Blog Tour: Lies, Lies, Lies @adeleparks #NGEW2020

Thank you to Justine Sha and Harlequin Trade Publishing for my advance copy of Lies, Lies, Lies in exchange for my honest review!

Wow. Lies, Lies, Lies delivers a packed punch! Touching on subjects of alcohol addiction, depression, and sexual abuse, you never knew which way this book was turning.

Daisy and Simon are married with a child. A child that took multiple rounds of failed IVF. Simon starts to drink more and more and Daisy looks to leave the marriage. Before any of that can happen, there’s a tragic accident and Simon ends up in jail. What will happen when Simon comes home and sees Daisy has been friendly with an old friend?

There isn’t much more I can say without giving something away. Just when you think you know what is going on…you don’t, because there’s a twist and turn and well, these flawed people are lying their way through life. Haha. You’re on their wild train wreck of a ride, but it will all play out in the end!

This book was a good twisty thriller. I didn’t expect the ending to play out how it did…BUT I LOVED IT.

4 stars.  I didn’t know if I was coming or going with this tale. In the end, I ultimately enjoyed the path each character took and the growth they made. If you are a fan of twisty, turny thrillers, pick this one up!

Title: Lies, Lies, Lies

Author: Adele Parks

Genre(s): Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: MIRA

Release Date: August 4, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Blog Tour: The Switch @OLearyBeth @Flatironbooks #NGEW20

Thank you to Cat Kenney and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to participate in The Switch’s blog tour! I received an advance copy of The Switch in exchange for my honest review!

I absolutely adored Beth O’Leary’s debut novel so when the opportunity came about to join the blog tour for her second novel, I jumped at the chance and I am SO glad I did!

Leena is burning both ends of the candle and ends up burning out at work. They force her to take a two month vacation just to clear her head and take care of herself for a change. She ends up visiting her grandmother who lives a few hours away in her hometown. Eileen, her grandmother, is a 70 something recently divorced woman who is trying to get herself back into the dating scene.

After a quick visit they decide to switch lives for two months. Leena moves in to her grandmothers house, takes over her duties, and even uses her phone. Eileen goes to the big city of London and lives in her flat and has her phone. What ensues is quite comical…

The novel is fairly predictable, but don’t let that deter you. It is still a fabulous story that has you second guessing what you think is only going to happen. My jaw actually dropped once I learned about what happened when two people originally first met. It was lovely to watch both Eileen and Leena learn about themselves and watch them take care of themselves for a change.

I could not put this down as I kept rooting for Leena and Eileen and always hoped for the best. It just goes to show us that sometimes we need to take a breath and focus on ourselves for a minute, even if we think we’re completely fine.

4 stars.  The best perk to this one was the epilogue. It was a breath of fresh air to see what transpired from the end to a year later. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. This is absolutely the book to read if you want to be happy!!

About the Author:

Beth O’Leary worked in children’s publishing before becoming a full-time author. She is also the author of The Flatshare. She can be found on Instagram @BethOLearyAuthor  and Twitter @OLearyBeth.

Title: The Switch

Author: Beth O’Leary

Genre(s): Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: August 18, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Blog Tour: She’s Faking It @KristinRockaway #NGEW2020

Thank you to Justine Sha and Harlequin Trade Publishing for my advance copy of She’s Faking It in exchange for my honest review!

If you’re looking for a fun, light beach read just stop what you’re doing and get this book into your hands stat! This book is everything and more that you didn’t think you needed to get into the summer groove.

Bree is living out her days in an apartment on Pacific Beach in California and suddenly, her life just takes a crap on her. Her boyfriend recently dumped her and left the country to go on a “find himself” mission in South America. Her car breaks down and now she can’t work (she was a food delivery driver). Her life is in shambles and her super organized, super successful sister tries to help her out.

Bree starts an Instagram page and is starting to become an influencer. In the mean time she meets her neighbor, Trey, who lives in her dream home. Bree starts going down a path with Instagram and self-help guru Demi DiPalma and ends up going down a path that isn’t quite what she pictured.

Oh yes, there’s romance. Yes, there’s some drama. At one point in time my mouth was gaped open because things had to change, things had to happen, COME ON BREE GET IT TOGETHER!! Yes, I may have shouted at the book a few times. I also laughed out loud on a few occasions too!

I really enjoyed the sisterly bond in this book. There was even a little bit of growth between the sisters and I just loved it. Despite some petty drama (and in what family is there never any drama) the sisters rise above it and Bree is all the better for it. This is just a really enjoyable, wholesome novel.

4 stars.  I am a fan of Kristin Rockaway so I had a feeling I’d love this from the get go (and I was right). This is such a light, funny, palm to your face at times read that I HIGHLY suggest you read. This is perfect for a day at the beach or just something to put you in a summery mood. I read this one WAY too fast…I couldn’t put it down! I enjoyed this so much, you get an excerpt today!!

From Chapter Two…

“Don’t these books make your purse really heavy? There’s gotta be some app where you can store all this information.”


“Studies show you’re more likely to remember things you’ve written by hand, with physical pen and paper.” She reached across my lap and opened the glove compartment, removing a notebook with an antiqued photograph of a vintage luxury car printed on the cover. “For example, this is my auto maintenance log. Maybe if you’d kept one of these, like I told you to, we wouldn’t be in this
predicament right now.”


I loved Natasha, I really did. She was responsible and generous, and without her I’d likely be far worse off than I already was, which was a horrifying thought to consider. But at times like this, I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake the shit out of her.


“A maintenance log wouldn’t have helped me.”


“Yes, it would have. Organization is about more than decluttering your home. It’s about decluttering your mind. Making lists, keeping records—these are all ways to help you get your life in order. If you’d had a maintenance log, this problem wouldn’t have caught you off guard in the middle of your delivery shift. You’d have seen it coming, and—”


“I saw it coming.”

“What?”

“This didn’t catch me off guard. The check engine light came on two weeks ago.” Or maybe it was three.


“Then why didn’t you take it to the mechanic?” She blinked, genuinely confused. Everything was so cut-and dried with her. When a car needed to be serviced, of course you called the mechanic.


That is, if you could afford to pay the repair bill.


Fortunately, she put two and two together without making me say it out loud. “Oh,” she murmured, then bit her lip. I could almost hear the squeak and clank of wheels turning in her head as she tried to piece together the solution to this problem. No doubt it included me setting up a journal or logbook of some sort, though we both knew that would be pointless. The last time she’d tried to set me up with a weekly budget planner, I gave up on day two, when I realized I could GrubGetter around the
clock for the rest of my life and still never make enough money to get current on the payments for my student loans. You know, for that degree I’d never finished.


But Natasha was a determined problem solver. It said so in her business bio: “Natasha DeAngelis, Certified Professional Organizer®, is a determined problem solver with a passion for sorting, purging, arranging, and containerizing.” My life was a perpetual mess, and though she couldn’t seem to be able to clean it up, that didn’t stop her from trying. Over and over and over again.


“I’ll pay for the repairs,” she said.


“No.” I shook my head, fending off the very big part of me that wanted to say yes. “I can’t take any money from you.”

“It’s fine,” she said. “Business is booming. I’ve got so much work right now that I’ve actually had to turn clients away. And ever since Al introduced that new accelerated orthodontic treatment, his office has been raking it in. We can afford to help you.”


“I know.” Obviously, my sister and her family weren’t hurting for cash. Aside from her wildly successful organizing business, her husband, Al, ran his own orthodontics practice. They owned a four-bedroom house, leased luxury cars, and took triannual vacations to warm, sunny places like Maui and Tulum. They had a smart fridge in their kitchen that was undoubtedly worth more than my nonfunctioning car.


But my sister wasn’t a safety net, and I needed to stop treating her like one. She’d already done so much for me. More than any big sister should ever have to do.


“I just can’t,” I said.


“Well, do you really have any other choice?” There was an edge to Natasha’s voice now. “If you don’t have a car, how are you going to work?”


“I’ll figure something out.” The words didn’t sound very convincing, even to my own ears. For the past four years, all I’d done was deliver food. I had no other marketable skills, no references, no degree.


I was a massive failure.


Tears pooled in my eyes. Natasha sighed again.


“Look,” she said, “maybe it’s time to admit you need to come up with a solid plan for your life. You’ve been in a downward spiral ever since Rob left.”


She had a point. I’d never been particularly stable, but things got a whole lot worse seven months earlier, when my live-in ex-boyfriend, Rob, had abruptly announced he was ending our three-year relationship, quitting his job, and embarking on an immersive ayahuasca retreat in the depths of the Peruvian Amazon.


“I’ve lost my way,” he’d said, his eyes bloodshot from too many hits on his vape pen. “The Divine Mother Shakti at the Temple of Eternal Light can help me find myself again.”

“What?” I’d been incredulous. “Where is this coming from?”


He’d unearthed a book from beneath a pile of dirty clothes on our bed and handed it to me—Psychedelic Healers: An Exploratory Journey of the Soul, by Shakti Rebecca Rubinstein.


“What is this?”


“It’s the book that changed my life,” he’d said. “I’m ready for deep growth. New energy.”


Then he’d moved his belongings to a storage unit off the side of the I-8, and left me to pay the full cost of our monthly rent and utilities on my paltry GrubGetter income.

I told myself this situation was only temporary, that Rob would return as soon as he realized that hallucinating in the rainforest wasn’t going to lead him to some higher consciousness. But I hadn’t heard from him since he took off on that direct flight from LAX to Lima. At this point, it was probably safe to assume he was never coming back.


Which was probably for the best. It’s not exactly like Rob was Prince Charming or anything. But being with him was better than being alone. At least I’d had someone to split the bills with.


“Honestly,” she continued, “I can’t stand to see you so miserable anymore. Happiness is a choice, Bree. Choose happy.”


Of all Natasha’s pithy sayings, “Choose happy” was the one I hated most. It was printed on the back of her business cards in faux brush lettering, silently accusing each potential client of being complicit in their own misery. If they paid her to clean out their closets, though, they could apparently experience unparalleled joy.
“That’s bullshit, and you know it.”


She scowled. “It is not.”


“It is, actually. Shitty things happen all the time and we have no choice in the matter. I didn’t choose to be too broke to fix my car. I work really hard, but this job doesn’t pay well. And I didn’t choose for Rob to abandon me to go find himself in the Amazon, either. He made that choice for us.”


I almost mentioned the shittiest thing that had ever happened to Natasha or to me, a thing neither of us had chosen. But I stopped myself before the words rolled off my lips. This evening was bad enough without rehashing the details of our mother’s death.


“Sometimes things happen to us that are beyond our control,” Natasha said, her voice infuriatingly calm. “But we can control how we react to it. Focus on what you can control. And it does no good to dwell on the past, either. Don’t look back, Bree—”


“Because that’s not where you’re going. Yes, I know. You’ve said that before.” About a thousand times.


She took a deep breath, most likely to prepare for a lengthy lecture on why it’s important to stay positive and productive in the face of adversity, but then a large tow truck lumbered onto the cul-de-sac and she got out of the car to flag him down.
Grateful for the interruption, I ditched the casserole on her dashboard and walked over to where the driver had double-parked alongside my car.


“What’s the problem?” he asked, hopping down from the cab.


“It won’t start,” I said, to which Natasha quickly followed up with, “The check engine light came on several weeks ago, but the car has not been serviced yet.”


He grunted and popped the hood, one thick filthy hand stroking his braided beard as he surveyed the engine. Another grunt, then he asked for the keys and tried to start it, only to hear the same sad click and whine as before.


“It’s not the battery.” He leaned his head out of the open door. “When was the last time you changed your timing belt?”

“Uh… I don’t know.”


Natasha shook her head and mouthed, Maintenance log! in my direction but I pretended not to see.


The driver got out and slammed the hood shut. “Well, this thing is hosed.”


“Hosed?” My heart thrummed in my chest. “What does that mean? It can’t be fixed?”


He shrugged, clearly indifferent to my crisis-in-progress. “Can’t say for sure. Your mechanic can take a closer look and let you know. Where do you want me to tow it?”

I pulled out my phone to look up the address of the mechanic near my apartment down in Pacific Beach. But Natasha answered before I could google it up.


“Just take it to Encinitas Auto Repair,” she said. “It’s on Second and F.”


“You got it,” he said, then retreated to his truck to fiddle with some chains.


Natasha avoided my gaze. Instead, she focused on calling a guy named Jerry, who presumably worked at this repair shop, and told him to expect “a really old Civic that’s in rough shape,” making sure to specify, “It’s not mine, it’s my sister’s.”


I knew she was going to pay for the repairs. It made me feel icky, taking yet another handout from my big sister. But ultimately, she was right. What other choice did I have?


The two of us stayed quiet while the driver finished hooking up my car. After he’d towed it away down the cul-desac and out of sight, Natasha turned to me. “Do you want to come over? Izzy’s got piano lessons in fifteen minutes, you can hear how good she is now.”


Even though I did miss my niece, there was nothing I wanted to do more than go home, tear off these smelly clothes, and cry in solitude. “I’ll take a rain check. Thanks again for coming to get me.”


“Of course.” She started poking at her phone screen. A moment later, she said, “Your Lyft will be here in four minutes. His name is Neil. He drives a black Sentra.” A quick kiss on my cheek and she was hustling back to her SUV.


As I watched Natasha drive away, I wished—not for the first time—that I could be more like her: competent, organized, confident enough in my choices to believe I could choose to be happy.


Sometimes I felt like she had twenty years on me, instead of only six. So maybe instead of complaining, I should’ve started taking her advice.

Excerpted from She’s Faking It by Kristin Rockaway, Copyright © 2020 by Allison
Amini. Published by Graydon House Books.

Details

Title: She’s Faking It

Author: Kristin Rockaway

Genre(s): Fiction, Chick Lit

Publisher: Graydon House

Release Date: June 30, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Blog Tour: The Last Wife #NGEW2020

Thank you to Justine Sha and Harlequin Trade Publishing for my advance copy of The Last Wife in exchange for my honest review!

The Last Wife is a tale which perfectly encapsulates the saying, “oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Marie and Nina are best friends and Marie promises Nina that she will take care of her family when she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. When Marie starts to do this things fall apart and yet come together.

Marie ends up divorcing her husband when she finds out he’s been having an affair and the other woman has fallen pregnant. It deeply hurts Marie as she has been trying for years to have a baby and failed. She takes this opportunity to move in on Stuart, Nina’s widow, and take over her family.

I did not find this to be a thriller, yet there were a few suspenseful parts to this one. A big part of this book is a trip to Ibiza where Nina, Marie, and their old friend Camilla which took place 10 years prior. Marie’s boyfriend, Charlie, died on that trip and she can’t really get over it. She blames Nina and Camilla on the death of Charlie and won’t stop until she hears what she wants to hear.

All the characters in this one are weird. There’s something a little off with all of them. Just when you think maybe Marie is the one manipulating everything the other characters do things and you just think everyone is trying to control and manipulate the situation. It’s really just a bit bizarre.

This book was not particularly for me and I thought the ending completely fell flat. I don’t want to give too much away, but Marie made it out to seem like a different situation and then suddenly in the end all is well.

3 stars.  I was engaged enough with the writing to plow through this one, but if I’m honest I didn’t really care about this one. I could take it or leave it, yet I’m sure some of you out there will love this one and eat it up…it just wasn’t my cup of tea. If you enjoyed Karen Hamilton’s previous novel The Perfect Girlfriend you will absolutely enjoy this one as well!

Details

Title: The Last Wife

Author: Karen Hamilton

Genre(s): Fiction, Suspense, Mystery

Publisher: Graydon House

Release Date: July 7, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Blog Tour: That Summer In Maine @zebriez @HarlequinBooks #NGEW2020

Thank you to Justine Sha and Harlequin Publishing for the advance reader copy of That Summer In Maine in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions. I am please to be part of this tour!!

What a beautiful novel this turned out to be! The story is told to us by Jane, Hazel’s mom, and Hazel herself. Their dynamic is interesting. Hazel is a 16 year old withdrawn teenage girl living her mom, step dad, and newborn twin brothers. She feels abandoned by her mother and Jane has no clue.

One day out of the blue Hazel gets a message with someone who claims to be her half-sister. She invites her to spend the summer in Maine with her and their father, Silas. Jane hesitantly agrees and goes on a journey within herself and realizes she’s been losing Hazel slowly.

I loved this story. I loved all the characters (even though I wanted to wring the half sister’s neck NUMEROUS times) and loved Silas. I thought there was a LOT of growth with Jane AND Hazel. Jane grew mostly from reading the diary of Susie, the mother of Eve, Hazel’s half sister. She took it upon herself to create her own diary filled with letters her daughter would probably never see to explain herself and the decisions she made. Hazel grew after she realized the life she thought she could have with blood relatives wasn’t quite what it was cracked up to be.

This book had me feeling the lake breeze while mosquitoes buzzed around in the sweet, sticky heat of the summer. I imagined myself sitting next to the fire while the girls and Silas talked. It was so easy to image the scenery, Wolfson did a remarkable job with that!

4 stars.  This is a PERFECT summer read that will have you smiling from ear to ear at the end. Sometimes we all need a happy book and this one delivers just that. You won’t be disappointed if you pick this one up to read!

Author Bio: Brianna Wolfson is a New York native living in San Francisco. Her narrative nonfiction has been featured on Medium, Upworthy and The Moth. She buys a lottery ticket every Friday.

Details

Title: That Summer In Maine

Author: Brianna Wolfson

Genre(s): Fiction, Contemporary

Publisher: MIRA

Release Date: June 23, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Paris Never Leaves You Blog Tour @StMartinsPress #EllenFeldman #WW2 #Paris #HistoricalFiction #MomsWhoRead #NGEW2020

Thank you to Leah Johanson and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour for Paris Never Leaves You! I received an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest review!

This book is told in two parts, Wartime Paris and 1950s New York. The story is told by Charlotte and we learn what it was like to live in Paris during the Nazi regime. The detail that encompasses this book was unreal and I felt like I had stepped back in time when Charlotte flashes back to those times.

She currently lives in New York with her boss. He was a friend of her father and he took her and her daughter in when they fled from France. The relationship between the two of them is delicate and unique and has you questioning it throughout the whole book. The dynamics were definitely eyebrow raising.

Parts of this book were hard to read and even though this is a work of fiction, the things this book describes absolutely took place. Sometimes it is hard to wrap your head around everything, but that’s the truth in wartime history. This will be a great story to read for those of you who enjoy World War II fiction.

I did find it hard to follow along in parts of the book as suddenly it would jump scenes without a break. Once I figured out what was happening I could get back into the reading, but it did make it a little more difficult for me. There is a romance story line, which is a little odd at first, but everything weaves together and makes much more sense in the end.

4 stars.  The tale this tells of Charlotte and her adventure to safe herself and her daughter is one that I didn’t quite see coming. As a mother, I don’t blame her in the least for what she did and I wish she saw things the same way.

Author Bio
ELLEN FELDMAN, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Terrible Virtue, The Unwitting, Next to Love, Scottsboro (shortlisted for the Orange Prize), The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank (translated into nine languages), and Lucy. Her novel Terrible Virtue was optioned by Black Bicycle for a feature film.

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Title: Paris Never Leaves You

Author: Ellen Feldman

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction, WWII

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: August 4, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Blog Tour: Sister Dear @HannahMMcKinnon @HarlequinBooks #Thriller #Mystery #PsychologicalThriller #Family #Secrets #MomsWhoRead

Thank you, thank you to Justine Sha with Harlequin Books for the opportunity to be invited to and included in this blog tour! I was presented an advance copy of Sister Dear in exchange for my honest review and opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own. Stay tuned after my review for an excerpt!

I never thought a book could have me feel all different kinds of emotions for the protagonist until I read this one. What do I mean? Here’s a list of everything I felt for Eleanor, our main character: sorry, angry, upset, crazy, happy, and my list could go on with all of these opposing emotions. What a tale Hannah Mary McKinnon takes us on and what a ride she takes us on with Eleanor!

This story is told through Eleanor. She recently loses her father, the only parent she had a relationship with. She is estranged from her mother and sister and could care less about them. When a secret comes out on her father’s death bed, her life changes.

Eleanor lives a single lifestyle, barely hanging on, and has a problem with binge eating. Her father’s death catapults her and she ends up learning even more about her mother. Her mother comes around and tries to be nice, but all she wants is for Eleanor to give any money her father left her, to her sister. Mind you, her sister didn’t even come to her father’s funeral.

Oh, did I not mention the secret that she found out? Right…well, her father wasn’t her biological father. Nope. And she found out she has a half sister. If you thought her mom and sister were drama…oh no, wait until you meet her real father and see how THAT plays out.

5 stars.  Why? Because my opinion of Eleanor changed SO MUCH throughout this book, it was unreal. The ending made me angry, but weirdly I was ok with it. I’m still angry and upset over the ending, but any other ending really could have been a little more unrealistic. This book just takes you on a wild ride and I loved every minute of it. Such a great job by the author!! You won’t regret picking this one up!

EXCERPT: Chapter 1

The police didn’t believe me.

A jury wouldn’t have, either, if I’d gone on trial, and most definitely not the judge. My attorney had more than a few reservations about my story. Ms. Allerton hadn’t said as much. She didn’t need to. I saw it in her eyes, could tell by the way she shuffled and reshuffled her papers, as if doing so might shake my lies clean off the pages, leaving only the truth behind in her inky, royal blue swirls.

After our first meeting I’d concluded she must’ve known early on—before she shook my hand with her icy fingers—that I was a liar. Before she’d walked into the room in shiny, four-inch heels, she’d no doubt decided she’d heard my excuses, or a variation thereof, from countless clients already. I was yet another person claiming to be innocent. Another criminal who’d remained adamant they’d done nothing wrong, it wasn’t their fault, honest, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary, a wall of impending doom surrounding me.

And still, at the time I’d believed the only reason Ms. Allerton had taken on my case pro-bono was because of the amount of publicity it gave her firm. Reducing my sentence—for there would be one—would amplify her legacy as a hot-shot lawyer. I’d accepted her help. There was no other option. I needed her knowledge, her expertise, saw her as my final hope. I now know her motivations were something else I’d miscalculated. All hope extinguished. Game over.

If I’m being fair, the judgements Ms. Allerton and other people had made about me weren’t completely wrong. I had told lies, some, anyway. While that stripped away part of my claim to innocence, it didn’t mean I was entirely guilty. Not of the things everybody said I’d done. Things I’d had no choice but to confess to, despite that being my biggest lie of all.

But I’ll tell you the truth. The whole truth and nothing but. I’ll start at the beginning, and share everything that happened. Every last detail leading up to one fateful night. The night someone died because of me. The night I lost you, too.

I won’t expect your forgiveness. Our relationship—or lack thereof—will have gone way beyond that point. No. All I can hope for, is that my side of the story will one day help you understand why I did the things I did.

And why I have to do the things I’ve not yet done.

Title: Sister Dear

Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon

Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Publisher: MIRA for Harlequin

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Blog Tour: This Is How I Lied @hgudenkauf @parkrowbooks @HarlequinBooks @netgalley #MomsWhoRead #SocialDistancing #QuaratineReads #ARC #BookReview #Thriller

Thank you, thank you to Justine Sha with Harlequin Books for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour! I was graced with an advanced copy of This Is How I Lied, OUT NOW, in exchange for my honest review!

This was a book I read where I kept saying to myself, “What the heck, who is lying?!?!” At first I thought the title was misleading…and then it all unraveled! Let’s dig in!

This story is told in 2 parts, 1995 and 2020. Eve Knox was murdered and discovered by her best friend, Maggie. Maggie’s dad is the police chief and is investigating the murder…except no suspects have even been apprehended. Fast forward to 2020 when a piece of evidence is discovered and Maggie, now a detective on the police force, is tasked with reopening the cold case to resubmit evidence.

Things take a turn when Nola, Eve’s sister, gets involved. I don’t want to say much because it will ruin the book, but she is a crazy, deranged person. How she has managed to stay out of any trouble, I don’t know.

What did I love about this? I had no idea where the book was going. We do find out who killed Eve, but the journey to it was a twisty one. We’re talking blackmail, cover up, scandal…oh yes. I was quite pleased with how this one all turned out. It held my attention and the back and forth from the 90s to the present day helped set the stage for what happened.

4 stars.  This book added to the suspense with every turn of the page. Toward the end it had my heart racing and my eyes moving at lightening speed because I was on the edge of my seat dying to know what was happening! This is definitely a tale where secrets come to light. Highly recommend for those of you who love thrillers…complete with a hard to predict ending! Happy reading!

Title: This Is How I Lied

Author: Heather Gudenkauf

Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller, Suspense

Publisher: Park Row

Release Date: May 12, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Blog Tour: Truths I Never Told You @KelRimmerWrites @HarlequinBooks #Q&A #5Stars #MomsWhoRead #SocialDistancing #BookReview #TruthsINeverToldYou #FamilySecrets

Thank you, thank you to Justine Sha with Harlequin Books for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour! I so greatly appreciate the advance copy of Truths I Never Told You in exchange for my honest review. Just a fair heads up, grab your tissues now!

This was a, could not put down, cried throughout the entire read, heartbreaking, mystery, pulled at all of your emotional strings book. Wow. I didn’t know this book was what I needed until I read it. It is a very emotional, touching read and I so did not expect to be so moved by this one. Wow.

This story is told in 2 parts, in the 1950s and in the 1990s. We hear from the mother, Grace, and her sister Maryanne in the 1950s and in the 1990s we hear from Beth, Grace’s daughter. As Grace’s father lays dying from heart failure and dementia, she starts to uncover their family past might not be how her and her siblings quite remember it.

Beth is going through her own hard time and as she cleans out her father’s house, she stumbles across notes that might just save her life. Beth is struggling with postpartum depression and does not feel she can open up to anyone. With her father’s failing memory she gets a few bits and pieces of what is going on with her mother and her family figures it all out.

I cried so much. I put myself in the shoes of Beth. I put myself in the shoes of Grace. I put myself in the shoes of Maryanne. I was so happy that the ending came together so nicely…and then I bawled like a baby.

5 stars.  This book was penned so beautifully. There was so much going on in the 1950s and I loved how Rimmer had 2 sisters, one following the status quo and one who went against it. This tale was penned with just enough forgiveness that made your heartbreak ok. I was so blown away by this book that I decided to go ahead and include a question and answer with Kelly Rimmer.

Q&A with Kelly Rimmer

Q: What inspired you to write Truths I Never Told You?

A: The idea behind the story started with a curiosity about post-partum depression. I heard the statistic that one in five women develop the condition after the birth of a child and I was so shocked by it. I thought to myself—given how common this is, why don’t we talk about it?

Q: Which character do you relate to the most in Truths I Never Told You?

A: Most of us feel like victims of our circumstances at some point during our lives, at least for brief periods of time. I’ve certainly felt that way before—but writing a character like Grace, who lived in time where she had very little choice over how her life unfolded, really put that feeling into perspective for me. I loved writing the character of Beth too. To me she is loyal, loving and brave—but also ultimately humble and willing to be vulnerable. Despite that, my favorite character in this book was Maryanne—she’s fierce and determined and so courageous in her pursuit of change and knowledge, and that extends to a willingness to learn harsh lessons from life itself. Although Maryanne makes some heartbreaking decisions along the way, she always remains true to her values. A groundbreaking feminist like Maryanne represents something of a bridge between Grace’s powerlessness and the easier access Beth has to a life she can control. 

Q: What message do you hope readers take away from your story?

A: I hope that the story encourages people to talk more about how difficult early motherhood can be, and to be more aware of how new mothers in their lives might be feeling isolated or struggling.

Q: Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?

A: I’m a compulsive planner – I always know exactly where the story is going to go, before I actually start writing it. I’d never finish writing a book if I tried to wing it, and I’m so impressed by writer friends who can just fly by the seat of their pants!!

Q: Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?

A: Because I plan my books, I tend not to let my characters run away with the plot too much, but the way they engage with the action and make the plots unfold sometimes surprises me.

Q: Which one of the characters in this novel was the hardest to write and why?

A: It was very difficult to put myself into Grace’s shoes. Even writing a character with depression is challenging, but trying to immerse myself in the world of a woman who was so isolated with her struggle and so unsupported by her broader community was heartbreaking. I interviewed more than a dozen women as I was researching for Grace and Beth’s stories, and I have so much admiration for them and for all women who walk a journey with postpartum depression.

Q: Which character in any of your books (Truths I Never Told You or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?

A: In my last historical fiction novel, The Things We Cannot Say, I wrote a character named Eddie, who is a seven year old boy with autism spectrum disorder. I wanted to write about a child with ASD who is both loved and loving, and who is defined by his strengths as much as his challenges. Eddie will always be a very dear character to me, and I’ve been so honored by the way readers around the world have responded to him too.

Q: What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?

A: I knew I wanted to be an author from a very early age. My dad remembers me telling him in Kindergarten that I was going to write books “when I grew up”!

Q: What does a day in the life of Kelly Rimmer look like?

A: Every day is different, especially at the moment when I’m self isolating at home and trying to school my children too!! I always try to fit in some time outside either tending to the garden or walking the trails on our property, but beyond that, it’s generally an unpredictable mix of reading, writing, teaching and cooking or cleaning.

Q: What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?

A: I try to have two manuscripts on the go at any one time. If I get really stuck, I just switch books. I also skip scenes if they aren’t coming easily. For me, finishing a draft is all about momentum – so if I hit a point in the story where I can’t quite keep the words flowing, I’ll just write around it and come back to it later.

Q: What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?

A: I still really love the way it feels to picture a story, and the challenge of trying to translate the ideas in my mind into words on the page will always thrill me. It’s taken a while for me to learn how to balance that creative side with the more pragmatic aspects to publishing. As a writer at home tapping away at your keyboard, you’re master of the story and it’s an intoxicating power – but as an author working with a whole team of people at your publisher, you have to learn how to be flexible. I’ve slowly learned that for my books to be as good as they can be, I don’t just need to endure editorial feedback, I need to learn to relish it. When I’m immersed in the story, I just can’t see the big picture the way my editors can. The author’s name goes on the spine, but the best books are the result of the work of a whole team of people at the publishing house too. 

Q: What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?

A: No word you write is ever wasted, even if it doesn’t end up in a book. Most writers I know have thrown out entire manuscripts at different points during their career. You have to learn how to okay with the idea that sometimes you’re writing just to refine your voice or to figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. You have to love storytelling enough to be willing to do it even if the manuscript is never destined to become a book.  

Q: What was the last book you read?

A:I’m currently reading (and loving) an advance copy of The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson, which will be published in late April.

Details

Title: Truths I Never Told You

Author: Kelly Rimmer

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women, Contemporary, Family Drama

Publisher: Graydon House

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Find it here on Goodreads

Blog Tour: A Wedding In December @SarahMorgan_ @HarlequinBooks #Holiday #Romance #Winter #MomsWhoRead

Welcome to my stop on the Holiday Blog Tour for Harlequin Books! I am very pleased to bring you today…A Wedding In December by Sarah Morgan!!!
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SarahMorgan.jpgAbout the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy, contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and her trademark humor and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. Described as “a magician with words” by RT Book Reviews, she has sold more than eleven million copies of her books. She was nominated three years in  succession for the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award three times: once in 2012 for Doukakis’s Apprentice, in 2013 for A Night of No Return and in 2017 for Miracle on 5 th Avenue. She also won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their Top Pick slot. As a child, Sarah dreamed of being a writer, and although she took a few interesting detours along the way, she is now living that dream. Sarah lives near London, England, with her husband and children, and when she isn’t reading or writing, she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.
About the Book:

This funny, charming and heartwarming new Christmas novel is USA TODAY bestselling
author Sarah Morgan at her festive best!

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s
whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.
Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…
Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget!

Thank you Harlequin for this awesome opportunity!!! Guys…I loved this book SO much, I’m going to do something I rarely do…I’m giving you an excerpt from this one…it hooked me in and had me turning page after page, I couldn’t put it down!!  So pardon the length of this blog today, but you’ll thank me after you take a peek!! ENJOY!

 

From Chapter One
 Maggie

When her phone rang at three in the morning, ripping her from a desperately needed sleep, Maggie’s first thought was bad news.

Her mind raced through the possibilities, starting with the worst-case scenario. Death, or at least life-changing injury. Police. Ambulances.

Heart pounding, brain foggy, she grabbed her phone from the summit of her teetering pile of books. The name on the screen offered no reassurance.

Trouble stalked her youngest daughter.

“Rosie?” She fumbled for the light and sat up. The book she’d fallen asleep reading thudded to the floor, scattering the pile of Christmas cards she’d started to write the night before. She’d chosen a winter scene of snow-laden trees. They hadn’t had a flake of snow in the village on Christmas Day for close to a decade. They often joked that it was a good thing their last name was White because it was the only way they were ever going to have a White Christmas.

She snuggled under the blanket with the phone. “Has something happened?” The physical distance between her and Rosie made her feel frustrated and helpless.

Everyone said global travel made the world smaller, but it didn’t seem smaller to Maggie. Why couldn’t her daughter have continued her studies closer to home? Oxford, with its famous spires and ancient colleges, was only a few miles away. Rosie had done her undergraduate degree there, followed by a master’s. Maggie had loved having her close by. They’d taken sunlit strolls along cobbled streets, past ancient honey-colored buildings and through Christchurch Meadows, golden with daffodils. They’d followed the slow meander of the river and cheered on the rowing crews. Maggie had hoped, privately, that her daughter might stay close by, but after Rosie had graduated she’d been offered a place in a US doctoral program, complete with full funding.

Can you believe it, Mum? The day she’d had the news she’d danced across the living room, hair flying around her face, twirling until she was dizzy and Maggie was dizzy watching her. Are you proud of me?

Maggie had been proud and dismayed in equal measure, although she’d hidden the dismayed part of course. That was what you did when you were a parent.

Even she could see it was too good an opportunity to turn down, but still a small part of her had wished Rosie had turned it down. That transatlantic flight from the nest left Maggie with email, Skype and social media, none of which felt entirely satisfactory. Even less so in the middle of the night. Had Rosie only been gone for four months? It felt like a lifetime since they’d delivered her to the airport on that sweltering summer’s day.

“Is it your asthma? Are you in hospital?” What could she do if Rosie was in the hospital? Nothing. Anxiety was a constant companion, never more so than now.

If it had been her eldest daughter, Katie, who had moved to a different country she might have felt more relaxed. Katie was reliable and sensible, but Rosie? Rosie had always been impulsive and adventurous.

“I’m not in hospital. Don’t fuss!”

Only now did Maggie hear the noise in the background. Cheering, whooping.

“Do you have your inhaler with you? You sound breathless.” The sound woke the memories. Rosie, eyes bulging, lips stained blue. The whistling sound as air struggled to squeeze through narrowed airways. Maggie making emergency calls with hands that shook almost too hard to hold the phone, the terror raw and brutal although she kept that hidden from her child. Calm, she’d learned, was important even if it was faked.

Even when Rosie had moved from child to adult there had been no reprieve.

Some children grew out of asthma. Not Rosie.

There had been a couple of occasions when Rosie was in college when she’d gone to parties without her inhaler. A few hours of dancing later and she’d been rushed to the emergency department. That had been a 3:00 a.m. phone call, too, and Maggie had raced through the night to be by her side. Those were the episodes Maggie knew about. She was sure there were plenty more that Rosie had kept to herself.

“I’m breathless because I’m excited. I’m twenty-two, Mum. When are you going to stop worrying?”

“That would be never. Your child is always your child, no matter how many candles are on the birthday cake. Where are you?”

“I’m with Dan’s family in Aspen for Thanksgiving, and I have news.” She broke off and Maggie heard the clink of glasses and Rosie’s infectious laugh. It was impossible to hear that laugh and not want to smile, too. The sound contrasted with the silence of Maggie’s bedroom.

A waft of cold air chilled her skin and she stood up and grabbed her robe from the back of the chair. Honeysuckle Cottage looked idyllic from the outside, but it was impossibly drafty. The ventilation was a relief in August but froze you to the bone in November. She really needed to do something about the insulation before she even thought about selling the place. Historic charm, climbing roses and a view of the village green couldn’t compensate for frostbite.

Or maybe it wasn’t the house that was cold. Maybe it was her.

Knocked flat by a wave of sadness and she struggled to right herself.

“What’s happening? What news? It sounds like you’re having a party.”

“Dan proposed. Literally out of the blue. We were taking it in turns to say what we’re thankful for and when it was his turn he gave me a funny look and then he got down on one knee and—Mum, we’re getting married.”

Maggie sat down hard on the edge of the bed, the freezing air forgotten. “Married? But you and Dan have only been together for a few weeks—”

“Eleven weeks, four days, six hours and fifteen minutes—oh wait, now it’s sixteen, I mean seventeen—” She was laughing, and Maggie tried to laugh with her.

How should she handle this? “That’s not very long, sweetheart.” But completely in character for Rosie, who bounced from one impulse to another, powered by enthusiasm.

“It feels so right, I can’t even tell you. And you’ll understand because it was like that for you and Dad.”

Maggie stared at the damp patch on the wall.

Tell her the truth.

Her mouth moved but she couldn’t push the words out. This was the wrong time. She should have done it months ago, but she’d been too much of a coward.

And now it was too late. She didn’t want to be the slayer of happy moments.

She couldn’t even say you’re too young, because she’d been the same age when she’d had Katie. Which basically made her a hypocrite. Or did it make her someone with experience?

“You just started your postgrad—”

“I’m not giving it up. I can be married and study. Plenty do it.”

Maggie couldn’t argue with that. “I’m happy for you.” Did she sound happy? She tried harder. “Woohoo!”

She’d thought she’d white-knuckled her way through all the toughest parts of parenting, but it turned out there were still some surprises waiting for her. Rosie wasn’t a child anymore. She had to be allowed to make her own decisions. And her own mistakes.

Rosie was talking again. “I know it’s all a bit fast, but you’re going to love Dan as much as I do. You said you thought he was great when you spoke to him.”

But speaking to someone on a video call wasn’t the same as meeting them in person, was it?

Maggie swallowed down all the words of warning that rose up inside her. She was not going to turn into her own mother and send clouds to darken every bright moment. “He seemed charming, and I’m thrilled for you. If I don’t sound it, it’s because it’s the middle of the night here, and you know what I’m like when I’ve just woken up. When I saw your name pop up on the screen, I was worried it was your asthma.”

“Haven’t had an attack in ages. I’m sorry I woke you, but I wanted to share my news.”

“I’m glad you woke me. Tell me everything.” She closed her eyes and tried to pretend her daughter was in the room with her, and not thousands of miles away.

There was no reason to panic. It was an engagement, that was all. There was plenty of time for them to decide if this was the right thing for them. “We’ll have a big celebration when you and your sister are here for Christmas. Would Dan like to join us? I can’t wait to meet him. Maybe we’ll throw a party. Invite the Baxters, and all your friends from college and school.” Planning lifted Maggie’s mood. Christmas was her favorite time of year, the one occasion the whole family gathered together. Even Katie, with her busy life as a doctor, usually managed to beg and barter a few days at Christmas in exchange for covering the busy New Year shift. Maggie was looking forward to spending time with her. She had a niggling suspicion her eldest daughter was avoiding her. Every time Maggie suggested meeting up, Katie made an excuse, which was unlike her because she rarely refused a free lunch.

Christmas would give her a chance to dig a little deeper.

In her opinion, Oxford was the perfect place to spend the festive season. True, there was unlikely to be snow, but what was better than a postlunch walk listening to the peal of bells on a crisp, cold winter’s day?

It promised to be perfect, apart from one complication.

Nick.

Maggie still hadn’t figured out how she was going to handle that side of things.

Maybe an engagement was exactly what they needed to shift the focus of attention.

“Christmas is one of the things I need to talk to you about.” Rosie sounded hesitant. “I planned to come home, but since Dan proposed—well, we don’t see the point in waiting. We’ve chosen the day. We’re getting married on Christmas Eve.”

Maggie frowned. “You mean next year?”

“No, this year.”

She counted the days and her brain almost exploded. “You want to get married in less than four weeks? To a man you barely know?” Rosie had always been impulsive, but this wasn’t a soft toy that would be abandoned after a few days, or a dress that would turn out to be not quite the right color. Marriage wasn’t something that could be rectified with a refund. There was no reason for haste, unless—“Sweetie—”

“I know what you’re thinking, and it isn’t that. I’m not pregnant! We’re getting married because we’re in love. I adore him. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.”

You barely know him.

Maggie shifted, uncomfortably aware that knowing someone well didn’t inoculate you against problems.

“I’m excited for you!” Turned out she could fake excitement as convincingly as she could fake calm. 
Excerpted from A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan. Copyright © 2019 by Sarah Morgan. Published by HQN Books.