Review of: Beautiful Bad

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Author: Annie Ward
Publisher: Park Row Books/Harper Collins
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Thriller

*I received an advanced review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Summary: Maddie and Ian met overseas. She was a travel writer, and he worked for the army. After much drama, they fell in love, and eventually, the pair got married and created a life together in the United States. But this reunion has not always been easy going for the couple. There is history of PTSD, an unexplained accident during a family camping trip, and the new writing therapy sessions with a therapist. These events build and build, over time, right up until that dreadful afternoon, the afternoon of the 911 call that leads to the end, or possibly the beginning.

My Review: This book is extremely interesting in so many ways.  Like most thrillers, it has the usual build-up, anticipation, and multiple points of view that most thrillers have, but it also has much more.

This book has something that not many other thrillers have, and that is a deep, engaging backstory into the lives of the main characters, Maddie, Ian, and Maddie’s best friend, Jo.  The back story deals with real issues that hook you in just as much as the plot twists and main action does.

The story was well paced and flipped back and forth several times from present day to past, but this was done seamlessly and effortlessly. The ending, well, I thought I had it all figured out about halfway through, and I was sure proven wrong.

My only issue with the book was that the ending left me wanting more of a resolution. Not all aspects of the story were tied up and this left me in somewhat of a cliff-hanger. This would have been fine if I knew there was a second book, but I really do not know that at all. Perhaps there is one planned and a reader can only hope.

I rated the book four stars on my good reads.

Book Review: Two Heartbeats

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Title: Two Heartbeats
Author: Rhonda Forrest
Summary: Jess grew up in foster homes after the death of her mother, due to drugs. Since childhood, Jess has looked out for herself and has never had anyone to depend on. She has fought hard for everything that she has and is not used to letting others in.

Daniel comes from a completely different background, years older than Jess, he owns his own business and prefers the life of solitude, countryside, and peace over the big city.

When Jess ends up working for Daniel, they find themselves at odds with each other. Two people could not be any more different. But, as time progresses, the two learn that they have more in common than they originally thought.

Can Jess overcome her childhood struggles and give others an opportunity to make her happy, or will she forever live in her own self-pity and grief while trying to fix everything on her own?

My Review: This book is not your typical, predictable love story. This book deals with themes of love but also self-struggle, and the fight against remaining locked up in oneself’s own misery, and the fear to open up and let others in.

I loved the story. I loved the writing and all the characters. Most of all, my favourite character that I connected to the most was Daniel. His ability to open up and look beyond the surface to find depth and meaning was remarkable.

Jess underwent her own period of growth during the story but I feel that Daniel’s growth was more significant and substantial, mainly because of the unpredictable ending. There is also a plot twist that I did not see coming, and just when I thought I had the ending figured out I was turned around in a 360° turn!

If you want a book that will surprise you, this is your next read.

Book Review: The Shack By The Bay

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Title: The Shack by the Bay
Author: Lea Davey
Genre: Historical/Romance

Summary:  Abandoned by his mother after losing his father at a young age, Luke gets raised by his Grandparents. Luke is not your ordinary late twenties kind of guy. He is somewhat withdrawn and prefers the comfort of his own company and his boat, fishing. He spends much of his free time at his shack that his late Grandfather, Pa, left him.

When Luke discovers buried family history, he searches to find the truth. Meanwhile, meeting Lily throws a wrench into his plans and makes him question his lonely life.

This story is set in Australia. Filled with beautiful imagery, you will want to pack your bags and head there today. This story deals with themes of family, war, love, and self-discovery.

My Review: I loved this book so much and for many reasons. I read the majority of the book in one sitting.

The voice telling the story is captivating and devoured me whole.

The descriptions of the Australian setting were vivid, real, and brought to life through the words written on the page. I read each word slowly to fully engage in the scene and imagined I was there.

The characters were enjoyable to get to know and follow throughout the entire book. The romance between Lily and Luke was so well done that if you are not a romance kind of reader, you will still enjoy their progression and journey.

The history injected throughout was educational, intriguing, and brought depth to the story.

I loved the beginning, the pacing, the ending, and everything in-between. This was the author’s debut novel.

If you are looking for a book with meaning, substance, and enjoyable storyline with Romance and history, this is your next fantastic read!

I rated this five star on my Goodreads page.

Time Crawlers – Book Review

20190214_112437Title: Time Crawlers
Author: Varum Sayal
Genre: Science Fiction – Short Stories

This book is comprised of six, short, Science Fiction stories. Each story has its own unique angle.

I enjoyed these short Sci-Fi stories, each with their exclusive twits, originality, and thought-provoking ideas. This is a fast read, taking less than two hours, so if you don’t have time to devote to a long book and you enjoy Sci-Fi, this is the next read you should pick up.

I did, however, wish I connected more to the stories. I realized after reading these stories that I am more of a full-length novel kind of reader. I need the in-depth plot twists, background information, and detail that comes with full-length novels, in addition to the world building, to allow me to form connections with the characters. So as such, I did not connect much to any of the characters.  But the stories themselves have much potential and will be a great read for you if you love shorter books.

I rated this book three stars on my good reads page.

Book Review: A twisted Belief

downloadTitle: A Twisted Belief –  Book #1
Author: Pearl Khatri
Genre: Fantasy

Summary: Erabella has it all, a loving family, a finance she adores, and a loyal best friend. But when her world turns upside down, Era must make sacrifices so great that she could lose not only everyone around her, but also herself in the process.

My Review: I don’t even know where to begin with this book! This book has it all. High fantasy, love stories, witches, warlocks, sea monsters, human transformations, you name it, and this book has it.

The pacing was incredible, and not once was I ever bored or lost. There is enough back story to give the reader the necessary information to understand the setting and situations, but no so much that it overwhelms the reader.

There are twists upon twists that had me shutting the book at times in disbelief of what I just read.

What a vivid imagination the author has in order to come up with such a unique, vivid world and such memorable characters.

I loved Era’s character the most, and what I loved about her the best is that she is not a perfect protagonist. She has body image flaws, she has self-doubt, and struggles with insecurities.  She is therefore portrayed as a real, memorable character that many women can relate to on many levels.

Closing Thoughts: I rated this book five stars on my Goodreads. If you are a fantasy lover, you must read this book.

Twisted Fate – Book Review

tfTitle: Twisted Fate Book #1
Author: Jessi Elliot
Genre: Fantasy

Summary: Aurora thinks she has her entire life mapped out, and everything under control. That is until she meets the gorgeous Tristan, Dark Fae leader, and then things turn upside down. Her life, as she knows it, is no more as she discovers a whole new world with Fae. As Dark Fae and Light Fae go to war, Aurora finds herself in the middle of it all.

 
My Review: It generally takes me about a week to read a book, and I read this one in two days. So this says a lot about this book with my busy schedule. Once you start this book, you will not want to put it down. It’s a page turner, all the way.
 
I connected with Aurora and Tristan right away, but I did not connect with any other character. I suppose this is alright, Aurora and Tristan are the two main characters.
 
I especially loved the tension between these two, it is steamy, and suspenseful. I liked the slow build up to their wild passion, and this left me wanting to know when they will finally get together.
 
The story pacing was decent, not too much detail, but enough that I formed an image of the world they live in.
 
The ending disappointed me though as I wanted a different outcome, but that is OK, there is another book, so hopefully I will get the ending I seek, in that book.
 
Closing Thoughts: If you are a fantasy lover, then I recommend you pick up this book. Note that you will put off anything else you have to do, until it’s finished.
 
I rated this book four stars on my Goodreads account.

Book Review: To Dream Is To Die

41142078Title: To Dream Is to Die
Author: Sara Lampkin
Release Date: January 2019

Note: I received an Advance Review Copy from the publisher.

My Summary:  College student, Brenna, has an accident that kills her, but not enough to keep her in the realm of the dead forever. By day, she is a normal, average teenager, and by night, she leaves her body to roam the universe. While on the other side, she encounters a boy who can not only sees her spirit, but who is still alive. Together and along with another friend, the group discovers secrets that go back years, and they have the responsibly to solve these mysteries as dangerous, and deadly as they might be.

My Review: A paranormal fantasy/thriller with characters that are deep, real, and ones you will love to the end!

This is book one in the Dead Dreamer Series.

I really enjoyed this read. My favorite thing about this book are the characters. I connected with so many! Brenna’s edgy, fiery attitude struck me as intriguing. I was rooting for her from the beginning. Her two friends, are also well developed, secondary characters that helped to shape Brenna’s character arc. I even grew to like Erica towards the end, despite her sassy ways.

The story was well paced, and connecting to the characters so early on, helped with pacing. Since I was invested in the characters, I did not mind spending so much time in Brenna’s head.

The book is more character driven than action packed, and this surprised me, but it is not a disappointment, as I love a good character driven story.

My only issue with the book is the ending, and I wish there was more wrapped up. I do understand this is a series and so there needs to be much left to the imagination, but I would have liked to have some conclusions established on at least some of the minor plots. I suppose this leaves a huge cliff hanger on many accounts.

Closing Thoughts: A well-crafted, and great written Debut Novel! I give this book four stars on my Goodreads page. I am looking forward to the next installment in the series.

Book Review: The Little Girl In The Mirror

0993799663Title: Little Girl In The Mirror
Author: Tara Mondou
Genre: Biographical Fiction

My Summary: Little Cathy’s mother, picks her up from Eastern Canada, and brings her back home to Southern Ontario, despite Cathy wanting to stay with her Grandmother. Mother and Daughter must lean all about each other’s ways and learn how to live together after being apart for six years. Money is scarce, so they move in with a woman whom Cathy does not like, but for good reason.

Forced from her home in the mid 1950’s, now living in a less than ideal situation, Cathy is alone, and isolated from her family out east. She is desperate to return, but she puts her mother’s needs before her own. Little Cathy makes sacrifices for her mother that most adults do not make. Little Cathy’s only comfort is her friend, the little girl in the mirror, and it is she that Cathy turns to for support.

My Review: I do not know where to begin with this story, and I hope my review does this book justice. I loved this from the bottom of my heart. This book is emotionally charged. It’s a story about: mothers, daughters, women, second chances, strength, and courage. But it is also so much more.

This book is close to my heart for many reasons. It is the same genre that I am writing my book, as it is based on a true story. It involves women strengths and courage, and parts of the book are based in Cities in Southern Ontario that I know well. The author describes the settings beautifully, and as a true representation of how they look.

Little Cathy won my heart at the first page, and when her story ended, I wanted more. The story is well paced, and I read it in two days.  I wanted to finish in one sitting, but life made me do other important things. The author includes enough detail to allow the reader a true experience of the life of the characters, but not too much that it slows the pacing.

Cathy’s mother, Rita is interesting in so many ways. Throughout the story we see her trying to be the best single mother she can be, and we see her internal struggles at having to learn to take care of another person when she has needs of her own. I was frustrated by her many time; because of the decisions she makes, but also understood that I cannot judge her. She is after all a single mother in the 50’s trying to keep not only herself afloat but now also, a daughter.

All the dramas, emotions, and fears that little Cathy faces are well expressed and conveyed, and I cried throughout the book a few times, and long after I turned the last page.

What made this so heartfelt is knowing that this is a true story, and a well expressed one that deserves to be read by many more readers.

Congratulations Tara on your debut book!

Book Review: Hope In Paris

Hope in parisTitle: Hope In Paris – Vol. 1
Author: Donnalyn Vojta
Genre: Thriller/Crime

Summary: Kelly struggles with a relationship she is trapped in and formulates a plan to fix it. Miss V suffers from mental health and hides from her unpleasant past. Richard wants to write a romance novel, but the poor guy has never been in love or had a girlfriend. He rushes off to Paris, the city of love hoping to accomplish both.

Three different story lines, each with their own conflicts, and unique personalities. Each are closely tied to one another. Some of the ties are good, but others you will want to untie sooner than later.

My Review: This book is captivating at every page and one of the most original books I have read. What makes this book so original is the narrators perspective; because the entire story is told through the perspective of three teddy bears. But this is not a children’s book as I myself thought it was for the longest time. This book deals with mature adult content, such as abuse and even murder. The plot is serious in structure, but the narrative makes it humorous, light, and even funny at times.

The Teddy Bear’s naivety and innocence to their environment shines through in many scenes as the bears do a fantastic job of showing and not telling the reader what is happening around them. There are moments when one of the bears is describing a serious scene, but I laugh due the way the story is being viewed through the bears eyes. The bear provides enough information and clues so that the reader knows the seriousness and true meaning of the situation. But the bear also injects his own opinions about what he thinks is happening, and this is brilliantly done.

This book contains so much suspense and caused me to grip my seat tight a few times in anticipation for what’s to come next, and fear for the protagonist. I found myself yelling out loud a few times.

The story had a well-balanced pace to it. It does flip back and forth into the past at times in order to capture the different angles from the different stories, and this was well done.

My only issue with the book is that I connected more to the teddy bears then I did the main protagonist, and the other two main characters, and this left me wanting to get more inside of their heads. I especially wanted to connect more to Kelly, and I found myself asking questions about how she is feeling, what she is thinking in many of the scenes.

Closing Thoughts: I read a lot, and never in the history of my reading journey have I read a book this unique due to the perspectives of the story. I rated this book four out of five stars on my good reads. If you are looking for a thriller that brings a fresh twist with it, then you need to read this!

I am looking forward to reading Vol. 2.

Book Review of: Chasing Ivy

chasing ivyTitle: Chasing Ivy
Release Date: November 15, 2018
Author: S.J Sylvis
Genre: Romance

Note: I received an Advance Review Copy from the Author, in exchange for an honest review.

My Summary: Dawson and Ivy pretend to be nothing more than best friends.  Everyone around them knows that the two are more than that. Dawson and Ivy are the only ones that do not see this. They suppress their deepest feelings and are afraid if they take the plunge it will change their friendship. One horrific day, they are separated by force with no communication for six years. When reunited again in their Twenties, they must face the feelings they suppressed years ago, only now there are other problems standing in their path to happiness. Can they overcome these obstacles and remain morally true to themselves?

My Review: I really enjoyed this book!

The story is told through the perspectives of the two main characters. This book is a stand alone companion novel to the Oak Hill Series.  This is the first book in the series.

This is a lustful read, full of humor with a genuine protagonist that I can relate to in many ways. Ivy’s clumsiness, and ability to fall easily had me laughing out loud.

I loved the sisterly bond between Ivy and Mia. Ivy brings a new meaning to the term ‘Protective Older Sister’ and being an older sister myself, I related to her.

There are some well-developed secondary characters that I enjoyed reading and getting to know. I liked Ivy’s best friend’s character, and Dawson’s brother.  The two secondary characters are well developed with their own interesting story lines, and they each contributed a great deal to the overall story arc, and plot.

This book is not intended for young readers; because it contains many explicit sexual scenes that are intended for a mature reader. So, if you are an adult and interested in a fun, steamy read, then this is the next book for you! I rated this book four stars on my good reads.  Looking forward to reading the other books in the Oak Hill series.