Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Review - Wherever She Goes

Title:    Wherever She Goes
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Publisher:   Minotaur Books
Format:  Trade Paperback ARC
No. of Pages:  304
Date of Publication:  June 25, 2019
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:
From New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes a brand new psychological thriller about the lengths one woman will go to in order to save a child. 

“Few crimes are reported as quickly as a snatched kid.”

That’s what the officer tells single mother Aubrey Finch after she reports a kidnapping. So why hasn’t anyone reported the little boy missing? Aubrey knows what she saw: a boy being taken against his will from the park. It doesn’t matter that the mother can’t be found. It doesn’t matter if no one reported it. Aubrey knows he’s missing.

Instead, people question her sanity. Aubrey hears the whispers. She’s a former stay-at-home mom who doesn’t have primary custody of her daughter, so there must be something wrong with her, right? Others may not understand her decision to walk away from her safe life at home, but years of hiding her past – even from the people she loves – were taking their toll, and Aubrey knows she can’t be the mother or wife she envisions until she learns to leave her secrets behind.

When the police refuse to believe her, she realizes that rescuing the boy is up to her alone. But after all the secrets, how far is she willing to go? Even to protect a child.


MY THOUGHTS:

Aubrey Finch is apparently on an island of her own. She has seen a child snatched and reported it within minutes. However, no one else reported it and the police will not take her seriously. Some go so far as to doubt Aubrey's sanity. She is currently working as a librarian. Aubrey was recently a stay-at-home mother, but now separated from husband Jack, she does not have primary custody of her young daughter Charlotte.  So, the police - and others - worry about her motives. What is more, Aubrey keeping her past from Jack doesn't make things any easier.

Aubrey has very good reason in allowing her ex to be the custodial parent. She is hiding a past that she feels she cannot trust anyone with, and is more than worried about her future. Putting her own life and feelings aside, Aubrey takes it upon herself to discover the whereabouts of the little boy. She has very little to go on, but she hopes to start with the fact that she met the boy's mother just a day before the incident. Hopefully this will be enough for her to get started.

More than that, Aubrey has above par computer skills. It is those very skills that take Aubrey very far into a layer of deceit, secrets and danger. While searching, Aubrey has interactions with her ex-husband. Sharing custody is not easy, especially now that Jack is dating again.

What a finely-balanced book! It had great - and not-so-great - characters. The story had lots of twists and turns and culminated with an intense conclusion. Having previously read a series of Kelley Armstrong's, when this book came up, it was a great opportunity for me. I was thrilled to have been able to read and review it. I definitely will keep her future titles on my radar.

Many thanks Minotaur Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets. 

web | twitter | facebook 

Review - Once Upon a Bad Boy

Author:  Melonie Johnson
Series:  Sometimes in Love #3
Genre:   Romance
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  384
Date of Publication:  June 25, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:
NEVER SAY NEVER
Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend—the one who took her heart and ran away.

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them—Sadie’s pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo’s childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet—is in the past. But the future is still unwritten…and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it’s finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?


MY THOUGHTS:

Sadie Gold has finally won her dream role. The movie she is about to star in will really make her a true star. However, being trained by stunt coordinator Bo Ibarra will not come easy. Bo is Sadie's ex, the man who stole her heart, then left. Working with Bo certainly will not be easy for Sadie, but needs must.

Bo is quite a good man. He didn't come from much at all, but has built up a wonderful stunt business. His work is highly recognized. When Bo's past is considered, it makes it clearer to Sadie why their relationship did not work before. Is there a chance now?

Second chance romances are kind of my hidden love. To see a couple clearly meant for each other but driven apart by problems, and to see whether or not they can work things out is always rewarding. In Once Upon a Bad Boy we got to see the man Bo has become. This is the third book in the Sometimes in Love series. I enjoyed all of  the stories so far and look forward to more by Melonie Johnson. I have loved each couple and think that this is a very strong series.

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC to be reviewed in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

While on a visit to DramaMama land you’re likely to find tales of writing woe, craft and party ideas (and crafty party ideas), an occasional recipe, links to other wonderful and wacky websites, home fix-it projects, tales of home ownership agony (aka Appliance Hell), and lots and lots of stuff about the drama of being a mama.

Overall, this site is  a random collection of random stuff about my life – eventually it may turn into something more cohesive…but in order for that to happen, my life needs to become more cohesive, so you may be in for a long wait. Enjoy the ride!



Monday, June 24, 2019

BLOG TOUR - The Country Inn Mystery



Today is my day for the Blog Tour for The Country Inn Mystery by Faith Martin.

DESCRIPTION:


Discover a new series of whodunits by million-selling author Faith Martin. These charming mysteries will have you scratching your head to work out who the murderer is.

Meet Jenny Starling: travelling cook and reluctant amateur detective.

THIS IS A BRAND NEW, NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED FAITH MARTIN BOOK.

Jenny Starling is working at The Spindlewood Inn for the weekend. It’s hosting a Regency Extravaganza, involving historical costume, amateur dramatics and food.

Leading actress of the amateur dramatic society and reputed man-eater Rachel Norman portrays a doomed noblewoman. But when she turns up actually drowned in the pond, there’s suddenly a murder to investigate.

There’s been plenty of trouble at the idyllic country inn. The performers weren’t a happy troupe, and Jenny discovers a simmering romantic tension.

Who wanted Rachel dead and why? Jenny Starling is going to need all her wits to crack this complex case.

This is the seventh in a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with a great cast of characters and baffling crimes which will keep you in suspense to the final page.
Perfect for fans of classic whodunits by authors like Agatha Christie, LJ Ross, TE Kinsey, and J.R. Ellis.

JENNY STARLING
In her late twenties, Jenny Starling is an impressive woman. Physically, she stands at 6ft 1inch, and has shoulder-length black hair and blue eyes. Curvaceous and sexy, she’s a modern single woman, living the lifestyle that suits her – that of a travelling cook. Her famous (and now very rich) father, is a ‘celebrity’ cook, divorced from Jenny’s mother. Jenny drives a disreputable cherry-red van, and is happy travelling the country catering events and cooking great food. She is on a one-woman crusade to bring back ‘real’ food. And definitely doesn’t like having to divert her attention from achieving the perfect Dundee cake or creating a new sauce recipe by having to solve a murder. She finds crime very distracting, especially when there is chocolate to temper or pike to poach. Nevertheless, she is very good at reading people, and with a quick and agile brain, becomes very good at unmasking killers. And her always-undaunted sense of humour goes a long way in keeping her sane when all around her people are dropping like flies.

THE AUTHOR
FAITH MARTIN is the best-selling author of the DETECTIVE HILLARY GREENE mysteries, which have sold over 1 million copies globally in just over a year.

JENNY STARLING MYSTERIES
Book 1: THE BIRTHDAY MYSTERY
Book 2: THE WINTER MYSTERY
Book 3: THE RIVERBOAT MYSTERY
Book 4: THE CASTLE MYSTERY
Book 5: THE OXFORD MYSTERY
Book 6: THE TEATIME MYSTERY

Book 7: THE COUNTRY INN MYSTERY



MY THOUGHTS:


Title:  The Country Inn Mystery
Author:  Faith Martin
Series:  Jenny Starling #7
Format:  Kindle ARC
Genre:  Mystery/Thrillers
Date Published:   June 23, 2019
Publisher:  Joffe Books
No. of Pages:  174
My rating: 4 Stars

Jenny Starling is a traveling cook who has landed another plumb assignment. Not only is Jenny an exceptional cook who is in high demand for her culinary skills, but she has been more than instrumental when it comes to excelling at amateur sleuthing. 

Currently, Jenny is at The Spindlewood Inn, and a play is being produced there. Jenny hopes to regale them with her tried and true recipes, but also wants to try a few new things. She is quickly distracted, however, when the leading actress in the endeavor, Rachel Norman, is discovered drowned in the pond. Using her sharp instincts, Jenny correctly assumes that it is a case of murder. 

As Jenny begins working with the police, who are none too keen to accept her help, and also headed in her very own direction, Jenny starts to unravel tensions within the realms of the troupe - things not previously before seen or mentioned. Things are not going to be easy, especially as certain facts are revealed, but the intrepid Jenny is nothing short of insistent. 

The Country Inn Mystery is the seventh book in the Jenny Starling series which could be read as standalone, as it is a new location and victim. However, the entire series is a delight, and if readers want to enjoy the over six foot voluptuous woman, with uncanny beauty and intelligence, then, by all means, be sure to get the previous titles in this series. This is a quick read that I was able to devour in one sitting.

Many thanks to Joffe Books and Books n All Book Promotions for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


AUTHOR BIO:

Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! The first 15 books in the series are available now.

Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.


Her first foray into writing 'spooky' crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.


As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired 'proper' whodunits. So, if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.



Review - Hold on Tight

Title:  Hold on Tight
Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray
Series:  Bridgeport Social Club #3
Genre:  Romance
Publisher:  Blackstone Publishing
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of pages: 290
Published:  June 11, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:


Jackson Koch had already lost his wife to cancer when the town's coal mines shut down and his job was gone too. So, with a three-year-old daughter to care for and a broken heart to mend, he moved across the country to find a new life in Bridgeport, Ohio. Now he tends bar by night and tries to navigate life as a single dad by day. Luckily, his neighbor is happy to babysit while he works late nights. She's great with little Kate, beautiful, kind ... and lately he's found himself smiling whenever he thinks about her.

Dani Brown also knows what it's like to lose a spouse and raise a child on her own. Cleaning houses during the day, and taking online classes at night, she dreams of running her own preschool someday. And, since her fourteen-year-old son Jeremy's baseball team requires a lot of money, she's thrilled to earn some extra cash by watching her handsome neighbor's adorable little girl. But even with two jobs, she's having trouble making ends meet.

When Jackson sees Dani running herself ragged for her son's baseball ambitions he decides it's time to get the Bridgeport Social Club involved. Together they cook up a plan. They will run a charity poker tournament to support Jeremy's dream and help out a hardworking single mom. But will Dani be able to accept help from the handsome neighbor she's starting to feel more-than-friendly feelings for? And how far is she ready to let those feelings go?

Get ready to fall in love with Shelley Shepard Gray's Bridgeport Social Club again, where a poker night is so much more than a game of cards and an extraordinary community of ordinary men and women come together to offer love, light, and hope to everyone they encounter. 


MY THOUGHTS:


Jackson Koch and Dani Brown have some things in common. For starters, they have both lost their marriage mates in death. Further, they each have a child, he with three-year-old Kate, and her son, Jeremy is fourteen. They live in the same building and Dani watches over Kate while Jackson tends bar at night.

Jackson has had it rough. He lost his wife and his job as a miner in a very close span of time and he is doing his best to be there for Kate, even if being a bartender is far from his dream job. Dani is struggling. She is working at cleaning houses, taking classes, caring for Jeremy and his dream of baseball, and, as mentioned, watching little Kate.

Jackson is the perfect guy who spots a situation that he just feels impelled to rectify. Can he be there for Dani as more than a friend? Especially when it comes to Jeremy? Meanwhile, will Dani be able to accept growing feelings for Jackson without losing her hard-won independence?

Hold on Tight is the third book in the Bridgeport Social Club series. In each story, relationships thrived between deserving couples. One thing I really like about this story, and the trio of books in the series, is the fact that there are children in each story. That is something that always warms my heart. Friendship and community also play huge roles.

I have read each book in the series, and enjoy the continuity of characters, especially with their situations and growth. This is definitely a character-driven story, with a slow burn romance, and it is quite fulfilling. This is especially so because it is quite an emotional read that I would gladly recommend.

Although part of a series, this story can serve well as a standalone novel.

Many thanks to Blackstone Publishing and to NetGalley, as well as Edelweiss, for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.


Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.


Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.


I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.


Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.





Sunday, June 23, 2019

BLOG TOUR - Till There Was You



Today is my day for the Blog Tour for Till There Was You by Marie Force.

DESCRIPTION:
Being an adult has its advantages... 

Lucas Abbott and his identical twin grew up sharing everything—including a reputation for funny, idiotic behavior. But now that Lucas is ready to shed that lovable-idiot image, grow up and have a real, adult relationship, the joke’s on him. He and his twin have fallen for the same woman. 


Crushed and hoping a few days on the slopes will work out his frustrations, he heads for Stowe, Vermont. All thought of fun and relaxation flies away as a car spins out in a snowstorm, and his firefighter/paramedic training kicks into high gear. 


Danielle Rowson is hoping to pick up the pieces and build a new life for herself and her daughter in Vermont. Winding up in a ditch in the middle of a blizzard isn’t part of the plan—and neither is the kind, sexy rescuer whose strong hands pull them to safety. 


Lucas has been a little kid, a big kid and now an adult—and he discovers that adulting has more than one advantage. Especially when it comes to sharing with Dani and Savannah the one thing that’s his and his alone: his love. 



MY THOUGHTS:


Title:   Till There Was You
Author:  Marie Force
Series:  Butler, Vermont #4
Genre:   Romance
Publisher:   HTJB, Inc.
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  334
Date of Publication:  June 18, 2019
My Rating:  5 Stars

Lucas and Landon Abbott are identical twins who have share everything in life. That comes to a screeching halt when they both fall for the same woman. For his own sanity, and out of respect for Landon and his family, Lucas takes off for a ski trip that should get his mind off of the situation. When Lucas witnesses a car spinning around on the road, right in the middle of a snowstorm, he uses his instincts as a paramedic and a firefighter to help the driver.

Danielle Rowson is a single mother who lost the love of her life while she was pregnant. She drew into a tight shell, letting family take care of everything for her. She realized that the only way that she can truly survive was to strike out on her own with her daughter. This means leaving everything she'd ever known. She is headed to Stowe, Vermont, to follow through on some job opportunities and with hopes of finding a new home. While driving, the weather conditions force her car into a ditch.

When a handsome stranger comes to her rescue, Danielle is naturally wary. After all, she has her baby Savannah with her and their safety is paramount. He identifies himself, and assures her that he is trained in just this type of emergency, and offers to help them in several ways.

What a wonderful story! For starters, Danielle and Savannah are wonderful together, but it is how Lucas and Savannah bond that truly touched my heart. Also, Lucas's mother has ten children, and most now have significant others and are having their own children. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the town moose. Not something I read of often, and this was a cute addition to the story. There is a fantastic sense of family while reading this book. It is a very warm read that was impossible to put down. I simply had to read this book in one sitting.

Till There Was You is pat of a long-running series, and is the fourth book in the Butler, Vermont  series. Although I hadn't read any of the previous titles, this book did well as a standalone. There are a lot of family members, and they have all had their stories, and some of them come through the pages of this book I do wish I knew about the extended Abbott family before reading this book, because I do so love the sense of continuity existing within the pages of a good series. I look forward to reading Landon's story soon.

Many thanks to HTJB, Inc. and to Inkslinger PR for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 contemporary romances, including the Gansett Island Series, which has sold more than 3 million books, and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books, which has sold 1.5 million books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series, written under the slightly modified name of M.S. Force. All together, her books have sold more than 5.5 million copies worldwide!

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.


Join Marie's mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie's many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.


AUTHOR LINKS:

Website:  http://marieforce.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieForceAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarieForce
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marieforceauthor/
Newsletter: http://marieforce.com/subscribe/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1508588.Marie_Force
Reader Groups: https://marieforce.com/contact/

Review - All In

Title: All In
Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray
Series:  Bridgeport Social Club #2
Genre:  Romance
Publisher:  Blackstone Publishing
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of pages: 286
Published:  Blacktone Publishing
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:


Meredith Hunt is content with her solo life. She owns and runs a successful Pilates studio, volunteers at the high school every week, and recently bought a house. She can take care of herself, which is good because she has a hard time relying on other people. When she's mugged and a handsome man comes to her rescue, she doesn't know how to accept his help-or how to stop staring into his chocolate-brown eyes.

Ace Vance moved to Bridgeport to offer his fifteen-year-old son, Finn, a better life. Here, Finn has a chance to play football for a good team and maybe even earn a college scholarship. And Ace scored a job at a top-notch garage, where he gets to fix up classic cars. Plus, they could both use some distance from Finn's toxic mom. The last thing on his mind is falling in love, but he can't help offering assistance to a gorgeous redhead in need.

Thrown together by a careless criminal, Meredith and Ace can't deny their attraction. But can they open their hearts-and their lives-to make room for love?

Shelley Shepard Gray's Bridgeport Social Club series explores how communities can come together to support each other, whether it's around a poker table, in a Pilates studio, or anywhere in between. Get ready to fall in love with a group of men and women who, even when they feel lost, refuse to lose hope. 

MY THOUGHTS: 

Meredith Hunt has carefully orchestrated her life. She had a bank job she hated so she quit it and eventually opened a Pilates studio. In addition, she volunteers at the local high school, and this brings her even more fulfillment in life. However, one day while jogging, she is mugged and is slightly injured in the process. Ace Vance and his teen son Finn see her fall and quickly come to her rescue.

Meredith wants to just get up and take care of herself, but Ace insists on accompanying her to get checked out - and he never leaves her life after that. Meredith begins to learn what it is like to depend on others, and that includes new friendships that she is forming.

Ace recently moved to Bridgeport with Finn to give him better opportunities, and this includes the fifteen-year-old having the chance to play varsity football for the high school team. This just might give Finn the  opportunity to earn a scholarship for college. Ace would move mountains for Finn, especially as Finn was raised by his mother, who was not good for Finn in his life, ever.

As Ace and Meredith begin to spend time together, they realize that, despite the fact that neither of them have time for love in their lives, feelings do begin to bloom. When Meredith experiences problems at her house, Ace really steps up.

There were many things I loved about this book. For starters, Ace's relationship with Finn. I was really moved by some of their conversations. Then when it came to friends and family in this book, I was even more affected.

Whether it is poker, Pilates, the slow burn of the romance developing, this second book in the Bridgeport Social Club series is quite a wonderful read. The trio of friends that formed the social club are finding love, and that is always rewarding. I definitely recommend this touching story.

Many thanks to Blackstone Publishing and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.


Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.


Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.


I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.


Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.





Saturday, June 22, 2019

Review - A Promise for the Twins

Author:  Melissa Senate
Genre:   Romance
Publisher:   Harlequin Special Edition
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  224
Date of Publication:  June 18, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:
He made a promise…

Now he’s a nanny!

Former soldier Nick Garroway is in Wedlock Creek to fulfill a promise made to a fallen soldier: to check in on the woman the man had left pregnant with twins. Brooke Timber is in desperate need of a nanny, and what else can Nick do but fill in? She’s planning his father’s wedding, and all the family togetherness soon has Brooke and Nick rethinking if this promise is temporary…or forever…


MY THOUGHTS:

Nick Garroway is a former soldier and an honorable man. Before a soldier dies while saving Nick's life, the man asks Nick to check on a woman he got pregnant and abandoned. Nick plans on making sure she, and her twin babies, are doing okay. He then plans on checking on his father, as they were estranged while he was in the military. Finally, Nick plans on purchasing a ranch.

Brooke Timber is a single mother to twin sons. She is working hard at keeping her wedding planning business afloat despite stiff opposition, and the fact that her nanny had to take some time off. Her grandmother left her the business and when her grandmother was alive it was thriving. Brooke can barely rope in any clients, even though living in the town of Wedlock, where marriage and multiples thrive, Brooke is struggling.

When a great opportunity presents itself - and almost slips through her fingers - Nick shows up at her door. She thinks the handsome stranger is there to answer her ad for a temporary nanny. He is only there to check up on her, but when he sees her predicament, and hears two screaming babies, he jumps in and makes matters right, thus saving her business opportunity. Nick cannot explain why, but, in a matter of moments, he takes on the job of being the nanny, or more appropriately, manny. 

What a wonderful book! If not for the babies, the love story is totally adorable. This book worked on every level. This is a nice, clean and sweet romance that I truly enjoyed. The story even added angst when it came to Nick's relationship with his father and brother. I think this gave what might have been an overly sweet story just the perfect balance. 

This book by Melissa Senate is my first by her, but it certainly won't be my last.

Many thanks to Harlequin Special Edition and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


I've written many novels (see sidebar, in order of publication), including my debut, SEE JANE DATE, which was made into a TV movie that is often on the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime; THE LOVE GODDESS' COOKING SCHOOL, an Indie Next List notable; THE SECRET OF JOY; and two YA novels, THEODORA TWIST and THE MOSTS. I wrote two novels under a secret pseudonym, but I'll spill that secret if you email me to find out. I also wrote seven novels for Harlequin Special Edition under the not-secret pen name Meg Maxwell. A highlight of this career is that my books have been published in over twenty-five countries, from Russia to China to France. Bucket list dream: to visit every one of those twenty-five-plus countries. First: Italy, where I've been three times and can't get enough of.
I've also ghostwritten several novels, including one for a major celeb, but really can't say who (confidentiality contract insists) and several for New York Times bestsellers. My essays appear in It's A Wonderful Lie: The Truth About Life in Your Twenties and Everything I Wanted To Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, and I have short stories in American Girls About Town and Flirting With Pride & Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick Lit Masterpiece.
From the late 80s until the year 2000, I was a fiction editor in New York City. I went from very young editorial assistant with 80s hair to senior editor with heels at Harlequin, where I worked for ten truly great years, then I spent two fun years at 17th Street Productions/Alloy Entertainment as a senior editor of teen fiction, including the Sweet Valley series, where twins Elizabeth and Jessica were in junior high, high school and college simultaneously. For the past 17 years, I've been a freelance editor (for publishing houses, not individuals), a copywriter (if you wonder who wrote the back cover and flap copy of the book you read last night, it might have been me), ghostwriter, and author, and I love all four hats equally.
I live on the coast of Maine with my great teenager, our sweet shepherd mix, Flash, and our comical lap cat, Cleo, and I'm now hard at work on my next novel.
My Harlequin Special Edition romances under the name Meg Maxwell are: A COWBOY IN THE KITCHEN, THE DETECTIVE'S 8 LB, 10 OZ SURPRISE, THE COWBOY'S BIG FAMILY TREE, THE COOK'S SECRET INGREDIENT, CHARM SCHOOL FOR COWBOYS, MOMMY AND THE MAVERICK, and SANTA'S SEVEN-DAY BABY TUTORIAL. Except for MOMMY AND THE MAVERICK, which is part of the line's latest and long-running Montana Mavericks series, all are part of the Hurley's Homestyle Kitchen series.
My 2018 titles as Melissa Senate are: THE BABY SWITCH; DETECTIVE BARELLI'S LEGENDARY TRIPLETS; THE MAVERICK'S BABY-IN-WAITING (part of the Montana Maverick's miniseries The Lonelyhearts Ranch); and WYOMING CHRISTMAS SURPRISE. Five novels will be published in 2019 starting with a special new animal-shelter focused inline miniseries in January: A NEW LEASH ON LOVE. In March: TO KEEP HER BABY. In June: A PROMISE FOR THE TWINS. In July: RUST CREEK FALLS CINDERELLA. In October: A WYOMING CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER.


 web | twitter


Review - The Favorite Daughter

Author:  Kaira Rouda
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Publisher:   Graydon House
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  384
Date of Publication:  May 21, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:
From the author of Best Day Ever, another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena. 

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It's a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane's oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she's barely even left the house. Now that's all about to change.

It's time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane's husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it's clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days--and nights--at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl--dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they've revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together... 


MY THOUGHTS:

Jane Harris has lost her oldest daughter due to a tragic accident. It doesn’t take long in reading this book for readers to see if there’s something strange really wrong with Jane. Of course she’s grieving the loss of her daughter. But what’s more is she’s grieving the loss of her former self. After some time on antidepressants, mixed with difficult memories from her past, Jane is trying to rise up. In so doing she makes very weird statements.

One of the most difficult things to read as the story starts to take form is that her surviving daughter Betsy is certainly not Jane's favorite. Her favorite was Mary. Now Jane will do whatever she can to make Betsy pay for not being the daughter that died. While she’s at it why not make her husband pay for all of his misdeeds too. He has lied and cheated for years. One of his worst travesties has just been revealed to her.

I had to stop a couple of times while reading this book. I was like, 'are you for real Jane?' She is one of the most unreliable characters I have read in a very long time. She takes herself very seriously. Are we the reader supposed to take her seriously? If so, then I feel really bad for her. If not, then I really want to laugh because no one can have the thought process is that she has shown us.

Her memories are interspersed within the narration. To stave off boredom she reads strange articles and quotes from the Internet. Then there is a sudden, sharp twist in the story. It happened so fast, so be careful, because the reader just might miss it. Jane has a plan. A deep, dark, disturbing one. In so doing she is utterly excited, not caring for one moment who she might hurt. 

Despite this excitement, the feeling that it’s all going to fall apart, the knowledge that if I ever knew somebody like this in real life I would run in the other direction. With these and other similar  thoughts, I must admit to growing tired of Jane and her antics. It seemed to me that no one was ever going to wake up and see what Jane was all about. Nonetheless, I pulled through it and got to see that she really was that bad and then I admit to being eager to see if and when she would be stopped.

Another thing, Jane has no remorse. She knows everything she is saying and doing is wrong, but she simply doesn’t care. I will say that there were some things I didn’t like in this book, such as what happened to Cash, the dog, but I am glad that I got to read something that was just a bit different.

While Jane was planning, admiring herself and and telling about her perfection, and acting upon set plan, she is talking to us the reader at all times. She pulled us into the story whether we want to be there or not. Thank you to the Kaira Rouda for providing a character that everybody is going to hate. To be triggered into those feelings while reading a book says to me, good job. Well done. I definitely look forward to reading much more by Ms. Rouda.

Many thanks to Graydon House and to Netgalley for this ARC for review in exchange for my honest opinion.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kaira Sturdivant Rouda is an accomplished business leader, entrepreneur, national speaker and internationally bestselling and award-winning author. A former magazine editor, and society columnist, Kaira won the Stevie Award for Women in Business for creating the first female-focused residential real estate brand, Real Living, and growing the brand to more than 22 states before its sale to Berkshire Hathaway. Her first book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, led to a national speaking tour where she inspired thousands. Turning to a full-time writing career, her most recent works are Best Day Ever and The Favorite Daughter (releasing in May 2019). Active in the areas of homelessness, food security, and empowering women and girls, in her twenties, as a volunteer, she created the first walk-in emergency shelter for homeless families in Central Ohio. Kaira has received numerous awards for her community service, including the national Kiwanis Service to Mankind Award, among many others. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Congressman Harley Rouda, and her four twenty-something children.