Just a book blog

Just a book blog

I'm Jenn.

I like to read then blog about it :-)

2 Stars
Invite Me In
By Private Invitation - Stephanie Julian

This started off good - Annabelle Elder is an antiques dealer. She collects erotic art, but her life is the complete opposite of steamy. When she attends a New Year's Eve party at Haven Hotel with her best friend she decides to be a little more open-minded, especially when she meets handsome, rich, charming Jared Golden and discovers the pleasure palace he has set up in the hotel. Only those who've received invitations may go and nobody will spill what goes on behind closed doors. I liked the fancy hotel and waiting to see what will happen between Annabelle and Jared, who seemed to be interesting as individuals, but things became soo boring between them. It was the same thing over and over and over with one completely weird scene in the middle that had me wondering things like 'why??' and 'what the fuck???' So much heat in their eyes, their blood, their touch, their everything! To be honest I skimmed the hell out of this book after I managed to get to the halfway mark. I caught the part where Annabelle was jealous of the piece of property Jared wanted to buy because that's the way he looks at her.. really????? Ugh.

2 Stars
Nailed - Lucia Jordan

This had an interesting premise - newly single Conrad Blunt has his secretary find an escort for him to take to the charity ball.. his sister doesn't like that idea and has her best friend done up to accompany him which he doesn't know and he doesn't remember Emma anyway. But this was boring. It was repetitious. It was like the author went through the thesaurus and used weird words to describe the anticlimactic sex scene between these two. Ugh. Thank God it was short and it was free. I won't be reading more in this series or looking for more from this author.

2 Stars
On Bone Bridge
On Bone Bridge - Maria Hoey

As a child Kay Kelly had always envied Violet-May Duff - she was pretty and she was privileged. As new friends Kay is welcomed into the grand old Duff house. She is charmed by Violet-May's younger sister, Rosemary-June. She takes a liking to Mr. Duff, is intrigued by Mrs. Duff. And she falls hopelessly in love with Violet-May's older brother, Robbie. It all seems too good to be true. And Kay finds out one September afternoon that it is, when the three young girls take baby Alexander Duff for a walk.

Kay Kelly is now in her thirties and when her path crosses with the Duff family once again, it doesn't take her long to realize something is wrong. Kay has to go through what happened that day long ago on Bone Bridge and face the terrible truth.

This started off good. It's divided into book one and book two. Book one is when Kay and Violet-May were younger and how quiet Kay Kelly is accepted into Violet-May's very different world. I found their lives interesting and I wanted to know what exactly happened on Bone Bridge. I just could not get into book two when everyone is grown up and terrible things happen and the truth finally comes out. I found it so long and filled with nothing. It was boring. By the time everything came out in the open I didn't care. And the ending felt extremely rushed.

I won a copy through LibraryThing. Thank you to Poolbeg Press for my copy.

5 Stars
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined - Danielle Younge-Ullman

When Ingrid was younger she traveled all over Europe with her opera star mother, Margot-Sophia. They were so happy. But then Margot-Sophia could no longer sing and they no longer acknowledged the past. They settled into a small, normal life but Ingrid desperately wanted their old life back. Now Ingrid is on a summer wilderness survival trek for at-risk teens. She has no idea why her mother sent her here. It's grueling and every day she feels as though she's going to break. But she has to figure out why she's here and why the music really stopped.

I don't think there's anything I disliked. Ingrid had a magical childhood. Then things went downhill and fast. I liked her very much. She was a strong person. She was self-aware. She didn't give up. She was sarcastic. I liked the setting. The wilderness survival thing was fun to read. Ingrid went through a lot - physically, emotionally, mentally. She would write letters to her mother telling her about all the fun she was not having. It goes back and forth between Ingrid's childhood and present day during her three weeks of hell. I enjoyed both story lines. I felt all the secondary characters were important, had their own personalities and made the book feel real. There was one part in the book where everything just came together for me and made me feel for Ingrid and there was absolutely no coming down from five stars after that. This was such a great read.

I won a copy through LibraryThing. Thank you to Penguin Teen for my physical copy.

5 Stars
For Better and Worse
For Better and Worse - Margot Hunt

On their first date Natalie and Will, both law students, joked that they could plan the perfect murder together. After fifteen years of marriage, one son together, and a principal who has molested that son they will find out if they were right about getting away with murder. As a defense attorney Natalie does not want her son to go through the trauma of a trial. So she decides to take care of the problem with the help of her unwilling husband.

I love the cover. At first I wasn't sure about this book because it kind of reminded me of The Murder Game by Catherine McKenzie which was excellent, so this one didn't stand a chance. I was wrong on so many levels. I couldn't get enough of this story. I had to know what was going to happen. Could they really get away with it?! It was so suspenseful! I liked Natalie. I liked how their family seemed normal - both parents loved their kid and would do anything for him, after many years of marriage Natalie and Will weren't as close as they used to be, good people making bad choices. Did I mention the suspense? Constantly worrying if today would be the day they'd be thrown in jail. So good. Margot Hunt's "Best Friends Forever" has been on my TBR list forever. I definitely won't be putting that one off any longer!

Thank you to Netgalley and HARLEQUIN - MIRA for an ARC.

3 Stars
The Date
The Date - Louise Jensen

Alison Taylor and her husband have just recently separated. Now, Saturday night, she's been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a guy from a dating site. But by Sunday morning her life is turned upside down. She has no memory of the night before and she doesn't recognize herself in the mirror. She can't recognize her friends and family. She can't recognize who is trying to ruin her life.

I read The Sister by Louise Jensen and really enjoyed it. I love the cover of this one. The writing is fun and it took no time to fly through the pages. There were some interesting aspects to the story but it was predictable. I'm bad at figuring things out, in fact I don't even try anymore, but with this book I could see things a mile away. So the book was a mix of entertaining, disappointing, and lackluster. But I'll still keep my eyes open for more from this author.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy of this book.

5 Stars
If I Die Before I Wake
If I die before I wake - Emily Koch

Alex Jackson is in a coma and his family and friends have been told he is unlikely to ever wake up. He's in a vegetative state, and that's true - he's unable to move, he can't open his eyes and look around, he can't say a word. But the doctors were wrong about two things - he can feel and he can hear what everyone's saying when they come into his hospital room. His family is debating withdrawing life support, after all it's been a year and a half since his climbing accident. His friends want the love of his life, Bea, to move on. Alex has decided to give up, until he hears that his accident may not have been an accident. As he puts the pieces together he begins to realize that he's not the only one in danger. But there's nothing he can do about it.

I really enjoyed this book and didn't know whether to give it four or five stars, so I left it for a bit. But I couldn't stop thinking about Alex Jackson. How he ended up in this situation, what he was going through day after day laying in that hospital bed listening to everyone who visited.. it just makes me sad. So five stars because the author has created a young man I'm sure I'll never forget and whose circumstances brought out a sensitive side I didn't even know I had. It's a page-turner even though it's only Alex's perspective and he never physically leaves his hospital bed. I appreciated how the author ended the book. Excellent debut, excellent read. I look forward to reading more from Emily Koch.

4 Stars
Wired - Caytlyn Brooke

Maggie Stone reluctantly goes along with her brother, Andy, and her best friend/roommate, Sarah, to the launch party of the Vertix H2. The Vertix is an innovative device that connects to your brain stem and allows you to control virtual reality with your mind. It becomes an addiction for Maggie and it's quickly ruining her life.

I could not put this book down. Although Maggie was frustrating and kind of childish at times I was so wrapped up in her life. Everyone felt real and this new Vertix could very well happen in the near future. It sounds amazing, too, to be honest. There were some cool apps. Since it's split screen, you could see the places you're looking at as they are in the present as well as how they looked in the past. Very interesting and creative. The author lost me towards the end - it was just a tiny bit too long and felt different from the rest of the book as Maggie's addiction and her life spiraled out of control, but overall I enjoyed this story of being addicted to the newest technology, social media and virtual reality. It's relatable in this day and age.

I won a copy of this book through LibraryThing. Thank you to BHC Press.

4 Stars
Sometimes I Lie
Sometimes I Lie - Alice Feeney

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber Reynolds is in a hospital. She can't speak, she can't open her eyes, she can't move. But she can hear everything that's going on around her. No one knows she can hear them. And although she doesn't remember what happened to her, she believes her husband had something to do with it.

This was so good right from page one. I loved the writing - easy to read and to imagine everything as it happened, but also a bit funny without trying. I loved all the lies, secrets and manipulation we had to sift through to get to the bottom of things. We go between the present which is Amber in her paralyzed state who can listen to the conversations in her hospital room, the week before the accident, and a series of childhood diaries from over twenty years ago. This book was very cleverly crafted. The twists and turns! I was so happy with the way the whole story came together. But that ending - ugh. The author lost me at the very end. Overall though this was a page-turner that had me wondering more than once what the hell was going on!

3 Stars
The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan
The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan - Tricia Cribbs

Sloane Sullivan has been in the Witness Security Program for the last six years. Both of her parents are dead. She's being cared for by Agent Mark and she's ready to finish high school in the new place they just arrived at after fleeing yet again. She's supposed to be Sloane Sullivan now and forever. She's supposed to blend in, not get close to anyone, let Mark know if there's anyone around from her past, and she's not supposed to tell a soul about who she really is. But things don't always go as planned.

Interesting concept. The characters were okay. We learn about how Sloane Sullivan came to be in WITSEC through flashbacks here and there. We deal with typical high school drama. There were some twists thrown in that did surprise me. But I found too many things happened conveniently for the story to end up how it did and I just couldn't get past those things to really enjoy the book overall. I also found this to be a bit too long. Not as good as I thought it would be.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for an ARC.

4 Stars
When You Find Me
When You Find Me - J. Vernon McGee

Gray Godfrey and her husband, Paul, are visiting her family's estate in South Carolina. After waking from a night of heavy drinking she finds that she's alone in bed. In fact, Paul isn't even in the house and hasn't been all night. She remembers bits and pieces of their trip to the local bar, so maybe Paul went somewhere to cool off. But when their rental car is found abandoned on the highway Gray is relieved - Paul is gone. Gray receives a call from a stranger named Annie who claims to know his whereabouts. Gray reluctantly accepts her help, but soon Annie begins to reveal secrets only Gray knows. Nobody seems to know anyone named Annie. Who is she and what does she want? Paul still hasn't been found and Gray's world is falling apart.

The blurb sounded good, but it was the cover that made me request this - it's gorgeous! The story grabbed me from the start. The writing is good and it was easy to fall into the privileged yet damaged world of Gray. She's a drinker and as the story goes on we uncover what made Gray who she is today. What a big mess - poor Gray. And poor Paul. What happened to him?! I couldn't wait to find out. At about 70% something happened that I really did not like and I couldn't get into the story again. I understand how it ties in to everything and I can appreciate it but I can't help it - I don't like when stuff like that happens. Overall though this was really good. It was compulsive, suspenseful and interesting to get into the mind of Gray.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an ARC.

3 Stars
Our Kind of Cruelty
Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel - Araminta Hall

Mike Hayes grew up being neglected by his mother. While at university he met the beautiful Verity. She taught him about love. Mike became a successful, wealthy, handsome young man. He has dedicated his life to making her happy and making sure everything is perfect so they can live in bliss. He loves Verity so much that it doesn't matter that they don't live together or see each other anymore. It doesn't matter that she doesn't return his calls or emails. It doesn't even matter that she's marrying another guy. Because this is all just part of a secret game they used to play. If he watches her close enough he'll see that she's giving him signs. He'll know when to rescue her.

I was so excited to start reading this. There were lots of things I did like about this book - Mike made me feel uncomfortable. I wanted to talk some sense into him, which wouldn't have worked anyway. The concept was great. Mike and Verity's relationship was intense. Over the years they had grown to know one another well. But what about now? Is Verity really giving him signs? Is she in on this? This book had so much potential but it ultimately left me disappointed. It was boring. It wasn't as dark as I thought it was going to be. It became tedious and repetitious. And, for me, it's also forgettable.

3 Stars
I Know My Name
I know my name - C.J. Cooke

A woman has washed up on Komméno Island in Greece. She's alone and doesn't remember anything, not even her name. Lucky for her there's a small group of people who have rescued her and will take care of her for the time being. Meanwhile, back in London, Eloïse Shelley has left her toddler and her three-month-old baby by themselves and has vanished into thin air. Her husband, Lochlan, can see that nothing has been taken from their home and his wife hasn't taken her money, passport or her car. There's no sign of foul play. So what exactly is going on? Where is his wife?

This sounded so good. I was very excited to win a copy through a contest on Twitter - thank you Harper Collins Canada! But this book turned out to be a disappointing read for me. I found it extremely boring. The author goes back and forth from Komméno Island to London and both storylines were missing that spark that made me want to rush through the pages so I can find out what happened to Eloïse. The characters fell flat. I found it hard to pick the book back up after setting it down and could only get through a few pages at a time. There was a huge convenient part towards the end that just had me like 'ugh, what are the chances of that actually happening?' However I did like the setting of Komméno Island. It's deserted now, but had once been a nice tourist attraction with shops and a big hotel and a ferry coming back and forth from the big island of Crete. I'm glad I got the chance to read this because it was a book I desperately wanted to read, I'm just sorry I couldn't give it a better review.

5 Stars
Explicit - Roxy Sloane

Jackson Ford is a bestselling novelist. He's arrogant and relentless. And he's way behind on his latest novel. His new editor, Ellie Parker, is desperate to get some of his pages to her boss before she loses her job, but Jackson is also stubborn and won't give her what she needs - at least when it comes to his novel.

I don't read a whole lot of erotica. The way the sex scenes are written usually have me rolling my eyes. But I thought this one was very well-written. There wasn't one part of this book that I did not like. Ellie was a hard worker, she was a good friend and a good daughter, she followed her heart. I loved the relationship between her and her best friends Bianca and Maggie. When Jackson wasn't being an arsehole he was a great guy! There were lots of cozy vibes - curling up by the fire, drinking tea and reading, watching the snowflakes, staying in a secluded cabin. I'm happy I read this!

4 Stars
The Masterpiece
The Masterpiece - Fiona Davis

It's 1928 and twenty-five-year-old Clara Darden is teaching at the Grand Central School of Art. But it's not without its challenges as most people don't want to be taught by a woman. But Clara is fierce and determined and she isn't afraid to work hard for what she wants. Unfortunately Clara and her friends have no idea of what's to come with the Great Depression. Having no job, no money and no food won't be the worst things for Clara.

Now, in 1974, Grand Central terminal is run down. It's dirty and dangerous, and it's at the center of a lawsuit - is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved or is it to be demolished? Virginia Clay is a recently divorced mother whose last resort is to take a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her daughter Ruby. Taking a wrong turn, Virginia stumbles upon an old abandoned art school within the terminal. She finds a watercolour hidden under the dust which sets her on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece. This not only draws her into the mystery of Clara Darden, who disappeared into thin air in 1931, but it also draws her into the fight to save Grand Central.

Fiona Davis has the amazing ability to transport the reader back in time as well as bring New York City landmarks to life. If you've enjoyed her other books then this one will be no different. If you've never read any of her books - what are you waiting for?! I could feel Clara's frustration at being treated differently because she's a woman. I could feel the desperation and worry as the Great Depression settled in. I loved Clara's story and I did eventually grow to love Levon Zakarian. There's something about that era, being taken back and seeing the beauty of the Grand Central terminal. But Virginia's story was good as well. I liked that she and her daughter were close and could get strength and support from one another and I liked seeing Virginia grow into someone who can be comfortable in her own skin. And that cover - gorgeous!

Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton for an ARC.

4 Stars
She Was the Quiet One
She Was the Quiet One - Michele Campbell

Twin sisters Rose and Bel Enright couldn't be more different. Rose is serious about her education, she's quiet and isn't as pretty as her sister. Bel is a wild child who runs with a bad crowd at their new school. The Odell School is a prestigious New Hampshire boarding school. This was their chance to start anew after leaving California but nothing's gotten better between the sisters. In fact, things have gotten much worse. Especially when one of them is accused of murdering the other.

Sarah Donovan is the wife of a handsome, charismatic, ambitious teacher who is determined to rise through the ranks. She's trying her best to be happy and supportive but she knows her husband well enough to notice the warning signs. Doesn't she? But surely he's not involved in the murder of a student. Right?

I was sucked in from page one. I love stories about boarding schools with all their drama and secrets and coverups. Which twin was killed?! And why? Does it have anything to do with a certain handsome teacher? Could one twin murder the other? Could another student have done it? There were a few different possibilities that kept me guessing. I found part one very compelling and suspenseful. I was so absorbed in the story that I felt like I was there. But once I got into part two my interest started to wane. I found it repetitious, it dragged on and on. Some things were convenient. And I didn't really care for the ending. Overall though I did enjoy this book.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the invite to read this ARC through Netgalley.