2018 Book #43 – The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

51C4xxzWsHLTitle: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Author: Ruth Ware
Date finished: 6/1/18
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Pages in book: 384
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:

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

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.

I had heard a lot of good things about this author recently, but I haven’t had a chance to read any of her books up until now. I was excited to get the opportunity to read this book. The plot line of this book I thought was great, there were so many twists and turns that by the end I couldn’t wait to see what was truth and what was lies. I thought the author did a great job of gently guiding you down a particular path and making you believe things while at the same time presenting facts that would help lead us to the real answer in the end. The answer was right under our noses all along! And the ending really just threw me for such a loop – I didn’t see it coming and it was such a great twist ending. There were a couple small slow parts but other than that I couldn’t put the book down. I also really liked the incorporation of the tarot cards and their meanings. I thought that was such an interesting addition to the story line and also made the whole plot seem a bit more mystical and mysterious. This book was full of danger and heart-pounding tension, and I can’t wait to read more by this author in the future. I would definitely recommend this one!

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #33 – The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

51M2ZLIvxGLTitle: The Luck of the Bride
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 4/23/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Pages in book: 334
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Cavensham Heiresses 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:

he’s leaving nothing up to chance. Not even love…

March Lawson is an orphan who, for the past eight years, has struggled to raise her siblings on a meager allowance. Most women March’s age would be picking out ball gowns for the upcoming season. But March’s focus is not on finding a husband. First, she must devote her energies to just one man: the coldhearted skinflint who refuses to release her inheritance.

Michael Cavensham, the Marquess of McCalpin, is not a heartless man. When he learns that Miss Lawson has been forging his name to procure funds, he can’t bring himself to have her arrested—not when the bold-faced embezzler is so enchantingly beautiful. Instead, McCalpin agrees to visit her home to assess the situation more closely. March has no choice but to accept. But how can she manage the handsome trustee who controls her purse strings—when he tugs at her heart strings as well?

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.

I read the previous 2 books and reviewed on this site so I wanted to read this one as well. I’m glad I got to read March’s story, I really looked forward to hearing more about her after reading the last book in the series. That being said, I was a tad disappointed. Overall the book was enjoyable and I’m glad I read it but there was a lot about this book that didn’t necessarily appeal to me. Michael’s character itself didn’t really connect with me and I personally didn’t feel a lot of tension developed between the two main characters. And at the climax of the story, I was really hurt that Michael didn’t believe March after all he knew about her. The whole story line was a little sad but March’s devotion to her siblings was amazing, and her brother was adorable. Overall I liked the book ok even though I couldn’t connect with some pieces of it. I would still recommend giving it a try, especially as part of the series overall.

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #8 – In a Cottage In a Wood by Cass Green

51nqAxpBqbLTitle: In a Cottage In a Wood
Author: Cass Green
Date finished: 1/23/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller,suspense
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 21, 2017 on Kindle (Paperback January 23, 2018)
Pages in book: 321
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:

Her dream home will become her worst nightmare…

A USA Today and Sunday Times top ten bestseller. This is the dark and twisty psychological thriller from the No.1 ebook bestselling author of The Woman Next Door.

A strange encounter
Neve comes across a troubled woman called Isabelle on Waterloo Bridge late one night. Isabelle forces a parcel into Neve’s hands and jumps to her death in the icy Thames below.

An unexpected gift
Two weeks later, as Neve’s wreck of a life in London collapses, an unexpected lifeline falls into her lap – a charming cottage in Cornwall left to her by Isabelle, the woman on the bridge. The solution to all her problems.

A twisted secret
But when Neve arrives, alone in the dark woods late one night, she finds a sinister-looking bungalow with bars across its windows. And her dream home quickly becomes her worst nightmare – a house hiding a twisted secret that will change her life forever…

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.

How much fear can one person withstand? 

This book reminded me a little bit of The Girl on the Train, mostly because of the extremely flawed and sometimes unreliable main character. I have to say though I absolutely hated that the main character didn’t have a car – it made me so anxious every time she stepped outside to go somewhere. And (**SPOLIER ALERT**) I should have known from the beginning that a woman was behind the hi-jinks just based on how passive aggressive it was. Not to generalize (but stereotypes exist for a reason) but if a man were trying to scare Neve he would’ve done something much more forceful and in her face. Only a woman would think to leave the radio on all day so that there was no electricity left by the night time and Neve was stuck in the dark, that is just diabolical.

I loved how the author really was able to get inside the reader’s head and make you question whether the things that were happening were real or not. And there was a pretty darn good twist at the end of the book, although I kind of pieced it together it was still really good. While I didn’t love the main character, mostly because of how flawed she was, I did like the character development overall. There were some unanswered questions for me in the story and I don’t like it when villains get to just skip away with no consequences, but overall I really enjoyed the book and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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

2017 Book #2 – Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

513l5lczll-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: Ready Set Rogue
Author: Manda Collins
Date finished: 1/6/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Studies in Scandal 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:

WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?
When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…
Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings―no matter how lovely they are to look at―is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match―but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?
Don’t miss Ready Set Rogue, the first in Manda Collins’ new series set in Regency England!

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. I was lucky enough to do an author interview with Manda, you can see my post with that, an excerpt from the book, and other information here. This book was about Ivy Wareham, the daughter of a professor and an extremely talented linguist/translator who has recently been granted a partial inheritance from someone she’s never met. Lady Celeste Beauchamp has left her estate to 4 intelligent young women, all of whom are extremely eager to use Lady Celeste’s extensive library and other resources to continue expanding their knowledge and the body of their own work in their separate fields of study. But Celeste’s nephew (Quill) is determined to fight this as he is not happy about his aunt giving away his childhood refuge to four strangers. Then Ivy and Quill discover Celeste was murdered and they must join together to solve the mystery of who murdered her and why. And as they spend more and more time together trying to solve this particular mystery, they realize that fate may have brought them together for a reason: true love.
Overall I really liked this book. I loved that the heroines in this series are all extremely intelligent young ladies, and after being introduced to them all in the first book I can already see how different and interesting each of their characters will be. Ivy was fierce and intelligent and I just loved her as a character. And the relationship that developed between her and Quill was passionate but it was more than that too, it was full of real emotion and love. This book did have a lot of characters to keep track of but I think that will only add more depth to the other girl’s stories when they each get told. I think this was a good read and a great start to a new series. I would definitely recommend.

The bottom line: This was a great book! I loved that the author chose to portray such intelligent heroines, they were all very interesting. The plot was creative and kept me interested. And the tension between the hero and heroine was emotional and heart-warming. Loved it!

Link to author website

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

2015 Book #86 – Thirty-Three Cecils by Everett De Morier

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Title: Thirty-Three Cecils
Author: Everett De Morier
Date finished: 8/15/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Blydyn Square Books
Publication Date: 2015
Pages in book: 270
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:

In 1992 – when Amy Fisher dominated every news channel – there lived two men. The first was a once prominent cartoonist who had a very public fall from grace. The other was an alcoholic who worked in a landfill. Both lived in in different parts of the country and led completely separate lives – until their paths crossed. You know their names. And for over twenty years, you thought you knew their story – until their journals were found and authenticated in 2014. And what we thought we knew – what the old news clips and the old stories wanted us to think – were all wrong.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for ARC August reading challenge, it is #8 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 a never solved mystery of who killed business partners Walker Roe and Riley Dutcher (also known as Dutch through most of the book). Walker Roe is very well known in Erie, Pennsylvania because he recently spent time in jail for bank fraud and for counterfeiting money. Walker is trying to put his life back together now that he isn’t in jail anymore and take care of his daughters. Dutch is a recovering alcoholic who has decided to travel through the United States since he’s never left his small town of Binghamton, New York. These two men were murdered and the case was never solved, mostly because the two men were the only witnesses to some strange events in the months leading up to their murders, events no one else could really describe because they weren’t there.
Fast forward to some amount of years later (I think it was twenty-ish but can’t remember exactly) and some college kids discover the long lost journals of Walker and Dutch. And from these journals we as the reader are finally able to answer some long-burning questions we would have in this fictional world including who is the murderer and how did Walker and Dutch end up becoming business partners in the first place? The journals tell the whole story of what happened to Walker and Dutch.
Overall I ended up really liking this book. This wasn’t something I normally would have picked up on my own but I’m really glad that I read it. The story line was really interesting and I was hooked in the story pretty much from the beginning. The only plot line point that bothered me a little bit about this book is why didn’t the police ever find the journals? I’m sure that the police would have searched Walker’s office at the liquor store to see if they could find anything leading them to a suspect, and they just never noticed the box with the journals in it? This didn’t bug me a ton but just a little annoying voice. There were some slow parts of the story for me but I was interested throughout the story so I was able to get through the slow points. I was pretty sad that Abby and Liz ended up losing their father because their relationship was pretty outstanding considering everything they had been through as a family. This was a good book though and I’m glad I got a chance to read it!

The bottom line: I ended up really enjoying this book. There were a few slow parts but the story line was great. I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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

2014 Book #65 – Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

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Title: Not Always a Saint
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Date finished: 6/29/15
Genre:  Historical romance
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Co.
Publication Date: May 2015
Pages in book: 294
Stand alone or series: The Lost Lords series book #7
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.
Most men would be thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling.  Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…
Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I have liked the Lost Lords series since the beginning and I was excited to see the next one in the series come out this year. This book is about Daniel Herbert, the brother of Laurel Herbert who is the heroine in the sixth book in the series, Not Quite a Wife. Daniel is a surgeon and has devoted his life to helping people. Basically, he meets Jessie when she is a patient and then runs into her again like 7 years later and they fall in love-ish. She fought it at first obviously because she was looking for an arrangement a bit more mellow but obviously they end up loving each other, its a romance novel.
I thought this book was good and it was a good continuation of the series. Many of the characters from the previous 6 books are included in this story as well, its always nice to see characters again that you became attached to in previous stories. This book had more dark elements included in it than I would have liked though. The heroine has had just the most awful experiences and has pretty much had a miserable life except the last four years but now she’s right back in an awful situation. I just felt like it was too much for one person to take without bowing under the pressure. Other than that though I liked the plot line and while I wasn’t nuts about Jessie’s character I loved Daniel’s character. And Beth was a character!
The bottom line: I would recommend this book and the series as well to historical romance fans.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2014 – Book #75

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The seventy-fifth book I read in 2014 was The Sinister Touch by Jayne Castle (one of Jayne Ann Krentz’s many pseudonyms). This is the third book in the Guinevere Jones series by this author. I finished this book on 8/21/14. I rated this book 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book continues the story of small-business owner Guinevere Jones and her boyfriend Zac Justis. Zac also owns his own business, a security consulting firm. He is hoping to stay away from investigating crimes, but with Gwen as his gal he can’t seem to avoid getting wrapped up in all kinds of trouble.

Gwen has a friendly aquiantance with her window neighbor across the street. He is an artist and though they’ve never met in person, they wave to each other some mornings in passing. Zac doesn’t enjoy this ritual. Zac has been very busy with a prominent client in recent weeks, though, so there’s no one around to tell Gwen not to wave at her artist neighbor. On this one particular morning though she notices something odd with one of his paintings, it looked like someone defaced the painting and sliced it through. Once the artist neighbor sees this too, he holds up a note asking Gwen to meet him downstairs for coffee.

Turns out the artist’s name is Mason. He asks Gwen if she saw who did this to his painting. She didn’t but she decides to ask Zac for advice on what Mason should do. Zac doesn’t like the idea of Mason and Gwen becoming even friendlier. But with his current client trying to pay him for his genes, i feel like he can’t really say much. What follow is a funny story of intrigue and greed. Zac helps figure out who is behind the attacks on Mason, and unfortunately Gwen since she sticks her nose in everything, in the nick of time and saves both of them from being killed (sacrificed).

I liked this story but I don’t think I liked it as much as the first two books in the series. The plot in this story felt more forced than it did in the last two. It was still a good and entertaining story though and I like seeing the progression of Zac and Gwen’s relationship. I also like seeing the different intricacies of Gwen’s sister Carla’s character that are being introduced through each story.

Link to other posts in the Guinevere Jones series: https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews/book-series-book-reviews/guinevere-jones-series/

Link to author website: http://jayneannkrentz.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sinister-Touch-Guinevere-Jones-Book-ebook/dp/B007P7HRQG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=1-1&keywords=the+sinister+touch