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Big Rock by Lauren Blakely

I noticed I got a few followers lately, and while I read mainly mysteries, I will read the occasional contemporary romance, which is code for hot, hot, hot. So… people who do not like those types of books, avert your eyes. Everyone else, read on!

I finished earrrly this morning Big Rock by Lauren Blakely and narrated on audio by Sebastian York. I both read the book and listened on audio. This was a creative story, but due to the main character, a guy named Spencer, being a playboy, cocky, wealthy, and knows it, he sounds a lot like Drew from Emma Chase’s Tangled series. Listen. I adore Sebastian York. I love that deep, gruff (but smooth) voice of his. But this seemed like the same character. With that being said, I was so excited to hear him narrate another book for me. (Only me guys, you are just reaping the benefits.)

In Big Rock, Spencer’s father owns several highly sought after jewelry stores, Katherine’s, named after his wife. He build the business from the ground up, and because of it, he is a self-made man, wealthy, and is now hoping to retire and travel the world with the wife he loves so dearly.

Spencer is also a self-made man, not having to depend on daddy’s money. He created a very successful dating app, and sold it for a great profit. He also now co-owns several bars around town called The Lucky Spot with his friend from college, Charlotte. They are the best of friends, and have a great collaboration and work relationship.

When Spencer’s father finds a family oriented business man who wants to purchase the company, since Spencer and his sister do not want to take over, the gentleman insinuates that Spencer is not wholesome enough. In an effort to help his father seal his contract and deal, Spencer convinces Charlotte to pretend to be his fiancé for a week. To make it seem believable, he even convinces his family.

Spencer and Charlotte set clear rules to ensure there are not complicated or hurt feelings in the end. They are great friends, and after all, what could possibly go wrong?

I loved this story because it seemed to be able to tell a steamy romance without being ridiculous like so many others. The story was cute and fun, and made you laugh out loud. Yes, there was plenty of language and detailed scenes, but if you are familiar with this genre, you will not be surprised.

I gave this book 5 shiny gold stars simply due to the adorable story and the fact that I actually cared about the characters. I saw where there was a second about his friend coming out after that one, but I have not checked it out. I would love to hear more from Spencer and Charlotte, however! If this is your thing, go out and get it! You will be so happy you did!

I will endorse this as a cute, naughty beach read, perfect for lounging by the pool. Watch out, however, you may need to hit the pool, and not just from the heat of the sun!

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I Let You Go… The End

As I said yesterday, come hell or high water, I was finishing the book I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. I will not give you a full recap of the book since I did that yesterday, and I am sure you do not want to reread the same thing.

I told you that I would finish this book yesterday come hell or high water. I stayed up until 11:30 pm, but I got it done! I wanted to sleep so much, but fought the good fight. Once it was over, in true reader fashion I thought, “Maybe I could start one more…” I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

This book was such a pleasant surprise. In an age where everything is “the next Gone Girl,” I am often left feeling disappointed. There are no elements of surprise. I leave feeling like I could predict every twist and turn. This book was completely different! Part I was a little slow, and really set up the characters and situation. You got a feel for who they were, and then suddenly the rug was pulled out from under you. I feel like the first half putt putted along, and I was a little bored. Most people may not feel the same way, so do not take that as the truth. I just like action from the beginning until the end. Once everything changes, however, do not blink… you will miss something.

I would love to tell you tidbits to look forward to, things that would give you some indication of what happens, but that would totally ruin the book. Here is what I will say. Jenna has so much more healing to do than you initially thought. Physical, mental, emotional. She will find individuals who she can count on and depend upon, even when you think, really? Would I be treated the same?

This book was different than many I have read in long time. There were plenty of twists and turns, and things you never saw coming. The very last twist is like, eh. That one is not as big as the author thinks it will be, but nevertheless, I still loved it.

I am so happy to be able to review a book that I loved, think others who love mysteries and thrillers will love as well, and can give my stamp of approval. Does my rubber stamp dipped in hot pink ink mean anything? No, I am just a little ol’ (young) librarian who has pretty strict guidelines when it comes to books other than cozy mysteries or silly romance books. For me to be shocked and taken off guard is high praise. I am a reader who when reading a new book immediately starts thinking, who, what, when, where, how? I predict the unpredictable. It is fun, and it is a curse. It is like a huge puzzle and you are trying to guess the next piece. But sometimes it leaves you feeling unsatisfied. You feel like you cannot be the blissful reader who goes in blindly. This book did not allow for that. I am thankful.

When you have a “free” moment in between books… are we ever free? We always have the next one ready! But when you are not sure what to pick up next, give this book a try. You will be so happy you did! I give this one 5 Happy Shiny Gold Stars.

Happy Reading!

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I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Right now I am reading a book by an author who is new to me. Clare Mackintosh. I happened upon this author by chance. I am a HUGE (yes, it deserved all capital letters) fan of audible. One time they messaged me and wanted to give me a “badge” for purchasing over 100 books and asked if I wanted to brag to my friends. No. No, I did not want to brag. I was embarrassed in less than a year I had accumulated more books than I should have. All that money spent. Geeze.

One of my favorite times of year is when audible has their Two for One, where you are able to get two books for one credit. Yea!!! This is like Christmas for me. I always stock up. Recently they had several books that I was interested in, and I saw I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. I read the reviews on Goodreads, and saw that many people who have opinions I trust, read the book and really enjoyed it. This made me happy, I liked the blurb, and I thought it sounded like there was promise for a love affair.

For me, the first part of the book is incredibly slow. Yes, the initial subject matter is difficult, the death of a child, but I just felt like the story trudged along. I do not have children, only furbabies, so this did not affect me like friends who read the same thing.

When we first begin the book, a young mother is walking home with her son Jacob. He is excited and like usual, is ready to race up to their home. However, when she lets go of his hand, he darts into the street, and is hit by a car. The car does not stop, making this a hit-and-run, and a mother’s life is forever changed.

After a year of blaming herself for the death of Jacob, Jenna moves to a beachside Welsh town. She has a small cottage where she can slowly pick up the pieces and try to recover. She begins to do so with the help of a puppy she has rescued and the local veterinarian that has seemed to taken a fancy with her. Jenna slowly begins to open up and heal and even start a business for herself. Once a great artist who loved sculpture, she is unable to do the craft she had loved so dearly. Now, she finds herself using her photography skills to bring in money she uses to live her modest life.

Just when you think this book, which was described as a thriller, has turned into more of a romance. BAM! There is a complete 180, and you may be left just a tad confused. What do I mean? I literally had to reread the last sentence of Part I twice, and the beginning of Part II twice as well. This was one of those rare times when I was completely caught off guard and taken by surprise. This was a welcomed shock, as it seems that so many books are predictable. The ending may be a little less heart racing after so many books that have something similar, but I cannot wait to find out. I have not finished this book yet. I have about 25% left to go, but I will be reading all night if I have to in order to get this one under my belt. I will read, watch Pretty Little Liars (priorities, people), and then read again. That is if I do not devour it before PLL starts.

I cannot recommend this book enough, and I look forward to more by this author. Well, I say that now. We will see how it ends. If the ending is as strong as the middle has been…. 5 Shiny Gold Stars!



I joined Netgalley many moons ago, and have had the joy, privilege, and pleasure of reviewing some of the best books out there. I hate leaving a negative review, and rarely do. Even if it is not my favorite, I will leave something somewhat positive since someone else might love it! I will just about always recommend the books that I select because, well… I chose to read that particular book, and it is in the genre that I love. Most are mysteries and thrillers, and then there are the contemporary fiction thrown into the mix.

Right now is an exciting time in the life me. I have several books to preview, and two are from my favorite authors and book series. The first is Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo. This is the latest in the Kate Burkholder series, and is a personal favorite. If you have not had the opportunity to read the books set in Painters Mill, an Amish community, with Chief Burkholder (who is a former Amish woman), you are missing out. This may be a peaceful Amish country in Ohio, but it is not without its own gritty, grisly crime. I remember reading the first book, Pray for Silence, and being amazed. I recommended the book to everyone I knew and bought it on kindle, hardback, audio, every way I could get my hands on it. Now, others did not always agree with me. They thought it was too graphic, so if you do not like that sort of thing, this may not be for you, but if you do… hang in there with me.

I am not going to write a review for the previous books, maybe another time, but soon I will be writing a review for the newest in the series. I have already started the intro, and I can just tell it is going to be amazing. When you are working and all you can think about is reading… you know you have a terrific book, and maybe a slight reading problem.

I also have the joy of reading the newest Rizzoli and Isles book, I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen. She has become one of my favorite authors. Not one of my favorite Female authors… No, she is one of my favorite authors. I think it is great when some of your top authors contain many women. Karin Slaughter, Tess Gerritsen, Linda Castillo, Val McDermid. The list could really go on and on. What is amazing is that these women are not writing frilly “chick” books. They are writing graphic crime novels that can make even the most un-squeamish people squirm.

I know a Secret is the latest installment from the Rizzoli and Isles series, as I said before. This book series has been made into a powerful TV show that showed intelligent women being strong in a male dominated world. As an Detective and ME, Rizzoli and Isles show that women can do anything a man can do, and maybe do it better.

I am so excited that I have the chance to read each of these books. I will post a blurb of each one with the description coming directly from Goodreads.

Down a Dark Road
by Linda Castillo

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Minotaur Books

In this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth. ~ Goodreads

I know a Secret
by Tess Gerritsen

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: August 22nd 2017 by Ballantine Books

In the twelfth gripping novel featuring Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, the crime-solving duo—featured in the smash-hit TNT series Rizzoli & Isles—are faced with the gruesomely staged murder of a horror film producer.

The crime scene is unlike any that Detective Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have ever before encountered. The woman lies in apparently peaceful repose on her bed, and Maura finds no apparent cause of death, but there is no doubt the woman is indeed dead. The victim’s eyes have been removed and placed in the palm of her hand, a gesture that echoes the terrifying films she produces. Is a crazed movie fan reenacting scenes from those disturbing films?

When another victim is found, again with no apparent cause of death, again with a grotesquely staged crime scene, Jane and Maura realize the killer has widened his circle of targets. He’s chosen one particular woman for his next victim, and she knows he’s coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Jane and Maura catch the killer.

But she knows a secret. And it’s a secret she’ll never tell. ~ Goodreads

As you can tell, these promise to be reads that will sizzle this summer and only get hotter as the publication date draws near. I will keep you posted as I read!


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Back Track, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I first read this book way back in the spring of 2015. This was a book that stayed with me for a long time, and I feel that says something when you can create a work that makes you think long after reading. I am going to share when I first read the book. I may have even listened on audio, adding to the magic.

I found myself connecting to this book on several levels for various reasons that I do not care to go into. Did rumors go around about me that I did “bad things?” No, I was actually a “goody-goody.” But life happens and just because you may not have experienced troubling things in your teens, that does not mean that life does not happen. It keeps moving, and emotions keep evolving as well. Jay Asher did a wonderful job of taking a serious subject like suicide and give it a new little twist. What better way to get to know someone and what led to their decision than from their own mouths after the fact? This YA novel is full of surprises, tragic coincidences, and issues that one person should not have to face on their own. This was a sad tale, but in the end there manages to be a glimmer of hope. Where one life ended way too soon, there may be a chance for one to be rescued. I give this YA novel 4 gold stars.

I am posting this review after reading many moons ago due to the long awaited series on Netflix. Right now, I can hardly keep my eyes open, but I want to keep watching. I noticed that it lists the series as “Season 1.” After the original storyline, if it is a success will they continue? What would season 2 consist of? Where do we go from here? Will it follow the aftermath? Will Asher create a new piece that explores more of this world, or will it revolve around a different situation? I am intrigued. While I want to keep watching and learn more, I think I will have to give in and got to sleep. It has been a very long day, and I am so tired.

Watch book fans if you have Netflix. Let me know what you think about the series! Oh! And the author, Jay Asher will be at The Alabama Book Festival! It will be in Montgomery, AL. Come and join us!

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Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch

So, I have not had good luck with comedienne memoirs. They were too serious, left me feeling sad, literally made me cry (in a bad way), just all around not the best. To be fair, I had read Bossypants, and that was hard to live up to already.  I had heard that Rachel Dratch’s book was really funny, so I decided to give it a go. Boy, am I glad I did! Oh, my! I cannot wait to discuss this book. Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle, was exactly the book I needed. It was funny, had heart, had a character you could relate to, and even made you cry in the best way possible. For joy.

Rachel Dratch is a funny woman. She is someone who is often typecast (in her own words) as the best friend lesbian or overweight friend. That is unfair to such a beautiful, talented person. I do not know if I realized how funny she was until I read this book. I felt like so many times I was saying, I feel you, girl.

Dratch discusses growing up in her family, her stint as SNL, life after SNL, the struggles of acting, and life and dating after what everyone thinks is your prime. All of this is done with the best humor. If you can get the audio book, do yourself the favor and get it. She has actual clips from SNL and they are not to be missed. I love her part of Debbie Downer and how she broke character. I was laughing until I had tears.

Dratch was very open with her struggles with dating, and I appreciated that. Her crazy stories of odd characters she attracted made me feel better about my own life. Haha. The tales she shares make her relatable and feel like you are are having a good chat with an old friend.

This book was one of my favorite humorous memoirs. I only cried when it was a happy and sweet moment, not something that was depressing. I could read this over and over again, and I just might! I give this five shiny gold stars, and I highly recommend this book to everyone! Get the audio, she is a true gem as the narrator.

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Jenn McKinlay – The Cupcake Bakery Mysteries

I was on the audible website checking out a 2 for 1 sale, and I had found a book that I knew I would enjoy, but needed a second one to complete the deal. It was then that I stumbled upon a new series that I would come to love. The book was Sprinkle With Murder by Jenn McKinlay, and was a new cozy mystery series. This one is also based on food, cupcakes being the main theme. Mel(anie) and her friend Angie operate a cupcake shop, backed by their friend Nate. The three have remained friends from school age, through college, and as adults. They love to quote movies at random times, similar to my sister and myself, and guess what movie the quote came from. It makes for a fun read. The books are more like Stephanie Plum than Hannah Swensen. While it is a cozy mystery, there are still a couple of curse words, and more actual romance than a sweet kiss in this set of books. Sprinkle with Murder is just book the first in several by this author. She has a few different series, including one library series that I got and hope to read soon. Since this post I have read four of the five, or listened rather, available on audible. There are at least three more I am waiting to become available, and one that is coming out soon. This series is a lot of fun and while sometimes you know who the killer is before the ending, it is not halfway through like some cozy mysteries. I have actually been surprised a time or two with things that occur. I give this series five shiny gold stars. While some are better than others, and some of the stories do not make the most sense, it is still a great ride. One of my main questions was how they made money if it seemed they were never at the shop. Some of that gets explained, but not as much to my liking. If you are searching for a little change of pace, something to relax with while sitting outside on your porch swing, taking a nice trip, or want a light “beach read,” I suggest you check this series out. You will be glad you did.

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

My most recent read was a nice little fluff book that is perfect for a beach read. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan has it all.It has romance, a little betrayal, the most adorable way to show love, beautiful settings, and above all… someone who loves books as much as I do.

For Nina, losing her job at the library was the best bad thing that could have happened to her. Without it, she would not have been able to realize her dream of opening her own bookshop. This is no ordinary shop. This is a van that travels to new locales each day, and she is able to find the perfect book for each customer that comes her way.

When Nina finds love in an unexpected place, the train tracks, she is immediately rushed into a whirlwind romance. This is looked down upon by her farmer landlord who has rented her a perfect little barn, which is more like a cottage. He seems skeptical of the train engineer and his motives. While he is hard to read and seems bitter, Nina is intrigued by him all the same.

This is a book that you will find a pleasure to read. I would give more detail, but if I did, I would give the whole book away! If you like books set in the UK, romance, books, and a chuckle or two, pick this one up soon!

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So many books… where should I start?

I have read several books since Amy Schumer’s book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, but have not had the time to create a blog post. I will try and catch up on the books that I have read recently and find a way to post a review of them soon.

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The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

What can I say about this book? I read along with the book while also listening on audio. I had read in a review that the beginning was the weakest part, and then it got better and better. I am sad to say I thought the opposite. I would have read this entire book in one day, but I was exhausted after being up 24 hours, and had to go to bed early. But, I was up at 3:00 am the morning after it came out and did not stop until I finished. After the first 25% of the book I was texting and literally calling anyone who was up and awake, and some who sadly were not, and telling them how amazing this book was. “It is so funny!” I would say. I called it “amazing” to my friends and convinced them to all go out and get a copy. Then as it got towards the middle it seemed like the pace slowed down. I categorized it just now as steady, but I mean that in a slow, steady pace. By the time we got to gun control, I just could not handle it anymore. I wanted a funny, upbeat, sassy, and at times raunchy book. This had a few raunchy moments, but nothing like her comedy acts. This was more thoughtful and serious. I enjoyed the book, and I am glad I read it, but I will not be listening over and over again. This is no Bossypants. I feel I need to also clarify, I am one of her biggest fans, and I am glad she tackles big and important issues, but that was not what I signed up for when I bought this book. I still love you though, Amy!!

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