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: 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: Bad for You by Taylor Holloway

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Title: Bad for You
Author: Taylor Holloway
Series: Lone Star Lovers #9
Publisher: Self-Published by Taylor Holloway
Publication Date: October 2, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 5 stars

The boy next door.
Star of my teenage fantasies.
My tormentor.

After serving as an army doctor in some of the most dangerous places on Earth, Brandon has finally come home. And he’s brought his cocky, alpha attitude and rugged good looks with him. To my hospital. He’s still a loose cannon and I’m right in his sights.

But instead of begging for him to stop, this good girl is having to stop herself from begging for more.
I thought I put my obsession with this moody bad boy to bed.
It now appears that’s right where he wants me.

I’ve always made good choices.
But this time I’m worried I’ll pick the one that’s bad for me, even if Brandon feels oh so right.

Review:

Wow. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of Bad for You. Just… wow.

Enemies-to-lovers is pretty high up on the list of tropes I love. It usually leads to crazy intense sexual tension and a lot of sass and snark, which makes my heart very happy. I am pleased to inform you that Taylor Holloway did not disappoint. In fact, she exceeded my expectations (and I was expecting a lot).

This book starts off with a bang right from the prologue. It tugs at your heart and makes you feel for Aimee and Brandon because of the awful circumstances of their childhoods. You get a vivid picture of how their hate for each other started, and let’s be real. Aimee has every reason to hate Brandon.

One of the best parts about Bad for You was the pacing. The last thing you’re going to find is insta-love. It takes place over quite an extended period of time and because of that the romance that develops between Aimee and Brandon feels much more believable and real. It allows you to be fully immersed in the story and all of the events that take place.

Speaking of events taking place, oh boy. For a contemporary romance, there were so many twists and turns and I loved every second of it. It reminded me of Grey’s Anatomy in the early days and I am here for that. Somehow everything just seemed to fit into the story perfectly and it had my on the edge of my seat needing to know what was going to happen next.

Taylor Holloway is an incredible writer and I can’t wait to pick up the other novels in her Lone Star Lovers series. Her ability to write swoon-worthy romance while also tugging at your emotions is off the charts amazing and I highly suggest you grab a copy of Bad for You immediately.

About Taylor Holloway:

Taylor Holloway is a bestselling romance author who writes sweet and sexy stories with just enough of an edge to offset all the feels. Her books are specifically Taylor-ed to make you blush, cry, laugh, ans swoon. She’s an Austin native with a penchant for bad puns, strong margaritas, expensive shoes, and shiny things. When she’s not writing, she’s working a hilariously bland corporate job, spoiling her husband and cat, or going for long walks in the dark.

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Review: Most Ardently by Susan Mesler-Evans

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Title: Most Ardently
Author: Susan Mesler-Evans
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Publication Date: October 21, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+, Retelling
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 2 stars

Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with.

From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats — which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not. As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.

Review:

Note: if you haven’t read or seen Pride & Prejudice, this review is without a doubt going to contain spoilers. I feel like 99% of you have, but just in case, I thought I’d throw out a warning to those who haven’t. I’m also going to take this moment to tell you 1% to – at the very least – watch the 2005 version. It’s one of the best movies out there.

When I first heard about this book, I could not have jumped at the chance to review it any quicker. It was everything I could have wanted in a novel. Pride & Prejudice retelling? Check. Darcy is a woman aka an f/f romance? Check. Set in modern day? Check. What more could a girl ask for? Well, probably to actually have enjoyed the book.

The romance was not believable to me. I didn’t see the connection between Elisa and Darcy at all. It was obvious Darcy had a crush but actually loving Elisa? I didn’t see it. And I really didn’t see Elisa’s feelings. Mostly I’m just confused as to how Darcy managed to develop feelings for Elisa.

Elisa’s character was mean. Elizabeth Bennett was a smart woman who used her wit to her advantage and was at worst a little sarcastic and snarky. Elisa was straight up mean. I can’t believe these words are about to be said, but I actually felt bad for Colin when she turned him down. Yes he was dense, but my god. He didn’t deserve her nastiness in that way.

The thing about modern retellings of older stories is that not everything is going to translate into current day. Some things need to be changed in order for them to be believable and to work with the story. One example was some of the dialogue. I get that the author wanted to keep some of the speeches, but no one talks like that in 2019. Unless they’re Mark-Francis Vandelli on an episode of Celebrity Juice (seriously, that was all I could picture the entire time). A second example was when Bobby left Julieta after Darcy intervened. He just takes off without a word because Darcy said her opinion of “hey she might not like you as much as you like her” without any tangible proof to back it up? I just can’t see that in today’s world.

Maybe my expectations were too high, I don’t know, but unfortunately, this book just was not for me.

About Susan Mesler-Evans:

Susan Mesler-Evans is a writer, college student, D&D enthusiast, theatre nerd, and horrific procrastinator. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Susan now lives in Florida, and can often be found reading, scrolling through Tumblr until 2 AM, overanalyzing her favorite fictional characters and relationships, bingewatching comedies on Netflix, thinking about writing, and even, on occasion, actually writing. Most Ardently is her first full-length novel. You can find her at susanmeslerevanswrites.com.

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