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Review: As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

Posted February 14, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: As Bright as Heaven by Susan MeissnerAs Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
Series: standalone
Published by Berkley Books on February 6th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.
In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters--Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa--a chance at a better life.
But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it.
As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world, not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Pauline and Thomas Bright drop everything behind Quakertown when they make the move to Philadelphia in 1918 because the city is the heart of new beginnings and promises.

Thomas has been asked by his uncle to come help him at the funeral home, because his uncle is getting old and does not have any children of his own, with Thomas being his favorite.

Now Pauline and her three daughters, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa have a chance at a better life as they navigate their ways around the new series and adapt to life in a funeral home. But then the ‘Spanish’ flu sweeps across the globe and as Pauline and the girls watch loved ones die around them, they take in a baby that had been orphaned by the disease and he becomes the source of their hope.

This was a story told in two parts. The first part deals with Pauline and her three girls as they move into the funeral home and how there is just so much hope in that move. Hope for a better life for herself and for her daughters, better schooling. That hope ends up being briefly crushed when Thomas, the father, get’s called by draft into serving at war and Pauline stays at the funeral home with the children as the flu sweeps across Philadelphia, claiming many lives.

It was interesting and engrossing following their lives in the funeral home as well as learning more about the events during this time, not matter how difficult it may have been. The flu ended up claiming a lot of lives of people they knew and the war changed the lives closest to them.

It is a story of family, hardships, lost, love and triumphs with the second half, a strong focus on the years following the events that drastically changed their lives.

I adored following the sister’s chapters separately because I adored how the author handled each of their stories, and how each sister grew with the events affecting their lives. It was wonderful, the writing was amazing. There is always something about Meissner’s writing that simply enthralls me and has me craving for more. I never wanted the book to come to an end. I liked the setting, I liked learning a bit about what happened in the American history during that time. The amount of death and from a funeral homes perspective was both cringe worthy and fascinating at the same time.

The characters were well fleshed out, each sister standing out on her own within their own chapter. Each sister affected not only by the flu, the death, but also by the war and the people around them.

The twist in the end that Meissner delivers about how their actions have also influenced others had been both brilliant and heartbreaking.

The story was beautiful and well told, though at times not easy to read just proves how well the author can get you so invested in the characters and the feelings that it something that stayed with me long after I was done with the pages.

I adore this author and cannot wait to see what she has to tell us next.



Review: Home for Christmas by Lily Everett

Posted January 18, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review: Home for Christmas by Lily EverettHome for Christmas by Lily Everett
Series: Sanctuary Island #4
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on October 6th 2015
Genres: Holiday, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tis the season for family and love…
At least it's supposed to be. For Libby Leeds, however, the holiday season is just another reminder of things she'd rather forget. When she left Sanctuary Island as an orphaned child, she never thought she'd go back except in her dreams, dreams she's kept alive by writing monthly column of her fictional small-town life, until her publisher sends her back home for the holidays.
Owen Shepard is a fallen hero, wounded in action rescuing three of his fellow soldiers, but after a whirlwind of media attention, all this charismatic Army Ranger wants is to get back on his feet and make it to Sanctuary Island to be with his daughter in time for Christmas. What he didn't expect was to be put on a crash course with a columnist hiding her past. Will the magic of Sanctuary Island at Christmastime allow them to find healing together?

Libby Leeds has made a name for herself by sharing heartwarming stories of her perfect home life on Sanctuary Island as a world famous cook. Problem is Libby has not set foot on the island since she was a little girl, she Libby definitely isn’t famous, let alone can she cook. Libby needs money for her uncle who took care of her after her parents’ death because he is having an early case of Alzheimer’s and the places that is perfect, is also costly.

Owen Shepard is a wounded war hero who is returning to Sanctuary Island in over to recover from his injury and meet his daughter for the first time. Libby’s editor insists that Libby plays the part of the famous cook and cover the story of Owen Shepards long road back under false pretenses.

This was an odd story. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the premise as a whole. Libby pretends to be someone who she is not in order to get money for her uncle.She writes a letter to Owen saying she wants to host a Christmas dinner for him and his daughter at her home (Owen just happens to be a fan of Libby’s writing), but she doesn’t know how to cook or how she is going to pull this off.

Off the bat their relationship is built on a lie. I can’t understand the extend of damage this lie could really cause, but she was taking advantage of both Owen and his daughter – despite being a good of heart – that left me feeling a little questionable about the romance.

Owen would have been easy to like, but his determination to get back into duty and leave his daughter was again behind a little frustrating at times.

I wish that Nash had his own book, I felt like there was a lot more to his story, but his relationship with Ivy gets resolved fairly quickly in this book.

What I did enjoy is Libby’s grandfather and how misunderstood, he was as a person and who he really is, just an old man that wants his family together on Christmas – and the two do not seem to realize his loneliness for a while.

Overall, this was just okay. I had a hard time getting behind the romances and the characters. I understood that there were good intentions behind both Libby’s lies and Owen’s need to run off and leave everything behind, but it just didn’t completely work for me. It still ended up being a cute story, I just felt like It could have been better. The premise wasn’t my cup of tea.



Review: Winter in Wonderland by J.S. Drangsholt, Tara F. Chace

Posted December 15, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review:  Winter in Wonderland by J.S. Drangsholt, Tara F. ChaceWinter in Wonderland by J.S. Drangsholt, Tara F. Chace
Series: Ingrid Winter Misadventure #2
Published by AmazonCrossing on February 1st 2018
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 234
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Professor Ingrid Winter seems to have it all. But she can’t help feeling like everything’s crumbling around her—just like the roof on her family home.
Now she and her husband are on the hook for repairs they can barely afford, and lack of funds means her husband must cancel his dream trip to Italy. Their three daughters are growing up too fast, her latest batch of students are more disaffected than ever, and there’s no one that she’s not disappointing. To top it all off, Mr. and Mrs. Perfect have moved in right next door.
Overwhelmed and anxious, Ingrid’s ready to take a hike. And the whole family, including Gramps, is coming along. A staycation in the mountains of Norway may be just what the Winters need. But will tromping through nature help Ingrid find the right path or send her deeper into the woods?

Ingrid Winters is a professor that seems to have it all, until things starts to fall apart around her.

Now Ingrid and her husband are on the fence because of the repairs they can barely afford on their home, and has put a wedge into her husband’s dream vacation to Italy. Her latest batch of students at the university are distracted and disinterested and to top everything off, a new couple Mr and Mrs Perfect move in next door.

This was….

I don’t know how to rate this book.

Ingrid was… An interesting character enough. I know people rated this book poorly in the past because they found Ingrid not very related, and a very unlikable character. I actually did not complete hate her. To me, she seemed real, and very much someone I can relate to. Motherhood isn’t perfect and neither is marriage, we get caught up in things we should not and we deal with things differently, sometimes with just the heat of the moment. I think because of translation, there was probably a bit of cultural disconnect, or people don’t feel comfortable admitting that there is a part of us in someone like Ingrid.

Ingrid wasn’t perfect. She got frustrated with her husband because of the roof incident and him not being able to work on it and she had every right to, especially when he decided to take the project on himself instead of paying for the contractor. There was a definite strain on their relationship to the point where Ingrid was questioning rather the two are going to get a divorce, but their marriage prevailed when both parties realized their short comings and maybe there was some truth in how Ingrid felt about the situation.

The story is simple and basically follows Ingrid as she navigates her life, parenting, and marriage. It’s not always pretty, there is strain, she ignores her middle child at some point because of the amount of stress she is already under. What I mean by ignores is that she forgot about her middle child’s play in school while she tried to deal with the fact that their house has a hole in the roof, her husband refusing to acknowledge the fact that the neighbor who promised to help, isn’t, the school is giving her problems because her rating is low among the teachers, her youngest child is being bullied in school and the list goes on. People did not like that, I found it realistic, especially when you take into the account everything that was going around Ingrid. We all want to be the perfect mothers, but we are also humans and I found her short comings very human, even if they are not favorably viewed and frowned upon.

Overall, I found this a quick read. There is a lot going on at the same time not much happens because the whole book is just about Ingrid navigating her life. There are cultural differences that get lost on anyone not living in the same part of the world.

Also, there is a bit of rambling, but that could be part of how it was translated.



Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Posted December 11, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

Review:  Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah MorganMoonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #6
Published by Hqn on November 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

She'll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle...
Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list--dealing with Madi's temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.
Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi--how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple--he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there's nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.
Ethan's kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all--letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

Harriet Knight has lived a lifetime in shyness, when she finally decided to conquer her fears, she challenges herself to do one thing a day in December until Christmas that scares her. That includes online dating, which ends in disaster when the man that showed up at a date is much older than he said he was, a climb out the bathroom window to escape, and a hospital visit due to an injured ankle.

Ethan Black is a workaholic, a doctor that is rough around the edges and has already gone through one miserable relationship. He didn’t count on the fact that he will be sitting his sister’s dog, or that the dog will try and destroy his apartment. So he asks his dog sitter to move into his apartment temporarily, not expecting the explosion in chemistry that follows.

This was cute, it was a decent read. I can see why people loved it.

For me? It didn’t get interesting until about 58% into the book. I felt it dragged until then, I was bored, and had a bit of a hard time. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, I just did not find myself really invested and was really bored. It took me 13 days to read this, ouch.

Harriet was sweet, the relationship, once it got to that point, was cute.

Ethan makes a dumb mistake, realizes he makes the dumb mistake and fixes it… All within a few last pages of the book.

Felt same old.

Also, this takes place in NYC and snows a lot right before Christmas. I lived in NYC for like 15 years and I wish there was this much snow before Christmas…Happens, but not as often and wonderfully as this book made it timing wise.

Overall, romance lovers will enjoy this one. It’s sweet, it’s got winter, good characters and good writing.



Review: Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes

Posted November 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. StokesAddison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes
Series: Addison Cooke #2
Published by Philomel Books on November 14th 2017
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Goonies meets Indiana Jones in Addison's second laugh-out-loud adventure! A journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.
Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day.
Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of the notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle of a multi-million-dollar international heist. Armed with nothing but their wits and thirst for adventure, they travel across Asia in an attempt to rescue Addison's family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands.
Brimming with round-the-clock action and tons of laughter, Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is perfect for fans of Indiana Jones, ancient history, and James Patterson's Treasure Hunters series.
Praise for Addison Cooke
"Combines the derring-do of Indiana Jones with a genuine archaeological mystery. Stokes brings a cinematic scope to the story. This lively debut promises more seat-of-the-pants thrillsfor readers who love adventure."--Booklist
"Cinematic pacing and action drive the story, but it's Addison and his friends who will keep readers engaged. Humor is never in short supply . . . and Addison's endless optimism and irrepressible confidence in his own abilities are endearing."--School Library Journal
"Addison is often one step ahead of the adults, but his lead is constantly threatened, building steady tension throughout the novel, screenwriter Stokes's debut."--Publishers Weekly

Schools out, summer is in, and Addison and his group of friends are off to Asia!

Trouble seems to follow Addison no matter where he goes, fresh of a treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America – Addison finds himself in a whole new set of trouble out in China.

When Addison and Molly’s Aunt and Uncle get kidnapped in China by the mysterious Madame Feng, they must use their knowledge as survival skills in order to beat Madame Feng to what she really wants – the Golden Whip from the lost grave of Ghenghis Khan.

This was a really fun read. At over 400 pages, the pace was steady and exciting. Addison is a very interesting 13 year old boy, who is witty, but a bit quirky at times. He hates germs, he loves to read and seems to always have the knack of knowing how to get his friends out of trouble.

The story and the progression was kind of interesting for me, because I was always interested in Mongolia and Ghenghis Khan. I actually did not know that his tomb/grave was purposely done so not even the Mongols could find it. I had to google that bit myself and the author did mostly stick to the fact at the beginning of the book about the possible locations and how he was buried.

I thought that was fun because not only does it provide middle grade kids with a fascinating plot, fun characters, great adventure and a strong set of friendships, it also educates quiet a bit.

I did have to take my time time with the rating because I wasn’t sure about a few things. I did have to keep in mind that this was a middle grade adventure novel and a lot of it does seem a bit out there, but that’s okay, because to me, it allows the children to get caught up in the excitement and imagination. That part I am fully aware of and perfectly fine with, despite some scenes. I especially loved how the author took the fact that they are kids into consideration and during a lot of scenes he limited their capabilities of what they can or cannot do. I love how they think it would play out in their head and how it actually happens is completely different because at the end of the day, Addison and his friends are still children. That kind of line of thinking was awesome and I think something that can be related to.

I wasn’t sure how the kids would relate to Addison thought because for a 13 year old, he is witty, he can talk circles around you and get himself out of sticky situations. He is also the type of kid that will read The Art of War. But, despite being a sort of prodigy (?) Addison still uses tactics that are childlike and it just makes you giggle.

This was a great book. It was fast paced. There is action, adventure, a mystery and it is really, really well written you guys. I absolutely loved the writing, Stokes just does a wonderful job that it even makes it really enjoyable for an adult because I forgot at several places that this was a middle grade book.

My favorite character I would have to say is Dax’s (the adult in this book) copilot Mr.Jacobsen a goofy Great Dane.



Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + Giveaway

Posted November 21, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 45 Comments

Good Morning Everyone! Hope you guys are having a great week so far. Sophia Rose is back on the blog today. She has a review of a classic and if you follow the instruction and rafflecopter below she also has a great giveaway for you! Enjoy!

Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + GiveawayAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Benjamin Lefebvre, J. Courtney Sullivan
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1
Published by Penguin Classics on March 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction, Childrens
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The beloved coming-of-age tale of a spunky heroine named Anne "with an E," now for the first time in Penguin Classics and packaged in a Deluxe edition. L. M. Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan mistakenly sent to a pair of siblings who intended to adopt a boy to help work on their farm in Prince Edward Island. Yet Anne's quirky personality and good-natured spirit causes the siblings to grow to love her anyway, and soon the entire town falls for the precocious little girl with bright red hair. Cherished by both children and adults, Anne of Green Gables is a celebration of fierce individualism, and the families we create, rather than the ones we are born into. This Deluxe edition is enhanced with a foreword by bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan, and an introduction and suggestions for further reading by Benjamin Lefebvre, as well as reviews and a selection of early writing by L. M. Montgomery about the process of writing Anne.

Decades later and I still count Anne of Green Gables as one of my favorite all-time books. As a young girl, it was likely one of the three most influential books I read. Over and over. I delighted in the later TV film adaption, but still gravitated to the sparkling, light-filled prose of the print copy on my shelf. I have carried around that copy over thousands of miles and years.

I was all agasp when I was offered the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition knowing that 2018 marks the 110 year anniversary of the book’s release and 75 years since the gifted author’s death. The book’s whimsical cover and end papers made me sigh with happiness to see and touch them. I’m a sucker for the rougher cut style cream colored pages. And it was fascinating reading the author biography, forward, introduction, and later the discussion of how Montgomery came to write in the author’s own words.

But the piece de resistance was the ageless story about a little red-headed orphan girl brought by mistake into the colorless, lonely lives of older siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, of P.E.I.’s Green Gables farm.

Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it.”

You’re not eating anything,” said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed. I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?”

I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.

Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to IMAGINE you were in the depths of despair?”

No, I didn’t.”

Then I don’t think you can understand what it’s like. It’s very uncomfortable a feeling indeed.”

Anne with an ‘e’ makes her odd and endearing way into the hearts of many including readers because of her sincere, honest, but many times disastrous ways. Bosom friend Diana. Long bitter school rival Gilbert (at least on Anne’s part, wink). Mentor in teacher, Miss Stacy. Nosey, managing neighbor, Rachel Lynde. And oh so many more connections in the little village of Avonlea and beyond.

“Gilbert told Charlie Sloan that you were the smartest girl in school, right in front of Josie.”

“He did?”

“He told Charlie being smart was better than being good looking.”

“I should have known he meant to insult me.”

Miss Barry was a kindred spirit after all,” Anne confided to Marilla, “You wouldn’t think so to look at her, but she is. . . Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

There are no flashes of swashbuckling danger or passion in this story, but there are universal themes of childhood, family, friendship, dreams, mistakes, and growing up from a child and adult perspective with which young and old, male or female can connect. The book still brings me to laugh, cry, and sigh throughout. I’ve been quoting Anne-isms now for years like ‘tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it’ or ‘I’m having a Jonah day’ or ‘bosom friends’ or ‘we’re kindred spirits’ or ‘I’m in the depths of dispair’. So many.

My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”

I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”

Picking up this new edition with its classic tale was sheer joy. I meandered down to the Lake of Shining Waters and gasped at the beauty of the White Way of Delight, and sighed over the loveliness of October, and girlhood fancies and dreams. I was impacted by the uplift I got from reading of a more innocent time and place, but with real people going about their normal lives.

Whether you are a newbie or a long-time Anne lover, I can definitely recommend picking it up and losing yourself in the pages.


I have a treat today for US residents. Penguin Classics is offering up one print copy of the book to one of our US readers. Fill in the Rafflecopter for your opportunity to win.

  • U.S. residents 13 years of age or older (if you are underage have an adult enter on your behalf)
  • Must reply within 48 hours to collect your prize

Have you read or watched a film adaption of Anne of Green Gables? Do you have a favorite Anne-ism or favorite scene?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.



Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Posted November 18, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv ConstantineThe Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Series: standalone
Published by Harper on October 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A mesmerizing debut psychological thriller full of delicious twists about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants.
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.
With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

A story that follows two points of views, of two very different women. First, we have Amber, a small town girl who grew up dirt poor and believes she deserves better. In fact, she believes that so much that she had set her eyes on Jackson Parrish, the husband of Daphne Parrish – who happens to be handsome and rich – the two portraying the perfect golden couple. The second woman, is Daphne, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. She is gorgeous and rich, and Amber wants her spot.

This was a really interesting story, a really quick paced read with some interesting characters. I hated Amber, but we were meant to hate her. She was so deceitful that at times I couldn’t help but have to put the book down from the anger. I felt bad for Daphne, who we later discover has enough on her plate without this snake wiggling into her life.

This book was a good read, well written, totally engrossing with fantastic character development and progression. It was exciting, as it was uncomfortable and believe me the second part of the book had some really cringe worthy scenes when Daphne unravels everything and keeps us on the edge of the seat.

Unfortunately for me, the book was super predictable down to the bone because this was exactly like The Wife Between Us, but on steroids. There was just so much that was super similar, it was kind of weird how similar the two books were? There is even an expression nervous Nellie, which was odd cause it’s not something you see often for it not to be a coincidence? And there were other similarities as far as the story went.

Umm, the difference was how it was told, how it unrevealed and the authors of this one really went farther about the dynamics between Jackson and his wife. Plus the whole Amber plot line was completely different. It was still really well done. I really enjoyed it, a lot, in fact, and why wouldn’t I, I absolutely loved the storyline.

But after reading this, I am a little confused how that happened.

Anyway, that aside. Great book, great characters. The main plot line was different, but the point where this was heading and some things that occurred, felt the same…

I still highly recommended it for fans of psychological thrillers and domestic thrillers, because I found this to be enjoyable, uncomfortable, but still well done.



Review: Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Posted November 14, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review: Best Day Ever by Kaira RoudaBest Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Series: standalone
Published by Graydon House on September 19th 2017
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 342
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…
Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he's promised today will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

Paul Strom is the perfect husband with the perfect life. He has a beautiful wife, two healthy boys, a dream career as an advertising executive, a big home and a vacation cottage. He brings home the money, he protects his family, he provides for them. Paul even planned a romantic getaway vacation to their Lakeside Cottage so he and his wife, who has recently been in poor health, can have the best day ever.

Paul has everything planned.

This book was a fast pace thrilling ride. Being in Paul’s head was hard, pulling me out of my comfort zone, made me cringe, but kept me on the edge of my seat.

Paul is a big narcissist who loves being in control and things always have to go his way.

This book was a fast pace thrilling ride. Being in Paul’s head was hard, pulling me out of my comfort zone, made me cringe, but kept me on the edge of my seat.

Paul is a big narcissist who loves being in control and things always have to go his way. As long as Paul stayed in control it was almost scary the way his thought process worked and how calmly he handled the entire day and what he had planned. To me it felt like the most chilling part of the book.

When Paul and his wife Mia hit the road, the tension starts to rise. I couldn’t seem to put this book down, the voice in the story kept me glued to the pages and devouring the book. It was fast paced, it was creepy, it was disturbing, but at the same time I needed to know how all of this was going to unfold.

It almost makes you feel a little dirty at times.

I do wish that things in the end wrapped up differently. I wasn’t a complete fan of the ending because of the way things played out. I thought Paul deserved a lot more than what he got, especially after everything that he did.

I had also wished we kind of got alternative chapter between Mia and Paul to give us some sort of a break from being inside of his head, but it wasn’t terribly needed. I think part of what made this book so interesting and uncomfortable was the fact that we got to witness how Paul’s thought process worked, the calmness until he wasn’t in control anymore, the calculative moves and motives, the ease he did everything with and holding no repercussions for his actions.

It was a page turner, and a plot well done. If you enjoy domestic thrillers, I definitely recommend giving this one a try.



Review: Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Posted November 10, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review:  Night Road by Kristin HannahNight Road by Kristin Hannah
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 22nd 2011
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 385
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices. To hold on…To let go..To forget…To forgive…Which road will you take?
For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows--her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy--until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.
NIGHT ROAD is vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

Night Road follows a woman named Jude, who is a mother to two twins Zach and Mia and Lexi a former foster child with a dark past. Lexi quickly befriends Mia and the two become inseparable even when later, Zach and Lexi fall in love.

Jude is helicopter mother. She does everything she can to keep her twins safe and she makes sure that they are both on track for college.

One night when the twins attend a high school party right before their graduation, Zach – who is suppose to be the DD ends up being mad at his mother and drinking, the other two don’t fare much better. When it came down to going home, they had to make a decision between calling their mother, or driving the one mile towards home. Last time the twins got drunk and called for their mother to pick them up, Jude reacted poorly and punished them, despite the fact that they did the right thing.

Well the kids choose to drive and a terrible accident happens, and leaves one of them dead and the events that follow changes everyone’s lives.

This was my first Kristin Hannah book and I honestly have no idea how to feel.

I had a hard time putting it down, it was engrossing, the plot was super interesting, it was emotional. This is one of those books that really takes you for a ride. We get to know Mia, Zach and Lexi as they grow up for the first half of the book and then this terrible tragedy happens and it’s hard to bear, because we actually got to know the kids before this life changing moment. I got to see them as young kids heading towards a future and for some reason books like these can be way harder to read over books that start with the tragedy because of that attachment.

But the problem for me ended up being that after the tragedy that occurs, I found that the emotion that was most prominent was anger. I found myself angry for the rest of the book. Angry about how the scene at the hospital went, angry at Jude, because if she handled the night that the twins actually called her to get picked up better – than maybe the twins wouldn’t have gotten into the car drunk and instead had called their mother. Angry at the way Jude reacted towards Lexi when there was so many factors and people at fault for the accident. I felt like both Jude, Lexi, Zach and Mia were all at fault one way or another here, but the poor girl with the dark background is the one that gets the short end of the stick.

Lexi is unable to take what she had done and ends up pleading guilty and going to prison as MADD was already trying to make an example out of her and Jude had decided to press charges for Vehicular homicide.

But the problem for me ended up being that after the tragedy that occurs, I found that the emotion that was most prominent was anger. I found myself angry for the rest of the book. Angry about how the scene at the hospital went, angry at Jude, because if she handled the night that the twins actually called her to get picked up better – than maybe the twins wouldn’t have gotten into the car drunk and instead had called their mother. Angry at the way Jude reacted towards Lexi when there was so many factors and people at fault for the accident. I felt like both Jude, Lexi, Zach and Mia were all at fault one way or another here, but the poor girl with the dark background is the one that gets the short end of the stick.

Lexi is unable to take what she had done and ends up pleading guilty and going to prison as MADD was already trying to make an example out of her and Jude had decided to press charges for Vehicular homicide.

I was discussing it with my husband and he asked me, so what is it you don’t like about this book, the fact that it’s realistic? No that is not it, I do believe it is realistic. I think Jude’s reaction is realistic for a mother that lost her child, but at the same time, it felt overwhelming for me. I spend a lot of the book being angry, and the book was a bit on the long side, so I spent a lot of time just trying to get through it. It just felt so emotionally draining that at times I just had a hard time with the book.

It feels like one of those books where the author chooses one character who already has a short end of the stick and keeps throwing punches at that character through the book, to me that is just seriously exhausting. Thought the book was well written and the story was interesting and compelling, I felt like it was also a little too long and it just felt like a little too much? Maybe I would have felt differently if Lexi wasn’t the one who kept taking those punches?

I just had a hard time with Jude at the end, her anger blended with my anger, but I felt like it was all just so unfair. Plus, I did find that Zach’s lack of involvement not very realistic. That night was honestly in part his fault, now Lexi was taking responsibility and he couldn’t even stand up for the girl he loved? He was 18 years old, he should have had a voice.

Overall, I still don’t know how to feel. It’s well done, it really draws some sort of emotion out of you. It’s suppose to be a tearjerker, but at no point in the book did I found myself able to feel that way when it was overtaken by strong anger. I was sad for what happened, it was absolutely heartbreaking and I don’t even want to imagine how that sort of thing feels, I don’t even want to know. I do believe that Jude’s emotion and the lashing out is probably true to form, but she let her grief rule her for so long, that I was honestly surprised her husband continued to stay in that relationship. She also seemed to have forgotten that she still had Zach and he needed a mother, but for years, she couldn’t even do that despite that her whole life was centered on being a mother.

But, the book did its job. It caused a real and a raw emotion and I think it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t tears, the author was able to write a novel that I felt strongly about and I applaud her for it. The writing is emotionally driven, the storytelling was well done and I really enjoyed it. As a mother this kind of a thing is terrifying and it wasn’t an easy read, but it was well worth it.

Rating Report
4.5 Stars
3.5 Stars
4.5 Stars
3.5 Stars
4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars



Review: Sanctum by Madeleine Roux

Posted October 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

Review: Sanctum by Madeleine RouxSanctum by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #2
Published by HarperCollins on August 26th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 343
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

In this haunting, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling photo-illustrated novel Asylum, three teens must unlock some long-buried secrets from the past before the past comes back to get them first. Featuring found photographs, many from real vintage carnivals, Sanctum is a mind-bending reading experience that blurs the lines between past and present, genius and insanity, perfect for fans of the smash hit Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they'd love to move on, someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Forsaking their plan never to go back, the teens return to New Hampshire College under the guise of a weekend for prospective students, and there they realize that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it's here on campus, apparently for the first time in many years.
Sneaking away from sample classes and college parties, Dan and his friends lead a tour of their own—one through the abandoned houses and hidden places of the surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than Dan ever imagined.

Sanctum opens up shortly following the events of book one. Dan is having nightmare’s and he isn’t sure how to stop them. Getting away from the Asylum, he assumed that his problems would be fixed – but they are not. It doesn’t help that his friends Abby and Jordan seem to be ignoring him, and someone is sending them weird vintage carnival pictures. When a letter shows up from his ex-roommate’s mother, asking Dan to visit her son, all clues start to point for the trio to go back to New Hampshire College.

Guys, I am just adoring this series.  I think a large part of it is due to the fact that the book is mixed media, I love asylums and old creepy vintage carnivals and atmospheric books and this had all of it mixed into one. Once I picked this one up I had a hard time putting it down, I completely devoured it, and loved falling back into this series.

A large part of me wishes there were more books out there like this. I truly believe it adds to the reading experiences and the photos were creeptastic and perfect for this time of year.

Also, this entire book takes place close to Halloween time. So when Dan, Jordan and Abby go back to the college, there is a bunch of secrets that they are still trying to uncover. Including the fact that there seems to be a secret society that is linked to Daniel Crawford and the society seems to be after the trio.

This book isn’t without issues and I acknowledge that. I still feel like there is a bunch of holes that the author needs to fill and I hope everything wraps up in the final book. I don’t think everyone would love this book as much as I do. Because at times Dan and his friends have quiet a bit of drama going on, but they are pretty normal teenagers, so I can see how that would definitely play the part in the book, even if it is probably one of the few realistic parts of this book.

But, I still love it. It’s on an atmospheric side. It’s great for Halloween or fall. It’s creepy, and I am totally hooked. Plus there is a creepy carnival – I’m sold. Also, ghosts, yes?