Review: Take A Hint, Dani Brown

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: 6/23/2020

Disclaimer: I won an advanced reader copy of this book from GoodReads courtesy by Avon Books. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

Review: This is the second book in The Brown Sisters series and could be read as a stand alone book. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and definitely loved this one more than Get a Life, Chloe Brown. Not only is there a diverse set of characters, but I really liked that each of the characters in this book stand their own ground. Talia Hibbert incorporates the importance of mental health and work life balance in such a relatable yet funny way way in her book. I highly recommend picking this one up if you love contemporary romance! I can’t wait for Eve’s story next!

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Last Flight

The Last Flight by Julie Clark 
Publication: SourceBooks Landmark
Publication Date: 6/23/2020

GoodReads Synopsis: Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets ― Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

The Last Flight is the story of two women ― both alone, both scared ― and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives. 

Review: I loved that this story portrayed strong female protagonists and the importance of female friendship. Julie’s writing style captured my interest from page one. The character development in this one is really well written. I loved that the author was able to capture the strength and yet the vulnerability of each main character and what she was going through. Also there were a few twists I didn’t see coming and I liked how the story ended. Overall, I enjoyed this thriller and highly recommend you read it!

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Wife Stalker

The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 5/19/2020

Disclaimer: I received a free finished copy of this book from Harper Collins in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?

Review: Overall, I had mixed feelings on this domestic thriller. It was better than The Last Time I Saw You, but wasn’t as good as The Last Mrs. Parrish which is my all-time favorite domestic thriller. The beginning initially had me hooked with alternating POVs, but towards the middle, I found to skimming waiting for something to happen. Even though things eventually progressed, it felt very disjointed. Without spoiling anything, I felt that the last 20 pages or so crammed in way too twists and then I ultimately felt disappointed in the ending. I ended up giving this a low three stars. I liked the plot, however, it wasn’t executed as well as I thought it could have been.

Rating: 3/5

Review: A Good Marriage

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
Publication: Harper
Publication Date: 5/5/2020

Disclaimer: I received a free finished copy of this book from Harper in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

Review: A Good Marriage is the first book I’ve read from Kimberly McCreight. I was initially hooked to the storyline for the first quarter of the book. Towards the middle, I felt that the book was dragging on and not much was happening. However, I did like the three different perspectives – Lizzie was my favorite. Without giving to much away, I felt that the side characters weren’t fully developed. Towards the last quarter of the book, that’s when the unexpected twists came into play. I definitely didn’t expect the ending which made the book worth reading. If you like legal thrillers and domestic suspense, then this may be up your alley.

Rating: 3/5

Review: My Dark Vanessa

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Publication: William Morrow
Publishing Date: 3/10/20

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from William Morrow in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

Review: Wow what an amazing debut novel from Kate Elizabeth Russell! The writing in this book was phenomenal. The author has such a way in her writing style where she pulls your heart out and puts it back, but it doesn’t feel the same. Though she does a great job tackling on controversial and sensitive topics, I definitely had to take my time with this book. There were times where the scenes evokes such emotions that I had to put it down and get back to it. Without giving too much away, it really made me think on a higher level what consent is, how sexual power is used, and what psychological grooming is, and what’s healthy and what’s not in relationships. This was such a resonating read that it left me in a book hangover. Though this was a 5 star read for me, I would recommend reading this book only if you read the synopsis above and feel that you are emotionally equipped to handle this.

Rating: 5/5

Review: Regretting You

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Publication: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: 12/10/19

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Montlake Romance in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

Review: I was so excited to get an ARC of Colleen Hoover’s latest novel, Regretting You. Her writing style always grips you from the beginning and you get so engrossed with the story whether you love it or hate. Her books usually go either extreme of the spectrum for me which I love because it keeps me on my toes.

Regretting You is honestly one of my top 3 favorite books from her! The characters were well developed and I loved the alternating mother/daughter POV. This reads sort of like a YA and kind of not. I love that Colleen’s writing grips the reader from the beginning and the reader is so engrossed with the storyline. Overall if you love romance or if you’re already a fan of CoHo, you’ll definitely want to add this one onto your TBR.

Rating: 4/5

Review: Get A Life, Chloe Brown

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Publication: Avon Books

Publication Date: 11/5/19

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced listening copy of this book from LibroFM, Avon Books, and Harper Audio in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Review: Get A Life, Chloe Brown is the first book I’ve read from Talia Hibbert. This contemporary romance had a decent storyline and the characters were well-developed. It’s great that the author was able to develop characters that went beyond the typical in a romance book which I applaud her for. I appreciated that the author added a trigger warning in the beginning of her book. However, this book just wasn’t my cup of tea. I felt like the book dragged in a few areas. As for the main characters, I felt like the chemistry between them was too forced. It also didn’t help that I wasn’t a fan of the writing style at all which makes me unsure about picking up the future books in the series.

As for the actual audiobook, I despised the narrator. Her voice was too shrill for my taste and I couldn’t stand the high pitched voice she was using for Chloe and the deep voice she was trying to use for Red. About half way through the audiobook, I put it down and decided to purchase the ebook version. The ebook version made the reading experience much more pleasurable. I also felt that by reading the ebook, I could rate and review overall book fairly. My three star rating has nothing to do with the audiobook and everything to do with the actual storyline of the book.

Personally I wouldn’t go out and recommend this book to everyone, but at the same time, I wouldn’t shun anyone from reading it as well. If you like contemporary romance, then you may enjoy this one more than me.

Rating: 3/5

Review: The Witches Are Coming

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West

Publication: Hachette Books

Publication Date: 11/4/19

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced listening copy of this book from LibroFM and Hachette Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: What do Adam Sandler, Donald Trump, and South Park have in common? Why are myths like “reverse sexism” and “political correctness” so seductive? And why do movie classics of yore, from Sixteen Candles to Revenge of the Nerds, make rape look like so much silly fun? With Lindy West’s signature wit and in her uniquely incendiary voice, The Witches are Coming lays out a grand theory of America that explains why Trump’s election was, in many ways, a foregone conclusion.

As West reveals through fascinating journeys across the landscapes of pop culture, the lies that fostered the catastrophic resentment that boiled over in the 2016 presidential race did not spring from a vacuum. They have in fact been woven into America’s DNA, cultivated by generations of mediocre white men and fed to the masses with such fury that we have become unable to recognize them as lies at all.

Whether it be the notion overheard since the earliest moments of the #MeToo movement that feminism has gone too far or the insistence that holding someone accountable for his actions amounts to a “witch hunt,” The Witches are Coming exposes the lies that many have chosen to believe and the often unexpected figures who have furthered them. Along the way, it unravels the tightening link between culture and politics, identifying in the memes, music, and movies we’ve loved the seeds of the neoreactionary movement now surging through the nation.

Sprawling, funny, scorching, and illuminating, The Witches are Coming shows West at the top of her intellectual and comic powers. As much a celebration of America’s potential as a condemnation of our failures, some will call it a witch hunt—to which West would reply, “So be it. I’m a witch and I’m hunting you.”

Review: The Witches Are Coming os the second book I’ve read from Lindy West. I enjoyed listening to Lindy narrate her latest nonfiction book. Her writing style continues to be intriguing and witty. I admire how unapologetic she is and her ability to express her opinion in way that takes off the rose colored lenses. However, I did feel that The Witches Are Coming fell flat in comparison to Shrill. In The Witches Are Coming, I like that she sheds light to sensitive and relevant topics for people to continue talking about, but I didn’t learn anything new. I was looking forward to gaining new insight about these topics beyond what was already in the news. Despite that tidbit, I do recommend you check out her latest book.

Rating: 3/5

Review: Instinct

Instinct by Allison Blackwood

Publication Date: 9/24/19

Disclaimer: I received a free finished copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: He’s the risk she’s willing to take…

The prehistoric earth is a brutal beauty, where menacing males stalk and snatch away unprotected women to disappear into the untamed wilds.

She learned a hard lesson as a child they day her own mother was taken. Men are dangerous. Men are cruel. Men are not to be trusted. With her only family gone, she must fend for herself within the small female clan that offers little comfort and companionship outside their protection.

Until one day a handsome stranger appears in the clearing of her favorite pool.

While she hesitates to kill this dark and cunning wanderer, she’s determined not to let his engaging smile and sweet gifts break through her defenses. But as their chance meetings continue, her barriers thin until she yearns for his company… and hungers for his touch.

A touch that promises untold pleasure—but could also spell their doom.

For if her clan discovers a man in their midst, they will surely kill him on sight. But as time passes and the sensual bonds they share deepen, she is tempted to throw caution to the wind…

And risk the wrath of her clan for love.

Review: Instinct is Allison Blackwood’s debut novella. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a prehistoric romance, but overall, I thought this was a great start for a debut novella. The storyline was unique and kept me intrigued from page one. The author did an amazing job developing characters in this particular world. It was fascinating to read a novella where there were no actual character names. It was wonderful to see the chemistry build between the characters. My favorite part of the novella was when the main characters had to find a way to breakdown communication into a common language between the two of them. If you love short romance reads, I highly recommend picking this one up.

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Publication: Atria Books

Publication Date: 11/5/19

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Atria Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Review: The Family Upstairs is Lisa Jewell’s latest thriller. Lisa Jewell has quickly become an auto-read author for me! I love the multiple POVs and the past vs. present narratives in this storyline. The book starts off a bit slow at the beginning, but quickly picks up towards the middle. I definitely didn’t see any of the twists coming which was quite refreshing. The characters are well-written and the writing style keeps you on your toes. If thrillers are your jam or if you’re craving an intriguing mystery, I highly recommend picking up The Family Upstairs!

Rating: 4/5