Historical Fiction, Romance

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

The Last Train to Key WestThe Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out June 16th!

I fell in love with Chanel Cleeton after reading her books Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba. They both oozed Cuban culture and history. And although I wouldn’t technically classify them as a series, some of the characters translate from one book to the next. So I was ecstatic when I heard that Cleeton had a new book coming out titled The Last Train to Key West.

Told from the perspective of three strong female leads, The Last Train to Key West tells the story of each woman’s will to survive. Set during a hurricane in the Florida Keys in the 1930’s, they each are in search of something. Escape. Family. Love. Independence. And when their paths cross, their lives will be changed forever.

I always adore Cleeton’s writing and this novel was no exception. I always feel like I’m watching a movie in my head when I read her work. I can see everything so vividly. The story was captivating and I could not wait to see what happened next.

One thing that surprised me was the lack of Cuban history present in this story. The other two books were so rich in Cuban culture, I was expecting more of the same. While there is quick mention of Cuban government in Mirta’s story, the remainder of the book is lacking mention of Cuba. Instead, Cleeton swerved, focusing on the history of the Florida Keys post-Great Depression and WWI. It was equally intriguing but I just want to level set for anybody who has read her previous work and may be expecting another Cuban experience.

Overall, this was another strong novel by Chanel Cleeton. I think I prefer the first two books if I had to compare, but this is still a solid 5 star read.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Chanel Cleeton, and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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General Fiction (Adult)

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

The DilemmaThe Dilemma by B.A. Paris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out June 30th!

First off, let me just say that this book was totally not what I was expecting. I have read everything that B.A. Paris has written and the gal can write a thriller! So when I had an opportunity to read her latest book, I was expecting something in the same vein. The Dilemma deviates from her usual style, written as more of a domestic drama than a thriller.

This story is about the secrets that husbands and wives keep from each other, the dynamic of their marriage, the relationship they have with their children and friends and family, and how they all intertwine.

Typically anything B.A. Paris writes is a page turner for me. And this book was no exception. However, I was waiting for some sort of twist or surprise as the story evolved, and there wasn’t really that moment. To be honest, the ending was a tad underwhelming if you go into the book expecting her typical thriller-like writing. But, if you go into the book expecting a domestic drama, it’s excellent.

I would recommend giving it a try as long as you have the right expectations up front.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, B.A. Paris, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

The Familiar DarkThe Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out March 31st!

I honestly wasn’t looking for this book, but it kind of fell in my lap thanks to the publisher!

What would you do if your young daughter and her friend were found murdered in a local park while walking home? The Familiar Dark explores one mother’s response to this unthinkable act.

Amy Engel’s development of the main character was nothing short of masterful. I felt like I was walking in the mother’s shoes as she takes matters into her own hands to investigate this crime against her daughter. There were so many different layers to her personality, her relationships, and the story in general that made it very enjoyable.

While there is a twist at the end, the conclusion didn’t really sit well with me. I had a difficult time believing the outcome, but I understand why the author went the direction she did.

Overall, this was a good murder mystery with wonderful character development (which is always something I look for).

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Amy Engel, and Penguin Group Dutton for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Thriller

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

You Are Not AloneYou Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Out today!

I fell in love with this author duo when I read The Wife Between Us. It absolutely blew my mind with its various twists and turns that I did not see coming. So when I had an opportunity to read their latest novel, You Are Not Alone, I jumped at the chance.

Plot: Woman witnesses another woman jump to her death in front of a subway train. She then proceeds to obsess over the suicide and why the deceased woman made the decision to jump. Along the way she befriends some folks that knew the dead girl and a bunch of weird events ensue.

This book was an extremely quick read, the writing definitely lending itself to a page turner. However, that’s kind of where the enjoyment ended for me. The “believability factor” for this story was really low. I could not imagine a person making such absurdly stupid decisions in real life so had a hard time believing the actions of both the main character and the various ancillary characters. I also didn’t care for the multiple backstories of the ancillary characters; I didn’t think they contributed much to the primary story line. And I had a really hard time differentiating between many of the ancillary characters. With the exception of a couple of them, they all kind of ran together for me.

All of that being said, it wasn’t an awful book. It just wasn’t my favorite, especially given the high standards I’ve set for this author duo given their previous works.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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General Fiction (Adult), Romance

An Everyday Hero by Laura Trentham

An Everyday Hero (A Heart of a Hero #2)An Everyday Hero by Laura Trentham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last year I read Laura Trentham’s first “A Heart of a Hero” novel called The Military Wife and absolutely loved it! She also did an author Q&A with me on my blog where she announced the name of the second book in the series An Everyday Hero. I was super excited to be the first one to learn the title of this book.

And I was super excited to read it!

An Everyday Hero is a story about broken people and broken families coming together and building each other up. It tells of the struggles that wounded warriors face after returning from combat, challenges that military families face, and ways in which those individuals cope and manage through pretty tough times.

And there’s also a love story. Because there HAS to be a love story!

There was a pretty shocking twist at the end that I was not expecting and did not see coming. It made the story that much sweeter and pulled the characters together for me.

I was really impressed by Laura Trentham’s second book in this series and cannot wait to read more from her in the future. Check out her latest novel, An Everyday Hero, on sale today!

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Laura Trentham, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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