2019 Book #77 – The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

41TLd3ldCPLTitle: The Widow of Rose House
Author: Diana Biller
Date finished: 10/13/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martins’ Griffin
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Pages in book: 346
Stand alone or series: This is actually Biller’s debut novel! We’ll have to wait to see if there will be a series
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:

** A “MOST ANTICIPATED ROMANCE” of 2019 (BookPage) **

A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age romantic comedy debut

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time.

However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor Samuel Moore appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life—especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam. Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history—and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

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. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “set in a haunted house” box because (obviously) much of the book takes place in and centers around the haunted house.

I had read a sample of this book in the Buzz Books Romance collection and liked it. I also really love the cover, though the key that’s featured on it plays an important but much shorter role than I expected. I really enjoyed the book though – mostly because of Sam and his family. Sam was perfectly quirky, funny, and devoted to Alva. He was enchanting and every sort of endearing and I just loved his character. And his interactions with his equally quirky and endearing family were hilarious. Alva’s character was alright but some pieces of it just didn’t work for me personally for a couple reasons. The ghost story was pretty good in this book, I was sufficiently engaged in finding out the ending for it, but I did find that the romance side of the plot wasn’t as well developed as I thought the ghost side of the plot was. Overall though I really liked the book and I can’t wait to read more books by this author!

Link to author’s website

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

2018 Book #17 – The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

51dBmN-P1PLTitle: The Wife Between Us
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Date finished: 2/20/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Pages in book: 342
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 you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

My rating:  4.5 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.

Our perception of the truth

This book has been gaining a lot of popularity and I’ve seen it mentioned a number of places. But to be honest when I was about 50 pages into the book I was wondering how this book could possibly be so popular. The beginning of the book does get a tad repetitive and Vanessa sounds really whiny in the beginning, until the reader gets to the first twist and uncovers more of the story. I think that was my favorite part of this book was how at each twist and turn the reader gets another piece of the puzzle that will make up the whole picture. The description of the book didn’t stand out to me until I read the book, the reader’s perception is altered multiple times and it becomes harder and harder to know where the “truth” lies. Lies and truth co-mingle based on the character’s perception and the reader’s perception as well. While there were a couple of dry pieces to the story, overall I really loved the plot of this one and the facets of the story as the reader progresses through the book. This was a great book and I would most definitely recommend it!

Link to author website

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

2017 Book #71 – If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss

61YmLjIcHpLTitle: If the Creek Don’t Rise
Author: Leah Weiss
Date finished: 8/28/17
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
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:

He’s gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn

Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That’s long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.

Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out.  When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline…if she can just figure out how to use it.

This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek. With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

My rating:  3.5 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 be sure to check out my Blog Tour post on the book here. This book tells the story of a small  mountain town in North Carolina, Baines (which means “bones” in the local dialogue) Creek. It is there that we meet this interesting cast of characters, including Sadie Blue, a young pregnant woman trying to survive the beatings inflicted on her by her husband, Roy. Also included is Kate Shaw, the new local teacher, Prudence, the preacher’s sister, Eli, the preacher, and various others. We get to hear a little from each different character’s point of view, which I thought was really interesting for the overall story. The grammar was pretty hard to get through in some parts, the author tries hard to stay true to the dialect of the region being represented in the book and they are for the most part illiterate. The book follows the different characters lives through a strange course of events.
Overall I liked this book a good amount. I liked seeing things through each different character’s point of view and I liked that each section from each different person revealed a new piece of the story. The grammar was hard to get through and also I felt like there were a lot of open pieces to the story left kind of unresolved, even with all the different points of view. I liked all the different characters, especially Sadie and Katie Shaw. There was a lot going on with so many different points of view and sometimes it was a little distracting. Other than that though I thought this was a good book and I was interested to see what would happen in the end.

The bottom line: I liked this book an ok amount, it was interesting but the grammar was hard to sludge through, even though it seemed like it was done on purpose. I would recommend it!

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