Book Review: Almost Just Friends, written by Jill Shalvis

Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis

Almost Just Friends(Wildstone #4) by Jill Shavis

Publication date: January 21st, 2020 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks-just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

– My Thoughts –

“Chin up, Princess, or the crown slips.” 

I can’t remember the last time I read a Jill Shalvis book. When I saw this pop up on the available eARCs on Edelweiss, I had to request it.

Almost Just Friends has multiple POVs, Piper(our mc), Camden, and Piper’s brother Gavin’s. There are two romances as well, one of which is an M/M romance that I would have loved to read more about.

Piper has raised her siblings since the day their parents died. She had to push her dreams and hopes aside to see to it that her siblings’ are fulfilled, until now. Her brother and sister are grown-up enough that Piper can finally sell the Lake House and go to university.

Then she meets Camden Reid at her birthday celebration. Although she bids goodbye to Cam soon after, a storm brings them face-to-face again! Surprisingly, both of them have a lot in common and that includes grief. Recognizing the pain in each other, they form a tentative friendship, a friendship that involves kisses everywhere.

That’s not the only surprise in store for Piper. Her sister and brother turn up announced at the lake house with secrets of their own. Will Piper be able to achieve her dreams? Can she and Cam have any future together?

Piper is my kind of woman. She is a planner and in her journal, she has all her hopes and dreams written to be checked out. When her siblings come back home, her planner doesn’t work anymore. I loved the whole family dynamics in this story. Each character has their backstories are that well fleshed out and it’s a treat to read their character growths as well. As I mentioned before, there are two romances. Cam and Piper’s can be described as “strangers at first but found out acquaintances later” kinda romance and the other romance was a “second chance” one.

I loved every bit of the story which was about overcoming grief, accepting help, being vulnerable and to let the love of others heal you. This story is also about hope and there are so many instances of it(all them are spoilers) that I couldn’t help but feel peaceful.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. This has a heroine who journals, sibling love, two romances that’ll make you emotional and blush a lot. If you want to read a beautiful story where people who were never supposed to find love does so and in turn heals others, then go to your nearest bookstore or the library and pick this one up!

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author –

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental.

 Look for Jill’s ALMOST JUST FRIENDS and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold. Visit http://www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and fun blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Thank you for reading! Have you read Almost Just Friends or any of the author’s previous books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Review of yet another sensational thriller SAFE HOUSE, from the author of Sticks and Stones

Review of yet another sensational thriller Safe House, from the author of Sticks and Stones
Safe House by Jo Jakeman

Safe House by Jo Jakeman

Publication date: October 31st, 2019 
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Amazon(99p) | Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Charlie just wants to be forgotten but everyone else wants to know her story…

The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She has bought the crumbling cottage that has lain empty for over a decade, and she’s going to make it her home. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.

Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. That lie cost her everything.

And now she has the chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really payed the price for what she did.

– My Thoughts –

Steffi Finn fell in love with Lee Fisher, then she went to jail because of him. Now, years later, she’s been released and she wants to start over in a new town with a new identity. Steffi is now Charlie, living in a sleepy little village in Cornwall. No-one here seems to recognise her and life seems good but not for long. As Charlie starts to renovate her house, she feels that she’s being watched. Accidents start happening every other day and Charlie can’t think who might be set on harming her. Her ex Lee Fisher is in jail and any other enemies she’s acquired because of him shouldn’t be able to find the “new” her….right?

Written in alternate timelines and dual POVs, we learn what kind of a person Steffi was before she became Charlie. We see how Lee controlled her and how Steffi couldn’t believe that he was a serial killer. It kinda reminded me of Ted Bundy..Lee Fisher was charming and manipulative sure, but he didn’t fit the profile of a serial killer(not at first glance, at least). Steffi was a victim of Lee’s too and it’ll break your heart reading her character arc.

The pacing was good even if I had a bit of trouble getting into it during the beginning. The setting of the village where Steffi/Charlie settled and the uneasiness she felt every moment was perfectly written. I liked the unpredictability of the twists as the author kept my mind working to find out who Steffi/Charlie’s stalker was and why was he/she(/they) were trying to kill her.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a slow-burn thriller with a captivating female lead. This story literally gives a terrifying meaning to the phrase “Love is blind.”

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review and for including me in the blog tour!

Safe House by Jo Jakeman

– About the Author –

JO JAKEMAN was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Safe House is her second novel and Sticks and Stones was her debut thriller.

Thank you for reading! Do you like reading thrillers? If you’ve read Safe House or the author’s debut, then I’d love to know what you thought!

Spooky October reads: The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox | Blog Tour

Spooky October reads: The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox | Blog Tour
The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

Publication date: October 17th, 2019 
Publisher: HQ
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Historical,Mystery
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Her secret will tear the town apart.

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him after his wife’s death, so he takes a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbour.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives in the decaying Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a madman inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbour will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

– My Thoughts –

A town gripped by fear.
A woman accused of witchcraft.
Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?
 

It should come as no surprise that I loved The Widow of Pale Harbour, probably as much as I did the author’s debut The Witch of Willow Hall. It is perfect for spooky October even though it’s more on the mystery side.

Set in 1846, Pale Harbour, Maine, the story starts with a young widow Sophronia who lives with her maid/companion Helen in a daunting mansion called Castle Carver. Sophronia spends her days reading submissions for her magazine, drinking tea and taking short walks around her property.

Soon, a mysterious man called Gabriel Stone arrives in this quiet village to escape from the memories of his past. Gabriel arrives as a transcendentalist minister but he feels like a fraud. When everyone starts warning Gabriel about Sophronia, he becomes intrigued by the strong woman he sees. However, someone is not quite happy seeing Sophronia’s happiness; soon, dead things and cryptic messages start arriving at Sophronia’s doorstep. Things start to escalate from dead animal carcasses to murder where all evidence points to Sophronia as the main suspect.

If you liked The Witch of Willow Hall, then don’t waste any time picking this up. The Widow of Pale Harbour has a murder mystery and romance which combined with the setting and eery atmosphere in the book makes this a page-turner. In the beginning, the plot takes time to build up but that anticipation proves fruitful. I loved Sophronia who has been mistreated a lot but despite that, she manages to aid others in need. Gabriel is yet another favourite character -okay, yes..that might be because he’s a hunky priest- and I loved watching his and Sophronia’s relationship bloom. He doesn’t lie to Sophronia, respects her boundaries(Is it really that hard?) and even after hearing about the times he was wronged.. he didn’t bear ill will for that person. You know what? They were freaking perfect for each other. Broken in different ways and yet they were the ones who could piece each other together.

I also loved the friendship between Tom and Gabriel; Tom was a perfect addition to the plot during its darker transition. Then there’s the relationship between Helen and Sophronia.. which was complicated but very intriguing.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a gothic murder mystery/romance with a twist of Poe‘s words in it. If you’re looking for a fall read, then pick up this beauty and dive into the haunting story. Hester Fox is already on my list of auto-buy authors and I can’t wait to read her next book!

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Also, thanks to HQ for including me in The Widow of Pale Harbour blog tour! Please take a look at the blog schedule and visit all the other lovely bloggers in this tour.

– About the Author –

Hester comes to writing from a background in museum work and historical archaeology. She loves the Gothic, the lurid, the dark…so long as the ending is a happy one. She has never seen a ghost, though she remains hopeful.

Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and their son. Please visit Hester Fox here to learn more


Thank you for reading! Have you read Hester Fox’s debut? Or, Will you add The Widow of Pale Harbour to your TBR? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

ARC Review: Scars like Wings, written by Erin Stewart

ARC Review: Scars like Wings, written by Erin Stewart
ARC Review: Scars like Wings, written by Erin Stewart

Scars like Wings by Erin Stewart

Publication date: October 1st, 2019 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Everyone has scars. Some are just easier to see …

16-year-old Ava Gardener is heading back to school one year after a house fire left her severely disfigured. She’s used to the names, the stares, the discomfort, but there’s one name she hates most of all: Survivor. What do you call someone who didn’t mean to survive? Who sometimes wishes she hadn’t?

When she meets a fellow survivor named Piper at therapy, Ava begins to feel like she’s not facing the nightmare alone. Piper helps Ava reclaim the pieces of Ava Before the Fire, a normal girl who kissed boys and sang on stage. But Piper is fighting her own battle for survival, and when Ava almost loses her best friend, she must decide if the new normal she’s chasing has more to do with the girl in the glass—or the people by her side. 


The beautiful, life-affirming debut from Erin Stewart that’s being called the YA answer to Wonder. Perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Nicola Yoon and John Green. 

– My Thoughts –

There is always beauty in the ashes. Sometimes we just can’t see it yet.

Erin Stewart, Scars like wings

Scars like Wings is about sixteen year old Ava who’s severely scarred now after surviving a house fire which left her without parents and her cousin. She lives with her uncle and aunt in her dead cousin Sarah’s room. Her life has now two timelines: before the fire and after the fire; this is also how the book is written. Ava’s life after the fire is anything but normal and it certainly doesn’t help when her aunt Cora tells her that she has to go to school from now on. School meant interaction with people who’d either ridicule her or pity her, why must she suffer through all of that? While in support group for burn survivors, she meets a feisty girl called Piper who goes to her new school. After meeting with Piper, Ava agrees to go to school for 2 weeks and to her surprise, it turns out to be one of the best decisions she makes.

At first, high school turned to be the exactly the kind of nightmare she had envisioned but with her new friends Piper and Asad, Ava managed to survive and even joined the theatre club. I freaking loved Piper who didn’t coddle Ava but instead pushed her every time to enjoy life. Even though Piper seemed so vivid and full of life, she had her own secrets and problems but that didn’t stop her from supporting and encouraging Ava through everything.

The synopsis says that this book is the YA answer to Wonder and it is such a wonderful one at that! I loved all the characters; they were realistic and loveable. Cora and Glenn were wonderful guardians to Ava; even though their own daughter Sarah perished in the fire, they supported and cared for Ava exactly like their own daughter. There are some heartbreaking moments that’ll make you tear up specifically in the end when Ava goes on a roap trip with Dr. Layne. There are many moments when we see people trying to judge Ava because of her outward appearance from calling her names to “editing” her scars out in a yearbook photo. This book will make you angry, make you cry and in the end smile.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book If you want to read a brilliantly written emotional YA book about loving oneself scars and all. This is about finding love, hope and through friendship and family bonds. This is about how you can simply be there for someone and that’ll be more than enough.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

– About the Author –

Erin Stewart

For more information about the author, please visit: Website | Goodreads |  Twitter

Thank you for reading! Have you read any book recently that made you emotional? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Love and Feminism go hand-in-hand in Bringing Down the Duke(A League of Extraordinary Women #1), written by Evie Dunmore

Love and Feminism go hand-in-hand in Bringing Down the Duke, written by Evie Dunmore
Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore

Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019 
Publisher: Piatkus, Berkley
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Buy:Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.
England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.
Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?
Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

– My Thoughts –

Debut romances these days are knocking it out of the park. I can’t get enough of them and the latest book to have me addicted to it is none other than Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore!

Set during the time of the opening of the first women’s college at Oxford, Bringing Down the Duke brings a unique take on historical fiction. It combines a view of what would have been a Suffragist movement in Britain with a love story; a combination that proved utterly stimulating for me.

The story starts with our heroine Annabelle requesting permission from her cousin to attend women’s college at Oxford University. Annabelle is not a suffragist in the beginning, but she has to become one because of her receiving a scholarship from the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. This leads her right into the path of Duke Montgomery or Sebastian Devereux. To garner support for a movement, Anabelle and other suffragists need influential men like Sebastian’s backing. When Anabelle and her friends manage to infiltrate the duke’s household, Anabelle is surprised to find herself attracted to the Duke and his brain. Will Anabelle manage to bring the Duke down his pedestal or be knocked down herself?

Some may argue that there wasn’t enough romance and I should too…but I loved the change of pace. Besides the topic of feminism is so important because along with a host of other problems, women are still fighting for equality 🤦🏻‍♀️ Now imagine if there were no Suffragists..imagine if these women never spoke up….never fought for themselves and consequently for us, then where would we be now?

About the romance which is yet another beautiful thing about this book. It was slow-burning and perhaps, a touch of enemies-to-lovers too. I didn’t like the Duke most of the times because ,during those times, he would constantly(albeit not intentionally) remind Anabelle of her class. I loved the part where he and Anabelle would talk about books, democracy like equals..it’s rare to spot conversations like that in historical fiction.

Then there are the other characters in this book like Anabelle’s friends: Hattie, Catriona, Lucie who seemed so real that they leaped off of the page. Every conversation, every action was so well-written that I wasn’t bored for even one second. I devoured this book and wanted to be a fly on the wall or one of the characters so that I could live in the book.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book(as if it’s not already clear)!! I would recommend this if you love romance. If you don’t like historical fiction, even then I’d recommend you to try this one. It’s funny, witty, swoony and feminist!! This thirsty b#*ch also got a glimpse of the next book in this series(yes, Bringing Down is book one of a series!) which has the story of our suffragist Lucie and Tristan with the perfect cheekbones!! I can’t wait.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 About the Author 

Evie Dunmore

Debut author Evie Dunmore wrote BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE inspired by the magical scenery of Oxford and her passion for romance, women pioneers, and all things Victorian.
In her civilian life, she is a strategy consultant with a M.Sc. in Diplomacy from Oxford. Scotland and the great outdoors have a special place in her heart, so she can frequently be found climbing the Highlands and hunting for woolly tartan blanket bargains.

Evie lives in Europe and pours her fascination with 19th century Britain into her writing. She is a member of the British Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA).

For more about the author, visit her Goodreads page, or follow her on Twitter.

Thank you for reading! Have you read Bringing Down the Duke? Are you excited to read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!