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.

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/

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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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

♡ The One With the Wedding Photos ♡

I know everyone wanted to see wedding photos as soon as we got them, but I didn't know what to say. How do you put into so few words what an entire day, and several months of planning, meant to you? The day goes by so quickly, especially when your schedule is a bit off and the rain is coming down. You blink and it's the end and you're at home with your friends eating taco bell and drinking really strong drinks courtesy of a friend. Then the wedding photos come in, before you've even managed to clean up the "war room" of boxes from the day of, and you spend the next few weeks just talking about the memories. You laugh at me being bold enough to read my vows out of a book titled F*ck Marriage, you literally fall off your chair at my brother taking a shot mid ceremony, you cry a little at Kevin's crying, you talk about how much everyone did, and everyone gives you the Twilight vibes compliment you've been waiting to hear. No really, tell me again how it looks like Twilight, I am LOVING IT (Kevin isn't). There's also the memories you forget, like what songs you danced to, if someone was even there, and how we all ended up hanging out in the kitchen instead of the reception hall. I'm still wondering and also...why did no one drink the red wine? Suddenly though, almost as fast as the blink of an eye, you're back at work, your evenings spent on the couch reading and watching TV just the same as always. There is a shift though, a subtle one, like when you say husband out loud, when you see his hand with his ring on it, when he yells at me for the 100th time to put my ring on, and that powerful realization that even though it's the same, that it's exactly what you wanted. It's just impossible to tell you how it all felt, what it all meant, and so without captions I give you this massive photo post of our very special day.

This day would not have been possible without the help of our incredible families, a handful of friends, and a set of amazing vendors that I highly recommend. 
Hair & MUA: Ashley Flores
Dress: Cocomelody
Second Dress: Pinup Girl Clothing
Jacket: Nordstrom with art by Natalie Morton Gates
Suit: Men's Warehouse
Rings: Adamas Diamonds with Solid Gold and Rustic & Main
Bouquet & Arbor Florals + Rentals: Make It Happen Events
 If you haven't seen our wedding teaser yet, you can find it here, by Penny and Maeve.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Review: The Rebound - J.R. Rogue

The Rebound
by J.R. Rogue
Published: June 13, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Some love affairs aren’t meant for the public eye. Some love affairs won’t survive the fallout.

Calliope das Dores is not the perfect rebound, even if her name means "muse". She is not who I should be running to. But I want her anyway.

She keeps telling me my squeaky-clean image can’t handle the scandal, but this want between us is not black and white, and it never will be.

I don’t care that she’s my uncle’s wife—or that she shares my last name. After finding my girlfriend in bed with my uncle at the end of my worldwide tour, the truth is clear: Calliope and I are the only family we both have left now.

In the beginning, after flying to the Ozarks to tell her of our partners’ sins, I tell myself it’s just so she won’t hear it from someone who would lie to her. But my manager and best friend say I’ve wanted her since I was a kid, and now, finally, she is allowed to want me back.

She says we can get over them with each other—even if it’s in secret, for a summer—but I have to promise her I won’t fall in love. It’s not part of the plan. The details in our past deny us of any future we could have had.

What starts out as a rebound for both of us eventually consumes me. But the flames don’t reach her.

My muse is consumed, too. But not with me.

5 Stars
Y'all, I love me a good, sexy, angsty book, but nothing beats a book with all of those qualities AND the added bonus of being about a forbidden love affair. J.R. Rogue gives us this with The Rebound. Featuring Sean, the singer all girls are fans of, and Calliope, his Uncle's wife, we get to know about this couple that comes together in a time of loneliness, of grief, of anger, and of long buried feelings. Sean's girlfriend and his uncle have been having their own affair and in his shock Sean runs to the only family he has left, into Calliope's comforting arms in the Ozarks. It's meant to be for the summer, to be a secret, but all things come into the light at some point.

"She felt something then. When he touched her, when he hurt her. She felt. And she didn't want to let go."

I knew I was in for an age-gap romance, for a forbidden relationship with an "aunt", and of course I knew there'd be angst, but nothing prepared me for the feeling J.R. Rogue put me through. The Rebound tells of devastation, of coming-of-age, of the lengths a person will go to in order to survive. It tells of love and loss and fear and anger. It's about life and the quality of living that we dream about, but can't attain. It's a book that took me deep into my feelings, into those dark corners that authors rarely reach, while also making me see the strength in climbing from those depths to reach humanity and kindness and life. It isn't about The Rebound, it's about what the rebound revealed, about the secrets and lies that had been holding them all captive for far too long.

"People come into your lives in seasons. I will be a short one for her. One of those falls you barely feel, before winter grips you."

I devoured this book so quickly, I was in love with how J.R. Rogue paired her poetic prose with a gritty story that readers may shy away from. It's worth putting your usual rules for books away, it's worth taking a blind chance on. It's one of those books that's real, that can hit close to home, but it's done magnificently. In all the darkness there is a story of hope and love and the human experience. The Rebound will consume you, swallow you hole, and it will stay with you long after you read the last word on the final page.

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