Friday, October 21, 2016

"Fractured" by Catherine McKenzie

Julie Prentice became a bestselling author when her debut novel THE MURDER GAME became an overnight bestselling novel. Now Julie has more money in the bank than she cares to admit to having, a deal for book two, and her very own stalker. Determined to get a fresh start Julie moves her family across the country to the picturesque Mount Adams district of Cincinnati. She has high hopes that the community will embrace her and her husband and twins, and that she can have some peace while she works on book two.

She couldn't be more wrong. Unintentionally Julie makes enemies in her neighborhood almost immediately and it isn't long before the name "Julie Prentice" is a bad word. The only friend that she has is John Dunbar, her semi-employed neighbor who enjoys running as much as she does. As they run together almost daily their friendship grows until it becomes time for John to choose sides.

As Julie and her family increasingly become the targets of neighborhood harassment she wonders if her stalker has found her. Reluctant to uproot her family and move yet again Julie endures the harassment until it becomes deadly and then suddenly it is impossible to ignore.

I especially enjoyed the format in which FRACTURED was written. We know from the beginning that some kind of crime has occurred and we have an idea who a few of the key players are, however what we don't know is what exactly has happened and why. Mackenzie throws out tantalizing clue after tantalizing clue, and the reader is left speeding towards the conclusion to find out what has happened. Mackenzie does an excellent job of keeping us in suspense and keeping us frantically reading.

While I liked Julie I didn't find myself particularly attached to her character, which worked for me. I was glad to have some distance from her as I discovered what had happened. It allowed me to form a more unbiased opinion about the series of events leading up to the crime.

FRACTURED is an interesting mix of women's fiction (dealing with the aftermath of a stalker, marriage and family struggles) and psychological suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and I enjoyed Mackenzie's first foray in to this genre. As a longtime reader of her books, I have enjoyed watching her writing develop in different ways from book to book. While different from her previous books, this is one of her best.

I can't wait to read the companion book to this one, THE MURDER GAME by Julie Apple (Mackenzie's pen name). It will be interesting to read the book that started many of the issues in FRACTURED. What a clever concept!

My thanks to the author for providing me a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

THE RAMBLERS by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

About The Ramblers

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 4, 2016)

For fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Meg Wolitzer, Claire Messud, and Emma Straub, a gorgeous and absorbing novel of a trio of confused souls struggling to find themselves and the way forward in their lives, set against the spectacular backdrop of contemporary New York City.

Set in the most magical parts of Manhattan—the Upper West Side, Central Park, Greenwich Village—The Ramblers explores the lives of three lost souls, bound together by friendship and family. During the course of one fateful Thanksgiving week, a time when emotions run high and being with family can be a mixed blessing, Rowley’s sharply defined characters explore the moments when decisions are deliberately made, choices accepted, and pasts reconciled.

Clio Marsh, whose bird-watching walks through Central Park are mentioned in New York Magazine, is taking her first tentative steps towards a relationship while also looking back to the secrets of her broken childhood. Her best friend, Smith Anderson, the seemingly-perfect daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest families, organizes the lives of others as her own has fallen apart. And Tate Pennington has returned to the city, heartbroken but determined to move ahead with his artistic dreams.

Rambling through the emotional chaos of their lives, this trio learns to let go of the past, to make room for the future and the uncertainty and promise that it holds. The Ramblers is a love letter to New York City—an accomplished, sumptuous novel about fate, loss, hope, birds, friendship, love, the wonders of the natural world and the mysteries of the human spirit.

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My Review

I fell in love with Aidan Donnelley Rowley's writing when I read LIFE AFTER YES several years ago on the recommendation of a friend. I was so excited to hear that she had written another novel and I couldn't wait to get started.

I really wasn't disappointed. I loved THE RAMBLERS as much as I expected to. First and foremost this is the story of three individuals living in New York. Smith is living in the same apartment building as her wealthy parents. Desperate to carve out an identity for herself as well as survive her sister's upcoming wedding while reeling from a bad breakup, Smith leans on her dear friend and roommate Clio as well as new friend Tate. Clio is a museum curator and bird researcher. In a relationship with a man older than her who wants to take things to the next level, Clio is hesitant to reveal her past to him, fearing that he may leave her if he really knows what she has been through. Tate is going through a divorce while learning how the other half lives. Having recently sold his app to Twitter he thought that perhaps the money would be enough to patch up the holes in his marriage but is coming to terms with the fact that money doesn't fix everything.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. The wait was worth it! The characters leapt off of the page and came to life in my imagination. I cared about them, and I loved the gradual development of their individual stories. Their voices were written in a very authentic way. Tate's voice was very different from Smith's and Clio'sand it was hard to believe that those voices came from the same author. I love how Rowley chose to write the book- several chapters at a time were dedicated to one character's story, then the next several chapters were dedicated to another character's story, and so on. It gave me time to get invested in each story, and it left me wanting more.

THE RAMBLERS is both an ode to New York, the city where all three of these characters live, and the story of three people who are ready to take important next steps in their personal lives. The plot is compelling and compulsively readable, the characters incredibly well-developed and the ending perfect, despite the fact that it left me wanting more (perhaps that is what was so great about it!). I truly hope that I don't need to wait six more years to read another gem by Aidan Donnelley Rowley. 

About Aidan Donnelley Rowley

Born and raised in New York City, Aidan Donnelley Rowley graduated from Yale University and received her law degree from Columbia University. She is the author of a previous novel, Life After Yes, and the creator of the Happier Hours Literary Salons. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and three daughters. Find Aidan on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

LIFE AFTER COFFEE by Virginia Franken

About The Book

Last week, high-powered coffee buyer Amy O’Hara was trekking through the Ethiopian cloud forest on the verge of a discovery that could save the coffee bean from extinction. This week, she’s unexpectedly fired. 

Suddenly Amy’s days are no longer filled with meetings and upscale tastings, but with put-together PTA moms, puke-ridden playdates and dirty dishes. Her husband has locked himself in the garage in order to write the Great American Screenplay, while both kids are steaming mad at her because she insists on dressing them like normal people and won’t give up sending them to school with healthy lunches. 

It’s becoming clear that Amy may just be the world’s most incompetent mother, and she’s beginning to wonder if the only thing she’s good for is bringing home the bacon. When salvation appears in the form of a movie mogul ex-boyfriend who wants to employ her husband and rekindle their relationship, Amy starts to find she’s sorely tempted. . . .

One thing is certain: whatever happens, she’s going to need a lot more caffeine.

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About The Author

Virginia Franken was born and raised in Medway, Kent, the place where Henry the 8th sent his wives on holiday in the hope that they’d be eaten alive by mosquitoes and save him the trouble of
beheading them. Most her childhood was spent wearing a dance leotard and tights, and at age 11 she attended the (sort of) prestigious dance school The Arts Education School, Tring, where she spent her teen years trying to do pique turns in a straight line and getting drunk in the village. (The inability to do the former possibly informed by too much opportunity to do the latter). 

After graduating from The University of Roehampton, she worked on cruise liners as a professional dancer before deciding she’d had enough of wearing diamant√© g-strings for a living and somehow managed to blag a job in book publishing. Getting fed up of having to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, she eventually moved from London to Los Angeles where life was affordable and every time she opened her mouth she got to act all surprised and flattered when someone said they liked her accent. She then spent years trying to convince everyone else that it was them who had the accent, but this was never met with anything more emphatic than a polite, “Is that so…”

These days she lives in Monrovia, near to Pasadena, with two kids, a dog, one ever-lasting goldfish and her bearded lover, in a house that’s just a little bit too small to fit everyone in quite comfortably. She gets most of her writing done when she should be sleeping. LIFE AFTER COFFEE is her first novel. If enough people buy a copy, there’s a good chance she’ll write another…

Thursday, September 22, 2016



Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.


"Moretti creates a shocking mystery that will keep readers turning the pages... Great pacing and true surprises make this an exciting read. Fans of twisted thrillers featuring complex female characters will devour Moretti's latest."
Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of S. J. Watson, Lisa Unger, and Sophie Hannah will enjoy this fast-paced psychological suspense novel."

“THE VANISHING YEAR is a stunner. A perfectly compulsive read that's impossible to put down.”
—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Don’t You Cry

“A chilling, powerful tale of nerve-shattering suspense.”
—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of Missing Pieces

“The tantalizing plot twists layered atop the juxtaposition of the protagonist's troubled past and the opulence of her current life are not only intriguing, they'll keep you reading THE VANISHING YEAR far into the night.”
—Lesley Kagen, New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Darkand The Resurrection of Tess Blessing

“Expertly told with secrets, twists and whip-smart prose, Kate Moretti shows in her third book that she deserves her New York Times best seller status. THE VANISHING YEAR will live in your mind long after you put the book down.”
—Ann Garvin, author of The Dog Year

“In this gut-grabbing novel Moretti creates a glittery world of dreams and nightmares. Moves and counter-moves. Clear your schedule and brew a pot of coffee. You're going to be up all night with this one.”
—T.E. Woods, author of The Justice Series

“Kate Moretti's THE VANISHING YEAR is a Rebecca for the modern age—a novel filled with doubts and deception, secrets and history. Society wife Zoe Whitaker must confront the age-old question of whether forgetting our past dooms us to endless repetition– and more heartache and danger than one woman can bear.”
—Jenny Milchman, author of As Night Falls

"Engaging, intriguing, heart-pounding… the twists had me gasping, the details had me transfixed. I cared about Zoe right away, which along with everything else, made it impossible for me to stop reading this book."
—Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives

THE VANISHING YEAR is the perfect mix of pulse-pounding action and exquisite prose. The complex, unpredictable plot and Kate's layered, multidimensional characters kept me hooked until the very last satisfying page. This book is sure to be one of this year's most talked about thrillers!”
—Nicole Baart, author of The Beautiful Daughters


I couldn't put THE VANISHING YEAR down, and loved it so much that I finished the book and then immediately added all of Kate Moretti's past releases to my wish list!

THE VANISHING YEAR tells the story of Zoe Whittaker. At first glance, she has it all. She is happily married to Henry, who is handsome and rich and wants to make sure that Zoe never wants for anything. 

This is a far cry from the life that Zoe used to lead. She grew up with no father, and barely any money. When she made a decision that endangered her life, she ran away to New York and managed to somehow land on her feet. The formerly independent Zoe finds herself suffocated at times by Henry's desire to make all of her decisions for her, but it seems a small price to pay for all that he provides to her.

When Zoe's past catches up to her and threatens everything that she now holds dear, Zoe must decide who exactly she can trust before her whole life crashes down around her.

Although I can admit that I am relatively new to reading the suspense genre, I thought that this entire book was well written. I liked the character of Zoe and I felt sympathetic towards her and what she had been through in the past. I appreciated how the story slowly unfolded and revealed more and more about Zoe and her past and about Henry's suffocating ways and I especially appreciated the conclusion. It kept me at the edge of my seat and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen! THE VANISHING YEAR genuinely kept me guessing and I was both surprised and pleased by how things turned out.

Kate Moretti has made a fan out of me. Her writing was compelling, the plot intriguing, and the conclusion satisfying. I definitely recommend THE VANISHING YEAR to anyone looking for an edge-of-your seat, un-put-downable read!

Kate Moretti is the New York Times bestselling author of Thought I Knew YouBinds That
Taken by Pooja Dhar at PR Photograph
, and While You Were Gone. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Find out more at, or follow her on Twitter (@KateMoretti1) or Facebook (KateMorettiWriter).

Twitter: @KateMoretti1

Instagram: @katemoretti1

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Review and Giveaway: THE YARD by Aliyyah Eniath

The Yard cover

About The Yard

• Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books; 1 edition (April 5, 2016)
• Publication Date: April 5, 2016

A story of love and redemption, set in Trinidad, that exposes the fault lines in Indo-Muslim culture. Behrooz is brought to a familial complex, The Yard, to live with a devout and extended family, where he struggles to belong. He forms a childish alliance with Maya, a wilful and rebellious girl, and his guardian’s daughter. After they share a night of adolescent tenderness, Maya, fearing retribution, flees to London. Behrooz painstakingly rebuilds his life and marries another. When tragedy strikes, Maya returns to her childhood home. There, she and Behrooz must face up to old demons. Can their love endure? Even after Maya is dealt the most righteous” blow of all?


A haunting tale of family, commitment, love...and being true to yourself.  --Roslyn Carrington, author of A Thirst for Rain

The author’s voice speaks in warm and sometimes cold filmic pictures of the universal language of love, honour, commitment, belief and family. When a remote outsider, a young boy, is drawn into and under the beguiling machinations of a devout extended family, there’s disruption in their cultural fabric and hierarchy, that challenges the decisions of a determined young girl’s head and heart. --Peter Jarrette - Author of Brighton Babylon

On a gem of an island, in a private family enclave, boy — orphaned, rough, longing for acceptance — meets girl — sophisticated, manipulative, afraid of tenderness. The Yard is a sensitive tale of romance, hurt and forgiveness skillfully spun by emergent author Aliyyah Eniath. --Barbara Bamberger Scott — Editor, A Woman’s Write

My Review

There were things that I loved about the book, and there were things that I really didn't love. THE YARD is the story of one family's compound in Trinidad, where are entire family lives and plays and raises their children. Mostly, this is the story of Behrooz, an orphaned boy who does not remember his family, and Maya, one of the children who lives in the yard. Maya's father brings Behrooz home and raises him as one of their own. Maya and Behrooz form a special bond, but when this bond develops into something that frightens Maya she takes off and leaves him to move on without her.

I enjoyed the story of Maya and Behrooz very much. While I had a difficult time liking Maya as a character, as she is quite vicious and unpleasant, I enjoyed watching the bond that forms between the two grow as they grew older. I enjoyed the descriptions of life in Trinidad, as I always enjoy learning about foreign cultures.

I did think that there were too many people talked about in the book and I often had a hard time keeping them all separate. Some were mentioned a few times, some only once or twice. As a result, when someone was mentioned I often wasn't sure exactly who it was or where they belonged in the compund. That format could have worked better if perhaps one chapter was dedicated to one person. As it was, the focus was on Behrooz and Maya and I would have preferred just hearing about those two. I also felt that the ending was sped up too much for me. There was a lot of focus on Behrooz and Maya's childhood and young adulthood and then very large periods of time were skipped over to get to the conclusion.

Ultimately this was an enjoyable book, and with a few tweaks I would have enjoyed it more. The ending was good, the writing was compelling, and the descriptions of Trinidad were insightful.

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Aliyyah Eniath was born in Trinidad and Tobago; her ancestors hailed from Uttar Pradesh, India. She's a director at Safari Publications, a magazine publishing house, and founder/editor-in- chief of Belle Weddings (Caribbean) magazine.
Aliyyah Eniath AP
Her debut novel The Yard (literary, romance) is published by Speaking Tiger Books in both paperback and ebook formats.

She explores the ideas of breaking free from imposed boundaries (familial or otherwise), understanding and feeling supported in who you are, overcoming self-doubt, and finally being true to yourself. Her writing looks at strict religious ideologies and their potential consequences and begs for a softer approach and innate understanding and compassion towards every human being.

She writes from the perspective of East Indians whose forefathers were brought to Trinidad from India through the British colonial indentureship scheme in 1845.

Find out more about Aliyyah at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WHO'S THAT GIRL by Mhairi McFarlane

Who's That Girl coverAbout Who's That Girl

• Paperback: 544 pages
• Publisher: Harper (September 6, 2016)

A laugh-out-loud romance from the author of the bestselling You Had Me at Hello. When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.


This was the first book I've read by Mhairi McFarlane (although there are several of her other titles in my TBR pile) but it won't be my last! McFarlane has a gift for creating lovable characters who are flawed and relatable. Even when Edie made cringe-worthy mistakes, I was still on the sidelines rooting for her. I mean, who among us is perfect? She reminded me of Bridget Jones at times. Bumbling yet well-meaning. The romance was fun, there were a few laugh-out-loud moments, and when I finished reading the book I sighed in satisfaction. If you're looking for a fun, sweet read, look no further as McFarlane definitely delivers.

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About Mhairi McFarlane

Mhairi was born in Scotland in 1976 and has been explaining how to pronounce her name ever since. (With a ‘V’, not an ‘M’. Yes, that’s us crazy Celts for you). She is based in Nottingham where she used to be a local journalist and now she’s a freelance writer and sometime-blogger, which we all know is code for messing about on Twitter. She likes drinking wine, eating food and obtaining clothes; all the impressive hobbies. Her best anecdotes involve dislocating her elbow tripping over a briefcase and a very bad flight to New York. She lives with a man and a cat. You can follow her on Twitter: @MhairiMcF.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

INKSPIRATIONS: Fruit of the Spirit: Original Art by Lorrie Bennett

When TLC Book Tours invited me along on their tour for the adult colouring book INKSPIRATIONS: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT my answer was an enthusiastic "yes!". I love adult colouring books, and I wish that I had more time to use them! I have a collection of them that frequently call my name and encourage me to sit down and remember how to play for a minute or two. INKSPIRATIONS: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT is a collection of gorgeous illustrations that are accompanied by a companion Bible verse. There is a lot of variety here and no lack of choices! INKSPIRATIONS: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT is a playful way to connect with your inner child and there is something for everyone in the pages, from the beginner to those who are more experienced. My thanks to TLC Book Tours for inviting me along! One lucky person from the US or Canada is going to win a copy, so make sure you enter below!

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