Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Whenever I find myself rushing through the pages of a book, it means one of two things. It’s either a really bad book that for some reason I feel obligated to finish, or it’s one of those “grab you by the seat of your pants and don’t let go” books. In this case, fortunately, it’s the latter.

Two women, each trying to make a fresh start after a traumatic event. Emma is struggling to feel safe after being violently attacked in her own home. Jane is still trying to come to terms with the loss of her stillborn baby. Although their stories take place at different times, both women feel as if the house at One Folgate Place is just what they need to recover. Sure, there are A LOT of rules in place. But the price is right so they go for it despite any reservations they might have.

It’s really hard to describe what’s happening in this story. Told from two viewpoints and in two different time periods, you have to work a bit to keep the storylines separate. But then they begin to converge, and this is where the real creepiness begins. An obsessive owner, intrusive technology, secrets each woman is keeping…there’s a lot going on. But trust me, it’s worth it. A few of the twists were expected, a couple of twists at the very end really surprised me. A great thriller!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Girl Before

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Review and Giveaway: Shelter by Jay Crownover

Y’all!! This book will grab your heart and squeeze it TIGHT.

All his broken pieces made mine seem less jagged.

To say that Sutton and Emrys were broken is an understatement. These two lived through something absolutely horrific and it will take time to them to be back to normal. Or at least a new normal. This can be read as an interconnected standalone, but to fully understand where they’re coming from, you should read Retreat first. Trust me.

I liked Em. She had spunk. She was so much stronger than I probably would ever be, in her situation. But it’s been six months of her trying to heal on her own, when she realizes she needs some closure before she can truly heal. When she shows up on Sutton’s doorstep, it’s the last thing he needs. Well, at least that’s what he thinks. But he soon realizes that she is the only person who can help him move forward and change the path he’s currently on.

“I like all your pieces, Sutton. I keep finding new ones to add to the collection. You keep dropping them and I keep picking them up. Once i have them all, I’m going to give them back to you and you can put them all together whichever way you want. They don’t have to fit they did before. You can shape yourself into someone else.”

I am completely in love with this series. These characters seem very real to me. I love the sense of family and all the love they show to each other. In fact, I’m a wee bit jealous of that also. 🙂 And of course the passion between Sutton and Em is flaming. Absolutely hot. Jay nailed it, with this one. My heart is happy. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

~Melpomene

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!!

EXCERPT: 

I’d been fooled once by the promise of quiet nights and serene days in the sunshine. I believed the brochure when it said I could leave my worries at home and escape to a simpler, quieter kind of life. I let myself be lured in by the picturesque landscape and stunning mountains. I foolishly fell prey to the temptation of leaving my current set of troubles behind in San Francisco while I hid away in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming.

I now knew firsthand the glossy brochure that brought me to Wyoming the first time was nothing more than a bunch of pretty, packaged lies. I knew the bar brawl erupting in front of me was hardly the worst thing that could happen here. In fact, the level of bloodshed and violence was child’s play compared to what I’d witnessed the last time I’d stepped foot in this small, quaint town. Well, I hadn’t really been in Sheridan last time I was here. I’d spent most of my time in the backwoods that surrounded the Warner brothers’ ranch, which was still a good forty-five minutes outside of this tiny town. The ranch was where I was currently trying to get to so I could see my best friend.

When I left Wyoming, I told myself I would never come back.

Ever.

I told myself there was nothing here for me but bad memories and heartache. I was a pro at lying to myself, at telling myself exactly what I needed to hear to justify my actions. I could convince myself of anything, like it was okay that my last boyfriend stole my grandmother’s silver when I kicked him out because he needed it more than I did. I had no problem believing that pulling Leo out of the city was the only way to heal her broken heart even though she didn’t want to go. It was easier to distract her than it was to watch her wallow. I persuaded myself into believing what I needed to heal was space and solitude. I held onto that until time passed and I was still a mess. I was sick of my own company and of hiding from everything I was feeling. I was the one who always went out of my way to fix everyone else around me, it wasn’t exactly a shock to learn I didn’t have the skills to repair myself. I spent my days helping others focus on their goals, on doing better and achieving more, so I didn’t have to think about the lack of any ambition of my own. I turned thirty at the end of the year and I was still trying to figure out what and who I wanted to be when I grew up. I’d been aimless for a long time; the only direction in my life come from the fact I knew all the way down to my bones that I had to go back to Wyoming and face off with Sutton Warner.

Retreat is on sale for only 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2C63g5K
Shelter: http://amzn.to/2zu5kRV
Escape(Jan 30, 2018): http://amzn.to/2C95ovM

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

 

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Review: The Man in the Black Suit by Sylvain Reynard


“I’m no longer the prey. I’m the predator.”

For those who’ve heard of Sylvain Reynard books but didn’t want to feel obligated to read a trilogy, this book is perfect for you. The Man in the Black Suit was pure SR. Romance and intrigue galore. I can’t explain it, but there’s just something about SR’s writing that instantly connects me. I am never bored, nor do I skim. I read slowly to absorb every beautiful word. Perhaps it’s the scenery or even the romantic words? Perhaps it’s all the art? I’m not sure. I don’t even know who or what they’re discussing, but the passion that’s shown is what keeps me engaged.

In this story, Acacia and Nicholas start out on the wrong foot. I mean, he seemed like such a stuck up jerk. I wasn’t sure how she was going to get past his outer snottiness. But it was going to be so much fun watching these two clash. Their chemistry is off the charts. Acacia tries to maintain a work relationship with Nicholas but soon admits defeat and finds herself on a road she never thought possible.

“Acacia, there’s so much corruption in my world. Lies, betrayel, viciousness. You don’t know how lovely it is to be in the presence of someone truthful and honorable.”

From the very first page I was completely sucked in. The intrigue and suspense had me at the edge of my seat. And as I was reading, I felt like I was seeing all the beautiful art and people around me. It was like I was living in this book. That is what SR does to me.

Thank you, SR, for sharing your beautiful words with us. I know when I open up one of your books, I’m going to be immediately transported into a world filled with beauty and I’m not sure I ever want to leave.

~Melpomene

Buy The Man in the Black Suit http://amzn.to/2yKxNml

Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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High school can be a killer.  Literally in this story by Karen M. McManus.  I mean, my time in high school was no walk in the park but I never had to deal with the mysterious death of a classmate…

Five kids walk into detention.  Only four walk out.  Each of the survivors had their own reasons for wanting Simon dead.  Let’s be honest, he wasn’t really a nice person.  As the creator of a popular gossip app, his specialty was finding out the deepest darkest secrets and putting them out there for the world to see.  But killing him seems to be taking things a bit too far.  When everyone’s a suspect, who can you really trust?

A good story, entirely plausible in today’s world of instant gratification and immediate access to all kinds of info good and bad.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  One of Us Is Lying

Review: The Memory of Butterflies by Grace Greene

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I sometimes get behind in my book reviews.  And then when it’s time to write those reviews, a sufficient amount of time has passed that my memory is a bit hazy on some of the finer details.  Surely that never happens to anyone else, right?  Such is the case with this book by Grace Greene.  Several months have gone by since I finished it.  Several months in which many other books were read.  I’m not going to try to bluff my way through a detailed review.  I’m just going to say that I absolutely loved this story.  It’s full of family love and heartbreak, secrets revealed and still hidden.  It tugs at your heartstrings.  So read it.  And don’t wait as long as I did to review it!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Memory of Butterflies

Review: Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

Oh the drama! Quinn and Nora are distant sisters who would still do anything for each other. Tiffany is Nora’s bff… and a messed up drug addict with an illegitimate daughter. When Nora texts Quinn that she and Tiffany need her help, Quinn steps up. But it’s hard to know how to do the right thing when Nora won’t give her any details, and Tiffany is nowhere to be found.

I was psyched reading the first half of this book – there are good guys and bad guys, weak women and strong women, loving yet dysfunctional mothers, and a criminal so disgusting he turned my stomach. Baart weaves them all together in a dramatic and suspenseful plot, a story you don’t want to stop reading because you can’t believe what’s happening next.

And then — I’m not sure if it was my particular frame of mind, or if I’ve just read way too many books — I by mistake figured out the one big unknown. The mystery. The root of the drama. The guy who caused the secrets to grow bigger and bigger. And I hate that I figured it out, because it ruined the rest of the story for me. I skimmed the last half of the book, just in case there were some worthy plot points (and there were).

Baart is a master at expressing the love and confusion and envy and all the emotions in a sisterly relationship. What I appreciated most is that Baart lets her female characters be unapologetically themselves. There are no victims here, except maybe a little girl. The grown women own their choices, support each other, and make their own new beginnings.

-calliope

Buy LITTLE BROKEN THINGS (publishes on Nov.21, 2017)

Murder Over Mochas by Caroline Fardig

Solid, cute, cozy mystery with a dead guy, an amateur sleuth, an ex-fiancĂ©, an ex-boyfriend, a potential boyfriend, and a couple of cops. Oh – and a coffee shop! I’m going to admit, I often choose books based on their covers, and I chose this one for the coffee. #yesidid

The protagonist Juliet is likable and genuine. I liked that I could envision her expressions and feel her exasperation. The police officers and a few other secondary characters were a little bit one dimensional to me, but I didn’t mind, as I was busy trying to solve the mystery before they did. I liked Juliet’s best friend Pete, also. He’s a sturdy, reliable dude – and every cozy mystery needs a Pete.

Fardig did a nice job weaving a creative, fresh mystery with just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. I was onto the perp before Juliet was, but it still took me a good while to do it, and I had fun from beginning to end.

-calliope

Buy MURDER OVER MOCHAS