The Marriage Pact

the marriage pact

I received this ARC courtesy of Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they get married and live happily ever after.  That’s the dream, eh?  Jake is a therapist and Alice is his rocker turned corporate lawyer wife.  They have it all, a house in San Francisco, thriving careers and true love.  Enter “The Pact”.  Introduced to them by a rockstar client of Alice’s, it seems like a great program for maintaining the loving and healthy marriage they have as newlyweds.

With The Pact, the best policy is to always do the thing that will attract the least amount of attention.

Cookie cutter people in cookie cutter marriages with zero marital strife.  Sound to good to be true?  It is.

You hold things together every second of every day, then one time, just for an instant, one person loses concentration, lets go of the thread, and the whole thing unravels.

 Their marriage is no longer two people, it’s part of a machine.  A strange, omniscient machine.  As they struggle to fit in, they only stand out more.  After all, when your marriage is governed by a set of laws you don’t fully understand, you’re bound to be punished.

Each one of us becomes so used to the person we think we are.  In our minds, we carry a vision of ourselves, naïvely certain of our own moral boundaries, what we would and would not do.

The walls have eyes, the streets ears.  Will they escape with their marriage in tact?  Their lives?

Four stars.

Expected Publication Date: July 25, 2017

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Grief Cottage

grief

I received this ARC from Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA in exchange for an honest review.

Eleven year old Marcus has lost his mother, the only family he has ever known.  Sent off to live with a great-aunt he’s never met on a small South Carolina island, to say he’s undergone some changes is an understatement.  His aunt moved there to escape a past she doesn’t discuss and a family she scarcely mentions.  She is an artist, specializing in island scenery and it has provided for her for a number of years.  One of her most famous subjects is “Grief Cottage” a cottage that hosted tragedy 50 years before.  Since then it’s been the subject of gossip and speculation and Marcus feels drawn there.  While trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, he finds a sort of life amongst the sand.

For me it was a time of flat days and anxious thoughts.  The sun rose later and set earlier.  It was as if the summer knew that its best days were gone and was giving in without a fight.

Godwin’s masterful writing made up for any slow periods in the novel, I could always find a sentence or phrase that spoke to me.  As Marcus struggles to process his loss and comprehend a grief he’s never known, his internal monologue bares all.

She said maybe it had been selfish to bring me into the world when she had so little to offer, but nevertheless she had wanted me more than anything in her whole life.  She said I was her great prize.

Though his mom is gone when the story begins, I felt as if she could have been any other the mothers I’ve ever known.  His sorrow is palpable, I just wanted to reach through the pages and hug him.

Well, you did die.  I waited for you to come back and you didn’t.  Whereas I’m still here, coming loose from my moorings, getting ready to fly apart.

Slow-moving and atmospheric, journey with Marcus as he processes what his life has become and solves a mystery or two at the same time.  Pick it up for the plot, finish it for the writing.

Sit Tibi Terra Levis-May the earth lie lightly upon thee.

4 stars.

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

 

 

 

Take It To The Grave (Part I)

 

 

takethis

I received this ARC from Harlequin and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sarah has the perfect life.  Perfect husband.  Adorable baby.  House in the Hamptons.  A life she doesn’t think she deserves, a real upgrade.

Her sister Maisy is a nurse abroad, moving from developing country to developing country and never putting down roots.

The two haven’t spoken in years, but they both continue to think back to a singular event.

The unifying feature in this first part of a serial is that neither of them trust anyone and they both appear to have a great deal to hide.

I know your secret Sarah.

I’m going to tell.

This was a quick 20 minute read but as far as I can tell, the other chapters will be interesting.  Consider my interest piqued.

4 stars.

Publication Date: June 1, 2017

One Taste of Angel-Release Date!

Once again, I’m honored to participate in a Book Blitz for a St. Martin’s Press release.  Expect a review in the next day or two, but until then check this out!

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Their love was the stuff of Shakespeare – two star-crossed lovers from rival MC’s

divided by their families’ bloody history, but fate has given Eagle and Serafina a

second chance. Can the biker and the stripper find their redemption in Violetta

Rand’s sexy standalone romance, One Taste of Angel?

Eagle 

I’ve bled for my club. Taken four bullets. Buried eight brothers in six years. Screwed

a hundred women. And only loved one. The one I lost. But there’s something about

Serafina that reminds me of just exactly what was taken from me. Not just because I

can’t resist a damsel in distress.

Serafina

To Eagle, I’m dead. Murdered and cremated, my ashes interred at the local cemetery.

Part of a past I left long ago to save his life. Seeing him now, touching him again

makes me weak, even if he doesn’t recognize the woman I’ve become. Since my

escape from Holly Beach five years ago, I’ve lived by my own rules. And no matter

how much I love Eagle, he’s not going to break those rules.

“Riveting, gritty cast of characters! I was captivated by this intimate glimpse into the

volatile MC world. Violetta Rand’s ability to portray the essence of true love is

enjoyable. Great read!”

-USA Today Bestselling Author D.L. Roan

 

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Buy It Here!

The Chiron Confession

 

IMG_8679I received this ARC from Netgalley and Atlantis Ink in exchange for an honest review.

In the aftermath of Jesus’ execution a sect called Dominium Dei (Rule of God) has arisen to fill in the void left behind in the first church.  Lead by the mysterious Chiron, the order is dedicated to establishing Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire.  The problem is, Rome already has a religion, Cesar.  He has declared himself Lord and God of the empire and there is no room for any other gods.

Athanasius is a playwright, known to be an atheist, who pushes the envelope of what is acceptable in society.  He somehow finds himself accused of being Chiron and is launched smack dab into the middle of one of the greatest conspiracies of his age.

I’m innocent.  I’m not that villain Chiron.  I’ve never killed a man, or torched a public building, or committed any crime of any kind!

I found our unwitting protagonist to be well-written and his internal dialogue one of the best parts of the novel.  Who is trying to kill him? Cesar? Dei? Is there a difference?

No wonder old John’s Book of Revelation had Jesus standing outside the Church, knocking on its door.  The Church was probably the last place on earth anybody would find Him.

This was a fast-paced, page turner that I finished in about a day.  I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy.

Four Stars.

Buy It Here

Expected Publication: May 16, 2017

The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate

The-Magnificent-Flying-Baron-Estate-Cover.jpgI received this ARC from Netgalley and Amberjack Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This is a middle-grade book intended for kids 9-12, but when I saw the cute cover and description I couldn’t resist.  This is an old western meets a bedtime story.  1891,  Waldo ‘W.B.’ Baron is living with his cooky mad-scientists parents in the Arizona territory.  He’s more interested in reading western gunslinger novels than science but when his parents turn their house into a flying ship for a contest, his life changes a bit!

But on that very morning, when I looked out my bedroom window, I did not see the quiet desert or the hills that lead to Pitchfork.  In fact, I saw nothing but blue.  Blue and more blue, surrounding a lot of bluish blue with bluey blueness…the Baron Estate was floating in the sky like a hot air balloon.

With his weird Aunt Dorca, a friend named Shorty and a strange woman on a bicycle the plot goes from strange to stranger!  This is a story about adventure, family and acceptance.  Although I don’t think the writing was much to write home about, the plot was quirky and I could see the appeal to the demographic.

And, well… I wanted you to know that just because your family doesn’t understand and appreciate you, that doesn’t mean that nobody will ever understand and appreciate you. You might not have found where you belong yet, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t belong somewhere.

I would definitely buy this for my seven year old niece, it would be a whimsical read-along story, for sure.  The corny jokes and the strange plot holes wouldn’t bother her a bit.

Sometimes life is even better than a strange dream.

Three stars.

Expected Publication Date: May 16, 2017

The Nightwalker

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This wasn’t an ARC.  For once this was a random library website find that sounded interesting enough for me to read for fun!

I’ve had a fascination with sleepwalking ever since I was first prescribed Ambien for insomnia when I lived in Korea, right after university.  I wasn’t sleeping and it caused a host of other problems.  As I read about the side effects online I was most terrified of the idea of sleepwalking and living a second life I was unaware of, so to speak.

It’s happening again.

This is where we find Leon.  As a child he suffered a loss and develops a problem with sleepwalking.  He remembers nothing when he awakes but it’s a big enough problem that those around him feel afraid.  Eventually with the help of a therapist he is cured, or is he?  Fast forward to his late 20s and he thinks he’s doing it again.  This time his wife is missing and he’s convinced that he did something to facilitate her absence, in his sleep state.

As he continues to lose sleep, hours of his life, and potentially his hold on reality, Leon races to discover the truth. With a camera strapped to his head, a therapist on the line and his childhood friend in play, it will all be resolved, right?

This was a fast-paced page turner, a true thriller.  Once I got beyond the general introductions and got to the heart of the tale I was hooked.  I was just as concerned, horrified and determined as Leon.  I particularly enjoyed some of the flashbacks to previous points in his life as they served to help better understand his character.  I will definitely read some more of Fitzek’s work whenever I’m in the mood for suspense.  This sort of book would be excellent for breaking up the drudgery that is a long trip.

Somewhere in the world.

In a town you know.

Maybe even in your neighbourhood.

4 stars.

**This was translated from German and the movie rights have already been optioned.

Release Date: February 7, 2017 (USA)