Saturday, August 24, 2019

Review: Say You Still Love Me - K.A. Tucker

Say You Still Love Me
K.A. Tucker
Published: August 6th 2019 by Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancΓ©—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

4.5 Stars
What's summer without summer camp, crushes on boys, and unrequited love? My answer is, it isn't one, but main character Piper Calloway might have an argument against that. Piper's mom believes in the quintessential youth experience, a sleep away summer camp and the serious role of camp counselor. Piper's in it for the new car, there's no way camp will be better than jet-setting with her best friends, but summer camp has a way of seeping into your heart. As an adult, Piper's all business as the VP of a multi billion-dollar real estate business, but the boy from summer camp has never left her mind. Where is he now, where did he go then, and why in the world does he call her the wrong name when they run into one another several years later?

"He turns and our eyes meet, and thirteen years seem to evaporate in the air between us."

Say You Still Love Me is a sweet, romantic journey that blends both new-adult and adult romance into one. K.A. Tucker tells a story of young love, broken hearts, and second chances. Piper is a force to be reckoned with in the business world, but she still sometimes cries into ice cream with her lifelong best friends and pines for the unknown. While she must be cutthroat in the boardroom, in real life she's still the sweet girl who cares for people more than she cares about their financial situation. Kyle was the first boy to steal her heart and for the last several years she's wondered what happened to him. When he becomes a security guard in her office she takes it as a sign, a chance to write the wrongs and rekindle their romance, but people don't stay missing for thirteen years for no reason. Piper, Kyle, and some of the old camp crew, must finally face the past they left behind at the lake.

"'There was a place where you and I worked, but it was thirteen years ago and we can't go back in time, Piper.' ..."

Told from the perspective of Piper, Say You Still Love Me takes readers on a trip through the past that shaped her into the woman she is today. It's an incredibly well written novel that doesn't follow the typical plot of rekindled romance, there's a secondary story line here that I never could have guessed at. There's also beautiful friendships and family members that make up a stunning cast of secondary characters, each bringing me more into the story and making me want to live inside their camp days forever. Say You Still Love Me is out just in time to make my summer reads list and is the perfect book to sit out on the dock with as you say goodbye to the warmer days and welcome in fall.
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Friday, August 23, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: The Year I Left - Christine Brae

The Year I Left
Christine Brae
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: August 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction

“A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.” 
Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.

Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.

An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.
5 Stars
Sometimes you finish a book and it stays with you in an uncomfortable way. It leaves you with heavy thoughts and feelings, it stirs you up a bit inside, it might even wake up a part of you that you were not aware was sleeping. The Year I Left is Christine Brae's final novel, a bit of a love story to the career-oriented business women who shine outwardly, but have ever dimming insides. It's a story of love, loss, depression, and finding oneself in the midst of it all. She writes about hope and perseverance and her lyrical words completely took over my world for the few days I lived in the pages. The Year I Left tells a story that I can relate to and in the characters I saw myself. 

"When did I start wishing I was like her? I thought it was my cross to bear. I thought that life was just like this. You live, you love, you lose."

Carin Frost is a wife, a mother, a successful business executive. On the outside she seems to have it all, but on the inside she is feeling lost. Her dissatisfaction with life has created problems within her home and her marriage, she's contemplated what it would look like if it all just went away. When a new business partner lights a spark in her, she begins to wonder what life would look like if she could walk away. Mattias Torres gives her a taste of fresh love, but the decisions associated with that love present a challenge she never dreamed of facing. Told in three parts, The Year I Left follows Carin as she struggles with her desire to escape and to love herself and life again. 

"I saw summer. Your upturned lips touched the corners of your eyes. You exuded self-confidence. You smelled good. Women like summer. I get why those women were falling all over themselves over you."

There is a common theme in reviews for this novel, a resounding "I can't imagine doing that," and while I too cannot I felt it in my soul when Carin did it herself. Christine Brae created characters that I could so easily see myself in that when they made choices my real-self would not ever make, I still felt like it was me standing there weighing my options. It's a type of suffering that no one wishes on anyone, but so many experience. It's a story that, for me, will open up a dialogue about the depression and despair associated with it that we are so afraid to speak up about. Carin does what, at the time, she feels is best to save herself. It is selfish, but it is also brave, to say she had so many doubts and fears, that she was willing to let go of everything to try, to bring emotion and love back into her life. It's heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. I also really love how she approached commitment and living again, she embraced a different type of love in her seasons of change and from it she healed herself. There was no time in reading that I saw Carin as weak and it was sort of empowering to have a fictional character that, despite it all, finds a way to fight for herself again.

"But take your time to think about it. It may be that you're looking for a change. It doesn't have to be love. It could be that you've outgrown this life and those you love just have to keep up with you."

This isn't the book that gives you the clean, perfect HEA, but it is the book that gives you a true perspective on love, life, and family. With The Year I Left, Christine Brae celebrates friendships, families, successes, and the unexpected nature of life. I cannot recommend this profound story enough, just go into it with an open mind and an open heart. Embrace the hurt, the hard, the beautiful part of falling down and figuring out how one can pick themselves up again.

"The first bridge I'd burned. The first of many, in following my heart. After this, there would be no turning back."

Author Bio:
Christine Brae is a senior executive with a full time career, who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Christine has written six books since her first release in 2013. She is the author of The Light in the Wound and His Wounded Light (2013), Insipid (2014), In This Life (2016) and Eight Goodbyes (2018).
Her latest book, The Year I Left is scheduled for release in August, 2019.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management.


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Review: The Perfect Wife - JP Delaney

The perfect life. The perfect love. The perfect lie. From the bestselling author of The Girl Before comes a gripping new psychological thriller. . . .

“Dynamic, razor-sharp, and thought-provoking . . . a cutting-edge suspense novel unlike any you’ve read before.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.

She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins to question her husband’s motives—and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to her, half a decade ago?

Beware the man who calls you . . .

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4 Stars
I had nightmares when I went to sleep partway through the novel. I dreamed of AI, of robotic people taking over my life. It was horrifying, but it also was a huge sign to me that this novel had achieved what J.P. Delaney had likely hoped for. It got under my skin, it was unforgettable, it was consuming. Abbie awakens with little memory, she doesn't know what has happened or why her recovery is such a miracle, but she will once she arrives home to the truth. As her husband tells her, she's a miracle of science, the woman he loves, an AI with thoughts and feelings. Some things don't add up though, like what happened five years ago and why her husband doesn't seem to be telling her everything.

Y'all, The Perfect Wife is like The Stepford Wives mixed with I, Robot; it's just a little too perfect and things are a little too neat. Luckily, we get two perspectives, that of Abbie's and that of an unknown from the tech offices of Tim Scott. We read about a woman finding her memories, finding her place after being away so long, and we read about the same woman, many years earlier, as she creates art and steals the heart of young, socially awkward Tim. These two narratives, at first, meet in the middle, but soon the dark sides of young love, of feverish desire for fame, and the love a mother has for her child, change the tone completely. The story turns bleak and while readers don't know what happened, like AI Abbie we can guess that something terrible happened five years ago, we can guess that someone is holding back the truth.

I was completely caught up in this novel, I am not very often into science-fiction type novels, but I love how J.P Delaney writes a thriller and he mixed the two genres very well. The story touches on misogyny, artificial intelligence, marriage, mental health, and more. It's a complex story with philosophical questions that will leave you questioning your beliefs and morals long after the last page. The Perfect Wife is filled with twists, it was impossible to guess what came next and I found myself shocked at the ending. It truly is a novel where nothing is as it seems.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: Coming Up Roses - Staci Hart

Coming Up Roses, an all-new must read enemies to lovers romantic comedy from Staci Hart is available now!

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.
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.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
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5 Stars
When the Bennet children return home to help their aging parents and save their once massively successful flower shop Tess knows it will mean seeing Luke, but she doesn't know all the long buried feelings would come back with him. He's insufferable, immature, frivolous, nothing like her organized, studious, safe self and yet something is there between them still. What starts as a project to remake the store, to bring in the sales, turns into self exploration and a little bit of funny business. She wants to hate him, to keep the feelings from ten years ago, but Luke has a way of charming just about anyone, a way of bringing out her wild side just like the plants she loves so much.

"'Not in a million years would I trim that beat back. Let her be wild.'

'It's good advice, Tess. You could stand for a little more wild in your life.'"

I often bring up in my reviews how much I cried, how much your heart will be gutted, or how you'll need to grab tissue before you begin, I just have a type of book I like, I guess. While I did cry reading Coming Up Roses, come on I'm a blue I always cry, it was a different sort of cry. This book is just beautiful and heartwarming, the kind of story that makes your eyes tear up because you're just so happy. It's a story of family, friendship, love, and forgiveness. It's a retelling, a spin off from Staci Hart's The Austen Series, that follows Luke Bennet and his family as they set out to save their family's flagship flower shop. At the center of Longbourne Flower Shop is Tess, the brains behind the arrangements and the one woman Luke hasn't been able to connect with since their friendship went up in silent flames ten years prior. Luke and Tess are forced together by proximity, but the romance of flowers, the rush of chemistry they share, all adds to love potion that's long been brewing.

"When he'd told me he was mine and asked me to be his.
And forgotten he'd ever uttered the words."

Oh my word, how I loved Luke and Tess, these two are certainly a perfect match. Told from their dual perspectives, we see the two tackle the awkwardness of working together and the internal havoc they go through in denying their lust. There's flowers, assumptions, contempt, and backhanded compliments galore. I spent this first half of Coming Up Roses just laughing, loving the banter, loving that it was all happening inside a flower shop. Luke's always been the flighty player, Tess is a stuck in her ways mother hen. While Tess has a distaste for frivolity, she also wonders about the adventure, about the trip he'd take her on as he sets out to redesign the shop, one shirt pulled off at a time. It's obvious they need to be together, but I loved the way Staci Hart brings them together. It's more than just connection, there's this whole world inside Coming Up Roses that follows the characters through interactions with family, friends, customers, and more. It isn't just a simple romance read, there's so much more to it. It's the sort of book I could read again and again.

"There was a kiss waiting on those lips, waiting for time to start again.
There was a kiss on those lips, one I wanted."

With beautiful imagery, stunning prose, and just the right amount of humor, Staci Hart re-imagines Pride and Prejudice with Coming Up Roses.
About Staci
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.

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Review: Falter - Carrie Aarons

π…πšπ₯𝐭𝐞𝐫 (π˜•π˜’π˜΄π˜© π˜‰π˜³π˜°π˜΅π˜©π˜¦π˜³π˜΄, π˜‰π˜°π˜°π˜¬ 𝘍𝘰𝘢𝘳)
by Carrie Aarons
Published: July 25, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Ryan Shea has sworn off men.

After her last relationship imploded in front of her eyes, she decides to take a break from swimming in the dating pool … possibly forever. The brilliant computer whiz loses her brain when it comes to love, and jumping feet first burns her every time.

Without a home, or much of a clue where life is headed, taking a trip back to the small town of Fawn Hill to stay with her best friend seems like the only option.

Except it puts Ryan directly in the path of the one man she can’t fall for. Fletcher Nash reminds her too much of the dark past she’s always run from; his demons are the things of her nightmares. And it’s no help that, when he looks at her, she feels as if Fletcher is the one person who truly understands.

Fletcher Nash vowed not to fall in lust.

Five years of sobriety, and he hasn’t broken the chastity promise yet. Not that it had to keep for this long … he’s well over the normal year addicts are told not to get involved.

But, aside from a busy schedule and trying to chase his dream of becoming a full-time artist, he has no intentions of committing to a woman until she is the one.

Why is it, then, that sassy, city girl Ryan Shea comes dangerously close to resembling the exact woman he could break that promise for? Like sand through his fingers, there is no way she’ll stay put … but his heart just won’t listen.

They pledged not to love anyone until it was the real thing.
So what happens when two people terrified of falling head-over-heels, actually do?

Available Now
5 Stars

You always have a favorite in a series and when it comes to The Nash Brothers series, Falter is mine. Fletcher Nash is the brother the entire family worries about, he's got demons and while he's done his best to turn his life around there always seems to be someone checking in. He's followed the rules and played by the books, he's left no room for error, so why does the wild and wicked smart Ryan tempt his five years of single-hood so?
Ryan Shea has had her fair share of men with demons, her most recent didn't seem to know how to stay honest in a relationship. Coming back to small town Fawn Hill is meant to get her away from the drama, give her a chance to slow down and figure out her next steps. There is no room for men in her life, especially not the handsome Fletcher, even though she's attracted to him like a magnet.

"I shouldn't do this, admire her fox-like features or search for answers to questions I can't ask in those whiskey-colored eyes."

Vulnerability and trust are requirements for a relationship to succeed, they're also the two things that Ryan and Fletcher are unwilling to make space for in their current state. Fletcher is satisfied chasing his goal after fighting to remain sober for five years. Ryan is just trying to figure out what her life looks like with roots in one place, at least for a little while. We first met Fletcher in Fleeting at the height of his addiction and Ryan has been a secondary character through out the series. I've wondered where Carrie Aaron's was going to take Fletcher, how his story would change as we read the other novels, spanning a few years, first. We're rewarded with a completely different man, the kind of man who embraces his flaws, fights for his passions, and is the kind of man I call a book boyfriend. I loved reading about his hobbies, how his relationship with his family changed, and what the years looked like as he fought to leave alcohol behind. Ryan is a fairly unknown character for us, beyond her job and looks we don't know who she really is and boy is she interesting. More than Fletcher being my favorite brother, Ryan is my favorite heroine in the series. She's so tough and while vulnerability isn't her strong suit, she certainly overcomes that as she reveals her past, her beliefs, and faces the one thing she maybe didn't know as well as she thought, love.

Just one word, but I feel my whole world go topsy-turvy."

Tackling deeply-rooted trust issues, forgiveness, addiction, and more, Carrie Aarons has created a beautiful, realistic romance with Falter. Fletcher and Ryan came to life for me and I loved getting to know them both separately and together. Their relationship isn't easy, there's no insta-love here, but the passion they have, both for life and each other, drives them together. If you've not met the Nash brothers yet, now is the time to do so, because Falter has the best brother in it and I insist that this series be read in its entirety and not as individual standalone novels.

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