Book Reviews

ARC Review: How Not To Die Alone

Release date: May 28, 2019

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary

Rating: 🌟🌟

“Up to that point I’d never realized that life, just sometimes, can be wonderfully, beautifully simple.”

Plot: This is a story about a man who is given a second chance at life and love as long as he exposes a little white lie that he told many years before….a little white lie that has grown into so much more.

Review: Special thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam for the ARC. The ARC was given in exchange for an honest review.

This has got to be one of the strangest, uniquely set books that I have read in a long time. I do not recall ever reading a book where the majority of the it is set around an agency like this one.. It is both ludicrously morbid and spectacularly brilliant in one. Why? Because Andrew, the main character, has a job working for a government agency that requires him to sift through a dead person’s belongings to find any sort of next of kin. Since most of the dead are of the lonely sort, there is normally none and Andrew will then arrange the funeral. Although it is not part of his job description, Andrew often attends the funeral so the person is not entirely alone which is actually kinda sweet.

Andrew is also a lonely sort due to his past until he meets Peggy. Peggy makes his realize his loneliness and Andrew begins to see he needs to live his life instead of going through it with implicit numbness. I really enjoy being able to watch characters personally grow like Andrew does.

With all this said, I don’t know what to make of this novel. Although, the story itself is unique and humorous at times, it is extremely sad. Depressingly sad. And to top it all off, there were one too many times where I became extremely bored reading and ended up skimming most. I am a reader that needs / wants more entertainment and this severely lacked it.

Recommendation: You can pass on this one.

Book Reviews, New Releases

ARC REVIEW: By the Light of Embers

Release date: May 9, 2019 (In just two weeks!)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Review: Thank you to NetGalley, Shaylin Gandhi and Briar Rose Publishing for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

By the Light of Embers is an alluring historical novel about a young woman who is beyond her time . The heroine, Lucia Lafleur is faced with the choice of following her dreams of being a medical doctor or losing her finance forever. While contemplating her decision, Lucia spends the summer of 1954 in her home state of Louisiana with her family and her best friend, Gretchen. As she forbiddingly falls in love with an old acquaintance, Nicholas, Lucia realizes just how much hatred runs through her childhood town, a realization that could cost them both their lives.

What I love about this novel is that it is such an an empowering tale for woman everywhere. Lucia fights for her dreams. She fights against racism and social injustices. She stands up for herself and her wants and her needs. And within ALL the conflict, Lucia stays true to herself. What better lesson for women out there then to be true to oneself?

I want to preface by saying that I really enjoyed this story. It was well written with great character development and wonderful descriptions. However, there are one too many subplots occurring throughout the novel that makes it a bit too soapy for historical fiction. This novel, in my opinion, borders the romance genre. BUT, although there are so many subplots, I did appreciate how each subplot ties nicely into the ending. And that ending? Oh my. That’s all I can say….Oh my.

Recommendation: It’s a solid book with a good plot that shine lights on issues we still face today. Take that as you will….

Book Reviews, New Releases

ARC Review: A Palm Beach Wife

Release Date: April 9, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Rating: 🌟🌟

Many thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for the ARC of in exchange honest review

Synopsis: In Palm Beach, image is everything and no one knows this more than Faith. Having moved to Palm Beach at a young age, Faith has built a life around becoming a perfect member of high society and the perfect wife and mother. But what happens when the life she built is suddenly flipped upside down? Will she do what is best for her family or what is best for her image?

Review: Here’s what I liked about this story: When you take away all the glitz and glamour, Faith is a strong woman. She survived plenty of heartbreak when she was quite young. She is the owner of a successful business. And even though she has an addict husband who makes the life she built a living hell throughout the plot, she walks with grace and with her head held high. She takes the punches as they come and instead of pointing blame or running away, Faith attempts to fix her issues. I also love how she is the protector of her family.

With all that said, the story itself was too much. There was too much glitz and glamour. There was too much name dropping. Most of the characters are quite shallow and/or hard to find personable. But most of that could probably be overlooked except for the fact that the ending falls so flat….so so flat. For Faith to go through and do everything to make life for her and her family great again…….for Faith to get that kind of ending, it feels as if she and the reader were robbed. There needs to be some type of epilogue or maybe just more to the ending than what was given.

Recommendation: I do not recommend this book. It has so much potential and ends up disappointing. Take that as you may…as always, it is up to you.

Book Reviews, New Releases

ARC Review: My Little Secret by LA Casey

Release Date: March 26, 2019 – TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY!

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Romance / Suspense

“Maybe Ash Dunne isn’t as bad as everyone thinks he is.”

Review: ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley, LA Casey and Montlake Romance for the opportunity.

Ryan Mahony is a good girl. She lives a privileged and sheltered life in the countryside of Ireland until her father, a former barrister, is sent to prison. Ashley Dunn is a bad boy. He is a member of the Disciples, one of Dublin’s most notorious gangs and has a ruthless reputation. When Ryan goes to live with her aunt and cousin in their urban estate, her path unexpectedly crosses with Ash and sparks fly. The more time she spends with Ash, the more Ryan begins to believe that maybe Ash isn’t really a bad boy at all. He’s just a guy in a bad situation.

LA Casey’s classic tale of a good girl falling for a bad boy was delightful. I loved how the narrative was funny yet really emotional. Many of the characters had loss in their lives and as a reader, I was able to really feel for them no matter their situations. My Little Secret’s plot was not all romance either, which is always a pleasant bonus. The story has a few mysteries and is a little suspenseful too. One of my favorite parts without spoiling the story was the reveal of Mr. Nobody. I did not see the identity coming and I must praise LA Casey for such a curve ball.

I had only one issue with the novel and that was getting used to reading the Irish dialect. As an American, I struggled a little with it. However, once you get out your comfort zone, it will be smooth sailing. I promise.

Recommendation: I recommend this book. And if you want another read by LA Casey, read Until Harry. I give it 4 stars!

New Releases

I found WHAT at the library?

Ladies and gentlemen….I took a trip to the one of the many libraries in my county today. It’s not out of the norm as I love to read yet do not have the infinite funds to do so. While there, I checked out their “book sale” and lo and behold found this beauty! An actual ARC! Should it have been for sale? No. Did I buy it anyway? Yes! For a $1.

I’ve never read an ARC before. I’ve attempted to obtain several copies but have never received one. I’m 100% sure I’m not even supposed to have this one. But I have it. And I’m going to read it…and research Girly Book Club and Booktrib too. Then when it gets closer to release date (May 7 per Goodreads), I’m gonna review it.

Sarah Blake, New York Times Bestseller of The Postmistress, I’ve never read your work before but I hope to do you some justice. To the reader who donated this to the library, thank you for making my day. And to the library, I hope my $1 donation helps you do the great work that you do.