Review – Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

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Synopsis
Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he’s met his match in Lara McKenzie—a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.

An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case—the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading—could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one. Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.

She’ll do anything to prove he’s guilty. He’ll do anything to prove he’s not. But it’s only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now, taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It’s become a pleasure—and there’s more at risk than she ever dreamed.

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I really enjoyed it!

I was a little nervous about going into this book because most of the time, the millionaire trope doesn’t appeal to me. Ian was different though. He worked so hard for everything that he had and he also gave back. It’s clear that the money didn’t ruin who he really was as a person. I loved Ian’s character and he showed a lot of growth during this book. I loved Lara’s character as well. Both Ian and Lara worked hard to get to where they were. Even with all of their differences in social status, they couldn’t have been more perfect for each other. Their chemistry was sizzling!

I also really loved all of the side characters. A lot of times, side characters can just blend in with each other and don’t stand out. That wasn’t the case in this book though. Kate, Matt, Kennedy, and Sabrina all had unique personalities and I enjoyed getting to know each of them during this book. I’m really excited to see that Matt and Sabrina’s book is up next, and can’t wait to read that one!

*I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Review – Verity by Colleen Hoover

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Synopsis
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

What in the world did I just read? I’m still trying to process everything so I’m sure this review isn’t even going to make much sense.

I’ve seen people all over my different social medias talking about how messed up and creepy this book was. Even with all of that, all of the shock, all of the confusion, I don’t think I was fully prepared for how creepy and disturbing this book was. My mouth dropped open in shock countless times. I was horrified, disgusted, angry, nauseous…but I couldn’t stop reading. My paranoia grew with Lowen’s throughout the book. She knew something was off but wasn’t able to prove it. She felt like she was imagining things and going crazy. Just…wow.

I didn’t see the twist at the end coming at all. I broke out in goosebumps and shivers and questioned everything I had read up until that point. What’s real? What’s fake? Heck, was any of it real? 

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Review – Natural Thorn Killer by Kate Dyer-Seeley

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Synopsis
Cut down among the flowers . . .

Britta Johnston might be a late bloomer, but after leaving her deadbeat husband and dead-end job, she’s finally pursuing her artistic passion at her aunt Elin’s floral boutique, Blooma, in Portland, Oregon. It’s on the banks of the Willamette, in a quaint district of cobblestone paths and cherry trees. The wine bar featuring Pacific Northwest vintages is a tasty bonus, offering another kind of bouquet to enjoy. But things aren’t as peaceful as they look.

For one thing, someone’s been leaving dead roses around–and a sleazy real estate developer who wants the waterfront property has put a big-money offer on the table. Then, after a contentious meeting of local business owners, he’s found on the floor of the shop, with Elin’s garden shears planted in his chest. And before the police decide to pin the crime on her beloved aunt, Britta will have to find out who arranged this murder . . .

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

This is the first book that I’ve read by this author and I absolutely loved it!

I really liked the main character Britta. My heart broke for her as she discovered that her husband had cheated on her. I admired her for taking a step for herself and moving to Portland to help her aunt run Blomma. Britta’s Aunt Elin is another character I really enjoyed. We got to see their relationship really develop over the course of the book and it was so refreshing and heartwarming to see how close they are and how much they love each other.

The mystery in this book is written very well. There are plenty of suspects to choose from, including some of Elin’s closest friends. It was interesting having suspects that were so close to Elin. It made you take a closer look at them and wonder if they were capable of murder.

I don’t usually like romance in cozy mysteries, especially if it overpowers the mystery element of the story, but the budding romance between Britta and Pete in this book was really subtle and sweet. Pete is a very likable character so I warmed up to him pretty quickly. I enjoyed his interactions with Britta and it’s clear that they have a lot of chemistry together. I’m interested in seeing where things go with them in the future.

I loved the village setting in this story. It created such a warm and inviting feel. It sounds like someplace you could just get lost in, wandering from shop to shop. One of my favorite things about the village is that the shop owners work together, support each other, and trade goods instead of exchanging money for products. I liked getting to know the shop owners. Mark and Nora are my favorites. Tomo is another favorite character of mine.

I learned so much about flowers while reading this book. It gave me a new appreciation for florists and all that they do for their clients. I really enjoyed seeing the time, effort, and dedication that Elin and Britta took in creating something special and unique for their clients. They took pride in their work and with good reason.

I’m already looking forward to reading the next book in this series and hope there are many more to come!

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(also writes under the name Ellie Alexander)
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For the Love of Books – Jan 2019

For the Love of Books is a monthly feature that was created by Cassie over at Revised Origins. I’m going to be participating with her! The idea is to highlight a book that has been previously posted about here on the blog.

For January, I am going to highlight The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. 

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Synopsis
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

You can read my review to see how I initially felt about the book. 

How I feel now: 
My love for this series has only grown over time. It has easily become one of my favorite series of all time. I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t think about these characters and want to visit their world again.

Monthly Wrap-Up – December 2018

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December was full of a lot of fun things to do together as a family. I’ve still felt like crap all month (I’m beginning to think I’m going to have this cough FOREVER), but I powered through.

I was on Winter break from school so I had a lot of time to read. I started powering through books like crazy. I couldn’t believe it. I really miss being able to read like that. I start classes again on Jan 8th, so my reading is going to decrease again. I probably won’t be able to read that much again until Summer break lol.

We celebrated Logan’s 11th birthday. Since we are all such huge Harry Potter fans, I thought it would be cute if Logan received his Hogwarts acceptance letter for his 11th birthday. He was absolutely thrilled to wake up to an acceptance letter. I’m so glad I decided to do that for him. His birthday fell on a school day this year, so we celebrated the weekend before. He chose to go to a movie and dinner for his birthday. We went and watched Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. We all really enjoyed it. For dinner, he wanted to go to Red Lobster.

It ended up snowing the very next day and we got a near record amount of snow for our area, so it’s a good thing we celebrated when we did, because we were snowed in for a few days. I loved it though. We don’t get enough snow, in my opinion! I’d love to live somewhere where it snows a lot. Eric says “Uhh…no!” lol

We went to an event at our local library where you could make your own ornament. They had baubles and a table full of tiny little things that you could fill them with. That was so much fun! I’m so glad we went.

We took the kids to a “Breakfast with Santa” type of event. Chris doesn’t believe in Santa anymore but he still plays along for Logan’s sake. The kids at Logan’s school have tried to take his belief in Santa away, but so far they haven’t been able to succeed.

Chris had his winter concert for band. He played the suspended cymbal for two of the songs and the triangle in another song. I wish he was allowed to play on the drum. That’s the whole reason he joined the band. The teacher seems to have a favorite though, so that child is always the one that ends up on the drums in the concerts.

We went to a bakery in another city that was hosting a “Decorate a Polar Express Cookie” event. The kids had a lot of fun with that.

Then of course, we celebrated Christmas.

All in all, it was a pretty good month. I hope you all had a wonderful December and that 2019 is an amazing year for you!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Book Haul

Paperback/Hardback
Cowboy Brave by Carolyn Brown – publisher
The Switch by Sandra Brown – publisher
Into the Night by Sarah Bailey – publisher
Dim Sum of all Fears by Vivien Chien – Christmas gift
Survival Fritters by Ginger Bolton – Christmas gift 
9 from the Nine Worlds by Rick Riordan – Christmas gift
Target Alex Cross by James Patterson – Christmas gift
Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich- Christmas gift
Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Christmas gift 
Lethal Licorice by Amanda Flower – Christmas gift 
Trails of Love by Melissa Foster – publisher
Hot Asset by Lauren Layne – publisher
Playing for Keeps by Jill Shalvis – publisher
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks – publisher

Kindle
Chaos in the Countryside by Astoria Wright – freebie
Herbs and Homicide by Astoria Wright – freebie
Verity by Colleen Hoover – bought
Checkmate: This is Dangerous by Kennedy Fox – freebie
Tattered by Devney Perry – freebie
Folsom by Tarryn Fisher & Willow Aster – gift
Bedroom Games Box Set by Piper Rayne – bought
Untrainable by Jamie Schlosser – ARC 
‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost – bought
Thin Crust Killers by Chris Cavender – bought
17th Suspect by James Patterson – bought
Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich – bought
Live and Let Chai by Bree Baker – bought

Monthly Funny

Review – Can’t Forget You by Rachel Lacey

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Synopsis
YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST LOVE

Jessica Flynn can’t wait to buy up that patch of unspoiled North Carolina woodland next door and expand her spa. What could be more sensuous than a hot-tub soak under the stars? Jessica would love to bask in the romantic view herself-but first she needs to find the right man to join her in this fantasy. Back in high school, she thought that was the dark and brooding Mark Dalton. But then he left to join the Special Forces, and when he returned to town, it felt like their teenage love affair had never even happened.

Mark Dalton has his eye on the same property for his own business. Yet there’s something he wants to have even more. Because Jessica is sweeter than he remembered, and he’s finding it hard to resist his attraction to the competition. When they finally find themselves alone, deep in the forest, nature can’t help but run a little wild. But if she ever finds out what he’s been hiding all these years, she may never forgive him…

 

My Review
3 out of 5 stars
3stars

This was my first book by this author and I enjoyed it. Even though this is the third book in the series, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything since this is a book featuring a different couple. I’m definitely going to have to go back and read the other books so I can see how the other two couples, Ethan and Gabby and then Emma and Ryan, started out since I really enjoyed getting to know them in this book.

Second chance stories always give me the warm fuzzies so I was really excited to see that this was a second chance romance. Jessica and Mark are both likeable characters and it is clear that they still have feelings for each other even after being apart for so long. You could feel the chemistry between them.

There was a bit of suspense with this story as well since Jessica has an unidentified illness that’s been bothering her for a while. It really leaves you nervous for her, wondering how bad her diagnosis is going to be.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

TTT – Best 10 Books I Read in 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s prompt is the 10 Best Books that I Read in 2018. I didn’t read very many books this year because I was so busy with school. The books I did read though, it seems like I either loved them or hated them. There were only a couple that were in between/so-so reads for me.

So anyway, here are my 10 favorite reads from 2018! (Listed in no particular order, although the first 5 are a series.)

1. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
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I wasn’t sure how I felt about going into this book and meeting a bunch of new characters, but oh my gosh! This book was amazing and I grew to love the new demigods as much as I loved the ones from the PJO series. I even found a new favorite. 😉

2. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
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3. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
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The ending of this book had my mouth dropped open in shock. Talk about an epic cliffhanger! I immediately dived into the next book.

4. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
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Wow, what an adventure! Another amazing book in the series.

5. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
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I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect ending for this series. This is going down as one of my favorite books EVER.

6. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
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I ugly cried so many times while reading this book. I could relate to the struggles that this couple faced which just made the story that much more emotional.

7. Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
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Not only was the mystery in this book very well written, it was funny too! I loved this book and also enjoyed that it didn’t have a heavy focus on romance.

8. The Storm Runner by JC Cervantes
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I absolutely loved this experience into Mayan mythology. I can’t wait for the next book.

9. The Wrong Game by Kandi Steiner
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I could relate to the female lead in this book in a lot of ways, which just made me love her that much more. And the lead male? Oh. My. Gosh! Talk about SWOON fest. Why can’t he be real??!  LOL.

10. Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower
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Another great cozy mystery. This one was unique to me with it’s Amish setting. That was really interesting to read.

 

So, what were your favorite books from 2018? I’d love to know!