I’ll Be Watching You (Courtney Evan Tate)


Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2Svep6o

Leah, a popular sixteen year old, is uncharacteristically apprehensive the night before her new school year begins. She decides to take a moonlight paddle at her divorced parents’ Florida beachside inn to take the edge off her anxiety. Moments later she vanishes in the water without a trace. The police assume death by drowning since sharks had been sighted nearby earlier in the day. They do a cursory investigation and that’s it. The community comes out to give support, but days later her mother Emily is still wondering what happened to her beautiful daughter. And why is there no body?

In the days that follow, Emily accidentally discovers pornographic images of her daughter on her laptop. Some appear to be selfies taken for someone else’s pleasure. Others are clearly taken by a voyeur and sent to Leah. Shockingly, they reveal darkly tantalizing clues to an older man’s involvement. Emily’s heartbreak turns to deep rage as she sets out to unmask who this monster is who has stolen her daughter’s innocence–and perhaps more. As her suspicion falls on various locals who, as unlikely as they may seem, may have lured Leah into risky, even deadly, behavior–the youth pastor, the long time resident in bungalow 3, his son who visits from New York–she trusts no one. Suddenly her once close knit community, itself its own paradise, has been invaded by evil, an evil that is still lurking in the shadows–one that she is determined to expose.

“Time was an enemy I hadn’t expected. It raised its head and robbed me of my daughter.”

First and foremost: I feel like the blurb that is on the front of this cover is a tad misleading. There is not hardly any domestic violence and the narrator is not “unreliable”. I am saying that because I just don’t want for any one to go into this thinking they’re going to be getting some sort of Chevy Steven story. I know a lot of people (myself included) really tend to enjoy those type of books. I just wouldn’t classify I’ll Be Watching You as that.

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I teetered on 2 stars or 3 stars for this one. But I ultimately decided on a 2 star rating. I feel as if Courtney has a fantastic writing ability. There is nothing she cannot write about. She did an excellent job at creating a tension and anxiety that stems from being a parent and having your worst nightmare come true. I feel as if this is the type of thing that can happen to any one…. until you get to the ending and see what really happened. That was a little too far fetched for even me.

“I lived in a castle of glass and in one moment it all shattered. I’m the queen of nothing, an empire of without an heir.”

The twists in this book weren’t anything spectacular. A lot of it you can see coming because of the foreshadowing that takes place– but as a whole, the story ended up coming together very nicely. But a good touch to this story was the amount of secondary characters that are in and out of this book. You never know which character is going to do what and you never know who it’s going to be. But if you stick to the plot and really focus on what is going on, it’s not too hard to figure out.

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As a whole, I was very underwhelmed with the plot of the book. But as always, Courtney does a fantastic job at writing a genre that I have been eating up here lately. I can always count on her to go outside of her box and get a little gritty when the time calls for it.

Before I Let You Go (Kelly Rimmer)


Buy link: https://amzn.to/2XhouYp

The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.

As weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhood, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?

Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.

“And if it has long enough to fester, hate stops feeling like anger or rage and it feels only like pain.”

Aside from Before I Let You Go starting out very slow and dragging the first 25% of the book (for me), I genuinely enjoyed reading this one. It did get a bit long and repetitive in some places, and it did do a bit too much of “saying” rather than showing but I was ultimately happy when it was all said and done.

The author did a really great job at creating a relationship between two people who were so drastically different from one another. With me being a single child– I really appreciated how delicate the author was with writing such a fantastic sibling relationship. She really was able to make me see how hard it can be to be in the situation these two girls are placed in.

One thing that I felt was very important to point out was Sam. I don’t think that any one really talks about Sam in their reviews and you know what: he deserves all of the attention. I felt like he was a very strong secondary character that did all that he could to be the type of person that Lexie needed and in return, he ended up being a fantastic addition to this story.

Before I Let You Go had me emotionally engaged almost the entire way through and I felt that the author really did justice to the real kind of pain that this type of situation can evoke. Not only that– she did a great job exploring all sides of this type of scenario: the emotions and the politics, the legalities and the social work part. Besides the story, I felt like the author was genuinely trying to raise awareness about how pregnant women who have addiction issues are treated and she does a fantastic job while doing it.

Mine (Courtney Cole)


Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2TW06JO

When Tessa Taylor unlocked her husband Ethan’s iPad to discover nude photos from a twenty-six-year-old bombshell named Lindsey, her seemingly perfect life came to a screeching halt.

With a hurricane barreling toward Florida and Ethan stuck on a business trip, Tessa finds herself imprisoned in her own home with a choice to make: Does she ride out the storm until she can confront Ethan in person, or does she take matters into her own hands?

Increasingly restless and desperate for revenge, Tessa resolves to act. And when she lures Lindsey over a few hours later, there’s no turning back.

What ensues is a battle of wills between two well-matched opponents, blinded by love for the same man but driven by demons of their own. Like storm-ravaged Florida, neither woman will be the same when the skies clear.

(First and foremost: I am not rating this three stars because of the cheating trope. I knew good and well going into this story that that was what it was. So, as you read this review please know that it is written without any of that in mind. Thank you!)

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I remember when Courtney first talked to me about this book and the circumstances that came along with it. I was so excited because I knew she was THE writer for this type of book.  Then I remember her saying that it was picked up by a publisher and being so proud of her. That never changed. Courtney Cole is an excellent story teller no matter what she is writing. There is not a thing that she is afraid to tell us and for that I am always grateful. Mine was no exception.

But…after reading the final version of Mine, I was left unsatisfied. I read through a couple reviews and saw where a lot of people really enjoyed how the ending was wrapped up but I can’t help thinking that I wanted more from it. The ending was just rushed. I felt like us, as readers deserved the confrontation between Tessa and Ethan that needed to happen. We never got it. After all that we went through with Tessa and Lindsey, I felt like Ethan was a huge driving force of these catastrophes and him being involved and confronted was an absolute must.

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This is the book we, as spouses, are all afraid of. Courtney Cole does an incredible job at making both Tessa and Lindsey emotionally driven characters. But I think seeing their characters grow and develop was my favorite part of it all. She could have chose a hundred different directions for these two women to go but ultimately I was happy with the direction she went with for both of the female characters.

The plot of the book wasn’t near as strong as it potentially could have been. At times I found myself wondering what was even the point of what was actually happening. When it was all said and done, I read Mine in about a day which is always a good sign. It’s a fun read that doesn’t require much from you to keep track of characters or plot-line. If I am ever going to read a book that involves cheating of any type, it will always be from Courtney Cole and her amazing gift of great story telling.

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and enjoy yet another Courtney Cole novel!

The Kiss Quotient (Helen Hoang)


Buy link: https://amzn.to/2EcVeKQ

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

“He was an obsession waiting to happen.”

It’s so hard for me to explain it in a way that people will understand but I am going to try. Books that have a “special” character or even a character with distinct differences from other characters that we typically read about, tend to be something I always enjoy. I don’t mean that in a negative or rude or even a mean way. I genuinely love seeing those characters on my pages and going through their day to day lives with them. Seeing it through their perspective. Seeing how they tick. (Melanie Harlow’s Some Sort of Crazy and Tracey Garvis Graves’ The Girl He Used to Know are just some of my favorites.)

I think my only complaint was that I wanted a little more details when it came to Michael’s attraction to Stella. To me it felt a little too rushed and a little too strong. I am a sucker for a more slower burn: a slower attraction that builds and builds as the interactions go by. I think in the second part of the book we get that, but to me it’s more important to have at the beginning.

The plot was fun and different.  It wasn’t something that I was expecting when going into it but it was still fun nonetheless. I didn’t feel like it dragged anywhere and the story line kept up a great pace.

“She had a disorder, but it didn’t define her. She was Stella. She was a unique person.”

Stella was…amazing. Independent, strong willed, and witty despite her differences. I think having her as the type of character that she was really helped with this story. I can’t say enough about her to put her on the pedestal she so deserves. The only thing that could have made this book so much better, was having the book written in first person while still keeping the alternating POVs. That’s weird to say because I don’t say that very often. But hearing Stella’s thoughts instead of someone telling me what her thoughts were would have put this book at a whole different level for me I think.

I thought The Kiss Quotient was a fun romance. It’s not every day you get one of those that isn’t overpowered by steaminess or raunchiness. I mean, there was some steam in here for sure, but I think the two main characters made it enjoyable. It wasn’t something that I felt like I HAD to skim over like I usually do. The story as a whole was a real charmer and something I would recommend to basically every one.

With This Lie (Kat Savage)


Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2E9Cbkx

Dani Monroe is more than just another jaded woman. Her veins run deep with every reason to never fall in love. If her mother taught her anything, it was how easily a betrayal is earned. After a childhood spent learning that lesson, it’s the only truth she knows. Now, as a woman with needs, she strictly dates married men. She knows what she is getting with them—all of the fun and none of the feelings—and that’s how she likes it.

Lucas Kane has only ever been in love once. Disloyalty followed soon after and he wants no part of “a future” with anyone ever again. But having the same conversation with different women became redundant. So he slipped on a wedding ring, and soon realized there were many women out there very attracted to married men. Those same women asked no questions when it came time to say goodbye. So he carries on like this—faking a married life and fooling around.

A chance encounter brings the two together and while it sounds like a match made in heaven, both are leery, with cynical hearts. What happens when two people hell bent on avoiding love find themselves falling? How many lies have they told? Will the truth set them free, or rip them apart?

“I just didn’t see you coming,” I say. “I didn’t see you coming, Lucas.”

With my strict “no cheating tropes” rule that I have applied for myself, I was very weary on how much I would like With This Lie. But surprise, surprise! Kat did a fantastic at executing a story line that wasn’t quite what it seemed. Which in turn ended up being such a great story in my opinion.

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My most favorite thing about With This Lie was how music plays a such huge part of this story and even with the characters. At times, it’s even their way of communicating. I LOVE THAT! I can’t express that enough. I love when people choose to use music to tell the words that they can’t. It adds a type of beauty that can’t be portrayed with words. Bonus points that it was music that I like.

The secondary characters were a fantastic addition. I am always a huge fan when an author can take characters who are not the main focus and make them seem so interesting without taking much away from the main characters. Kat did that with Quinn. She did a killer job too. I will be very excited to see if we get treated with a Quinn story down the line.

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“The world is no place for softness, for vulnerability. It will destroy it. It will take a soft thing and bend it until it breaks. The world is no place for tears or hearts. I leave that all in here in the closet. This is the only place it’s ever felt safe to do so.”

The tone of the book was not my favorite but I think the more you go along– the more it grows on you. The book as a whole was just kind of…sad because you can sense the impending doom coming to these characters but yet it still never lost my attention. I was ready to know what was going to happen and when it was going to happen.

With This Lie was a quick paced read but 9 times out of 10 those are the books I tend to find myself more attached to. Even with its quickly driven plot, it was still enjoyable and packed with emotions. I loved the added mystery aspect and the little twists that unraveled throughout the story adding an additional fun little twist to the story itself.

Daisy Jones and the Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid)


Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2E6FJ7c

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

I thought I was going to love this book.

After pondering on my review all night that is the only way I could think of to open this review. But let me explain: when I say love I mean “blow me out of the water, hit me in the feels, and hang me up to dry with no remorse” love. A “Talon’s five star rating” kind of love. But I just didn’t. Which was THE ultimate bummer to me. But when I finished I still felt really good as a reader. TJR has that way with me. When I don’t want to feel– she makes me feel. So while I did really enjoy the story as a whole and the style of the story, I just didn’t love it like I really hoped that I would.

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I think what got to me with Daisy Jones and the Six was the middle of the book. I was stuck. I was wanting to get through it and be moving onto the next part. It gets very slow and repetitive and we keep seeing them doing the same things over and over. Mainly writing together. I understand that is part of what makes a band but it was VERY redundant. I was skimming just to get to the next part, the next chapter of their story.

But my favorite part of this book was the fact that this is not a story about just Daisy. For this, I was thankful. I feel like if it would have been just about her, I would have gotten annoyed and tired of the story at hand just because of how stagnant she was throughout the story. But adding in all of the characters the way the author did, there were so many intricate details and fascinating story-lines that I couldn’t pick an absolute favorite. Seeing them all flow and fit together was ingenious on TJR’s part.

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I loved the story structure and the little twists that come near the end. I think that is what made this book the book that it is. Reading the interview styled story really pulled me in as a reader and mixed things up for me. It took me away from my every day chapter to chapter, third/first person POV readings. And I am always a big fan of that!

Structurally and plot wise different from her others, TJR still explores the things us readers so love and crave from her. Love, marriage, friendship, struggles, ups, and downs. Filled with lots of great lines and great characters,  I am so excited for this mini series on Amazon! Although I didn’t love it as much as I was hoping to, nothing can come in the way of that excitement. To see this play out on the TV will be so fascinating. Heres to Daisy Jones and the Six and Taylor Jenkins Reid!

The Son and His Hope (Pepper Winters)


Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2thSaqK

The day he was born, Jacob learned his hardest and longest lesson.
It wasn’t a lesson a boy should learn so young, but from his earliest memories he knew where happiness lives, so does tragedy. Where love exists, so does heartbreak. And where hope resides, so does sorrow.
That lesson carved him from the kid to the teen to the man.
And nothing and no one could change his mind.
I first met him when he was fourteen at a movie premiere of all places. A movie based on his parent’s life.
He was stoic, strong, suspicious, and secretive.
I was only ten, but I felt something for him. A strange kind of sorrow that made me want to hug and heal him.
I was the daughter of the actor hired to play his father.
We shared similarities.
I recognised parts of him because they were parts of me.
But no matter how many times we met. No matter how many times I tried.
He stayed true to his vow to never fall.

“And just like his father, the love he has to give comes with torture and torment, and I pity the poor girl who falls for him.”

You know– I feel as if these characters (new and old) will be the characters that I remember long after their books are all finished. Being on this ride with the Wilds has been nothing but a good time for me. Something that I have enjoyed reading about and following. I have been waiting for The Son and His Hope since last year and although it wasn’t as great as I expected it to be, I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

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When I opened this book I fully expected to love Jacob. But alas– I didn’t. Jacob and Hope TOGETHER? Was completely exhausting. That is the only way that I can put it. Ex. Haust. Ing. Every single time they’re together it was a constant battle of push and pull and tug of war and about half way through I thought I was going to get tired of it. And although I did get tired of their constant battling, the story line around them was enough to keep me going. Jacob was almost TOO broody for me. Given the circumstances, I could understand it but it was almost enough to turn me off from the book as a whole. So despite the fact that I might not have cared too much for Jacob the entire first half of the book, I still really enjoyed watching these characters grow into who they were meant to be.

“Emotions were cyanide, and distance was the cure. Cold-hearted cruelty the only antidote.”

I really loved how Pepper weaved in Jacob’s parents and their story into The Son and His Hope. She didn’t have to do that, but judging from being in Jacob’s POV, his parents relationship played a huge role in who he was today. And although this states that it can be read as a standalone, knowing Ren and Della’s past and all the turmoil they went through, made me that  much more attached to this story. Knowing what you learn in the first two books, really gives this book a much deeper meaning that those reading this as a standalone may not understand.

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The Wilds are such unique characters to me. They’re the ones that have survived the unimaginable. And just knowing that I was lucky enough to get another book and keep them in my life, makes me so happy. Because when the book was all done, I was still happy. I was still satisfied. And I was still hoping that Pepper would find some way to keep this story going.

A yellow rounded star.A yellow rounded star.A yellow rounded star.A yellow rounded star.