#BookReview: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: May 14th, 2019

Summary:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

Review:

What a fun book to read! 

“The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren was so much fun to read. I haven’t giggled so much while reading a book. EVER!  If you like comedy, you will love this book. It is one laugh after another. 

Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of serious moments. There are also moments that will make you swoon. 

I have not read any other books by Christina Lauren and the next time I need something light and funny, I’ll be looking for one of their books. It was a deliciously fun divergence from my normal choice of books.

5 Stars.

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReview: The Lucky Ones by Kiersten Modglin

E47319DC-5D19-4EBE-A387-AAD51C53464DReviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 17, 2020

The Lucky Ones is FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Get your copy of The Lucky Ones today: https://amzn.to/2QIhS30
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2sFjqCB

Summary:

They were supposed to die.

Five years ago, the residents of the Gerbera subdivision in the small town of Fallen Oaks were brutally murdered in their beds. The only survivors, now called The Fallen Oaks Five, were children—practically strangers at the time, forever connected by the weight of all they witnessed.

Now grown, the anniversary of their families’ deaths approaches and the Fallen Oaks Five receive letters of warning: the killers are still out there and they aren’t finished with them.

In a race against time and murderers who remain both faceless and nameless, the Five must return to their old homes in order to piece together the events of a night they’d all rather forget. Their old town is riddled with secrets, and every person they come into contact with is a suspect. With everything at stake, can the Five solve the mystery and finally learn the truth about the night that cost them everything? Or will they find themselves victims of a fate they should’ve succumbed to years ago?

 

Review:

Kiersten Modglin has done it again!!!

The twists and turns in “The Lucky Ones” had me shaking my head and going “Are you kidding me?”

I was enthralled with this novel from the moment I picked it up. Kiersten Modglin has away of grabbing you and keeping hold until you read the shocking ending.

It was emotional yet complicated and exhilarating at the same time!!!

If you are looking for action packed thrillers, you must read “The Lucky Ones”, and all of her other books, too….You cannot go wrong and you will not regret it!!!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

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#newreleases #suspense #newbooks #books2read #psychologicalthriller #darkreads #newreleasebooks #bookworm #books #ebooks #bookrecs #bookrecommendations #fivestarreads

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#BookReview: Almost Just Friends (Wildstone #4) by Jill Shalvis

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: January 21, 2020

Summary:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Wildstone with the touching story of finding your place in the world—and the people who make it home.

Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

Review:

I think I discovered a new favorite author! “Almost Just Friends” by Jill Shalvis was the second book by her that I’ve read. She really played with my emotions. I had my heart ripped out, tears running down my face, I laughed out loud and giggled many times and even got angry a few times. When an author can pull that many emotions out of me while reading a book, it becomes one of my favorites and one I won’t forget. 

I was drawn into the story and the character’s lives and could not put the book down. I literally ate, slept and read until I finished the book. The relationship between these characters and how they interacted with each other was most interesting. I really came to care for all of them and will miss them for a while. 

If you love a good story that pulls at your emotions and heartstrings, you will enjoy this book. If you have read anything else by Jill Shalvis, you will probably want to read this one too. For myself, I am going to go back and read the first two books in the series and then look forward to number five. The books in this series seem to be stand alone stories so, don’t be afraid to jump in anywhere. 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

 

#BookReview: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

DEB69DAB-BB7E-42F4-812D-9A5EA3D09FD7Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: January 14, 2020

Summary:

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Review:

Count me a lucky girl! I just finished Diane Chamberlain’s “Big Lies in a Small Town”.

The story follows two women in two different time periods. 

The chapters rotate between the two women. I have always had a problem with this type of book because I always feel like I am shifting gears. I understand why the author chose this format and I have to say it didn’t hamper this novel in my opinion. It was brilliant! 

I learned the difference between an artist and an art restorer. They both take a lot of talent, use different skills and different perspectives. 

It was longer in pages than I expected but, I flew through it and did not want it to end. I felt like it ended rather abruptly but, when I thought about it, I decided it was a perfect ending. I had all the information that I needed and indeed it was the perfect ending. 

This is my first book by Diane Chamberlain and it won’t be my last. I like how she built the stories of both women and how I came to care for them both. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 stars.

 

#BookReview: Lenses, Lust, and Murder (Crystal Coast Cases #2) by A.M. Ialacci

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Reviewers: Serena Soape & Phyllis Jones Pissanelli

Date of Release: January 6, 2020

Summary:

When Allie Fox became a private investigator, she envisioned herself solving crimes and keeping her hometown of Carteret County a safe place. Instead, to her great regret, she’s found herself trailing cheating husbands and tracking check kiters. All that changes when her autistic brother, Ryan, discovers a body near the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Now, Allie is diving headfirst into the investigation.

Everyone in town loved the victim, or so they’re saying. Yet Allie soon discovers many at the Cape have shocking secrets they would kill to keep hidden. As she closes in on the truth, a frightening attempt is made on her life. Can she unravel the clues to reveal the murderer’s identity before becoming their next victim?

Review by Serena Soape:

A.M. Ialacci has written a captivating mystery that had me wondering all the way to the end – whodunit….. and yes I was totally surprised when I found out who the culprit was!

“Lenses, Lust and Murder” was a well written novel with easy-to-like characters.

The main character, Allie does a phenomenal job working hard to crack the case of the murder at Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

Allies’s brother Ryan was one of my favorite characters. They had a very special relationship that was a key factor in solving the murder.

I have read all of A.M. Ialacci’s books and have enjoyed them all. These are definitely action-packed, unexpected and will keep you turning the pages.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4.5 Stars.

Review By Phyllis Jones Pisanelli:

The new book by A.M. Ialacci called “Lenses, Lust and Murder” was an interesting book in a few ways. Her writing flow was easy and something you didn’t have to think about. I learned a little about autism along the way without me realizing it. 

I fell in love with the characters. Allie is the main character with a brother on the autism spectrum and he has a sweet little girlfriend named Frankie. I wanted to be their friend and live in their town.  I think you will love these characters as much as I do. 

The murder story at the center of the book is intriguing. I was drawn in by all the suspects lying and covering up for each other. I just didn’t see how they would ever unravel the lies and find out what really happened. I just had to keep reading to find out how it all worked out. 

I hope there is going to be a sequel to this book because I loved it so much and want too know more about these characters and where life takes them. 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Vanishing (Fogg Lake #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 7, 2020

Summary

From New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz comes a new gripping romantic suspense trilogy fraught with danger and enigma.

Forty years ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, “The Incident” occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases, causing peculiar effects on its residents, such as strange visions and ominous voices. Not wanting the government to get involved, they chalked it up to the hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms. Little did they know these effects would linger through the generations….

Residents Catalina Lark and Olivia Dayton have been best friends for years and own an investigation firm together, using what they call the “other sight” to help with their business. When Olivia goes missing, Cat frantically begins the search for her alone when the town does nothing about it. When scientist Slate Trevelyan shows up, she has no choice but to accept his help even though there’s something about him she just can’t trust. The duo discovers someone is hunting the two witnesses of a murder in Fogg Lake fourteen years ago—the very one Cat and Olivia witnessed as teens, one that they couldn’t prove happened. Cat and Slate’s search for Olivia takes them down a rabbit hole that is far more dangerous and mysterious than they ever expected, and with a killer in their midst, neither of them can foresee who will come out alive.

Review:

Wow !!!! You will be saying the same thing after you read this novel!!

Jayne Ann Krentz has me on the edge of my seat from the beginning all the way to the unpredictable ending.

I started this novel tonight and couldn’t put it down. I finished it in less than 3 hours!

Fogg Lake and the mysteries surrounding this town were exhilarating and mystical. The characters were exciting and captivating.

I was truly entranced with “The Vanishing”.

This is a must read, you do not want to miss this one !!! I am anxiously waiting for the next book in this trilogy.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Wrapped in the Stars by Elena Mikalsen

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: February 19, 2018

Summary:

Struggling with guilt over her sister’s death and the stress of her medical residency, Maya Radelis runs away to Scotland. A robin seems to lead her to an antique shop, where she finds a century-old engagement ring. But what is the ring’s history? She follows the slim paper trail, wondering if it is only coincidence that her dreams reveal the story of a Swiss woman physician who wore the ring during World War I.

In Paris she meets fellow New Yorker David Fischer, a lawyer with family in Switzerland as well as America. He helps Maya follow the memories stored in the ring as they lead her around Europe. The attraction between David and Maya grows, and when they discover a connection between the ring and David’s family, they learn, bit by bit, more about the ring’s earlier owner. Will Maya’s own life have the same tragedy of lost love?

Review:

Elena Mikalsen took me away to so many different places in “Wrapped in The Stars”. I listened to it on Audible and I feel that made the visits feel like really getaways!

Maya’s story before and after she found the ring was like a vacation through Edinburgh, Paris and other European countries to find the origin of the ring.

I loved the characters and how they were woven into the ring’s story.

romances were yet complex. These love stories were nostalgic and magnificent.

Throughout the book, I found myself trying to figure out the ring’s story myself and when I thought I had it figured out, it was only to find out that I was wrong.

The different chapters going from present to the past was not confusing and kept me wanting to listen.

I was totally enthralled listening to this Audible book read by Ginger Wiseman. The narration was great. I highly recommend this version!

I received a copy of this Audible book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: January 7, 2020

Summary:

From the bestselling author of Prayers for Sale, an inspiring celebration of sisterhood on the perilous wagon-trail west

“If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?”

It’s February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting “eligible women” to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose.

So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it.

As Maggie gets to know the other women, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own.

Review:

Looking through her list of books, I realised that I have read a few books by Sandra Dallas. They have all stuck out in my mind as very special books. “Westering Women” is another one of those srories. It is at once heartwarming, heartbreaking, encouraging, hopeful and joyful. 

This novel is based on a true story of women that joined a wagon train moving to California to find husbands who may have struck it rich panning for gold. Some of them were carrying secrets and some were just looking for a good man. Their losses were heartbreaking, their triumphs were joyful. They encouraged one another, became family and carried their hope with them. They were strong, walking 2,000 miles to California and doing the work of men when the hired men stoled their provisions and left them in the lurch. These were strong women! 

I loved this book and recommend it for anyone that likes historical fiction. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Tuesday’s Socks by Alison Ragsdale

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: September 3, 2014

Summary:

Founder and sole employee of Mere Accounting, Jeffrey Mere is a solitary man. He has spent his entire life close to home, in the picturesque Scottish town of Pitlochry. After sixty-four years of playing it safe, with retirement looming, Jeffrey resolves to climb Ben Macdhui, Britain’s second highest peak. His decision sets off a chain of events that changes his life forever.

Challenging weather on the mountain, and an encounter with a mysterious stray dog, leave him exhilarated and inspired. When he gets home to share the news of his achievements with his ninety-one year old mother Agnes, who lives in the old-folks home in town, Jeffrey discovers that nothing is as he left it.

When a fire threatens the street where he lives Jeffrey’s selfless act of bravery transforms him from a no-body to a local hero. His renewed confidence nudges him towards Mary Ferguson, Agnes’s favorite nurse at the home, a trip to the ancient streets of Rome and a brush with the Italian underworld. Facing the possibility of losing the only woman he has ever loved, Jeffrey takes a leap of faith towards a future that he could never have imagined for himself.

Review:

Alison Ragsdale has written a charismatic feel-good novel with “Tuesday’s Socks”.

Jeffrey’s transition throughout the novel was relatable and heartwarming. Mary and Agnes and the other characters were just as charming.

I absolutely loved the shaggy dog in the story!!!

This was a truly enchanting novel and I highly recommend you read this or get the Audible version !!!!

I had the pleasure of listening to the Audible version. I absolutely loved the narration and the accents were impeccable which made me feel like I was back in Scotland again. I have visited Scotland twice for holiday and this brought back such great memories!!!!

Don’t Miss this chance to see that you can still have a coming of age story late in life!! This was fabulous!

I received a copy of this Audible book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: August 28, 2018

Summary:

An accused killer insists she’s innocent of a heinous murder.

A grieving journalist surfaces from the wreckage of her shattered life.

Their unlikely alliance leads to a dangerous cat and mouse game that will leave you breathless.

Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself?

Trust Me is the chilling standalone novel of psychological suspense and manipulation that award-winning author and renowned investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan was born to write.

Review:

Hank Phillippi Ryan did it again with “Trust Me”! She had me completely spinning, and questioning everything and everyone! It was Fabulous!

Ryan has definitely cornered the market on twists and turns with these court room dramas. She is a genius!

I was so attached to Mercer Hennessey, who was just counting time since losing her husband and young daughter. So, her boss offers her the opportunity to write a true crime novel based on the Ashlyn Bryant Murder case.

This case involves the murder of a baby girl, so it hits a little too close too home for Mercer. Regardless, she still takes the job. You knew this was going to be extraordinary!!

This is a huge case in Boston and everyone is watching! The day the verdict is announced Mercer’s life is in an uproar!! and that is just the beginning….

This is where you truly start to read the book with your Eyes Wide Open!!

I could not believe the trip that Ryan has taken us on! Total Roller Coaster! Belly flipping!

Thinking about what is Trust? What is truth? This novel can leave you and your friends talking for days! Book Club going into overtime! Or your mind racing with thoughts!

Bravo!

Also! This cover! Turn it sideways! Brilliant!

I waited to write this review so it could be my last review of this decade. That is how much I admired this story and Hank Ryan Phillipi’s work! I look forward to more!

5 Stars.