Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The House on Fripp Island by Rebecca Kauffman


  

I often measure the quality of a good book by my willingness to put it down. This book is one I just wanted to keeping reading and reading! The story is set on Fripp Island, South Carolina when two childhood friends, Lisa and Poppy, join their families in a large home on the island for a long weekend. Lisa is married to Scott and they have two girls, Rae and Kimmy. This family is quite wealthy and fit in nicely with the other rich families on the island. Money does not buy serenity though. Lisa is constantly in fear of danger that may come her way, and learns of a local island handyman with a dark past. Poppy is married to John and they have a son Ryan, and a daughter Alex. John is recovering from surgery and Poppy watches over him with extreme caution. This couple does not have the wealth of the other, but have been invited to this all expenses paid vacation. The weekend is enjoyable - there is a pool, a beach and sun. There are also plenty of secrets. The synopsis also tells us that one of the guests will not be returning home.

The author does a great job of keeping the reader guessing on which guest will suffer their demise. The story is told from the POV of each of the characters and I really felt I knew a significant amount about each of them. I love a story which not only has you guessing on which character will die, but if this death was caused by another and who. I found the descriptions of the beach and its ecology to be insightful. There are definitely some surprises in this book and it was easy to stay engaged and to want more.

I listened to the audiobook edition of this book and I thoroughly enjoyed the narration provided by one of my favourite narrators, Susan Bennett. Her voice is pleasant and articulate and has an amazing story-telling quality to it.

Thanks to libro.fm , Recorded Books and HMH Books for the ALC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here. What makes Libro.fm so unique is that 100% of both print and audiobook purchases support your local bookstores. You can find the link to your local bookstore for this book and others in my profile, or at https://bookstorelink.com/9780358041528.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️💫/5 stars.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Preview - The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan


 

Today's Preview is The First To Lie. I'm excited to read this book as I've seen so many reviewers rave about Hank Phillippi Ryan's books. The book has also had some rave reviews in pre-publication.

The synopsis includes: "After a devastating betrayal, a young woman sets off on an obsessive path to justice, no matter what dark secrets are revealed. What she doesn't know - she isn't the only one plotting her revenge".

Have I got your attention? Have you read this book yet? Is it on your TBR list?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Just Saying by Sophie Ranald



Just Saying is my second book written by Sophie Ranald, having read “It’s Not You It’s Him” last year. Based on the synopsis, I was mistaken to assume this book would be an ultra-fluffy rom-com. This book is so much more.

Alice and Joe have the world in their hands. They are in love and have promising careers as lawyers which will be sure to provide them with the life they’ve been working towards and dreaming of. Then Alice’s career takes a detour and she is forced to examine what is really important to her.

On the day she is given the bad news concerning her career path, she finds herself in a neighbourhood pub that has seen better days. While the decor is something circa 1980, she feels cared for and more in touch with her community then she ever has. She takes a job as a barmaid as a source of income until she figures out what to do next - the patrons are friendly and begin to feel like family. However, her income has decreased and it will be impossible for Alice and Joe to remain in their current home and they will need to bring in a flatmate. Much to Alice’s dismay, that new flatmate will be the first love of Joe’s life - the beautiful and ultra-friendly Zoe. Alice has to think - does Zoe want more then just a place to live?

There are important serious storylines associated with social change in this book that I won’t reveal so as not to give anything away. This book is about valuing relationships, earning and maintaining trust, being honest, and being true to yourself. The characters are likeable, and the storyline engaging. The concept of Zoe moving into their flat was one that I would not have accepted if I had been Alice, and I wonder how many women would? Why would Joe even suggest it?

I’d recommend this entertaining read for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Kinsella.

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.   Just Saying publishes on July 3.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5 .

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory


 Party of Two is the fifth book in the author’s The Wedding Date series. While I have enjoyed each of these books, I think that this book is my favourite in the series.

Olivia Monroe returns to California to establish her own law firm in partnership with a good friend and colleague. While eating a late night dinner in the bar of the hotel she’s temporarily staying in, she begins bantering with a man who seems a little familiar to her but cannot place. They both fib about their occupations and have a mutual love of desserts. There are definite sparks flying between the two, and she hopes he’ll invite her up to his room. Unfortunately for Olivia, this does not happen and she shrugs it off. The next morning while getting ready for work, she’s listening to TV news and recognizes a man’s voice as the man from the bar the previous evening. The man in the bar was Senator Max Powell!

A couple of weeks later while Olivia is attending a luncheon to promote the new firm, she is surprised to see that the guest speaker is the Senator. He spies her in the audience, and comes to speak with her afterwards. Olivia has no interest in dating a politician but is charmed when Max sends her favourite cake to her office. How can she resist a good looking successful man who knows the way to her heart?

I very much like this book. The characters are well developed and very likeable. I appreciate a strong female protagonist and Olivia certainly fits the bill. I also admire that the author chose a biracial couple for this story. The obstacles confronting Olivia and Max were believable. The book kept me engaged throughout.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Berkley Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.

My rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Preview - The Friendship List by Susan Mallery


Have you ever felt like your in a bit of a rut and needing to make a change? In The Friendship List, two thirtysomething women decide it’s time.

From the Publisher: “Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?

The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos”.


This sounds like a great read to me!

The Friendship List publishes August 4.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

In the second instalment in The Brown Sisters series, it’s Dani Brown’s time to serve as the protagonist.  Dani is a PhD student who teaches at a local university.  She is a “say it like it is” type of gal, who despite her academic work, likes to use profanity.  She is driven and focused, knows what she wants in life and how to get it.  She also knows what she doesn’t want, and that’s any romantic relationships. But she’s ready to meet a friend with benefits and is waiting for a hint from a spiritual source to let her know who that should be. When she is locked in an elevator and is rescued by the former ex-rugby star Zaf, she believes this to be the sign she’s been waiting for.  
Zaf is a big, strong and handsome security guard who carries Dani outside and into a student body only too happy to capture this heroic event for social media.  In fact, #DrRugbae begins trending and gives Zaf the needed support for his sports charity for kids.  So Dani and Zaf strike a deal - they will pose as a romantic couple for three weeks to provide him with the publicity he needs for his charity, and in turn he will fulfill Dani’s need for a friend with benefits.  
This book is both humorous and serious. The couple’s banter/flirtations were enjoyable to read.  However, both Dani and Zaf have significant psychological issues that they are trying to work through. My favourite part of this book was the relationship the couple built outside of sex. This is clearly a case of 1+1=3.   That is, the individuals are much stronger together than apart.  The author does a fantastic job of character development and I really felt I knew the two well.  The book flowed well and was a quick read for me. Be warned, however, that the book has some steamier sex scenes which some more sensitive readers may not appreciate.  While I preferred the author’s first book in the series, this book was enjoyable and held my interest.  I look forward to the third book in the series expected in 2021.
Thanks to Edelweiss and Avon Books for the ARC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.
My rating:  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

In the Vanishing Half, twin girls are born in a small southern black community where fair skin is admired, and dark skin is shunned. The girls, Desiree and Stella, are as close as twins can be. That is, until they leave home at the age of 16 to find their own way. Initially, they each find work and live together. Then one day, Desiree comes home to a note from Stella which tells her she has left town.

It is now ten years later. Desiree is married and has a daughter Jude. Desiree’s husband begins assaulting Desiree, so she leaves with her daughter and returns to her mother and her hometown. Her daughter, Jude, has the dark skin inherited from her father and feels the wrath of those who feel she does not belong there.

In the meantime, Stella is wrapped in a world of white privilege and secrets. Her world falsely assumes she is white - and she is not about to correct this. She marries and also has a daughter, Kennedy. Kennedy has the blonde hair of her father and striking violet eyes. One day, their worlds change when Kennedy and Jude meet.

This is an extremely powerful and emotional book. It clearly identifies white privilege and the prejudice of skin colour. It speaks to how our personal experiences, and the choices we make based on these experiences, contribute to the way we identify ourselves. I appreciated the discussion of sexual identity, as well as a woman’s role in society, especially given the historical context. I also applaud the strength of these women, given their unique circumstances.

This is a well-written piece of historical fiction written with compassion that engrosses the reader. It is thought-provoking and dynamic. I listened to the audiobook version of the book and applaud Shayna Small as the narrator for her performance. She brings the southern and ethnic accent so deserving this book.

I would recommend this book to those that love historical fiction or literary fiction.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5.