Review: The Prenup (Lauren Layne)

The Prenup
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My name is Charlotte Spencer and, ten years ago, I married my brother’s best friend. I haven’t seen him since.

Charlotte Spencer grew up on the blue-blooded Upper East Side of Manhattan but she never wanted the sit-still-look-pretty future her parents dictated for her. Enter Colin Walsh, her brother’s quiet, brooding, man-bun-sporting best friend, and with him a chance to escape.

He’s far from Charlotte’s dream guy as but they need each other for one thing: marriage. One courthouse wedding later, Charlotte’s inheritance is hers to start a business in San Francisco and Irish-born Colin has a Green Card.

Ten years later, Colin drops a bombshell: the terms of their prenup state that before either can file for divorce, they have to live under the same roof for three months.

Suddenly this match made in practicality is about to take on whole new meaning…


The Prenup is the perfect example of why I love Lauren Layne’s writing. The minute I started reading The Prenup I had a huge smile on my face. I was immediately addicted to the story. Plus, her words are so much fun. That may sound like a weird way to put it, but the way she puts sentences together somehow infuses them with happy emotion. I don’t know how Lauren Layne does it, but I love it.

What made The Prenup so great was chemistry between the characters. They were opposites in demeanor. Charlotte could be described as a little materialistic, upbeat, and a lot stubborn. Colin was uptight, quiet, and intense. They rubbed each other wrong, but somehow it was so right. They had this fun banter — if you can call it that because Colin was sometimes a silent communicator. Every interaction between them was highly entertaining. I truly felt like I was watching two people fall for each other.

I always enjoy Lauren Layne’s books, but I found a new favorite in The Prenup. It was everything I expected from LL and more. I highly recommend it for fans of fake relationships or romantic comedies. It was so much fun!

*Spoiler Free* Review: Better Than This (Beth Flynn)

Better Than This
Series: A Nine Minutes Trilogy Spin-Off, #3
Author: Beth Flynn
Publication Date: July 8, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes they just scab over.

Haunted by memories of a failed marriage, trauma surgeon Barbie Anderson escapes to her hometown for a fresh start. But the quaint community of Pumpkin Rest has memories and failures of its own that should stay buried.

When Barbie runs into ex-con biker Jake Chambers, he stirs up anger and resentment in her that she doesn’t want to face. He reminds her of the one man she’s never gotten over and dredges up decades-old heartache. With his rugged criminal exterior and gentlemanly demeanor, the silver fox may have the other women in Pumpkin Rest falling at his feet, but not Barbie.

She refuses to let her guard down and have her heart broken again. When a series of revelations come tumbling forth, Barbie is forced to confront her past and trust Pumpkin Rest’s most sought-after bachelor where she’ll soon learn that love wears many faces.

Will secrets from the past destroy their future or will old wounds finally heal, allowing her to love again?


Before I begin my review of Better Than This, I feel the need to point people in the right direction if they are not familiar with Beth Flynn’s writing. Beth Flynn has an insanely good dark romance / psychological thriller trilogy called Nine Minutes. It’s really the place you need to start when reading her books. Every book that comes after the original Nine Minutes has been slowly revealing itself since then. Better Than This doesn’t exactly continue storylines from the original trilogy, but there are some surprise references to people and events from it that build to make this book what it is. I highly recommend starting with Nine Minutes and reading Ms. Flynn’s books in the order they were released. If you’re interested in my review for the first book, you can find it here. Now for my review…

Better Than This had a slightly different feel than Beth Flynn’s other novels. This one didn’t jump around in time as much. There were a few scenes that took us to the past, but the majority of the book was in the present and focused on Barbie and Jake’s romance. Barbie and Jake’s romance differed from others in this series because it was a more mature romance. The characters are in their 50’s. It’s not very often I come across a romance with characters this age that feels fresh and not antiquated. The characters had moments where they felt the things you feel when you grow older, but they also had a youthfulness to their thoughts. Getting older myself, I liked this because you still feel like you’re young at heart even when your body isn’t. Barbie and Jake’s romance was also more of a slow burn than the other novels in this series. Given their age, that was surprising. I liked the reasoning behind it.

Now that I’ve said Better Than This was mostly romance based, I need to backtrack a little on that statement. If you have read Beth Flynn’s books, you know that it’s not all about the romance. I probably shouldn’t have said it was. There’s always a gigantic mystery to unravel. That’s another thing that made this book (and all of her others) so special. I was constantly playing detective. Each little hint had me thinking back to things that had been said or done. Usually it just left me with more questions than answers, but it was so much fun and kept me glued to this book.

When I started reading Better Than This I was very curious to find out how Barbie and Jake tied into the original Nine Minutes Trilogy. They weren’t characters I remembered, but there are so many characters I could have easily forgotten them. I kept waiting for some clue to connect them. In true Beth Flynn fashion, things took a while to come together. That’s what’s so amazing about her writing, though. Every little twist, turn, and revelation gives you some new piece of information to fit together. The result is a fabulous puzzle and a huge pay off. I definitely got one of those with this book. Some of my lingering questions from previous books were answered and it was utterly satisfying. There are still more questions now, but I’m hoping Beth Flynn will keep the spin-offs coming and the next book will answer them.

Review: Past Perfect Life (Elizabeth Eulberg)

Past Perfect Life
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Small-town Wisconsin high school senior Allison Smith loves her life the way it is-spending quality time with her widowed father and her tight-knit circle of friends, including best friend Marian and maybe-more-than-friends Neil. Sure she is stressed out about college applications . . . who wouldn’t be? In a few short months, everything’s going to change, big time.
But when Ally files her applications, they send up a red flag . . . because she’s not Allison Smith. And Ally’s-make that Amanda’s-ordinary life is suddenly blown apart. Was everything before a lie? Who will she be after? And what will she do as now comes crashing down around her?


Past Perfect Life is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Eulberg. I was drawn to it after reading my friend Stephanie’s review. I also liked the comparison to Robin Benway’s Far From the Tree, which I adored. I probably would have compared it to Benways’ Emmy & Oliver as well. I’m really glad I had the chance to read it because it was one of those books that immediately grabbed my attention and had me not wanting to put it down. The writing was that good! I loved the story and all of the characters.

Ally was easy to relate to. I can only imagine what it would be like to find out the life you were living was real, but also a lie. The problems she had accepting all of the changes was understandable. I liked the way Ally coped with everything and all of the choices she made.

One of my favorite things about this book were the side characters. Ally had a really amazing group of friends who were more like family. I loved her relationships with each and every one of them, especially Neil. Their new-found romance was adorable. I also really loved Ally’s new relationships. Her step-father was so understanding and cool.

Ally’s relationships with her parents was so interesting to me. I could easily put myself in both of their places. As a parent, it was hard to look at Ally’s dad in a negative light even though I didn’t condone what he had done. I found myself frustrated with her mom while understanding her actions. I felt so torn over everything.

There was only one thing keeping me from giving this book 5 stars: the ending. Everything wrapped up so quickly. It was too quickly for my taste. I was left with so many unanswered questions. I needed at least an epilogue. Don’t let detour you from reading Past Perfect Life, though. It was so very good and definitely worth a read. I’m looking forward to reading more of Elizabeth Eulberg’s books.

Review: Things You Save in a Fire (Katherine Center)

Things You Save in a Fire
Author: Katherine Center
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.


How to Walk Away was one of my favorite books from 2018. When I heard Katherine Center was releasing another book, I knew I had to read it. Things You Save in a Fire was exactly what I was expecting. The writing was brilliant. the characters were fleshed out and lovable. The story and drama were entertaining and pulled me in. There wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t love.

Cassie was this tough as nail firefighter who didn’t want to stand out in the crowd of firefighters. She tried to blend in as much as could with her fellow male counterparts. While I was impressed with her ability to do so, I was sad that she had to do that in 2019. I know a lot of women do, though, in many jobs. It added a very interesting aspect to this love story. It made Cassie’s feelings for the rookie a tad bit stressful and emotional in a way I couldn’t have seen coming.

I loved everything about Cassie and Owen’s (non-)relationship. The way everything built between them was perfect. I felt their connection. I enjoyed how Cassie tried to avoid it. It was just really cute…and emotional. I won’t go into why it was so emotional because I don’t want to ruin anything, but Cassie had some healing to do where love was concerned. I enjoyed how she worked through her issues with love.

Part of those love issues for Cassie had to do with her mom. I adored her mother in this book. I get why Cassie had to work on forgiveness. Forgiveness was a huge part of this book, and I liked how it was done — with one exception.

One of the biggest villains was forgiven more quickly than I liked. The severity of the hurt they caused felt almost brushed over by the rate of forgiveness. I am glad this person was forgiven, but I wanted more legal retribution. This person didn’t have to deal with their actions in the way I thought they should have. I did like how they atoned and made a huge effort to apologize, though.

Other than that, this story was perfection in my eyes. It was a great inspirational story that has me eagerly anticipating Katherine Center’s next book.

Review: Superfan (Sarina Bowen)

Superfan
Series: Brooklyn Brusiers, #6
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.


Reading a Brooklyn Bruisers book by Sarina Bowen is like meeting up for a coffee date with an old friend. There’s this comfort to them both, but also excitement and fun. The setting and characters aren’t entirely new, but their story is. Reading Superfan made me so happy!

I loved Superfan from the very beginning. (If I’m being honest, I knew I was going to love it from all of the Silas and Delilah hints dropped in the previous books in the series.) I loved how it started with fame, television, hockey, and Twitter. It was just so much fun! I also enjoyed how it took me back to Silas and Delilah’s first meeting and the kiss that started it all. The set up for Silas and Delilah’s story was perfect.

Despite having the feeling I was going to love Superfan, I was a little nervous about Delilah’s rock star status. Rock star romances can be hit or miss. Superfan was definitely a hit. Being a rock star didn’t consume Delilah. Even though she was a hit singer, she was very down to Earth. What she did for a living didn’t have a too much of an impact on her personality when it came to her interactions with people. That made her character all that more likable. Delilah was super sweet. I loved her.

Silas was cute. His obsession with Delilah’s music is even more adorable now that I know all the reasons behind it. He was also a nice guy who truly cared about people’s well being. He showed that over and over again when it came to Delilah. I loved that he wasn’t a macho, cocky guy despite being a professional athlete. There really wasn’t anything not like about Silas.

In some ways, Silas and Delilah’s relationship felt like a slow burn romance because of the bits of the past included. In reality it was more of an instant love. They had this instant chemistry and connection. Some of their first interactions in the present almost seemed too fast and out of character for them. The more time I got to see them together, the more I understood that their feelings for each other may have been instant but they were lasting. Silas and Delilah truly did take time to get to know and trust each other, too. So, yeah. Their connection was instant, but their love was almost slow burn.

One of the pleasures of reading a series with this many books is the little snippets of old character friends one gets to see again. I adored getting to see Castro and Heidi again. Georgia and Leo, too. They all helped Silas in some fun ways. Oh! I can’t leave out Nate and Becca. Those two were made me smile so much!

There were also some new friends I found myself loving. First of all, Becky. Can Becky or Sarah get a book? Please, Sarina? I think your next Bruiser needs to fall for one of those girls. I also really liked Charla the manager. She was a force.

Superfan was just so much fun to read. I loved being back with this family of characters. Silas and Delilah added another couple to my favorites list with their story. It was just so dang sweet! I know there’s already several Brooklyn Bruisers books, but it’s a series I don’t think I will ever get tired of. I hope there are more books to come. Cough Bayer Cough

Review: The Other Side (Kim Holden)

The Other Side
Author: Kim Holden
Publication Date: June 5, 2019
Publisher: Do Epic LLC
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mental Health, Historical Fiction, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Denver, Colorado
1987

There are two sides to every story.
The surface reality that’s presented to the world.
And then there’s the other side.
The real one.
The one that matters.

Seventeen-year-old, self-proclaimed asshole, Toby Page, is alone.
No friends.
No family.
He trades maintenance work in exchange for room and board.
Every day he fights demons no one else can see.
Every day he wants to give up.
But he can’t.
Not yet.

When Alice Eliot moves in downstairs, she offers Toby some light in his dark world.
At a crossroads and barely hanging on, it’s hard to have perspective.
It’s difficult to see your own worth when you’re the villain in your story.
Luckily for Toby, Alice brings things out in him that no one else ever has.

As the two sides of Toby’s story are revealed, and the full reality comes into view, truth is gained.
Improbable alliances prove that kindness is fundamentally human.
Unlikely heroes emerge.

The question is, Will it all be enough to save him?


When I have to answer the dreaded “What’s your favorite book?” question, I always respond with Bright Side by Kim Holden. There hasn’t been a book since I read Bright Side that has affected me as much. I’m telling you this for a couple of reasons. One, so you know how brilliant of a writer Kim Holden is. Two, because while The Other Side wasn’t exactly another Bright Side, it just as impactful and even more important.

The Other Side is a story about a young man living with suicidal thoughts. I am not going to go anymore into the plot because it’s one of those books you have to read for yourself. (There are some amazing surprises in store!) What I will say is that I was impressed with the story Kim Holden told and the way it was delivered. It definitely made me think about my daily actions, the people around me, and the people I come in contact with. It’s truly one of those stories that young adults (and adults) need to read. I loved what this book gave to me, and I want it to give even more to others.

Review: Justified (Jay Crownover)

Justified
Series: Loveless, Texas, #1
Author: Jay Crownover
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series delivers a romance about a rugged Texas sheriff who must protect the woman who was once his sworn enemy…

Case Lawton comes from a family of criminals. So as the sheriff of Loveless, Texas, he’s determined to do everything by the book–until he’s called to Aspen Barlow’s office after a so-called break-in. The last thing he wants to do is help the woman who cost him custody of his son. But Aspen isn’t the heartless lawyer Case remembers, and he starts to question his long-held grudge…

Aspen is scared for her life, and Case is her last hope for protection. But to get him on her side, she’ll have to reveal the painful truth from all those years ago. Now, as they work together to track down a dangerous criminal, Case and Aspen learn to trust each other. And as the threats escalate, it becomes clear there’s a thin line between love and hate… because there’s nothing Case wouldn’t do to keep her safe.


Justified was one of those solid romantic reads. Aspen and Case were enemies at the start and their dramatic interactions were perfect. I loved how Case hated her while Aspen wished he didn’t. They way their walls came down when they were forced to share space and trust each other was fun to read. Things went quickly between them, but it felt natural with all that was going on.

And there was a ton going on! I’m not normally into romantic suspense, but Justified had just the right kind and amount of it. I was very curious to know who had it out for Aspen and why. I have to admit I was shocked who was behind everything. I didn’t see it coming at all!

One of my favorite things about this book was Case’s relationship with his son, Hayes. It really showed what a great man Case was. I liked how he supported his son when it came to his mother and relationships with girls. I also liked how Aspen fit into that relationship.

Justified was another great romance by Jay Crownover. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like about it. I truly enjoyed every minute I spent with it. I can’t wait to read what’s next in this series!

Review: Something Like Gravity (Amber Smith)

Something Like Gravity
Author: Amber Smith
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. Elderry Books
Genre: YA, LGBTQ+, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC an is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.

Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.

A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.

But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?


The minute I heard Amber Smith was releasing another book, I knew I wanted to read it. I have been obsessed with her writing ever since I read The Way I Used To Be when it was released. Her stories are so beautiful and heart wrenching. She takes tough topics and dives in deep. I felt so emotionally touched by her first two releases. I couldn’t wait to start Something Like Gravity.

Something Like Gravity touched on a topic I haven’t read before. Chris being transgender was something I haven’t come across in any contemporary YA romance before. It was very interesting to me, but I cannot tell you whether or not the representation was done appropriately. I hope Chris’ thoughts about his body and feelings he had about everything were done in the best way possible because I can see them being easy to relate to. I also liked his thought process when it came to Maia and his interactions with her.

While I felt like Chris, his story, and his relationships with everyone were important and interesting, the rest of the book kind of bored me. Remember that boring summer you had at your grandparents’/aunt’s/uncle’s growing up? This book had that vibe. It’s set in a small town during the sleepy days of summer. I had to really push myself to read it. Almost everything Chris and Maia did was boring. And Maia…

Well, Maia is where the book lost me. Her point of view didn’t delve as deep as Chris’. She was grieving her sister’s death, her parents’ divorce, and a change in herself. I don’t feel like I got the nitty-gritty on any of those things. Everything with her felt surface level. I was missing something in some of her thoughts and actions. It’s not often I say this, but Something Like Gravity would have been better with only one point of view. I would have been more interested in hearing everything from Chris’ point of view.

Something Like Gravity had a lot of potential. It was written by a talented writer. There was a main character who was unique and had some experiences I was truly curious to find out more about. It just didn’t hit me on the emotional level it could have. It was still a good read, and I know there are going to be readers who it hits home with.

Review: The Girl He Used to Know (Tracey Garvis Graves)

The Girl He Used to Know
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Narrators: Fred Berman, Kathleen McInerney
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Historical, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.


The Girl He Used to Know was one of those books I wanted to read but didn’t really see myself getting to any time soon. After reading some great reviews for it, I decided to request the audiobook version so that I could fit it into my reading schedule faster. I’m happy I did that because I enjoyed listening to it.

The way this story told made it perfect for audio. Both Annika and Jonathan had their own points of view. Annika’s was set in both her 1990’s college years and 2001, but Jonathan’s was only in 2001. I liked that because of the way the story was set up and how the revelations were given. I think limiting Jonathan’s POV gave Annika’s more depth. It just worked so well.

Another great thing about the audio was the narrators. The narrators of The Girl He Used to Know were fantastic! Fred Berman embodied the calm Jonathan well. He (along with the author) gave him a tenderness that I loved. I was especially impressed with Kathleen McInerney as Annika. I couldn’t imagine Annika read any other way. She took on every essence of the character and made her feel like a real person.

As for the story itself, I liked it a lot. Annika was on the autism spectrum. The way her thoughts, emotions, and reactions were processed was interesting and a learning experience in a way. I loved seeing how she related to people and relationships with them. Her relationship with Jonathan fascinated me. I was even more interested in how Jonathan reacted to things she did and didn’t do. I loved that he loved her for the things that made her Annika. It was such a sweet love story with so many surprises.

Annika’s relationships with the other people around her also interested me. I loved her relationship with Janis and her mom. I also loved how her relationship with her brother, Will, played out. The relationships that were harder to like were those with people who didn’t understand her or treated her badly. I hated when she was hurt, but it also made me think a lot.

The thing that surprised me the most about The Girl He Used to Know didn’t really have anything to do with the relationships of this book. This book has a 2001 setting. I didn’t really connect that to September 11th when I started reading. That horrible date in history and the days after are featured toward the end of this book. It might be too much or too soon for some readers. For me, having lived through that time and remembering it now, it was a little hard. It brought back waiting to hear from my close friend who was a United Airlines flight attendant at the time and my husband (then fiancé) who was in Pennsylvania not too far from where the plane went down there. Those worries and disbelief of what was happening being replayed in my head was a little jarring.  It was also fascinating because I felt like the author gave a different look at the topic than some of the other books I’ve read who have broached that time frame. It was uncomfortable, but also something I respected the author for going there and bringing back into focus what people went through at that time in history (like how books do with WWII). It’s important to remember.

Overall, I found The Girl He Used to Know to be an emotional and unique listening experience. I would definitely recommend it.

Review: Sunset Beach (Mary Kay Andrews)

Sunset Beach
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: McMillan Audio
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Drue Campbell’s life and career have recently been derailed. The only thing she has left is the house her mother left her: a ramshackle beach bungalow with a missing roof in the once-sleepy town of Sunset Beach, which is rapidly becoming a hot spot for the rich and well-heeled, who are none too pleased about the shabby eyesore in their perfect neighborhood.

When Drue’s larger-than-life father unexpectedly turns up at her mother’s funeral and offers her a job at his law firm, Drue doesn’t know whether to be grateful or resentful that he has suddenly reappeared. She grudgingly accepts the job sifting through cold callers and shysters looking to get rich quick. But when her attention is caught by a suspicious murder case, Drue finds herself entangled in a decades-old mystery – one that may have dire consequences for Drue and the people she loves.


It’s been years since I read a book by Mary Kay Andrews. I’m not exactly sure why. I guess her books haven’t been on my radar or something because when I saw Sunset Beach available to listen to from my library I jumped on downloading it. I’m thankful I did for many reasons.

Sunset Beach was a fantastic book to listen to. I usually enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ writing, but there was something about the narrator’s voice that made it even more captivating. There were some points in the story where it might have lost me (so much going on), but Kathleen McInerney’s voice kept pulling me back in. I actually want to find more books she’s narrated to read. That’s how much I enjoyed her voice.

As for Sunset Beach‘s content, I was impressed with the mystery. There were actually two of them. One was an old missing person case Drue stumbled upon relating to her father. I liked how that one took me back in time and slowly revealed itself. The other mystery was a couple of years old regarding the death of a young mother. I liked that one because it added a more intense level of suspense than the first mystery. Drue also stumbles upon this one at her father’s law office and decides to do some detective work of her own. Meanwhile, she’s also working, meeting new co-workers, annoying police detectives, repairing her relationship with her father and his wife, and maybe dating. There was just so much going on.

Back to those mysteries… Usually I am able to predict what’s going to happen in a mystery or who the bad guy is. That was not the case with Sunset Beach. I had my suspicions about what was going on with both mysteries. I was COMPLETELY wrong. I never would have guessed any of it. I was super impressed with that. Kudos to Mary Kay Andrews for stumping me!

Overall, Sunset Beach was a great listening experience. I think its release is timely with the summer coming up. It would be the perfect beach read.