Review: Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

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Title: Woman on the Edge
Author: Samantha M. Bailey
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Genre: Thriller
Source: Received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 5 stars

A moment on the platform changes two lives forever. But nothing is as it seems…

‘Take my baby.’

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes forever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or was something much darker going on?

Pulse-pounding, heartrending, shocking, thrilling. This is one book you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

Review:

Morgan is a woman who has already been through a lot in her life, more than most people should have to go through. She’s in the process of trying to rebuild what’s left after her husband’s suicide and the discovery of his fraud.

One night on her commute home from work, a woman she has never seen before approaches her. She looks frantic and frazzled and shoves her infant daughter towards Morgan saying, “take my baby.” In a state of complete shock, Morgan just kind of takes her and in the blink of an eye the mother jumps in front of the incoming train. And so begins another absolute state of chaos in Morgan’s life.

Told in alternating perspectives between Morgan’s life after Nicole jumps and Nicole’s life before she jumps, Woman on the Edge is a psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat up until the conclusion. It was so fast-paced, I couldn’t put it down. This is one of those books when you need to know what happens next.

The fact that this is a debut thriller novel blows my mind. It was so carefully written and crafted with the experience of a veteran in the genre. I can’t wait to see what Samantha M. Bailey will bring to us next, because if Woman on the Edge was just a hint of what she has to offer the genre, then oh my god give me her next book now.

About Samantha M. Bailey:

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Samantha M. Bailey is a Toronto-based novelist, freelance editor, and journalist who has written extensively for Now Magazine, Oxford University Press, and many other publications. She is the co-founder of “BookBuzz,” a promotional and interactive author event held in New York City and Toronto. She holds a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics and credits that degree with her writing career because she wrote her first (unpublished) novel after taking a course on imagination.

Now her imagination leads her to create dark and twisty stories. Her debut psychological thriller, WOMAN ON THE EDGE, is published by Simon and Schuster Canada and Headline UK, and will be translated into seven languages.

She loves reading as much as writing, so when not tapping away on her computer, she’s probably curled up with a really good book.

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Review: Lost Girl by Holly Kammier Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: Lost Girl
Author: Holly Kammier
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: January 5, 2020
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 2 stars

AN APPALLING ACT OF VIOLENCE AND AN UNSOLVED DOUBLE MURDER.

SMALL-TOWN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, SHELBY DAY, IS DETERMINED TO HUNT A KILLER. 

As her search draws closer to uncovering the twisted truth, she begins receiving ominous warnings to stay quiet and drop the story. The young journalist is in danger. Her cameraman and best friend, a person with his own secret past, says he wants to protect her. But Shelby is headstrong and dodging anything that could lead to love. She can’t allow anyone to distract her as she fights for the two women who deserve justice. 

She never expects along the way she’ll have to stop and save herself.

Ticktock… If Shelby doesn’t solve the crime soon, she’ll become the killer’s next victim. 

Review:

Shelby Day is an investigative reporter in a small town. On Halloween night, two young women are killed in their home. She gets the lead on the story and is determined to find the killer to help these women and their families get the justice that they deserve.

Shelby was the worst. I’m sorry, but she was. You know when you’re watching one of those cheesy horror movies about a cabin in the woods and the character constantly does the opposite of what common sense dictates? Oh, there’s a noise in the basement when a crazed murderer has already tried to kill you twice? Let’s go check that out! That was Shelby.

When the killer started leaving threatening notes on her door, she decided to not tell anyone and continue with the investigation because allowing fear to distract her would apparently make her weak. Listen. I get it. She felt some connection to these women and wanted to get justice for them but when a person who just killed two women slasher style starts threatening your life, at least tell the police.

The romance though. No. Nope. One big huge nope. There should not have been a romance in this book. There was absolutely no connection between Jack and Shelby. I didn’t even realize that there were any feelings between them until it started being forced and awkward. Jack was possessive. So possessive and gross to the point that he became a suspect in my eyes. And Shelby. Well. I said what I said about her. Imagine how that lack of common sense adds to a romance.

The ending was choppy. I felt like the book dragged on and then suddenly it was over. It was disappointing because I wanted way more action after all the threats and the buildup to the reveal of the killer. Even after the fight when their lives returned back to normal when the killer was caught. It just didn’t fit.

Giveaway:

  • Prize: $15 Amazon gift card
  • International
  • Ends January 16, 2020
  • Enter HERE

About Holly Kammier:

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Co-owner of Acorn Publishing, the UCLA honors graduate is an accomplished content editor/writing coach (her authors have gone on to become USA Today best-sellers and a New York Times best-seller). With a background in journalism, Holly Kammier has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon.

She is the best-selling author of the novel, Kingston Court (Acorn Publishing 2015), and Could Have Been Hollywood, a memoir. Holly recently published her third book, Choosing Hope, a harrowing story of passion and deceit, and the things we do for love. Her next novel, the YA Romantic Suspense, Lost Girl, is scheduled for release in early 2020.

Holly resides in her hometown of San Diego, California, close to family and friends. An avid reader with a passion for timeless books and beautiful writing, she also enjoys long walks, romantic movies, and pink peonies.

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Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

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Title: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 17, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

Review:

I wanted to love this book so badly. It sounded like the exact kind of cute contemporary that would have me shouting from the rooftops for everyone to pick this up. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

My main issue with this book were the characters. There was not a single female character worth rooting for. They were all so catty and mean and had zero concept of what a relationship/commitment was. The moment someone would look at their man they’d turn into a cast member of Mean Girls but god forbid they knew how to be faithful in their own relationship or not drag some poor soul along. Think Anna & the French Kiss but kick that up a few notches. Contemporaries are generally very character driven, so when it’s hard to like anyone, it’s pretty difficult to enjoy the novel as a whole.

The only things I really enjoyed was the writing and the lexicon entries. I thought both of those things were super creative and the creativity that shone through with some of the jokes/disses kept me reading. Yes, I couldn’t stand the female characters, but I won’t deny some of the crappy things they said were creative. I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to be that clever when I’m upset about something.

Overall, this book was just of all over the place for me. I wanted to love it, I really did. But I just couldn’t get past how much I disliked every single female character is a character-driven book.

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About Jacqueline Firkins:

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Jacqueline’s a writer, costume designer, and lover of beautiful things. She’s on the fulltime faculty in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia where she also takes any writing class they’ll let her into. When not obsessing about where to put the buttons or the commas, she can be found running by the ocean, eating excessive amounts of gluten, listening to earnest love songs, and pretending her dog understands every word she says.

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Review: Renegade by Chantal Fernando + Giveaway

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Title: Renegade
Author: Chantal Fernando
Series: Knights of Fury #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 2.5 stars

New York Times bestselling author of the Knights of Fury MC series Chantal Fernando is back with trouble in the form of a renegade.

Good girl Isabella wouldn’t miss the birth of her sister’s baby for the world. So when her car breaks down and one of the bikers next door offers her a ride to Vegas, it’s too tempting to pass up. Besides, she can think of worse travel conditions than wrapping her arms around Renny, otherwise known as Renegade.

Tall, dark and handsome, the man is pure sex on a Harley.

Between wild parties and rumbling motorcycles, living next to the Knights of Fury MC has always left Isabella curious, but after a night in Vegas, she gets a firsthand taste. Drinks in the club surrounded by burly bikers soon turns into a series of daring decisions, which don’t seem so bad until she wakes up the next morning. Married. To Renny.

Could she be more of a cliché?

Nothing complicates an annulment like lingering temptation, especially when Isabella and Renny give in to their need, putting their marriage where their mouths are. But as Isabella learns what outlaw life is really like, she’ll have to decide if she’s in love with a biker—or in over her head.

Review:

This was my first time reading an MC romance. They’ve stood out to me for a while as something that I wanted to read and would probably enjoy, but I never picked one up until now. Unfortunately what I was expecting and what I got were two pretty different things.

My main issue was the characters. Isabella and Renny didn’t pique my interest at all. I was more invested in the side characters and their stories as well as Skylar and her story (which would have been a part of the first novel in the series). I was more looking forward to what was going on with Ariel and her disgusting baby daddy as well as Trade. Like give me all the details of Ariel’s life because I would read that book in a heartbeat. I mean their dad was also a massive ass, but I bet his story would have been a page-turner too.

With the plot, I found that things happened and resolved themselves in about 5 pages every single time. That made it much more difficult to care about Isabella and Renny because I knew everything would be fine in a couple minutes. Reading an MC romance, I was expecting things to be crazy and intense and to have my heart racing with the promise of action. Unfortunately with quick resolutions, I never seemed to get that.

Overall, I would say this was a clean MC romance. The guys were way nicer than I was expecting (although very possessive) and there wasn’t a large amount of edge-of-your-seat action. So if you’ve always wanted to read an MC romance, but were looking for something that’s low-intensity to dip your toes in, then read this one.

Giveaway:

  • Enter HERE
  • Prize: an e-book copy of Saint (book #1 of the series) and Renegade
  • Ends December 12, 2019

About Chantal Fernando:

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New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Chantal Fernando is twenty-six years old and lives in Western Australia.

Her published novels include four books in the Resisting Love series – Chase, Kade, Ryder and James; the New York Times Bestselling novel Maybe This Time and its follow up, This Time Around. Her latest releases include Toxic Girl, Saxon, and a USA bestselling biker romance novel Dragon’s Lair.

When not reading, writing or daydreaming she can be found enjoying life with her three sons and family.

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Review: Gifted by Ainsley St Claire

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Title: Gifted
Author: Ainsley St Claire
Series: Clear Security Holiday #1
Publisher: Loisir Publishing
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

How do things fall apart so easily?

Kate:

As a former teacher, my mission is to keep the disadvantaged youth of our city engaged with school. My non-profit has been wildly successful with the kids, but now I’m forty mentors short for the Christmas season. It didn’t look like we would be able to find enough help, until Jim Adelson got involved. He may have solved my mentor problem, but he’s created another: I can’t concentrate with this panty melting God around.

Jim:

The community has been good to me. I’d built my successful security business with hard work and determination, and when I got approached to help Kate Monroe’s non-profit, it seemed a fitting way to give back. I’d offer to spend time with some kids, but it’s Kate that I find myself wanting to spend time with. With beauty obvious to everyone, and a compassionate heart she wears on her sleeve, she has me reevaluating my priorities.

When the children’s Christmas gifts go missing, Jim and Kate are forced together in the hunt.

Can true love fight through the drama to find a happy ending?

Review:

Gifted was cute for what it was. A short, holiday romance with a good message. It demonstrates the importance of giving back to our community and all that can be done to aide those in need and how our good actions can truly have a positive impact on those around us.

I know this book was incredibly short and a holiday romance, so I walked right into this, but I wasn’t expecting the insta-love to be that quick or sweet. I blinked and suddenly Jim and Kate were head-over-heels, I’d-take-a-bullet-for-you in love with each other.

With the story itself, everything was a little to perfect. The friends were all over the top kind and everything worked itself out without much of an issue. Even the ending was abrupt.

Overall, if you’re looking for a quick holiday romance read (under 175 pages) to get you in the Christmas spirit, you could pick this one up and easily read it in a day.

About Ainsley St Claire:

Ainsley St Claire is a Romantic Suspense Author and Adventurer on a lifelong mission to craft sultry storylines and steamy love scenes that captivate her readers. To date, she is best known for her series Venture Capitalists.

An avid reader since the age of four, Ainsley’s love of books knew no genre. After reading, came her love of writing, fully immersing herself in the colorful, impassioned world of contemporary romance.

Ainsley’s passion immediately shifted to a vocation when during a night of terrible insomnia, her first book came to her. Ultimately, this is what inspired her to take that next big stop. The moment she wrote her first story, the rest was history.

Currently, Ainsley is in the midst of writing a nine-book series called “Venture Capitalist.”

When she isn’t being a bookworm or typing away her next story on her computer, Ainsley enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones. She is happily married to her amazing soulmate and is a proud mother of two rambunctious boys. She is also a scotch aficionada and lover of good food (especially melt-in-your-mouth, velvety chocolate). Outside of books, family, and food, Ainsley is a professional sports spectator and an equally as terrible golfer and tennis player.

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