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Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

Exposed (A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel) - Lisa Scottoline

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this book was really good. This is the fifth book in the Rosato & DiNunzio series but it can be easily read as a stand-alone. I have enjoyed all of the books that I have read in this series so far and this book was no exception. I was hooked by this story pretty early on and was really eager to see how things would work out. I am so glad that I finally decided to pick up this book.

Mary DiNunzio agrees to represent a close family friend in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Her friend, Simon, was let go from his job and it seems that it might have a lot to do with the fact that his daughter's illness is costing the company a lot of money due to the way they are insured. She soon learns that her firm often represents the parent company and that there is a conflict of interest in representing Simon but she is determined to do whatever is necessary to make it happen.

I have read several books in this series and expected this book to be told from either Mary or Benny's point of view so I was thrilled to get to see them both take a leading role in the story. It was really interesting to get the chance to get in both of their heads in a case where they don't always agree with each other. I liked that the book had a nice mix of legal maneuvering and action to keep things exciting. There were a lot of twists and turns in this story and it was exciting to see everything develop. The mystery was able to keep me guessing until the very end.

Kate Burton did an excellent job with the narration. I thought that she did a great job with all of the character voices and that she was able to add a lot of excitement to the story. I thought that she had a very pleasant voice and that she read the story at a good pace. I believe that he narration added to my overall enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this book to fans of legal thrillers. I thought that this was a well-crafted story that kept things exciting and had some feel-good moments. I will definitely be reading more of Lisa Scottoline's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
I thought that this was a really good legal thriller. I have enjoyed all of the books that I have read in this series so far and this was no exception. Usually, the books in this series feature either Bennie or Mary as they work to solve a case so I was thrilled to see both of them take the lead in this book, although they were not always working towards the same goal. The case that they are working on was incredibly interesting and just when I thought I had everything figured out things changed and I had no idea where things were going. I listened to the audiobook and thought that Kate Burton did an amazing job with the narration.

Sisters in Bloom by Melissa Foster

Sisters In Bloom - Melissa Foster

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really had a great time with this audiobook! This is the second book in the Snow Sisters trilogy which really would be best when read in order. This book picks up shortly after the events of the previous book and focuses on the same group of characters. I thought that it was kind of fun to watch these two couples move on to the next stage of their relationships. I found this to be a very enjoyable listen.

Kaylie and Chaz are very much in love as they await the birth of their baby. It has taken a lot fo these two to get to this point and they still have a few obstacles to overcome. Kaylie not only has the pregnancy to deal with but she is also finding it to be increasingly difficult to book new performances. Chaz has a few issues to deal with as well including one old flame determined to make things difficult.

I really liked Kaylie and Chaz together. Neither character was perfect but they seemed to fit together very well. I really enjoyed getting to see them learn to open up to each other and be honest. I never doubted how much they cared for each other at any time during the story and it was great to see everything come together. Danika and Blake were also great in this book and I thought that the progression of their romance was equally important to the overall story.

B.J. Harrison did a fantastic job with this story. I thought that he handled all of the different character voices extremely well. I thought that he added a lot of excitement and emotion to the story. I found his voice to be very pleasant and I believe that his narration added to my overall enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a very well done contemporary romance filled with characters that I cared about. I cannot wait to continue with the series!

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author/publicist.

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis

The Summer Deal - Jill Shalvis

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I loved this book! I have been a fan of Jill Shalvis's books since I picked up one of her books a few years ago. I haven't read all of her books yet but I have kept up with all of her more recent releases. This book might be my favorite out of those I have read. I had such a great time with this book and found it really hard to put down. This book is the fifth book in the Wildstone series but each of the books in the series read as stand-alone novels so you can feel free to jump into the series anywhere.

I was taken by the cast of characters in this story right away. Brynn is going back home to her two moms in Wildstone after being taken advantage of by her boyfriend. Kinsey has lived with major health problems for a long time and feels like she has an expiration date so she avoids making connections with the exception of Eli. Eli has been Kinsey's best friend since they were kids. He has had plenty of his own issues but he watches out for Kinsey even though they are just friends. Brynn, Kinsey, and Eli all went to summer camp together and some of their memories of each other are less than pleasant.

All of the characters in this book felt very authentic to me. Brynn's entire life was turned upside down but she working to put things back together. I loved her two moms but understood her desire to be out on her own. Kinsey has been dealing with some pretty big health issues for years and I thought that she had a pretty good attitude about everything. Eli has been through a lot of things in his life but he still wants to take care of those that he is close to.

This book did a lot of things really well. I love the romance between Brynn and Eli and thought that they were great together. I was thrilled that we got a second romance in this book with Kinsey and Beck and I thought that their story was really well done. The relationship between Kinsey and Brynn was really pivotal to the book. I enjoyed seeing them open up and start to trust each other. I thought that getting a glimpse of how they saw each other as kids through their journal entries added a lot to the story.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I thought that it was a very well done story with a great cast of characters that focused on a variety of relationships. I cannot wait to read more from Jill Shalvis!

I won an advanced review copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks through a giveaway on Goodreads.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book. It falls somewhere between 4 and 5 stars for me and I am rounding up for now. I loved the characters in this book and their complicated relationships just seemed to work for me. There were a lot of things going on in this story and I think that the characters all really grew throughout the book. It was a lot of fun to see them all work to improve their relationships.

Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade) - Jennifer Estep

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I am so glad that I finally read this book! I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book near its release date but it fell through the cracks somehow. As more time passed, I realized that I would need to refresh my memory of the first two books in the trilogy before I could review the book properly so I put off reading it. I decided to push this book to the top of my list recently and it was a very good decision. I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of the first two books in the trilogy and was eager to experience this book for the first time. I really had a good time with this one.

This is a trilogy that really needs to be read in order. Things have been building to the events in this book for the entire trilogy and I was excited to see how things would work out. Victor Draconi has been working towards a plan to eliminate the other Families and take control of everything himself. Lila and the other Sinclairs are aware of his plan and they are working to do whatever they can to stop him.

This story was exciting and there were a few scenes that were incredibly action-packed. There were a few scenes where I was really worried about how things would work out for this group of characters that I have grown to care for and some scenes that broke my heart. I loved the way that the monsters and magical abilities were such a vital part of the story. It was great to see Lila really become a trusted member of the Sinclair Family as they came together with the other Families to fight a common threat.

Brittany Pressley did a fantastic job with the narration once again. I looked forward to putting my headphones on and escaping into Lila's world for a few hours. I really felt like she brought this story to life. She did a fantastic job with all of the character voices and brought a lot of emotion into her reading. I believe that her narration added to my enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a wonderful trilogy set in a very interesting world. I had a great time going on this adventure with Lila, Devon, Felix, Oscar, and the rest of the characters. I cannot wait to read more of Jennifer Estep's work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Kensington Books via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I am so glad that I finally read this book! This was a battle that has been brewing for the entire series and I was excited to see the Sinclairs take on the Draconis. There was a lot of excitement and action in this book and some pretty intense scenes. I thought that the characters were at their best in this installment and there were some pretty emotional scenes. I listened to the audiobook and I thought that the narrator did a fabulous job bringing this story to life.

The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes

The Prisoner's Wife - Maggie Brooks

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this book was really well done. I enjoy historical fiction every once in a while and stories set during World War II really appeal to me. I am always on the lookout for something a little different and the premise of this story grabbed me right away. I love the fact that this book is based on a true story and was eager to see how a woman was able to hide within a PoW camp. Once I picked up this book, I was hooked right away and didn't want to put the book down. I am so glad that I decided to give this book a try.

At the start of this story, Izzy is a farm girl in Czechoslovakia and Bill is a prisoner at a work camp that has been assigned to assist at her family farm. They are drawn to each other from the very beginning and fall in love in moments when they are able to steal a bit of time together away from everyone else. They marry and escape only to be captured a short time later. This is when things start getting very dangerous for both Izzy and Bill.

I felt for Izzy and Bill from the start. They both just wanted to be together but a war that they could not control had the potential to take everything from them. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for Izzy to live in fear of being discovered and how difficult it must have been to hide her gender in the living conditions within the camp. Bill was in constant fear for Izzy and was willing to do whatever it took to protect her.

This was a really powerful story. The descriptions in this book were very well done and I was able to form a mental image of what the conditions in the camp were Bill, Izzy, and the others that were in on their secret. Everything from their constant state of hunger to the physical pain was vividly described. I felt like I was there with them as they fought to take another step and leaned on each other for support.

I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. I thought that this was a very well done and powerful story. I will admit that I would have loved to see a little bit about what happened to each of the characters after the story ended but I realize that most of the people being released from these camps would never know the fate of those they had come in contact with during their incarceration. I would not hesitate to read more of this author's work in the future.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from Penguin Publishing Group - Berkley.

Undone by Shannon Richard

Undone - Shannon Richard
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I just loved this book! I have had this book for years but failed to take the time to read it until now and I must that I am a little mad at myself for not picking it up sooner. Once I started reading this story, I was hooked and did not want to put it down and found myself reaching for it every chance I had. I am so glad that I finally decided to give this one a try.

Things have not been going great for Paige. She has lost her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend in short order. As a result, she was forced to move back in with her parents who now live in the small town of Mirabelle, Florida. It has not been an easy transition and she feels like most of the town is against her. Her vehicle breaks down after a horrible interview and the town's handsome mechanic comes to her rescue.

Brendan has lived in Mirabelle all of his life and knows how hard some of the residents can be on new residents like Paige. He hasn't had things easy in his life but he has a great support system including his grandparents, his sister, and a great group of friends. He decides to help Paige out just a bit and he also plans to spend a little more time getting to know her.

I really liked Paige and Brendan. I thought that both of these characters felt very real, like someone I wouldn't be surprised to meet. They were fun together and I loved the chemistry between the pair. This was a pretty low drama story for much of the book and I really enjoyed just spending time with these two as they fell in love. There is some excitement before the book is over but I must say that I liked the parts of the book that just focused on these two getting to know each other. Paige and Brendan were not perfect and they made some mistakes but I think that helped them to feel more authentic. The secondary characters were very well developed and I appreciated what they brought to the story.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. I thought that this was a really well-done romance filled with wonderful characters and a lot of sparks. I would not hesitate to read more of this author's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I just loved this book and I am kind of mad at myself for not reading it sooner. Paige and Brendan were fantastic characters and they were so good together. The bulk of the story is rather drama free and I really enjoyed stepping back and watching Paige and Brendan fall for each other. Some drama does show up before the story draws to a close but I had a pretty good feeling that these two would find their happily ever after at that point.

 

Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti

Sweet Revenge - Rebecca Zanetti

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was really good! I have had a copy of this book to read for years but failed to actually start reading it until now. After reading the first book in the series recently, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I do feel like this series is best when read in order since some of the events from the first book come into play in this installment. Once I started reading this one, I hard a hard time putting it down and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Matt and Laney are the focus of this book. Matt is the oldest of his brothers and always tries to take care of everything. He needs to find the doctor that has the ability to save him and his brothers and he has it narrowed down to the small town of Charmed, Idaho. He gets a job working at the local bar owned by Laney and the pair have an instant connection. Before long, things in town get a lot more complicated than they ever imagined.

Matt and Laney were both great characters and I thought that they were great together. I thought that the chemistry between them was amazing. They did have a few communication issues at the start of the story but they eventually learned to work together very well. They were both incredibly capable people that were protective of the people that they cared about. It was really easy to cheer this pair on.

This story was really exciting. Matt's mission to find the doctor that could save them was interesting enough but there was some additional crime occurring in the small town that really added to the excitement. There were some revelations in the story that completely surprised me and a ton of action worked into the story. It was really easy to be hooked by this story.

Karen White continues to do an amazing job with the narration of this series. I really like the quality of her voice and thought that she did a wonderful job with all of the character voices. I thought that she was able to bring a lot of emotion to the story. I had such a good time listening to this story and believe that her narration added to my enjoyment.

I would recommend this book to others. I put off reading this series for a number of years and am so glad that I finally have made it a priority. This book was filled with wonderful characters, intense action, and some incredibly romantic moments. I cannot wait to start reading the next book in the series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
This was really good! I liked Matt and Laney were both great characters and they were really good together. The story had a lot of excitement and there were a few twists that I didn't see coming. I was able to guess a few things but for the most part, this story kept me guessing. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a fantastic job with the reading of the story.

Pretenders by Lisi Harrison

Pretenders - Lisi Harrison

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

one didn't work for me at all. I hate writing less than favorable reviews. If I am not enjoying a book, I will usually not finish the book and don't spend any time writing a review for it. This was one of those books that kept me reading and things were heading towards a generous 3-star rating before I got to the last parts of this book.

This book is told through journal entries from a group of high school students. It took me a while to really remember what was going on in each of the kid's lives. The two male students were a little more distinctive but the three female students tended to blend a bit in my head. I did eventually get a better feel for each of the characters and it helped that their lives started to become more connected as the book progressed.

My biggest problem with this book is the ending. I should really say the lack of an ending. I have read books that end in cliffhangers and while it is not my favorite, I have learned to deal with it. This was worse than a normal cliffhanger. This felt like someone ripped a book in half and only gave you part of it. There was no resolution whatsoever when this book came to an abrupt stop. Instead of making me want to rush out and grab the next book in this series, I am completely turned off from this series.

I am not recommending this book to others. I liked the concept of following this group of students through their journal entries but considering the fact that there is no resolution when the book comes to an abrupt stop, I found it to be a very unsatisfying read.

I received a digital review copy of this book from the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - Poppy via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
Why did I even read this? This was not good. I thought about giving up at one point but decided to push on. I should have stopped while I was ahead. It took me a while to really get a feel for each of the kids and I wouldn't say that I really liked any of them. I probably would have rated the book 3 stars if it wasn't for that ending. Or I should say the lack of an ending. The book just stopped without resolving anything. This was worse than a cliffhanger because we finally got just a little bit of action and then there was no more book. I won't bother reading the next book in the series.

Sure Shot by Sarina Bowen

Sure Shot - Sarina Bowen

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I just loved this book! I first read Sarina Bowen's work a little more than two years ago when I picked up Bountiful and I haven't looked back. I haven't quite read all of her work yet but I am working on it and I do get excited every time a new book hits the shelves. I still have a soft spot for Dave and Zara, the couple from Bountiful, though so this book was a big winner for me since it features Dave's sister, Bess. I loved getting to know Bess and Tank and I really enjoyed getting to check in on Dave and Zara. Once I picked up this book, I didn't want to put it down and ended up reading it cover to cover in less than a day.

Bess Beringer is turning 30 and is ready to make some changes in her life. She is a sports agent and has been very career-focused up to this point but now she is ready to work on her personal life. Mark Tankiewicz, or Tank, has been playing hockey for a long time but now everything seems to be falling apart. His wife has asked for a divorce and he has been traded to a new team. Nobody knows it but Bess and Mark had a short fling when they were both starting their careers nine years ago and now they find themselves single and living in the same city.

I loved Bess, Tank, and the entire collected cast of this story. Bess and Tank were both great characters and the chemistry that they shared was off the charts. I really liked the way that they were willing to take a chance with each other. All of the obstacles to their relationship made sense and I liked the way that they worked together to work past them. This book can easily be read as a stand-alone but readers of the series will enjoy seeing many of the characters from previous books stepping in to play a role in this one.

I would recommend this book to others. If you enjoy sports romance and you haven't read Sarina Bowen yet, what are you waiting for? This story put a big old smile on my face and I couldn't help but cheer these characters towards their happily ever after. I really appreciated the fact that we get to see how things work out for this pair in the epilogue that jumped forward a bit. I cannot wait to read more of Sarina Bowen's work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from the author/publicist.

Initial Thoughts
I am somewhere between 4 and 5 stars on this one but I am going to go with 5 for right now since I am leaning that way. I loved Bess and Tank. The first Sarina Bowen book that I was was Bountiful so I have a soft spot for Dave and Zara so I was thrilled to get to see so much of them in this book. Bess and Tank were perfect for each other and their chemistry was off the charts. It was really a lot of fun to watch their relationship develop throughout this book and I was happy that we got a chance to see how things work out for them.

House on Fire by Joseph Finder

House on Fire - Joseph Finder

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really enjoyed this book. I decided to read this book because it sounded like it would be an exciting mystery thriller. I hadn't read anything written by Joseph Finder before picking up this book but I didn't let that deter me since I am always looking for new authors to try. This is the fourth book in the Nick Heller series but I read it as a stand-alone and it worked well. I thought that the book got off to a very good start and told a very entertaining and exciting story. I am so glad that I took a chance and decided to read this book.

Nick Heller is a private investigator and he once served in the military. When Nick learns of the death of a good friend who once saved his life while in action, he goes to help the family right away. At the funeral, he meets a woman with ties to the company that produces the highly addictive drug which his friend was addicted to and this woman enlists Nick's help in proving that the company knew just how dangerous these drugs really are. Nick is not only dealing with this new client but is also juggling the needs of his nephew and providing support to the family of the friend he lost. I found the mystery to be really well done and quite complex. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing throughout the book and I couldn't figure out how things would work out until it was revealed in the story. I liked that there was not only a lot of action to keep things interesting but also a lot of more thoughtful investigative work that went into solving this case.

I liked Nick a lot from the start. We learn early on that he is a man that has a strong moral code. He works hard to do a good job and to always do the right thing even when it might cost him money in the end. We get a few glimpses into his past and learn that he is a man that learns from his mistakes and tries to do better in the future. I loved the way that he was able to slip into almost any situation and handle himself in such a way that he was rarely questioned. He was almost always able to see things that others might miss and stayed focused on solving the mystery.

I would recommend this book to fans of mystery thrillers. I thought that this was a really well done and exciting story that kept me guessing until the end. I really enjoyed watching Nick in action and look forward to reading more of this series in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Penguin Group Dutton via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. This is the fourth book in the Nick Heller series but I read it as a stand-alone and it worked perfectly fine. I really liked Nick from the start and loved the story was full of action. There are several situations that Nick is dealing with during the book which I liked. The main mystery was really complex and it kept me guessing until the very end. I would definitely like to read more of this exciting series!

Forgotten Sins by Rebecca Zanetti

Forgotten Sins - Rebecca Zanetti

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this book. I have had a copy of this book for a long time but for one reason or another I never picked it up. I have been such a mood reader lately and when I saw this book while browsing the audiobooks on my library's website, this felt like the perfect time to get started with this series. I found this to be a very easy story to slip into and I found myself hooked right away. I am so glad that I finally decided to give this book a try.

The book opens with Josie arriving at the hospital, after being called about her husband, Shane. This is a husband that she hasn't seen for two years and a husband that has lost his memory and doesn't know what is going on. I couldn't wait to find out what caused Shane to leave her two years ago and what was really going on now that put him in the situation to lose his memory.

I liked Shane and Josie a lot and I really wanted to see them work things out and stay together this time around. Shane had lost his memories but the chemistry between the pair was still present from the very start. He also kept his instincts and seemed to surprise himself with some of the things that he knew and was able to do. Josie still had feelings for Shane but she was guarded and tried to remain practical. She wasn't helpless and didn't hesitate to stand up for herself.

The story was pretty exciting. There was a lot of action and quite a few scenes where the characters were in some danger. I did enjoy learning more about Shane and his brothers and watching them work together to get things done. Josie, Shane, Matt, and Nate all really stepped up when they needed to and I even enjoyed the role that the local detective played in the story. I thought that the story's romance and action were really well balanced.

Karen White did a fabulous job with the narration of this story. I believe that this was my first experience with this narrator but I will definitely be looking for more of her work in the future. I thought that she did a great job with all of the character voices and she added a lot of excitement and emotion into her reading. I believe that her narration added to my overall enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense. I really enjoyed the story from beginning to end and thought that the characters were very well done. I cannot wait to read more of this exciting series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this one. I have had this book for a very long time and I am glad that I finally decided to give it a try. I liked the characters a lot and I thought that their history was very interesting. I am looking forward to continuing with the series.

Book source: Purchased a copy of the ebook and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

The Other People - C.J. Tudor

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had such a great time with this book! After loving this author's previous work, I was pretty excited to give this book a try. When I started reading this book, I hoped that this would be a story that would really capture my attention and it was. I was completely swept away by this story and found myself trying to figure out what was really happening to these characters even when I wasn't reading the book. I enjoyed this page-turner of a story from the first page until the last.

On his way home one night, Gabe sees a car covered in bumper stickers weaving in and out of traffic in front of him. It wouldn't have been that big of a deal if he hadn't seen the face of a little girl sitting in the backseat of the car. He knew that face because it belonged to his daughter. Years later, he cannot let it go and spends his time driving up and down the same roads looking for either the car or his little girl.

This is one of those stories where it is better to go in knowing little about the story and letting things unfold as you work your way through the book. There are tons of twists and turns during this story and sometimes a new detail would have me questioning everything I had previously thought. We see this story from several different points of view that become more connected as the book progressed. There were times that I had no idea where the story was going but I wanted so much to see Gabe find his Izzy that I couldn't put the book down.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a wonderfully crafted and quite complex story filled with interesting characters. This book kept me guessing until the very end and I liked the fact that there was just a bit of supernatural worked in as well. I cannot wait to read more from this very talented author!

I received a review copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Books.

Initial Thoughts
So, this was pretty much fantastic. I loved The Chalk Man when I read it a couple of years ago but I wasn't nearly as big of a fan of The Hiding Place. I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book but I decided it was time to finally give it a try and I didn't want to put it down. I felt for Gabe and was totally taken by the mystery. This was definitely a page-turner.

Sisters in Love by Melissa Foster

Sisters in Love - Melissa Foster

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really enjoyed this book. I haven't read a lot of Melissa Foster's books yet but I have enjoyed the ones that I have read so I was pretty excited to give this one a try. I found it really easy to slip into this story and really enjoyed getting to watch Danica and Blake get to know each other. I found this book to be a very easy listen.

Danica is a therapist and she has always been the responsible one. She is really conservative with just about everything in her life from what she wears to how she behaves. Blake owns a ski shop with his best friend. He is also known as a player. He has no trouble finding women to keep him company and he seems to have company quite often. When tragedy strikes and his world is turned upside down, Blake finds that he wants more out of life.

I really liked the characters in this book. Danica and Blake were both great and I loved the fact that they grew a lot over the course of the story. I really felt like I was on a journey with both of them and they were very different people at the end of the book than they were at the beginning. I thought that they had wonderful chemistry with each other and I thought that they made a great pair. I thought that the secondary characters were equally well done and I am really excited to read their stories in future installments in the series.

I thought that B.J. Harrison did a fantastic job with the narration. This was the first time that I have had the opportunity to listen to this narrator and I found him very easy to listen to. I thought that he did a great job with all of the character voices and I thought that he was able to add a lot of emotion into his reading. I think that his narration added to my overall enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. I thought that this was a wonderfully emotional romance that was filled with wonderful characters. I look forward to reading more of Melissa Foster's work soon.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author/publicist.

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Sandman Slim - Richard Kadrey

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I feel like I have been wanting to read this book forever. I bought the ebook more than eight years ago and added the audiobook to my collection nearly six years ago. I am not really sure why it took me so long to finally get started with the series but I am happy to report that this book is really as good as I had hoped it would be. I am so glad that I finally took the time to give this one a listen.

James Stark was only 19 years old when he went to Hell. It is now 11 years later and he is back and ready to deal with the friends who sent him away. The past 11 years have been hard on Stark but he survived and picked up a few skills along the way. Things have changed in the world while he was away and he has a few adjustments to make as he works to settle the score.

I really liked Stark. He is tough and able to think on his feet. We learn pretty early on that he can be rather brutal when necessary but he will also go out of his way to help others who are truly innocent. We really learn a lot about Stark in this book and I think that his past and time in Hell have helped to shape him. Stark does have a sense of humor and there were times that I found myself chuckling. I also really enjoyed the supporting cast of characters and I think that the whole ensemble really helped to make the story entertaining.

This story is really exciting. It is really interesting right out of the gate and everything builds as the story progresses. I like that there is no big information dump as you sometimes find in the first installment in a series. Instead, the world-building happens slowly as the story is told. There is plenty of action to keep things moving and a few scenes where we really get to see how much Stark has lost. I think that the pacing of the story was very well done and I liked that I was always eager to get back to the story.

MacLeod Andrews did a phenomenal job with the narration of this book. He really brought James Stark to life and I couldn't imagine this character having a different voice. He handled all of the character voices extremely well and added a lot of excitement to the story. I know that I enjoyed this story a bit more because of his narration.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others. This is a very strong start to a series that I can't wait to continue. The characters were very well done and I found myself completely engaged in the story from beginning to end. I cannot wait to read more of this series!

Initial Thoughts
I ended up really enjoying this one. The narrator of the audiobook does an amazing job with this story and the story itself is really exciting. Stark is a great character. The more that we learned about him, the more I found that I liked him. There is a lot going on in this story and I found that I had to start the audiobook over at the midpoint since I was pretty sure I missed some key points. It was worth putting in that extra time. I like that there was a bit of humor that was worked into this story along with some pretty intense action. I cannot wait to read more of Stark and the rest of the gang.

Book source: purchase

Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd

Scent of Darkness - Christina Dodd

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. This was a re-read for me. I first read this book around the time of its original release, which was 2007, and didn't remember a whole lot about it besides the fact that the Hero is able to turn into a wolf and I liked it. As I read the book, there were some things that were somewhat familiar but in a lot of ways, it was like experiencing the story all over again for the first time. I am really glad that I decided to pick this one up again.

I love the set up for this series. The Wilder family is descended from a man that made a deal with the devil years ago. Since that deal was made, only male children have been born and each of those children is able to transform into a predator once they reach puberty. These are violent men who don't form attachments or marry but take what they want. Jasha's father broke tradition when he married his mother and hid his family from the larger family.

Jasha knows that his family is in danger from his mother's prophecy. Jasha is the oldest and is quite the businessman, owning a winery. He is the oldest of the four children in his family and he is able to turn into a wolf at will. Ann works for Jasha as his assistant but has wanted him for a very long time. She doesn't realize that when she goes to see him at his home that she is going to get more than she bargained for.

I found this book to be really exciting. I think that the fact that these characters are faced with a situation that is bigger than they are is really interesting. Their goal is really just to keep their family safe and despite the fact that their abilities come from a deal with the devil, they do want to do the right thing. I liked that the enemy could pop up anywhere and really that anything could happen.

I did like Jasha and Ann and thought that they did make a good pair. They did have a lot of chemistry and liked each other before the book actually began. I thought that Ann's history was really interesting and I liked the fact that she was able to accept everything going on as quickly as she did. Jasha really did care for Ann although he sometimes did need to learn to include her in the decisions that were being made.

I would recommend this book to fans of paranormal romance. I found this to be a fast-paced story with a rather unique premise. I am looking forward to continuing my re-read of the series very soon!

Initial Thoughts
This was a re-read for me. I think that I originally read this book sometime around its release in 2007. I didn't remember a whole lot about the story besides the fact that the Hero could turn into a wolf. I also remember really enjoying the book. I still enjoyed it but I think that I probably had more problems this time around. It was a quick read and I definitely plan to re-read the rest of the series.

Book source: Purchased

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel - Steven Levenson, Justin Paul, Benj Pasek, Val Emmich

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I didn't love this one like I had hoped I would. To be fair, I am not the target audience for this book. I have never seen the musical or heard any of its songs so I was pretty clueless going in. I can't tell you how this book compares to the musical but this story does stand on its own. Maybe a younger audience will enjoy this one more than I did but I spent a large part of the book wanted to pull these kids to the side and give them a mom talk. It was a pretty easy read and I am glad I gave it a try.

It all starts with a letter. Evan doesn't have really any friends and has a hard time getting through each day. As a part of therapy, he writes letters to himself to put things in a positive outlook. Connor picks up the letter and takes it from Evan. He dies with that letter in his pocket and suddenly everyone thinks that Connor and Evan were great friends and everything grows from there.

One of my biggest pet peeves is lying of any kind. Unfortunately, this book is packed with lies. Instead of letting Connor's parents know the truth behind the letter he lets them think that he was really friends with Connor. He then proceeds to expand on that lie and becomes a big part of Connor's family's life. He even starts dating Connor's sister who he has had a crush on for a very long time. Almost everything that Evan does in this book is a lie or is tied to a lie and I have to tell you that I had some issues with it. I just felt like Connor's family had enough to deal with without being manipulated by Evan.

There were some things that I did like in this book. I liked that the story is told from two different points of view. I expected Evan's point of view but the second one was a bit of a surprise. The point of view that I didn't expect was really my favorite part of the book. I thought that those sections of the book were very well done.

I listened to this book and I thought that the narrators did a good job with it. The female narrator listed did a couple of song segments worked into the story and the males handled the two points of view. I thought that they both did a great job representing their character. Their voices were very pleasant to listen to for long periods of time. I think that I liked the story a bit more because I decided to listen to the audiobook.

I think that a lot of readers are going to like this book a lot more than I did. The book does touch on a lot of important issues but I couldn't get past all of the deceptions.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library via Overdrive.

Initial Thoughts
This was probably a 2.5 star read for me. To be fair, I am really not the target audience for this book but I thought I would take a chance on it. I have never really seen anything about the show or soundtrack but I hoped that the book would stand on its own. It fell a bit flat for me. This was always a book that I found easy to set aside and I really couldn't connect with any of the characters. Evan is lying to pretty much everyone for most of the book which kind of made me cringe. I listened to the audio and thought that they did a great job with their performance.