Book Review: Into the Night by Cynthia Eden

 

Into the Night

 by Cynthia Eden

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Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages

 

Publisher: HQN (December 26, 2017)

 

Two FBI agents are caught in a merciless vigilante’s crosshairs in New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden’s electric Killer Instinct series Sheltered in the shadows of the Smoky Mountains is the suspect who’s summoned FBI agent Macey Night’s fears to the surface. Every day that the “Profiler,” a vigilante serial killer, escapes justice is another day she’s reminded of what it is to be a ruthless predator’s prey.  Capturing him is a craving deeper than anything she’s felt in a long time. But Agent Bowen Murphy, equal parts sexy and volatile, seems hell-bent on changing that. Working together—needing, living and breathing each other—they’re entwined to distraction.
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Bowen’s used to operating on impulse: act, don’t feel. Now Macey and the controlled terror behind her beautiful eyes have him rethinking everything, including his rule to never get close to a colleague. He’s willing to fight for a future with Macey, but the consequences of love could be deadly.
 
 

My Rating:

 

Favorite Quotes:

 

She felt as if she’d shattered into a million pieces and then been put together all wrong.

 

I just want to fall asleep in your arms and know that, for a few moments, I’m safe. Because that’s what you are to me, Bowen… You’re my safety in a storm.

 

My Review:

 

I fell right into this intense and intriguing story during its extremely powerful and harrowing prologue. I felt gripped by my hair and the tension in my neck did not relent until the last chapter. This was my first time reading Cynthia Eden and had no idea what to expect, I now expect to be reading her crafty tales quite often.   The premise was interesting and the writing was well paced, wily, and compelling. Although the FBI didn’t like the idea of a killer besting them and taunting them with it, I rather fancied the idea of a killer killing off loathsome predators and wondered – why not let him be – until I realized there was collateral damage to innocents as well since killers aren’t all that discriminating… silly me for not thinking that through. And in the midst of all that hunting and chasing and slicing and dicing, a sweet and steamy love story blossomed – oh yeah… I liked that… I really like that a lot.   

 
 
 
About Cynthia Eden
Cynthia Eden is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She writes dark tales of romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Her books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and was named a 2013 RITA® finalist for best romantic suspense. Cynthia lives in the Deep South, loves horror movies, and has an addiction to chocolate. More information about Cynthia may be found at www.cynthiaeden.com.

Connect with Cynthia

 

Book Review: Saturdays at Sweeney’s (Sweeney Sisters #5) by Ashley Farley 

Saturdays at Sweeney’s

(Sweeney Sisters #5)

by Ashley Farley 

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Members of the Sweeney family, young and old, chart their courses for the future in this final installment of the bestselling Sweeney Sisters Series.

When the seafood business Lovie Sweeney established sixty years ago is destroyed by fire, she finds herself at the center of an arson investigation. What really happened that night? Is Lovie responsible for starting the fire or is her family under attack from a sworn enemy?

The loss of their family business leaves the Sweeney clan in flux. Samantha faces the challenges of rebuilding the market while her son, Jamie, on track to graduate from college in six months, must decide whether to make his permanent home in Prospect or move to Charleston where a new special someone resides. At age forty-five, Faith, who has never fully recovered from an abusive marriage, is on a quest to find her true passion? Jackie is distraught when her son, Sean, flunks out of college and struggles to find direction in his life without his twin brother to guide him. A medical diagnosis brings the sisters closer together and threatens to change family dynamics forever.

The Sweeney women remind us that it’s never too late to begin a new endeavor and to never stop chasing your dreams until you draw your last breath.

 

My Rating:

 

Favorite Quote:

 

Did you fail sharing time in kindergarten?

My Review:

 

I have enjoyed this relevant and engaging series featuring three divergently different Lowcountry sisters and their addled yet feisty mother.  Throughout the series, the sisters have faced a great deal of dispiriting hardships and challenges.  This fifth and final installment of the series was fraught with tension from the beginning as it started with a fire to the family business that brought on a truckload of trouble and opened a channel for either a complete loss or a new opportunity.  Each household, although while also blessed in many ways, was struggling with significant and overwhelming issues as well as the overriding critical element of the swift deterioration their elderly mother’s mental faculties.  This concern was hitting close to home for me there is a rapidly ticking clock, and not an if but a when, until I will be facing this same despicable dilemma.  Ms. Farley’s insightful narrative captured their inner conflict and turmoil with sensitivity and occasional hits of amusing levity which I fully appreciated as I’ve always found it preferable to laugh than to cry.  I will miss the Sweeney sisters but was more than satisfied with their swan song.

 

About the Author  

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you’ve read the last word, then she’s done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two young adult children. While she’s lived in Richmond, Virginia for the past 21 years, part of her heart remains in the salty marshes of the South Carolina Lowcountry where she grew up. Through the eyes of her characters, she’s able to experience the moss-draped trees, delectable cuisine, and kind-hearted folks with lazy drawls that make the area so unique.

Visit her website at http://www.ashleyfarley.net for more information. Or sign up for her newsletter using this link: http://ashleyfarley.net/get-your-free…

Book Review: JUST BETWEEN US by Rebecca Drake

 JUST BETWEEN US

by Rebecca Drake

 

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Four suburban mothers conspire to cover up a deadly crime in Just Between Us, a heart-stopping novel of suspense by Rebecca Drake.

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

 

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

 

The strange thing about a secret is it longs to be told. Someone can confide personal news —a terminal illness, having lied on a job application, even an indiscretion with a stranger— and you might simply focus on the story itself, the details and the implications, but if they add that caveat—“ don’t tell”— then suddenly that’s all you can think about doing.

 

…her small, probably fixed, ferrety nose sniffing the air while she darted beady-eyed looks about the room. I doubted she’d ever been in Heather’s house before—she was an acquaintance rather than a friend, one of those women who believed that personal power came from the collection, and distribution, of gossip.

 

The coffin was a huge, satin-padded mahogany box, Viktor tucked into its folds like a piece of expensive mail-order fruit that got delayed somewhere in transit, polished and presentable, hiding a rotting core.

 

It was the sort of death he might have appreciated, high-intensity and cinematic, crashing through a guardrail and plunging thirty feet into the river. A swift end to a short life, but people like that seem destined to die young.

 

My Review:

 

I seem to have been a suspense junket lately, and I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve enjoyed them, but it has also cost me greatly as I am now sleep deprived. My lack of somnolence came not only from being enthralled and unable to put my Kindle down but from also ruminating about the characters and storylines once I finally closed my eyes. Just Between Us presented such a conundrum. It was well plotted, full of creative and unimagined twists and turns, and terribly hard to put down. The primary and as well as many secondary characters were well fleshed out and knowable, but not all at once, as shocking surprises were in store from each household.

 

The four women were uniquely unsuited to be friends. This wily author presented them in a cunning and intriguing manner, tantalizing me with unpredictable and questionable behaviors and thoughts, as well as making them annoyingly realistic and significantly flawed once the layers of civility were removed. Not a one of them were as I had expected or as they had presented themselves, to anyone.   Each had dark and shameful secrets hidden in their histories, which were compounded by the new clandestine activities they had been caught up with. They had pulled together with the united purpose of assisting one of their own then became ensnared and saw no choice but to press forward with riskier and outright illicit behaviors. It is so true to form that when in the midst of a crisis options appear limited or nonexistent, but a day or so later all the alternatives of should have and could have, will flood the mind. The storylines heated up and boiled over as the four ladies began to unravel from the guilt and stress with panic attacks, paranoia, resentments, distrust, and destructive bad habits that frayed and fractures their ties. But I never saw this ending coming, it was cleverly devised and craftily enacted, yet oddly disquieting as well.

 

 

About the Author

Rebecca Drake is the author of the novels Don’t Be Afraid, The Next Killing, The Dead Place, which was an IMBA bestseller, and Only Ever You, as well as the short story “Loaded,” which was featured in Pittsburgh Noir. A graduate of Penn State University and former journalist, she is currently an instructor in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. program. Rebecca lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two children.

 

Website: https://www.rebeccadrake.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.drake.writer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorRDrake

 

Book Review: The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor


The Chalk Man

by C. J. Tudor

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Crown (January 9, 2018)

The must-read thriller of 2018, this riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut weaves a mystery about a childhood game gone dangerously awry that will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

“Readers will undoubtedly be reminded of the kids of Stand by Me and even IT…[the] first-person narration alternates between past and present, taking full advantage of chapter-ending cliffhangers. A swift, cleverly plotted debut novel that ably captures the insular, slightly sinister feel of a small village. Children of the 1980s will enjoy the nostalgia.”—Kirkus

“I haven’t had a sleepless night due to a book for a long time. The Chalk Man changed that.” —Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow

 

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

 

My hair is still thick and mostly dark, but my laughter lines lost their sense of humour some time ago.

 

Many of the kids I teach at Anderbury Academy are what we call “challenging.” In my day, they would have been called “a bunch of little shits.”   Some days, I need to mentally prepare myself to deal with them. Other days, the only preparation that helps is a shot of vodka in my morning coffee.

 

I knew she didn’t really like Fat Gav’s mum and dad. I heard her once tell Dad that they were “often-contagious.” When I got older, I realized she’d actually said “ostentatious,” but for years I thought she meant that they harboured some strange disease.

 

None of it was true, but rumors are like germs. They spread and multiply almost in a breath and, before you know it, everyone is contaminated.

 

BEING AN ADULT is only an illusion. When it comes down to it I’m not sure any of us ever really grow up. We simply grow taller and hairier. Sometimes, I still feel amazed that I am allowed to drive a car, or that I have not been found out for drinking in the pub.

 

No one ever found any answers at the bottom of a bottle. Not the point, of course. The point of reaching the bottom of the bottle is generally to forget the questions.

 

My Review:

 

The Chalk Man was a brilliantly paced and multi-layered tale with gripping storylines dripping with intrigue, and a riveting plot packed with odd and compelling characters. What more could you ask for? Not a damn thing says my stunned and addled brain. I was quickly sucked into the vortex of this enthralling story and had an extremely difficult time putting my Kindle down. Peculiar and distressing incidents, gruesome nightmares, and mysterious events were observed and cataloged by a sticky-fingered pre-teen which continued to haunt the forty-two-year-old man thirty years later. I devised theories I hoped would be incorrect as it would have hurt my heart, but I never saw this ending coming. I am awestruck with the knowledge this ingeniously crafted and insightfully written book was the author’s first. She must be an evil genius and her family should be advised to count the empties, sleep with one eye open, and always remain in her good graces.

 

About C. J. Tudor

C. J. TUDOR lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel.

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Book Review: For Better or Worse (The Ginger Barnes Main Line Mysteries Book 8) by Donna Huston Murray

 

For Better or Worse 

(The Ginger Barnes Main Line Mysteries Book 8)

by Donna Huston Murray 

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Men have once again become an issue for amateur sleuth Ginger Barnes–men who mistreat their wives, men suspected of murder, and men who ask her out.
While working on a DIY project at her newlywed daughter’s house, a bag of bricks is thrown from the neighboring third-story window. Next, pops that sound like muffled gunshots have Gin racing for her phone. Eric, who lives in the house with his grandmother, claims she’s obsessed with mystery novels. Yet after the septuagenarian falls down a flight of stairs, she’s so frantic to keep Eric away that Gin must intervene. Was the fall actually attempted murder?


In her husband’s eyes, Cissie Voight can’t do anything right. Gin occasionally helps the frazzled young mother, and when she needs a dresser carried upstairs, Gin brings Eric along. Bad move! The electricity between the two new acquaintances sparks a chilling premonition. This time Gin’s good intentions will produce grave consequences–for everyone involved.
 
Recommended for fans of Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich.
 

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

 

A transparent haze of colorless hair exposed the shape of the tiny woman’s skull while sagging puffs of flesh made her appear to be melting.

 

Photographs were snapped as if baby Jack were the reincarnation of Elvis.

 

‘My mother doesn’t cook,’ Chelsea tried to explain. ‘She makes food.’

 

My Review:

 

I could kick myself for not noticing this series until it reached the eighth installment, but while prior knowledge was not necessary as the book stood well on its own, I am sure I would have gleaned great delight in having also read the first seven as well.   I was well pleased and reveled in this engaging and cleverly crafted mystery that was chock-full of quirky and intriguing characters. Written primarily from a first person POV, I adored the tactless and curious Ginger, her inner musings and insightful observations were ceaselessly amusing and entertaining. Ms. Murray’s writing and storylines were interesting, pleasantly delivered, easy to follow, well-paced, and often delectably humorous. Each character was colorfully detailed in a knowable manner. I enjoyed every page and greedily want to read all her words.

 
 
About the Author
 

 

 

Donna Huston Murray’s eight cozy

 

mysteries feature a woman much like herself, a DIY headmaster’s wife with a troubling interest in crime. FINAL ARRANGEMENTS, set at Philadelphia’s world-famous flower show, achieved #1 on the Kindle-store list for both Mysteries and Female Sleuths. The first in Murray’s new mystery/crime series, WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU, garnered Honorable Mention in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

At home, she assumes she can fix anything until proven wrong, calls trash-picking recycling, and, although she should probably know better, adores Irish setters.

Donna and husband, Hench, live in the greater Philadelphia, PA, area.

Book Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Wife Between Us

by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.

Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

TEASER TRAILER 1

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

 

Nick had waited tables alongside Nellie for a year, until he moved to Seattle with his band. Slick Nick, they’d all called him, although a few heartbroken women in his wake had modified it to Nick the Prick. He was the hottest guy Nellie had ever dated— although “dated” wasn’t an accurate description of their encounters, since most took place in a bedroom.

 

Nellie’s favorite part of the day was show-and-tell, which was predictably unpredictable. Once Annie had brought in a miniature Frisbee she’d found in the medicine cabinet. Nellie had returned the diaphragm to Annie’s mother at pickup. “At least it wasn’t my vibrator,” the mother had joked, instantly endearing her to Nellie.

 

I was happy, I think, but I wonder now if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is giving me the gift of an illusion. We all layer them over our remembrances; the filters through which we want to see our lives.

 

My Review:

 

The Wife Between Us was brilliantly crafted, ingeniously written, and diabolically clever. I was instantly sucked into the hypnotic vortex of the narrator and remained enthralled with my Kindle while taut with tension, intensely curious, and helplessly intrigued.   These frighteningly talented authors lured me into several traps and forced me to see the main characters under a completely different lens multiple times. My opinions were constantly shifting and I was frequently conflicted and challenged. I couldn’t decide whether to pity, admire, or revile the main narrator, nor could I tell if she was depressed, crazy, a vulnerable fool, or fiendishly devious. It was perfection. I am in awe of the stellar wordcraft and have an intense yearning to reread and savor this stunning tale one more time.

MEET THE AUTHORS

 

Greer Hendricks spent over two decades as an editor. Her writing has been published in The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. The Wife Between Us is her first novel.

Sarah Pekkanen is the mother of three young boys, which explains why she writes part of her novels at Chuck E. Cheese. Sarah penned her first book, Miscellaneous Tales and Poems, at the age of 10. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece (hey, all the poems rhymed!) Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. Sarah still has that letter, and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true.

Her website is www.sarahpekkanen.com and please find her on Facebook Instagram and Twitter @sarahpekkanen!

Book Review: The Single Girl’s Calendar – A fantastic, feel-good Rom Com by Erin Green

A task a day to cure a broken heart.

Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her ‘things to do by the time you’re 30’ list. She didn’t reckon on finding another woman’s earring in her bed, however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl’s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hairstyle.

Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!

Despite thinking it’s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn’t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive…

From the bestselling author of A Christmas Wish. Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

 

Sadie. Esmé instantly hated the name, adding it to the shit list of her life.

 

She and Andrew were finished. She wanted it to be dignified, she wanted a clean break. As long as his testicles fell from his body after having caught a serious, yet incurable, STD which he had instantly shared with Sexy Sadie during their love tryst.

 

I’m sure she’s heartbroken at the thought of less washing, less ironing and an end to the stream of blondes sneaking down her staircase at the weekend…

 

Seven was the luckiest number. Seven colours in a rainbow. Seven dwarves helped Snow White. Seven days in a week. Even, seven horcrux in Harry Potter.

 

Esmé’s forte was mentioning the elephant in the room during difficult situations. Andrew’s granddad had a prosthetic leg due to his diabetes – how many times had she unconsciously referred to pirates and wooden legs whilst visiting?

 

Esmé tucked into every course with gusto, despite the evident scorn of four svelte models on her table, who simply pushed their forks around their plates without lifting a morsel to their mouths. Esmé proudly scraped her plate clean… The room seemed to be full of beautiful stick insects and wide shouldered hunks, all with shiny coats, clipped nails and good teeth.

 

 My Review:

 

I adored this amusing, quirky, and ingenious story from beginning to end. My interest was immediately snagged by Ms. Green’s crisp, enticing, and entertaining writing style; but it was the peculiar, eccentric, and intriguing characters that held me rapt to my Kindle. I couldn’t get enough of this superbly written, well-constructed, unpredictable, and cleverly contrived tale. It was divinely cheeky, irreverent, witty, humorous, emotive, and observantly insightful. I smirked, giggle-snorted, and laughed aloud during this delightful and engaging tale; it was found treasure.

About the Author

Erin was born and raised in Warwickshire, where she resides with her husband. An avid reader since childhood, her imagination was instinctively drawn to creative writing as she grew older. Erin has two Hons degrees: BA English literature and another BSc Psychology – her previous careers have ranged from part-time waitress, the retail industry, fitness industry and education. She has an obsession about time, owns several tortoises and an infectious laugh!
Erin’s writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life, and laughter. Erin is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and drinking copious amounts of tea.

For more about Erin, visit her website: www.ErinGreenAuthor.co.uk
Twitter: @ErinGreenAuthor
Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/ErinGreenAuthor

Book Review: Crazy Sexy Notion by Sarah Darlington

Crazy Sexy Notion

by Sarah Darlington

 

My former best friend…is now a hooker… 


MICK 
After a terrible breakup, the crazy notion hit me to look up my childhood friend. With half a country between us, I haven’t seen Raven since the day my dad rushed in and saved me from the Sandy Hill Trailer Park. But I loved Raven as a boy, and now I need to find out if I could love her as a man. Only problem: her profession. 
Come to find out—she’s a prostitute. 

RAVEN 
Mickey Lawson 
Yeah, I hate that guy. 
Really, he’s only a faint memory now, but at one point in time he meant everything to me. 
My protector. My savior. My best friend. 
I was ten. 
Then he left. 
Now he’s back. 
Fifteen years too late.

**CRAZY SEXY NOTION is a standalone.**

 

My Rating:

 

Favorite Quotes:

 

It didn’t help that this man had to be straight up handsome, too. Like Clark Kent handsome… He even had on dark frames, as if he really were trying to channel Clark Kent up in the front seat. Good thing I’d always been a Batman fan.

 

I had a feeling I was about to see the side of him that turned smart girls, like Sandra, stupid.

 

His blue eyes were sincere and kind, staring at me like I hung the moon in his eyes. He knew the worst about me and…still, he’d only ever looked at me with adoration.

 

 I knew my life was never going to be the same… You aren’t the little girl I remembered—you’re so much more.

 

 My Review:

 

I have only read two of Sarah Darlington’s books, but I plan to remedy that as soon as is humanly possible. She has mad storytelling skills. Her characters tend to be uniquely quirky train wrecks, less than admirable and deeply flawed screw-ups, and some have even been absolutely obnoxious and cringe-worthy. However, despite their countless poor choices, missteps, and transgressions, I find myself a bit tense with conflict before pulling toward them and wanting good things to happen for them to balance out the poor hands they had been dealt, and such was the case with the low-rent/trailer-park raised waitress/part-time hooker character of Raven in this engrossing tale.

 

Raven was jaded, temperamental, impulsive, easily angered, crass, and impatient. She was also beautiful, highly sensual, and a survivor. She was doing the best she could muster given her limited opportunities and heart-breaking history.   The writing and storyline of Crazy Sexy Notion held me captive, even when I wanted to give the exasperating characters a hard pinch or whack to the head I couldn’t stop reading and finished the book in a day. Prepare for lots of expletives, characters you’ll want to smack, heart-squeezes, sizzling sensual scenes, and an addictive tale that proved hard to quit. I can’t wait to see who and what Ms. Darlington conjures up for me to love/hate next.

 

About the Author

 

Website 
Twitter
Goodreads

Sarah Darlington grew up traveling the United States (Navy Brat here!)—although, she’s called Virginia home for most of her adult life. She’s the proud mom of an intelligent 5-year-old boy with autism, who makes every day an adventure, and a 1-year-old red-headed little girl who is as fiery as her hair color. She believes in true love, soul mates, unicorns, rainbows, and that Hogwarts really does exist. Before having kids she worked as a flight attendant. And when she’s not writing, she’s busy plotting her next grand adventure (aka vacation).

Book Review: The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde

The Wake Up

by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a hauntingly emotional novel of how one man’s life changes forever when he rediscovers his ability to feel the pain of others.

Something has been asleep in forty-year-old cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte for a long time. It all comes back in a rush during a hunting trip, when he’s suddenly attuned to the animals around him, feeling their pain and fear as if it were his own. But the newfound sensitivity of Aiden’s “wake up” has its price. He can no longer sleepwalk through life, holding everyone at arm’s length. As he struggles to cope with a trait he’s buried since childhood, Aiden falls in love with Gwen, a single mother whose young son bears a burden of his own.

Sullen and broken from his experiences with an abusive father, Milo has turned to acting out in violent and rebellious ways. Aiden can feel the boy’s pain, as well as that of his victims. Now he and Milo must sift through their pasts to find empathy with the innocent as well as the guilty, to come to terms with their deepest fears, and to finally discover the compassionate heart of a family.

 

My Rating:

 

Favorite Quotes:

 

He wished he had a better bead on the greater worries, but they eluded him. Just shadows. Ghosts. Unknowable and indistinct. And yet so very . . . there.

 

He felt utterly unequipped to go home. Forcing himself back into a world that had put him in some role of authority felt akin to turning a puppy loose on a busy highway.

 

Aiden watched her go. As he did, it formed in his head, wordlessly, that she was a gift being given to him. Something rich and good coming into his life to make up for Milo and the rest of this mess. To give him back a little of the peace that was being stripped down and hauled away.

 

It’s a turning-point moment in people’s lives, when you look yourself in the face like that and realize that who you are, and who you become, and what you do seem to rely on a combination of factors that are partly out of your control.

 

She had been slimmer and better dressed before Grandpa died last year, but some thread within her had been working its way loose since then.

 

It’s like he drew all the curtains and I can’t see in. I know he must be in there somewhere, but I feel like I haven’t even seen him for two years… This little missing person.

 

 My Review:

 

I am intensely frustrated with my inability to articulate the supreme level of expertise, quality, and poignancy of this compellingly written story. I was immediately captivated by the superlative writing and remained riveted and enthralled with every smartly honed sentence. Written from a third-person POV and crossing several timelines in memory, the ingenious and emotive storyline was highly eventful and densely packed with heart-squeezing, throat-burning and eye-stinging observations and staggering insights. Her well-crafted storylines were powerfully detailed, thoughtfully plotted, slyly observant, and pulled sharp visuals that kept the characters moving smoothly behind my eyes. The story was brilliantly paced, well-constructed, and flawlessly executed. I was totally mesmerized and continued to ruminate over the characters and story long after putting my Kindle to rest and attempting sleep. I had also saved four pages of favorite quotes. Catherine Ryan Hyde has mad skills and a new fangirl. I. Am. In. Awe. Five-Stars is not enough, it deserves at least ten!

Catherine Ryan Hyde

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I am the author of more than 30 published and forthcoming books, including ALLIE AND BEA, SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW, LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON’T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER.

I’m an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

I am co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

My novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS’ EDITION in August of ’14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of ’14

You can learn much more about me at www.catherineryanhyde.com