Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

Release date: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Doubleday
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper's kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel's past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Sylvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock's next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.

*Received a hardcopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Night Sister turned out to be an enjoyable (if that's the word) book for me. At the beginning, I was beyond frightened by what had happened to Amy and I eagerly wanted to know what this monster was that she was so terrified of, or if she was as crazy as her mother and was responsible for the horrible event. 

I liked how the story transitioned between three different time periods: 1950s, 1980s, and present, so that readers could understand each character and establish an idea of what was taking place at the motel. Making predictions wasn't easy. Every time Rose and her older sister Sylvie's chapters came up, I wondered if this monster was even real, and if something was mentally wrong with Rose just like everyone believed. Her actions made me want to throw her in an asylum too, and I wondered if she had anything to do with her sister's disappearance. Rose was hell bent on proving that Sylvie was something otherworldly like in her grandmother's stories--why a grandmother would even tell young children these kind of horror tales was just baffling, but all is explained the deeper we get into the story. 

Whenever we got a glimpse into the 1950s, I always felt there was more going on and that the mother was covering up something. And aside from Rose's monster belief, the Slater family in general had problems with continuing to run the motel. They had built this great business that they'd worked so hard for, but then an unforeseen thing happened and they had to start thinking of what to do next. That was enough stress for the parents, but they had to deal with Rose's antics as well. And while Rose was determined on revealing what she thought her sister truly was, Sylvie was growing frightened, and it seemed she was truly keeping a secret but not what Rose had suspected.

There were other things in each time period aside from the main monster subject that made the story more interesting. Like why was Sylvie going out to the dark tower at nights? Why hadn't the monster attacked Amy's daughter? And what secret was Rose's mother hiding? Another thing that stood out to me was the difference between Rose and Sylvie's relationship in comparison to Piper and Margot's. Rose and Sylvie were constantly at odds and it seemed like Rose hated her sister. But with Piper and Margot, they had a better, healthier relationship and they were closer, even if it at times they'd disagree, they still stuck together. I feel like if Rose and Sylvie had that kind of relationship, then things would probably have transpired differently in Sylvie's case. Because there was so much animosity in Rose that had built up over time, and that seemed to have led to that disastrous night on the tower. 

In conclusion, it all came down to the dark secret of the Slater family. I truly gave up on the monster thing and started to think there was some other craziness at work, and that maybe Sylvie was still lingering around the motel. However, towards the end, it became clear that Rose and Amy weren't as nutty as I believed, and that this monster theory was in fact real. 

This is the first book I've read by McMahon and I must say, I love her writing style. Her descriptions had me seeing and feeling the creepiness, and my interest was held until the end of the story. Overall, if you're into mystery, slight horror, and a nicely fleshed out story that's beyond intriguing, then The Night Sister is for you. Don't read this one at night though. It'll definitely leave you glancing over your shoulder and checking under the bed.

Jennifer McMahonAbout the Author
JENNIFER McMAHON is the author of six novels, including the New York Times best-sellers Promise Not to Tell and The Winter People. She graduated from Goddard College and studied poetry in the MFA Writing Program at Vermont College. Jennifer lives in central Vermont with her partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Release date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

Erin L. SchneiderAbout the Author
Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu - and although Hawaiian - should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, a rowdy German Shepard, two crazy cats, and a baby boy on the way! She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA BuccaneersSUMMER OF SLOANE is her debut novel.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

BLOG TOUR~Taking the Ice (Ice #3) by Jennifer Comeaux

Check out the blog tour for the third and final book in Jennifer's exciting Ice series. 

Series: Ice #3
Release date: August 17th 2015
Purchase: Amazon 

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Olympic rings and an engagement ring.

Courtney Carlton is ready for both.

She and her boyfriend Josh have skated together and dated for four years, and they’ve reached a critical point in their partnership both on and off the ice. With the Winter Games coming up and their career nearing an end, they are fighting to win a spot on the Olympic team, something Courtney has dreamed of since she was ten years old. 

She also has another wish she hopes comes true soon. She’s waiting for a marriage proposal from Josh that she expected to happen by now. Will she realize either dream or will her heart be broken from disappointment?

About the Author
Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a die-hard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing.
Jennifer loves to hear from readers! 
Visit for contact information and to learn more about her books.

Sept. 14th -
I Read Indie *Review & Favorite Quotes
Fiction Dreams *Interview

Sept. 15th -

Sept. 16th -

Sept. 17th -
Lavender Gray *Review

Sept. 18th -
Tifferz and Her Sisterz Book Reviewz *Review & Favorite Quotes
Lost in Lit *Review & Favorite Quotes

*No posts on the weekend.

Sept. 21st -
Booky thoughts and Me *Review & Favorite Quotes
Jersey Girl Book Reviews *Review & Favorite Quotes
A Writer's Dream *Interview
Deal Sharing Aunt *Spotlight

Sept. 22nd -
Book Briefs *Review

Sept. 23rd -
genuine jenn *Review

Sept. 24th -

Sept. 25th -

Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

Series: The Field Party #1
Release Date: August 25th 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

*Received a physical ARC from the publisher in exchange of an honest review

My feelings are all over the place in regards to Until Friday Night. For some reason, I expected more after reading the blurb. There were great moments, like when West was with his family and his pain felt real, but there were parts that just frustrated me. And in all honesty, I just didn't feel the fireworks.

I couldn't connect with the characters, and their intense feelings for each other didn't convince me that much. Also, there were things about them that I couldn't warm up to. Maggie was okay. She'd been through something very tragic and like West's situation, I sympathized naturally. But I didn't get the reason for her not speaking. I just think that if you don't want to talk about something and you don't want people asking you about it, then just say so. They were her family, and I'm sure they would have been supportive either way had she simply made her feelings clear to them, instead of spending the majority of the book shutting them out. 

West on the other hand, wasn't exactly likable. With the alternating POVs the reader got the opportunity to get inside his head and experience what he was going through at home. But his suffering wasn't an excuse for him to be an asshole. The way he treated his mother and always spoke so highly of her should have been enough for him to treat girls better. I hated how he handled his first encounter with Maggie, and the fact that he never discussed it with her and found out how she felt. Throughout the book he was basically using her to help cope with his pain, not once did he wonder how it was all affecting her when she had problems of her own. It was a relief when Maggie finally spoke up about his selfish behavior and possessiveness. Like he was even getting territorial with her cousin, Brady. Seriously? That didn't make any sense to me. So good for her. I just wish she had done that sooner. 

In spite of these issues that I had, it wasn't a bad story. I liked the friendship between the guys and the support that Brady's family showed to Maggie. I hope they return in the second book and I hope Brady gets to be the main. For some reason I was more interested in his character than Maggie and West. Still, not a bad read.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Release date: January 12th 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

About the Author
Marisa Reichardt
Marisa Reichardt is a SoCal native and high school writing instructor. She has a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California and dual undergraduate degrees in literature and creative writing from UC San Diego. She spent her college years shucking oysters, waiting tables, and peddling swimwear. She has spent her post-grad years writing, tutoring, and teaching. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family, and can usually be found huddled over her laptop in coffeehouses or swimming in the ocean.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Becoming Rain (Burying Water #2) by K.A. Tucker

Release date: March 3rd 2015
Series: Burying Water #2
Publisher: Atria Books
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to.

*Received a physical copy from the publisher in exchange of a review

A world of luxury and danger becomes intriguing in this thrilling follow-up to Burying Water. While the latter provided an intense and dramatic look at the consequences of crossing a crime boss, Becoming Rain takes us much deeper. Thankfully, Clara managed to evade that world without a scratch, but finds romance amidst it all. 

I actually enjoyed this book more than the previous. The story moved along smoothly and it didn't feel as drawn out as the first. And while I didn't like Luke's character as much before, I liked what he did for Water and I really warmed up to him in Becoming Rain. It was great to get inside his head and establish an understanding of his loyalty to his uncle and family. Before, I was upset with him for wanting to continue working with his uncle, but I kind of understood his reasons and why such a lifestyle would fascinate him. It was also nice to see him unravel and finally fall for just one girl. I didn't realize how sweet and considerate he was. He made me melt with his charm and the wonderful way he treated Rain.

Clara AKA Rain came into the situation as an agent who not only wanted to succeed and boost her career, but she also wanted to help put an end to what those men were doing. Luke was her target. She studied him, lured him in, basically did what she had to in order to gain his trust. But soon, things started to get complicated. Her feelings for Luke and her position as an agent became an internal struggle. I knew that was bound to happen since I started reading, so from beginning I kept saying to myself, "this is going to be disastrous", because how on earth was their relationship going to work? I mean, after her cover was revealed to him, Luke felt deeply betrayed. And I could understand why. She was the first woman he'd trusted, so his reaction was expected. 

These two intriguing characters and their sexy and dangerous relationship kept me interested, and that has a lot to do with the terrific writing of Miss Tucker. She sure has a way with words and knowing how to pull you into a story. K.A. definitely gave me a vivid picture of this frightening world of wealth and power. The criminals were either mysterious or scary when need be. And while I didn't approve of what Luke's uncle was doing, the author managed to get me to still sympathize for him and Luke. That's a good thing.

It was also nice to revisit the characters from the previous book. Glad to know they're doing well and staying out of trouble. 
Overall, I truly enjoyed Becoming Rain. The characters were just great and the plot reminded me of one of those crime dramas on TV. And even though it would have been more exciting if a certain person showed up in the end and there was some kind of stand off between Clara and his guys, I still liked how things played out for her and Luke. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino

Release date: August 18th 2015
Publisher: Atria
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?


*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

Before We Were Strangers completely blew me away. I wasn't expecting what Renee had in store for me, and let me tell you, that blurb barely sums up how crazy this story is. Like I'm seriously struggling to put my thoughts together to explain just how much I enjoyed Matt and Grace's tumultuous journey--from their funny first encounter to the moment when they finally reunited. I connected right off with these two. I felt their joy, their sorrow, and their love. Every page felt real. The characters felt real, and their emotions felt real. I simply can't get enough of them and I'm beyond happy with the way things worked out, even if so much time had passed where they were separated. 

I loved going back to their time in college and learning about Matt and Grace. They were both from different backgrounds, but drawn together through art and something else. Something intense and true. They began as friends and that blossomed into so much more. It's funny how they were so in love with each other before even realizing it, and once their feelings were clear it was definitely hard to deny. 
I hated the circumstances and the misunderstandings that caused their separation, and at times I was mad at them too. There were moments where maybe they should have fought harder for each other and not just give in. I mean, their love was so strong that even after fifteen years, they still couldn't move on. I had predicted a little about what happened to Grace, and it sucks that Matt missed out on that and wasn't there for her during that particular time. And even though it's not their fault and someone horrible fueled the problem, I felt that Grace could've tried to speak to Matt face-to-face, regardless of what she was led to believe because she was following his career and had an idea of what he was doing, while Matt had no clue whatsoever as to how to find her. But hey, their love wasn't perfect and it didn't work out immediately for them. And it's sad that all that happened to a couple who wanted to be together so badly, but life is crazy and some things happen for reason, especially since both got to live out their dreams and experience a world apart for a while. No matter how long. 

Aside from the awesome characters and storytelling, Carlino did a great job bringing New York city to life in both time period. Her words sucked me in fast and I couldn't stop reading. I literally had to force myself to put down my kindle and go to sleep. The story is just that good. And like I said, the characters are fleshed out wonderfully. Everything about them felt real and their relationship was easy to root for. I also loved LOVED the ending. It had me smiling and tearing up with excitement. Gosh. I have to stop here before I give too much away. This is my second Carlino novel and I'm so happy to have discovered her because she's a terrific writer that knows how to tug at the heart. I highly recommend this one!

About the Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women's novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

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