Tuesday, December 6, 2016

All is not forgotten by Wendy Walker

5 Star

In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion. 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I know I have said this about a few books this year, but this is definitely one of the best thrillers of the season. It absolutely captivated me and I stayed up pretty late a few nights reading. I thought it would be pretty standard fare - girl gets attacked and what happens afterwards but it was anything but a straightforward story. One full of may surprises and shocks, I was truly impressed by the complexity of the story that this author developed and with such aplomb.

First, having a daughter myself, I could not imagine the horror of finding out your daughter had been attacked - and so brutally. It made me shudder as I know that physical violence and rape are sadly not uncommon and gave me pause. This story had many moments where it would cause me to reflect and ponder what I would do in the person's place.

I also very much enjoyed that the book skipped around, always keeping some element a bit hidden and making me wonder exactly what was going on. The only part of this that I found difficult was the fact that it took me awhile to figure out exactly who the narrator was. I think that was kind of the point but it was a bit annoying as I did not feel that it brought anything additional to the story.

Having never read anything by Wendy Walker before, she is certainly on my radar now!

Thank you to St Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Wendy Walker:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

What Happens at the Beach by T.A.Williams

5 Star

It’s finally time for Natalie Dryden to decide what she really wants! After ditching her sparkling engagement ring, and her ghastly fiancé, she jets off for the sun-kissed shores of Southern France – the only place that has ever truly felt like home. For the first time ever, Natalie is determined to forget all about men and follow her dreams!

…head to the French coast!

Only, avoiding the male population isn’t quite so easy, especially when she meets smooth-talking Philippe and gorgeous fisherman, Remy! But then Natalie, quite literally, bumps into brooding millionaire Mark whilst swimming in the glittering azure-blue bay – and her life is turned upside-down.

Love might be off the cards for Natalie, yet suddenly she finds herself in her dream job and working with her dream man! But is it all too good to be true…?

Kathryn - 5 Star

I’ve got a definite affinity for the works of T.A. Williams.  There is something about his writing that draws me in and keeps me captivated and it doesn’t seem to matter what type of story it is.  I first read What Happens in Tuscany which was more of a mystery novel.  What Happens at the Beach is more romantic.  In both novels though I felt entirely at home in the setting of the plot- I could feel the warmth of the sun, I could see the sparkle of the ocean and I could smell the scents of the countryside.

All very poetic- but actually the novels aren’t filled with endless description at all.  They are fast paced with good supporting voices and very likeable main characters.  In this novel we meet Natalie who has just left her fiancé and escaped to her grandmother’s home in France where she intends on getting her career on track and mending her heart.  Natalie’s grandmother is full of life, a delightful companion and someone I wish I could meet. She actually reminded me a bit of my own grandmother- perhaps this is why I was so comfortable with her.

With financial constraints she determines she’d best find a job (or two) while she sorts herself out. With her degrees having centred round a very specific moment of history she’s hard pressed to find a job that will suit so it seems wonderfully coincidental that someone writing a novel on her exact thesis subject should be living a few moments away from her grandmother’s home.

Romantic liaisons (with mixed results) end just the way it should so it’s bound to make every romantic happy.  Another delightful read, can’t wait to pick up the next one!

Thank you to Carina Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with T.A.Williams:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Name 3 things with Samantha March

Please welcome Samantha March, author of The Christmas Surprise, as she lets us into her life with our Name 3 Things interview!

About Samantha:
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has four published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship and Up To I Do and the holiday novella The Christmas Surprise. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or vlogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Connect with Samantha:
 Website      Facebook    Twitter     Goodreads

Samantha March on Name 3 things:

Name three things one wouldn’t normally expect to find…

 In your fridge

1. Mounds of cheese. My husband and I like to buy hunks of cheese and slice them up for quick snacks.
2. Jarred everything. My husband also likes to pickle, can, and all that fun stuff, so we always have at least one shelf filled with these items. Beware of the spicy pickles!
3. A stray can of pop. We don’t allow ourselves soda in the house because we would drink it too much, but we always have that one can/bottle in there for desperate times. 

In your purse

1. A nametag that isn’t mine. So I can get free parking at a local amusement park ;)
2. A dog toy. Because my purse is like my diaper bag…for my dog
3. A watch that no longer works. Why? No clue. I found it when looking through my purse for this question!

In/On your bedside table

1. Canadian coins. They’ve been in a little jar since my trip to Canada…which was 3-4 years ago now!
2. Scarves. I’ve never figured out where to put them, so there they are!
3. My old licenses. I’m not really sure why I want to hold on to these (to laugh at the photos) but they are in a little container on my nightstand as well!

In your car

1. A yoga mat. Because you never know when you need to hit downward dog. 
2. Insurance cards from the last 5 years. Because I never thrown anything away.
3. Ice cream on the steering wheel. Because I have an obsession with ice cream. And I spill a lot.

On your desk/writing spot

1. A penny from the year my grandparent’s married. My lucky penny is always buy me, including in my shoe on my wedding day.
2. A back massager thingie jingie. Because I’m always sore.
3. A mala. For good vibes.

In the "junk drawer"

1. Razor blades. I have no clue, but I’m guessing my husband.
2. A rubber band ball. Again, my husband
3. Four pencil erasers but no pencils. This is my husband’s drawer.

In your closet/garage/storage room

1. Tulle. Our storage room is full of unused tulle from our wedding…three years ago.
2. Ten yoga mats. Yes, ten.  
3. All my swim suits. I don’t have enough room in my closet, so my swimsuits live in the storage room. 

In your music or movie collection

1. A DVD of me performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in high school.
2. That’s basically the extent of my movie collection, minus my husband’s DVDs. I don’t watch movies – that’s weird, right?!

On your bookshelf

1. Socks. When I take my socks off to workout but I’m going to put them back on, I throw them on my bookshelf to keep away from my dog. Sometimes I might forget they are there.
2. Makeup brushes. A whole shelf is dedicated to my makeup brushes. 
3. A Cubs bobblehead. #WorldSeries 

The Christmas Surprise- a novella

Juliette Mabry is a happily married stay-at-home wife and mother...until there appears to be trouble brewing in her nearly ten-year marriage. Juliette takes it upon herself to find out if her husband is up to no good, but does she want to know the truth? Everything is revealed on Christmas, and Juliette is in for her biggest Christmas surprise.

Available at:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Secrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles

4 Star

How far should you go to keep a secret?
No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?

Kathryn - 4 Star

Secrets in the Sky was a surprise read for me. I wasn’t initially sure what to expect because I didn’t immediately understand the thought process behind the actions of some of the characters.  They seemed to be behaving oddly- which makes sense now as many of them are harbouring some secrets from each other.  However, I was immediately on Sophie’s side for no other good reason than that I liked her from the get-go.  Something about her earnestness made me want her to succeed but she seemed to be having a hard time determining what she wanted her success to be and her insistence about keeping her job a secret from her mother made me a bit crazy.

Pauline Wiles inserted some vastly irritating (but amusing) personalities into the plot of this novel. Namely a rather vocal bird, a rather frustratingly simple ex-boyfriend/current boyfriend and a number of interfering villagers but there were also some steadfast friends.  Her roommate was sweet and I liked both the real-estate agent who was on Sophie’s side and the American woman who ran the support groups.   

My only hesitancy with my overall feelings was that I felt more warmth could have been made between the sisters.  I think there was something missing in their interactions or perhaps it was just their age gap that created this, or their unusual upbringing?  But I wished for more closeness there.

The novel was charming and the romantic plot twists were sweet.  I wouldn’t hesitate to read another novel about Saffron Sweeting!

Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Pauline Wiles:
Website     Facebook      Twitter     Goodreads

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

5 Star

Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…

But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

Yet another stellar thriller from 2016! This book was reminiscent of a Single White Female theme. I cannot imagine the type of obsession that one can foster such as was portrayed in this book but it was well portrayed and make me get goosebumps a few times!
Edie and Heather definitely have a very odd relationship and not one that seems comfortable or normal by any means. The book was told in both of their points of view and went back and forth from past to present. It was a bit tricky to get used to it in the beginning and to sort out who was who, but once I caught on the book remained fairly fast paced.
The book is quite suspenseful, and very unique. It addressed all kinds of themes, such as the aforementioned obsession, friendship and what kind of betrayal both can bring. The main point was that not everything is as it seems and although I could not identify with either character, probably mostly because I found them somewhat creepy, I still truly enjoyed this book and the shocking things that happened.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Camilla Way:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The French War Bride by Robin Wells

4.5 Star

At her retirement home in Wedding Tree, Louisiana, ninety-one-year-old Amelie O’Connor is in the habit of leaving her door open for friends. One day she receives an unexpected visitor—Kat Morgan, the ex-fiancée of her late husband, Jack.

Kat and Jack were high school sweethearts who planned to marry when Jack returned from France after World War II. But in a cruel twist of fate, their plans were irrevocably derailed when a desperate French girl overheard an American GI’s confession in a Parisian church. . .

Now, Kat wants to know the truth behind a story that’s haunted her whole life. Finding out how Amelie stole Jack’s heart will—she thinks—finally bring her peace. As Amelie recalls the dark days of the Nazi occupation of Paris, The French War Bride reveals how history shapes the courses of our lives. . .for better or for worse.

Kathryn- 4.5 Star

The French War Bride was a great surprise read for me as I’ve never read a book by Robin Wells and I was a bit concerned that it was part of a series and that I would have missed something having not read part one. It would appear though that the plot is entirely independent. I was immediately drawn into the story with Kat visiting Amelie in her retirement home in present day Louisiana. Amelie is a bit snarky and edgy and Kat is equally antagonistic and the fact that they were both in their 90’s gave me a great thrill at their spirit. Kat is intent on getting to the bottom of their shared history, their shared romantic attachment to Jack and how he ended up with Amelie.  Despite their nit-picking at each other you could tell that the love they had for the same man was true. 

Amelie is persuaded to tell her half of the story because she feels that Kat will rest more easily with the truth but she’s certainly not willing to allow Kat to believe that she was entirely to blame for the breaking of Jack’s promise to Kat before he left to serve in France.  Amelie story is filled with tragic losses and unthinkable circumstances during France’s occupation but she’s not innocent, she knows there are things she should not have done. I liked her spirit though and her feelings for Jack were tender and true.  Jack’s sense of honour, of doing the right thing, made both women’s lives difficult.  I wish he’d been there to tell his side of the story at times.  I did end up feeling a bit sorry for Kat, she was left without an explanation and though she was demanding and difficult it was not her fault that she was abandoned in such a way.

Their stories intertwine and as Amelie recounts her part to Kat you can see how it happened- but in the end I’m not sure I would have been entirely satisfied if I was Kat? 

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Robin Wells:
Website     Facebook      Twitter      Goodreads

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Twilight Wife by A.J.Banner

4 Star

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

For fans of Gone Girl and that genre, this book is sure to pique your interest and with good reason! I have found myself gravitating towards the suspenseful genre of book and this one was quite satisfying. Initially quite confusing, each new piece of the puzzle began slotting itself together until everything came together. There were no huge and shocking surprises yet I was quite surprised at what the truth behind the story was even though it really made sense and there had been hints along the way.

I had to admire Kyra and her tenacity. Despite quite debilitating physical symptoms caused by her accident, she kept on searching to regain her memory and to ultimately find out the truth. I can only imagine how exhausting and terrifying it would be to lose one's memory so completely and to forget exactly who you were.

The depths of the deceptions and the lengths taken by some in this story are quite chilling. I find myself wondering if it is possible and I suppose that for the most devious of us, it definitely would be.

My only complaint is that this story came together way too quickly in the end. Too quickly for my liking at least. I wish that it could have continued on as I really enjoyed the writing style and plot.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with A.J.Banner:

Website     Facebook      Twitter     Goodreads


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