Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

March 29, 2019

The Last Time I Lied {Riley Sager}

Although I wasn't officially writing reviews during 2018, it doesn't mean I wasn't reading all the books. During my year "off" I joined Book of the Month and was introduced to author Riley Sager and his summer release of The Last Time I Lied. It was, by far, one of the best books I read all year. It was one of those books I would love to see featured as a series on any of the streaming services running through my house.

As soon as I met Emma, the lone survivor from her cabin at Camp Nightingale so many years ago, I knew she was the kind of character I was going to become attached to. When she received an invitation to return to camp as an adult, I found myself torn between begging her not to go and urging her to get there as fast as she could. But what happened once she arrived at camp made for a story that had me up into the wee hours of the night. I had to finish this book.

This was my first book from Riley Sager, and I am excited to see a new release from him on the lists for this summer.


I am very, very excited to tell you that The Last Time I Lied is being released on Tuesday, April 2 in a paperback edition. That means it will be on shelves in a town near you, just waiting on you to throw it in your cart! And if you are more of the "stay at home and let them deliver" type of shopper, you can also order it from any of your favorite online retailer.

If you are already a fan of Sager, I know you are excited about this release. If you are a newbie, this is a great place to meet.

March 26, 2019

The Mother-in-Law {Sally Hepworth}

the mother in law sally hepworth
From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm's length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they'll never have the closeness she'd been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something...

My Thoughts:
Sally Hepworth is a new author to me, but she has made me an instant fan with this book. I loved these characters. I loved this story. And my jaw hit the floor when I got to the end.

This story deals with a number of storylines, but the main one centers on Diane and her daughter-in-law, Lucy. Lucy's mother passed away years ago, so Lucy married into her new family with high hopes for her relationship with her mother-in-law. The relationship did not meet her expectations. At all.

The way Diane treated Lucy was, at times, what I considered cruel. But as this book progressed, I began to see Diane's point in many of the issues they clashed over, and I began to see Diane as more of the "good guy" in the relationship. But Lucy was also a good one and supported her husband and family in an unconditional way that every wife should strive to do.

I loved Lucy's relationship with her husband also and they ease at which they worked as a team to raise their children, provide for their family, and take a stand against Ollie's parents.

But as this book continues, there is a shift in Lucy and Diane's relationship, and it is just beautiful to see the two ladies begin to understand each other in a way only women can. These two ladies create a bond that can only be broken in death - a death that happens and shocks the entire family.

This book is ultimately a thriller and watching this family work through the death of their mother, the investigation into what was assumed to be a suicide, and the consequences that came from all of it kept me on the edge of my seat. As puzzle pieces began coming together I thought I had this story all figured out. But then the end arrived and I was so completely wrong. Yet, the way this book ended was so much better than what I had conjured up in my head!

This is one of those books that I could read over and over again simply for the beauty in the bond that forms between Lucy and Diane. It deserved a place on every reading list.

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley

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March 19, 2019

The Memory House {Rachel Hauck}

the memory house rachel hauck
In the spring of 1953, Everleigh Applegate is happily married and newly pregnant. But a tornado sweeps through Waco, Texas, taking her hopes of a bright future with it. Seven years later, widowed and childless, she is living with her mother and older than her years. It is not until she runs into an old high school friend, Don Callahan, that a small spark of hope for what life could be is rekindled. However, a secret Everleigh has kept threatens their happiness and future.

Beck Holiday is a tough, angry, New York City cop. Her father’s death on 9/11 took not just her father’s life but many of her memories as well. She learns that she’s inherited a house from an Everleigh Callahan—whom Beck apparently knows but cannot remember—in north Florida, and her suspension from work because of her anger issues leaves her with time to make the trip to figure out why. Upon her arrival, she meets Bruno Endicott, who clearly remembers her. Beck must work to regain her memory, face her anger, and open her heart to love.

Connected through a beautiful house in ways they will both come to understand, both women must find the courage to face the truth about themselves and their past in order to truly love and be loved in return.

My Thoughts:
Rachel Hauck is one of those authors I will always purchase without even reading the book synopsis. Her books are always filled with history, love, forgiveness, and a story that comes together so perfectly. This book meets those expectations perfectly.

I fell in love with these characters as soon as I met them. I loved that much of the story took place in Texas, a state so very close to me, and the history that happened during the Waco tornado. I also thought Florida was the perfect setting for this couple to land and make their life together.

The characters in this book did not necessarily follow the "standard" picture of the Christian fiction book, and I think that made me like them even more. They had their flaws, they found themselves living with the consequences of their mistakes, and they pushed through to make a life for themselves regardless.

The love that happened between Everleigh and Don reminds me so much of my grandparents' generation and the way they deeply love with all their heart, through everything life throws at them. They work hard to create their life, their livelihood, and a legacy for their children and grandchildren.

Beck and Bruno seemed to be the perfect example of today's generation and their tendency to find themselves floundering around, looking for a career, and always striving to better themselves from their current situation.

But both couples found exactly what they needed in life - God. God's love came through for them in big ways and small, and He took care of all of them through everything in their life. I rejoiced in watching these characters find God and find the true loves of their lives.

And the connection we find at the end - priceless! The ways Rachel Hauck always brings the old together with the new completely surprises me every time and reminds me why I always love a perfect Hauck book.

Visit the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Find this Book: Goodreads | Christianbook | Amazon

March 12, 2019

The Water Tower Club {B.K. Mayo}

The Water Tower ClubThe Water Tower Club by B.K. Mayo
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I tried hard to enjoy this one. It had all the elements I typically love in a good book, but I just could not get into it. The characters seemed boring to me, and the story seemed to drag on and on and on. Four days in, and I had only made it halfway through the book. Had to put it down. Sorry. *I received a NetGalley copy of this book*

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March 5, 2019

The Island House {Nancy Thayer}

the island house nancy thayer
Courtney Hendricks will never forget the magical summers she spent on Nantucket with her college roommate, Robin Vickerey, and Robin's charismatic, turbulent, larger-than-life family, in their gorgeous island house. Now a college English professor in Kansas City, Courtney is determined to experience one more summer in this sun-swept paradise. Her reason for going is personal: Courtney needs to know whether Robin's brother James shares the feelings she's secretly had for him.

Time with the Vickerey family always involves love and laughter, and this season is no different. Vivacious matriarch Susanna Vickerey is celebrating her sixtieth birthday, but beneath the merriment, trouble is brewing. The family patriarch, Dr. Alastair Vickerey, is quiet and detached, while unspoken tension looms over oldest son Henry, a respected young surgeon. Warm and witty Robin, the most grounded of the siblings, is keeping a secret from her parents. Iris, the colorful baby of the brood, remains rudderless and in need of guidance. And the sexy, stunningly handsome, untouchable James--to Courtney's dismay--may be in love with a beautiful and vibrant local artist. As the summer unfolds, a crisis escalates, surprising truths are revealed, and Courtney will, at last, find out where her heart and her future lie.

Weaving the trials and uncertainty of real life into a tapestry of passion, hope, and courage, The Island House is a beautifully told story about the ties that bind us--and how the blessings of love and family heal us in ways we never dream possible.

My Thoughts:
I always enjoy reading Nancy Thayer and find myself wishing for a summer vacation to Nantucket Island every time I pick up one of her books. This was just another example of why I love her so much.

These characters are just so real to me, and watching them all navigate their way through life and summer together brought me so much joy. I thought their emotions, their struggles, and their journey to find themselves was so real and so relatable regardless of who you are.

While I know Robin and Courtney, James and the other summer kids were supposed to be the main focus of this book, I found myself drawn to the father, Dr. V. I found it so much fun to watch him live his life secluded and in complete bliss of his family and the life happening around him. Yet when tragedy struck, he came to life and was able to offer love, wisdom, and support for those who needed him the most at the moment. I thought it was such a real reflection on how so many men can be in life.

This would make a great beach read - or a middle of the winter read. Worth a spot on your reading list.

March 2, 2019

February Reading Round-up

I had big plans to do more reviews in this space in the new year, but as you see, it hasn't happened yet. But it will – I promise!

I've been reading a ton of books this year, and have expanded by preferences, but haven't been writing about them here. So in this new year (which apparently begins in March), I will still bring advanced reviews of newly published books, but I will also tell you about the library and purchase books I've been reading as well. It should be fun.

So let's get started with a roundup of what I read in February? I read some winners and didn't finish a few that I could not make myself love. So without further ado…..

Falling for You, Becky Wade
I started this series years ago when the prequel novella came out and I immediately fell in love with those Bradford sisters. And then I moved on and kind of forgot about this. So I was so excited to find this on my reading list again and I fell back in love with this family. This book focuses on Willow and her on-again, off-again with football hunk, Corbin Stewart. These two put their relationship to the test and do everything in their power not to fall in love, but you know how romance goes. I loved the ending of this one, loved the suspense of trying to figure out if they would ever get together and loved the extra characters we met on the way. Thumbs up!

Something in the Water, Catherine Steadman
I knew nothing about this book other than that seal on the front declaring it a Reese Witherspoon recommendation, but I quickly realized it was highly recommended for a reason. This book is about a couple who finally get married and head off to a dream honeymoon, only to find themselves wrapped up in one crazy of a thrill ride mystery when they pick up a random bag floating in the ocean. I was on the edge of my seat through this entire book and can honestly say I was shocked at the ending. I had no idea! Thumbs up!!

Just the Way You Are, Pepper Basham
Truth – I read a Pepper Basham book a couple years ago and loved it. It was the first in a series, so when I picked up this book I thought I was continuing that series. I was not. But it did not matter. This book had all the things I love: British castles, romance, mystery, family, and love. We meet Eisley who heads off to England to do family research for her uncle. She immediately meets British star Wes Harrison who turns out to be completely different than she expected. A handful of twists and turns later, and I'll let you figure out what happens between the two of them. This book is also the first in a series, and I have made notes to make sure I continue this series. Thumbs up!

China Rich Girlfriend, Kevin Kwan
Listen, I read Crazy Rich Boyfriend a while back and felt kind of "eh" about it. But I finally watched the movie and discovered this is one of those cases where the movie is better than the book. But it also made me want to read the rest of the series, so here I am. I also felt kind of "meh" about this book, but I will read the third book just because that is what comes next. Thumbs up, thumbs down – I really don’t have a feeling about this one.

Two Can Keep a Secret, Karen McManus
I had never heard of this book but saw it recommended on my library's Overdrive page so I grabbed it. I have a love/hate relationship with Young Adult books so I didn't really expect too much out of it. But the moment twins Ellery and Ezra arrive in Echo Ridge, I realize I am HOOKED. This book has so many twists, turns, bumps, and crazies; and I loved every minute of it. When I headed over to Goodreads to leave my review, I realized I had stumbled on one of this most talked about YA books of the year. Who knew? Million Thumbs UP!

Did Not Finish:
  • The Kiss Quotient (Helen Hoang) – I read about half of this one, but I just could not make myself read more. I was bored out of my mind.
  • The Proposal (Jasmine Guillory) – Another one I made it about halfway through but could not get motivated to read more. I didn't like anything about it.
  • His Favorites (Kate Walbert) – I gave up on this one in the first chapter. I just couldn't.