Review: Sweet Little Lies

Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis
Title:
Sweet Little Lies | Book 1 Heartbreaker Bay Series
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Contemporary

About Sweet Little Lies: Choose the one guy you can’t have . . .
As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land. Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.
Fall for him—hard . . .
Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends. When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze. But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone. Fast.
And then tell him the truth.
Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire. But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything. . . .

Review: Whoa, reader be warned, Sweet Little Lies is S-T-E-A-M-Y in every good way possible! I needed time to catch my breath and fan my hot, flushed face before writing this review.

The first book in Shalvis’ Heartbreaker Bay Series, gorgeous Pru is making wishes at the historic fountain in her courtyard for sexy Finn to find true love with anyone but herself. Pru is no good for Finn – she’s holding onto a secret that is sure to drive him the opposite direction. The two are perfect for each other and everyone knows it but Finn is a work-a-holic tending to O’Riley’s, the pub he runs with his brother and Pru can’t bear the thought of hurting Finn and keeps him at arms distance.  Or at least she tries to but when an ultra sexy couple are meant to be together there’s no denying sparks are going to fly.

Sweet Little Lies is every bit charming, romantic and oh so sizzling hot! Shalvis’ books have fast become the palette cleansers I need in between heavier reads. Add this one to your reading list!

The Heartbreaker Bay Series – Each book is a standalone
Sweet Little Lies
The Trouble with Mistletoe
One Snowy Night
Accidentally on Purpose
Chasing Christmas Eve
Holiday Wishes
About that Kiss
Slow Winter Nights

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Book Review: Family Affair

IMG_0917Title: Family Affair
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5

From Harper Collins: Lacey Lancaster always longed to be a wife and mother. However, after a painful divorce, she just wants to lay low in her charming San Francisco apartment with her beautiful Abyssinian cat, Cleo.
Everything would be wonderful if it wasn’t for her impossible neighbor, Jack Walker, who argues day and night with his girlfriend . . . and whose cat, Dog, is determined to get Cleo to succumb to his feline advances. And when Lacey discovers that Cleo’s in the family way, she’s furious that neither Jack nor his amorous animal seems terribly upset about it.
But things aren’t always what they appear. Jack’s “girlfriend” isreally his sister—and his intentions toward Lacey are quite honorable (though she’s not sure about Dog). And out of the blue, Lacey is discovering the tender joy of falling in love all over again.

My Review: Cat lovers and romance novel lovers will rejoice over FAMILY AFFAIR, a light and heartwarming story as only Macomber, the mother of sweet, tasteful romance can deliver.

Recently divorced and swearing off men, heartbroken Lacey Lancaster has a bone to pick with her neighbour Jack Walker. Jack’s cat, Dog, impregnates her Abyssinian, Cleo and Lacey wants to know what Jack (and Dog) are going to do about it. You see, Lacey intended to breed beautiful Cleo and now Dog has messed up her plans. Jack has been interested in Lacey since she moved into their San Francisco apartment complex and now he has Dog to thank for getting Lacey to let down her guard and let Jack into her life.

This is a short read about starting over and new love. Add a steaming cup of tea, a warm blanket and tuck in for a cozy afternoon.

June Book Wrap-Up

IMG_0628Happy Summer! Yesterday was the last day of school for my kids so we are officially on summer break. The plan is to enjoy a couple weeks of downtime including chilling at the beach and pool, which is code for R-E-A-D-I-N-G. Mid-month I’m taking my kiddos to visit my parents for 3 weeks – woo hoo! We will be swimming, shopping, sewing and reading. My mom is a huge reader so I look forward to lots of book discussions with her.

I read some great books in June. It’s a toss-up between Beartown and UNSUB for my favourite. Both were amazing stories that kept me fully engaged from the first page to the last page. What are you reading this summer?

The People We Hate at the Wedding – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
The People We Hate at the Wedding is scores of family dynamics and dysfunction. It was like watching an upper echelon reality show chock-full of painful moments and endless entertainment.

The Fourth Monkey – ⭐️⭐️ / 5
The Fourth Monkey is portrayed as a cross between Se7en and Silence of the Lambs. Both movies are creepy, have disturbing aspects, literally keep you on edge but most of all stay with you. Years later you still remember those movies and may re-watch them. The Fourth Monkey has none of those attributes. It did not check off those typical suspense / thriller checkboxes for me. I am surprised because a bit of research into J.D. Barker and he has some near-award worthy books out there, unfortunately this one isn’t one of them.

Beartown – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
This book can be summarized in one word: POWERFUL! Beartown instilled emotion in me that made my heart want to explode from page one. Backman transported me into a place where I could feel the pain of every resident who inhabited Beartown, flailing on the cusp of survival but longing for so much more.

Chemistry – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
Chemistry is a uniquely written story that reads like a non-fiction book. Wang’s brilliant depiction of an unnamed woman who recounts why she left a chemistry PhD program is coursely humourous. This kind of fiction writing is a departure from what I would normally pick up and read but I am so glad I ventured outside of my reading comfort zone. This book is written like a succinct diary and reads quickly so if you are looking for a book in between heavier stories this one is perfect.

Sweet Home Cowboy – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
This was my first book from the Love at the Chocolate Shop series and I thought it was a cute story. This was a pretty big variation in my reading choice. I normally don’t read romance-y books and definitely not western’s but this was light on the western romance. I thought it was entertaining and quick to read – perfect for summertime sitting poolside or at the beach.

UNSUB – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
UNSUB is the most intense and engrossing book I have read, which speaks volumes because I have read many true crime books. This book is fiction but Meg Gardiner made it feel like true crime. The story is a takeoff of the Zodiac Killer that haunted the Bay Area in the 60’s and 70’s but with a dialled up creepy factor. This book is not for the squeamish – it’s graphic and cuts to the quick, but totally suitable for any true crime lover. And the best part, a sequel is coming! This is a series I look forward to and know I will dig into.

The Secrets of Married Women – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
Jill, Wendy and Leigh are best friends, each have very different personalities. Jill is married to Rob of 10 years, they adore each other but can’t have children because Rob is infertile. Wendy and Neil buried their baby daughter Nina and Wendy has never recovered from the loss but rarely complains and puts on a happy face. Leigh’s husband, Lawrence is a stay at home dad with OCD. He loves her dearly, would do anything for her but she no longer feels that spark with him and finds him a bit of a wuss.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
This book is super-cute! I listened to the audio book version narrated by Laura Knight Keating. Her narration is amazingly authentic as if Lara Jean herself were reading the story out loud. This book is entertaining and fast-paced making it a perfect summertime read.

Book Review: Sweet Home Cowboy

IMG_0619Title: Sweet Home Cowboy (Love at the Chocolate Shop #9)
Author: Marin Thomas
Publisher: Tule
Format: Digital ARC
Verdict: Read it!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From Tule: When Marietta newcomer Elena Puente is coerced into attending a speed-dating event at the popular Copper Mountain Chocolate shop, she’s blindsided by a serious attraction to local cowboy, Wesley Banks.

Still recovering from a broken engagement, the first-grade teacher from Las Vegas isn’t looking for romance. She’s in Montana to get to know the great-grandfather she never knew existed until she found some hidden family letters. Judge Kingsley is a grouchy recluse and he’s far from welcoming, but Elena is determined to stay in town long enough to give his neglected estate on Bramble Lane a facelift.

Elena’s resolve to avoid romance is tested when she discovers Wesley is the caretaker of her grandfather’s rural property. Soon, she and the cowboy are attending more speed-dating events at the chocolate shop and she’s seeking his advice on how to deal with his ornery boss. Local gossips wager the old Judge will run Elena out of town before anything serious develops between her and Wesley. But Wesley’s a determined man, too, and he’s betting Elena belongs in Marietta forever…with him.

My Review: This was my first book from the Love at the Chocolate Shop series and I thought it was a cute story. This was a pretty big variation in my reading choice.  I normally don’t read romance-y books and definitely not western’s but this was light on the western romance. I thought it was entertaining and quick to read – perfect for summertime sitting poolside or at the beach.

I really liked Elena, the tenacious great-granddaughter of stubborn old Judge. Her persistence in forging a relationship with the man she only recently learned about was admirable. And then there’s Wes, the good looking cowboy who with the help of Judge turned himself around and helps the local kids fly right. Elena and Wes meet at the Copper Mountain Chocolate shop speed dating event. The attraction between them is immediate and fierce but Elena isn’t in town for romance and they both want different things from a relationship. Elena is a Grade 1 teacher and after caring for kids all day long doesn’t believe she would have anything left to give a child of her own. Wes, on the other hand, wants children.

Small town life in Marietta, Montana is quite different from the bustle of Las Vegas and Elena isn’t accustomed to everyone knowing her business. The story is flanked by plenty of local color from Sandra, the boutique owner and neighbour of the Judge’s, who has a crush on him, to Rosie at the chocolate shop and finally the DJ at the local radio station who tells all of Marietta that Elena is in town.

I enjoyed Sweet Home Cowboy. It was a refreshing change of pace and an uplifting story. I was rooting for Elena and Wes to live happily ever after from the start. Did I get my wish? You will have to read the book for yourself! I look forward to reading more from Love at the Chocolate Shop series.

Thank you to Netgalley and Tule Publishing for giving me a free ARC in exchange for my own unbiased review.

Summer Reading List 2017

This is a loosely curated list of books I think are great summer reads covering several genres.  Some of these books I have already read and highly recommend to you, others are from my extensive to-be-read (TBR) list which I’m excited to read and a few will be published this summer.

It is likely this summer book list will continue evolving throughout the summer.  As I read new books that I think are summer-worthy reads I will add them here so please check back!

UNSUB by Meg GardinerTitle: UNSUB (review coming soon!)
Author: Meg Gardiner
Genre: Suspense & Thriller | Crime Mystery
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
From Dutton: A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

The Forever Summer by Jamie BrennerTitle: The Forever Summer
Author: Jamie Brenner
Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
From Little, Brown and Company: When a DNA test reveals long-buried secrets, three generations of women reunite on Cape Cod for the homecoming of a lifetime.

The Arrangement by Sarah DunnTitle: The Arrangement
Author: Sarah Dunn
Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
From Little, Brown and Company: A hilarious and emotionally charged novel about a couple who embark on an open marriage-what could possibly go wrong?

Dark Matter by Blake CrouchTitle: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Suspense & Thriller | Science Fiction
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
From Crown Publishing: – “Are you happy with your life?”

 

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin KwanTitle: China Rich Girlfriend
Author: Kevin Kwan
Genre: Fiction – Women’s
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
From Knofp Doubleday: From the bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians comes a deliciously fun story of family, fortune, and fame in Mainland China.

Bear Town by Fredrik BackmanTitle: Beartown
Author: Fredrik Backman
Genre: Fiction – Literary, Humourous
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
From Atria Books: People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys…

Ginny Moon by Benjamin LudwigTitle: Ginny Moon
Author: Benjamin Ludwig
Genre: Fiction – Coming of Age, Family Life, Literary
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
From Park Row Books: Ginny Moon is an illuminating look at one girl’s journey to find her way home. In this stunning debut, Benjamin Ludwig gives a voice to the voiceless, reminding us that often we only hear those who speak the loudest, and there’s much to be learned by opening up our ears and our hearts.

The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionTitle: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simsion
Genre: Fiction – Romance, Humourous
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
From Simon & Schuster: The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers…

A Beautiful, Terrible Thing by Jen WaiteTitle: A Beautiful, Terrible Thing
Author: Jen Waite
Genre: Biography & Memoir | Psychology
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
From Penguin Random House: What do you do when you discover that the person you’ve built your life around never existed? When “it could never happen to me” does happen to you?

The Hatching by Ezekiel BooneTitle: The Hatching
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Genre: Science Fiction | Suspense | Horror
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
From Atria Books: An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over a thousand years, and now on the march.