Friday, November 8, 2019

Cover Reveal: In the Unlikely Event - L.J. Shen

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In the Unlikely Event AMAZONSometimes you meet people who are out of this world, so you make them a part of yours.
In the Unlikely Event, an all-new must-read contemporary romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen, is coming November 19th!

A one-night stand born from vengeance in a foreign land.
An explosive chemistry neither of us could deny.
We signed a contract on the back of a Boar’s Head Pub napkin that said if we ever met again, we would drop everything and be together.
Eight years and thousands of miles later, he’s here.
In New York.
And he’s America’s music obsession.
The intangible Irish poet who brings record executives to their knees.
The blizzard in my perfect, unshaken snow globe.
Last time we spoke, he was a beggar with no intention of becoming a king.
But a king he became, and now I’m his servant.
I’m not the same broken princess Malachy Doherty put back together with his callused hands.
I have a career I love.
A boyfriend I adore.
An apartment, a roommate, a life.
I changed. He changed, too.
But Mal kept the napkin.
Question is, will I keep my word?

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Cover designed by Hang Le

About LJ Shen
LJ Shen prof pic
L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries.
She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.
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Friday, November 1, 2019

Review: Followers - Megan Angelo

by Megan Angelo
Publishing: January 14, 2020 by Graydon House
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever.

Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it's only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.


4 Stars
Orla Cadden wants to be a writer, but not just the gossip column writer she is today, she wants to be known in the literary world. A publishing deal seems impossible until her wanna-be famous roommate shares a plan that could catapult them both into success. Floss is willing to throw ethics out the window for her A-List dreams and Orla finds herself along for the ride, her social media smarts catapulting them both into stardom. The fame, though, is not what it seems and Orla soon discovers the dark side to popularity.
Several years in the future the world has changed after a devestating event called The Spill. Young Marlow is an internet sensation, selected by the government to live in a California village where the cameras are always following you. With twelve-million followers and the perfect life, Marlow should be satisfied, but long buried secrets make her question the on screen persona hand-picked and spoon fed to her. Marlow has never lived outside the private village, but in her desperate hunt for answers she flees security for the unknown.
Orla, Floss, and Marlow once lived for followers, but while popularity is a powerful drug, there is a dangerous side to obsession.

"It's not good to be a follower."

Followers is one of those books that stays with you, because it is almost too believable. The settings are places we know and the future state of America feels like something that could easily occur. It's a profound story that's layered and complex, with just a hint of science fiction to take this story into the scary future Megan Angelo created. Main narrators, Orla and Marlow, are complicated women, each feels held captive by their own lives, but their thoughts are colorful and intelligent. They envision something different for themselves and as the book progresses we see just how far each is willing to go to change their lives. Megan Angelo takes the role of social media influencer and fame to the next level with this twisted, realistic tale that I could not put down.

"She had grown up seeing paper as synonymous with secrets."

Culturally significant, Followers is a read that I truly think everyone needs to read. We are so attached to our phones, to the ease of access to information, and to the celebrities that give us regular glimpses into their lives. We know what will get the most likes, we can name the latest famous baby, but do we even know our own best friend's birthday without the help of social media? It is a poignant reminder of just how much the world has changed, and in such a short period of time, since the creation of the Internet, computers, and cell phones. The Spill, a significant incident in this book, was not quite what I expected it to be, but as a reader I could easily take the events and imagine something quite similar and significant happening today. I loved the brain fog that regular phone and computer users experienced in their later lives, their forgetful nature something that made me think quite a bit about how much I rely on searching the web for answers. The ending, though quite simple, was a nice wrap up for such a fast paced, suspenseful read.

"There were so many ways what happened next might not have happened."

Followers by Megan Angelo is already in the running for one of my favorite 2020 releases. Megan Angelo showcases her incredible writing talent in this well-plotted novel that held my attention from start to finish. Followers, the word itself used in several clever ways throughout the novel, is a story that has left a lasting impact on me, ironically since I did indeed read it on a tablet.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cover Reveal: Come Back for Me - Corinne Michaels

Come Back for Me
by Corinne Michaels
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Cover Design: Perfect Pear Creative
Photographer: Brian Kaminski

From New York Times Bestselling author Corinne Michaels comes a new emotional and riveting love
story in the first standalone novel in the Arrowood Brothers series.
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. . .

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About Corinne:

Corinne Michaels is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of romance novels. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love, and she enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak before finding a way y to heal them through their struggles.

Corinne is a former Navy wife and happily married to the man of her dreams. She began her writing
career after spending months away from her husband while he was deployed—reading and writing were her escapes from the loneliness. Corinne now lives in Virginia with her husband and is the emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun-loving mom of two beautiful children.
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Review: Where She Went - Kelly Simmons

Where She Went
by Kelly Simmons
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Published October 1, 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark

What happens when your worst fear comes true?

Her only daughter has just gone away to college, and Maggie O'Farrell knows she's turning into one of those helicopter parents she used to mock. Worrying constantly, texting more than she should, even occasionally dropping by the campus "just to say hi." But Maggie can't shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen to Emma. And then, just as Maggie starts to relax, her daughter disappears.

The clues are disturbing. An empty dorm room where Emma was supposedly living. A mysterious boy described as Future Husband in her phone. Dormmates who seem more sinister than friendly. As Maggie combs over the campus looking for signs of her daughter, she learns more about Emma's life than she ever thought possible.

Kelly Simmons delivers another gripping novel in Where She Went, an unforgettable story of letting go and the secrets that surface when the person keeping them is gone.

3.5 Stars
Maggie O'Farrell knows the moment she answers the door that something is wrong, you can't be the wife, or widow, of a cop without recognizing right away when a cop is at the door for something bad. She knows something has happened to Emma. As she is escorted to Emma's college she begins to pick apart the things she knows herself, like how Emma couldn't have been staying in the dorm and that something sinister must be lurking in the small college town. As she walks in her daughters footsteps, desperate for answers, she learns she didn't really know Emma at all anymore.

Gripping and fast paced, Where She Went by Kelly Simmons follows Maggie as she pushes for answers in her daughters disappearance. With alternating perspectives, Simmons gives readers a glimpse into Emma's college experiencing leading up to her disappearance and finds Maggie pushing the cops to try harder as she tries to place herself into Emma's shoes. Maggie is the classic, overprotective mom, Emma is the friendly, but naive new college student. They are two peas in a pod, so similar to one another, which I found lent itself to the story. I could see them in one another and believed in Maggie as she followed the few clues she could find. I loved the alternating chapters, it made the book more suspenseful and the anxiety I felt pushed me to keep reading. While I wouldn't call it a thriller, it certainly had all the right elements of a mysterious suspense read.

Where She Went isn't predictable, I really was quite surprised in the end, but it does lack some of the thriller aspects I usually enjoy in my suspense reads. The events leading up to Emma's disappearance feel mundane in comparison to Maggie's encounters as she hunts for clues. The twists are fairly mild and the conclusion felt more like a blanket laid down to soothe fears rather than that feeling of needing a deep breathe after having ran for one's life. It's all a matter of perspective and what you're looking for in your read though. If women's suspense/thriller is what you need for your Autumn cozy read, then I recommend Where She Went for sure.

A quick read that kept me glued to the pages, Where She Went is an intriguing mystery novel with characters that are realistic and relatable. I enjoyed the unraveling of secrets, complicated relationships, and the characters that made this story feel like a true crime read.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Review: The Summer of Secrets - Christina Hart, Cynthia A. Rodriguez, J.R. Rogue

When the Bordeau sisters are reunited for the summer, secrets are born as they each come to terms with small-town living and their familial bonds.

One sister revisits the past.

Another engages with the enemy.

And the last flirts with the forbidden.

The sisters quickly learn that some secrets can bury you, while others can save you.

Ruin Me
◦ a second-chance romance ◦
3.5 Stars

The youngest Bordeau sister has been plagued by her role and nickname of Baby Bordeau for too long, she's using this summer to face everything she left behind and stand up to her sisters. Christina Hart's Ruin Me follows poetry writer Kitty Bordeau as she faces old love, struggles through heartbreak, and fights against the secrets her sisters have kept in the name of love.

"This all feels too familiar. This searching for him. My heart is always searching for him."

A second chance novella in the Summer of Secrets collection, Ruin Me is a fast paced love story set in the heat of summer. With gorgeous, emotional poems kicking off each chapter, Christina Hart takes readers on an angsty journey with 19 year-old Kitty and her ex-beau, Joey. Kitty is such a relatable character, her creativity is her pride and her mental health battle is the driving force. She uses words to battle her demons, especially as her former flame re-enters her life and reignites the flame inside her. It's a summer of push and pull for the young couple, each trying to overcome a past of ugly secrets and lies, each chasing after a love that they don't want to give up.

"For a moment we slipped and said what we meant. The truth has a way of escaping the things we say when the earth falls away."

Ruin Me was a solid introduction to the Bordeau sisters, I loved that it started with Kitty and gave us her youthful perspective on the challenges she and her sisters have faced since the loss of their parents. I do wish it had been longer, the close of Kitty's story comes far too quickly and deserved more fanfare. This was my first Christina Hart read and I can already say, after reading Kitty's perspective and the gorgeous poetry, I will be reading more.
The Summer of Secrets collection starts with an angsty bang and I am already turning the pages to start part two, Hate Me.

Hate Me
◦ a hate-to-love romance ◦
5 Stars
Eloise "Lucy" Bordeau has done everything to keep her parent's bookstore alive, even as her sister's ran from their hometown. She's given up everything, including herself, unable to let go, to chase her dreams too. A handsome stranger, like those in her books, seems like the perfect distraction, until she discovers who he really is. Ezra James holds the money she needs, but the contract he asks her to sign asks for more than interest in return.

"I’ve always heard the saying that there’s a thin line between love and hate. Those people never straddled the line between lust and disdain."

I devoured Hate Me and then I had to live in this uncomfortable feeling of knowing exactly what Eloise was feeling. She's been the rock, the foundation of her sister's lives, and yet she so desperately desires something more, something she won't speak of. One night with a handsome stranger turns into an arrangement she can't refuse, even if it leaves her questioning everything. Filled with secrets and shame, Eloise begins an affair with a man she knows she shouldn't, but she doesn't know the secret he too is keeping. The chemistry between these two is off the charts, I was not prepared for it, but I absolutely loved it.

“God, it’s so fucked up, but I want to be the first man to break your heart,” he murmurs.

Hate Me is novella two in the Summer of Secrets collection and, without hurting anyone's feelings, I will say it's my favorite. It's a sexy, quick read that somehow still made me cry. How is that even a thing? Cynthia brings to life the bookworm, her bookshop, and the take-control man that flips her world upside down. It's a story filled with the pushes and pulls of life, with lust, control, and independence. Eloise was such an interesting character, so perfectly middle sister, and these pages are her truths being revealed, just as Ezra takes the time to reveal her heart and soul.

Teach Me
◦ an age-gap romance ◦
5 Stars
Teach Me, the final novella in the Summer of Secrets series, follows eldest sister Elizabeth Sophie as she navigates the small town of Cherry Cove that she had left behind in search of healing and herself. She wants to help at Bordeau Books, she wants to heal her relationships with her sisters, and she wants younger Sloane Callahan, she just doesn't know how to achieve any of it. With a teaching job and a pile of secrets held close to her chest, Sophie finally allows the great loss of her and her sisters' life to guide her in the direction she must go.

"I think I'm in love with a fleeting moment. Wishing on this stolen thing we have."

Oh my word, J.R. Rogue, you dirty, smutty writer! I mean, with a cover like this I knew I was going to get some naughty out of one of my fave angst queens, but Teach Me was downright the best way possible. A little bit taboo, a lot a bit emotional, Teach Me is the perfect conclusion to the series. Not only do we get closure on the other sisters' stories, but we get the older sister perspective and it brings things full circle. Sloane and Sophie have a shared responsibility, brought about by similar losses. In one another they see a friend, a companion, someone who understands. Through the fog of lust they navigate the difficult waters of grown up responsibility brought on long before it's time. It's heart-wrenching, romantic, and somehow still smutty; J.R. Rogue has talent.

"I want to call him my future. I want to call him mine. I want to crawl into his bed every night. But how can that happen?"

Teach Me is another hit from J.R. Rogue, her lyrical prose weaving a story about love and loss, she takes readers on an emotional journey. As a whole, the Summer of Secrets series was just an incredible reading experience. The three authors, Christina Hart, Cynthia A. Rodriguez, and J.R. Rogue, bring to life the Bordeau sisters, their small town, and their fierce, sometimes difficult love for one another. Together these authors tackle the difficult subject of loss and the painful, beautiful experience of life. I highly recommend these novels and all three authors.
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