

Review –

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I  LOVE this book!!

If you’re a fan of sexy, tortured Alpha heroes who will make you combust with their hotness, break your heart with their pain, and then melt you with their sweetness, this is the book for you! 

This is the first in the Dirty Deeds series by J. Daniels and I had read the second one first, which  was Hit the Spot,(are you with me?) Jamie McCade was the male focal point in it and I hated his surfer dude character. In this book he plays a minor role and is much more likable so maybe I should have read the books in order. Who knew?

The male character in Four Letter Word is Brian (Dash) Savage and he is a honey. When Syd calls his number by mistake and chews his ass out thinking he was the man who broke the heart of her best friend by lying about being married, he was captivated by her sass and heat. A couple of days later he texted her and so their phone relationship started. He is going through a very rough patch, feeling guilt for an accident that put a young boy in a wheel chair. He’s been doing porn to make extra money to give to his family for the medical and care bills. But once he decided Syd is for him he quits but the films on the internet for anyone to see, Of course he hadn’t told her and of course she finds out. That was almost the end of their relationship but with the help of his sister the film company owner was persuaded to take the movies down. The book ends with an hea and it was perfect.

Sebastian York did the narration for Brian’s part and it was swooney. (I know, not a word, but it should be.)

This is fantastic book and I highly recommend the audio version, but the e-book would be almost as good, but  you wouldn’t be listening to Sebastian’s sexy voice.

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Heated (Most Wanted #2) by J. Kenner

Book Description:

Published: June 3, 2014

I knew better than to risk my heart.
But fierce passion comes at a high price.

I grew up believing in right and wrong, good and evil, black and white. I knew better than to trust. And then I met Tyler Sharp.

Bold, charming, and dangerously sexy, Tyler always gets what he wants. But his smile can be deceiving, his dealings sordid, his ambitions ruthless. I thought I was the one woman strong enough to resist him, but our need for each other was too urgent to deny.

One look and I was in trouble. One touch and I was hooked. One night and I became his.

And now that I’ve fallen, there’s no going back.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

HEATED is the second installment in J. Kenner’s contemporary romance, adult Most Wanted erotic series focusing on three friends and the women they love-Evan Black, Tyler Sharp and Cole August-three friends who bonded as young adults and now earn a living with legitimate and illegitimate enterprises, but this is the first one I’ve read.

This book deals with  Chicago entrepreneur Tyler Sharp and Indianapolis police detective Sloane Watson’s storyline.

On medical leave from the Indianapolis Police Department, Sloane goes on the hunt for a missing friend whose last known whereabouts were listed as an exotic dancer at a gentlemen’s club in Chicago known as Destiny-enter Tyler Sharp-the owner and proprietor who is the number one suspect on Sloane’s list of suspects. Going undercover as a stripper is easier said than done when Sloane’s real identity has been known to Tyler all along. It is only when she reveals the true nature of her ‘private investigation’ does Tyler begin to understand-Tyler’s past and that of Cole and Evan are shrouded in mystery, illegal activity and underground connections and Sloane is determined to prove their guilt.

The relationship between Sloane and Tyler is sexual, sensual, exotic and hot. HEATED is an erotic series and a good portion of the storyline is sex, the build up to sex and more sex. Our leading couple has one thing in common and great sex is something that cannot be ignored. The love scenes are intimate, intense and did I mention HOT!  Tyler Sharp is a man who needs control both in and out of the bedroom.

The other  characters include Tyler’s friends Cole and Evan as well as some of the ladies of which Tyler has ‘invested’. There is more to Tyler Sharp than an exotic dance club-the man is an enigma that Sloane is slowly unraveling bit by bit.

Five stars *****

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Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2015

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

I don’t know who they get to write the book “blurbs” but this one doesn’t give you a clue as to the real story of this book.

The book is divided in two parts: The Fates and the Furies. The Fates was Lotto’s story and the Fates was the point of view of Mathilde.  It goes that way because Lotto is the simpler of the two, the grander, the more dramatic — the one whom fate (and the fortune of being born into wealth and privilege) had graced. It goes that way because Mathilde operates behind the scenes and in the shadows, keeps most of the secrets, and all of the worst ones. Because it is Lotto’s version of Mathilde we must see first in order to understand Mathilde’s version of Lotto.

By the end of Fates And Furies, we have seen both sides, maybe even all sides of Lotto and Mathilde. We’ve seen the man and the woman behind the man, borne witness to terrible truths brought forth for spite’s sake and watched a dark turn to furious vengeance when Mathilde (suddenly, but not at all uncharacteristically) goes full Lady MacBeth and scorches the very earth. We know their secrets. We know their fears. We know what they did behind closed doors (and ones just slightly ajar). And yet still we are left with one lingering question.

Whose tale do we believe?   

Fantastic book. A MUST read.

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