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review 2018-08-23 17:00
'Lies' is an addictive read, one with a family man as the lead character, a much-needed different perspective in this saturated genre
Lies - T.M. Logan

This was a hard one to put down, I'll be honest, even if I didn't rush to pick it up because of it being yet another psychological thriller in my hands. Immediately though, the story of Joe Lynch, English teacher, and devoted father and husband, drew me in very quickly.

 

Joe's drive home one evening with his 4-year old son William, takes a nasty turn and sets the whole book's plot in motion, when he sees his wife's car pulling into a hotel parking lot. It seems his wife Mel is meeting with another man and hiding behind a web of lies, and soon enough, Joe is pulled into a game of 'cat-and-mouse' with this man that is set to destroy everything he knows and loves.

 

From the very beginning this is an addictive read, with the action and twists never letting up from page one until the book ends, something that is vital for a successful psychological thriller. Since this is such a saturated genre (hence my earlier comment, not that I'm actually really complaining about so many thrillers), it's necessary to bring something fresh to the table.

 

Debut author T.M. Logan does several things to make this book different from the 'rest of the pack'. Perhaps drawing from what he knows best, Logan gives us a male lead over the stereotypical and usual neurotic and crazed young single female. Not only is our protagonist a family man he's deeply committed to nurturing his preschooler, is deeply aware of his environment, but he has a 'humble' teaching job and lets his wife take the job lead in the household, not minding that his wife is pursuing her career ambitions. Joe is the one who is the parenting heavyweight, and it really made a change to see this, and also write his character in a way that didn't seem contrived. 

A few other things that I appreciated: not having yet another thriller with alternating perspectives or voices (this has been done to death lately), especially since I'd like to focus on one unreliable narrator at a time. Writing one voice at a time is often the best way to dig into the mind of a character and this is where 'Lies' is successful'; Logan really gets us into the mind of Joe so well that it's hard to get out of it. No wonder his character gets so little sleep (like myself).

Technology, like computers and cell phones, plays a vital role in this novel, and the way it's used is done so cleverly that, like all books written in this day and age, makes it especially current, and since these things permeate all our lives, there's no wonder they're good fodder for literary weaponry. They certainly leaves us feeling vulnerable and with a sense of constant uncertainty.

My biggest complaint about the book is the relationship Joe has with his wife, Mel, and her character, but since Joe finds he is surrounded by lies (surprise!), and nobody can be relied upon, it's hard to like many people in his life.
I can't give too much more away about anything but Logan weaves all the lies and twists fantastically throughout this novel, and the ending really is a turn that the reader won't expect at all. I'm mostly curious to hear what other people think about it, but I can't talk about it, because I'm spoiler-free girl! You'll have to read it yourself to see what I mean!
Super clever read by another new author. Hope there's more from T.M. Logan.

*Thank you to St. Martin's Press for my early copy of this book for review.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/37638234-lies
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review 2018-07-17 18:34
’Baby Teeth’ has a lot of bite and is not so sweet BUT it’s ‘un-put-down-able’
Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage

This amazingly creepy story from debut author Zoje Stage has got a lot of bite. The ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ complex takes center stage as Hanna, a seven-year old (supposedly) mute girl plays nice-nice in her father Alex’s company, but when she is the company of her mother Suzette, she just about unleashes horns on her head and a devil’s tail.


I’m exaggerating a little bit: there are no supernatural horns or tails although it’s way to easy to imagine them on this devil child that Zoje has so well-written for this novel. And somehow Hanna only manages to talk, now suddenly in French, just in her mom’s company, never so her dad can hear.


For years, Suzette has had to sacrifice her career by staying at home to homeschool Hanna, as she has been thrown out of preschools for bizarre and nasty behavior, but it’s behavior that her parents felt she would grow out of, and that once she was school-age, she could be handled better by an elementary school. Suzette also struggles with Crohn’s disease, which often keeps her bedridden and very ill, but it’s something that Hanna only has so much patience for but luckily her husband Alex has been sensitive to over the years.
Hanna persists in showing only one side to her father, who is Swedish to a fault, following Swedish holidays and traditions, which is something Hanna loves, including the special names Alex gives her, like Lilla Gumman, and she delights in little things like jumping in this lap and bedtime stories, shows of affection she reserves only for her father.
Alex and Suzette have not ignored Hanna’s lack of speech and antisocial behavior over the years though; they’ve taken her to specialists and had tests done, MRIs and other scans but there are no medical reasons for these behaviors. The answers start to become clearer especially to Suzette, as the behaviors become more pronounced; she questions herself, her parenting, whether Hanna is possessed, but she starts to realize this is just Hanna.


Reading Hanna’s side of it (as the novel goes -effectively - back and forth between what is going on for Hanna and Suzette, as if they are making an argument for their case) is just so incredibly disturbing. As she makes ‘plans’ for things she is about to do, and as she reasons ‘why she should’ do things, you’re allowed to see inside a very sad and twisted mind. As the book progresses so does her negativity towards her mother, and her need to push her mom out of the way to get closer to her father becomes greater.


The methods she does it by made me literally gasp out loud and sent my own child running (with questions for me), so that’s a good sign for me when it comes to a book.
In terms of how Suzette and Alex were able to handle Hanna: I will say that if you’re not a parent, you may have the view that it would have been easy to think ‘call the police’, or do certain other drastic things at times, but once you’re a parent, your perspective changes. You try everything else first. You want to try and help your child and do what you can, or you don’t believe they’re doing these behaviors. Your love for your child makes you run through all other avenues of help first, or in Alex’s case, stay in denial or in oblivion.


For many readers, this book may have gone too far; I know of many reviewers who passed on it because of the subject material, and it wasn’t for them. But it was totally right for me. I had been waiting for a book to be this daring for a while, and if it turns some people away, then you’ve at least elicited a visceral reaction to your work, whatever it is. In this case, it was because it was something that was going to make them feel uncomfortable or scared. I’d read that some people also got the wrong idea about the book, that it contained sexual abuse: it’s a shame people jump to conclusions before they actually have any real information.
Even if I didn’t know that the author Zoje used to work in film (as I also did) I probably could’ve guessed, as this would hold up so incredibly well as a movie; I had so many scenes in my head when I was reading this! Pure magic for the camera. Especially with the right Hanna.
The characters were so fascinating, and well-written, and I loved all the little bits about Sweden, Zoje did a fine job making these characters unique, especially for a thriller in a crowded genre. But then again, the whole book is unique, right down to the crushed lollipop on the front of the book.


And since at the center of this book is the ‘Daddy’s Little Girl/Electra’ complex, I found this fascinating. I don’t think I’ve seen a book personally written about this to this degree. It made Alex so blind to his daughter’s behavior, although it also made me question whether the ending was realistic.
The ending did kind of peter out a bit but I was satisfied with it; overall the book was such a page-turner, and kept me so enthralled, it was thoroughly ‘unputdownable’. I want more of this from Zoje!


*Warning: it might make some people question whether they want a ‘Little Girl to spoil’ after reading.

**Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my early copy! 

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review 2018-04-03 06:40
Heat
The Wicked Billionaire: A Billionaire SEAL Romance (The Tate Brothers) - Jackie Ashenden

This is book #2, in the Tate Brothers series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this amazing series in order.

 

Lucas wants to keep Grace safe.  If there is anyone who can do this, he can.  Since they already have a history of tragedy between them he feels it prudent to keep his distance from her emotionally.

 

Grace knows that Lucas the means and training to keep her safe physically.  What about her heart?  She has already known tragedy and loss.  Is it wise to find herself attracted to the same type of man again?

 

This book moves at a fast pace.  I like the growing tension and how it is laid out.  The characters clash and the temperature rises.  Makes for a sexy slow burn, but they belong together.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only, by Netgalley and its publishers.

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text 2017-08-09 08:05
Virtual Tour - Leave The Night On
  
 
Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge--
life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .
 
 
 
LEAVE THE NIGHT ON
Cottonbloom #4
Laura Trentham
Releasing Aug 1, 2017
St. Martin's Press
 
 
Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge--life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiance's classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton's whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton's shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage--and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she's got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?
 


 
 
 

Jackson grabbed Wyatt's arm and forced him around. “You like her.”

 

Everyone likes her. She’s nice.”

 

I mean, you like like her. You have since we were kids—I’ve not forgotten how you walked around with cow eyes around her—and that kiss out front wasn’t pretend. You two nearly melted the asphalt.”

 

Jackson’s twin powers had veered sharply annoying. “I maybe, sort of like her. What’s wrong with that? She’s single; I’m single.”

 

She’s been single for less than a week. She’s using you.”

 

I’m using her too. In return for me squiring her around, she’s going to get her judge daddy to talk up the garage at the country club. Send some more projects our way to make up for the Camaro.”

 

That kiss was all a selfless act for the garage?” Jackson’s sarcasm was not appreciated.

 

Wyatt had to look away from his brother’s gaze which prompted a muttered curse from Jackson.

 

Do not fall for this woman, Wyatt. Whether she means to or not, she’s going to rip your heart into little pieces and feed it to the gators before she goes back to her old life.”

 

We’re not getting serious. In fact, we agreed that after I take her to the gala, it’s over.”

 

Jackson didn’t look pleased with the news. He looked worried. “As long as you don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s anything more than that. She’ll be back with Tarwater or someone like him by Christmas.”

 

Because the thought had already burrowed into his chest, Wyatt’s reaction was knee-jerk and defensive. “Someone like him?”

 

You know, sophisticated. Worldly. Rich. Well-connected. Well-groomed.”

 

Eff you,” Wyatt shot back, but there was little heat to it.


Jackson was right. “I’ve been told I clean up real nice.”

 

Jackson’s smile revealed his dimples. A rare sight since their pop had died last year. “Doesn’t count if it’s from a female relative over the age of sixty.”

 

 

 

 
 
An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.
 
 
She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.
 

 
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text 2017-05-29 08:05
Virtual Tour - Black Tie Optional
  
 
 The Proposal meets Two Weeks Notice in Ann Marie Walker's 
new standalone romantic comedy, Black Tie Optional!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BLACK TIE OPTIONAL
Wild Wedding #1
Ann Marie Walker
Releasing May 30, 2017
St. Martin's Press
 

 

The Proposal meets Two Weeks Notice in Ann Marie Walker's new standalone romantic comedy, Black Tie Optional, which New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst calls, "a fun, sexy romp that will keep every reader entertained!"

Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips - on the surface he’s pure perfection.
 
Too bad he's an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time.
 
Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.
 
So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Chapter One

 

 

Just like clockwork, Olivia thought. She watched the gas-guzzling SUV roll to a stop alongside the curb, its hazard lights blinking as if some sort of justification for bringing a full lane of Chicago’s morning rush hour to a grinding halt. Every day the sleek black car stopped in exactly the same location so the almighty Coleman Grant III could get the same extra hot, double shot Americano from the same big-chain coffee shop, bypassing the smaller, neighborhood establishments trying to stay afloat as corporate America runs them into the ground.

 

 

A mountain of a man in mirrored aviator shades jumped out of the front seat to open the rear door, giving Olivia a clear view of the luxury vehicle’s interior. Two leather captain’s chairs with fold down keyboards and armrest tablet holders sat facing several television monitors mounted above what appeared to be a full-service bar. Forget running a business, it looked as though Coleman Grant ran NASA from his back seat. Honestly, what could possibly be so important that it couldn’t keep until he got to the office? The commute from his Gold Coast penthouse to his Loop headquarters was less than two miles. Hadn’t the guy ever heard of just chilling out with some tunes?

 

 

Olivia approached the car just as Grant climbed out of the back seat. He paused to button the jacket of his navy blue Tom Ford and for a moment she forgot he was an arrogant, self-righteous prick hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time. For a moment, she allowed herself to take in the physical perfection standing in front of her. From his dark wavy hair that stood in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that seared her skin, to his full, sensual lips - everything about Coleman Grant oozed power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart-stopping, gasping-for-air-after-you’ve-screamed-so-loud-you-can’t-breathe kind. But then his eyes narrowed and his lips curved into a knowing smirk and Olivia remembered exactly who she was dealing with.

 

 

“Mr. Grant,” she began.

 

 

The bodyguard moved to step between them but Grant waved him off. “Ms. Ramsey, what a surprise,” he said, not at all surprised since this was the eighty-third day in a row she had approached him. Not that it mattered. She had no plans to stop these sidewalk sessions until he either agreed to her demands or filed for a restraining order.

 

 

He made his way toward the coffee shop with Olivia tight on his heels. “You know, most people simply make an appointment with my assistant.”

 

 

“I’ve tried that, Mr. Grant. But for some reason your schedule is always full.”

 

 

“Pity,” he said, his voice void of all emotion. When he reached the glass doors, he yanked one open. “Please, after you.”

 

 

Bastard. Normally he charged in like he owned the place, never mind if she or anyone else got a face full of door. How dare he try to throw her off her game by acting chivalrous. As if the man had a courteous bone in his body. Olivia stood frozen in place, debating how best to handle this latest twist in their balance of power. As she did, Cole’s gaze raked her from head to toe, from her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.

 

 

She hated to admit it, but the scrutiny of his gaze was unnerving. And it wasn’t just the laser like focus. There was something about his expression, as if he wasn’t looking at her fully clothed in a shop brimming with customers, but rather undressing her with his eyes. She shifted in place, debating if she should call him out for his piggish behavior or simply stick to the topic at hand.

 

 

“Suit yourself,” he finally said, stepping through the doors and leaving her alone on the sidewalk.

 

 

Not so fast. She took a deep breath and joined him at the service counter. “Mr. Grant, as I’m sure you’re aware, the northern long-eared bat was recently granted protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.”

 

 

“Rather difficult to forget given your daily reminders. Although I must say, Ms. Ramsey, you disappoint me. No visual aids today?” He turned away from the counter with his extra hot, double shot Americano to find Olivia standing behind him with an 8 x 10 glossy in her hand. “Ah, it seems I spoke too soon.”

 

 

“This particular species of bat has been the most impacted by white-nose syndrome and the resulting decline in their numbers is what—”

 

 

“Those really are the most vile creatures,” Grant interrupted. “Have you ever considered taking up the cause of a more appealing animal, say a manatee?”

 

 

“There aren’t any manatees in Lake Michigan.”

 

 

“Precisely.” He smirked. “Perhaps you could move? I’m sure you could find some poor, unsuspecting Floridians worthy of your attention.” He raised his left hand and for the first time Olivia realized he was holding a second cup. He thrust it in her direction and without thinking she took it, dropping the photograph as she did. “You seem like the type who would order your latte with a hundred and one specifications, but hopefully skinny vanilla will do.”

 

 

Olivia blinked. He bought her a coffee? What the actual fuck? Did he really think he could charm his way out of the hot seat? She had spent her entire adult life and most of her teens speaking on behalf of those who couldn’t. It was going to take a lot more than a few random acts of fabricated kindness to get her off his back.

 

 

She was about to tell him not only where he could stick his latte but how in her twenty-eight years on earth she’d never ordered a “skinny” anything, when he turned toward the door. She bent to scoop up the photo then hurried after him, fast talking her case all the way to the curb where his bodyguard stood waiting with the door already open. As usual, Grant didn’t say a word, much less defend his stance. Instead he simply flashed a grin that would have made her drop her latte, not to mention her panties, if she didn’t find him to be lacking in not only morals and ethics but quite possibly a soul.

 

 

He gave her a quick nod before ducking into the car. “Until tomorrow, Ms. Ramsey.”

 

 

With that, the door slammed shut and the SUV pulled into traffic to the sound of protesting horns.

 

 

“Asshole,” Olivia muttered under her breath. “Gorgeous asshole, but still.” She turned on her heel and started down the street with her head held high. Coleman Grant III might have been trying to make a mockery of her attempts to persuade him, but their standoff was far from over. A slow grin curved her lips as an idea began to take shape. She’d just pulled her smartphone out to send herself a reminder when it began to vibrate in her hand.

 

 

“Are you bringing your swimsuit?” her best friend asked before Olivia had even managed a hello.

 

 

“To the desert? You’re joking, right?”

 

 

“I wasn’t sure.”

 

 

“Cassie, I know you’ve had your head buried in cookbooks for the past few years but surely you can remember how a vacation works…lounge chairs, suntan oil, blended drinks with tiny umbrellas that make you say ridiculously inappropriate things to cabana boys.”

 

 

“I have never said anything inappropriate to a cabana boy. And that’s sexist by the way.”

 

 

“Cabana person?” Olivia laughed at her own joke. “I’m playing. But you’ve got to lighten up a bit. We’re headed to Vegas, Sin City, what happens there stays there and all that.”

 

 

“You sound like a tourism ad.”

 

 

“All I’m saying is you better be ready to party Hangover style.”

 

 

Cassie snorted. “Yeah, cause that worked out so well for them.”

 

 

“I promise I won’t leave you stranded on a hotel roof.”

 

 

“This is a bad idea. I should be staying here and looking for a job.”

 

 

“You’re the sister of the groom. You can’t very well ditch out on the bachelor/bachelorette festivities. Besides, if I can break my ‘Harass Coleman Grant’ streak for a few days, then you can certainly give the stand mixer a rest.”

 

 

“How’s that going by the way?”

 

 

Olivia groaned. “New day, same story. ”

 

 

“Maybe it’s time to—”

 

 

“Move on? No way.” While it was true that working freelance allowed Olivia a certain amount of latitude, she prided herself on never giving up. There was no way Coleman Grant was going to blemish her perfect record. “I’ll just have to double my efforts.”

 

 

Cassie laughed. “I’m actually starting to feel sorry for the guy.”

 

 

“Don’t be fooled by the looks. He might be hotter than Ryan Reynolds and Ian Somerhalder combined, but underneath that perfect exterior beats the heart of an ogre.”

 

 

“Sounds like someone has wet panties.”

 

 

“Why Cassandra Miller, is that smutty talk I hear coming out of your mouth? There may be hope for you yet.”

 

 

“Don’t change the subject. You’ve got the hots for this guy.”

 

“Hardly. He’s eye candy all right, but he’s also a spoiled, self-centered asshole who think it’s his way or the highway. Not this time though.” Olivia nodded to herself. One way or another he was going to give in to her demands. Coleman Grant III had finally met his match. He just didn’t know it yet.

 

 

 
 
 
 
Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She's a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it's December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.
 
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