Book Reviews

Book Review: The Apartment, by K.L. Slater

The Apartment,

by K.L. Slater

Publication: Amazon Publishing UK; April 28, 2020

apartmentAbout the book:

It’s an opportunity she can’t refuse. The woman before her tried…

Freya Miller needs a miracle. In the fallout of her husband’s betrayal, she’s about to lose her family home, and with it the security she craves for her five-year-old daughter, Skye. Adrift and alone, she’s on the verge of despair until a chance meeting with the charismatic Dr. Marsden changes everything. He’s seeking a new tenant for a shockingly affordable flat in a fashionable area of London.

Adder House sounds too good to be true… But Freya really can’t afford to be cynical, and Dr. Marsden is adamant she and Skye will be a perfect fit with the other residents.

But Adder House has secrets. Even behind a locked front door, Freya feels as if she’s being watched: objects moving, unfamiliar smells, the blinking light of a concealed camera… and it’s not long before she begins to suspect that her dream home is hiding a nightmarish reality. Was it really chance that led her here—or something unthinkably dark?

As the truth about Adder House starts to unravel, can Freya and Skye get out—or will they be locked in forever?

**My Review**

Do you ever read a book and although you like the main character, you spend most of the time frustrated out of your mind with them? This is my overall feeling after finishing The Apartment, an upcoming psychological thriller by K.L. Slater. As the blurb states, Freya is at her wit’s end emotionally and financially after her husband’s death, desperately searching for an apartment for her and her five-year-old daughter Skye. One day in a coffee shop she randomly meets Dr. Marsden who is posting a flyer for an available apartment to rent. When he tells Freya about the place and its location, she assures him that it is well above her budget. However, after showing her the beautiful apartment in Adder House, he agrees to a ridiculously low rent that she can afford. You know how they say, if something is too good to be true, then it probably is? This was certainly the case with Freya and her new place at Adder House.

Here is what I enjoyed about this novel. The plot and subplots were unique and interesting. I won’t go into the core topic behind everything for fear of spoilers, but you will realize what’s going on not far into the novel. I loved K.L. Slater’s characterization and how she expertly brought each and every character to life. Whether it was one of the residents or a classmate of Skye’s, I was able to vividly picture each character, imagine their voices, and picture their movements – especially when it came to Audrey. Also, kudos to the author for some really creepy moments, especially involving a gift to a classroom and other events that Freya was sure she hadn’t done, but then started to doubt herself and wonder. 

Unfortunately, I have some real issues with this one. First of all, Freya drove me insane for about 80% of the book. I liked her character overall, but I felt that she turned a blind eye way too frequently. School incidents with Skye, creepy behaviors of the Marsdens and the other residents, cameras in her apartment, and so on. She was lucky enough to have two really good friends that had offered her a place to stay for a while and there were about 1000 times where she should have shoved what she could into some suitcases and high-tailed it out of there – but she didn’t. Secondly, I don’t feel as if the entire story was wrapped up how it should have been. There were so many questions left unanswered and inconsistencies that never made sense. How did Freya’s husband die? What was making Freya randomly fall asleep at the oddest times? Why was her best friend not concerned about the creepy landlord getting her number and calling her about Freya? Why weren’t the teachers monitoring the children better on the playground?

So, overall, this was an o.k. read for me. I hung in there without skimming just in case I missed something super exciting and/or important. I liked the premise of The Apartment, but something was missing for me. I’m thinking that this is about a 3-star read for me. It’s not bad, but not great. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Blog Tour, Book Reviews

Release tour and review: Love by Design (425 Madison series #16), by Katy Ames

Release Tour for Love by Design by Katy Ames
Powered by Forever Write PR

With her ugly past behind her, Annika is back to prove she’s still as brilliant as ever.
Grayson has the makings for ultimate success, as long as his new co-star is everything
they say she is. Annika stole his heart years ago and never looked back, but will the past
be able to stay in the past? Readers are going to love this reunited love romance from
Katy Ames. The 425 Madison series is back with season two and LOVE BY DESIGN is
now live!
 
Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited



Add to Goodreads

 

ANNIKA
Cheating husband. On-air meltdown. Public humiliation.
Lucky me, I’ve experienced them all. 
Oh, and the implosion of my career as an up-and-coming designer and renovation television
darling.
That was then.
Now, I’m in the TV studio, more determined than ever to prove to myself (and the few fans I have
left), that I’m back for good. Nothing from my past—no man, no mistake—is going to knock me
down again.
If only fate—and Grayson Hesse—had gotten the memo.
GRAYSON
Woodworker. Stone house restoration guru. And the new host of Hesse and a Hard Place
This is what I know: 
If this show’s a success, I’ll finally be able to give my family the financial stability they need. My
chances of success go way up if I have the best designer in the business working by my side. And
the best in the business (despite the lingering rumors) is Annika Hale.
She’s the triple threat: brilliant designer, restoration maven, and the woman who stole my heart
six years ago…and hasn’t looked back since.
But that was then.

 

Now… Well, what is it they say? After all, 425 Madison is the perfect place to fall in love.
 

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the tour for the 16th book in the 425 Madison series, Love by Design! This is my second time reading author Katy Ames and I had such high hopes because I loved her earlier installment in the series, Accidentally in Love. This book is about Grayson, who is starting a new home design show, and Annika, who is trying to make her comeback in the world of home design television. Six years ago, they had a moment but miscommunication and missed connections prevented things from progressing further. But now they have reunited once again.

As I said before, Katy Ames earlier installment in this series, Accidentally in Love, is one of my favorites, so I had high hopes. I love the idea of a second-chance romance and I loved both of these characters from the start. My problem was, there wasn’t a lot of “meat” regarding the plot in this book. There are a ton of flashbacks and there are some conflicts regarding Annika’s ex, but otherwise (and unfortunately) it didn’t seem as if much actually happened throughout the bulk of the novel. Moreover, I never quite understood the burden of Grayson’s family. Besides financial issues, what was wrong with them that he had to drop everything at a moment’s notice to run home? I missed that somehow.

The characterization saved this one for me and of course, I was rooting for the main characters the entire time. Both Grayson and Annika were likable and relatable characters, despite being tv stars. They had great chemistry and they sort of seemed as if they were “meant to be.” 

Although this is definitely not my favorite of the series, I still enjoyed it and continue to enjoy this fantastic series. I look forward to the final installments coming soon!

Excerpt 
Copyright @ 2020 Katy Ames


I watch my best friend chew a hole in her lower lip. “Explain, Abby. Before you make yourself bleed.”

Abby opens her mouth. I brace myself for whatever she’s going to say and don’t hear a single word. I don’t hear anything at all, except the deep, rumbling laugh that rolls through the soundstage.

My stomach does cartwheels and every single hair on the back of my neck stands pin-straight. My anxiety before? It’s got nothing on the nerves that are about to knock my knees right out from under me.

That laugh—his laugh… It’s as potent today as it was the first time I heard it.

My eyelids flutter shut. All worries about first-day nerves and my shitty ex-husband and career recovery vanish. Into that mental void rushes a series of images, ones I’d mistakenly sworn, hoped, prayed, I’d forgotten.

A sweltering summer night. Low whispers and lurid words.

Large calloused hands finding the secret, most sensitive parts of my skin.

Lips made for sinning and promises whispered in a voice that sounded like salvation. A voice that belongs to a man who vanished without a word.

A man who, if I’m reading my friend’s—no, strike that, former friend’s expression correctly, has just claimed a starring role in the horrifically-timed comedy that is my life.

Abby’s eyes dart between my face and the person behind me. Plastering on a smile, she swivels her finger in what I’m assuming she thinks is the “turn around now” sign. “Annika, this is Mr. Hesse.”

I pivot, thrust out my hand, but can’t unglue my eyes from the ground.

M. G. Hesse.

G. As in Grayson, the quiet, kind, insanely hot carpenter I met on my first network design job.

As in the only man I’ve ever fallen for so hard, so fast, I didn’t stop to ask his last name before tumbling into his bed. Hell, I didn’t even care.

As in the guy I thought, against all the odds, would disprove my mother’s lessons about how untrustworthy men are—only to become the poster child by morning.

A broad palm slides against mine, fingers curling into a warm grasp. A jolt of awareness lights up my nerves, and my eyes finally lift to a face I haven’t seen in six years. Since the day I woke up in his bed, naked, in love, and alone.

Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited

About Katy


Katy writes contemporary romances about heroines who aren’t afraid to kick ass, heroes brave
enough to love them, and stories that get a little messy before ending happily ever after.

She’s mom to two boys whom she loves to bits but wishes would sleep a lot more than they do,

and wife to a man whose reading habits are far too serious. Katy and her family reside in
Washington, D.C., a city in which she never planned to live and loves so much she’d be happy to
talk about it for hours. Just ask.  

Katy is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Washington Romance Writers.



About the 425 Madison Series
 
 
Welcome to 425 Madison Ave the perfect place to fall in love. Nine delicious romances set in fast-paced &
sexy NYC just waiting for you to read.
 
This season will feature some new authors as well as some of season one’s favs. Back for season two is
Allie York, Leigh Lennon, MK Moore, Aubree Valentine, Lauren Helms, and Katy Ames. Plus a warm
welcome to KC Enders, and Marcie Shumway! 
 
Not only do we have a sexy mix of new and returning authors, prepare for pages packed with new
romances, characters, and tropes all from the same well-loved high-rise apartment building in NYC. 
 
Make sure to follow the 425 Madison Avenue Facebook page for more on release dates, cover reveals
and author spotlights. For exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and news subscribe to our 425 Madison
newsletter!
 
 
Check out the Season One and get caught up today! You can read all nine books for FREE with

 

 

 

This series and all promotional events are brought to you by Forever Write PR – Forever your source for all your writing needs. https://www.facebook.com/ForeverWritePR/

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: What Lies Between Us, by John Marrs

What Lies Between Us,

by John Marrs

Publication: Thomas & Mercer; May 15, 2020

lies between usAbout:

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

**My Review**

Dear God, please help me find the appropriate mental health professionals needed in order for me to recover from this book!!! It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I come across a novel that once I am finished, I will set it down, close my eyes, and ask myself (and I mean this as the highest form of praise),

“what in the hell did I just read?” 

What Lies Between Us is the deliciously dark and twisted story of Nina and her mother, Maggie. The novel opens with a prologue about someone no longer mattering and it sets a very creepy tone right off the bat. Nina is a thirty-something single woman that works in a library. Her mother, Maggie, is in her sixties and lives upstairs in the attic of their home. When I say she lives in the attic, I mean that she is held captive wearing chains cuffed to her ankle and only gets to come downstairs for dinner with Nina every couple of days. 

This story is told from both Nina and Maggie’s POVs and alternates between the past (ranging from 2 to 25 years earlier) and the present. I enjoyed the format and the flashbacks to the events leading up to the present but quickly suspected that neither Nina or Maggie was a reliable narrator. At first, it seems that Maggie has done unspeakable things to Nina throughout her life and this is Nina punishing her. However, as the novel progresses, each woman’s truths slowly start to reveal themselves. 

Did I mention how dysfunctional these women are? 

Besides touching on the blurb and the extreme psychological issues represented in this book, I can’t say much more about the overall premise without spoilers. But what I can say, is that this is without a doubt one of the most entertaining and surprising novels that I have read in quite some time. Every time that I found myself thinking something was true or thinking that I had figured something out – I was wrong. Every single time. John Marrs took me on a trip through crazy town with a ton of stops I wasn’t expecting. This novel isn’t fast-paced, per se, but it is so addictive you will not want to put it down. With every chapter and honestly, every page, things just continued to spiral into more dysfunction and madness. And it was absolutely brilliant!

I highly, highly recommend What Lies Between Us to fans of domestic and psychological thrillers. There is not a happy ending and it will certainly make you pause and take a breath several times, but it is fantastic. John Marrs is a new-to-me author but I now plan on checking out everything this man has written.

Oh yes – I read that Renee Zellweger’s production company purchased the TV rights to this novel and I am already losing my mind with anticipation imagining this as a nice, long series on Netflix! Congrats to John Marrs!

*Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Swap, by Robyn Harding

The Swap,

by Robyn Harding

Publication: Gallery/Scout Press; June 23, 2020

swapAbout:

Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging…that is until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.

*My Review*

Being stuck in the house with little to do (unless I do some housework/organizing), I decided to find something that seemed like a juicy read. I can say without any reservation that The Swap by Robyn Harding is absolutely a juicy read!

This novel is told from multiple POVs, however, the most frequent narrators are Low, Freya, and Jamie. Low is finishing up her senior year in high school and is a social outcast. The poor girl literally has no friends. Freya and her husband Max have recently moved to the island to basically hide away from everyone. Max used to be a famous hockey player and Freya was a big-time social media influencer. Now they live in a gorgeous home in the woods and Freya has posted an advertisement for pottery classes. Then there are Jamie and Brian. Brian is a writer and Jamie has opened a small mercantile store in town. They are the newest residents who decided to pick up and move to the small coastal town in hopes that more peace and quiet would help them finally conceive. 

As the blurb states, Freya and Jamie become fast friends after Jamie and Brian move to town. Their husbands get along very well also. Everything is great until they decide to get high and as the title suggests, swap partners for the evening. As anyone could guess, the feelings and emotions that follow were anything but carefree and nonchalant. What seemed like a harmless night of fun ends up causing more issues than I dare to list. But this is only part of the novel.

Low is obsessed with Freya. I mean, obsessed with a capital O with Freya’s beauty, talent, and so on. Low has been sort of ambiguous about her sexuality and sexual preferences, but once meeting Freya, it becomes very clear that Freya is what she wants, in whatever context that she can have her. So this needy, flighty, self-centered woman that is years older than Low, decides to befriend Low and confide in her about her life. All of this is well and good until Low notices that Freya has started spending more time with Jamie, and then that’s when the crazy really starts to rear its ugly head. 

So yes, this is about two couples deciding to switch things up for the night, thus having to deal with the aftermath. But this is also a journey into the minds of three women as things start to slowly unravel in their lives. It’s about obsession, jealousy, sneakiness, vindictiveness, and much more. If I were to label any of the characters as likable or relatable, I guess my thoughts would immediately go to Jamie. Max and Brian weren’t awful but neither really impressed me either. As far as Low and Freya, I will just let you read for yourself and see if you find any ways to sympathize/empathize with either character or if they just creep you out. 

The Swap is a fantastic, edge-of-your-seat read. I’m not exactly sure I agree with its labels of mystery, thriller, etc. but it will absolutely keep you guessing. If you love books that are like a train wreck happening slowly over a few hours, then this is your next read! The writing was amazing, intelligent, and Harding truly brought each of these unique characters to life. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Pre-Order The Swap on Amazon!

Blog Tour, Book Reviews

Release tour & review: Love Under Protection (425 Madison series, #15), by Aubree Valentine

Release Tour for Love Under Protection by Aubree Valentine
Powered by Forever Write PR

 

When Harley and Raylynn find themselves the “bests” at their best friend’s tropical destination wedding,
they learn to navigate the week after a night of unbridled passion. Quickly, their vacation fling leads to the
chaos of real life. Can these lovebirds handle going from fling to forever? Readers will devour this fling
romance from Aubree Valentine. The 425 Madison series is back with season two and LOVE UNDER
PROTECTION is now live!
 
Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited



Amazon ➝ https://amzn.to/33ucjes

Goodreads ➝ http://bit.ly/2ZtFT1L

 

Harley
My best friend asked me to be his best man at his destination wedding.

 

With a demanding and stressful job with NYPD life for me was all work and no play, but a
week-long trip to Hawaii to celebrate Jameson’s nuptials sounds like the perfect excuse to get
away.

 

Leaving work behind wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, though.

 

That was until she walked up to me at the bar.

 

After a night of unbridled passion, I discover…she’s the maid of honor in Jameson’s wedding.

 

Raylynn
My best friend asked me to be her maid of honor at her destination wedding.

 

After finding my now ex-fiance in a compromising position, escaping to Hawaii is the perfect
excuse to find myself again.

 

With nothing to lose, I approach the hottest guy in that bar and take a chance on getting my own
groove back.

 

There’s just one hiccup…he’s actually the best man in Liv’s wedding.

 

It was only supposed to be a fling, but when returning home leads to chaos and one relocation to
New York, can these two love birds go from fling to forever? Time will tell.

 

Afterall…425 Madison is the perfect place to fall in love.

*My Review*

Welcome to my stop on the release tour for another fantastic installment in the 425 Madison series, Love Under Protection! This time around, Jameson and Olivia are getting married so their best friends Raylynn and Harley are joining them in Hawaii for the festivities. Harley is looking forward to unwinding from his job as a police officer in New York City and Raylynn is trying to forget all about her recent disasters and disappointments surrounding her break-up and the loss of her job. Each arriving in Hawaii early, Harley and Raylynn meet in a bar and decide to have a one night fling which is fine until they realize they are best man and maid of honor in the same wedding. 

I absolutely loved this addition to the 425 Madison series! Love Under Protection has chemistry and romance, but also plenty of conflict and suspense. Trying not to give spoilers, one of the things I loved and that made it so real for me was Harley’s reaction when he sees Raylynn again. It wasn’t this fairy tale romance but real reflection and it took some time for things to get back on track for them. Actually, there were numerous relatable and realistic moments throughout this book that made me enjoy it all the much more. 

Harley and Raylynn absolutely sizzle together while also forming a strong friendship. I highly recommend this one to fans of contemporary romance, especially those that love romance with obstacles and suspense. Although I always recommend reading the entire series, this can easily be enjoyed on its own if you are new to 425 Madison.

*Thanks to Forever Write PR for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

 

 

Excerpt 
Copyright @ 2020 Aubree Valentine


Raylynn gives me a once over then bursts into laughter.

I look down to see what’s so funny and nearly lose it.

Son of a bitch.

There’s a huge white spot on the crotch of my shorts. It doesn’t help that I’m hard as a rock too, because of what she’s wearing.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt. You could have said you were busy.”

“Funny. Get the hell in here so I can get these off,” I grunt.

She steps inside my apartment and looks around. “Nice place.”

“Thanks. I’ll be right back.” I dart toward the bedroom. “It’s paint by the way,” I call over my shoulder before shutting the door.

Last goddamn time I go paintballing with Jameson and Liam too.

“That’s what they all say,” she yells back.

When I come out, I’m dressed in a nice pair of jeans and a polo shirt. Raylynn gives me a whistle and motions for me to spin around.

“Forget it. You’re not objectifying me.” I grin. “And that paint. Ask Jameson what happened.”

She holds up her hands and snickers. “I’ll pass, but thanks.”

“You good to walk in those?” I point to her shoes. “We’ll need to take the subway.”

“These old things?” Raylynn lifts a foot. “I could run laps in these.”

“We’re not running laps, but I’ll take your word for it.”

She reaches for my shoulders and starts massaging the muscles. “Aww, you’re tense. Are you in a mood?”

I’m tense because she’s standing in my apartment looking like a whole damn snack, and I know nothing is going to happen besides a few drinks.

“Sweetheart, the only mood I’m in is the mood to get out of this apartment for a while,” I lie.

“Well then , let’s get the fuck out of here!” she cheers. “Ooo. Wait a minute. Harley Wagner , are you wearing a gun or are you happy to see me?”

“Christ, I’m tense, and you’re in a really good mood.”

“Seriously, are you wearing your gun?” I sigh and slip my keys into my front pocket. “Yes, Raylynn. I’m packing heat.”

“Well, that I knew.”

 

Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon ➝ https://amzn.to/33ucjes

About Aubree


Aubree Valentine is a wife, mom and avid reader. Her love of books goes far behind weaving her
own stories to tell. She realized her dream of becoming a published author by the time she was in
high school and knew she’d stop at nothing to make that happen. 

 

When she’s not writing, she can be found chasing after her twins or her dogs, curled up with a
good book or still working with some of her favorite authors.

 



About the 425 Madison Series
 
 
Welcome to 425 Madison Ave the perfect place to fall in love. Nine delicious romances set in fast-paced &
sexy NYC just waiting for you to read.
 
This season will feature some new authors as well as some of season one’s favs. Back for season two is
Allie York, Leigh Lennon, MK Moore, Aubree Valentine, Lauren Helms, and Katy Ames. Plus a warm
welcome to KC Enders, and Marcie Shumway! 
 
Not only do we have a sexy mix of new and returning authors, prepare for pages packed with new
romances, characters, and tropes all from the same well-loved high-rise apartment building in NYC. 
 
Make sure to follow the 425 Madison Avenue Facebook page for more on release dates, cover reveals
and author spotlights. For exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and news subscribe to our 425 Madison
newsletter!
 
 
Check out the Season One and get caught up today! You can read all nine books for FREE with Kindle Unlimited ➝ https://rebrand.ly/425MadisonAmz

 

This series and all promotional events are brought to you by Forever Write PR – Forever your source for

 

Book Reviews, Giveaway

Book tour, review, & giveaway: Bayside Fantasies (Bayside Summers#6) by Melissa Foster

NEW RELEASE…

Fall in love at Bayside, where sandy beaches, good friends, and true love come together in the sweet small towns of Cape Cod. Bayside Summers is a series of standalone steamy romance novels featuring alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They’re fun, flirty, flawed, deeply emotional, always passionate, and easy to relate to.

Tegan Fine has never had a plan—life, business, or otherwise. But she’s always had goals—to laugh daily and to pay it forward as often as she is able, just like her favorite uncle always did. After inheriting her great-uncle’s amphitheater, Tegan makes a risky move to a charming small town on Cape Cod to carry on her uncle’s legacy and hopefully expand the business with her new friend, Harper. Unfortunately, those goals aren’t doing much to help her plan a business strategy for her new endeavor. With Harper counting on her and her uncle’s legacy at stake, she swears off all distractions, determined to succeed. If only she could stop bumping into a certain arrogant, witty, and excruciatingly hot businessman who tweaks her nerves and invades her every thought. Including her late-night fantasies.

Self-professed workaholic Jett Masters never slows down. He lives life with no attachments—except to his clients, to whom he gives his all. A reluctant trip to his hometown has him itching to shake the ghosts of his past and get back to spinning deals and adding to his investments. But when he comes face-to-face with a gorgeous, handsy woman who is quite possibly the snarkiest and most disorganized person he’s ever met, sparks fly, and his sharp mind stumbles. He doesn’t even know her name, but he can’t get her out of his mind.

A chance encounter turns into a wild, sexy night, and their chemistry is off the charts—even if their ideals, and their lives, are worlds apart. Neither Jett nor Tegan is looking for more. Becoming friends with benefits seems like the perfect solution. But when they are trapped together in torrential weather, they work side by side in the aftermath, and every passionate kiss deepens their connection. Secrets are shared, trust is built, and no promises dare be made. As their lives move on, lines begin to blur, hearts get hurt, and their true selves come into focus. Tegan and Jett are left wondering if they make the perfect storm, or if they’ve reached the end of their bayside fantasy.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop for Melissa Foster’s latest installment in her Bayside Summers series, Bayside Fantasies! As the blurb states, this one is about Tegan Fine, who is in town living in her late uncle’s home and trying to keep his legacy alive by starting up a new theater program. Here she meets Jett Masters, who is only in town briefly, and the chemistry is instant between them. But with each of them living elsewhere and being so busy in their careers, the tension is high wondering if this couple will change their lives to be together. 

Let Me start by saying that I absolutely loved this book! Both Tegan and Jett were fantastic main characters, I could literally feel the romantic and sexual tension between them, and I was rooting for them from the very beginning. As typical in Foster’s novels, we got to check in with previous characters and get glimpses of their lives – which is always fun – as well as, learn more about other characters that were more in the background in earlier books. 

I did have two issues with this one. First of all, for about the first 10-20% of the novel, I thought I had read it already. I later realized that I had not read this one and figured out that it was probably information from Harper’s book that was repeated to catch the reader up on everything with Tegan. But for a while, I could have sworn I had read this one. Secondly, it was so long. I love all of Melissa Foster’s books, but this one seemed unusually long to me. I feel as if a lot could have been cut out of this one and it would have still been an amazing read.

Not only was Bayside Fantasies sexy and romantic, but it also stressed the importance of family and community. A huge part of this novel was Jett trying to repair his relationship with his family, especially his father. Furthermore, after a horrible storm, everyone in this little community joins forces to help out wherever needed. Showing the greater good in people was just what I needed considering the state of our world right now. 

I certainly recommend Bayside Fantasies to fans of contemporary romance who crave a big cast of well-developed characters. As I always say regarding Foster’s books, you can read these as stand-alones but it will be so much more fun if you start at the beginning of the series and get to know everyone in order. 

*Thanks to Melissa Foster and Beck Valley Books for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes & Noble   KOBO   iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

melissa newsletter

“​With her wonderful characters and resonating emotions, Melissa Foster is a must-read author!” – NYT Bestseller Julie Kenner

“Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!” – NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely​

“You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that’s fresh, emotional and entertaining. Make sure you have all night, because once you start you won’t want to stop reading. Every book’s a winner!” – New York Times Bestseller Brenda Novak

Also Available

Bayside Desires (Bayside Summers #1)
As the co-owner of Bayside Resorts, Rick Savage has a fabulous job working with his best friends and brother, and a thriving business in Washington, DC, which he’ll be returning to at the end of the summer. Spending time with his family is great, but being back on Cape Cod has unearthed painful memories. When sweet, smart, and overly cautious Desiree Cleary moves in next door, Rick is drawn to the sexy preschool teacher, and she just might prove to be the perfect distraction.

Running an art gallery was not in preschool teacher Desiree Cleary’s plans, but after being tricked into coming to her impetuous, unreliable mother’s aid, she’s stuck spending the summer with the badass half sister she barely knows and a misbehaving dog. If that’s not frustrating enough, she can’t escape the sparks igniting with her strikingly handsome and pushy neighbor, Rick, who makes all her warning bells go off.

Passion ignites as Desiree and Rick spend long summer nights sharing heartfelt confessions and steamy kisses. For the first time in years Rick is enjoying life again instead of hiding behind mounds of work miles away from his family. Desiree has touched him in a way that makes him want to slow down. Only slowing down means dealing with his demons, and he isn’t sure who he’ll be when he comes out the other side.

Available to buy from …
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes & Noble   KOBO   iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

Bayside Passions (Bayside Summers #2)
Bayside Passions (Bayside Summers Book 2) by [Foster, Melissa]When Emery Andrews’s best friend, Desiree, moves away, falls in love, and opens a an inn all in one summer, she feels her absence like a missing limb. Until she visits over the holidays and meets sinfully hot Dean Masters, who’s as easy on the eyes as he is to talk to. After returning home, what starts as a flurry of late-night flirtations quickly turns into a deep connection and unexpected friendship. Now, months later, Desiree offers Emery a job teaching yoga at the inn. Adventurous Emery jumps at the chance and heads for Wellfleet, Massachusetts, to reunite with her BFF and her new close friend, Dean.

After months of sharing their lives, and their secrets, over video chats and phone calls, Dean’s ready to move things to the next level. The fact that Emery seems oblivious to the sparks between them and has recently put her foot down about dating friends just means he’ll have to bide his time.

When Emery finds a naked man in her kitchen the first morning she’s there, Dean doesn’t hesitate to move her into his guest room. Maybe now Emery will see what’s right before her eyes–although that guy she’s got a date with might be a problem.

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes & Noble   KOBO   iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

Bayside Heat (Bayside Summers #3)
Bayside Heat (Bayside Summers Book 3) by [Foster, Melissa]Drake Savage has always done the right thing, especially where beautiful and fiercely determined Serena Mallery is concerned-even when it means keeping his feelings for her to himself. Serena has always wanted more than what their small town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts has to offer, and Drake’s roots are so deeply entrenched in the Cape, it’s all he can do to watch her pack up her life and move away.

Serena has always had big dreams. As a teenager she dreamed of becoming an interior designer and marrying smart, musically inclined, sexy-as-sin Drake Savage. Now she’s finally landed a killer job with a top interior design firm, but though she has spent the last four years working side by side with Drake, he’s never made a move. Four years is long enough for her to accept reality, and her new job in Boston is the perfect way to move on.

A weak moment leads to sizzling, sensual kisses, opening a door through which they’ve both been aching to walk. But Serena’s determined not to give up her shot at the career she’s always dreamed of, and Drake has loved her for too many years to stand in her way. With true love at their fingertips and a world of unstoppable passion igniting between them, can the two star-crossed lovers find their way to their happily ever after?

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   KOBO   iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

Bayside Escape (Bayside Summers #4)
Bayside Heat (Bayside Summers Book 3) by [Foster, Melissa]Two years ago Violet Vancroft was a nomadic artist who never wanted to put down roots and Andre Shaw was a prominent Boston physician whose roots ran too deep to unearth. Their love didn’t stand a chance-or at least that’s what Violet believed when she received a plea for help from the sister she’d never really known-so she snuck away like a thief in the night.

Now Andre travels the world setting up new medical clinics, and Violet has finally found the family she’d always craved and the roots she’d never known she wanted. When their paths cross unexpectedly, it’s not the reunion either one imagined. But they’ve never stopped loving each other, and after the dust of anger and hurt settles, passion ignites even hotter than before. As the end to Andre’s time at the Cape nears, reality sets in, leaving them no closer to a future than they were before. Violet and Andre are forced to dig deep to discover if they’re destined to live apart forever or if true love really can conquer all.

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   KOBO   iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

Bayside Romance (Bayside Summers #5)
When screenwriter Harper Garner got a shot at the big-time in LA, she celebrated her brave cross-country move with her first and only one-night stand-connecting so deeply with the sexy, brilliant man, she broke the number-one rule of one-night stands and left her phone number. Not hearing from him was only the first in a long line of hope-shattering, confidence-busting blows. Ten months later, Harper is done with men and done with LA. She pulls up her big-girl panties and heads home to Cape Cod to start over.

On the surface, interior designer Gavin Wheeler has it all: a successful business, a loving family, and a close-knit group of friends. But Gavin once endured a heartbreak so painful, he was sure he’d never feel anything for a woman again. A chance encounter at a music festival with a gorgeous, down-to-earth blonde proved him wrong, but when morning came, the woman who made him crave more was gone.

A serendipitous evening reunites Harper with her devastatingly delicious one-night stand, and the connection is just as intense as she remembered. Harper’s life is too unsettled for a relationship, but Gavin is determined to help her find her way, especially if it leads straight to his heart. Moonlight conversations lead to steamy kisses, and as romance blooms, it stirs a love too real to deny. But when Gavin’s past collides with the life they’re building, it has the power to ruin everything.

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes & Noble   KOBO   iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

All BAYSIDE SUMMERS books can be read as standalone novels or as part of the series:
Bayside Desires Book 1
Bayside Passions Book 2
Bayside Heat Book 3
Bayside Escape Book 4
Bayside Romance Book 5
Bayside Fantasies Book 6

Bayside_Series

About the author
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented, the perfect beach reads for contemporary romance and women’s fiction lovers who enjoy reading about loyal, wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines with complex relatable issues.

Melissa also writes sweet romance under the pen name Addison Cole.

Melissa enjoys chatting with readers and book clubs. Send her an email invitation to your next event!

Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

Find Melissa on the following sites….
Website   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Pinterest   YouTube   Goodreads   Bookbub   Amazon Author Page

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Fallon’s Revenge (Fated Lives Series, Book 4)

Fallon’s Revenge (Fated Lives Series Book 4), by Kelly Moore

Publication: April 2, 2020

FallonAbout the book:

The Final Mission.

Fallon Davis is on an island off the coast of Florida, trying to forget about her past and the man she loves. She’s living on the run with no hope of returning home. She has to stay one step ahead of her enemy at all times in order to keep those she loves alive. Then fate steps in, giving her the push she needs to convince her to stop running.

In one brazen move, Fallon treks back to Portland, knowing her enemy—who happens to be her sister—could be watching, waiting for her to show up. She moves in the shadows to find the answers she’s looking for then finds herself risking everything for the man they both love, including her own daughter’s life. She has to become as ruthless as Nina in order to win the dangerous game she is playing.

The odds are against her…it’s a long shot. Fallon believes justice will win out but she finds revenge is the only answer. The only question is, will she die trying to get it?

**My Review**

I am extremely excited to write my review for Kelly Moore’s upcoming conclusion to her Fated Lives Series, Fallon’s Revenge, but this is also bittersweet. I have been in love with this series since the first book and I am so sad to see it go. However, this final book does not disappoint and I cannot imagine a better way to end the series. If for some crazy reason you have not experienced this fantastic series, you need to read them in order. See my reviews here to find out more: Rebel’s Retribution, Theo’s Retaliation, and Thorn’s Redemption.

Fallon’s Revenge is once again about the Gunner team with Rebel, Theo, Thorn, and so on. But there is much more to this one.  A few years have passed since the ending of Thorn’s Redemption. Fallon, Sean, and Lily are still adjusting to their new normal. Fallon is basically staying focused on each day and her daughter while also still heartbroken over the choice Nina forced upon her. Ember is the newest character in the series who divides her time between helping to care for Lily and working at the bar with Sean and Fallon – and I absolutely adore her role in this story.  Rebel’s life and the rest of the Gunner Team’s lives have also changed, some good and some bad. But there is a major twist with Rebel that no one will be expecting. I think I literally yelled at my iPad numerous times while reading this and a lot of it involved Rebel. 

Although quiet at first, Nina is still around and continues to be the sick, evil woman that I have grown to love and hate throughout this series. Once again Kelly Moore shows different sides of Nina and will make you almost feel bad for her. But believe me, those feelings don’t last. After all, this one is titled Fallon’s Revenge and as the novel progressed, I quickly forgot about all of the times I felt sorry for Nina. I was rooting for Fallon and everyone else to finally get this woman out of their lives but was never quite convinced that they could make it happen. With Nina, you never know. 

I am struggling to summarize this one book without including overall opinions of the entire series, mainly because I know it’s the end and I hate saying goodbye to this series. What sets Fallon’s Revenge apart from the other books is the non-stop surprises, twists, and turns. Yes, the entire series is full of these “oh my God” moments, but to say that I was on the edge of my seat while reading this one is a gross understatement. When I expected good things, usually something bad happened. When I was bracing myself for something awful, someone actually caught a break and it turned out o.k. I never knew what was coming in this book from one page to the next – which made it a sensational read. Kelly Moore’s plot and character development, especially in this genre, are unmatched. I cannot think of another writer that combines the elements of action, romance, and adventure the way that she does, and Fallon’s Revenge is an outstanding example of her talent. There is passion, romance, action, death, injuries, tension and everything that I have so loved about this series. And it is a perfect conclusion. 

Pre-Order Fallon’s Revenge on Amazon!

*Thanks to Kelly Moore for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Book Reviews

Book Review: The First Date, by Zara Stoneley

The First Date,

by Zara Stoneley

Publication: One More Chapter; April 24, 2020

first dateAbout the book:

Right place.
Right time.
Wrong guy.

After breaking up with her childhood sweetheart, clueless dater Rosie has found herself in a boyfriend-drought. So when she finally swipes right on a guy who seems interested, she can’t wait to meet up IRL.

Until she’s left standing alone. In a bar. Ghosted.

Enter Noah. Confident, funny… and a serial first dater. Offering to give Rosie a crash course in seduction, this could be just what she needs. Until her matchmaker turns out to be the best date she’s ever had – and Rosie wonders if she wants the fake dates to be the real ones after all…

**My Review**

The First Date, by Zara Stoneley, is an upcoming rom-com about a woman named Rosie who has no clue how to get a date, flirt with a guy, and so on. She sets up a date on Tinder and the guy is a no-show, however, this is also where she meets the sweet, handsome, and charming Noah. As suggested in the blurb, after these two start hanging out so Noah can give Rosie tips on dating, it becomes unclear if they are really into one another or if it is just all pretending in order to help Rosie gain confidence in the dating world. 

I really liked the premise of this book and it seemed to be a perfect, light-hearted read for sitting around in the house all day, for days, with nothing to do. My overall feelings about this book are sort of segmented. I really enjoyed the first 20-25% and I really enjoyed the last 10-15%. Why not the middle and the majority of the book? Rosie’s non-stop obsessing and whining and inner dialogue about her asshole Dad! She had the sleaziest and most selfish father of all time and this grown woman allowed him to control her mind, heart, and soul. If not for this, I think the book would have been fabulous. But everything from dating, to clothes, to hair, career, and everything else all somehow managed to circle back around to her Daddy issues. It was just too much.

The greatest part of the novel was Noah. Yes, he also had some issues but they were small and did not impact every other paragraph of the novel. He was handsome, funny, assertive, and at times – very sexy. Basically, he was the reason I kept reading and didn’t stop when the book would go pages and pages at a time of Rosie recalling moments of her father’s absence, infidelity, or whatever. 

Although I didn’t love The First Date, this is definitely an author that I will read again. Reviews of several of her other novels are fantastic, I think this one just went off track a bit too much. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Post

Release tour, review, & excerpt: Flawless Foundations (425 Madison Series, #14), by Lauren Helms

Release Tour for Flawless Foundations by Lauren Helms
Powered by Forever Write PR

 

Born from money, Levi was destined to take over the family business. Emmy has always had a crush on her bestie’s big brother, but she hadn’t planned on shaking things up. When a kiss turns into more and a secret is being kept, can they build flawless foundations? Readers will fall in love with this best friend sibling romance from Lauren Helms. The 425 Madison series is back with season two and FLAWLESS FOUNDATIONS is now live!
 
Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited



Amazon ➝ https://amzn.to/2x1IeXj

Goodreads ➝ http://bit.ly/FFLHGR

Levi

 

It’s no secret I was born from money. And I’m destined to take over the family business, King Cosmetics when my father retires.

 

At least that was the plan. 

 

Until my father decided to impose some stupid rule about being married before I take the reigns. Everything I’ve worked for hangs in the balance and the future of the company is in jeopardy without a King behind the controls.  

 

I never considered Becca part of the plan for taking over, but when one kiss leads to so much more, I can’t help but wonder if she’s the answer to my problem.

 

Becca
There are two things I love – my beauty blog and Levi King. 

 

Coming from the same social circle has given me ample opportunity to crush on the next generation of King Cosmetics, but he made it clear a long time ago that I would never be anything more than “like family” to him.

 

Feeling the need for some serious changes in my life, I start shaking things up. 

 

It wasn’t part of my plan to kiss Levi, but one kiss could never be enough. When that kiss turns into a relationship and I find out that Levi’s been keeping a secret, I begin to question if our love affair was too good to be true.

 

Looks like we’re about to find out if we can truly build flawless foundations for the rest of our lives. After all 425 Madison is the perfect place to fall in love.

 

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the tour for the latest in the 425 Madison Series, Flawless Foundations. Lauren Helms has given us such a treat with this one! Becca is a beauty blogger that also has had a long-term crush on her best friend’s brother, Levi. Levi is trying to take over King Cosmetics once his father steps in, however, his father and the board want Levi to show more stability in his life, like being married. Just as Levi realizes he’ll never get promoted without satisfying his father’s demands, he and Becca just so happen to take their flirtation to the next level. Everything is going wonderfully until Becca learns much later about Levi’s dilemma with his father. 

I will be honest and say that I thought the premise of this one sounded way too unbelievable and actually, a bit silly. But, oh my goodness – I was wrong. I loved this addition to the 425 Madison series and was rooting for Levi and Becca from the first page to the last!

Becca was an amazing main character, likable, and relatable. I wasn’t sure about Levi at first, then he completely grew on me, and then he frustrated me to death, and back and forth. But this couple was written with so much chemistry that you could feel the heat between them. 

Lauren Helms did an amazing job with Flawless Foundations making sure to hit on all of the real things in a perfect balance with the romance and the steam. She added in the tension between friends, the tension between parents and children, and a whole lot of tension of every variety between Levi and Becca. I highly recommend this one, especially if you are already a fan of the series. But even if you haven’t checked out the rest of the series yet, this can easily be read as a standalone. 

*Thanks to Forever Write PR and Lauren Helms for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Excerpt 
Copyright @ Lauren Helms 2020


“Em, is there anything at Envirogal open? I don’t know, maybe in research and development?
Or even the finance department? Maybe it’s time to put my degrees to use?”
She pops out her bottom lip. “I really don’t think we have any openings that would fit what you’re looking for or would enjoy. But I will definitely talk to HR on Monday.” I deflate a little at her response. Damn it. She was a great resource in the field I would want to work in since I clearly have to work.
“Oh, you should talk to Levi. King Cos is always hiring. They are just so much bigger than Envirogal. I’m sure he’d be able to find you a great job!” She’s all excited about the prospect, she’s also completely unaware of my distaste for her brother, Levi King.
Well, if she is aware, she does a great job of ignoring it. Just the thought of her tall, slender, dark-haired, brown-eyed brother makes me twitchy. Then, of course, my next thought goes to the fact that he now lives just down the hall. Which means at any time, he could just show up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that Emmy’s relationship with her brother is stronger than ever. She deserves it since she has some of the worst parents, but I was as happy as a clam not seeing Levi on a regular basis.
 
I’ve known Levi King since I was a freckle-faced, braces-wearing preteen. We’ve always gotten along but were never friends. With him being two years older than us and seeing him being a nice big brother to Emmy, instead of an asshole like a lot of the other brothers in our social circle, I had it bad. My crush on him grew pretty quickly way back then. Unfortunately for me, that crush never really faded, but instead grew as the years went by. That is, until college.
It all ended one night in my Sophomore year. Emmy and I visited him at Harvard one weekend. He was a senior and surprisingly welcomed a visit from his sister. He took us out with a few of his friends to their local hang out and, well, let’s just say I had a lot to drink. I decided with my liquid courage that I’d flirt a little. He flirted back, to my surprise and extreme excitement. Toward the end of the night, I thought I was actually getting somewhere. So, when I finally kissed him, I was in heaven. Until he pushed me away and told me I was drunk, and he’d never take advantage of a woman under the influence. Okay, so I can commend that. But drunk me just kept pushing until he delivered his final blow. “Becca, you’re like a sister to me, nothing can ever happen between us.”

 

Ouch. You know what’s worse than being friend-zoned? Sister-zoned.
 


Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited 

Amazon ➝ https://amzn.to/2x1IeXj

 

Don’t Boyfriend Maintenance by Lauren Helms from the first season of 425 Madison Ave.

 

“Boyfriend Maintenance is a charming little faux romance story that comes brimming with loads of emotion and steam. This unlikely pairing strike up a deal that leads them in a direction neither saw coming, and boy was it fun to watch them try and resist the sparks, and unexpected chemistry.” —RedsRomanceReviews on Boyfriend Maintenance   
 
Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited 

Amazon ➝ https://amzn.to/2pnJKQ1

 

About Lauren


Lauren Helms has forever been an avid reader from the beginning. After starting a book review website, that catapulted her fully into the book world, she knew that something was missing. Lauren decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. While working for a video game strategy guide publisher, she decided to mix what she knew best–video games and romance. She decided to take the plunge and joined NaNoWrimo and a month later, she had her first draft. 


Lauren Helms has forever been an avid reader from the beginning. After starting a book review website, that catapulted her fully into the book world, she knew that something was missing. Lauren decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. While working for a video game strategy guide publisher, she decided to mix what she knew best–video games and romance. She decided to take the plunge and joined NaNoWrimo and a month later, she had her first draft. 

 

 


About the 425 Madison Series
 
 
Welcome to 425 Madison Ave the perfect place to fall in love. Nine delicious romances set in fast-paced & sexy NYC just waiting for you to read.
 
This season will feature some new authors as well as some of season one’s favs. Back for season two is Allie York, Leigh Lennon, MK Moore, Aubree Valentine, Lauren Helms, and Katy Ames. Plus a warm welcome to KC Enders, and Marcie Shumway! 
 
Not only do we have a sexy mix of new and returning authors, prepare for pages packed with new romances, characters, and tropes all from the same well-loved high-rise apartment building in NYC. 
 
Make sure to follow the 425 Madison Avenue Facebook page for more on release dates, cover reveals and author spotlights. For exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and news subscribe to our 425 Madison newsletter!
 
 
Check out the Season One and get caught up today! You can read all nine books for FREE with Kindle Unlimited ➝ https://rebrand.ly/425MadisonAmz

 

 

 

This series and all promotional events are brought to you by Forever Write PR – Forever your source for all your writing needs. https://www.facebook.com/ForeverWritePR/

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: In Five Years: A Novel, by Rebecca Serle

In Five Years: A Novel,

by Rebecca Serle

Publication: Atria Books; March 10, 2020

five yearsAbout: Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

**My Review**

So, I just flew through In Five Years, starting it about 9 this morning and finishing it by noon. This was an interesting and engaging novel, although it went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. Dannie is an attorney interviewing for a corporate law position at her dream firm in New York City. Also, she knows that she will get engaged later that evening to her boyfriend David. During her interview she is asked the age-old question, “where do you see yourself in five years,” to which she gives her thoughtfully planned out response regarding her career, life, etc. But that evening after the excitement of the day, she falls asleep and experiences an amazingly realistic dream where, five years from now, she is with a different man named Aaron in a completely different apartment. Dannie often thinks about the dream and the man, but then 4 1/2 years later she meets her best friend, Bella, for dinner and to meet her new boyfriend. That new boyfriend is Aaron, from her dream years ago. 

Dannie is a very career-driven, never tires, planning sort of a person. Her love of all things planned and mapped out combined with the fact that 4 1/2 years later she and David had not yet gotten married were my first hints that something was not right. Well, that and the beginning of the novel where Dannie experiences her dream about Aaron. My first thoughts once we have gotten to the year 2025 and she is not married to David were, “o.k. so she will meet Aaron in real life, realize she doesn’t love David, and she and Aaron will live happily ever after.” Wrong.

That’s not at all how anything goes, however, I can’t share any of that because it will spoil until the entire novel. What I will say, however, is that the main theme of this novel is friendship. Dannie and Bella’s lifelong friendship is at the forefront of the plot the entire time. The problem is, I’m not sure how I felt about their friendship. They were incredibly different with Dannie being responsible and career-driven as to where Bella just kind of floated around the world, traveling, being artistic, and falling in and out of love. Which is fine, opposites attract and all. But at times I just couldn’t buy into their undying, decades-long best friendship. 

About 30-40% into this novel the movie Something Borrowed popped into my head about best friends Rachel and Darcy. In this book, Dannie was Rachel and Bella was Darcy. It just didn’t seem natural. Nevertheless, the bulk of the book is about these two women, their friendship, their struggles, and ultimately with Dannie, the realization that she needs to be honest with herself about how she feels and what she wants in her life. 

Although there are some extreme Kleenex-worthy moments in this book, I finished it with positive feelings overall and truly enjoyed reading it. I will warn you that this finishes very open-ended. There’s no definite love-connection or life plan at the conclusion. However, I feel it appropriate as Dannie was always so obsessed with numbers, timeframes, and plans only to learn that she never factored in surprises, twists and turns, and most importantly –  a change of heart. I recommend this one to fans of women’s fiction with strong themes surrounding women’s friendship, but don’t go into this with one thinking you know how it will all play out, because the story and ending are very unexpected. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!