Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center Review

4 STARS

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press for the free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I absolutely loved Katherine Center’s first book How to Walk Away and I was so excited when she came out with this one (and I love how much the covers almost match!). It did immediately entice me from the beginning and kept me interested for awhile and then I found myself almost bored in the middle of the book and for that reason this was almost a 3 star read for me. Then the ending came and it definitely redeemed itself and is well worth 4 stars.

This story follows Cassie who is the only female firefighter at a station in Austin. She loves her crew and they don’t treat her like she’s a girl, she’s proven how tough and fearless she can be. When her mom that left her at sixteen years old calls and says she’s sick and needs someone to help take care of her, Cassie must leave her career and all of her buddies to move to Chicago. She gets hired on at another station and these guys are less than thrilled that a female is working beside them. Cassie must prove that she’s just as good as they are and along the way learn to trust and forgive.

As I said before the beginning of this book really drew me in, a female working in a male dominant career field and having to prove that she’s just as good, any story about females being complete bad asses I’m all for. But then towards the middle of the book I felt that things were dragged on and I was starting to get bored with the story. The romance and everything was not all that interesting to me and really felt like just another trope.

Then I got to the ending of the book and immediately fell back in love with the story and that’s where the romance got better for me. The ending was so suspenseful and I could not tear my eyes away from the page, I had to know what was going to happen next. Katherine Center had me feeling all kinds of emotions; gasping from the suspense, angry at a certain character, sad, happy, then sad again, it was a whirlwind of emotions and I loved it.

Review of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Thank you so much to Dutton Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I swear I will never be able to give Riley Sager anything but a 5-star review. His books have a way of sucking me and making me forget about everything else I should be doing I absolutely love them.

When Jules finds a hidden ad in the paper hiring for an apartment sitter she decides to give it a shot. Desperate for a job and barely making ends meet, Jules is willing to work just about anywhere at this point. When she arrives at the Bartholomew for her job interview she can’t believe her luck, getting to stay in this amazing place for four months and get paid a ridiculous amount of money to do so. And then comes the rules; no visitors, you must spend the night there every night, and you cannot speak to the other residents unless spoken to first. Jules agrees and when she meets another apartment sitter named Ingrid who shares the same disdain for some of the rules, Jules is excited to finally have someone to talk too and hang out with. But then Ingrid goes missing, doesn’t answer her phone, and leaves a mysterious note behind. As Jules starts digging more into the disappearance of Ingrid, she finds out more about the secrets behind the Bartholomew and how dangerous it really is.

I loved how this book was completely different from Riley Sager’s two other novels. What I had originally thought was going to be a book about a haunted apartment quickly turned into something I wasn’t expecting. The amount of suspense and creepiness in this book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time and I honestly couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. The plot and storyline drew me in and I loved every minute of it.

Review of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

5 STAR REVIEW

This might honestly be my favorite book I’ve read so far in 2019.  Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite Disney movie ever so I was so excited to see a new retelling of it come out. Everything was so vivid and detailed in this book that you could picture everything as it was happening and the characters were amazing.  My only complaint about this book was how it ended, now I’m dying for the sequel to come out.

Harper is living a hard life with cerebral palsy, her mom slowly dying from cancer and her brother Jake having to deal with unsavory loan sharks after their Dad abandons them and owes some not-so-nice guys a lot of money.  One night while Harper is playing the lookout for Jake she sees a man with a passed out woman and she doesn’t think his intentions are good.  Trying to fight him off Harper winds up in Emberfall, a magical castle where she meets Rhen.  Rhen has been cursed and is forced to repeat the same season over and over as a monster until he can break that curse, by finding a girl to fall in love with him.  Harper wants nothing to do with Prince Rhen and only wants to return to her family that she hopes are alive.  As she starts to spend time with Rhen and his Commander Grey she begins to understand their world and what’s truly at stake if the curse can’t be broken.

This was my first novel by Brigid Kemmerer and I’ve read quite a few retellings of Beauty and the Beast and this one by far was the best I’ve read.  I absolutely loved the character of Harper and how brave and courageous she was even with cerebral palsy, she never let that hold her back.  With all the crap going on in her life she is still so unselfish and only thinks of others and truly comes to care for the people of Emberfall once she gets to know everyone.  

Another favorite character of mine was Grey.  While most people would be swooning over Prince Rhen and how romantic he was to Harper I’m Team Grey over here.  He seemed like such a tough guy (“Scary Grey”) but really underneath all of that armor he was a total sweetheart.  I did enjoy the romance between Rhen and Harper but did anyone else honestly hope that Grey and she would get together?  His character was so adorable, his moments with the children were swoon-worthy, and how he came to care about Harper so much was adorable, Harper was exactly what he needed in his life after enduring the curse for so long. The ending of this book absolutely killed me in reference to him but then I found out that there will be a second book in the series and I might have squealed just a little bit.  

This was one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read and I’m so dang excited for the next book to come out.  Not many authors can recreate a Disney classic so well but this book was amazing!

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-curse-so-dark-and-lonely-brigid-kemmerer/1128064594?ean=9781681195087#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Brigid Kemmerer is the author of dark, contemporary Young Adult romances like MORE THAN WE CAN TELL and LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA novels like THE ELEMENTAL SERIES and THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington). Her next book will be her first foray into YA Fantasy, with A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY, available January 2019 wherever books are sold. Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

Review of The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Minotaur Books for the copy of this book in exchange for my review!

I went into this book without having read Sandie Jone’s first novel (unlike the rest of the world) so I had no idea what to expect or what I was getting myself into.  I was not expecting all of the whip-lashing twists and turns and the constant guessing game of who’s right and who’s wrong.  

The story is told from two different characters, Alice and Beth, and I’m glad that you got to hear the backstory with Beth and what was going on in the present tense with both of them.  Parts of this book were completely predictable while other parts were throwing me for a loop.  I thought I had everything figured out around page 108 but I was way wrong when the book threw another twist at me.  

The dialogue between the characters kept me engaged in the story and I loved each of them for their own reasons, even the “bad” characters.  

This is a very fast domestic thriller and I honestly finished it in less than 12 hours.  I now feel like I need to pick up her first novel The Other Woman and devour that one as well!

Review of No Place Like Here by Christina June

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4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Blink Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This was my first novel by Christina June and I was hooked right from the beginning.  I know a lot of people said it was a modern Hansel and Gretel retelling, which loosely put it could be, but I thought of it more as a YA contemporary.

Ashlynn can’t wait to be back home after spending a year at boarding school away from her parents.  But then she finds out her dad is going to prison for tax evasion, and she found out not from her parents but from social media.  And to add the cherry on top, her mom is going to rehab for “exhaustion” aka depression.  She gets shipped off to spend the summer with her relatives that she barely knows and starts a summer job at a wilderness camp that their daughter Hannah works at. 

I automatically fell in love with the main character Ashlynn.  I felt so bad for her at the beginning when she found out both of her parents were pretty much abandoning her and she had to go live with her Uncle and Aunt that she hasn’t seen in forever.  The way her tyrant Dad treated her about made me want to cry and then the sweet way her Mom acted toward her when her Dad wasn’t around made me want to cry again.  But then when she actually started becoming happy and finally made friends with Hannah my heart just soared.  You can’t help but want to root for her the whole novel.  Yeah, she messed up once but what happened to her was really not her fault at all and her Dad just couldn’t drop his ways and see that.

I also really loved the character of Baxter.  He was so tentative with her and soft-spoken at first and then really opened up at Ashlynn.  He didn’t try to be the macho douchebag like Marcus, he actually helped with Ashlynn’s family problems and was always there to help her (and rescue her!) and was an amazing friend.

This is definitely a perfect summer read about family issues and learning how to trust new people even when you can’t trust your own family.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-place-like-here-christina-june/1128931453?ean=9780310766926#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

View More: http://hannahbjorndalphotography.pass.us/authorchristinajune

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

Blog Tour & Review for The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press for inviting me to participate in this blog tour for such an amazing book!  Make sure you read to the end of this post for something special!

Synopsis:

Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them.  As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

My Review:

4 STARS

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press for providing me with a free copy of this book and inviting me to participate in the blog tour!

I’m honestly not even sure where I should start with this book, my mind and body are still trying to process this amazing piece of work.  This book has definitely left me with a book hangover and I’m not regretting it.

Emmaline lives on an island with her other and it’s the only home she’s ever known.  Her dad tells her amazing stories about Jack the scent keeper and has a machine that captures smells and puts them on pieces of paper that go into little bottles.  As Emmaline gets older her curiosity about the thousands of bottles grows and after a tragedy happens, she finds herself thrown into the real world.  As she tries to learn more about the new world around her Emmaline also must learn about her true identity and where she came from.

When I first started reading this book I was a little put off.  The way Emmaline and her father lived was very odd to me and once the scent machine came into the picture I really started getting weirded out.  But the author’s writing style kept drawing me back in and I honestly couldn’t put it down.  This book gripped me so hard and to be honest left me a little emotional.  Everything Emmaline went through and had to learn was so hard and I felt so bad for her.

The characters were all so well developed and the relationship between each of them was so different.  I loved Fisher and Emmaline’s relationship and I also loved Emmaline’s relationship with her stand in parents.  They were all so complex in their own ways but such a joy to read about.

This is a book that is going to stay with me for a long time and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to read such an heart wrenching novel.  Getting to follow along with Emmaline’s journey through self-discovery and learning all of these new things brought tears to my eyes at times but also made me ridiculously happy at others.  I haven’t had a book touch me this way and I felt so many different emotions while reading it.

Thank you so much to Erica Bauermesiter for writing such an incredible book!

 

Purchase Links:

About the author:
Scent Keeper - Author Image_credit to Susan Doupé
Erica Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, and The Lost Art of Mixing. She is also the co-author of the non-fiction works, 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She has a PhD in literature from the University of Washington, and has taught there and at Antioch University. She is a founding member of the Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
GIVEAWAY!
St. Martins Press was kind enough to send over a copy of this amazing book for me to giveaway!  Head over to my Instagram for the full rules and details!

Review of The Night Before by Wendy Walker

5 STARS

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wendy Walker has always been one of my favorite authors and she wrote another amazing book once again. I have read her other two published novels and this is by far my favorite one. This book was full of suspense and mystery and I loved that it bounced back and forth between the two main characters every other chapter.

After another failed relationship Laura decides to take a temporary leave from her job and apartment and move in with her sister Rosie who has the perfect family with her husband and son. Laura is struggling to break free from her past while it seems that Rosie has it all together. When Laura goes on a blind date with a guy from a dating website and then never comes home Rosie takes matters into her own hands to find her sister. Due to Laura’s past and the fact that she’s still viewed as killing her boyfriend years earlier, Rosie can’t help but think Laura did something bad again. But what Rosie and her husband Joe uncover will leave everyone reeling and casting doubt on one another.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. I was immediately hooked from the beginning and could not stop reading, I love how Laura’s character was viewed as the tough as nails chick with the “fists for hands” while Rosie was the more maternal have-to-take-care-of-everyone character. The storyline and plot were excellent and kept me thinking one thing but then threw me for a huge loop when it turned out I was wrong, way wrong.

This book was completely different from Wendy Walker’s other books and I loved that. I definitely think she should continue writing mystery/suspense novels because she is beyond amazing at coming up with some crazy stories.

 

PURCHASE LINKS

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-night-before-wendy-walker/1129285225?ean=9781250198679#/

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Wendy Walker has worked as an attorney specializing in family law. Her novels include EMMA IN THE NIGHT and ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN. She lives in Connecticut, where she is at work on her next novel.