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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Review: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover @amazonpub @colleenhoover

Regretting You 
by Colleen Hoover


Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publish Date: December 10, 2019
Kindle Edition
365 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Contemporary, Romance


Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.


Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

My Review:


FFS, Hoover... at least it took me to 88% for my eyes to spring a small leak with this one.

I never thought I'd ever say that I'm actually excited for contemporary romance now.  Maybe it's just Hoover.  Maybe it's me being older and "softer".  I don't know.  What I do know is that every Hoover book I've read so far has just pierced me in one way or another.  Here she does it... again.

We get two POVs between Morgan and Clara, mother and daughter.  When tragedy occurs, they have to transverse their relationship in a brand new way.  Not only dealing with their grief but what they learn in the process.  Let's look past the obvious of the drama that happens when secrets come to light and crack what seemed to be a perfect family.  Let's instead look at the relationship between Morgan and Clara and how making mistakes and growing WITH each other is what is important.

Listen, as a daughters, we know what it's like to have that relationship with our mother.  It's frustrating at times, makes you want to scream and pull your hair out.  But there is also nothing quite like it.  Hoover does a fantastic job in bringing in both perspectives.  This feels even partially like a YA due to Clara's point of view.

I don't know, you guys.  Hoover just has a gift and turning the first page is like opening a new present.  While this one wasn't quite as hard hitting as some other books I've read (such as All Your Perfects), it certainly still gave all my feelings a work out. I still have unrealistic expectations of men now from her novels but isn't the point of reading books to launch you into a new world. *wink*

Just read it.  It's just romance enough to make your heart swell, but it's perfectly contemporary enough for you to take on the lessons within.

★★★★★

#ATBR2019 Review: Reputation by Sara Shepard @duttonbooks @jessmapreviews

Reputation 
by Sara Shepard


Publisher: Dutton
Publish Date: December 3, 2019
Kindle Edition
384 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Thriller


In this fast-paced new novel from Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, a tight-knit college town scrambles for answers when an e-mail hack reveals life-changing secrets and scandals.



Aldrich University is rocked to its core when a hacker dumps 40,000 people's e-mails—the entire faculty, staff, students, alums—onto an easily searchable database. Rumors and affairs immediately leak, but things turn explosive when Kit Manning's handsome husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is found murdered. Kit's sister, Willa, returns for the funeral, setting foot in a hometown she fled fifteen years ago, after a night she wishes she could forget. As an investigative reporter, Willa knows something isn't right about the night Greg was killed, and she's determined to find the truth. What she doesn't expect is that everyone has something to hide. And with a killer on the loose, Willa and Kit must figure out who killed Greg before someone else is murdered.


Told from multiple points of view, Reputation is full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals. It's a story of intrigue, sabotage, and the secrets we keep—and how far we go to keep them hidden. Number one bestseller Sara Shepard is at the top of her game in this brand-new adult novel.

My Review:


Well cream my corn, smack my ass and call me biscuits.  What am I talking about? Hell, I don't know but that's how I feel after reading this book because my neck hurts and my brain is muddled from all the whiplash.

Told from multiple POVs, this is QUITE the roller coaster of a read. And it makes total sense as it was originally written to be for TV.  So yes to all the DRAMA MAMA BING BANG happening page after page after page!  Think about it.  Everyone has a reputation.  You have one throughout high school, through college and then while you think it lessens as you reach adulthood - it doesn't - it just changes course.  You're constantly comparing yourself to the other mother you think may have more advantages than you or is doing a better job, whatever that means.  Or to the family you're missing out on because you never had kids.  To the man you think you're not because you allowed this and that to happen.  There's always SOMETHING.  So you hide behind your secrets.  You chase what you think will complete you, but does that ever really work?  This is a fast lesson is learning that no matter what happens, eventually you WILL be found out.

If your emails got hacked, what would come out about you? Do you really think deleting your messages keep you immune?  You realize that the person who holds your "secret" with you means it's not REALLY a secret right?  Bring in this cast of characters where EVERYONE has some secret.  Emails have gotten hacked and shit is about TO GO DOWN.  No one is innocent.  The author does an amazing job of keeping you guessing.  There are little bombs dropped here and there and just when you think … THINK.. you have it almost figured out... BOMB DROPPED.  Now, normally having ALL these twists and turns would almost seem to much but it really works for me here.  Even while I was looking back and forth from character to character and all the messes they were in, I was still feeling for them... well... some of them.  But with every black cloud, there is that little silver lining.  Mostly.  Maybe.  Hell, I don't know.

Even with all the craziness that is going on, the book does touch on some very important subjects and it's all too real how certain things can easily be looked over when they shouldn't. And while, if I'm being completely transparent, the epilogue was nice to see where the characters ended up... it felt a little *off* after the crazy roller coaster... like I got stuck at the end for a few minutes, trapped, before I was let off. BUT... I do think it was necessary as well.  People, be as good as you can be but remember we're all human.  And in this day and age, be careful what you put out there.  And as the author notes in her acknowledgments: "People will always find out."

★★★★

Jessica's Review:


This is my second book by Sara Shepard (I'm probably one of the few that hasn't picked up Pretty Little Liars yet) and the main thing I remember was all the drama in the story. Well, we weren't short on drama in REPUTATION! What would you do if all of your emails were available for the world to see? What if your entire reputation was at stake? As people always say, nothing is ever *really* gone form the internet. Even when deleted, there's still a record somewhere of it and any hacker can find it.

When this happens all hell breaks loose. What secrets are you hiding? What would happen if those secrets got out? All of this goes down with quite the cast of characters - just chaos and drama ensue and I loved it all. There were a lot of twists and red herrings throughout the book, and you definitely need so suspend some reality (but I'm sure that was expected). We had a lot of different POVs from characters and it did get a little confusing at times for me, but otherwise I thought Shepard did a great job creating characters that the readers just wouldn't particularly like. I did enjoy the epilogue at the end of the book - definitely one I would recommend reading as well (I'm sometimes guilty of skipping those, but I've learned I can miss a lot by doing so).

Considering how much I enjoyed all the drama that went down in this book, and with plenty of nudging from others, I might have to finally pick up Pretty Little Liars and get that started. Overall, if you want a crazy thriller that throws all kinds of curve-balls, then look no further. It's also a good reminder to be careful what we put out there because it will almost always come back.

4 stars

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell @atriabooks @lisajewelluk @jessmapreviews

The Girls in the Garden 
by Lisa Jewell 


Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: April 4, 2017
Paperback
336 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Thriller, Contemporary


Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?



On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?


Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense. 


My Review:



Lisa Jewell is one of my favorite authors.  I absolutely love her wicked mind and the way her stories unfold.  I had heard mixed things regarding this read - some say it's her BEST WORK EVER... while others didn't finish and couldn't understand the "hype".  Me?  I'm a bit in the middle with this one.

This book starts out STRONG with its opening. Then immediately reverts to the past so we see all the events leading up to the initial event.  There's a "communal" type property where everyone is basically in everyone's business and each family has their own issues.  There are multiple POVs and to be honest, at first, I had a little issue keeping up with who was who and what was happening.  As I read further, this became much clearer but I feel like maybe it could've worked a teensy bit better.  I also didn't see the point of the letters to Daddy. *shrug*

After the strong start, the book moved at a moderate pace, had a little bit of a lull and then began to unfold again once we got to the "After" section.  I can't say I'm the biggest fan of the ending.  HOWEVER, I also really liked it.  Can you have conflicting feelings about an ending? I hope so because that's where I'm living right now. 

★★

Jessica's Review:


I had originally had this at 4 stars, but having some time to think about it since finishing I decided it was more at a 3.5 for me. Having read a few other books by Jewell now, I think this one was still great, just not my favorite of what I've picked up so far. Of course, 3.5 stars is still a great rating in my mind, so I haven't been disappointed yet by Jewell. I had heard great things about THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN, and that's always the risk with reading something long after others have because there can be a hype built up and that can always set expectations higher.

We start out with a bang and a somewhat gruesome scene, then Jewell takes us back in time to see the events that led to this opening. We are brought through multiple POVs and while that's something I love in thrillers/suspense novels, there were a lot to keep up with. Things got a little muddled for me at first then I caught on to how everyone fit together with their character development.

While this did keep my attention throughout, there was a small lull for me but then it picked up again as the ending approached. Overall, I will continue to pick up anything I find from Jewell. I love her writing and how she unfolds these suspense/thrillers for us. There's just something about it that sucks you in from the beginning and you can't wait to fly through it.

3.5 stars

Monday, December 2, 2019

SPOTLIGHT: The Lost Tomorrows by Matt Coyle @oceanviewpub #crimenovels #mattcoyle @JKSlitpublicity

The Lost Tomorrows 
by Matt Coyle


Weaving the tragedies of the past into the realities of the present, Anthony-award winning author Matt Coyle’s gripping new mystery “Lost Tomorrows” (Dec. 3, 2019, Oceanview) — the latest installment of the beloved Rick Cahill series — carries revenge, redemption, and the hopes of new love in all one action-packed thriller.

When Rick Cahill receives an unexpected call that his former police partner, Krista Landingham, has been found dead, he realizes he can’t avoid his past any longer. Hired by her sister to investigate Krista’s death, Rick follows clues toward the terrible truth that his former partner’s death wasn’t an accident but rather a murder. Along the way, Rick unearths secrets long-hidden about the tragic death of his wife. 

With his past colliding with his present, Rick must make a decision: Will he embrace the terrible actions necessary for revenge and redemption, or is he a different kind of man?


Early praise for Lost Tomorrows:

“Sharp, suspenseful, and poignant, LOST TOMORROWS hits like a breaking wave and pulls readers into its relentless undertow. Matt Coyle is at the top of his game.”
Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of the Unsub series

"Private investigator Rick Cahill returns in Matt Coyle's new book, LOST TOMORROWS.  Cahill has been run out of town, wrongly accused of killing his wife. He's depressed, drinking and emotionally wrung out. A new murder investigation draws him back to the town that hates him, and he's forced to partner up with his primary accuser. Like the entire Cahill series, the story is suspenseful, tightly written, full of curveballs and memorable characters and very, very smart.  Welcome back, Rick. We're really glad to see you."
Joe Ide, author of the award-winning IQ series

“. . . For those who admire old-school PI style, there's plenty to savor here.”
— Booklist

“Coyle’s sixth ‘Rick Cahill’ novel (Lost Tomorrows) will please noir enthusiasts with its staccato prose, evocative descriptions, and hard-nosed protagonist.”
Library Journal

“In Rick Cahill, Coyle has created a deeply flawed, but eminently sympathetic, protagonist. Who among us isn’t demonized by our failures, and who isn’t occasionally overtaken by a deep-seated need for redemption? And who wouldn’t be envious of Cahill’s panache in dealing with both?”
New York Journal of Books


MATT COYLE is the author of the Rick Cahill mysteries. His books have won the Anthony Award, Ben Franklin Silver Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Silver Award, and San Diego Book Award, and have been nominated for multiple Anthony Awards, Macavity Awards, Shamus Awards, Lefty Awards, and San Diego Book Awards. Matt has a degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Private Eye Writers of America, and the International Association of Crime Writers. Aside from writing novels, Matt hosts the Crime Corner podcast on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network and lives in San Diego with his yellow Lab, Angus.

  1.  “Lost Tomorrows” is the sixth installment of the Rick Cahill mysteries. What compels you to continue to explore Rick’s story?
Since the death of his wife 14 years ago, Rick’s whole life has been a quest for redemption. Each case he takes, each story I write, is a chance for him to get closer to completing his quest. Sadly for Rick, he rarely feels close to achieving redemption.

  1. Where did the idea for your protagonist, Rick Cahill, come from?
I knew I wanted a disgraced ex-cop with something dark and unresolved in his past. However, it wasn’t until a sentence came to me for the ether (my subconscious) while I was revising the first draft of the first book that I really began to get a sense of who Rick Cahill was. The sentence, which became the first sentence in “Yesterday’s Echo”: The first time I saw her she made me remember and she made me forget. With that line, I realized Rick’s past was much darker than I originally anticipated. Something truly awful had happened to him that changed his life irrevocably.

  1. Last December, you quit your job to become a full-time writer. How has this decision shaped your life and work?
It’s given me much needed time to tackle all facets of a writer’s life. Not just the writing but the marketing necessary to build a career. 

  1. You have quite the resume when it comes to the genres of mystery and crime fiction. Why do you love mysteries so much?
I love mysteries/crime fiction because it allows you to explore character, solve a puzzle, and seek justice all in one story. Justice may not be achievable, or if it is, it may not be the criminal justice system’s version of it. I write P.I. fiction because I like the idea of one man or woman fighting powerful forces to find their own justice. 

  1. In “Lost Tomorrows,” you dive into some ways that the past interacts with the present. Why did you choose to explore this idea, and have you seen it play out in your own life?
I don’t think it started as a conscious decision, but the more I wrote Rick Cahill the more I realized that every action he took was an effort to get square him with the past. Beyond that, I realized that every bad decision he’s made in his past has to have repercussions that affect his present. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the title of the first book, “Yesterday’s Echo,” is really the arc of Rick’s life. The echos are always chasing him. 
Sadly, an aspect of this played out in my own life. No details, but a knee jerk action I took in a dispute when I was young had lasting consequences for me and my family. Nothing violent, tragic or illegal, just something I wish I hadn’t done.

Join Matt Coyle in events across the country:
Warwick's on Dec. 3
7812 Girard Ave., La Jolla, CA 92037
Book Passage on Dec. 6
51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA 94925
Book Carnival on Dec. 7
348 S. Tustin St., Orange, CA 92866
Poisoned Pen on Dec. 10
4014 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Vroman's on Jan. 7
695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101
Chaucer’s on Jan. 8
3321 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Murder by the Book on Jan. 10
2342 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005
Mystery People on Jan. 11
603 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 787
Huntington Beach Library on Jan. 16
7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach, CA 92648
San Carlos Branch Library on Jan. 24
7265 Jackson Drive, San Diego, CA 92119