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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

REVIEW: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert @flatironbooks @mimi_albert #intothehazelwood

The Hazel Wood
by Melissa Albert

Thanks so much to Flatiron Books for this gorgeous copy!
Into the Hazel Wood I went!

Publisher:  Flatiron Books
Publishing: January 30, 2018
Pages: 368
Genres:  Fantasy, Young Adult
Series:  The Hazel Wood #1

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

My Review:

As a huge fan of the darker, original fairy tales with the not so happy endings, I was delighted to throw this read in between my normal thrillers.  Just look at this cover!   

Alice and her mother Ella lead a gypsy life - constantly moving, living off the help of other people and then finally start to feel settled as her mom marries into money and she's stuck in a rich apartment with her weird stepfather and snooty stepsister.  As usual, weird things start to happen....  starting with seeing a man who abducted her when she was six years in the coffee shop where she works.  Why does this keep happening?  And why does her mom freak out every time?  Coming home to find her mother missing and her stepfather kicking her out, she only receives one message, "Stay away from the Hazel Wood."  Everything points back to her grandmother Althea's cult hit book about Hinterland and the stories contained within.  And the only one who can help her is Finch, an Althea super-fan... the type she normally steers clear from.  To find her mother, she has no choice to ignore the warning and find her way to Hazel Wood to bring her mother back.

During the first 40 pages are so I thought to myself, "Self, this is strange... when is this going to pick up?"  I was also completely intrigued and so curious as to where this was going to go... and then boom, I was sucked right in!  I love that while there are references to your typical fairy tale rules and regulations, this one strays away from your more typical tellings.  We get the creepy and the dark... YAY!  Now, I didn't find this too creepy but I loved where it went.  Quite frankly, I want MORE from Hinterland.  I need to know about all the stories within!  Thrilled to look on Goodreads and see that there's book 2 coming AND book 2.5 - Tales from the Hinterland.  Hot damn!  AND this has been optioned for film?! GO MELISSA!

A fantastic read for those who love the darker side of YA and the sprinklings of fairy tales without all the happy endings.  I am very curious to see where she's going to go in this series.  I need these other stories fleshed out.  Melissa, do you hear me? MORE HINTERLAND PLEASE!! 


REVIEW: The Night Trade by Barry Eisler @barryeisler @amazonpub #CJSReads

The Night Trade
(Livia Lone #2)
by Barry Eisler

Big thanks to Thomas & Mercer / Amazon Publishing for these copies in return for our honest reviews.  I was SO excited to get my hands on this copy as I absolutely LOVED Livia Lone when I read it last year.

See my FIVE STAR review for book one, Livia Lone HERE.

Publisher:  Thomas & Mercer
Publishing: January 23, 2018
Pages: 320
Genres:  Thriller, Suspense
Series: Book 2 Livia Lone series

Goodreads Synopsis:

For sex-crimes detective Livia Lone, a position with a government anti-trafficking task force is a chance to go back to Thailand to ferret out Rithisak Sorm, the trafficking kingpin behind her own childhood ordeal.

But after a planned takedown in a nightclub goes violently awry, Livia discovers that she’s not the only one hunting Sorm. Former Marine sniper Dox has a score to settle, too, and working together is the only way to take Sorm out.

Livia and Dox couldn’t be less alike. But they share a single-minded creed: the law has to serve justice. And if it doesn’t, justice has to be served another way.

What they don’t know is that in threatening Sorm, they’re also threatening a far-reaching conspiracy—one involving the highest levels of America’s own intelligence apparatus. It turns out that killing Sorm just might be the easy part. The real challenge will be payback from his protectors.

My Review:

I read Livia Lone, book one in this series, last year and fell in LOVE with the book. Livia Lone is a bad ass character who is deeply flawed and set on a path of vengeance for what has happened to her, her sister and many other young girls out there.

I was beyond thrilled to get a copy this book to see what Livia has been up to and she certainly is a busy busy woman! Still dealing with vengeance on the rest of the group who had abused and tortured her and her sister, she's awarded an opportunity to go back to Thailand. In doing so, she ends up working with Dox, who has his own motivation to go over these men. Particularly, Sorm, the baddest of them all.

I loved the interactions with Dox and Livia. She is not an easy one to deal with and he fits in quite perfectly. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about a pairing, but Dox is a character I grew to love. Livia is still as bad ass as ever and her thirst for vengeance will NOT be sated until she gets each and every one of the bad guys. She realizes that this is a continuous battle - because when she's done with the immediate group she's honing in on, there are (sadly) many more like them still out there. It KILLS her to not be able to save each and every little girl out there being exploited.

This book is action packed and keeps you turning the pages. For me, it felt very similar to book one, without the past and present back and forth. Instead we get a more linear story line. I DO recommend reading book one before this one so you get a full background on Livia and can understand her character more for this one. 

Book two in a series is always a tough one. It's a continuation of book one and then setting up for more in the series. When book one is such a HIT (for me anyways), then book two is hard to follow sometimes. I think that's a bit of what happened here. Still a solid thriller and I absolutely plan to continue this series. Livia, I'm not done with you yet!

Jessica's Review:

This is book two in a series (book one is LIVIA LONE) and I would highly recommend reading book one first. I wouldn't categorize THE NIGHT TRADE as a standalone to the series. However, this is still a great thriller and I will be looking for more about Livia!

Livia Lone is a sex crimes detective and works with the government's anti-trafficking task force. She's definitely a force to be reckoned with! She is given the opportunity to go back to Thailand to try and take down Rithisak Sorm, the trafficking kingpin from her own past. 

When their attempt goes horribly wrong, Lone quickly discovers she isn't the only person trying to track down Sorm. We are introduced to Dox, a Marine sniper, that has his own reasons behind wanting to take down Sorm. Will they be able to work together to take him out?

I will say that you need to read book one to do this book justice. There is a lot of backstory that you will be missing out on and that will cause confusion. I loved Livia - she's a bad-ass protagonist working against sex-crimes. So if you're looking for a series with a great female lead, then i would recommend picking up the Livia Lone series!

Overall, I give this one 3.5/5 stars - despite being lost with a couple of parts, it was still very entertaining to read and I will be going back to book one. 

Sam's Review:

The Night Trade is the second book in the series starring sex crime detective Livia Lone.  Having not read the first book, entitled Livia Lone, I still decided to give this one a chance since the idea of a kick-ass female protagonist fighting sex trafficking was too far up my alley for me to pass up!

Pretty much immediately, I knew that I had made a grave error.  I think it is an absolutely necessity to read the first book in the series before trying to combat this one.  Most of the Livia’s back-story and the other characters went completely over my head and I spent quite a bit of my time heading over to my Goodreads page to try and figure out what had happened in book one based on snippets from other reviews.   

I know that Chandra read (and loved!) book one, so, to do this book justice, I think it is only fair that I head back and read the first in the series. The Night Trade absolutely intrigued me enough to be curious of the whole story. 

I am rating a 3 for now and will readjust later!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

REVIEW: Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner @duttonbooks @meggardiner1 #CJSReads

Into the Black Nowhere
(UNSUB #2)
by Meg Gardiner

THRILLED to have received these copies from Dutton Books!  Thank you so much!
After #CJSReads read UNSUB last year, we knew we HAD to continue the series and boy did we love this one as well!  Continue below to read our thoughts!

Publisher:  Dutton Books
Publishing: January 30 2018
Pages: 384
Genres:  Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Crime, 
Series: UNSUB #2

Goodreads Synopsis:

Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI's serial crime unit discover the first victim's body in the woods. She's laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest's darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style--posed like Snow White awaiting her prince's kiss. 

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology--that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy--dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin's profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people's trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

My Review:

I absolutely love stories dealing with behavioral analysis.  The UNSUB series absolutely delivers... in every way.  These books have been compared to the show Criminal Minds and for good reason.  I especially love that this book takes place in Gideon County... a nod to the original CM character, Gideon?  I'm just going to believe that this is so. 😉

One of the things I love best about this book is that while we are deep into Caitlan's POV, we also get the POV of the killer.  And even better - we know early on who the killer is so now it's just a matter of cat and mouse and how they're going to catch him.... if they do.  Put me inside the head of the killer... ALWAYS.  I absolutely love getting into the nitty gritty.  I also love Caitlan's bad ass but flawed character.... relationship issues topped with past family issues topped with having to catch bad guys?  I'd say she has her hands full for sure!

Action packed and hard to put down, this book is absolutely fantastic.  With the popularity of UNSUB last year, I can see some people thinking maybe this one didn't quite do it for them as much as the first.  You know why?  Because when a first book comes out and WOWS you, a follow up is always hard to top that one.  Ladies and Gentlemen.... readers of all kinds.... for me, this one was just as good as book one.  One death in particular hit me kind of hard... and I love it when a book makes me feel this way... especially for a tertiary character.

Basically, read this.  Just do it.  Even if you don't love it as much as I do, I bet you end up enjoying it. And on that note, I'll just leave you with a wave and a smile.... 😈


Sam's Review:
Last year, I was completely obsessed with Unsub, the start of a new series by Meg Gardiner that featured FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix. Heart pounding, dark and visceral, Unsub had me holding on to the edge of my seat and screaming for more. So, of course, I was extremely excited when I found out that the second book in the series, Into the Black Nowhere, would be publishing in January 2018!

Now, without giving away any plot points or information (because I absolutely consider Unsub to be a MUST READ), Unsub left off with quite a few open-ended questions and with a bit of a cliffhanger ending so I was desperate to read the next book. WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN??! I NEEDED ANSWERS! I dove into the book and, I am going to say, Into the Black Nowhere left me feeling a little bit disappointed.

It was absolutely not the writing style; Gardiner’s prose is just as smart and fast paced as I have come to know and love. The book was brilliantly written and filled with witty, smart banter between police, excellent character development and a game of cat and mouse between protagonist and antagonist that kept me turning the pages.

This novel doesn’t really touch on any of the questions I had from the first novel; skimming over the issue, the characters jump right into a new case and move quickly away from the events from the first novel. While I understand that this is an excellent tactic for a sophomore novel in a series (it keeps the readership going and pushes the issues into further novels), I really was looking forward to having some answers!!

Also, notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, inspires this novel’s antagonist. I am not sure whether or not it was because I knew much more about Ted Bundy than I knew about the Zodiac killer (which is the antagonist that inspired Unsub), but I felt like I wasn’t surprised by anything he did. I knew his MO and I knew the general direction the story would take (I knew he would likely escape police custody, I knew he would likely attack a sorority).

Regardless of this, I really did love the novel for its entertainment value and I will be anxiously awaiting the third novel!

4/5 stars. 

Jessica's Review:

I read UNSUB last year with the #CJSReads trio, and of course we had to read book two! I absolutely loved UNSUB. Serial killer thrillers are some of my favorite and I loved the Zodiac similarities in the novel. Now FBI Agent Caitlin Hendrix is back and has been newly assigned to the elite Behavioral Analysis Unit within the FBI. With a new serial killer on the loose in Austin, she must race against the clock to stop them before more lives are claimed. 

Southern Texas has been plagued with women being abducted. On Saturday nights women have disappearing - from their homes, cars, and outside of theaters. The first victim is found in the woods and the second victim is found further into the woods. Both are dressed in white nighties and are surrounded by Polaroid photos of a woman posed like Snow White (when waiting for her Prince to save her with a kiss) in a white negligee with her wrists slit. 

In order to catch him Caitlin must dive into the mind of this killer. She tries to figure out his pattern and how the women are selected. Her profile leads the FBI to focus on a man that is charismatic and a successful businessman. Their main problem is that there is no physical evidence to link him to the murders, so they have to let him go. As Saturday approaches the FBI is in a cat and mouse race to catch the killer before another body is discovered. 

Just like with book one this one had me sucked in from the beginning! Whenever the author pulls the reader into the mind of a sociopath serial killer it grabs my attention. The comparisons to Ted Bundy are so apparent that it's almost eerie. The handsome and charismatic man that pulls in his victims by making them feel safe with his charm, but then brutally kills them. 

While this one didn't exactly pick up where the first novel left off, I think it was an interesting tactic to leave some of that open-ended going into book two and a new investigation. I can see this being frustrating to some readers, but I think the rest of the book makes up for that! 

Overall, if you loved UNSUB then I highly recommend reading this one! I'm impatiently waiting for a book three now. If you want to dive into the mind of a serial killer, then this needs to be on your TBR. 

I give this 5/5 stars!

COVER REVEAL: The Ganga Shift by Mary Bernsen @MaryBernsen @parliamentbooks

The Ganga Shift
by Mary Bernsen


Life hasn’t been easy for Isabella. She spent most of her childhood in the foster care system, and now at twenty-two she has landed herself in prison on drug charges. Her troubled past is what makes her a perfect candidate for the government’s latest scientific endeavor, Operation Gene Re-sequencing. No one will miss her. No one will question her absence. But, when it’s discovered Isabella is immune to their DNA-changing drugs, she is selected to be used as prey for those who aren’t.

Chase and Brayden couldn’t be more opposite; Chase is calm, reserved, and completely insistent that he will control the changes the virus is causing in his body. Brayden, on the other hand, has always been wild and uninhibited. He welcomes the new animalistic nature coming over him. The one thing they have in common? They both have a taste for the cute little Asian inmate who is now sharing their cell.

About the Author:

Mary Bernsen is a Florida native living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child whom she affectionately calls husband.  She is the Amazon Best Selling Author of the Villian's Love series and also writes young adult fiction under her pseudonym, M.E. Rhines.


REVIEW: Killer Choice by Tom Hunt @berkleypub @tomhuntwriter #BLOGTOUR

Killer Choice
by Tom Hunt

Excited to be launching Berkley Publishing's 
BLOG TOUR on Tom Hunt's Killer Choice!
AND on the publishing date!  HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Publisher:  Berkley
Publishing: January 30, 2018
Pages: 352
Genres:  Thriller, Suspense
Kindle Edition
Standalone - DEBUT NOVEL

Goodreads Synopsis

His wife is sick.
He needs $200,000 to save her.
A mysterious man offers to give him the money with just one catch: He has to murder someone to get it.

Gary Foster’s life is finally heading in the right direction. After years of trying, his wife, Beth, is pregnant, and he recently opened a business with his brother. But one phone call changes everything.... 

After collapsing suddenly, Beth has been rushed to the hospital. Tests reveal a devastating diagnosis: an inoperable brain tumor. Their only hope is an expensive experimental treatment available abroad, with a cost that’s out of their reach. And Beth’s time is running out.... 

Then a strange man approaches Gary and offers the money he needs, on one condition: that he kill someone, no questions asked. End one life to save another.

In this nail-biting debut novel of domestic suspense, one man makes a choice that forces him to confront the darkest reaches of his soul and betray those closest to him. As he’s swept up in a nightmare of escalating violence, he must question his own morality—and determine just how far he’s willing to go to save the woman he loves.

Buy this book on AMAZON

About the Author

Tom Hunt is an award-winning advertising copywriter. He has worked for some of the nation’s largest and best-known agencies, including J. Walter Thompson and Saatchi & Saatchi. Killer Choice is his first novel. Visit him online at and on Twitter @TomHuntWriter.

Hunt will be on tour visiting
January 30th: The Poisoned Pen; Scottsdale, AZ
January 31st: Murder by the Book; Houston, TX
February 1st: Prairie Lights Bookstore; Iowa City, IA
February 3rd: Washington Free Public Library; Washington, IA
February 6th: Mysterious Bookshop; New York, NY

My Review:

It comes down to the age old question - exactly how far would you go for the one you love?  Told strictly through Gary's point of view - we see how he goes from high hopes of finally expecting a baby with his wife.. to potentially losing her.  His wife.. who he's known for more than half his life.  His rock.  He can't imagine life without her and he'll do anything to make sure he doesn't lose her.  Enter an opportunity that could potentially solve everything... but at what cost?  

I love it when a debut novel delivers!  This was an extremely fast read for me.  Yes, I know.. I read fast and I read a lot but sometimes you just get glued to that story line and this one really sucked me in!  Gary really goes through quite a bit.  You never quite know exactly how far you would go for someone until you're put in that predicament.  There were a few times that I was like, "uh uh! Oh no you didn't!  GARY!!!!"  Towards the end he reminded me of Walter White - doing anything at the expense of anyone.  PHEW!  

I do wish there were a few things - while the book focused on everything Gary did to get to the point that he did.  The beginning and aftermath I would've liked to have seen fleshed out a bit.  They felt a tad bit rushed.  I wanted to see more into the relationships he had with the people surrounding him.  Make me feel a little more empathetic to his cause.

I love it when a debut novel gets my panties in a bunch.  This one certainly had me shaking my head a few time in a disturbingly good way.  I can only see Tom Hunt's work getting better with each novel and I look forward to seeing where he goes.  Count me in for the Hunt!!


Monday, January 29, 2018

REVIEW: Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker @kathleenatucker @atriabooks @atriamysterybus

Keep Her Safe
by K.A. Tucker

Big thanks to Atria Books for these copies in return for our honest opinions.  
After reading He Will Be My Ruin last year, I was THRILLED to get my hands on this copy!

Publisher:  Atria Books
Publishing: January 23, 2018
Pages: 448
Genres:  Mystery, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Goodreads Synopsis:

Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that's been rattling in her closet for years, and succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family's life. Reeling with grief, Noah is forced to carry the burden of this shocking secret.

Gracie Richards wasn't born in a trailer park, but after fourteen years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it's all she knows anymore. At least here people don't care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Here, she and her mother are just another family struggling to survive...until a man who clearly doesn't belong shows up on her doorstep.

Despite their differences, Noah and Gracie are searching for answers to the same questions, and together, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department's dark and messy past. But the scandal that emerges is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

My Review:

I have a bad habit of reading the synopsis of a book that I plan on reading, and then completely forgetting about it when I actually do pick up the book.  I basically end up going in blind, which usually is not an issue for me.  In this case, I felt a little blindsided by the story as I was NOT expecting this romance angle at ALL.  I don't believe the synopsis really gets you thinking that this will be in part, a romantic, sexy novel.  HOWEVER, I went back and looked at my media sheet and sure enough... "Complex, gritty, sexy and thrilling, Keep Her Safe solidifies K.A. Tucker's reputation as one of today's most talented new voices in ROMANTIC SUSPENSE."  Color me surprised and I don't remember He Will Be My Ruin as a romantic type book when I read it last year.  🤷  

As I chatted back and forth with a few readers as I was reading this, I learned her books are even kept in the romance section at bookstores and that she is known for these types of books.  If I'm being completely honest, I think I went into this one thinking she was Lisa Gardner.... EEP!  So, halfway through the book, I had to reset my perspective, expectations and continue on in a proper and fair manner.  RESET!

Now, on to the actual review shall we?  K.A. Tucker can WRITE.  This book goes back and forth through various perspectives and past and present narratives.  She does this very seamlessly and without confusion.  The best part about finding a romance arc when you weren't expecting it?  The fact that I like rom-coms as cleansers between thrillers so it was nice to have a little mystery/romance cleanser!  I did find that the romantic angle was way obvious and once under way, could get a little bit cheesy but it was never too "in your face".  AND I give full marks for never using the word tumescent... now, the hate on spam as food is a whole other thing but we won't get into that one 😉.

For a lighter mystery, suspenseful type of read, this is absolutely well done and I found the storyline compelling and was extremely invested in finding out the true story behind the scandal.  I did find that most things seemed to be fairly obvious... HOWEVER,  there were definitely a couple of little surprises at the end and I think Tucker solidly brought everything together. Personally, I like my thrillers a little darker and more macabre.  

I do like Tucker's writing style and will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her work.  I've certainly added a few more of her books to my TBR.  Those who like the lighter thrillers with a compelling storyline and the romance, but not TOO much romance tied in, will thoroughly enjoy this read.


Jessica's Review:

Before starting KEEP HER SAFE, I had never read anything else by K.A. Tucker. I was going into this one expecting a thriller, which this definitely was, but I wasn't expecting the romance element to it. When I later went to the book store on release day to find a copy, I had the hardest time finding it, but I eventually found it hiding in the romance section. If you want your thriller without a side of romance, then this might not be fore you, but I definitely enjoyed it!

Noah has enjoyed a very comfortable life, and this is all thanks to his highly decorated chief of Police mother. All of that comes crashing down when a skeleton from her closest comes out. One that she's been hiding for years - and she begins to succumb to the overwhelming guilt of what she did. 

Gracie's life was flipped upside down when her father, a corrupt cop, was killed in a drug deal gone wrong. She and her mother have learned to survive on their own and avoid any harassment about her father. Until one day, an unexpected visitor arrives, and her quiet life comes to a halt. 

This book was definitely more on the lighter end of the spectrum when it comes to a thriller. As I'm sure for other readers of the thriller genre, it's always nice to have a lighter suspense to cleanse things, and this is exactly what I needed! The romance wasn't too overwhelming, but it's definitely there. Tucker did a fantastic job reeling me in and keeping me turning the pages to find out the truth! 

Overall, if you're looking for a lighter suspense novel, then KEEP HER SAFE should definitely be on your TBR! I loved Tucker's writing style and I'm already keeping my eyes peeled for more from her. 

I give this one 4/5 stars!
Sam's Review:

Ever since I read my first KA Tucker novel (which happened to be the psychological suspense He Will Be My Ruin), I have been obsessed with her writing style.  Her addictive prose, realistic characters and storylines always have me on the edge of my seat and completely entertained.   So, I was thrilled when Keep Her Safe, her newest publication came out last week! 

The perfect blend of romantic suspense and fast paced thriller, Keep Her Safe follows Noah Marshall, son of a police chief whose life is rocked when his mother passes away leaving him with the skeletons in her closet and a job to do.  Meanwhile, Gracie is busy trying to survive and care for her drug-addicted mother and the ghost of her father.  As their paths cross, they realize they are trying to solve a common puzzle and soon, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department.  

Now, don’t be deterred by the romantic suspense aspect of this novel.  It is not overbearing or cringe worthy cheesy, instead, Tucker is able to combine gritty, police procedural components with a few “feel good” elements of a romance to create more of JD Robb or Karen Rose type vibe.  And, if I am being completely truthful, I was more drawn into the budding romance of our protagonists than that of the actual case.  Tucker did a brilliant job at developing such complex and damaged characters; I was desperate for them to succeed.

As the novel develops, Tucker delivers a plethora of twists and turns and I found myself glued to my seat.  There were several moments that were unexpected for me, including the resolution. The final twist at the end came completely out of left field!

Described as Making a Murderer meets ScandalKeep Her Safe packs just the right amount of punch!  I feel like crime fiction fans and fans of the new adult genre (think Colleen Hoover) will really enjoy this novel, I know I did!


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

REVIEW: Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer @aspark7 @skyhorsepub

Match Made in Manhattan
by Amanda Stauffer

Thanks to the lovely author for this fantastic and hilarious copy to review!

Publisher:  Skyhorse Publishing
Publishing: January 23, 2018
Pages: 320
Genres:  Contemporary, Humor


After two intense, dead-end relationships, serial monogamist Alison finds herself confused, lonely, and drastically out of touch with the world of modern dating. Refusing to wallow, she signs up for a popular dating app and resolves to remain open-minded and optimistic as she explores the New York City singles' scene. With the click of a button, her adventures begin: On one date, she's dumped before the first kiss; on another, she dons full HAZMAT gear; she meets a tattooed folk singer turned investment banker, an undercover agent who tracks illegal exotic animals, and dozens of other colorful, captivating personalities.

Giving them each her signature "pants speech"--her pants aren't coming off unless she has a real connection with someone--she desperately wants to push past the awkward small-talk phase to find true love, but finding "the one" is starting to feel impossible. That is, until she meets Luke, who is sophisticated, funny, and not to mention, hot. Alison finds herself falling for Luke harder than any guy she's dated and finally letting her walls down, but will he stick around or move on to his next match?

Match Made in Manhattan is a fast-paced, contemporary story about the struggles of dating in the digital age. Replete with online profiles, witty dialogue, and a super-supportive group of female friends, this all-too-real and relatable debut novel will have readers laughing, crying, and rooting for Alison all the way to the end.

My Review:

Let me just cut to the chase with this one. This may not be for everyone because if you don't live in Manhattan and its very eclectic group of people and don't find online dating particularly fun (which I don't actually), you might not find this relatable.... but boy oh boy did I have FUN with this!

Yes, there are a TON of guys in this book. You can't keep track. Quite frankly, you don't want to. And I can empathize with Alison on so many levels. It's hard to give guys a proper chance when 1. you don't particularly want to judge a person based on their picture and their blurb on an online dating site and 2. you're just NOT ready for this type of "dating" and aren't giving it 100%. But... you give it a go because why not? Your friends have had success with online dating and finding someone "organically" just ain't cutting it anymore. 

I've tried online dating once or twice and have NOT had good experiences. One guy looked absolutely NOTHING like his picture. NOTHING. And then proceeded to talk my ear off without giving me a chance to interject and then told me I didn't pass his "three question rule". Um, yeah, you bet your ass I asked about this rule. "If you spend at least two hours with someone and they haven't asked you at least three questions about yourself, then they're clearly not interested... but you were close! You asked two!" Cut to a month later with a text from said guy, "Um, so, where did we end up?".... "I didn't pass your three question rule."..."Oh, ok." DELETE. The other guy was polar opposite of what I had said I wanted in my profile (note to e-harmony, you SUCK). And the third and last... well he was actually quite normal - this time it was my fault. I simply was just NOT ready. Lessons learned. (Disclaimer - this happened YEARS ago and I probably will never try it again.)

So, yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were some laugh out loud moments and some cringe worthy moments. Quite frankly, this is one of those where you're just going to have to find out for yourself if you like it or not. I could relate in so many ways. You may not. However, if you like reading about some amazingly horrible first dates... it's well worth it just for these incidents. ;)