General Fiction (Adult), Science Fiction

If, Then by Kate Hope Day

If, ThenIf, Then by Kate Hope Day

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Expected publication: March 12th!

Congrats to Kate Hope Day on a successful first novel. I simply adored the concept as well as the telling of If, Then.

Do you ever think about how your life would have turned out if you made a different decision somewhere along the way? This book challenges the reader to stretch their imagination and consider their own alternate realities while experiencing the journeys of several characters in a sleepy mountain town. Each of the various characters in this book have a story to tell and each of them struggles with inner demons. But, when they begin experiencing some paranormal activity in the form of what they think are hallucinations, they wonder if they’re catching a glimpse into what could have been or if they’re just going crazy.

I really enjoyed this entire book from start to finish. It is relatively short so makes for a quick read. And I felt that the characters were all distinct and relatable. It was easy to envision each person trekking their way through life, overcoming their daily struggles, discovering themselves. And the way each of their stories interconnected was done wonderfully.

I would characterize this more as a “slow burn” as it wasn’t terribly fast moving. But while it was on the slower side in terms of movement, I never found myself bored. Kate Hope Day was able to strike a good balance.

Overall, this was a very solid novel with some interesting philosophical content. I would recommend to anybody who tends to like books that make you think on a deeper level.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Kate Hope Day, and Random House Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Thriller

No Exit by Taylor Adams

No ExitNo Exit by Taylor Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy wow! Bravo, Taylor Adams! Bravo!

Don’t mind me as I stand up in my living room and give you a standing ovation. Because this book was incredible!

Looking for an action packed, pulse-pounding, un-put-downable thriller? This is it. Caution: give yourself some reading time because once you start, you will not want to stop.

A young girl finds herself stranded with several strangers at a secluded rest area off the highway during a blizzard. When they discover that snow plows won’t get to them until the following morning, they realize they’re all in for a long night. Little do they know how long it will be. Something or somebody is up to no good, and they will find themselves in a heart racing game of cat and mouse.

There literally could not have been one more twist thrown into this book. I swear Taylor Adams somehow managed to throw everything and the kitchen sink at this book while somehow not overdoing it. Several times while reading it I had to remind myself to breathe.

I would love to see this book made into a movie (and the rights were bought by 20th Century Fox so here’s hoping). I think it would translate extremely well to the big screen. I can say with confidence that No Exit will be in my Top 19 books of 2019 at the end of the year. Just fantastic!

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Author Q&A

Author Q&A With Laura Trentham (Author of The Military Wife)

Have you read my review for The Military Wife yet?  If you have, you know that I thought it was superb!  And look who dropped by to chat with us about it!  I had a chance to interview author Laura Trentham about her experience writing The Military Wife.  Check it out below!

Trentham                             39863232

AH: Do you have any personal ties to the military?  Did any of your personal relationships inspire characters in the book?

LT: My best friend from college is a military wife. She has a degree in chemical engineering (like me), but was never able to find a job in that area because of where they lived and how often they moved. I also visited her on different bases around the country, so I got a feel for how they lived. Of course, this was all years and years before this book was even a kernel in my imagination! But I can go to her with questions about how things work on bases with the wives (and husbands.)

AH: How was your experience writing your first women’s fiction novel?  How did it differ from writing a romance novel?

LT: I loved writing The Military Wife and the follow up, An Everyday Hero. I tend to explore family/friend ties in my romances as well, so it was really a matter of strengthening those story lines and making sure they converged. Honestly, the biggest difference is that my romances are fairly hot in the bedroom, and I closed the door on any intimate scenes in the WF books.

AH: How long did it take you to write The Military Wife?

LT: It took around three and a half months. That’s pretty standard for a full-length book for me working “full-time” which is really just when my kids are at school.

AH: What was the easiest part of the book to write?  What was the most challenging?

LT: The hardest part to write was Darren and Allison’s story revolving around PTSD. That is something I don’t have direct experience with and I wanted to make sure I took care to present it with a raw honesty that rang true. The easiest part (although the most emotional for me to write) was the chapter where Harper gives birth to Ben. I could draw on personal experience, being a mother myself and dealing with post-partum emotions.

AH: How do you celebrate finishing a novel?

LT: I order take-out for the family and get ready to dive straight into the next book! I don’t like to take time off between projects, because I have more books outlined to write than I have time!

AH: Who is your favorite author to read and why?

LT: I have the classic gothic romances on my keeper shelves, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Jane Aiken Hodge. It might be surprising to learn that I don’t like to read in the genre I write in because I’m either too critical and can’t get immersed in the story or I’m afraid I’m going to subconsciously pick up another author’s plot or turn of phrase. So, I’ve been reading lots of historical mysteries from CS Harris and Deanna Raybourn and fantasy romances from Sarah Maas and Katherine Arden.

AH: What should readers expect from the next A Heart of a Hero novel?

LT: The next book, An Everyday Hero (the title was picked yesterday so you’re the first to hear it!) is not connected to The Military Wife. It’s a standalone novel set in Tennessee about a failed country musician who has returned home broke and heartbroken and is thrown together with an old classmate who has lost a leg in combat and hasn’t decided whether he wants to rejoin the world or not. It’s a little sassier and funnier, but still has a lot of heart.

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A big thank you to Laura Trentham for chatting with me and to publisher St. Martin’s Press as always for being so fantastic to work with!  Pick up The Military Wife here now and experience this incredible story for yourself!

Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Watching YouWatching You by Lisa Jewell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while. Lisa Jewell, I guess you could say I’ve been “watching you.”

Watching You has a lot of different stories about a lot of different things that all somehow fit together wonderfully like getting that last jigsaw puzzle piece into place. Joey has a crush on the local school’s headmaster, Tom. Tom has a history with young girls. Young girl Jenna has a mother who is a little crazy. Her crazy mother creepily watches Tom’s young son Freddie. Freddie has his own issues. And one thing is for certain… everybody is kind of watching everybody in this twisted and exciting thriller.

What I loved about this book was the complexity it brought without going too over the top. Sometimes when authors add layers of complexity, it just makes the book more confusing for the reader, but I didn’t find that to be the case here. I also very much enjoyed the characters and how well differentiated they were. I was never confused about which character was doing what and felt like I had a good understanding of each of their personalities and motivations. I also thought there were some good twists and shocks throughout the book which I appreciated. And finally, I enjoyed the police transcript that was interspersed throughout the chapters. It added a good “crime drama” element that wouldn’t have otherwise been there and added to the mystery.

What didn’t I like? Honestly, nothing. The only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it didn’t knock my socks off. It was a perfectly good thriller but nothing I haven’t read before. At the end of the year, I don’t know that it will stick out as being one of the top books I read, but it was still a really great book for you thriller lovers out there.

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult), Romance

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay so I’m having a super hard time rating this book because the writing was actually really, really good. But, the content was just not for me. So let’s just say, I would give the writing itself 4 stars but the content only 3 stars.

So let’s start by talking about the cover. Look at it. It’s sweet isn’t it? A nice quirky font choice. A play on mathematics with the illustration. A cute little couple kissing. Looks like a cute, quaint love story. Like even maybe suitable for young adults, right? WRONG! I felt like I was listening to soft core porn. I would classify this more as erotica than romance which is definitely not my typical choice of genre.

I would call this book a combination of Fifty Shades of Grey (sans the S&M) mixed with Pretty Woman mixed with Crazy Rich Asians. Stella has Asperger’s. She’s a genius but she struggles socially. So what does she do? Obviously she hires a hot escort to teach her how to date and how to have lots of amazing S-E-X. Cue the erotica.

While this isn’t my typical genre, I did really enjoy Helen Hoang’s writing. It was light, airy, and charming with a naughty side. Had it been all light and airy, I would have loved it. The naughty side was outside of my comfort zone. Call me a prude! But, overall it was a nice chick lit book that I think a lot of women would really enjoy. It’s definitely a good summer book to put on your list for poolside reading.

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