Book Reviews, Release Blitz

Release Blitz & Review: Piece by Piece (Riggins Brothers #2), by Kaylee Ryan

 

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RELEASE BLITZ

Title: Piece by Piece

Series: Riggins Brothers #2

Author: Kaylee Ryan

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 12, 2020

 

Piece by Piece Ebook CoverBLURB

Layla 

Owen Riggins is too good to be true… the best things in life usually are. He’s good looking, generous, and interested in me. Too bad someone like him and someone like me aren’t meant to be together. 

He’s used to the best things in life, and I’ve grown up with the worst. Building a better life means working hard and staying on track, not falling for some sexy suit with a brooding stare who is just passing through. 

Life has taught me not to trust, and even though I want him more than anything, I don’t need his charity or his love… 

Owen 

When a friend sends me to Florida to scout out a hotel, it’s the gorgeous waitress with the shy smile and the worn-out shoes I can’t take my eyes off of.

Layla Massey is quiet, beautiful, and in need of a little help— even if she won’t admit it. A generous tip was meant to buy her some suitable shoes, not buy her love. I want to earn that all on my own. 

I’m used to women throwing themselves at me, the name, the money… but she wants neither. It makes me want her all the more. 

Little by little, she opens up and piece by piece, she’s taking my heart.

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the release blitz tour for Kaylee Ryan’s latest installment in her Riggins Brothers series, Piece by Piece! Owen seemed like the very serious and quiet type in the previous books, so I was in for a ton of surprises this time around. While travelling on business, Owen meets Layla, a waitress in the restaurant in the hotel he is staying. He notices his beautiful waitress limping and that she needs new shoes, so each night after he finishes his meal, he leaves her these enormous tips. As they get to know each other, he also takes her along on a shopping excursion, helps get her car fixed, and so on. Layla immediately assumes that Owen is too good to be true. Layla finds herself in the weird predicament of enjoying his attention, although she doesn’t want hand-outs. Owen finds himself falling for this woman who has no interest in his money. 

I am really enjoying the series and love the brothers, as well as, the wonderful secondary characters that support the main cast. If you like families that will drop everything and do anything for one of its members, then this is definitely a novel that you will enjoy. Layla is strong and independent, which she has to be after surviving her horrible upbringing and getting away from her mother. Her character is sweetly confused by everything Owen does for her, as well as, the way his family accepts her with open arms. Most importantly, if you are a fan of insta-love, then you will devour this novel! These two go from zero to sixty in no time at all.

Now… If you are not a fan of insta-love, this may not be your favorite read ever. This is probably the fastest insta-love I have ever read and to be honest, I struggle with it at first. Don’t get me wrong, I loved their story. However, you really have to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy this one because of how fast they move. My only other criticism is how often he says “piece by piece” in their dialogue. I understand that this is the name of the novel, but did he have to say it so much???

If you love a strong, quiet, alpha male – you will fall in love with Owen! This is a great novel to just get lost in and enjoy. It reminds you that your life doesn’t have to be defined by your upbringing, and moreover, that everyone is deserving of love and happiness.

4 romantic stars! 

*Thanks to GMB and the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

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GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54886128-piece-by-piece 

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AUTHOR BIO

Kaylee Ryan is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.  When she’s not spinning tales of happily ever after, she’s reading or spending time with family.  Born and raised an Ohio girl, Kaylee resides in Cincinnati with her husband and their son.

 AUTHOR LINKS

Website: http://kayleeryan.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KayleeRyanAuthor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/author_k_ryan 

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7060310.Kaylee_Rya

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Stranger in My Bed, by Karen King

The Stranger in My Bed, 

by Karen King

Publication: Bookouture; November 23, 2020

stranger in my bedAbout:

When Freya first met Phil, she thought he was the man of her dreams. He bought her roses every week, booked surprise trips to sun-soaked destinations, and showed her affection like shed never experienced before. But over time the dream had become a violent nightmare. And now Freya is packing her bags, knowing it’s time she escaped their increasingly broken marriage.

But then Freya gets a visit from the police. Phil’s been in a horrific car crash and – as he comes around – it becomes clear that he remembers nothing since their blissful honeymoon two years before, back when their relationship was perfect. All he wants is to be happily married again.

Freya knows giving him another chance could be dangerous. But now he’s the one who needs her, it’s a chance to turn the tables, and to change the outcome of their relationship once and for all. After all, he will only know what she chooses to tell him…

But what really happened during those two years of marriage? And as they start over again, who is safe? And whose life is in danger?

**My Review**

Imagine you have an overall unhappy marriage and you are planning to leave your husband. Then the husband is in a car accident and has forgotten the past two years when things became abusive and violent. Do you give him another chance and hope he stays the sweet, loving man he was in the beginning? No! You do not! But, Freya does.

This novel is told primarily from Freya’s POV but also includes chapters told from Phil and Daisy’s (Freya’s sister) POV. An unknown narrator sneaks in between chapters giving italicized accounts regarding Phil’s history, which is as unreliable as all of the other narrators in the novel. I quickly realized that no one in the book is trustworthy and everyone puts their own spin on things, except for maybe Phil directly after the accident. The last thing he remembers is returning from their honeymoon, so he does seem quite sincere for a while. 

This is an entertaining novel that I read in just a few hours. I enjoyed it, however, what you read in the blurb is basically what you get. With the exception of one main point, the book reads just like the blurb with few surprises. But even that one main surprise comes along so early that everything after that falls sort of flat. I will say that I was surprised about another player as far as “whodunnit,” but otherwise, this was very predictable. I don’t mean that I didn’t like it, but don’t expect a big “aha” moment.

For those looking for a quick and enjoyable read that enjoy psychological fiction, The Stranger in My Bed Could be just right for you. If you are craving a suspense/thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, then this isn’t the right book for you. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing this advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Pretenders, by Agatha Zaza

The Pretenders,

by Agatha Zaza

Publication: Agora Books; November 5, 2020

pretendersAbout:

I’m perfectly happy lying to myself…If it means getting to stay with you.’

Jasper is ready to surprise his brother; Holly is ready to celebrate their engagement.

Anne tags along for fear of missing out, and John might just be going for another drink.

But Edmund and Ovidia had other plans for their Saturday.

Over the course of one day, these couples must own up to the secrets they’ve been hiding from one another and the lies they’ve been telling themselves. And face the devastating consequences.

Three couples. Two exes. One day. One reckoning.

*My Review*

Wow! I am so happy to bring you my review of The Pretenders, the debut novel from Agatha Zaza releasing November 5th! I loved the blurb of this so I anxiously requested it from NetGalley, but this book ended up being so much more than I expected…

So Ovidia and Edmund live together but she still has her flat across the street. When the novel begins, it’s obvious that all is not well with this couple. His brother Jasper decides to pay him a visit one Saturday morning with his brand new fiancé, Holly, and their close friends John and Anne. Talk about incredibly bad timing for a random and unannounced visit! 

So let me start with my criticism, but mind you, it’s minimal. This book started out incredibly boring for me. I started reading it and put it down several times to watch t.v., which I never do. However, if you give it a little bit to warm up, it’s so worth it. 

Moving on to what I love about this book – pretty much everything except for the slow start. I have read books by authors that have been writing for years or even decades that can’t develop their characters as thoroughly as Agatha Zaza. Mind you, I really have no clue what anyone looked like in this book except for Ovidia, but she painted a beautiful and painful picture of each of their souls, making me feel all of their emotions right along with them.

The Pretenders is a slow burn novel, but painfully so. As soon as the two couples show up at Edmund and Ovidia’s home, you immediately know that there is going to be tension and discomfort. But she reveals everything in very careful layers that are completely unexpected. I hate spoilers so I am trying my best to hold my tongue, but this author addresses a seldom discussed and almost taboo topic concerning Ovidia that I feel is long overdue. Ovidia and Edmund have some major issues. John and Anne have some major issues. And then there is Jasper and Holly’s relationship that by the end, almost seemed to be an afterthought. 

This novel is a character study involving lies, charades, masks that we wear, and the difficult moments of removing those masks. It begs the question of, “how well do we really know our family and our friends?” Even more important however, is the question, “how much are we willing to overlook concerning the ones that we love?” This book contains just about every screwed up issue you can think of. There’s emotional and physical abuse, miscarriages, death, eating disorders, co-dependence, adultery, depression, and so much more. However, I can say without pause, that The Pretenders is one of the best things I have read this year. 

I cannot fathom how this debut author can improve with her next novel, but she is certainly someone I would consider an author to watch and I cannot wait to see what else she brings us in the future. Take a chance on this new author and give this one time to settle in. It’s not a HEA novel but one that you should read. 5 amazing and enthusiastic stars!

*Thanks to NetGalley and Agora Books for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Invisible Girl, by Lisa Jewell

Invisible Girl,

by Lisa Jewell

Publication: Atria Books; October 13, 2020

invisible girlAbout: Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct—accusations he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel forums, where he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

**My Review**

I am a huge fan of Lisa Jewell so I was crazy excited about her latest thriller, Invisible Girl. As typical with this author, there isn’t just one or two main characters, but instead, a group of equally significant characters that help weave this story together. There are the Fours: Roan, Cate, Georgia, and Josh. Roan is a child psychologist, Cate is a stay at home mom (for the most part), and Georgia and Josh are their teenage children. Owen lives across the street from the Fours. He’s somewhat of a recluse, a thirty-three-year-old virgin, and has just been suspended from his teaching position because of some shady behavior. Then there is Saffyre, a seventeen-year-old former patient of Roan’s who has taken up the hobby of following Roan after work every evening. 

Once again, Lisa Jewell has written a novel where none of the characters are believable and few, if any, are even likable. Cate is over-bearing and paranoid. Roan appears to be a bit sleazy with the possibility of a God complex. Owen is creepy and honestly, pretty pathetic. Josh and Saffyre are basically just weird teenagers, but at times, very creepy. Honestly, Georgia is probably about as close as you could get to a normal, likable character in this novel. Oh and maybe Aaron also, Saffyre’s uncle. Anyway, the novel is told from Cate, Owen, and Saffyre’s POV centering around events leading up to and after Valentine’s Day. As the blurb says, Saffyre goes missing on Valentine’s night, so about 95% of Saffyre’s dialogue is prior to that evening. This was a bit confusing at times, because Cate and Owen’s dialogue is Valentine’s Day and after, but it eventually makes sense. 

Saffyre goes missing but shares her back story leading up to her disappearance, Owen has been creepy as hell so he becomes the likely suspect, and Cate constantly stresses about where her family members are and if her marriage is o.k. That’s pretty much it for the plot. Seriously.

There is not a huge “aha” moment in this book. The guilty party/parties became blatantly obvious about 50-60% into the novel. So why did I keep reading? I honestly don’t know. I guess I kept waiting for some shocking twist to occur, but even the little twist at the end was not a surprise to me. I had already assumed that for a good part of the novel. 

Invisible Girl is very long, slow, drawn-out, and compared to other Lisa Jewell novels – a let down. There are tons of positive reviews so check it out for yourself, but I wish I would have set this one aside early on and moved on to something else. Besides her trademark character development that I love, I can’t think of many positives about this novel. 

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

Book Reviews

Book Review: The People We Meet Along The Way, by Beth Rinyu

The People We Meet Along The Way, by Beth Rinyu

Publication: September 17, 2020

people we meetAbout:

Would you be able to grant the same forgiveness that you’re so desperately seeking yourself?

Jillian O’Rourke’s marriage died long before her husband’s tragic accident. Years of battling with infertility and demanding careers melted their once solid relationship. Bearing the burden of guilt over his death, Jillian gets lost in despair and a series of “what-ifs”. But one chance encounter with a stranger, changes everything. Now being faced with newfound knowledge and a painful decision, Jillian must push past her anger, learn to forgive and open her heart in ways she never could’ve imagined. As she comes to grips with the devastation of her past, she learns to embrace the possibility of a future she never thought possible. A bittersweet story of love, forgiveness, and the unexpected destiny that is sometimes handed to us in life from the people we meet along the way.

*My Review*

This is the beautiful and emotional story of recent widow Jillian and her experiences when she takes a long-planned trip overseas alone, that she had planned with her husband prior to his death. Still struggling with grief and guilt over things that happened between them prior to his death, Jillian hesitantly heads to the airport and immediately befriends a man named DeAndre who is heading to Munich for the same group tour that she is taking. Once there, they also meet Theo and Kate and the four quickly become fast friends. Her relationships with her three new friends continue long after their trip is over and blossom into beautiful long-lasting relationships. While still struggling with her own guilt, however, Jillian learns some enormous truths where she finds herself having to forgive others, along with herself.

What I loved about the book was how well-developed each of the characters were. They truly came to life and practically jumped off the pages. I also loved the strong theme of friendship and the relationships that were built despite Jillian and DeAndre living in New York and Theo and Kate living in England. DeAndre is a larger than life character. Theo is handsome, charming, and witty. Theo’s sister Kate is quiet, reserved, but kind. My opinion of Jillian changed off and on throughout the novel, but overall she was loving, generous, easy-going, and eventually stronger than I had imagined. 

I find the blurb to be a little misleading because the “big twist” that Jillian has to deal with and decide if she can forgive or not, doesn’t come until near the end of the book, maybe at around 80-85%. Up until that point, she’s still dealing with moving on from her marriage and her husband’s death while also helping friends in need. I will say, however, that this is one book where I certainly did not see the twist coming and I was completely floored! I’m not sure if I could have done what Jillian eventually did and find that sort of forgiveness in my heart but I admired her for it. 

If this review seems a bit vague, it is meant to be. So much happens in this novel from the time Jillian walks into the airport until the very end and I don’t want to spoil any of it. There is grief, loss, hope, new love, and most importantly, life-changing friendships. Jillian learns so much about herself and is faced with numerous challenges along the way. This story is at once sad and regretful while being hopeful and romantic. As Jillian grows and changes, I felt that newfound peace right along with her, as well as, the betrayal she feels when everything is revealed. If you want a novel that carries you through every emotion under the sun, then this should be your next read. Beth Rinyu is an outstanding author and one of my favorites. If you have not yet discovered her talent, I highly suggest you grab this one today!

5 beautiful stars!

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

Purchase The People We Meet Along The Way on Amazon!

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Book Review: Love Me Like You Do, by Aimee Brown

Love Me Like You Do,

by Aimee Brown

Publication: Aria: September 17, 2020

love meAbout:

A runaway bride. A handsome stranger. Two pasts to put behind them.

Parker is ready to marry the man of her dreams. But he isn’t ready to marry her. When she’s dumped moments before walking down the aisle, she didn’t expect to run into the arms of a handsome stranger. The southern drawl, the dreamy eyes, she can’t fall for another man after being left at the altar – can she?

When Liam agreed to go on yet another blind date, he didn’t expect his escape would lead him to the emergency room with a runaway bride. She might have just been left at the altar, but he’s immediately drawn to her fiery spirit, kind heart and beautiful smile. Liam’s got a whole host of problems and a past that’s haunting him, now can’t be the time to fall in love, but Parker might just be the one to break down his barriers and let him live a little – if she’ll let him in.

Will these two strangers allow serendipity to force them together, or will their fears keep them apart?

**My Review**

I first fell in love with Aimee Brown in 2018 when I read and reviewed The Lucky Dress. However, Love Me Like You Do far surpassed my expectations and love for The Lucky Dress! Why did this sit on my iPad so long waiting to be read?

Sexy Texan Liam is opening his new bar, trying to avoid his father (who wants to re-connect) and basically doing his own thing when Parker runs out of her wedding and is almost hit by a car. Parker has just been told by her fiancé (right before walking down the aisle) that they aren’t right for one another when she barely misses being hit by a car but breaks her wrist and shows Liam her electric blue lace thongs in the process. Thus begins a beautiful friendship with every sign and signal from above you can imagine, except, it takes Parker a while to get on board.

I have two criticisms of this novel and that’s it. First of all, the title doesn’t make any sense to me. After reading the entire novel, I’m not sure what the title has to do with the book, but maybe I missed it. Secondly, the cover. I like the cover but it has absolutely nothing to do with the book. Who is choosing this author’s covers???

Moving on, this is one of my favorite rom-com novels that I have ever read. Liam is great, Parker takes some warming up to as far as a female lead. But what makes this book so wonderful is that it is so damn funny. Everyone’s sense of humor differs, but as far as I am concerned, it was perfect. Specifically, the hot yoga session. I don’t remember the last time a book made me laugh so hard. A second runner-up to that would be any interaction with Parker and her young niece, Evie. Again – completely inappropriate, but hilarious. 

All of the characters are wonderful and even as secondary characters, everyone adds to the plot and makes this a wonderful read. My favorite secondary character, however, would be George. I have owned Saint Bernards in my life and everything about George was spot-on! The scenes where Liam would come home and George would come barreling down the hallway brought back so many bittersweet memories! 

Love Me Like You Do is not an insta-love romance, but truly a friends-to-lovers romance. But I assure you, it’s worth every bit of the wait. For anyone looking for a sweet and funny escape novel, I promise you that this is the book for you. 5 stars and highly recommended!

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

Book Reviews

Book Review: When I Was You, by Amber Garza

When I You,

by Amber Garza

Publication: MIRA; August 25, 2020

when i was youAbout: It all begins on an ordinary fall morning, when Kelly Medina gets a call from her son’s pediatrician to confirm her upcoming “well-baby” appointment. It’s a cruel mistake; her son left for college a year ago, and Kelly’s never felt so alone. The receptionist quickly apologizes: there’s another mother in town named Kelly Medina, and she must have gotten their numbers switched.

For days, Kelly can’t stop thinking about the woman who shares her name. Lives in her same town. Has a son she can still hold, and her whole life ahead of her. She can’t help looking for her: at the grocery store, at the gym, on social media. When Kelly just happens to bump into the single mother outside that pediatrician’s office, it’s simple curiosity getting the better of her.

Their unlikely friendship brings Kelly a renewed sense of purpose—taking care of this young woman and her adorable baby boy. But that friendship quickly turns to obsession, and when one Kelly disappears, well, the other one may know why.

*My Review*

Holy hell! What did I just read? When I Was You is the latest novel from author Amber Garza and oh my goodness, what a wild ride! Empty nester Kelly Medina gets a phone call one morning confirming her baby’s doctor appointment, but when she informs the receptionist that she is about nineteen years too late, she realizes that there is another woman living in her town with the exact same name and a young baby. After that call, however, Kelly can’t stop thinking about the other Kelly and wondering what her life is like. Kelly’s son had left for college a year earlier and she found herself longing for those times when he was still at home.  As Kelly pushes the other Kelly into a somewhat uncomfortable friendship, things continue to just get stranger and it seems that the older Kelly is becoming obsessed with the younger Kelly’s life and her son, Sullivan. 

I’ll start with my only criticism of this novel and that is that things sort of dragged for me at first. Don’t get me wrong, after just a few pages things start getting creepy and cringe-worthy, but things seemed a little slow. But then everything starts to pick up.

Amber Garza perfectly weaved doubt and questions in my head for the entire novel. I wasn’t sure if Kelly was having some sort of breakdown or what was going on. Her behavior was odd at best, her best friend Christine seemed to hover with her gentle questioning about Kelly being o.k., and Kelly’s husband Rafael hinted repeatedly that he was concerned about her mental health. Carefully placed clues and hints were scattered around, but I was burning up the pages to find out what happened in their lives. I wasn’t sure who was real or imaginary. I wondered if there had been some traumatic event. Honestly, I just had no clue what the hell was going on. And that is why this book is so good

When I Was You embodies all of the things that make thrillers so wonderful. Doubt is planted immediately, you don’t know who to trust, and you have no idea what will happen next. The big turn of events at around the 65% mark is probably one of the biggest surprises that I have read in a long time, but even better was that the plot continued to surprise me over and over again until the end. I cannot believe I let this gem sit on my iPad for so long without reading it. The book is completely amazing and I highly recommend grabbing it as soon as you can!

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

Purchase When I Was You on Amazon!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Ordinary Hazards, by Anna Bruno

Ordinary Hazards,

by Anna Bruno

Publication: Atria Books; August 18, 2020

ordinary hazardsAbout: It’s 5pm on a Wednesday when Emma settles into her hometown bar with a motley crew of locals, all unaware that a series of decisions over the course of a single night is about to change their lives forever. As the evening unfolds, key details about Emma’s history emerge, and the past comes bearing down on her like a freight train.

Why has Emma, a powerhouse in the business world, ended up here? What is she running away from? And what is she willing to give up to recapture the love she once cherished? An exploration of contemporary love, guilt, and the place we call home, and in the tradition of Ask Again, Yes and Little Fires EverywhereOrdinary Hazards follows one woman’s epic journey back to a life worth living.

*My Review*

Ordinary Hazards has been patiently waiting on my iPad for quite a while. To be honest, I don’t even remember requesting it, however, this is a hell of a debut by Anna Bruno that I am so glad I didn’t miss. Whether you drink or not, whether you are a homebody or not, everyone knows that one small, local bar. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. Strangers may come in and leave, but overall, it is a place where you see the same people and hear them discussing pretty much the same things. This novel takes place at one such bar called The Final Final. Emma arrives at 5 pm, sits on a stool, and is promptly served her regular whiskey from the bartender. Over the course of the evening, the reader learns about Emma’s past and that is she is no longer with her husband Lucas. Eventually, Emma’s entire story comes out explaining the unimaginable losses she has experienced, but first are the stories of all of those in the bar, including Emma and Lucas’ story,  told in both past and present tense, leading up to the climax of the story.

Anna Bruno’s writing is vivid, poetic, and has the gorgeous flow of that of a seasoned writer. The descriptions are detailed and honest in such a raw way that at times it wasn’t entirely comfortable. However, her words made me feel as if I was right there in each scenario watching it play out with my own eyes. With that being said, I also found myself bored at times and skimming over certain recollections. The present tense happenings never let me down, holding my attention from beginning to end, but some of the back stories on Emma and other various characters felt cumbersome at times. But, to anyone that reads this novel and thinks about giving up, don’t do it. A slow-burn character-driven novel, Ordinary Hazards just continues to expose more of who Emma really is, the demons that she battles, and the demons being battled by those around her. After a while I found myself completely unable to set this one down wondering what would happen next and exactly how far each of the characters was willing to go.

Main themes of this novel include grief, struggling with forgiveness, and struggling to accept where we are in our lives. The draw of alcohol, socializing, and the hopes of forgetting (even if just for awhile), pulled each of these unique characters into The Final Final each evening where truths were spoken, hard feelings were expressed, and tempers eventually flared. But most of all, it’s about the one night where Emma seems to come to terms with her life and her experiences, finally recognizing that some of her great loss in life was voluntary and that she can make the choice to seek joy and love despite her losses.

Ordinary Hazards was a 5-star read that I highly recommend. Will you laugh and feel uplifted while reading? No. However, there are great lessons about the life we create for ourselves, accepting the past, and moving forward.

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

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Book Review: Wild Ride (Whiskey River Road, #5), by Kelly Moore

 

Wild Ride (Whiskey River Road, #5), by Kelly Moore

Publication: October 29, 2020

wild rideAbout:

He’s a tough cowboy. She’s a wild ride and the daughter of his family’s enemy. Will they let passion win out, or will it tear them to pieces?

Noah was raised apart from his family. Now, he’s trying to fit in with the Calhouns. But fitting in isn’t always easy when you’ve been a loner. A roll in the hay with a gorgeous woman fits his lifestyle. Falling in love was never in his plans.

Molly Granger’s lived a hard, dedicated life to her father. A man she loathes but has pledged her loyalty to—at least by all appearances. Her only focus has been revenge, even at the cost of her own life. Her goal is thrown off-kilter the day she meets Noah in a bar.

The connection between Molly and Noah is raw and intense, but neither one wants to admit their attraction. A wedge forms between them when Noah finds out her father is enemy number one.

Trapped between desire and vengeance, will they find a middle ground?

**My Review**

I’m so excited to review the next installment in the Whiskey River Road series, Wild Ride! In earlier books we’ve gotten to know a little bit about the newest Calhoun siblings, Noah and Jane. In Wild Ride, prepare to get a much closer look into Noah, his sister Jane, their relationship with the other Calhouns, and of course – the instant chemistry with Molly Granger. Noah is trying to find his place in the family, having fun, and living his life. Molly appears to be all business, cold, and the exact opposite of Noah, except for the little detail of having off-the-charts chemistry from the first time they see each other. Once they figure out who the other is, there’s an ongoing battle knowing they should steer clear of one another, but also not being able to keep their hands off one another. 

If you love crazy and intense chemistry right off the bat, then prepare yourself for Noah and Molly. There has been no lack of steamy moments in this series, but Noah and Molly are on fire! Anyway, Wild Ride showed me so much more about Noah, as well as, his sister Jane and how they are trying more and more to find their place in the Calhoun family. Noah is laid back and easy-going while also being a hard worker. He’s finding his way as far as being a rancher and is ready to get himself better settled on the ranch. When everyone realizes that they have to battle Granger over land, again, Noah steps up and is just protective over the family and the land as any of the other Calhouns. But the main issue, Molly is with the enemy.

Now, onto Molly. All of the female characters in this series have been strong, independent, and often hilarious women. Molly is definitely one of the more complex though, and I love her! This woman suffered a horrible trauma growing up and at first appears to be insanely loyal to her sleazy father. But not long into the novel, we realize that she has been carefully plotting revenge against him for years. She’s had one goal forever, but after meeting Noah a softer side slowly starts to appear. Like Jane, Molly’s character has many layers and it was an absolute joy watching each of those layers be peeled back to reveal who she really is. 

And you know what? I think she became one of my favorite characters of this entire series. 

I have so much praise for this book that I could spend hours typing away about it. It has the sexy, fun, playfulness that each of the installments have in this series. There is serious conflict both externally with the Calhouns fighting Granger and internally with several characters struggling with difficult choices to make. Tension builds over and over in this story, but there is also that fabulous humor that we have come to love with this family.  And for those that loved the last book and getting a better look into Wyatt, prepare yourself for both sweet and heart-wrenching moments with him and Margret (Kleenex alert). 

Wild Ride is a must-read for fans of western romance. It’s about family, protecting what is ours, love, and surviving whatever life throws our way. You will feel tense, you will cry, you will laugh, and most likely have to fan yourself a time or two. Overall,  you will not be able to put this down. I am once again amazed and in awe of Kelly Moore. Her ability to create and bring to life masterful characters and stories within multiple genres is like nothing I have ever seen. My only negative thought after reading this is, “what happens after every character gets their story?” I absolutely do not want this incredible series to end. 

This is above and beyond a 5-star read, however, if you haven’t yet started this series, make sure you start at the beginning to get the full story of each of the characters.

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

Pre-Order Wild Ride on Amazon!

Missed the start of this series? Check out my reviews for books 1-4!

coming homeComing Home (Whiskey River Road, #1)

A cowboy. An empty altar. Coming home is complicated.

What stopped me from walking down the aisle to the perfect man? My stupid rebel heart, that’s what. 

I loved Boone Methany with everything I had, but I wanted more than just the ranch I grew up on and training horses for the rest of my life. Leaving him on our wedding day wasn’t something I planned on. Neither was coming back to my family ranch after seven years in the military just to eat a heaping helping of crow. 

I thought I was prepared to see him again. What I wasn’t ready for, was him being engaged. 

Coming home is about to get mighty complicated.

stolen heartsStolen Hearts (Whiskey River Road, #2)

A thief and a single father don’t bode well. She’s snarky, and sexy which can only lead to two broken hearts.

It was a day like any other on the ranch.

Hard work and no play makes for a cranky cowboy. Needing a night out on the town left me sneaking in my father’s house like a teenage boy.  That was my first mistake of the day. 

The second was playing hero to a damsel in distress that turned out to be no damsel at all but a sexy, snarky woman who took me by surprise.

How you ask?

I’d been a ladies man.  That is until I became a father.  My rebel days were gone. A six-year-old sassy daughter changed all of that for me.  I didn’t need the complicated messy kind of love stuff. My hands were full.

A mission into town to handle a family issue would make my life more muddled. The day I met the woman who would steal my heart.

A thief. A woman on the run.  A woman with one too many secrets.  A woman whom I had to save because if I didn’t, I feared she disappear and take two hearts with her. I wasn’t prepared for the danger she was in and the decision I’d have to make. She’d hate me for sure.

I definitely wasn’t prepared for her to leave.

three wordsThree Words (Whiskey River Road #3)

Wild at heart. One hot cowboy. A heap of trouble.

What stopped me from saying the three words Ian wanted to hear? My stubbornness that protected my heart, that’s what.

A handsome cowboy with a hot body and a sense of humor to boot, Ian Daughtry was everything a woman could ask for. He was downright pretty to look at. The day he left my world spun out of control. It changed me inside. I was no longer the sweet, innocent girl. Instead, I became the wild child desperate to feel anything but love.

Now he’s back, slipped into town unbeknownst to me. My family knew but didn’t want to tell me, afraid it would rip me apart. 

I have a news flash for him. I don’t care how hot he is, he ain’t gettin’ me back. This woman has done fine on her own. But boy howdy… just seeing him he sent me in a tailspin. One that might get me in a heap of trouble.

kentucky rainKentucky Rain (Whiskey River Road, #4)

A law-abiding man, breaking all the rules and dodging love. I’ll either run her off or give her my heart.

I threw in my hat, giving up my job as a lawyer to become the one thing I swore I never would…a cowboy. I’ve lived on my father’s ranch my entire life, but never learned how to be a rancher’s son. Instead, I was urged to become an attorney by my father, who doesn’t live by the letter of the law.

Now, I’m left picking up the pieces of my life, trying to figure out who I am, and what I want. Trouble is brewing for me, I can feel it in my bones, especially when my friends-with-benefits relationship with Margret starts to feel like something more than I have to give. She deserves a better man than me.

My plan is to keep her at arm’s length. Her plan is to pull me in closer

Uncategorized

Book Review: The Start of Us, by Hannah Emery

The Start of Us, by Hannah Emery

Publication: One More Chapter; July 31, 2020

start of usAbout:

From the moment they meet their worlds are changed forever.  They know that fate has led them to each other.

Daniel knows Erica is special, but he doesn’t quite understand how special she is.  Because Erica has a unique gift: an ability to slip between worlds and observe a life she’s never lived, made up of all the paths she didn’t take. 

But just as their lives seem perfect, tragedy strikes.
  
Erica’s gift offers them hope – a chance to re-do their lives.  But going back comes with risks.

What if Erica can’t find Daniel again?  What if their paths were never meant to cross?
 
What if going back means Erica has to give up all the happiness – and pain – of today?

What if you got the chance to live another life…would you take it?

**My Review**

When I first saw this, my first thought was that it would be a more whimsical version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. However, this ended up being quite different. After the end of one relationship, Erica begins a relationship with Daniel. What Erica once thought were memories, end up actually being glimpses into another life, much like a “what if” situation, begging for her to consider if she should have made different choices in her own life, as well as, in relationships. Initially, I found this to be an interesting premise, but for some reason, it just didn’t work for me.

I think my main issue with the book was that I never became invested in Erica or her relationship with Daniel. I didn’t feel any great romance between them, making it hard for me to root for them, much less care about them either way. Daniel felt like any other secondary character and it just didn’t work. Some of my favorite books include secondary characters that truly help drive the story, but this was pretty much the Erica show, and unfortunately, she just wasn’t a very likable character. 

Another huge let-down for me was Erica’s glimpses, time-travels, or whatever you want to call them. Overall, not much happened so I was left wondering, “what is the point?” Despite ups and downs the story has an overall HEA, not much happens during the travels, and although there is certainly some reflection about life choices, I didn’t feel that much of a statement was made. 

I do applaud Hannah Emery’s creative vision and ideas for her plot, but as a whole, this just wasn’t a great read for me. 

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.