“Ohio”–Review

419s9qHhWUL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_Good evening, bloggers! Awhile back, I bought a copy of “Ohio,” mainly because the cover and title caught my interest. Then I read the description and I thought, “This ought to be a good one.” So here you are:

The story is told from the points-of-view of four former classmates who make their way back to New Canaan, Ohio, a decade later in the summer of 2013, each of them with unfinished business to settle. Meanwhile, the country is facing a recession, war, political gridlock, racial hostility, and a fear of environmental calamity. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing, including suicides, as well as addictions.

Bill Ashcraft is an alcoholic, drug-abusing activist who drives from New Orleans to New Canaan to deliver a mysterious package; Stacey Moore is a doctoral candidate who is on a mission to confront the mother of her former lover; Dan Eaton is a veteran of three tours in Iraq and is back home only to end up on a dinner date with the high school sweetheart he’s tried to forget; and then there’s Tina Ross, whose past relationship with a former football star completely changes her future.

After the death of a former classmate, the main characters think about their own dark pasts and how they’d gotten to where they are now and perhaps what could have been. Little do they realize, however, is that there’s more to the past than they assumed.

This was one of those novels that I wanted to finish, yet I didn’t want to finish. While the first three stories were interesting, I was a bit hooked more on Tina’s story, which was as sad as it was disturbing, but I won’t go into detail. Each story was well-written, describing each character’s journey to getting the answers for which they’d searched for over a decade.

If this book’s been on your TBR, you ought to check it out. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Stephen Markley is an author, screenwriter, journalist, and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His previous books include the memoir Publish This Book: The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book, and the travelogue Tales of Iceland. He lives in Los Angeles. For more info, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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“The First Mistake”–Review

51fP+EN662L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The first mistake could be her last.

When her first husband passed away, Alice was often afraid to take risks in anything, all the while trying to keep it all together for the sake of her family. Eventually, she meets Nathan, who becomes her second husband. Just when Alice thought she’d never be happy, it was Nathan who brought her back to life, a man who promised to always be by her side. Now they run a successful business, own a beautiful home, and have two daughters.

When Alice had been grieving for her first husband, she’d also met Beth, who became her closest friend. They’d been able to confide in each other, to trust each other.

But when secrets come out, especially when Nathan seems to be behaving suspiciously, Alice wonders if she’d put her trust in the wrong hands.

I was actually enjoying the suspense in this novel. The story is told from the points-of-view from Alice and Beth. Beth’s story actually did keep me turning the pages. And I was excited to see how far everything was going to go. The suspense was quite surprising and I was getting nervous as I read toward the ending. In fact, it all was just as good as the author’s previous novel, The Other Woman.

As I was saying, although I enjoyed the surprises and twists, the ending just made me think, “Wait, what?” I’m not sure how I felt about it. Even though I didn’t exactly like the very ending, I still have to give this book five stars because the story did hook me. I love stories with surprise twists, especially from domestic thrillers. Check it out if you’re a suspense thriller enthusiast. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

The First Mistake will be available on June 11, 2019.

About the author: Sandie Jones has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 20 years and has written for publications, including the Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly, and the Daily Mail. She lives in London with her husband and three children. The Other Woman was her debut. For more info, click here. Also, you can find her on Twitter.

“The Shadow Writer”–Review

41YkzvJhtGLEvery writer has a story. Some are deadlier than others.

After coping with a traumatic childhood, aspiring author Graye Templeton has done everything she could to bury the past, to never speak of it to anyone. Just by chance, she crosses paths with Laura West, a successful book blogger and wife of the acclaimed novelist, David West. Things seem to be going on the right path for Graye’s writing career when she becomes Laura’s new assistant. This is something Graye has hoped for, to finally have someone to help her on her path to publication.

During the whole process, however, Graye discovers that there’s more going on in the West household. Laura’s marriage isn’t as perfect as it appears. While David’s alcoholism and anger issues increase, Laura works hard to keep a straight face in the public eye.

But Laura isn’t the only one in possible danger. Someone else from Graye’s past often reappears. So what is this person’s motive? As Graye and Laura form a bond during their circumstances, more secrets unravel, leaving the two women to wonder who can be trusted. And will Graye’s past come back and destroy everything she’s worked for?

Many thanks to the author for providing me this copy in exchange for an honest review. I love a good suspense novel and this one had plenty of surprises and twists. I took quite a few guesses as to what would happen, but I don’t think I was close. But that’s what I love. For the suspense thriller enthusiast, check out this book. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Widow’s Watcher, The Unremembered Girl, The Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee.

“An Improbable Pairing”–Review

514kvna5VNL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_It began as a simple flirtation…

It is in September of 1963 when an American graduate student, Scott Stoddard, sets off to Europe to continue his studies. During his trip, he quickly becomes drawn to the Countess de Rovere, a French divorcee. Despite his other relationships during his stay in Europe, Scott’s mind is still focused on the Countess, Desiree. When the two finally reunite, they instantly connect.

Once their serious love affair ensues, Scott couldn’t be happier. However, problems arise for the happy couple when their privacy is invaded by the paparazzi, including the gossiping public who want to know more about the Countess and her younger love interest. And to make matters worse, Scott and Desiree have to face Desiree’s mother, who’s been frowning upon their involvement. And what about Scott’s parents? How are they going to handle the news of their son’s involvement with a woman of high society?

And then there’s the Countess’s ex-husband, who’s wants Scott out of the picture.

With everything that seems to be standing in their way, could Scott and Desiree actually be together? After all, the Countess is older and comes from high society. Meanwhile, Scott is a grad student, living off of his parents’ stipend to continue his education. So can love really conquer all, despite their differences and the disapproving stares from others?

While I enjoy historical fiction on occasions, I’m not too sure how I felt about the whole story. The author does a great job of describing scenery and the characters’ appearances; however, aside from the media and the disapproval of their family members, I was hoping for some more conflict, perhaps a little more suspense. Even though I was curious to know how it all was going to end, I couldn’t get into the second half of the book. But don’t let that stop you from checking it out. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Smith Publicity/Greenleaf Book Group Press, in exchange for an honest review.

For more info on the author, click here. You also can follow him on Twitter.

“Saving Meghan”–Review

51gXUDFtP1LCan you really love someone to death?

Since her 14-year-old daughter, Meghan, has been in and out of hospitals for a long time, Becky Gerard will do anything for her. Meghan’s unexplained illness and symptoms have practically driven Becky to obsession with finding a cure. Every time test results come back inconclusive, suspicions arise. Meghan secretly wonders if, just maybe, she’s actually sick or if her mind is playing tricks on her.

While Meghan is scared and frustrated, her father, Carl, is practically at his wit’s end. He’s had enough of the endless trips to the hospital, the tests, and Meghan’s unexplained symptoms. Even though Becky truly believes Meghan is sick—despite the inconclusive lab results—Carl begins to assume Becky is making it all up, that it was she who’s put ideas in their daughter’s head, especially when the doctors suspect Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, a rare behavioral disorder where one parent seeks medical help for made-up symptoms of a child.

Meanwhile, Pediatrician Dr. Zach Fisher believes he can diagnose Meghan, despite that his colleagues and boss feel that Zach is doing it all because of his traumatic past.

As it all goes from bad to worse, who is to blame? Is Meghan actually sick? Or is Becky trying to control her daughter?

For most of the story, I found it hard to decide whether or not to side with Becky. While she came off as obsessed, I couldn’t help wondering if it also was just her being a concerned parent. Also, this was the first time I’d heard of Munchausen Syndrome by proxy. Quite an interesting topic. This book was full of surprises toward the end, but I won’t spoil a thing. I’ll just recommend it for you. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

Saving Meghan will be available on April 9, 2019.

Feel free to check out the author on Facebook and Twitter. For more info, click here.

“The Girl He Used to Know”–Review

41QOIcOaUQL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Love doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

At the University of Illinois, Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose meets Jonathan Hoffman at the chess club, where Jonathan loses his first game and—not long after that—his heart to the socially awkward, yet beautiful Annika. Despite the fact that Annika is painfully shy and prefers the company of her books, Jonathan loves that she’s true to herself, quirks and all.

It isn’t long before Annika and Jonathan are in a serious relationship. Even though Annika still has her fears, the two bring out the best in each other and plan their future together. But, then, an unforeseen tragedy occurs, eventually forcing the two to go their separate ways.

A decade later, Annika and Jonathan cross paths in Chicago. She has landed her dream job as a librarian, as well as enjoying her independence, and he works in Wall Street, all the while getting over a divorce. Although they want to rekindle what they once had, they need to confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart or be doomed to lose each other again.

Honestly, I definitely felt I could relate to Annika. She’s the type who’d rather live in a bubble forever with her books, but along the way, she had to learn that she needs to take risks, to do something that scares her. And that there was someone special in her life who accepted the challenges of being in a relationship with her says a lot. The story did get interesting toward the ending, but I won’t spoil a thing. So, yes, I did enjoy this book and highly recommend it. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

The Girl He Used to Know will be available on April 2, 2019.

About the author: Tracey Garvis Graves is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into twenty-nine languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, Cherish, Heart-Shaped Hack, and White-Hot Hack, and The Girl He Used to Know. She is hard at work on her next book. You can also follow her on Twitter.

“Border Son”–Review

51Tt-HoCeYL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Ed Kazmierski hasn’t seen his son, Tyler, in years. They’d never actually had a decent relationship when Tyler was growing up. Ever since they’ve been written out of each other’s lives, Ed has always tried to not think about his son. But then Ed receives a message that his estranged son got involved with the cartels in Mexico. And, now, Tyler’s in more hot water.

Ed is hesitant, at first. After all the times he’s had to bail Tyler out of trouble, Ed had had enough. But then Ed’s life is threatened when he meets others who also are searching for Tyler. So Ed heads out to Mexico to find his wayward son and get him back into the States in one piece. But with random people they meet who are more likely taking bribes or are working for the cartels, getting back safely seems almost impossible, and Ed and Tyler have to put all tensions aside and rely on each other to get back home.

This book had some great suspense and the story as to what separated Ed and Tyler got me a little emotional inside. But the story got straight to the point and it was unpredictable, which is what I like. The situations were pretty scary from the beginning, the middle, and the ending, so good work to the author. I look forward to more stories.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Library Thing, in exchange for an honest review. Border Son will be available on March 5, 2019.

About the author: Samuel Parker is the author of Purgatory Road and Coldwater. Born in Michigan, he was raised on a never-ending road trip throughout the U.S. You can also find the author on Facebook and Twitter.