2018 Book #4 – Like Broken China by J.D. Thompson

51yezZ6480LTitle: Like Broken China
Author: J.D. Thompson
Date finished: 1/10/18
Genre: Fiction, Women’s fiction
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: November 21, 2017
Pages in book: 284
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/Publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Is love enough to repair the pieces of a shattered life?

This is the question plaguing Courtney Cook’s mind as she packs her whole existence into a 20ft moving van. When she first encountered Matt in a coffee shop ten years prior, she was immediately transfixed. Dark, adventurous, and wildly untamed, Matt was everything Courtney didn’t know she wanted. One night of uninhibited abandon was all it took for her to be completely enthralled by the boy without limits. Now saddled with two children, a sky-high mortgage, and a marriage crippled by addiction, Courtney finds herself desperately trying to hold on to the life she knew. But as she struggles between letting go of what could have been and accepting what is, one question simmers at the surface of Courtney’s mind: is love ever enough?

Powerful and provoking with humor woven throughout the raw sting of heartbreak, Like Broken China offers an honest take on the decisions two people make and the aftermath that can destroy an entire decade.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Letting go of a toxic relationship

In this novel we follow Courtney Cook as she navigates her separation and divorce from her alcoholic husband. The story line alternates between the present day as Courtney struggles to move on with her life and the past as we learn about Courtney and Matt’s history. Honestly the more I read about the stuff Matt pulled early on in their relationship, I was more and more shocked that Courtney stood by him. The first time she came home to find Matt passed out drunk with their BABY SON Noah screaming and crying in his crib I would’ve been like, nope I’m out. Anyways, the story overall was really engaging, even though pretty much the entire book is about one character’s development it was still really a quick and interesting read. I liked that Courtney was finally able to let go and realize that the relationship she was in with Matt wasn’t a healthy one for anyone involved (including her children), though I was technically a tad frustrated in how long it took to get there. Overall a good story though and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #76 – Luck, Love and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert

512ycx9OzFLTitle: Luck, Love and Lemon Pie
Author: Amy E. Reichert
Date finished: 9/2/17
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When Milwaukee-area wife and mother MJ Boudreaux notices her husband Chris seems more interested in the casino than her, she’s more bothered that she isn’t upset than by her husband’s absence. She picks up poker as a way for them to spend more time together—and reignite their marital flame.

Although the game doesn’t give her the quality time with Chris that she’d hoped, MJ finds she has a knack for it. Increasingly unhappy at home, she turns to the felt top of the poker table for comfort. Intoxicated with newfound freedom, MJ begins spending more time at the gambling tables and less with her family, finally carving out for herself a place outside her role of wife and mother.

After a string of great wins, MJ finds herself in Vegas, attracting the attention of a certain magnetic poker star. But when she’s forced to choose between her family and her new exciting lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought and MJ will have to play her hand carefully…or risk losing it all.

My rating:  1.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of MJ and her struggles with her self and her marriage to husband Chris. When we first meet her, she’s been waiting over three hours for her husband to show up for their anniversary lunch. When he finally does show up (4 hours late) he runs right back to playing poker at the casino. Deciding it may be her only chance to spend time with her husband, MJ asks him to teach her how to play. And while she does find that she’s actually pretty good at this poker thing and even manages to win a local tournament, she doesn’t find that its bringing her any closer in her marriage. In fact just the opposite, Chris and her drift even further apart while she’s off practicing her poker hand.

Overall I very much did not care for this book. I found the plot to be frustrating and even quite angering. Chris takes on absolutely no responsibility for their failing relationship and actually flat out rejects MJ’s repeated attempts to talk to him about it. And then he actually goes and tries to end a twenty year marriage without even having a discussion with her about it first. If it were me I would’ve signed the papers and said see ya round jackass. MJ was a half hour late to dinner and Chris decides that is a good reason to just not come home that night? Where did he go?! But when he is FOUR HOURS late to an anniversary lunch every thing’s perfectly fine!!?? Freaking kidding me. I’m getting mad again thinking about it like a week after reading it. Anyways, as you can tell by my venting this plot had a lot of points I just couldn’t understand or agree with. If you can see past those points I guess give it a try. I like other books by this author, and it isn’t like the writing was bad I just couldn’t identify with the plot.

The bottom line: I did not enjoy this book unfortunately, though I greatly enjoyed Reichert’s Simplicity of Cider. Go read that one instead.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #65 – Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes

51BaCBQAllLTitle: Emerald Coast
Author: Anita Hughes
Date finished: 8/1/17
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date:August 1, 2017
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Set on the glamorous Italian island, Emerald Coast is a touching and humorous story about marriage and the difficulty of finding love and happiness at the same time.
Lily Bristol arrives at a luxurious resort in Sardinia for the grand opening of her newest home furnishing store on the Emerald Coast. She’s a successful business woman with an international chain of stores from San Francisco to Milan. Thirty-two and newly divorced, she’s ready to handle things on her own. At least until her private butler, Enzo, escorts her to a beautiful suite where she notices a suspiciously familiar pair of men’s slippers and shaving kit.
Lily is horrified. Her ex-husband Oliver moved out of their restored Connecticut farmhouse six months ago, but they booked this trip when they were trying to save their marriage and never cancelled the reservation. Oliver, a food critic for the New York Times, is here covering Sardinia’s hottest new restaurant. The only other available room is the adjoining suite; and worse, Oliver isn’t alone. He’s brought a twenty-something named Angela with him.
Lily is determined to make do and enlists Enzo to find her a suitable man. But it’s not as easy to find new love as they both expected. When Lily and Oliver find themselves alone on a very important night, they turn to each other. Sparks begin to fly, but can they be together without breaking each other’s hearts?

My rating:  1.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Lily Bristol and her ex-husband Oliver, who through one of those crazy twists of fate end up both trying to use a reservation after their divorce. Oliver brought his new girlfriend (Angela) and Lily ends up hooking up with a guy named Ricky from Sardinia (where they are) but while all this is happening they both also can’t stop thinking about each other and their shared memories.
Overall I did not care for this book. I’m going to try to be honest here without being (a) cruel or (b) overly dramatic. I found Lily’s character to be a complete mockery of a strong and independent woman. She has random conversations with strangers and just is everything that I would hate to become as a women and as a wife. Oliver has some extreme jealousy issues and may be addicted to sex since he can’t seem to stop having it with his new girlfriend. However (**SPOILER ALERT**) he apparently NEVER THINKS TO ASK HIS NEW GF ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL. Sorry the caps were dramatic I just can’t believe that any logical person in this day and age would overlook that in a new relationship. Anyways moving on the characters were irrelevant and unrealistic, the story line was half-hearted and not at all engaging, and I honestly couldn’t even read most of the conversations they were so awkwardly structured. I did not care for this novel. However, all of that being said I know these are popular novels and that some people do like them so that’s fine. Amazon has mostly 4 star reviews. So maybe its just me.

The bottom line: I did not personally enjoy this book. I cannot personally say that I recommend it, though I know many people who enjoy this author’s books so maybe its just me.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #88 – At Risk by S.G. Redling

41e3is00ccl-_sx332_bo1204203200_Title: At Risk
Author: S.G. Redling
Date finished: 9/26/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Pages in book: 238
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Colleen McElroy grew up wealthy and pampered, the daughter of a prominent society family in Lexington, Kentucky. But her privileged upbringing could not prepare or protect her from her cruel and abusive first husband. Although her calamitous marriage left her with physical and emotional scars that have yet to heal, they haven’t prevented her from doing her best to rebuild her life.
Charismatic Patrick McElroy has scars of his own from his traumatic childhood in the foster care system, but with his business partner, John, he has built a celebrated, state-of-the-art home for at-risk youths. When one goes missing, Colleen is plunged into a nightmare of uncertainty about the girl’s disappearance. Is she paranoid, seeing disasters where there is just bad luck, or does an unspeakable evil lurk behind the new life she’s made for herself? No longer sure of whom she can trust, Colleen will have to rely on herself to discover the truth.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Colleen McElroy, a woman who gets herself involved in a very sticky situation. Colleen was recently divorced from Heath Searon (within the last couple years) who beat her so badly that she had to have her spleen removed. Colleen meets Patrick McElroy while he is helping her with some around the house projects she takes on when moving into her own place. She very quickly falls in love with him and is married not even a full year after her divorce from Heath. This piece of information was a tad bit surprising to me since Colleen was so deeply scarred from her first marriage I would have thought it would take more convincing to get her to come around. But anyways, Patrick and his business partner, John, own Macaroni Brothers Freight Company. John’s wife, Bix, as well as John and Patrick, grew up in the foster care system and now they use some of the profits from their business to run a foster care home for children. When Colleen starts seeing John with her ex-husband Heath though, she begins to suspect that there may be something shady going on. Can she prove anything without putting herself in danger though?
Overall I really liked this book. I thought that there were a couple holes/unbelievable areas in the plot line but they didn’t end up taking away from the story for me. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what was going to happen. And there were a lot of great plot twists in the story, I didn’t want to put it down! I liked that the reader saw Colleen get some of her strength as a person back by the end of the book too. She went through some awful things but in the end she was able to forge ahead and be more like the daring woman she once was. This was a great read and i would definitely recommend!

The bottom line: This book had me on the edge of my seat with my heart pounding. It was a quick read but definitely thrilling. I would recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #37 – I Know What I’m Doing — and Other Lies I Tell Myself by Jen Kirkman

51kB0uOLqhL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Title: I Know What I’m Doing — And Other Lies I Tell Myself
Author: Jen Kirkman
Date finished: 4/22/16
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Pages in book: 240
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

New York Times bestselling author and stand-up comedian Jen Kirkman delivers a hilarious, candid memoir about marriage, divorce, sex, turning forty, and still not quite having life figured out.
Jen Kirkman wants to be the voice in your head that says, Hey, you’re okay. Even if you sometimes think you aren’t! And especially if other people try to tell you you’re not.
In I Know What I’m Doing—and Other Lies I Tell Myself, Jen offers up all the gory details of a life permanently in progress. She reassures you that it’s okay to not have life completely figured out, even when you reach middle age (and find your first gray pubic hair!). She talks about making unusual or unpopular life decisions (such as cultivating a “friend with benefits” or not going home for the holidays) because you don’t necessarily want for yourself what everyone else seems to think you should. It’s about renting when everyone says you should own, dating around when everyone thinks you should settle down, and traveling alone when everyone pities you for going to Paris without a man.
From marriage to divorce and sex to mental health, I Know What I’m Doing—and Other Lies I Tell Myself is about embracing the fact that life is a bit of a sh*t show and it’s definitely more than okay to stay true to yourself.

My rating: 2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also, this book will count towards my “PopSugar 2016 Checklist” reading challenge, marking off the “a book written by a comedian” since this book was in fact written by a stand-up comedian. This book is about Jen Kirkman’s experience with marriage, divorce, and what comes after. It is an honest look at what she thinks of the institution of marriage and about her life. Since she is a comedian, as you can expect there is a slightly sarcastic and humorous voice as our narrator. Many times I found myself laughing out loud while reading this book.
So I would like to preface the rest of what I’m going to write by saying that I don’t think I am the target audience for this book. At all. This book talks a lot about how awful marriage is and while that wasn’t the only point that this book was trying to make or the only thing discussed, it really turned me off to some large parts of the book. While I get that marriage isn’t for everyone, the author talked a lot about how when she was contemplating divorce she got tired of married people telling her that marriage is hard and that she should try to work harder at it. Obviously I don’t know her exact situation and no one outside of your marriage can really decide for you whether its something that is right for you, her married friends were telling the truth. Marriage is hard. It isn’t all rainbows and being madly in love all day every day for your whole life. Marriage is a lot of work. I mean think about it, you have to spend 50 years of your life attached to one person. During that 50 years countless other people are going to come in and out of your life, changing who you are as a person. Even ignoring that, people usually change over time, so during 50 years you could change who you are as a person entirely. Sometimes you change too much and your marriage doesn’t work out but otherwise you have to work at it. You have to work to find time for each other and continue to make each other feel special and just a whole lot of other crap that takes a lot of work emotionally. So suffice it to say I didn’t agree with a lot of the things the author discussed in the book. And trust me, I am not dependent on my husband in any way shape or form, I am very independent. And I am not with him because “society” thinks I need to be married or because I want someone to cook for. I am with my husband because we have fun together (some times) and because I like what he brings to our relationship. He interests me as a person, and he has since the moment I met him.
Wow that was quite the rant. Anyways, the author also discusses that marriage is awful and married people can’t understand why she doesn’t want to get married and that people with kids only care about their kids. So if hearing about any one of those things appeals to you then I would read this book. Other than that you might find it a tad frustrating, but still funny as well.

The bottom line: I just couldn’t really get into this book. It was definitely funny, there were some parts that made me laugh out loud. But I’m a married woman who is looking to have children so I think I just wasn’t in the target audience for this book that makes fun of married woman who have/want to have children for 200 pages. Was a funny read but I would probably only recommend it to people who are divorced or who have no interest in getting married or who have no interest in having children.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #13 – Nookietown by V.C. Chickering

71ChsqwxUMLTitle: Nookietown
Author: V.C. Chickering
Date finished: 2/18/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Recently divorced, 40-something single-mom, Lucy, is lonely, bored and craving physical connection. So, when her trusted long-time married friend, Nancy, begs Lucy to sleep with her husband to save her marriage, Lucy goes for it. It’s such a success, the two friends invent a town-wide underground barter system whereby Nancy’s married girlfriends sub-contract Lucy’s divorcee friends to sleep with their husbands so they don’t have to as often. It’s a win, win, win- for a while. Then it all goes to hell in a hand-basket.
Laugh-out-loud funny, emotionally provocative and at times racy, Nookietown is a story of risk-taking, marriage, honesty and desire, and what one woman rationalizes in order to get what she wants.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my “Holiday 2015 Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “One-Word Title” square, since the title for this book is in fact only one word. I had heard about this book from a couple of different places, one of which was Popsugar’s 23 Books You Should Read This Winter. So when I saw it available on NetGalley I’m not even sure I fully read the description before requesting it. I mean I’m sure I knew the main premise for the story, but still I found myself surprised while reading it that there was just so much sex. It was everywhere, the main character of this book (sorry I should have introduced her already, her name is Lucy Larken (ha)) was constantly having sex (in detail) with a variety of men.
So basically, the short description of what happens is that Lucy’s friend Nancy (with Lucy’s help) starts a service where married women can basically subcontract out the sex part of their life to a lonely divorcee who isn’t interested in getting married again. Takes some of the pressure off her so she isn’t being begged for sex constantly and she doesn’t have to feel guilty about always saying no to sex. Lucy meets and dates a couple of guys while she’s involved in the program, but she doesn’t divulge her “side-business” to them. Lucy is recently divorced and is having a hard time not only getting back out into the dating world but also feeling desirable. So when she starts participating in the Program and starts being so appreciated by these other womens’ husbands just for having sex with them, she starts to feel wanted again and starts to get her self-confidence back.
Overall I thought this was a really interesting premise for a book and I definitely don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it before.I did have a lot of issues with the book but most of them were more personal issues that I don’t think would necessarily affect other readers. I’ll just run through my issues with the book really quickly. Kit was a shitty friend. In the beginning-ish of the book she tells Lucy about how hard Lucy’s divorce was on her (KIT). Like Lucy’s divorce affected and upset Kit so much. As soon as she said that I was like no way get the F out of here. Another issue I had with the book was that the idea would never work. I don’t know any women who would willingly go tell their husband to sleep with another woman, never mind arrange it for them. Nuts. Another thing is that if Lucy really did get pregnant the way she meant to from Peter, that is messed up beyond reason. Just awful awful stuff. Anyways I think those were my main issues, there were a couple of other things but they were small issues. I think that the premise behind this book was just so difficult for me to comprehend and wrap my mind around that it made it harder for me to enjoy the story. That being said though, this book was interesting and had some really great points on marriage and relationships as a whole as well as the importance of being grateful for what you have in life.

The bottom line: I thought that this was an interesting book and actually had some good thoughts about marriage and forgiveness and being grateful for what you have. So yes I would recommend it. Just be warned though, there is lots of sex. I wasn’t expecting that much sex.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #2 – Too Close to Home by Susan Lewis

518p6FZfawLTitle: Too Close to Home
Author: Susan Lewis
Date finished: 1/5/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller, women’s fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Pages in book: 512
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Jenna Moore finally feels that she and her family are exactly where they should be. Leaving busy London behind, they’ve moved to the beautiful, serene Welsh coast. There Jenna, her husband, Jack, and the couple’s four children have found a little slice of heaven. In the house of their dreams, Jenna and Jack are ramping up for the launch of their new publishing business, and the kids are happier than they’ve ever been, wandering the wild, grassy moors that meet white sand beaches and wide ocean.

But a fissure cracks open. The once open and honest Jack suddenly seems to be keeping secrets, spinning intricate lies. And fifteen-year-old Paige has become withdrawn, isolating herself from her family and her new friends. Frightened of the darkness enveloping her family, Jenna struggles to hold her loved ones together. But a cruel disturbance has insinuated itself into her home, threatening to take away everything she holds dear.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my “Holiday 2015 Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “2015 Release You Missed” square, since I was supposed to read this book for its 2015 release on NetGalley and fell a little behind therefore I missed it. This book tells the story of Jenna Moore, her husband Jack, and her four children (from oldest to youngest) Paige, Josh, Wills and Flora (twins). Paige is fifteen now and even though they just moved from London to Wales, she is making lots of new friends at her new school and she is thriving in her new school environment. She is working on a film project for school with the help of her step-father Jack and she was also given a lead role in an upcoming school play.
Jenna is happy with her family’s move and is looking forward to the business she is building with her husband. Though Jenna has already published a couple novels, she is currently experiencing some writer’s block and has fallen behind with her agent on her deadline for her next book. Other than that though things seem to be going along well. And then all of a sudden things start falling apart. Jenna starts noticing that her husband Jack is disappearing a lot. And his stories about where he’s been aren’t really adding up. Jenna starts to suspect that something awful may be brewing, but she isn’t prepared when Jack finally decides to reveal the truth. Also Paige has been distant, withdrawn, and downright mean lately to her family and Jenna can’t figure out why (though to be fair she doesn’t try overly hard to figure it out). What Jenna doesn’t realize is that Paige is dealing with her own demons, ones that she really needs help with but has no idea who or how to ask. And if Jenna isn’t careful, she may lose her firstborn to these events.
It is hard for me to say that overall I liked this book but I did. Obviously no one likes the story matter of this book, these are tough items to deal with. Divorce and bullying can make anyone’s stomach turn but even though these are hard topics to read about, they are so important. This book had an extremely important message about bullying and the trauma it can cause. The raw emotion in this book was just astounding to me, as a reader I was filled with tension and anxiety and apprehension for most of the book. I was on the edge of my seat with my stomach in flutters getting ready for the next fight. If you as a reader connect emotionally with the story then this may be a tough one because you will feel pain and desperation and frustration like you’ve never felt before in a book. I didn’t like this book because there was a happy ending, I liked this book so much because it was powerful. It had a powerful message that it delivered with powerful emotions through well developed characters. I think this is a book that everyone should read, if only to see the pain that bullying can cause.

The bottom line: I would recommend this book, it was riveting and heart-breaking and tension filled. Just be forewarned that if you are a reader who gets emotionally involved in the stories, this one may be a tough one to get through. Definitely recommend it though! Powerful stuff.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #110 – Smoke by Catherine McKenzie

41gqky7Ud9LTitle: Smoke
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Date finished: 10/22/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Pages in book: 351
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town.
After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in her former life for a quieter one with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce and a fire in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.
For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who has lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.
As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Elizabeth Martin, an ex-firefighter who as the story opens we learn is planning to get a divorce from her husband, Ben. Elizabeth used to be friends with Mindy Mitchell but they had a falling out about a year ago. Anyways, there is a fire within the town of Nelson, where they both live, and its spreading through the forest area in/surrounding the town I believe. Elizabeth used to be an arson investigator and she now works for the local police department so she is called in to investigate the fire. Since she has been fighting fires for 10 years as well, she knows a lot of the people called in to help control the situation. Unfortunately there is no rain on the horizon and the fires are spreading like… well like wildfire. Elizabeth ends up having to figure out what is important to her while she is drawn back into the fire-fighting world.
On the other end of the spectrum, Mindy is trying to figure out what’s been up with her oldest son lately. He’s been acting weird and she thinks he might be sneaking out at night but can’t seem to find a way to prove it. Mindy feels awful for the man who lost his house in the fire and wants to do something to help, so she has the upcoming fundraiser divert their funds from the high school hockey team to this man who lost his home and everything else in the fire. Then Elizabeth discovers the fire started in this man’s fire pit outside his house, and the twists and turns start coming as we journey through the days following the start of the fire while staff try to contain it and put it out and Elizabeth tries to figure out who is behind all of this.
Overall I am not 100% sure how I felt about this book (which doesn’t usually happen for me). There were some parts of it that I really liked and that made me not want to put the book down but I had some trouble getting into the book until I was about halfway through. Also, one of my biggest book peeves is when we get a hint of something that seems like its going to be an issue and then that item is never followed up on, maybe in the interest of time or the author just forgot about it, I don’t know. That whole thing with the teacher named Elizabeth and how Ben never mentioned her and what not, I felt like that was leading somewhere. At the very least I felt like that should have been a discussion item, seeing as how Ben was all bent out of shape that Elizabeth was friends with Andy but Ben is friends with this Stephanie girl and never even mentions her? Weird. Also Elizabeth makes some vague mentions of something that happened between Kate and her husband but we never find out what and that is annoying. Also Tucker (while not technically the “villain” we are looking for) is a freaking psychopath shithead and I really wanted somebody to punch him. I was kind of upset he didn’t get in any trouble really. And my final issue was with the divorce in the first place. Obviously if you’re miserable and you can’t do it anymore and you’ve tried all you can, no one can expect you to stay miserable fort he rest of your life, we all deserve to be happy. But yanking this guy around telling him you want a divorce and then you don’t, that just bothered me. Obviously he is going to be confused and hurt and distrustful, honestly what do you expect?
So as you can see I had some overall issues with this book but that’s more of a personal thing. The story line was interesting and some parts of the book kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what was going to happen next.

The bottom line: This was an ok book for me. I’m glad I read it but I’m on the fence about recommending it.

Link to author website

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2015 Book #107 – The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan

51I1+dyqiNLTitle: The Good Neighbor
Author: Amy Sue Nathan
Date finished: 10/13/15
Genre: Women’s fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Pages in book: 272
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When small lies have big consequences…
Things are a little rough for Izzy Lane. Still reeling from the break-up of her marriage, the newly single mom moves back to the Philadelphia home she grew up in, five-year-old Noah in tow. The transition is difficult, but with the help of her best friends-and her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Feldman-Izzy feels like she’s stepping closer to her new normal. Until her ex-husband shows up with his girlfriend. That’s when Izzy invents a boyfriend of her own. And that’s when life gets complicated.
Blogging about her “new guy” provides Izzy with something to do when Noah’s asleep. What’s the harm in a few made-up stories? But when her friends want to meet the mysterious “Mac,” someone online suspects Izzy’s a fraud, and a guy in real life catches her eye, Izzy realizes just how high the stakes are.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Izzy (Elizabeth) Lane. After her divorce from Bruce, she moves back into her childhood home with her son Noah until she can get things together. After she puts Noah to bed every night she escapes into the online world of blogging. She started a blog where she relates her dating experiences and it has become more and more popular. It is because of this that Izzy’s friend Jade asks her to become one of the new writers on her web site. Only problem is that lately Izzy has been writing more and more about her new boyfriend Mac and Jade wants her to keep writing about their dates. Unfortunately, that’s going to be a little difficult because, well, Mac doesn’t exist.
What follows is a touching story about a near forty-year old woman trying to find her way in the world now that her life has been uprooted and trying to find a new purpose. Izzy as a character I felt could have had a little more depth but she was vulnerable and generous of heart. Her monologues about her feelings regarding Noah and sharing his time with Bruce were particularly touching for me. This book really brings home the heartbreaking situation that comes with having to share a child with another parent. Each parent has a right and a desire to have time with that child (in a perfect world) but who gets to decide which parent gets more time with the child? Parents (hopefully) decide what is best for the child in this scenario but I can’t imagine having to give up weeks at a time with a child, its just a terrible no-win situation. Anyways, the other characters in the story I also felt could have had more depth but the story line was well paced and the book overall was a quick read that I enjoyed.

The bottom line: I thought this was a quick and easy read. It was a sweet and touching story, I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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2015 Book #91 – Goddess of Suburbia

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Title: Goddess of Suburbia
Author: Stephanie Kepke
Date finished: 8/27/15
Genre: Women’s fiction
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Publication Date: August 10, 2015
Pages in book: 218
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Suburbia meets scandal in this hopeful and honest portrayal of that moment in every woman’s life when it’s time to make a change, even if that means risking losing it all. Goddess of Suburbia by Stephanie Kepke is a must-read for women looking to reconnect with their passions, and live authentically. When pillar of the community and PTA mom, Max, allowed her husband, Nick, to record a sex video of them on his cell phone, she thought of it as simply a way to keep Nick interested and entertained during his frequent business trips. But suddenly, Max is trending everywhere—her video lighting up the blogosphere and Twitter, thanks to the fact that she’s a genuine, imperfect woman. Now the paparazzi are chronicling her every move; her daughter wants to disown her; and her marriage has completely fallen apart. Just as things can’t get any more chaotic, Max’s college boyfriend, shows up two decades after he broke her heart. Now Max must learn to stop going through the motions of her life on auto-pilot and start living authentically, or risk forever being a suburban lemming running towards the cliff of old age.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for ARC August reading challenge, it is #12 on list from my sign up post. I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Max Green, who overnight turns into a local celebrity when a sex tape of her is leaked to the press and spreads in popularity on the internet. Everyone starts being all judge-y, which honestly I felt was pretty stupid since the sex tape was of her having sex with her husband, not some random stranger. I don’t want to go too far into plot and what goes on because there was a lot happening and I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone with spoilers.
Overall I liked the book. It was edging towards fast-paced and it kept my interest throughout the story. Max really grew as a character through the story and it was excellent to see her ending up more sure of her strength than ever. It was hard to watch her suffer in the beginning of the book, she suffered from a lot of self-doubt and it affected a lot of different pieces of her life. She had support from her best friend Andi, who was a little too pushy at a couple points but that was exactly what Max really needed to get her but in gear and figure out what she was doing with herself. One of the things I didn’t necessarily like about this book was that I didn’t think the bad guys really got their karmic punishment in the end. I know everything ended the way it did on purpose for the sake of the children in their family but I really thought that there should have been some kind of punishment served in this scenario. Other than that and the lengthy amount of time that Max suffers from self-doubt, I ended up liking the story a lot and I liked most of the characters. It had a sweet ending and I was happy that Max ended up happy and fulfilled in the end!

The bottom line: I liked this book ok. There was a lot going on and it was a pretty quick read so it was easy to stay interested.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page