Review: The Last Train to Key West (Chanel Cleeton)

The Last Train to Key West
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s captivating new novel.

Everyone journeys to Key West searching for something. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

The Cuban Revolution of 1933 left Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position. After an arranged wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to the stranger she’s married, her new husband’s illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston’s trip from New York to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles as a result of the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.


The Last Train to Key West was one of my most anticipated books of 2020, and it didn’t let me down. This book was absolutely fabulous. The writing was everything I’ve come to expect from Chanel Cleeton and the story… Talk about the perfect mixture of heartbreaking and heartwarming. The journey these three women went on emotionally and physically showed just how strong and courageous they were. That was without the horrible hurricane that went on around them. That just added another fascinating aspect to the story. I had no previous knowledge of the hurricane that hit the area in 1935 or of the railroad that used to go to Key West. I felt like I learned so much by reading this book, and I loved that.

The Last Train to Key West is one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. If you enjoyed Next Year in Havana or When We Left Cuba, you’re guaranteed to love this book. If you haven’t read either of those two, you should and you should read this one as well. So. Dang. Good.

WWW Wednesday: April 8, 2020

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Recently Read

This week I continued working all the ARCs I had stacked up, which feels like a huge relief. I read A Secret for a Secret (All In, #3), The Last Train to Key West, What You Wish For, and I’ll Be the One. I also had time to fit in Mister Tonight.


Currently Reading

I’m reading Runaway Road (Runaway, #1). It’s a library ebook and I have to hurry up and get it read before it’s taken back.

Reading Next

My plan is to mood read now that all my ARCs are done.

What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read Because A Blogger Recommended Them

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

Books I Read Because A Blogger Recommended Them

I changed up today’s TTT topic a bit. Instead of books I bought/borrowed because… I’m going with books that I’ve read because bloggers recommended them. Now, there are a ton more books that bloggers have gotten me to pick up, so if your name or book recommendation isn’t on here please don’t feel left out. These are just ones I can remember for sure. 😉

1. Rebel
Author: Rebecca Yarros

To be honest, I had already bought Rebel, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it anymore. The first two books in this series were just so lackluster for me. Then, I read Lenore’s review (Celebrity Readers) and decided I had to finish off the series. I’m glad I did because it was the best book in the series for sure.

2. Next Year in Havana
Author: Chantel Cleeton

I like Historical Fiction / Romance when I read it, but it’s not something I automatically reach for. When Nick (The Infinite Limits of Love) and Ari (formally of The Romance Corner) kept raving about it, I knew I needed to read it. It turned out to be one of my favorite books I read in 2019.

3. Hustler
Authors: Meghan Quinn & Jessica Prince

This book has a HORRIBLE cover, but I have to thank Cristina (formerly of My Tiny Obsessions) for reviewing this book and making me want to read it. I liked it so much that I went on to read other books by Meghan Quinn and she has become one of my favorite go-to authors for romantic comedy.

4. The Guy on the Right
Author: Kate Stewart

I had previously read an older Kate Stewart book that wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t planning on reading another one of her books until I read Daisy Gal’s (DG Book Blog) review of this gem. I’m so happy I read this book because it was also a favorite of mine from last year.

5. Boys of Brayshaw High
Author: Meagan Brandy

Okay, so I’m going to admit that this book isn’t the best one she’s written or even a favorite series of mine. What it did do was fill a hole in my reading heart that Tijan’s Fallen Crest High left. I have Kayla (Books and Blends) for pointing me in the direction of Meagan Brandy for when I need some extra crazy drama in my romance.

6. Beartown
Author: Fredrik Backman

When Stephanie (Stephanie’s Book Reviews) and Brandie (Running on Words and Wine) raved about Beartown I knew I had to read it. I tend to lean mostly toward romance, but when these ladies both say a novel is good I know I need to read it. I ended up loving this book.

7. Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo

When Six of Crows came out, it wasn’t a book I wanted to read automatically. It was reviews like the one Lois (My Midnight Musing) wrote that made me pick it up.

8. Bad Business
Authors: Nicole Edwards

I love a good sports romance, so when Jessica (Reading with Jessica) was swooning over this one I knew I had to read it. I enjoyed how low drama it was.

9. Don’t Tempt Me
Author: Lori Foster

I know Lori Foster has been around for a long time, but I never picked up one of her books until Debby (alwaysbooking) was raving about them on her blog. I still need to read more from her.

10. The Sweet Gum Tree
Author: Katherine Alread

The Sweet Gum Tree deserves a mention because I would not have read it if it wasn’t for Stephanie and Brandie again.

Review: Southern Storms (Brittainy C. Cherry)

Southern Storm - BT banner

Southern Storms
Series: Compass, #1
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Publication Date: April 2, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

All I wanted to do was run away, I never expected to crash into his arms…

After leaving the city life behind to escape my loveless marriage, I moved to small town Havenbarrow for a fresh start.

What I didn’t expect was to find myself drawn to the town’s black sheep.

They called him troubled. Cold. A man with a dark past.

What everyone seemed to miss about Jax was the splashes of light in his eyes. The random acts of kindness he performed when no one was watching. The way he made me smile and laugh.

Jax helped unpack the baggage I’d been carrying around with me. He was patient with my pain and gentle with my scars. He was the stillness during my hurricane.

Yet when both of our pasts came back to haunt our present days, we realized quickly that sometimes love stories didn’t end the way we’d hoped.

Sometimes you were left with only the damage from the storm.

*Book One in New Compass Series of Standalone Novels.


I hate to admit it, but I was hesitatnt to crack open Southern Storms — now, don’t get me wrong. It had nothing to do with the book and everything to do with how I have been feeling with the turmoil the world is in at this time. My emotions were already high, and I feared Ms. Cherry’s emotional writing style might just cause me to break. I was completely wrong about that. Even though Southern Storms hit me emotionally in tough ways, it also built me back up and filled my emotional cup, something I so very badly needed.

Jax and Kennedy… I feel like I can’t even begin to tell you how beautiful their love story was. They were both so broken, but also resilient. Neither of them knew that until the other helped prove it to them. They both just needed someone to lean on who understood. I don’t want to say much else because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that this was a beautiful story about second chances in finding both oneself and love.

I did have a couple of small things that bugged me (maybe they will be changed prior to publication). One was a shock I got in one scene. It felt so out of character for Kennedy, but then it was explained and I got it. It just shocked me in a weird way. Not sure if I liked the direction or not, I still can’t decide. The other thing was revolving around Kennedy’s divorce. I felt like I needed something final about it…which will probably only make sense once you read the book. Nothing big, but I was left wondering about it.

Overall, Southern Storms was another brilliant, heartwarming novel by Brittainy C. Cherry. She continues to be a sorceress of words. Every story she writes pulls me under her spell, and Southern Storms did just that. I don’t know how to describe her writing other than magical. I can’t wait to find out what is next for the Compass series. (I kind of feel like maybe Amanda deserves a book next?)

 

Southern Storm - AN

Download your copy today or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3bJYlYJ
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/SouthernStorms

Add Southern Storms to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2Rj7I94

About Brittainy

Author Brittainy C. Cherry is an Amazon #1 bestselling author.

She has been in love with words since the day she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelor Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing.

Her novels have been published in 18+ countries around the world. Brittainy lives in Brookfield, Wisconsin with her fur babies.

Connect with Brittainy

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2Fc8izo
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2Oe1m8V
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Fltnc1
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Fk2jKg
GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2ThAciJ

Join Brittainy’s Golden Girls (And Boys) Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2Y4WEir

Stay up to date with Brittainy by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2oK1voU

https://bcherrybooks.com

Cover Reveal: The Dare (Elle Kennedy)

Hi, friends. Today, I have a VERY exciting cover reveal for you. Check out the cove for THE DARE (BRIAR U, #4) by ELLE KENNEDY!!!

Get ready for another binge-worthy romance from New York Times bestselling author Elle Kennedy!

College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.

The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.

Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy.

Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes.

But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.

And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

The Dare purchase links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/TDrAmz
Apple: https://geni.us/TDrAp
Kobo: https://geni.us/TDrKobo
Nook: https://geni.us/TDrNook

Other Links:

Briar U series: https://geni.us/BriarU
Elle’s Newsletter sign-up: http://geni.us/EKNL
Blogger Newsletter sign-up: http://geni.us/EKBlog

http://www.ellekennedy.com/
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElleKennedy
https://twitter.com/ElleKennedy
https://www.instagram.com/ellekennedy33

Review: You Don’t Live Here (Robyn Schneider)

You Don’t Live Here
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ+
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Robyn Schneider, author of The Beginning of Everything, delivers a witty and heartbreaking tale of first love, second beginnings, and last chances in this timely and authentic bisexual coming-of-age story, perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.

In Southern California, no one lives more than thirty miles from the nearest fault line. Sasha Bloom is standing right on top of one when her world literally crumbles around her. With her mother now dead and father out of the picture, Sasha moves in with her estranged grandparents.

Living in her mom’s old bedroom, Sasha has no idea who she is anymore. Luckily, her grandparents are certain they know who she should be: A lawyer in the making. Ten pounds skinnier. In a socially advantageous relationship with a boy from a good family—a boy like Cole Edwards.

And Cole has ideas for who Sasha should be, too. His plus one at lunch. His girlfriend. His.

Sasha tries to make everything work, but that means folding away her love of photography, her grief for her mother, and he growing interest in the magnificently clever Lily Chen. Sasha wants to follow Lily off the beaten path, to discover hidden beaches, secret menus, and the truth about dinosaur pee.

But being friends with Lily might lead somewhere new. Is Sasha willing to stop being the girl everyone expects and let the girl beneath the surface breath through?


You Don’t Live Here was just… sad. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s about a high school junior whose mother dies and she has to go live with her rich grandparents. Sasha is afraid to admit who she is and wants to be and what she likes. She doesn’t want to let her grandparents down. So, basically, it’s about grief and self-discovery. It was well written and a good story, but it just made me sad.

Review: How Lulu Lost Her Mind (Rachel Gibson)

How Lulu Lost Her Mind
Author: Rachel Gibson
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson comes the story of a mother-daughter journey to rediscover the past before it disappears forever.

Lou Ann Hunter’s mother, Patricia, has always had a passionate nature, which explains why she’s been married and divorced five times and spooned enough male patients to be ousted from three elderly care facilities. She also has Alzheimer’s, which is why she wants to spend her remaining months or years surrounded by memories at her family’s decrepit old plantation in Louisiana with her only daughter.

Lou Ann, a.k.a. Lulu the Love Guru, has built an empire preaching sex, love, and relationship advice to the women of America—mostly by defying the example her mother has set for her. But with her mother suddenly in need of a fulltime caretaker, Lou Ann reluctantly agrees to step out of the spotlight and indulge her mother’s wishes, even if it means trading in her Louboutins and Chanel No. 5 for boots and mosquito repellant.

Upon arrival at Sutton Hall, Lou Ann discovers that very little functions at it should, least of all her mother’s mind. She is haunted not only by creaky floorboards and things that go bump in the night, but also by the living ghost sleeping downstairs. Every good day Patricia and Lou Ann have treasure hunting in the attic seems to be followed by two days of meltdowns and cold shoulders. And as Lou Ann adjusts to this new and inevitably temporary dynamic, she is forced to confront the fact that her mother’s fate is completely out of her hands—and the end may be coming quicker than she even thought possible.

Heartrending at times and laugh-out-loud funny at others, How Lulu Lost Her Mind is the book for anyone whose mom has ever made them cry—whether tears of joy, regret, frustration, love, or all of the above. Fans of Emily Giffin, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis won’t be able to forget it.


I have been a fan of Rachel Gibson’s contemporary romance novels for a long time. She’s one of the first authors I really got into and binged on back in the day. When I saw she was releasing a book in the women’s fiction category, I was both intrigued and slight disappointed. So many of my longtime favorite romance authors have been moving over to this genre. It makes me a little sad. That being said, once I got started on How Lulu Lost Her Mind, I knew I was in for something special.

How Lulu Lost Her Mind was a gem. It was all about character growth for Lulu. She got to reexamine her relationship with her mother, her job, and her feelings. All of that was done in a beautifully described setting. I have to admit that I didn’t love Lulu at first due to her nature, but she quickly grew on me.

The rest of the characters were just as fabulous. I loved Patricia, Lindsey, Simon, and Raphael. Patricia added both funny and heartbreaking parts. Lindsey added a special friendship aspect. Simon added just the right tough of romance to the story. And Raphael… Well, that parrot was something else.

How Lulu Lost Her Mind was a heartwarming tale that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Rachel Gibson’s foray into women’s fiction was a smashing success!

Cover Reveal: Sure Shot (Sarina Bowen)

I am so excited to share with you the cover for a new stand-alone hockey romance from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.

Sure Shot
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers Standalone
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: May 12, 2020

On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, successful sports agent Bess Beringer is ready to make some changes. Armed with a five-year plan—indexed and color coded—she’ll tackle a few goals in her personal life.

A big, tall, ripped hunk of hockey player who’s just been traded to the Brooklyn Bruisers is not a part of that five year plan. Mark “Tank” Tankiewicz has a lot of baggage. He’s a ride-or-die loner. He’s on the rebound. He’s also the sexiest thing on two legs, and for some crazy reason it’s Bess that he wants.

She knows better. But then she falls stupid in love with him anyway. And for a while it seems like maybe he’ll do the same.

Until she asks him for the one thing he can never give her…

GOODREADS

https://geni.us/SureShotGoodreads

PRE-ORDER NOW!

Amazon | Apple | Kobo | Nook

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY:

https://geni.us/GoodreadsGiveawaySS

Review: Legacy of Lies (Whitney G.)

Legacy of Lies
Series: Empire of Lies, #3
Author: Whitney G.
Publication Date: April 1, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

We’re in this together—lie for lie, truth for truth.

We’ve both been damaged by our pasts, both terrified of building a future…

Still, there’s a sliver of hope for the both of us—if one of us is willing to fold first.

He’s the king of lies, I’m the queen, and together we’re going to build one hell of a legacy…


I feel like I need to gush about the entire Empire of Lies trilogy before I even go into a review for just Legacy of Lies. This trilogy of novellas is nothing like what I’ve read from Whitney G. before. Yes, it’s her talented writing that pulls you in and never lets you go. What it’s not is her typical contemporary romance. This trilogy is darker, twistier, and edgier. I loved each installment, but moreover, I loved them all together. Five star review for the entire series! That being said, here’s how I felt about Legacy of Lies.

Legacy of Lies picked up right where Queen of Lies left off. I had an idea of where things were going, but it didn’t exactly go as planned — I probably felt how Michael felt about Meredith’s decisions. Things got crazy and went where I wasn’t expecting. I loved it. I loved how everything played out for Michael and Meredith. They got the ending they deserved, and I got the ending I wanted.

WWW Wednesday: April 1, 2020

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Recently Read

I’ve been diligently working on getting ARCs read. This week I started with ARCs of How Lulu Lost Her Mind and You Don’t Live Here. Then I took a quick break to read Number Neighbors. Then I was back to ARCs with Madam Temptress (The Magnolia Duet, #2) and Legacy of Lies (Empire of Lies, #3) . I think my reading is FINALLY back and track. It helps not to be watching the news 24/7.


Currently Reading

I am now reading an ARC of  Southern Storms (Compass, #1).

Reading Next

Three more ARCs to go… So my plan is to read A Secret for a Secret (All In, #3).

What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂