Every Friday we will throw up a review from the past. Read along with us as we remember past favorites. We hope you find a new favorite or two.
Arriving on Shelves January 23, 2018
4.5 you NEED TO READ it STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟 .5
In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.
What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?
Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.
After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.
Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?
A thrilling breath of fresh air! Just like many of you I am a thriller junkie…. and with the market so saturated with so many thrillers, this book stands apart and strong!
Vivian is a CIA operative focusing on Russia and in particular finding sleeper cells….. but even more importantly she is a mother of four young children….. so when a few clicks of the computer leads to putting her family in jeopardy… you definitely see Vivian’s mama bear come out….. Vivian and I probably have very little in common however we are both mothers and I could just relate so well to her need to protect her children at all costs…..
Truthfully when I first read the blurb to this book I wasn’t all that interested, just The idea of the CIA was a turn off….. fortunately I read some very favorable reviews from people that I trust the opinions of and decided I’d take a chance on this book….. I am so grateful that I did! This is a thriller with all those twists and turns that we all love, but with a brand new fresh approach…. I even found the spy stuff super intriguing and very authentic…..
I believe the plan is to turn this book into a movie? And if so I think it will make a fantastic movie….. very fast-paced, action-packed, definitely kept me on pins and needles……
Strongly recommend this! I realize I didn’t say much about the plot, but I want you to enjoy the journey as much as I did!
PS: DasVindaniya…. pardon me if my Russian is incorrect, but this is my way of giving major props to the stellar epilog of this book! And doesn’t that sound prettier than goodbye? Seriously say it out loud!
*** i’d like to thank Net Galley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review ***
BEST AUDIOBOOK NARRATION EVER 🎧
5 BIG I LOVE ME some CRAZY STARS!!! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…
Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.
I want to give major props to audiobook narrator Graham Halstead his portrayal of Paul was absolute perfection! Six stellar stars to him for enhancing this very entertaining crazy ride of a book…. I definitely believe this is a case where the audio brought such life to the character of Paul, you just couldn’t help but fall in love with this book!
Paul is a total narcissist…. and it isn’t too far into this book when you discover this fact as well…. paul’s inner dialogue and his justification for his actions, were simply priceless to me….. paul’s character as well as Mia’s were so well developed….. I had felt as though I had spent the day with them after finishing the book, and I was quite exhausted from it!
At first it appears as though Paul and Mia are the ideal couple… just about to have the Best Day Ever…. you find out real quick though that things aren’t quite as they seem…. as the book progresses you get to know the true Paul….. and there are some pretty tense moments when you’re not quite sure what is going to happen…. The audiobook kept me listening well into the night, not wanting to press the pause button!
I do recognize this book is not for everybody…. Paul is terribly unlikable, he really has not a single redeemable quality…. if I were to meet Paul in real life I’d hope I’d be smart enough to stay clear….. but as I said I love me some crazy…… I really enjoy what goes on in the head of a narcissist who is also psychotic…. please don’t judge me!😉
I strongly recommend this book on audio, for those of you that like well developed yet disturb characters and some tense situations…
Book rating: ♡♡♡♡♡
Narration rating: ♡♡♡♡♡
Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.
It’s not what you know—or when you see—that matters. It’s about a journey.
Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side… and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.
And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul.
To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that … well… doesn’t quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.
Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages.
Gush gush gush gush gush……….
If I didn’t gush enough for you then let me break it down for you, I kinda LOVED this book.
I’ve read so much YA at the minute with instalove, rippling muscles and lopsided smiles ( What the hell is a lopsided smile anyway? I mean try to do one now….GO ON … see, you look like a total freak, do it in the mirror ……do you look sexy hmm? NO you look like a serial killer! )
Anyway where was I …….. oh yeah gushing haha.
So this was not the usual YA book it was a little bit different.
Julie gets a placement for a university in Boston, gets her bags packed and off she goes, however when she gets there the apartment she has secured is not so much as secure but non existent.
Good old mum calls a friend of hers from years back who tells Julie to go and stay with them………….thats when the weirdness starts.
So Julie is collected by Matt who is a quite handsome but geeky to take her back to the house.
Later she is then joined at dinner by Erin (Mother and a bit of a snob) Roger ( A biologist who studies the excitment of shrimps!) Matt ( Geeky know it all with bad dress sense) Celeste ( Matts younger sister who talks like she is in a period drama) ……..And Flat Fin (A lifesize cardboard cut out of the older brother!)
This at dinner is all perfectly normal with everyone no one even bats an eyelid at FF, and they just go about their dinner as normal.
This is also a tiny bit wierd for Julies liking, but then finds out that Fin is travelling around the world and Celeste uses the flat version to compensate for the fact her brother is not there.
Julie settles in nicely and gets close to all of the family especially Matt and Celeste, but most of all Fin.
Ahhhh Finn …..swoon.
Have you ever fallen in love with someone you have never met?
After friending him on facebook and chatting regularly Julie realises that they are falling for each other.
NOW dear readers after reading that little bombshell you would in fact be doing the whole erghhh…… come on Vicci you told us it wasn’t an instalove book.
But this book is different……. it’s like a jigsaw, you know when you start doing it you find the nice straight edges, fit them together and then the fun begins, and there is always that last piece, that you can not find, and it’s always there but it’s hiding behind the others. …THAT IS THIS BOOK.
I laughed out loud
I nearly cried
I shouted OMG at the top of my voice.
What can I say…………but gush!
After reading V’s fabulous review reminded me of my love for this book as well, so here is my flashback review!
Read in 2015
Actual rating 4.5
This book was so close to being perfect, but it just didn’t get there for me…..
I loved, loved, loved the love story in this book… so sweet, so swoon worthy, so simple, yet so complicated….
I also really enjoyed the relationship between Julie and Celeste…. it was very unique and slightly unrealistic…. but my hat goes off to a girl that is 18 and goes off to college… then very unselfishlyreally tries to improve the life of a 13-year-old girl…who she has no relationship with….*** looking back I think I found it a bit unrealistic that an 18-year-old would be this selfless, but I’m sure it could happen***
Where my biggest problem with this book was the extremely dysfunctional family…. it was just really hard to understand these parents and their motivations….*** why there are so many YA/NA books with horrible parenting is really unfortunate*** and then for it to be fixed so easily…. I just don’t feel it or find it likely….. Also Julie bugs me a bit with her need to not be shallow….. it almost made her more shallow…. if that even makes sense? I could really pick some things apart, and go on and on, but I digress…
ultimately I really enjoyed this book… and absolutely adored the love story!😍
PS: I believe this book is on KU
In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don’t know you’ve lost someone until you’ve found them.
1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life – someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.
An emotionally charged coming-of-age novel, Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.
Narration was perfect, all of the characters were beautifully spoken and created with the narrators lovely voice. Thank you.
I finished this book last night at 1 o’clock in the morning, I couldn’t not finish it.
With tears running down my face and proper ugly crying, I managed to get to sleep, but this was the first thing I thought of when I woke up.
This beautiful story is written in the voice of June, she is 14 and a little bit quirky, but she doesn’t care what anybody else thinks, only Finn.
Finn is her uncle and she worships him, he is also quite a famous painter, and also dying of AIDS.
June knows this, as does the rest of her family, her sister Greta who is always mean to her but really just want her sister back, and her Mother Dani who doesn’t really know what to do with June.
The story is set in 1987 when AIDS had just come on to the scene, and everybody was ignorant about it.
You remember when it was just a “Gay disease?” and people were careful about who they touched?
A couple of the things about that made me laugh, but then thinking back, it was actually like that. Rude ignorant people, not touching someone incase they caught “The AIDS”
After Finn dies, June has nobody that understands her, not like her uncle Finn, and she starts up an unlikely friendship with her uncles boyfriend Toby who she never knew before, and was and still is a secret.
The book is so beautifully written that I found myself going back to passages to re read.
This book will make you laugh, cry, and even break your heart a little, Please please read it, you must.
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 Steamy Stars
There are many rules a priest can’t break.
A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.
I’ve always been good at following rules.
Until she came.
My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.
I am a priest and this is my confession.
Dear lord, please forgive me, for I have sinned, I have never been to confession, but if I could meet up with Father Bell there, I just might well do 😇
I originally read this book a year or so ago, but it didn’t seem to have the impact that the audio book had!!
Lets just get to the narrators, Jacob Morgan.
Now, as you may (or may not) already know, Jacob is a pseudonym used by another famous narrator, I won’t blab about it here because he obviously uses it for a reason, but his voice literally turns me into goo, a big puddle of goo 🔥
Elena Wolfe, again is a psudonym for another fantastic narrator, both of these people are 2 of my absolute favourites, her male voice is one of the sexiest around in my opinion, and teamed together with Sierra Simone’s writing I am certainly invested in this pair!
Sierra Simone is certainly the Queen of sexy stories, if you haven’t tried her out then I would definitely recommend her.
**Fair Warning, this is not a book to be reading if you are of the religious variety, it is something that will probably have you going to confession for reading it!**
Tyler Bell is handsome, 29 years old and is a Priest he has been for three years. Before that he was a normal everyday man, he’s been to college and been around the block if you know what I mean?
There are reasons for him becoming a priest but spoilers people!
Poppy Danforth comes to confession one day, sits in the booth, and confesses her sins as any normal person does.
She comes from a privileged background, but after something happens she decides to give that life up, again spoilers people!
Her confessions are shall we say, a little dark, this intrigues Father Bell and he starts to get a little obsessed with her.
This book is sexy, very very sexy (Sierra Simone you dirty dirty girl 😘), however it isn’t all about the sex!
There a brilliant story within the pages, you have to watch as Father Bell struggles with his beliefs, and it is sometimes really sad to read.
This little story will set your Kindle on fire, if you are listening to the audio (highly recommended by the way) then make sure you have those earbuds firmly in!
3.75 stars rounded up🌟🌟🌟.75
How far would you go to protect your child?
Maggie’s daughter Penny is her whole world… and she’d do anything to protect her. So when Maggie wakes one night to find a strange woman in her home, she runs to lock herself in her bedroom with her child. But Maggie knows why she’s come…
Someone has been targeting mothers and offering them a choice: do as he says or their child disappears. This stranger in her home has until dawn to follow his orders… but Maggie too has the ‘choice’ to make. Can she put the pieces together to stop the cycle before her time is up?
An edge-of-your-seat thriller that will keep you guessing until the last page. Perfect for fans of Adam Croft and Tess Gerritsen.
What would you do to save your child’s life? Could you take the life of another person? Would you be able to leave another person’s child motherless? These are the questions brought up by this book…. questions I myself as a pretty ferocious mother have no idea what the answers are to…. I just hope I am never put in the position to need to answer any of these questions, that is for sure!
The first half of this book was seriously intense…. Holly has been sent by a man calling himself “the babysitter“ to kill Maggie in order to save the life of her daughter Abigail…. Maggie understands the desire for a mother to protect her child all too well, because she was just recently put in the same situation in order to save her daughter Penny…..
This is a definite plot driven story…. and in the beginning I felt as though I was in the house with Maggie and Holly… and I had no idea what either woman was going to do… and no idea what the right thing to do was…. then at about 60% this book took a very odd turn out of nowhere…. and while I still found Maggie and Hollys situation quite compelling… the rest of it was just a little out of place for me….
I would have really liked Holly and Maggie’s characters to have been better developed…. you really didn’t know much about them… other than the fact that they were mothers… there were little tidbits of backstory but not enough to sink your teeth into…. it also would have been interesting to have had the POV of “the babysitter“…. perhaps if I had been more invested in these characters the plot turn would not have been so jarring….
I would absolutely read another book from this author… the first half was really one of the more intense books I have read lately, unfortunately the last half of this book just fell a little short for me….
*** i’d like to thank Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review ***
ARRIVING ON SHELVES IN MARCH OF 2018
5 Big, brilliant, beautiful stars!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
A gripping domestic page-turner full of shocking reveals, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Amanda Prowse and Kerry Fisher.
The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street.
Isabelle Heatherington doesn’t fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.
But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. Like the reason behind Ange’s compulsion to control every aspect of her life. Or why Fran won’t let her sweet, gentle husband near her new baby. Or why, three years ago, Essie took her daughter to the park – and returned home without her.
As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread – and they’ll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.
Sally Hepworth, sure can write a book! The question is why have I not read anything from this author before? This book checked off all my musts for a fabulous book…. wonderful characters… fabulous relationships… perfect pacing… some fun twists and turns….
This book focused on the relationship between five very well developed and relatable females… their relationships with their significant others… their relationships with their children… their relationships with one another… I always love reading about positive female friendships…. these ladies had a few bumps along the way, but they really were truly there for one another….
The book grab me from the very beginning and never let go….. it started with Essie struggling with postpartum depression and leaving her newborn at the park…. and then just took you on a crazy twisty ride…. I really was certain we were headed in a particular direction, and then we took a big turn into something I did not see coming…. well done Miss Hepworth….
Strongly recommend! for fans of books with well develop characters…. entertaining Dramma filled plotlines… brilliant relationship Dynamics… and just plain old fun!
PS: pack some tissue for this crazy ride, you might need it!
*** thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review ***
A PIECE OF PAPER DESTROYED ME.
It was one day … one moment … one letter.
That’s all it took to change the course of my life.
Now he’s back.
And he thinks I’m the one who broke him.
Someone is lying.
And it’s not me.
But it’s not him either.
We need to learn to trust again.
Sometimes, however, I think trust should be considered a four-letter word.
Hmmm is my answer to did you like this one.
It was ok, but could have been a lot better.
The first half was really good, but then then it started to fade by the 50% mark.
Told in alternate POV’s this is the story of Baylor and Gavin.
They meet at ULC and become a couple, but a big break up causes them to split up and not see each other again for 8 years.
After they meet back up and the big ‘reveal’ in unveiled, it all became a bit to sickly sweet for me.
It’s a cute story, but I think the big breakup could have been fixed with a good 10 minute chat and then the book would have been cut by 50% 😂
4.25 Second chance stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟.25
To everyone who knows her now, Zoe Maisey – child genius, musical sensation – is perfect. Yet several years ago, Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time. And now she’s free.
Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life.
By midnight, her mother is dead.
The Perfect Girl is an intricate exploration into the mind of a teenager burdened by brilliance. It’s a story about the wrongs in our past not letting go and how hard we must fight for second chances.
The perfect daughter… The perfect mother… The perfect second chance family… but what is it that we say?
if something seems too good to be true, it probably is…
This book sucked me in from the very beginning…. it was a very fast-paced, page turning read, because I just needed to know what was going to happen with this family….
The structure of this book was brilliant… told from alternating points of view… alternating between events before and after the murder…. this book was like an onion, with those layers slowly being peeled off(But I don’t like onions and I liked this book quite a bit)….
Zoe the main female protagonist in this book evoked so much sympathy from me…. Zoe made a mistake, a pretty big mistake…. her dad can’t handle it, so he leaves mom to pick up the pieces…. mom’s way of coping with it is to pretend it never happened, and turn Zoe into the perfect girl…. so now Zoe and Maria have the perfect second chance family, filled with all kinds of secrets….
Can’t give you much more than that, because I’d give it all away….
As you can tell this book started with a definite BANG, but unfortunately it ended with a bit of a poof…. not to say I was not completely satisfied with the ending, it just was a little lackluster…. there was also a plotline in this book, that I’m not entirely sure of the purpose of, but I did enjoy that part of the book, so it wasn’t for nothing….
I absolutely recommend this to all psychological thriller lovers…. it is a quick read, with an interesting structure, and unquestionably keeps you guessing….
This was a Traveling Sister read…. always so fun reading books like this with the girls, all of us trying to figure out what is really going on, it can be amusing at times….
🎧🎧🎧 audio book narration, this was a dual narrator situation, my fave!
Penelope Rawlins 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I just love her posh English accent, and even though V has destroyed my image that all people in the UK speak like this, I still like to believe! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
First of all imagine having to learn to spell that name in kindergarten! Good narration, just spoke a little quicker than Penelope, so it wasn’t seamless, and truth be told I did like her narration better…
4 Page turning stars for the book🌟2 stars for the blurb🌟🌟
The perfect family… or the perfect lie?
When a child’s scream pierces the night, Mira does what any good neighbour would do: she calls the police. She wants to make sure that Rosie, the little girl next door, is safe.
Opening her front door to the police the next morning, Gemma’s picture-perfect family is forced under scrutiny of social services.
As her flawless life begins to crumble around her, Gemma must fight to defend the family she loves and protect her daughter from the terrible secret she’s been keeping.
But who has Rosie been confiding in when Gemma’s back is turned? And why has she lied to the police?
When Rosie disappears without a trace, Gemma thinks she only has herself to blame. That is, until she finds a little pink diary containing a truth even more devastating than the lie…
This book was very good, kept me turning those pages to see what was going to happen next…. although I would classify this more as a domestic thriller rather than a psychological thriller…. The book did a fantastic job touching on family dynamics….
Gamma was such a relatable character, living out every mothers nightmare…. as a Mom myself, I know there have been times I’ve thought to myself ~I hope nobody was walking by hearing my child scream like that, they’d probably call the authorities~….. well this is what happens to Gamma when her nosy neighbor Mira calls the authorities, after hearing 10-year-old Rosie screaming at night…..
Rosie quite honestly is every mothers nightmare as well…. I have a daughter who has some sass, but things that came out of Rosie’s mouth and her actions were so cringe worthy…. I seriously wanted to reach into the pages and smack the girl myself, she just was a piece of work that girl!
Mira has some major issues of her own…. The woman is so miserable and she has a husband who brings her champagne and chocolate while she is in the bath….who does this? So miserable Mira with the doting husband takes it upon herself to save bratty Rosie…..
Really felt awful for Gamma she was a good person just trying to be a good mother and just put into such a horrible situation…. she did have a pretty good support system with her husband, her mother and her best friend, but even their faith in her dwindles at times….
My only problem with this book was the ending…. there were some lessons to be learned, because lots of things went sideways because people were lying…. also nobody suffered any consequences in the end from behaving badly…. it was a little too much of a fairytale ending with a slight twist….
I would absolutely recommend this to people who enjoy a good domestic drama filled thriller with well-developed characters….
PS: the blurb….. don’t read the blurb….. it really has nothing to do with the book, and it mentions something that happens well after 60 percent of the book is over…. I often wonder who writes the blurbs for these books? Because this blurb does not fit this book…. and it is a good book that deserves a better blurb!
*** i’d like to thank Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review***