Tag: NAL

Review: The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James

Posted November 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Library, Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 319
Length: 9 hours and 58 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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The award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare and Silence for the Dead, presents another mesmerizing gothic story of intrigue...

London, 1925. Glamorous medium Gloria Sutter made her fortune helping the bereaved contact loved ones killed during the Great War. Now she's been murdered at one of her own séances, after leaving a message requesting the help of her former friend and sole rival, Ellie Winter.

Ellie doesn't contact the dead—at least, not anymore. She specializes in miraculously finding lost items. Still, she can't refuse the final request of the only other true psychic she has known. Now Ellie must delve into Gloria's secrets and plunge back into the world of hucksters, lowlifes, and fakes. Worse, she cannot shake the attentions of handsome James Hawley, a damaged war veteran who has dedicated himself to debunking psychics.

As Ellie and James uncover the sinister mysteries of Gloria's life and death, Ellie is tormented by nightmarish visions that herald the grisly murders of those in Gloria's circle. And as Ellie’s uneasy partnership with James turns dangerously intimate, an insidious evil force begins to undermine their quest for clues, a force determined to bury the truth, and whoever seeks to expose it...

The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James is available for the Audible Escape package. I downloaded it after finishing Silence for the Dead, because I wanted more from St. James and because I enjoyed the narrator, Mary Jane Wells, quite a bit. This gothic romance is perfect for the fall season.

Ellie Winter is a psychic Medium. When a rival Medium, Gloria Sutter, is murdered and her brother shows up asking for Ellie’s help in finding her, Ellie agrees reluctantly. She and Gloria had been friends once upon a time, but Gloria betrayed Ellie in a devastating way and they hadn’t spoken in years. If Gloria hadn’t left a note with her brother “Tell Ellie Winter to find me”, Ellie probably would have told him no. As it is, despite her anger and hurt over Gloria’s betrayal, she can’t walk away.

James Hawley is an investigator for the “New Society”. He, and his colleagues, try to verify or debunk psychics. He was instrumental in declaring Ellie’s mother a fraud, but something about their case has always bothered him. As the only verified true psychic – something he helped prove – Gloria had a lot of notoriety in London. Discovering if his findings are part of the reason she was murdered has James helping Ellie.

This is the second novel by St. James I’ve read. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first, but it was still a creepy, lovely tale. I quite enjoyed the setting – mid 1920s London – and the glimpse into the life of a true Medium who can see and summon spirits. Ellie’s talent in that regard came across well. I enjoyed her as whole, in fact. She was independent and strong, yet had a vein of vulnerability and loneliness running through her that made her easy to connect with.

I enjoyed the mystery of why Gloria Sutter was murdered, and by whom. I had the majority of things figured out, but still there were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. This was a cozy, atmospheric Gothic novel not to be missed.

Rating: 4 out of 5


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Guest Review: The Sound of Glass by Karen White

Posted November 9, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Sound of Glass by Karen WhiteReviewer: Tina
The Sound of Glass by Karen White
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: May 12th 2015
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 432
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The New York Times bestselling author of A Long Time Gone now explores a Southern family’s buried history, which will change the life of the woman who unearths it, secret by shattering secret.

It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life—and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death—Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old half-brother.

Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.

I absolutely adore Southern Women’s Fiction. Although I am not sure what originally got me hooked, I have become a die-hard fan. Any book in this genre will eventually find it’s way not only onto my TBR pile, but also into my heart. The Sound of Glass by Karen White is no exception.

I have many books by Karen White on my Kindle. On exact count, I have twelve. Unfortunately, The Sound of Glass is not one of them. I actually picked this one up on a recent trip to the library.

This book got my attention for several reasons. First of all, the author is Karen White. Nothing left to say about that fact. Then of course it is Southern fiction. Also, being a fan of the author as I am, you can’t help but notice that the majority of her books have gorgeous covers! They pretty much dare you to pull them off the shelf. The deal was sealed when I read the back cover. I knew I would be reading this book before the day was over.

The Sound of Glass is an exquisitely written story of the complex interconnecting lives of a family. It is chocked full of all the drama and raw emotion that you can expect when a vast array of injured and imperfect personalities come together. I found all the characters to be realistically portrayed and highly deserving of the compassion that the reader feels towards them. I finished the book knowing that this would be one that I would remember and recommend.

The Sound of Glass couldn’t be a more perfect title for this book. Just like the sensation of shattering glass, the story is explosive, unexpected and often composed of jagged and sharp edges. It is an exceptional portrayal of a dysfunctional family unit. I was truly affected by this powerful tale.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5


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Guest Review: Put a Ring On It by Beth Kendrick

Posted October 4, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Put a Ring On It by Beth KendrickReviewer: Tina
Put a Ring On It by Beth Kendrick
Series: Black Dog Bay #3
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Pages: 283
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Series Rating: four-stars

The author of New Uses for Old Boyfriends returns to the Delaware seashore town of Black Dog Bay, where one woman learns to put passion before practicality…

Brighton Smith doesn’t do outrageous. As an insurance actuary, it’s her job to assess risk and avoid bad investments. But when her fiancé calls to confess he’s married someone else on a whim (“I looked at her and I just knew!”), she snaps…

That night, at a local bar, Jake Sorensen—hot, rich, and way out of her league—buys Brighton a cocktail. At midnight, she kisses him. And by dawn, they’re exchanging vows at a drive-through chapel.

Brighton knows Jake is a bad bet, but she doesn’t care. After a lifetime of playing it safe, she’s finally having fun. Until the whirlwind romance gives way to painful reality...and Brighton finds out the truth about why a guy like Jake married a girl like her. With her heart on the line and the odds stacked against them, Brighton must decide whether to cut her losses or take a leap of faith that this love affair is one in a million.

I have been reading some pretty heavy books lately, so I wanted to give myself a break to enjoy something lighthearted, romantic and simple. Put A Ring On It by Beth Kendrick totally fills that request.

The first thing that reeled me in was the adorable cover. Who can resist a sweet little fur-baby face?? As I was standing there perusing the shelves I noticed that practically all of the author’s books have covers that make you want to toss them your cart and take them home with you. Being a total cover-snob, this is a powerful thing!

After I got the book home, I realized that it was actually part of a series called Black Dog Bay. I believe it is the third book. Apparently though, the books can be read individually as I did not feel that I was missing out on anything by not reading the two prior books.

The story is set in a picturesque resort town called Black Dog Bay, and is the perfect location for this entertaining beach read. The main character is Brighton Smith, who has a basically mundane insurance job and suddenly finds herself jilted by a fiance who calls to tell her he just married someone else! So she heads out to Black Dog Bay to visit a friend and get away from her sudden predicament. And this is where the story pretty much begins.

I really enjoyed this sweet, romantic comedy. It is perfect for those times when you just need something that is uncomplicated, easy to read, and gives you a reason to smile. I will definitely be looking for more by Beth Kendrick. I find her writing to be charming, and her characters are all engaging and fun.


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Review: The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward

Posted August 24, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Angels’ Share by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Angels' Share by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #2
Also in this series: The Bourbon Kings, The Bourbon Kings, Devil's Cut, The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1)
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 414
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Series Rating: three-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…   In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…   No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.   Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?

I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Once again we’re pulled into the worked of the Bradford Bourbon Kings, but this time their patriarch is dead. At first it was thought to be suicide until his finger is found buried on the grounds of the grand family estate. Then, it starts to look more like murder. But who would murder William Baldwine?

Lane Baldwine thinks he has an idea and it’s one he’s not to happy to have and not one that he’s going to share. He came back to Easterly when his momma, Miss Aurora was sick and he had no intention of staying. That was until he saw his Lizzie again and he knew he had to get her back. Get her back he did and he wanted nothing more than to leave with her. Until he learned that the Bradford Bourbon Company was in trouble, his father all but bankrupting the company. Lane brought his good friend Jeff down from Manhattan to follow the numbers and it didn’t take Jeff long to realize that someone has been embezzling from BBC and Lane decides to take the problem on himself. There is no way that Lane is letting the company that has been in his family for generation go belly up. He just doesn’t know how he’s going to turn it around.

If anyone can turn the company around, Lane thinks it’s his older brother Edward. Yet after their father arranged for his kidnapping and declined to paid the ransom all but leaving Edward for dead, Edward wants nothing to do with the family or the company. All Edward wants is to be left alone with his horses. Yet Edward feels a pull toward his siblings that won’t be denied. He also feels a pull toward Sutton Smythe, BBC’s number one competitor and the woman that Edward has been in love with half his life. Though there is nothing more Edward wants than Sutton, he knows that the shell of the man he is now is not what Sutton needs in her life and he can do nothing more than let her go.

In the meantime, Lane and Edward’s sister Gin (short for Virginia) has hopped on the money train that is Richard Pford. Gin has nothing if not an enormous sense of self-preservation and she’s never in her life had to support herself. Yet she starts to question whether she’s made the right decision with Richard when she gets advice from an unlikely source. She also realizes that though she’s been a terrible mother to her daughter, it is never too late to change that. Gin was just about unbearable in The Bourbon Kings, but in this book there was a slight turnaround as if she could be someone that her daughter and her brothers could be proud of.

As if there wasn’t enough drama, the middle son Maxwell shows up. It’s not clear where he’s been or why he’s there. He heard about his father’s death of course, but he seemed to be gone for so long, it’s a wonder that he showed up at all. There really wasn’t too much about Max, so I imagine that we will be seeing him in future books.

So yes, I loved this book because I loved the drama. The alternating points of view, which drive me batshit in the BDB series, work wonderfully in this series. The soap opera-esque way that this series has will draw you in so if you don’t want to be obsessed, don’t bother reading The Bourbon King series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Bourbon Kings


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Joint Review: Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young

Posted August 17, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Joint Review: Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha YoungReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #6
Also in this series: On Dublin Street , Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Castle Hill, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Fall from India Place , Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street , Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk, Down London Road, Echoes of Scotland Street
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 336
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Series Rating: four-stars

Logan from Echoes of Scotland Street is back with his own smoldering story, as the New York Times bestselling On Dublin Street series returns…
Logan spent two years paying for the mistakes he made. Now, he’s ready to start over. He has a great apartment, a good job, and plenty of women to distract him from his past. And one woman who is driving him to distraction…
Grace escaped her manipulative family by moving to a new city. Her new life, made to suit her own needs, is almost perfect. All she needs to do is find her Mr. Right—or at least figure out a way to ignore her irresistible yet annoying womanizer of a neighbor.
Grace is determined to have nothing to do with Logan until a life-changing surprise slowly begins turning the wild heartbreaker into exactly the kind of strong, stable man she’s been searching for. Only just when she begins to give into his charms, her own messy past threatens to derail everything they’ve worked to build…
From the Trade Paperback edition.

Holly: I was a bit wary going into this book based on the description. Logan as a major player didn’t really work for me based on his actions in the previous book. I’m glad to report that was a small portion of the plot, rather than the main focus. It was more about Grace’s perception of him than his actual actions.

Rowena: I was actually pretty excited for Logan’s book because I wanted to see how Samantha Young tackled the whole ex-con thing where Logan was concerned. I think she did a pretty good job of it. All of her other heroes in this series were pretty stand up guys and Logan was too…until he wasn’t. He went to prison for beating the shit out of someone so bad that he sent the guy to the hospital and put him into a coma. I liked seeing Logan’s life on the outside.

Holly: Yeah, I like that Logan struggled with his actions. He went to prison for a good reason. Though he admitted he was wrong to have done what he did, he couldn’t really regret it. I liked seeing his life on the outside, too. It was easy to understand his struggles to go back to a normal way of life with a record.

Grace was frustrating at first, always jumping to conclusions and thinking the worst of everyone. But I never really disliked her. I did get a couple good laughs out of her anger at Logan’s noisy nighttime activities.

Rowena: I loved Logan and Grace’s arguments before they were really anything. First the thong then the noise and when she finally blows up? I laughed and laughed and laughed. Their story was too freaking cute. I was surprised that she went along with Logan and crap, what’s the daughter’s name? so quickly. I was thinking the exact same thing that both Aidan and the girl best friend were thinking. Are you nuts?

Holly: Okay. I reread the book so I could refresh my memory. I change what I said earlier. Grace didn’t irritate me in the beginning. I just ended up snickering over their fights about how loud Logan was in bed and his “dates” leaving their thongs in the hallway and puke on her doorstep. That was hilarious.

I was surprised when Grace agreed to go with Maia and Logan, too, but I thought it fit the person she was. Especially the kinship she felt with Maia based on the way she herself was raised. I loved that she’d made her own family and Chloe and Aiden were quick to point out she was insane.

Speaking of, they really made a great family. I loved that Aiden was the first person she went to for everything, and that Chloe was constantly threatening to make heads roll on Grace’s behalf.

It was good to see the other On Dublin Street couples again, but I admit to having mixed feelings about the chapters from their POVs at the end of the book. I know she’s wrapping up the series, but I kind of feel like she was just throwing readers a bone. It didn’t feel organic to the story, you know?

Rowena: I really loved that the way that Grace made her own family as she grew up. The family she chose for herself were heaps better then the family she was born into. I would have liked to see some kind of interaction with her Mom, to see just how bad the Mom was but in the end, I was okay that it didn’t happen. Based on her interaction with her Dad, I could use my imagination to figure out how the Mom was.

I really liked the romance between Grace and Logan. I loved that Grace was so wrong about what Logan was feeling for her and when Logan drops the act and just goes after Grace? swoon

Holly: I loved it when he went after her, too. I loved even more that she made him work for it and didn’t just let him back in. He really hurt and humiliated her.

What did you think about Maia wanting Grace and Logan to be together. It was kind of cute, but it was also kind of immature.

Rowena: I thought he was such an idiot for saying that, especially when I knew that he more than liked her.

I enjoyed getting to know Maia, even when I wanted to smack her upside her head for acting like a bratty kid about Logan and Grace so much as looking or going on dates with other people. I mean, I understood and even sympathized with her on certain things. She had a really shitty childhood and she was really brave for striking out and trying to find Logan on her own but I guess it was realistic that she would be bratty sometimes because she is a teenager.

More than anything, I liked Maia. I liked the family unit that she made for herself with Logan and Grace. I loved seeing them fall into a pattern. Going to school and work, coming home and having dinner together and I felt bad for her when that was nipped in the bud because Logan and Grace couldn’t keep it in their pants but I liked the growth we saw in her character from the first time she came into the story until the end.

Holly: I liked how she grew over the course of the novel, too. It did take major guts for her to search out Logan. It showed strength and maturity for her to recognize the situation with her mother as unsalvageable. It just seemed kind of weird to me that she acted out to get Grace an Logan together. I would have thought she wouldn’t want them to be together, especially since she was just getting to know Logan. I didn’t dislike her or anything, it just struck me as odd when she acted out about them.

What did you think of the little slice-of-life chapters we got from the heroines of the other books at the end of this one. On the one hand, it was a nice way to end the series and I liked seeing all the couples together. On the other, this was Logan and Grace’s book, not the whole crew’s book.

Rowena: ​Hmm, I didn’t think about that when I was reading the book but you’re right. It IS weird. You’d think she’d want Logan to herself for a little bit then again, I thought she imprinted on Grace first. At first, she was wary of Logan, maybe even a little scared so maybe that’s why she wanted Grace and Logan together, to make sure Grace stayed with her? Still, she did act bratty.

The little slice of life chapters at the end didn’t bother me since it was…at the end. Had they been peppered throughout the story and took away from Logan and Grace’s book or somehow forced into the story, I would have taken issue with them but I loved getting those chapters. It was like a nice farewell montage.​

Holly: Overall I thought this was a great read and an excellent end to the series. Young went out on a high note. I’m sorry to say goodbye to these characters. I’ve come to think of them as friends I got to spend a few hours with.

I’m going to give it 4 out of 5.

Rowena: Same. I really liked how everything wrapped up from Logan and Grace’s romance, to the other couples and the series as a whole. I’m going to miss these guys.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5



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