#BookReview: Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby

Spare Change2Summary:

A woman grieving her loss. A boy running for his life. A town defending them both.

From award-winning USA TODAY Bestselling Author BETTE LEE CROSBY, the first book of a gritty, small-town, family saga in the tradition of the finest Southern fiction.

Small-town gossip never much bothered Olivia Westerly. As a single career woman, she’s weathered her share. It’s easy to ignore the raised eyebrows over her late-in-life marriage to Charlie Doyle. But after he drops dead on their honeymoon, the whispers are salt on her raw grief. Especially when an orphaned, eleven-year-old-boy shows up on her doorstep, looking for the grandfather he never met.

Behind Ethan Allen Doyle’s wary blue eyes lie heavily guarded emotions that unexpectedly tug on Olivia’s heart, and she finds herself wanting to win his trust. But when his murderous secret comes looking for him, the entire town embraces the lonely widow and desperate child to show itstrue heart when danger threatens one of its own.

A heartwarming tale of love, loss and unexpected gifts, featuring a woman you’d like to call friend, a boy you will ache to hug, and a town you wish you could call home.

Review:

This was our Book Club Read for the month and I am so happy it was chosen because everyone loved the book!

Bette Lee Crosby can always deliver a story like no other! I was engrossed from the first few pages. We meet several characters along the way and they each have such life they practically jump off the page. While reading the book I heard their voices, felt their emotions and truly developed feelings for each of them. But Ethan Allen was my favorite. I became one of his biggest champions along the way, and I have no doubt you will, too!

Olivia Webster is a single woman in the 1950’s working for the Southern Atlantic Telephone Company in Richmond, Virginia and she wanted her life to stay that way. She did not want children. She did not want a husband. She was all about her life as a professional woman until she met Charlie Doyle at a retirement party. He was as taken in by her. You see Charlie was always wanting to remain single because he was quite the lady’s man until he met Olivia. Together they were to change their lives and start a new adventure together as a married couple. Only tragedy strikes.

Benjamin is Charlie’s son and he is married to Susanna. They have a son named Ethan Allen. They live on a farm in the country and Susanna dreamed of becoming a singer in New York City. However, tragedy strikes them as well.

This is the story of what happens after all of this loss and how Ethan Allen survives.

I was in love with the ending of the story.

I highly recommend this book!! You will sit for an evening. You will fall in love.

You will then want to read another one of Bette Lee Crosby’s books.

Go get it and enjoy!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Only Ever You by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Only Ever HerSummary:

It was to be the perfect wedding—until the bride disappeared.
Annie Taft’s wedding is four days away, and it will be one of the grandest anyone can remember in her small South Carolina town. Preparations are in order. Friends and family are gathering in anticipation. Everything is going according to plan. Except that Annie herself has vanished. Did she have second thoughts? Or has something much worse happened to the bride-to-be?
While her loved ones frantically try to track her down, they’re forced to grapple with their own secrets—secrets with the power to reframe entire relationships, leaving each to wonder how well they really knew Annie and how well they know themselves.

Review:

I kept waiting for the juice! The thrill! The moment I was going to turn the page and the excitement was going to begin, but it never came! I’m not even sure what genre this book would fit into nicely.

I was expecting a suspense, thriller novel and what I got was a story about a town and all the happenings going on within its society. Sure, there was an old crime. Now there is a missing girl that was about to be married. The whole town is upset. They are all looking for her, but there are 500 things going on in the background. There is not much going on about the supposed crime. Old or new.

It all boiled down to reading a bunch of pages about people I never quite cared much about.

I cared most about Annie; the missing girl. Her character was super interesting! I spent the entire book waiting to find out what happened to her. Suspecting every single character in the book of foul play; and there are many that we meet!

It was always about “Only Ever Her” for me, the rest was just noise.

2 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via NetGalley.

#Bookreview: The view from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

1E3B1D4E-B3AF-46E4-8901-7A8AA58F36B3Summary:

From the outside looking in, Lauren Delaney has a life to envy—a successful career, a solid marriage to a prominent surgeon and two beautiful daughters who are off to good colleges. But on her twenty-fourth wedding anniversary Lauren makes a decision that will change everything.

Lauren won’t pretend things are perfect anymore. She defies the controlling husband who has privately mistreated her throughout their marriage and files for divorce. And as she starts her new life, she meets a kindred spirit—a man who is also struggling with the decision to end his unhappy marriage.

But Lauren’s husband wants his “perfect” life back and his actions are shocking. Facing an uncertain future, Lauren discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had as she fights for the love and happiness she deserves.

Review:

This story is about the struggle of leaving a marriage behind; no matter how cruel a spouse can be, and no matter how toxic a relationship is.

Lauren meets Beau who is having similar issues and wanting to leave his marriage as well, so they form a friendship that soon starts to lean towards more.

But, can that happen with Lauren’s spouse still lingering so close by?

There is the family dynamic with the children and who they each side with, and the friends along the way.

I found that this story dragged a bit in few places and I got a little bored sometime; I have to be honest. Maybe I just didn’t really feel attached to many other characters. But, my interest in the outcome for Lauren was enough!

3 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley

 

#BookReview: Crimson Falls Novella – The Stranger in the Woods by Kiersten Modglin

The Stranger in the Woods CoverSummary:

Arlie Montgomery is no stranger to tragedy.
In fact, tragedy brought Arlie everything she’d ever dreamed of in one fell swoop.

As a thriller author, Arlie should’ve had it easy. Growing up in the town of Crimson Falls, there was no shortage of inspiration, after all.

When her husband’s tragic death becomes national news, Arlie’s failing career skyrockets overnight. Suddenly she has everything she ever wanted, except the man she’d hoped to share her dream with.

As she approaches the anniversary of her husband’s death, Arlie finds a stranger in the woods outside of her town. A man with no memory of who he is or why he came to Crimson Falls. Desperate and lonely, Arlie takes him into her home.

With the town’s own anniversary—the cursed Founders Day—drawing near, crime levels rise and the annual murders begin. This year, the deaths take on a new twist: the killer is copying the murders from Arlie’s books.

As suspicions surrounding the stranger grow, Arlie must solve the mysteries she’s spent years writing. In a race against time, Arlie must stop the killer she may have created before he takes out the last victim from her books—her.

Review:

Well Done!! This book is Amazing! I was totally blown away at the end! Talk about the unexpected twist! Kiersten Modglin delivers a fantastic tale involving love and murder all wrapped into a delicious little package!!

You will not put this down!! If you want a thriller that will keep you guessing from the very first page to the last, this is the book for you.

Arlie and Brett Montgomery are living in Crimson Falls, until tragedy strikes, and he is killed at his job. After his death Arlie’s life will never be the same. Will she ever recover? If she does, how will she?

She meets Mason.

I must leave it at that. Otherwise, I am giving away the story.

I have to say I am so excited about this author; she is extremely talented at surprising the reader. I was absolutely “Wow’d’! After I finished the book I had to sit back and let it the story sink in. I cannot wait to read her other books!

Read this if you like psychological thrillers!

5 Stars.

Kiersten Modglin Author Headshot

#BookReview: Only One Life by Ashley Farley

Only One LIfeSummary:

A reunion between an estranged mother and daughter opens a world of secrets in a poignant novel by the bestselling author of Magnolia Nights.

Julia Martin grew up wealthy, but it wasn’t until she met her husband, Jack, that she knew true happiness. He made her feel worthy and loved. Their marriage was also an escape from her sister’s bullying, her father’s scrutiny, and her chilly and enigmatic mother. But when tragedy strikes on the night she gives birth, Julia’s happiness is shattered. She has no choice but to return home to her family’s South Carolina mansion, where the grief and guilt buried in her mother’s past await her.

As a young woman trapped in a bitter marriage, Julia’s mother, Iris, once needed her own means of escape. In Lily, she found a best friend. In the flower shop they opened, she discovered independence. Then came a transgression—unforgivable, unforgettable, and unresolved—that changed Iris’s life forever.

Now, in Iris’s most desperate hour, her only hope is to regain the trust of the daughter she loves—and to share the secrets of the heart that could rebuild a family’s broken bonds.

Review:

Ashley Farley writes a brilliant novel! This is a very character driven story with the beautiful backdrop of South Carolina. I am learning that I am a huge fan of Southern Fiction.

I was captivated from the very beginning by the character Julia. She gave everything up to be with the man she loves, even if it means he is all she has. For 15 years it was just the two of them living a modest life in Edisto Beach, SC and she was happy because she loved Jack.

She finally gets pregnant and the day the baby is to be born, tragedy strikes, and Jack loses his life and Julia must figure life out all over again without him.
This story is about her giving her family a second chance.

The relationship between her and her Mom, Iris was my favorite part. That is what led the story for me. Sure, there is her father, Max and her Moms business partner, Lily…but, ultimately it comes down to their relationship for me. The secrets and lies are so intense, but so is the love.

This was the first I’ve read, and it will not be the last.

4 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

#Excerpt: The Truth About Heartbreak by B. Celeste

The Truth About Heartbreak 6Excerpt:

PROLOGUE
River / Present / 23

The velvet caress of silk sheets against my bare skin leaves me hyperaware of what I’ve done. Early morning sunlight slips through the cracked blinds and kisses my exposed back, coating the room in soft pinks and yellows.
Steady, rhythmic breathing sounds from behind me. In, out. In, out. It’s a melody that makes my muscles lock, too afraid to reacquaint my eyes with every dip and curve of chiseled muscle displayed inches away.
His natural musky scent wraps around me, overwhelming my senses until my heart thumps wildly in my chest. It doesn’t take away the memories of lingering touches, gentle kisses, and an overpowering sense of belonging. And less than twelve hours ago, I belonged to Everett Tucker in ways I never thought possible in the ten years of knowing him.
His touches scorched me.
His kisses burned me.
And his body…
The mattress dips with the shift of his weight. I hold my breath, waiting to see if he’s awake. When his soft snores echo in the half-empty room, I release the breath and white knuckle the sheets against my breasts. Carefully, I sit up and squeeze my eyes closed like it’ll soften the blow of reality.
I wait for the pounding headache or quake of unavoidable nausea to punish me, but my conscience reminds me of what I already know. I wasn’t drunk last night. What I’ve done can’t be blamed on alcohol.
My hand drags across my bare neck until my heart thunders in pure panic over my missing possession. I swallow my anxiety when I catch the silver chain resting on the night stand and remember the very moment he took it off me.
Nothing but skin. That’s what he said he wanted between us. I’ve only taken this necklace off to shower and sleep. It goes everywhere with me, the silver paint palette and brush charms sweeping over my heartbeat as a reminder that he cares. But in the moment I had him as more than a wish, a hope, a dream, he didn’t want it lingering.
Nothing but skin.
My fingertips touch the newest charm, a cracked heart, and I suck in a short breath when the contact shocks me. Clenching the sheets tighter to me, I turn slightly to peek through my peripheral and see a tussle of dirty blond hair against my starch white pillow case.
Look, my conscience taunts. Look at him.
Slivers of tan skin make their way into my sight as I shift, my gaze drifting up the mountain of hard muscles that form his toned biceps as they wrap around a pillow. Worrying my bottom lip, my heart summersaults in my chest when the curve of his square jaw comes into view. The sharp line of it is coated with early morning shadow that he’ll shave despite preferring a thin layer of stubble.
He looks peaceful when he’s sleeping; the hard edge he normally radiates eased to a laxed slumber. From this angle, I can see the faded white scar that stretches from the bottom of his left ear along the curve of his throat, landing just above his pulse. You wouldn’t know it’s there unless you know the story, and he doesn’t tell just anybody.
But I’m not just anybody.
Especially not now.
My throat tightens from the emotions lodging in the back of it as I scope out his sculpted body. He works hard for every muscle, spends countless hours in the gym or training at the fire department, and it shows. The man sleeping beside me has been a figment of my imagination that I’ve conjured thousands of times, but his body is a masterpiece I never could have perfected unless I saw it in person.
I absorb the memory of his body spread on my mattress, bare to me. Every vulnerability laying in a mess of sheets, open to pull apart and dissect and regret when the sun fully rises.
Less than twelve hours ago I belonged to the minty eyed boy I’ve loved since I was thirteen. But Everett Tucker isn’t mine to love.
He stirs when I rise from bed.
“Everett,” I whisper brokenly, my heart shattering inside my chest. I can feel the pieces splintering apart as I choke out my final words. “We made a mistake.”

GR:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43778307-the-truth-about-heartbreak
Amazon: https://bit.ly/2SfwMAt

The Truth About Heartbreak 5

#BookReview: Normal People by Sally Rooney

41jqyrmTceL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Summary:

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

 

Review:

I really wanted to love this novel, so I went in to it with the belief that I was absolutely going to devour it. When I began reading it, I had a really hard time with the writing; or rather, the editing.

I have learned that I prefer punctuation when reading a book. I don’t only prefer it; I really desire it. It made reading the entire story very abrupt, if that makes sense.

While understanding and sometimes enjoying the relationship between Marianne and Connell throughout the years, the book was a struggle for me. I really enjoyed their High School years the most, after that it all got a bit bland for me.

I felt no connection to this book. Maybe I am missing something, and I feel awful if I am. I am sure there are some readers that will enjoy this particular style of writing and storyline, it just was not for me.

2 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

#BookReview: Trophy Life by Lea Geller

Trophy LifeSummary:

A refreshingly honest, laugh-out-loud novel about losing the life you always wanted…and finding the life you were meant to have.

For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.

When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.

But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.

Authentic and sharply witty, Trophy Life is proof that granny panties and mom coats might not be the answer to everything; they’re simply comfortable (if slightly unattractive) reminders of what happens when one life ends…and real life begins.

Review:

Lea Geller’s debut novel is aces! I have no doubt that women everywhere are going to love this book. The heroine Agnes “Aggie” Parsons is 110% one of my favorite fictional characters to come along in a long time. She was beyond likable for so many reasons. She is presented with losing it all and having to fight back and you cannot help but cheer for her the whole way through.

Agnes’s husband Jack disappears one day and his closest friend, “Don” tells her not to call the police. Her husband is in real trouble and he just needs time to fix it, and there is a plan she just needs to stay away from him for the time being.

The next day she is told to move to New York; all the way from the comforts of her plush home in sunny Santa Monica, to go teach English at a boarding school for boys. Mind you, it has housing and day care for their 6-month-old daughter, Grace. She is to get across the country by driving a used beat up car, because her fancy car is now gone. There will be no nanny, no housekeeper, no lovely home on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific anymore for Agnes. Most importantly, there will be no husband to look out for her. Agnes will only have herself to count on.

Will she be able to fend for herself in this whole new world in the Bronx, New York?
This is a fantastically written tale! I went in to this story thinking I was reading a chick lit book, but there is a deeper story going on at the boarding school that I found so intriguing.

I wasn’t just rooting for Agnes; I was rooting for her students, as well.
For a read that you will absolutely fall in love with, I highly recommend “Trophy Life”!
I know that Lea Geller made it on to my favorite author hot list! I’m anxiously awaiting her next novel!

5 Stars. (too bad I cannot give more)

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

#BookReviews: Crimson Falls Novellas Original Sin, The Last DuPont & Sight in the Dark

My ReviewTitle: Crimson Falls Novella Project
Authors: Kiersten Modglin, Emerald O’Brien, Julie Strier, Laurèn Lee, Greta Cribbs, Rachel Renee, A.M. Ialacci, and Amabel Daniels
Release: April 11, 2019
Genre: Psychological Suspense/Thriller Suspense
Cover Designer: Alora Kate
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=Crimson+Falls+Novella

Buy Links (Kindle Unlimited):
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2EReJrn
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2CfGXLY
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2J12yO8
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2HbykX1

Original Sin by Greta Cribbs:

What drives a man to become a killer?
When Dr. Meredith Bowen gets the opportunity to interview Duane Tolloch, a man convicted of committing multiple murders between 1965 and 1967, all she can think about is the needed boost this assignment will give to her career. A seasoned psychiatrist, she is no stranger to the darker regions of the human mind, but as Tolloch relates his tale of a “town curse” and a cycle of abuse that stretches back before he was even born, his story shakes Meredith’s preconceived notions about the nature of the human psyche, as well as her faith in science, to the core.
Was Tolloch simply a man who chose the wrong path, or did his abusive childhood create the monster he grew up to be?
Or could the theory of the town curse actually be true?

Review:

I was enraptured by this story. To be listening to a Serial Killer tell his story and feel empathy for him at the same time was very unsettling to say the least. But, wasn’t that the point?
Greta Cribbs delivers a very precise story about psychiatrist Meredith Bowen going to interview Serial Killer Duane Tolloch with a film crew in tow. He is at a Hospital for the Criminally Insane since murdering 3 college students.
But, as he tells his story you begin to wonder if he is a product of his upbringing? Or, was it that he was conceived on October 13th in Crimson Falls?
Wonderfully written. Fabulous Characters. Story not to be missed!

5 Stars.

The Last Dupont by Rachel Renee:

Ella Dupont learned the cruel truth about death at a young age. By the time she was five, her daddy had been murdered and her older sister died mysteriously. After deeming the town cursed, Ella’s momma whisked her away to start a new life, far from CrimsonFalls.
Twenty years later, Ella gets a phone call, discovering she is the last living relative to the Dupont name, appointed with the task of settling her grandmother’s’s estate. Her momma warned her never to return to the town, but Ella doesn’t believe in curses.
The moment she arrives in Crimson Falls, the town draws her in. Ella extends her visit, desperate to unravel her history from the towns mysterious past. She soon discovers that buried secrets could threaten the life of the last Dupont.

Review:

To say this story surprised me at the end is not giving it enough credit, because it came at me like a car going 0-60 mph! The shock stood with me all day! It was that incredible. I did not see it coming!
Ella is the Last DuPont and She goes back to Crimson Falls to close out her Grandmothers Estate only to learn certain things along the way about her family and herself. Does Crimson Falls have a Curse? You will have to read this book to find out and I have to say that if you miss this one you are missing out!!

5 Stars.

Sight in the Dark by AM Ialacci:

When recently divorced Cleo Kemp inherits a house in the small town of Crimson Falls, she jumps at the opportunity to start over in the seemingly idyllic location. A photographer struggling to find work, Cleo stumbles into the woods looking for a dead body announced on her police scanner. But she’s not prepared for what she finds — the body of her handyman, and the only man in town who has seen her at her most vulnerable, Officer Will Truman.
Still reeling from being discarded by her second husband, Cleo has a hard time with trust, keeping everyone at arm’s length. But when she’s thrown into assisting Officer Truman with the case, she becomes consumed by the investigation. As she learns that every neighbor harbors dark secrets, she starts to wonder how she can really call Crimson Falls home, and if she can trust the man she’s starting to care for.
When the killer strikes again, closer to home than Cleo ever thought possible, she grows desperate to learn the truth. But in a town riddled with secrets, lies, and mysteries, is there such a thing?

Review:

A.M. Ialacci weaves a fabulous tale about Crimson falls and its Founders Day!
Cleo Kemp and her dog Oliver drive to Crimson falls to escape Cleo’s second bad marriage and to possibly settle in to her Great-Aunt Mildred’s home. There, she meets the handyman Nicholas only to have him found murdered in the woods just a few days later!
Cleo gets herself involved in the case with Officer Will Truman, more so than she expects and it is quite exciting! I could not put this one down.

5 Stars.

There are 8 Novella’s in this Series, be sure to check them out!!!

IMG_7891

 

#Letters from Peaceful Lane by Janet Dailey

Letters from Peaceful LaneSummary:

Allison felt like she’d stepped into a fairy tale when she married widower Burke Caldwell. But after less than a year of marriage, he’s become removed and distant. His friends see Allison as little more than a trophy wife, his only daughter regards her as the enemy. With everyone so devoted to the memory of Burke’s first wife, Kate, how can Allison possibly compete? Then a harrowing car crash leaves Burke badly injured. But it becomes achingly clear that the woman Burke wants by his side is the wife he lost . . .

No longer able to dismiss the power Kate still holds, Allison can’t resist reading a trove of hidden letters from Kate to Burke. What she discovers sets her mind reeling. The letters give Allison an enlightening window into her husband’s heart. But will she have the courage to put aside her own fears, and grab hold of a love as big and bold as the man she once dared to marry?

 

Review:

 

Quite the heroine in this story! Allison Caldwell is married to Burke who lost his wife, Kate six years ago to cancer and he still is not completely over her; neither is the town. It seems. While his business is failing and his partner cannot be trusted, he is recovering from a car accident. Burke’s daughter Brianna is a mess all her own with a boyfriend that may be more trouble than he is worth.

After the accident Burke tells Allison to file for divorce because he cannot give her the life, he had planned on giving her since his business is failing. He had wanted her to have it all, and since she can’t, he wants her to move on. She refuses. Upon this refusal she uncovers letters from his last wife Kate that were handwritten to him. In these letters she learns a lot more about Burke.

I wasn’t too surprised by anything in the story if I am to be completely honest. I feel like mob was a bit much and could have been left out.

It was a nice read, and I did enjoy it.

I can say one particularly spectacular part of the book is the fact that we have a heroine that never gives up on her man.

Allison Caldwell was one cool character! I really did fall in love with her!

3.5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.