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review 2019-01-11 23:45
The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
The Year We Turned Forty: A Novel - Lisa Steinke,Liz Fenton

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really enjoyed this story. I found that this book grabbed my interest right from the start and was a rather solid read until the very end. I found that I wanted the best for these three women and hoped that the choices that they were making would work out for them. I wondered what I would do if I were thrust into the same situation that they were presented with and still haven't decided on an answer. 

Jesse, Claire, and Gabriela have been best friends for years and have always celebrated their birthdays together. The celebration for their fortieth birthday was one of the more memorable parties since it ended with Jesse going into labor with her son, Lucas. Fast forward ten years and the trio is celebrating their fiftieth in Las Vegas where they are given the chance to go back and relive the year they turned forty. 

I loved the concept behind this story. Who doesn't have things in their past that they would love to go back and change? I know I could compile a rather long list of things I wish I had done differently without a problem. These three ladies all of have major things that they want to change. Jesse wants to save her marriage, which fell apart after the birth of her son. Gabriela wants to have a baby. Claire wants to save her mother who died from cancer that year. The changes that they are making create such an impact that other unexpected changes start occurring and they have no idea how to handle everything.

I liked these three characters. They were all flawed and made some pretty big mistakes in their lives. I found Jesse and Claire to be my favorites of the group. Gabriela was so focused on her single goal of having a baby that she pushed everything else aside. Jesse wasn't able to change the biggest obstacle to saving her marriage but she could change how she handled things. I wasn't always happy with the choices she was making but I understood why she made them. Claire had a lot to deal with and I understood her desperation to save her mother and improve her relationship with her daughter. 

This was my first experience listening to Lisa Larsen's narration but I think she was a great choice for this story. She was able to capture these three characters along with all of the emotions that they were experiencing. I found her voice to be very pleasant and I had no problems listening to her for hours at a time.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a thought-provoking story of three friends trying to repair some of the mistakes in their lives. There were no easy fixes in this story and all of the changes they accomplished took a lot of hard work. I wouldn't hesitate to read more from this talented writing pair in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. 

Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this story. This book takes a look at three friends who get the opportunity at age 50 to go back 10 years and try to do things differently. It was a rather interesting plot that made me wonder if I would have made the same decision in their place. Of course, there are things in my life I wish I could change but if I did where would I be right now? Their 40th year was memorable, to say the least, and it was interesting to see how many things changed often unexpectedly. I thought that the narrator did a great job with the story and added to my overall enjoyment of the book.

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review 2019-01-07 12:41
The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry
The Girl I Used to Be - April Henry

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this was really good. I have had this book for years but it somehow got lost in my pile at some point. I am glad that I decided to dust it off and give it a try because it turned out to be quite an enjoyable read. This was my first experience with April Henry's writing and I am rather impressed. This was a really fast read and I loved the fact that the mystery kept me guessing until the very end. I found this to be an overall enjoyable read. 

Olivia is a seventeen-year-old living on her own as an emancipated minor. She has spent years in the foster care system before going out on her own. Her life wasn't always like this. She had a family until her mother was killed when she was only three years old. She then lived with her grandmother until her death a few years later. Everyone always assumed that her father killed her mother since he hasn't been seen since that fateful day so many years ago. Oh, and her name was Ariel back then but that was really a lifetime ago. When new evidence that proves her father could not have been the killer, everything Olivia thought she knew is called into question.

I was really curious about what really happened to Olivia's parents. Olivia/Ariel was there that day but she was so young that she just doesn't remember. It was really interesting to watch her try to piece everything back together and figure out what really happened. There were so many possibilities and I never knew which way things would end up going. I have to admit that I didn't figure it out until everything was revealed which is just how I like it to go. There was a lot of excitement towards the end of the book and things were rather intense for a while but I was pretty satisfied with how everything was resolved. 

I liked Olivia/Ariel. Considering everything that she has been through, she really has a lot to be proud of. She is a hard worker and is completely self-reliant. She was very focused on her task in this story and wouldn't let herself be distracted by romance, even though there is a touch of that in this story. I really liked how she was with Nora, the older woman that used to live next door to her grandmother. 

I would recommend this book to others. I found it to be a fast-paced mystery that kept me guessing. This was the kind of book that can really hard to put down. I look forward to reading more of April Henry's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. I really liked that this was a pretty fast moving story. I found the mystery to be very engaging. I liked Olivia/Ariel and thought that the way her past was described made her a bit easier to sympathize with. This was the first time that I have read any of April Henry's work and I really enjoyed her writing. 

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review 2018-12-30 14:18
Wild Ways by Tina Wainscott
Wild Ways - Tina Wainscott

This review can also be found at Pure Textuality PR.

This was a rather exciting romance. I have had a copy of this book for review for years and just never seemed to fit it into my reading schedule. I am glad I decided to finally pick it up because I ended up having a lot of fun with it. This is the second book in the Justiss Alliance series but I thought it worked great as a stand-alone. It was a pretty quick story that was filled with a lot of action. I didn’t want to put this book down once I started reading.

Mollie is trying to find her sister who has gone off with a motorcycle gang. Mollie fears that her sister is in danger and she will do whatever is necessary to bring her back to safety. Julian is a SEAL that just recently left active duty and is trying to adjust to life as a civilian. Julian crosses paths with Mollie outside of a biker bar and he knows immediately that she is in over her head so he decides to help.

This book is pretty exciting from the start. There are motorcycle chases, shootouts, and even some undercover operations worked into the story. I liked the fact that I was never sure what would happen next and there were some real surprises that popped up from time to time. The mystery was pretty complex and the group that they were up against was pretty brutal which only added to the excitement. There were times during the story that I couldn’t help but cringe at Mollie’s behavior since she was putting herself in a lot of danger when there was probably a better way to handle the situation.

I liked Mollie and Julian and thought that they worked well together. They had a lot of chemistry from the very start. Mollie was very loyal to her sister and family and had sacrificed a lot to try to find her sister. Julian felt compelled to keep Mollie safe and it really seemed like he could do just about anything. I thought that they made a great team together.

I would recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense. This was an exciting story with some pretty great characters. I thought that the book had a great combination of action and more tender scenes. I am pretty satisfied with the way everything worked out and wouldn’t hesitate to read more from Tina Wainscott.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Loveswept via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
There was quite a bit of action in this book really from the very start. I liked Mollie and Julian right away and thought that they had excellent chemistry. Julian was wonderful and seemed to be able to do just about anything. There were a few times that it seemed like Mollie was putting herself in bad positions when maybe things could have been solved in a much better way. I was pretty satisfied with how everything worked out in the end.

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review 2018-12-25 02:12
Cold Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
Cold Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a fantastic addition to the series! This is a series that really needs to be read in order since each book builds on the events from the previous installments. I have really been enjoying myself over the past couple of months as I have been working my way through the series and I am happy to report that this book was just as good as I had hoped it would be.

Cara Lindstrom has been captured and is awaiting trial but her story is far from over. Agent Roarke is drawn to Cara and can't seem to stay away from her even though he knows that he should. Despite the fact that the team knows that Cara is responsible for a lot of deaths, they have only one case to move forward with which hinges on the testimony of a teenage sex worker. When their witness goes missing, a string of events begins that brings a lot of things into question.

This was a story that hooked me from the very beginning. I wondered where the story would go since Cara was in custody but I had nothing to worry about because Roake and the other agents had plenty on their agenda. I like the fact that this book really made me question who the criminals really were. Cara has committed crimes but the victims of her crimes are not innocents. All of the characters felt very authentic complete with their own unique set of flaws.

R.C. Bray does a fantastic job with this series. He does a great job with a large cast of varied characters. I think that his voice is really perfect for this type of book and I found that his delivery added to the excitement of the story. I found it very easy to listen to this book for hours at a time.

I would recommend this series to others. It is an exciting series with great characters and an exciting mystery. I think that the profiling aspect of the story is extremely well done. I can't wait to get started on the next installment in this series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
This was a fantastic installment in the series. This is a series that really does need to be read in order since this book picks up just after the events of the previous books. Cara is in jail but Roarke is unable to feel like things are truly resolved. There are a few developments that put everything in question and soon Roarke and his team are trying to figure out what the killer's next step will be. This book will make you question who the bad guy really is. R.C. Bray did a fantastic job with the narration. I cannot wait to move on to the next book in the series.

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review 2018-12-05 02:29
My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis
My Kind of Wonderful - Jill Shalvis
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a fantastic time with this romance. I pulled this book from my virtual stack of past due review books. It was a great book so I have no idea why I waited so long to pick it up and read it. Of course, I have yet to read a Jill Shalvis book that I didn't like so it really is no surprise that I liked this one as much as I did. This is the second book in the Cedar Ridge series but it is easily read as a stand-alone novel.

Hud takes his responsibilities very seriously. He takes care of his mother and accepts all of the blame for his brother leaving town. He is very dedicated to his work and seems to be on the clock all the time. He wants no part of the mural for the resort that his mother has arranged. Bailey is ready to embrace life and do all of the things she has had to put off for so long. The first thing on her list that she wants to complete is the mural for the ski resort.

The characters in this book were great. Bailey has been through a lot but still has a very positive attitude and is looking forward to her future. Hudson is an incredibly hard worker who is dedicated to his family and doing what is right. Hudson has a large family that also work at the ski resort that played a big part of this story and were all a lot of fun. Bailey's loved ones wanted to protect her and keep her safe even though they didn't always seem to completely support her choices. 

I loved Hud and Bailey together. The chemistry between them was amazing and I felt like these two really needed each other. Hudson saw Bailey as more than her illness and helped to give her back the sense of normal that she needed. Bailey added the balance to Hudson's life that he didn't realize he needed. I felt like both of these characters came alive every time they were together and I couldn't help but cheer them on towards their happily ever after.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This was a story filled with great chemistry, touching moments, and a lot of hope. I can't wait to read more from Jill Shalvis!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing).

Initial Thoughts
I pulled this book from my virtual stack of past due arcs. Why didn't I read this book years ago? It was great so I have no excuses. I read the first and third books in the series back when they were being published so skipping this one really made no sense. I love Hudson and Bailey together. The whole Kincaid family was great and I never felt like I was missing anything even though I remember very little from the other books in the series. These two had so much in common and their chemistry was off the charts. They have both been through so much and I was thrilled to see them find their happily ever after together. 

 

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