Posted in Book Review

The Stranger Inside – Laura Benedict

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You come home to find your key no longer works in your front door and a stranger claims that your house is now theirs. What would you do?

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Kimber has just returned from a long weekend at Lake of the Ozarks to find out that she can’t get into her house because the locks have been changed. There’s a man living in her house!

Frantic, she calls the police. According to Lance, the new occupant, he’s been living there for 6 months after Kimber gave a lease because she was moving in with her boyfriend. She also said to take care of the yard until she decided whether to sell the house or keep it. He presents documents with Kimber’s signature.

How did he get Kimber’s signature on the papers if she was away the whole time?

To which Lance replies that he found the property on a rental website the previous week and rented the house unseen. Her nosey neighbor, Jenny even claims to have seen Kimber hand the stranger a set of keys and documents.

But Kimber insists that there must be a huge mistake; the whole thing is some kind of weird misunderstanding. Besides she has no boyfriend.

While trying to force the intruder out of her home he whispers in her ear, and out of earshot of the police.

“I was there. I know what you did.”

Kimber is shocked. She has no idea what this stranger is on about. Or does she?

As the story progresses, the reader learns that Kimber witnessed a crime twenty-five years ago, which she may be partly responsible for. Someone has discovered the truth and is threatening to expose her. Who is the stranger in her house? Is he someone from her past? And what does he want from her?

The Stranger Inside is a gripping, psychological thriller with enough suspense to keep any reader turning the pages. I would definitely recommend this one.

  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books ( 5 February 2019)

Available on Amazon

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Posted in Book Review

Wildflower Park – (Part 2): A Budding Romance – Bella Osborne

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Wildflower Park: A Budding Romance is the 2nd book in the Wildflower Park series.

In Part 1 we were introduced to the main characters Anna and Sophie, and the mysterious Hudson. They went on a trip for a team building event. During a lighthearted game (organized by the team) Anna suddenly stormed out of the room in tears when someone asked her a question. Wildflower Park—Part Two follows the events that took place afterwards.
You can read the full review here.

I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed Part 1. In Part 2, Anna and Hudson seem to be getting along alright—is romance budding between these two? And Liam, is he being honest about his feelings towards Anna or does he have an agenda? We finally meet Anna’s mystery texter—they’ve even gone on a date. I sympathized with Sophie—she is definitely at the end of her rope. Will her husband, Dave finally step up? And Sophie’s surprise announcement—will she change her mind? Looking forward to Part 3 and I definitely recommend.

  • Publisher: Avon Books UK (4 February 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

The Social Affair – Britney King

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The story follows Izzie Lewis who works at a coffee shop. She is dissatisfied with her mundane life and is forever following people on social media, in an attempt to emulate their lifestyle. She’s even considered quitting her job.

And then one day, a seemingly perfect couple walks into the coffee shop where Izzie works and she is instantly drawn to them. Watching them together and observing how the man fawns over his female companion gives Izzie a glimmer of hope. She wonders what it’d be like being married to the man and she longs for what they have. Following their brief encounter, she decides to seek them out on the internet.

From Izzie’s viewpoint, Josie is happy, abundant, and living her best life. She’s married to a perfect man. Izzie starts stalking the couple in an effort to live vicariously through Josie. What starts as an innocuous past time escalates to something far worse than stalking. Suddenly, Josie becomes the object of her obsession.

“No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.”

Josie appears to live a charmed life. She’s married to Grant, a renowned plastic surgeon, who also happens to be good looking. They have a beautiful teenage daughter, Avery, and a gorgeous home in the best part of town.

But all is not as perfect as it seems. Beneath this facade, she feels suffocated in her marriage and is desperately seeking a way out. But her husband, who is quite controlling and manipulative, is always thwarting her plans.

Who is Izzie and how did she wheedle her way into their lives?

The Social Affair is an utterly gripping page-turner about the dark secrets that lie behind closed doors. This is my second book by the author and I look forward to reading more from her. 

Favorite quotes:

“She doesn’t walk back out into the great big world, she glides, taking all of the air in the room with her when she goes.”

“No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.”

  • Pages: 289
  • Published: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (18 January 2018)
Posted in Book Review

Wildflower Park (Part 1): Build Me Up, Buttercup – Bella Osborne

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Wildflower Park tells the story of two friends Anna and Sophie. Anna has just been dumped by her fiance and is looking for a fresh start. She moves to a charming neighbourhood close to Wildflower Park, where her friend and colleague, Sophie lives.

Sophie is a married mom of two with a third baby on the way. Her kids are a constant source of stress—her husband, Dave is no help either and always irritates her. His nonchalant attitude makes her question if she really married the right man.

Enter Hudson, a charming, mysterious American and a new colleague who has been assigned to work with Anna on a project. Sophie thinks she has a huge crush on him. Or maybe it’s just her raging hormones. Anna disagrees with his ideas and they don’t get along. She can’t help rolling her eyes whenever Sophie brings him up in their conversation.

Their boss, Roberta assigns Anna and Hudson the task of organizing a morale-boosting event for the staff to motivate them and strengthen their bond as a team. Shortly after the team arrive at the rustic farmhouse Anna arranged for their stay, Roberta shows up with a stranger. She introduces this newcomer to the team as a consultant will be working with them for the next three months. Anna is furious when she finds out this person is. Her anger is somewhat tempered by the fact that Hudson shares Anna sentiments and this somewhat clears the tension between them which they had when they first met.

But then there’s a cliffhanger—we are left with questions we hope will be answered in part two of this book. Not to mention her mystery texter who ends his messages with a C.

Wildflower Park is a fun read which I enjoyed immensely. I like the author’s writing style. The characters are realistic and believable. I liked the camaraderie between Anna and Sophie and I found the office drama and dialogues between the coworkers entertaining. I could easily picture myself in the office setting and the park. This is my first book by the author and I can’t wait to read the next instalment. Highly recommend!

  • Publisher: Avon Books UK (28 December 2018)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Christmas With You – Heidi McLaughlin, L.P. Dover, Cindi Madsen, R.J. Prescott, Amy Briggs

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Christmas With You is a beautiful collection of five romance stories taking place during the Christmas season in the sleepy town of Friendship, Massachusetts. The stories happen within the same time frame and feature a homeless man named Gabe, who appears in the lives of the main characters at the most opportune time to help them find each other or to rediscover the Christmas magic in their hearts. These feel-good romantic stories are filled with Christmas magic and are guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Snowflake Lane Inn – tells the story of a fashion designer who decides to move to Friendship following a setback in her fashion line. She comes to Friendship for some peace and quiet and in hopes of finding inspiration. Instead, she meets, Colin, the owner of Snowflake Lane Inn and finds Christmas magic and so much more. But what happens when it is time for her to leave?

Runaway Christmas Bride – Regina has escaped to Friendship for Christmas after getting dumped at the altar. En route, she meets Emmett, the town’s sheriff and after a few drinks, she ends up staying at his sister’s. With the countdown to Christmas on, will the sheriff finally listen to his heart and admit he can’t live without Regina? With a little nudge from Gabe, the two realize they are meant for each other and together they find their Christmas magic.

Christmas Lights – Following the death of her parents, Samantha is having a hard time finding joy during the Christmas season. She meets Jason, a single father who is determined to bring some fill her with the joy of the Christmas season. 

Christmas Encounter – Lauren never had a great childhood and she never intended in following in her con-man father’s footsteps. After her encounter with Jensen, a Formula 1 driver, will she make him her next target or will Jensen help her find her Christmas spirit and become a better version of herself?

It’s a Wonderful Holiday – Rory, an investment banker, and his wife, Gwen used to have a happy marriage but now he seems more distant from his wife. With a job, which too often demanded him to put his work first, he has neglected his wife and daughter’s needs and his job takes priority over his family. Will he realize his family must come first before his work and rearrange his priorities before it is too late?

Quote:
“There is no love without forgiveness, and there’s no forgiveness without love.”

  • Pages: 335
  • Publisher: Forever Books (20 November 2018)
Posted in Book Review

Steamed Open – Barbara Ross

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In this 7th book in the A Maine Clambake Mystery series, a man is found murdered in his newly inherited mansion. This book can be read as a standalone.

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It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine and the tourist season is in full swing. Julia Snowden is running their family business, Snowden Family Clambake alongside her sister, her mother and her boyfriend. They provide great dining experiences and organize tours of Busman’s Harbor for tourists who are looking forward to spending their time sightseeing and enjoying the Snowden Family clam dishes.

Bartholomew Frick has inherited a mansion from his great-aunt, Lou, who recently passed. He has also inherited a lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper’s cottage. The mansion overlooks Sea Glass Beach where clammers go to clam for steamers and where beach lovers go to sunbathe. Shortly after his great aunt’s funeral, Frick puts up a chain link gate over his newly acquired property cutting off public access to the beach and the lighthouse. Clammers and lighthouse lovers are incensed by Frick’s actions.

Julia’s Snowden Family Clambake business has been affected since the clammers are unable to supply clams for their clambake meals. Moreover, Frick’s decision will affect clammers who rely solely on supplying clams to provide for their families. The locals have even gone so far as to file an injunction against Frick.

Julia pays Frick a visit and tries, unsuccessfully, to persuade him to change his mind about allowing clammers on the beach.

Following her encounter with Frick, Julia gets a surprise visit from the police. According to them, Frick was found dead that morning in his mansion, stabbed in the neck with a clam rake. They also learned from a witness that Julia was at his house around the same time he was murdered.

Who would have been angry enough to kill Frick? Could it be one of the locals or Ida Fischer, Lou’s housekeeper who was suddenly dismissed from service by the new owner of the mansion? As the cops interview suspects, Julia does a little bit digging of her own to find the killer and restore calm to Busman Harbor once again. Moreover, she is more concerned as to who stands to inherit the mansion with Frick dead.

I absolutely enjoyed this book and I was immediately hooked from the first page. The storyline was easy to follow and kept me guessing until the very end. The characters are likeable and relatable. Overall I found this book engaging and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a cozy mystery read.
This book includes mouthwatering clam recipes to sate the appetite of any reader.

  • Pages: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Books (18 December 2018)
Posted in Book Review

‘Tis the Season to be Single – Laura Ziepe

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This feel-good Christmas story is about three friends who make a pact to remain single until New Year, following disappointments in their relationships.

Rachael has just received a phone call from her boyfriend of three years. He says they need to talk. She wonders what could be so important that her boyfriend would choose to speak to her about it in person. Her friend, Grace tries to assuage her concerns—she thinks he wants to propose to Rachael.
When they finally meet, he tells her he is breaking up with her. Her world is suddenly turned upside down. To make matters worse she discovers her ex-boyfriend has been cheating on her with someone very close to her.

Grace and her husband, Simon, have tried unsuccessfully, to have a child. Lately, her marriage has gone stale: her husband treats her like a doormat. He doesn’t treat her the way he used to when they first met. Whereas he used to be spontaneous and adventurous, now he’s become complacent, not putting any effort and expecting Grace to do all the work. After trying to get her husband to talk about their marriage without success, she decides to take a break from her marriage.

Amber has just returned from her three-week vacation in Thailand and back to work to find her friends, Rachael and Grace, looking gloomy. She isn’t bothered about getting married and couldn’t care less about having children either. Until her best friend, Jack announces to Amber that he’s getting married. Why does this news bother her since they have been nothing more than friends? Or have they?
With Christmas fast approaching, the girls make a pact to remain single until New Year. But can they follow through with it?

‘Tis the Season to be Single is a fresh mix of romance, friendship, love, and family. I really enjoyed this book—it is a light and fun read for the holiday season. The characters are interesting and relatable. I liked how Simon fought to save his marriage when he realized he was going to lose Grace if he didn’t put any effort. Overall an entertaining read and I will read more books from this author.

  • Publisher: HQ Digital (3 October 2018)
Posted in Book Review

In the Far Pashmina Mountains – Janet MacLeod Trotter

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In the Far Pashmina Mountains is a captivating story that grabbed my attention from the first page. I loved the evocative descriptions of the setting, and I thought the author captured the time period perfectly. Janet has clearly done a great amount of research in writing this book and her work shines through in this well-written historical fiction.

This is my first book by the author and I look forward to reading more from her. I highly recommend to lovers of historical fiction.

  • Pages: 544
  • Publisher: Montlake Romance (1 October 2018)

Posted in Book Review

Legal – Bree Dahlia

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Legal is the 1st book in the “Legal” series, featuring Jillian and Chase in this hot steamy romance. This book can be read as a standalone. 

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This was an enjoyable read, somewhat different from what we’ve come to expect from typical romance books. She’s 38, he’s 23. Not to mention he’s hot and irresistible. I couldn’t get over his charm, sex appeal and the way he made Jillian feel so beautiful and loved even when she felt otherwise.

The characters were relatable and I enjoyed the white-hot chemistry between Chase and Jillian. I’m glad she didn’t let her insecurities ruin what she had with Chase. The other characters Perry and Stephen were fun as well. I hope to read more about them in the sequel.

The story flowed beautifully. My only niggle was Jillian’s constant self-criticism which somehow detracted from the beautiful storyline I came to enjoy. As for Chase, we can all agree he’s one fine hot specimen. Probably hotter than the fajita sauce he made for Jillian. Suffice it to say I enjoyed this book immensely! I will definitely be reading other books from this author.
Hot, hot, jalapeño hot! Highly recommend!

  • Pages: 340
  • Published: 20 July 2016
Posted in Book Review

The Storyteller’s Secret – Sejal Badani

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The Storyteller’s Secret is a captivating story that grabbed my attention from the first page. The characters are well developed and interesting, and I could easily sympathize with them. I loved the evocative descriptions of the setting in this book, and I was easily transported to India. Highly recommend.

  • Pages: 412
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing ( 1 September 2018)