Simmer Down by: Sarah Smith

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

A PopSugar Must-Read for October!

In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?

My Review

This was such a fun read! I enjoy foodie books, especially in November and this was the perfect blend of contemporary smuttiness and food love! Nikki was a character with definite flaws and she struggles to make attachments with anyone after the death of her father. Callum comes off as a jerk but you can just tell that he is a great guy at heart.

I love all things food trucks and really enjoyed the storyline. I highly recommend picking this book up if you are in the mood for a sexy, foodie book.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Coast- to Coast Murders by: James Patterson and J.D. Barker

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

There’s a killer on the road, and nobody is safe. Michael and Megan Fitzgerald are siblings who share a terrifying past. Both adopted, and now grown — Michael is a long-haul truck driver, Megan a college student majoring in psychology — they trust each other before anyone else. They’ve had to.
In Los Angeles, Detective Garrett Dobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble have joined forces to work a murder that seems like a dead cinch. Their chief suspect is quickly identified and apprehended –but then there’s another killing just like the one they’ve been investigating. And another. And not just in Los Angeles — the spree spreads across the country. The Fitzgerald family comes to the investigators’ attention, but Dobbs and Gimble are at a loss — if one of the four is involved, which Fitzgerald might it be?
From coastal California to upstate New York, Dobbs and Gimble race against time and across state lines to stop an ingenious and deeply deranged killer — one whose dark and twisted appetites put them outside the range of logic or experience.

My Review

I am a big fan of J.D. Barker’s work and was so excited to see that he partnered with James Patterson on his latest novel. J.D. has an amazing way with sucking you into the story and not letting you go until the very end. I enjoy James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series and the short chapter formatting. This novel did not disappoint on either side of this coin.

I had no idea what the premise of this story was and it was so twisty. I guessed and guessed and guessed again as to determine what was really happening but BAM, I was hit with a bit of an unexpected ending. The Fitzgerald family is completely messed up and excellently evil. I highly recommend that you pick this up if you want a screwed up family read.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I Can’t Sleep by: JE Rowney

About the Book:
“I can’t sleep.
Not since June 16th, 2018.
Not since what happened…”
Traumatised by the events of her past, exhausted by insomnia, Becky Braithwaite believes that a
new start will help her to recover. She leaves home to fulfil her brother’s dreams, and honour the
life he never had… but she soon finds that escaping from the past is not as easy as she imagined. Is
her fatigued mind playing tricks on her, or is danger really lurking in the shadows? This
unputdownable psychological thriller will keep you turning the pages to find out the truth.
The best psychological thrillers take the reader on a journey to the edge, and dangle them over. I
Can’t Sleep hooks readers from the outset, and keeps them addicted.
The book is dark and full of twists, leading to an ending that readers will not see coming.

About the Author:
J.E. Rowney spent several years in the cold
Yorkshire hills and now lives in Dorset. She
started writing novels when she commuted
from Leeds to London in her previous life as a
change management specialist.
“Charcoal”, her debut, was published in 2012 to
wide critical acclaim, and was a bestselling
novel on Amazon within days of release. Her
third novel, “Ghosted”, was released in January
2020 and quickly also became a bestseller.
When she’s not writing, Ms. Rowney enjoys
reading a wide range of books, and walking by
the sea.
Ms. Rowney says: “I always dreamed of being a writer, until I realised that I was. Then I started to
write.”

My Review:

After the author reached out to me to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing this book, I jumped at the chance. Thrillers are my genre of choice and one in which the main character suffers from insomnia is not something I come across too often.

I was so immersed in Becky’s world that I had a difficult time coming back to my reality after I finished this book. It reads as if Becky is a real person that you know. Becky’s world was so realistic and the thoughts and fears were very present to the reader. It is a fast paced read and not very long so as soon as you start page 1, you are in it. I didn’t want to stop reading it.

It is a psychological thriller that leaves you breathless and contemplating what you thought you knew. I highly recommend that you pick up this book! In fact, here is the link to purchase it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086Q9B11B?tag=jerowneywrite-20

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I would like to thank JE Rowney for reaching out to me. I was sent the ARC for an honest review and all opinions are my own.

Stage Fright by: Kate Lloyd

Description

Jessica Nash loves to sing but is paralyzed every time she gets on stage. After blowing an excruciating audition, she wonders if she should give up on her dream. She’s already committed to a weeklong choral tour of England with her church choir, though, and as a single mom with a limited income, this might be her only chance to travel.

The trip gets off to a rocky start when Jessica has to sit next to Martin, a once-famous British tenor whose career plummeted in a scandal, on the flight to London. Is it her imagination, or does he seem to aim his bitterness toward womankind specifically at Jessica? And to make things worse, once they arrive Jessica discovers she has to room with the choir’s thorny lead soprano.

When Nick, their handsome tour guide, takes a special interest in showing Jessica the sights, things finally seem to be falling into place. She starts to relax and let herself be wooed against the backdrop of the charming English countryside. But is she ready to give him as much as he’s asking for?

Things aren’t as simple as they seem. Almost every person on the tour, it seems, is hiding a secret, and before her English holiday is over Jessica will find herself stretched and tested in every direction—including the soloist’s place center stage.

My Review

This was a very fun read. I appreciated that the characters were older and in their 30’s. The story itself was very contemporary in nature with a bit of insta-love but it was a fun read. I can relate to experiencing Stage Fright and Jessica’s experiences with it. I enjoyed this book for what it was, a romantic contemporary. It was not a completely believable story but I do not think that was the point of it. Kate’s writing flowed easily and I look forward to reading her next book.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

Thanks to The Mary Reader (http://themarybookreader.blogspot.com/) for sending my an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Tech by: Mark Ravine

Description

Alexandra has just taken charge of her new team, a motley crew of screw-ups at the Arizona Field Office, the latest in a series of forgettable assignments. With a history of rebelling against authority and blunt speaking, she vows to change her ways and make this assignment work.

Within minutes of her taking charge, she is drawn into a bank robbery case. She leads her new team to catch the robbers but discovers that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. The very next day three girls go missing. Before they could be trafficked out of the country, she races against time to rescue them. Soon, she begins to realize that all the cases coming her way are mysteriously connected. As she unravels the threads of a massive conspiracy, she discovers that a secret organization with immense power and authority is behind these horrific crimes. Forces within the FBI thwart her every move to discover the truth. Helping her navigate this maze is the shadowy Michael Patterson. But can she trust him? Can she trust anyone? Soon, witnesses disappear, suspects are killed, with her life and the lives of her team in lethal danger. Will she come out of this alive? Will she uncover and expose this cabal? As time starts running out, Alexandra Cassidy has to evade indictment and defy death in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

My Review

I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review by the publisher. As a debut novel, I thought that this was a good read. I enjoyed the FBI focal point and the action that was involved in the story line. There were a few too many characters for one novel and the editing needs work. Yes, it was a bit too long but I thought that if edited properly, it flowed well.

I wouldn’t dismiss Mark Ravine’s next works without giving them a read as I really did enjoy the plot itself. A kick ass female lead is always a good sign, especially in a FBI thriller.

I gave this book 3.5 crowns.

Monster in the Closet by: Karen Rose

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

The New York Times bestselling author of Every Dark Corner returns to Baltimore, where a father-daughter reunion puts innocent victims in the sights of a stone-cold killer…

Baltimore PI Clay Maynard routinely locates missing children for clients, but his own daughter—stolen by his ex-wife—has eluded him for years. Until she turns up right under his nose…

Since she was a child, Taylor Dawson believed the lie her mother told her: that her father was a monster. But now she has a chance to get to know the real Clay while doing real work as an equine therapist, which includes helping two girls whose mother was brutally murdered. She might even find something deeper with her boss’s handsome son, Ford Elkhart, whose eyes are so haunted. But just as Taylor feels her life opening up to new family, work, and friends, a danger lurks in the darkness—one that will show Taylor the face of true evil…

My Review

Published in September of 2017, I have finally gotten around to reading this book. Until just this moment, I had no idea that it was part of a series, which means you can read it on its own without feeling like you are missing something. In all honesty, I could not remember what the book was about when I decided to pick it up now. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

A woman tries to find the father she never knew by interning at an equestrian therapy ranch. She has been running from him her entire life because of the lies that her mother told her about him. I really enjoyed the story even though there were a few too many characters. I listened to this so maybe that is why I had trouble keeping the cast straight in my head.

This was full of suspense, murder, romance, and therapy. It was well done. I am so happy I finally picked this up to read.

I give this book 4 crowns.

I received the E- ARC way way back in 2017 from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by: Christopher Paolini

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller!

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from #1 
New York Times bestselling author of Eragon, Christopher Paolini.

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.

Now she’s awakened a nightmare.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .

My Review

The premise of this book intrigued me so much that I was willing to leap out of my comfort zone and dive into this read. Wow! 880 pages later, I am finally done. I really enjoyed the storyline and character development. It wasn’t too much in the realm of a typical science fiction book that it turned me off. It was just LONG. I was getting annoyed that it took me so long to read but I didn’t want to put it down because I knew that I probably wouldn’t pick it back up again.

Kira was a great character and I really appreciated her relationships with the other characters both human and alien alike. I did think that some of the descriptions could have been shorter but all in all, I am happy I stuck it out and read it.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The White Coat Diaries by: Madi Sinha

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

Grey’s Anatomy meets Scrubs in this brilliant debut novel about a young doctor’s struggle to survive residency, love, and life. 

Having spent the last twenty-something years with her nose in a textbook, brilliant and driven Norah Kapadia has just landed the medical residency of her dreams. But after a disastrous first day, she’s ready to quit. Disgruntled patients, sleep deprivation, and her duty to be the “perfect Indian daughter” have her questioning her future as a doctor.

Enter chief resident Ethan Cantor. He’s everything Norah aspires to be: respected by the attending physicians, calm during emergencies, and charismatic with his patients. And as he morphs from Norah’s mentor to something more, it seems her luck is finally changing.

But when a fatal medical mistake is made, pulling Norah into a cover-up, she must decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the secret. What if “doing no harm” means putting herself at risk?

My Review

I have never watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy but I did enjoy Scrubs and I can see the comparison. A group of hard- working, over- worked interning doctors are the focus of this story. Norah is our main narrator and she is a young Indian woman just trying to honor her father’s memory by becoming a doctor. Her mother loves to guilt trip her every chance she gets and her surrounding family isn’t too supportive either.

This was a good read and showed the determination and power that a young woman can exhibit when she puts herself first. I enjoyed this read. I give this book 4 crowns.

I received this E- ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

One by One by: Ruth Ware

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

“The Agatha Christie of our generation.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Diabolically clever.” —Riley Sager, author of Final Girls

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.

As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

My Review

I loved Ruth Ware’s last book The Turn of the Key so I was excited to receive this E- ARC from Netgalley for review. Unfortunately, that’s where the excitement ended for me. I was so bored with this story; I thought of giving up several times. A locked-room thriller is right up my reading alley but the way this unraveled wasn’t thrilling.

Spoiler* If you pay attention to the points of view for the chapters, it is blatantly obvious of the outcome. * So frustrating.

I am disappointed and don’t know how quickly I will pick up another book from Ruth Ware as she runs hot and cold for me.

I gave this book 2 crowns.

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by: Samantha Verant

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

A disgraced chef rediscovers her passion for food and her roots in this stunning novel rich in culture and full of delectable recipes.

French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she’s dreamed of.

Until her career goes up in flames.

Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.

My Review

I love a good foodie book. I love a book about a woman who is struggling to achieve her goals in life and has to reevaluate her plans. I love a good recipe or two. This book had all three of these things and it didn’t disappoint. It was a touching story of a young women who tries to figure out her next steps in life by getting in touch with her past and her original love of cooking.

The writing was smooth and easy to devour. I loved the story and the fact that Sophie had to fight with herself in order to move forward. The family dynamic was equally as beautiful if not traditional.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E- ARC from the Publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.