Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Release Blitz & Review: Come Back for Me - Corinne Michaels

 Come Back for Me, an all-new emotional and riveting

standalone from New York Times Bestselling author Corinne Michaels, is LIVE!

One night, eight years ago, she gave me peace.
No names.
No promises.
Just two broken people, desperate to quiet their pain and grief.

In the morning, she was gone and had taken my solace with her. I left for the military that day, vowing never to return to Pennsylvania.
When my father dies, I’m forced to go home to bury him.
At least I'll finally be rid of his farm, which is grown over and tangled with memories I've fought to forget.

And that’s when I find her. She’s even more beautiful than I remember and has the most adorable kid I’ve ever seen.

Years have passed, but my feelings are the same, and this time I refuse to let her go. They say you can't bury the past, and they're right. Because when long-ago secrets are exposed, rocking us both to the core, I have no choice but to watch her walk away again . . .

Review
4 Stars

Come Back for Me was just the swoony, angsty romance I needed! The first in a series of standalones, Corrine Michaels' latest follows Connor Arrowood as he returns to his hometown of Sugarloaf, PA and the past he left behind. The trip for closure comes at a price though, with Connor's father once against exerting his power over he and his brothers even from the grave. Forced to stay in Sugarloaf, Connor begins his six month sentence, determined to fix up the farm and get out of town for good. Sugarloaf holds more secrets than just his family's past though, the woman next door just so happens to be the nameless woman from eight years ago that's never left his mind. So much time has passed, she's married and has a kid, but his feelings for her burn strong, especially as he watches her face her own horrifying secrets.

Holy heavy read. Come Back for Me is beautiful, it's a romance that requires the investment of your heart and emotions, but it also is painful and heart-wrenching. Connor's youth wasn't easy, Ellie's story certainly isn't rainbows and butterflies, their shared story isn't the one in fairy tales, but it's real and the beautiful part is their strength, perseverance, and the love that flows between them. Corinne Michaels hit it out of the park though. These characters are easy to love, the connection they share is palpable, and Ellie's sweet daughter is the literal cherry on top. She is the cutest thing ever and has some of the best dialogue. Together Connor and Ellie face their individual pasts, their desire for a future together, and a shared history that carries the heaviest secret of all. It's a story of forgiveness, of strength, of loving despite it all.

Come Back for Me was a unique read for this romance lover, it isn't what I would've usually reached for, but I'm so glad I did. The story feels real, the characters come alive on the pages, and the trials they face are very realistic. That gave it more impact for me, but it also made me struggle with the pacing. Connor and Ellie's feelings develop swiftly, I needed more development between them. I also needed more on the small town, an understanding of how four boys could leave it and the people they once cared for behind, though I suppose we'll get more on that as the series progresses. I also needed more on the siblings. There is more to them than we are given and while I don't want their individual stories given away, I wanted to understand how they worked more. While the story does tell the story of a family, I didn't feel connected to the Arrowood clan like I did Ellie, her daughter, and the secondary characters we met.

Come Back for Me was a stunning standalone and introduces readers to a family, a town, and a series they will want more of. I know I'm not the only reader who wants to get to know the brothers a little better, who wants to know just how many secrets one small town can hold. I'll be seeing this series through the end, that is for sure, especially with my love of a good angsty read.


About Corinne:
Corinne Michaels is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller author. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun-loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.

After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.

Connect with Corinne:

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Review: The Dead Girls Club - Damien Angelica Walters

The Dead Girls Club
by Damien Angelica Walters
Published: December 10, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Thriller, Suspense

A supernatural thriller in the vein of A Head Full of Ghosts about two young girls, a scary story that becomes far too real, and the tragic--and terrifying--consequences that follow one of them into adulthood.

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face...

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real--and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It's been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night--that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She's done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn't seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did...and they're determined to make Heather pay.

Available Now

Review
5 Stars

The Dead Girls Club was only my most anticipated read of 2019 and I am so happy to say Damien Angelica Walters delivered a twisted thriller. Beginning thirty years in the future, Heather Cole is a successful child psychologist with a secret of her own. In 1991 Heather Cole and her three best friends were part of The Dead Girls Club, the four were intense fans of the creepy and macabre, at least until one of them, Becca, died. Heather has repressed many of the memories of the night Becca passed away, but she knows she was involved and now, after receiving the other half of a friendship necklace in the mail, she knows someone else knows too. Alternating between 1991 and present day, The Dead Girls Club follows Heather as she becomes the desperate, unreliable narrator I so wanted her to be.

You aren't tired of me recommending unreliable narrator books yet, right? I hope not, because this may be the last one of 2019, but I already have a long list ready for 2020. Heather Cole would never be my first pick for a child psychologist, in fact it's surprising that any of the children she is treating stay with her through the end of the novel. Her downward spiral is swift, while readers aren't revealed the complete events of the fateful night in 1991, we are made aware quite quickly just how afraid Heather is of the truth coming out. She is desperate, unhinged, and pulls away from everyone in her life. She believes she's holding it together, but we know from the flashbacks that the death of Becca is all that's on her mind.

What seems just a bit abnormal for four young girls soon takes a psychological twist. We're led to believe it's supernatural, that one of the stories they are hearing, shared by Becca, is real and coming true with them as the victims. While in reality it is four impressionable pre-teens making the horrifying events occur, causing their bonds to sever and the events to turn darker, scarier, fatal. I'll admit some of the events are not believable, as an adult reader it is easy to pick out the holes in the young girls' experience, but when in their shoes it all seems plausible. The flashback scenes are the most interesting, giving readers the mystery and thrill they're seeking when picking up a book like The Dead Girls Club. Even when Heather became so unreliable and even more unlikable I held on, wanting to know what, who, and why the girls' story club turned so deadly.

A gripping thriller, The Dead Girls Club satisfied my desire for a creepy read and I really liked the urban legend twist. The story was creative, the writing fantastic, and the character's were as hysterical and unreliable as I had hoped. While it isn't the horror that was promised, it was an entertaining, fast paced read that I would recommend to mystery and thriller fans.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Review: The Wives - Tarryn Fisher

The Wives
by Tarryn Fisher 
Published: December 30, 2019 by Graydon House
Genre: Suspense, Mystery Thriller

New York Times bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.

Add to Goodreads
Purchase Now

Review
5 Stars
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are Seth's wives. Thursday has never met the others, but she is okay with the arrangement, at least she believes she is. She keeps house in Seattle, she cooks him dinner, she is his easy wife. The other two make their homes in Portland, a place Thursday has never been too concerned with visiting until she finds a note in her husband's pocket with the name Hannah and an appointment time on it. Soon she is curious about the others and in her explorations she finds Hannah and in her she finds a friend. Hannah's husband leaves bruises on her, but Thursday's husband doesn't do that to her. Thursday wants to help Hannah, she wants to know this other version of her husband, and she desperately wants to know who the third wife is.

This is one of those books that I recommend to my friends by saying "it's just so messed up," but instead of messed I use the F-word. I mean come on, what would you do if you are just one of three wives? What would you do if you had the opportunity to snoop on the other woman or women in this case? If you believed in something so fiercely, would you be willing to risk it all? I have grown up around several people who have left the polygamist lifestyle, so my interest in this book started there. In this case though, the husband keeps his three wives separate, going so far as to call them by the days of the week in which he visits them, rather than by their real names. The Wives isn't about their peaceful lives though, it wouldn't be a Tarryn Fisher novel if that was the case. No, much like the proverb, curiosity killed the cat, Thursday is out to find out all she can about the man she thought she knew, the man now willing to take it all away from her.

My first clue that Thursday would be an unreliable narrator was her willingness to believe everything was fine, her acceptance of the idea that the other women were less desirable than her, the way she tamped down any questions and convinced herself that despite him taking another wife after her, she still was his favorite. She becomes a detective, a Nancy Drew type character. Her sleuthing is entertaining, so much so that as Tarryn Fishers dropped hints about what was truly going on I absolutely missed them. As the novel takes a dark turn I found myself shocked to find that this novel wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be. A psychological thriller through and through, The Wives takes you on a twisted journey into the mind of one wife and the things she is willing to do to both know her husband and to keep him.

I could not put The Wives down, once I started I didn't stop until 5 hours later I had reached the last page. Then...then I could do nothing. I could not formulate a thought on the novel beyond what the eff did I just read?! It's the kind of book you have a hard time believing and yet you want to read it again. It is terrifying, it is brilliant, and it is solid 5-star release from Tarryn Fisher, her very first with a publisher.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Review: Blow - Tracy Ewens

Blow: A Love Story
(Love Story)
by Tracy Ewens
Published: June 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

If only life were as simple as breathing in and letting go.

Millie Hart has made a career writing happy endings. While her real life is often less than enchanting, at least she has her stories, featuring strong, vibrant women ready for any challenge and men who stand in support of their dreams. Millie makes millions of readers swoon, but despite her agent’s deep objections, her new project is fueled by her intense drive to prove something. All she needs is four months in Bodega Bay. No meet-cutes, no kissing, just blissful silence.

Drake Branch is happy to be alive. He’s healed, opened BP Glass Works with his best friend, and appreciates the value of his hometown. It’s been six years since the accident, and Drake has tackled every hurdle—mental and physical—to stand on his own. So, when he lets a struggling metalworks shop move in next door to his studio and the noise triggers old issues, Drake needs to crank the music—as loud as it will go.

Millie rents the cottage mere steps from Drake’s studio to write a literary novel she hopes will finally gain her father’s approval and soon learns that away from her laptop, there are men who refuse to be edited out. Despite her neighbor’s insistence that she is an entitled tourist, Millie has been blown off most of her life and she’s not going anywhere this time.

It is going to be one long summer unless Millie and Drake can learn that some books are more than their covers, one breath can change the shape of everything, and true family often shows up in unlikely places.
Available Now
Add to Goodreads
Check out my other A Love Story series reviews HERE!

Review
5 Stars

Millie Hart writes romance, the happy endings that readers want for themselves, but she knows she can do more. In one last attempt to impress her scholarly father Millie sets out to write the complete opposite of romance, but first she'll need to get somewhere secluded, somewhere moody, somewhere not filled with a lawn of gnomes. Unfortunately, a lawn of gnomes and a cheery cottage is what she's got, so she's going to make the most of it, at least until the hears the 80's music blaring from next door. Drake is all bark no bite, but he needs the music to work and something about his temporary neighbor and her insane pajamas has him growling a bit more often. She refuses to let her neighbor stop her from literary success, but she doesn't plan on their chemistry, their witty banter, the charm of the town, or her brain's natural tendency to write a meet cute into a happily ever after starring herself.

Another instant hint from Tracy Ewens filled with heat and heart! Blow is the realistic love story told from the alternative perspective of Millie and Drake. It's a classic case of small town locals meets big shot out of towner, no one wants to let her in, but Millie seems to be holding the key to Bodega Bay's missing pieces and soon it's just Drake having a hard time opening up. Millie was not my favorite at first, she's all talk and money, but then she opens up and we get to see she's wearing the same armor we all have on, the one we made out of our parent's opinions, our past hurts, our dreams and the struggles we've gone through to get them. Drake is handsome, intimidating, and a bit entitled, but he's got a story behind him too and getting to know it made me fall for him hard. Millie and Drake don't seem to be a pair of puzzle pieces meant to be together, but somehow they fit even if it takes them an entire novel to figure it out. They annoy one another, they bicker, but they understand one another and it makes for such a charming love story.

Like all Tracy Ewens novels, I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with the characters and town that she brings to life on the pages. The A Love Story series consists of several standalone novels that take place in cute northern California towns. They feature relatable characters going through real life situations and finding love along the way. The characters are quirky, the dialogue feels natural, and the writing is just stellar. I am forever a fan of this series and Blow is at the top of that list now.

ARC provided.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Release Day Review: Gilded Lily - Staci Hart

Gilded Lily (Bennet Brothers #2)
by Staci Hart
Published: December 4, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Retelling

They say there’s no such thing as perfect.
But I’ve built my life to perfection—the perfect boyfriend, the perfect apartment, the perfect career planning celebrity weddings. My job—my only job—is to make sure every event is absolutely and completely perfect.
What’s not perfect? Kash Bennet.
And I wish I didn’t find that so appealing.
I could have told you every perfectly imperfect thing about the gardener at Longbourne. Like his hair, lush and black and far too long. Or his nose, the flat bridge of a Greek god, bent a little like it’s been broken. Or his size. Beastly. Roped and corded with muscles, gleaming with sweat and peppered with dirt.
There’s no escaping him, not if I’m going to use his family’s flower shop for my events.
But nothing is what it seems. And in the span of a heartbeat, my perfect life is turned inside out.
They say the best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody new. When Kash offers his services to the cause, it sounds like the perfect plan.
What’s not part of the plan? Falling in love with the gardener.
But they were right—there’s no such thing as perfect.
And I’m the fool who finds out the hard way.

Available Now
Review
5 Stars

Lila knows she wants to use the Bennet families business, Longbourne, for flowers for the wedding she is working on. Not only is it for THE celebrity family you see on TV nightly, it's her chance to prove that she is ready to be on top in the wedding planning biz. Too bad her boss and the youngest celeb sister are out to get her and she doesn't need daily interactions with Kash and his stupid t-shirts on top of that. Everything seems to be going great until her perfectly curated life comes tumbling down. The only stress relief she really needs is a good rebound and Kash is there with his easy charm and offer of no-strings fun. She never realized how good looking he is, how smooth, how complicated this could make things.

Kash is the easy brother, the one who likes his greenhouse work and feels more connection with the flowers and dirt than with the sassy Lila and her white suits. Nevermind that he's pictured her all mussed up, relaxed, and beneath him. Working together is one thing, even being her rebound is alright, but when his feelings just can't be buried anymore he challenges Lila for more. What he isn't ready for is just how different their lives are and just how much he doesn't fit in. With wedding season underway and a family crisis bubbling to the surface, Kash and Lila must decide whether opposites truly do attract or if the blossoming romance is destined to wilt.

"And I had to admit it was nice to be handled just a little."

Talk about not only an incredible retelling, but just an incredibly well-written, magical book. Staci Hart absolutely knocked it out of the park with Gilded Lily, it's just beautiful to read. Like a bouquet, this is a romance that blossoms with time; Kash and Lila's story is an opposites attract story line filled with character growth and emotions that reach out and touch you. It's filled with chemistry, heart, and life. Kash and Lila are easy to like, their goals, dreams, and struggles are so relatable and the added elements of the Bennet business just bring it all together. Plus, somehow Staci Hart managed to write the most beautiful smut scenes I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Seriously, they are works of art.

"The longing and quiet envy I felt struck me in the softest of places."

Gilded Lily is a story of passion, both for one's dreams and for another human. Kash and Lila are both so intense, but in such different ways. Despite their differences they fit together very well. Their coming together is certainly a choice made of convenience, but in time their intensity overflows and along with it their emotions. It's a chaotic time though and Staci Hart brought the wild ride that is a celebrity wedding to life, I even had anxiety. The dialogue in this book felt natural, the settings so easy to picture, and the characters are just so perfect. I love how the characters, including the secondary characters, band together to tackle issues. There is no issue too big for the Bennet clan to tackle and those friends and loves they've added along the way are just as much a part of the family.

"It was anything but casual. And I didn't know just what to do about that."

With the Bennet Brothers series, a Pride & Prejudice retelling, Staci Hart has given us characters with family values, realistic issues, and love stories that play before your eyes like a movie. Gilded Lily had just enough heat, heart, and quirk to keep me turning the pages long after I should have been asleep. I even cried, yes, that's right I cried and no one is surprised at all. I was that attached to this book, it's not even angsty, but it sure did feel like I was physically ther


e! I absolutely recommend this book, this series, and always, always this author.

WANT MORE BENNET BROTHER GOODNESS?
GRAB COMING UP ROSES, THE FIRST STAND ALONE IN THE BENNETT BROTHERS SERIES, AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON IN KINDLE UNLIMITED!

Everyone hates parts of their job. Maybe it’s the paperwork. Maybe it’s the day-to-day grind. Maybe it’s that client who never knows what they want, or the guy who always cooks fish in the microwave. But not me. I love every corner of the Longbourne Flower Shop, every flower, every petal, every stem. I love the greenhouse, and I love Mrs. Bennet, my boss. I love creating, and I love being a florist. I don’t hate anything at all. Except for Luke Bennet. The Bennet brothers have come home to help their mom save the flower shop, and Luke is at the helm. His smile tells a tale of lust, loose and easy. He moves with the grace of a predator, feral and wild. A thing unbridled, without rules or constraint. When he comes home to save Longbourne, I almost can’t be mad at him. Almost. He doesn’t remember that night I’ll never forget. That kiss, touched with whiskey and fire. It branded me like a red-hot iron. But it meant nothing to him. Everyone hates part of their job, and I hate Luke Bennet. Because if I don’t, I’ll fall in love with him.

AuthorPicsAbout the Author
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey.
From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

Connect with Staci
Stay up to date with Staci by joining her mailing list: http://stacihartnovels.com/get-the-newsletter/
Join Her Reader Group Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stacihart/

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