Unbound By Truth, Kimberly Rhea

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Title: Unbound By Truth

Author: Kimberly Rhea

Pages: 250 (after that you get sneak peaks at her other books!)

Is this part of a series?  Yes, this is book #2 of the Secrets trilogy.

Published: January 23, 2018

Summary:

         Kate and Thomas are moving forward in their relationship in big ways!  Not only are they engaged, but they are about to start on the business ventures that would create a legacy worthy of the Murrow name.  It isn’t all smooth sailing, though.  Kate still has her demons to fight- her upbringing and relationship with her family still hurt her and make her insecure at times.  To be the woman standing beside a multi-million-dollar business man, she must learn to be more assertive.  Can the girl that came from nothing prove that she deserves everything…. Even when the only one she has to impress this upon is herself?

Thomas is faced with a secret that could rock everything he thinks he knows about his family.  When a visit with Nana reveals a long-shuttered scandal, Thomas is determined to get to the bottom of it.  Thwarted at every turn, he has to use every trick at his disposal to find the truth about his family.  Could it be that his mother isn’t the uncaring socialite she seems?  What happened long ago to make her leave most of his raising to his grandparents?  And could it be that his family is a bit larger than he imagined?

Told with a touching warmth, this is still the old-fashioned courtship of the last book; but so much more.  We have a business legacy in the making.  Add to that, the author continues to bring pieces of Joplin, Missouri both past and present, to life.

My thoughts:

     First, I want to talk about the author.  Kimberly Rhea is an amazing woman that I met when I made inquiries into my local Writer’s Guild.  As a teacher specializing in special education, she writes at night.  Growing up in Joplin, Missouri (Thomas’ home town!), it’s plain to see that the beauty of the community and the intrigue of it’s past had a huge impact on her.  I will be sitting with Ms. Rhea for an author q&a soon, so be on the lookout!

I received a paper copy of this book in order to do a review/ edit her book.  Every where I went, people asked after the amazing cover.  You see a stylized picture of Joplin’s Main Street, with a couple holding hands below.  I absolutely love it, and people in the community adored seeing the well-known sight on a book.  Even if you don’t know about the city, having a picture of some of the buildings and area in the book is really neat.

The premise of this story was really neat for me.  I loved watching Kate come into her own as she organized everything for the business venture.  Seeing Thomas’ struggle with family secrets was also great.  I really felt for these characters here.  While at times a bit outlandish, the story line made fantastic sense and the writing had a good flow to it.

It has to be said that I encountered the same technical issues I saw in the first book.  Missed quotations, incorrect or missing punctuation and dropped words.  As part of the editing side, I have marked all these and have every hope that copies coming out in the future (and the eBook) will have these cleaned up so that they are a nonissue.

I will say that the choice of phrase both here and in book one isn’t something I am used to; but seem to be in keeping with the old-fashioned feel of the characters and in the end I found it charming.  For me this one is a four-star book- even with the technical issues.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content side, there is some language but that is about it.  While Thomas and Kate’s relationship has obviously moved forward we get more of an old movie vibe (you know the ones from Cary Grant’s time where it was just a “lights out” inference that something was going down?  That’s what this felt like and I loved it!).  I give it a three at most.  General.svg

The book is out!  Have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy Reading,

Amber

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Weekly Wrap-Up! July 24th-31st!

Personal:

I found my spirit animal

Hey guys!  I think I told you last time that I was getting in touch with my local Writer’s Guild?  It has been really interesting!  While they only meet once a month (and working retail I may never get to go!) they have a pretty active Facebook presence.  Honestly, what would we do without Facebook and the like?  I have O’hana in several states including Hawaii, along with a cousin and his family in Canada.  There’s no way we could keep in touch as well otherwise!

But I digress.  Kimberly Rhea and I have started a pretty good author/ reader relationship.  I kind of saw myself as being an advocate for the local author- part cheerleader, part BFF that will call you on your stuff.  So far it is working out well!  Last week we went through Secrets That Bind The Heart together (book one of her trilogy).  Today we are meeting to go over book two, Unbound By Truth before I go live with a review.  There are technical issues to discuss and I have to hope that she can pound those out before going live with the eBook (It looks as though there was one for a little while, but it got pulled.)  I am also hoping for an author Q&A to post, but I don’t know if we will have time today or if that will be scheduled for later.

Bookish life:

I finished Secrets That Bind The Heart, and really liked that one.  Otherwise I am working through an ARC coming out next week, Our House by Louise Candlish.  I don’t know what it is…. I just can’t get into it.  I don’t know if it’s too choppy- not that I mind that when it helps the story along (as I suppose this one does…. in a way) it may be that the story is just not for me.  Has anyone else read it?  What are your thoughts?

 

So that’s me for the week, what’s up with you?

Oh! As an aside, Ms. Rhea and I will be looking for readers that don’t mind a bit of editing.  This would be a book for review type thing- as it is with Netgalley.  If interested, hit me up!

Happy Reading,

Amber

Secrets That Bind The Heart, Kimberly Rhea

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Title: The Secrets That Bind the Heart

Author: Kimberly Rhea

Pages: 218

Genre: romance with a bit of local flavor

Is this part of a series?  Yes, this is book one in the Secrets trilogy

Published: January 1st, 2018

Summary:

       Kate isn’t interested in a relationship.  Her ex has made her a bit gun-shy, and who has time anyway?  As an investment manager her main concern has to be her current position and making partner.  Coming from nothing, she has a deep-seated drive to prove herself.

Thomas, on the other hand has always known where he came from.  The family that worked to create their fortune.  Unlike his parents, he wants to be self-made in a way.  No trust fund- that can wait.  He wants to make a name for himself like his grandfather and ancestors did.  When Nana gets sick, he comes home to Joplin to watch over her.

The two come from such different worlds but share one fear- being judged by where they came from instead of who they are.  Can Thomas break through Kate’s walls and prove that he doesn’t care about her past?  And can Kate prove that she is the one that will see past Thomas’ money?

Added to the sweet courtship are facts about historical Joplin that history buffs will appreciate.

My thoughts:

I have mixed emotions where this book is concerned.  I met the author on line through the local Writer’s Guild and I was so excited to be able to read her book.  I bought the first book in the series on Amazon in eBook format.

To begin, I loved the premise and the characters were interesting.  I really liked Kate, and Thomas was an odd blend of old-fashioned sweetness and domineering.  While slow at times (and way too fast at other times), it was a really great, charming read.  I especially loved that it was a more old fashioned, less sexual courtship.  You don’t find that in romances too often anymore.

I liked the added history of Joplin.  Having lived there for a decade, it was nice to read about some of the past…. But I could not like the layout.  Those sections read more like a travel brochure than part of the story I was reading.  I think I would have enjoyed it better if we had used a different layout.  Perhaps Thomas or Kate sitting in a building, imagining how it was.  There was a scene where Thomas is talking to Kate about a museum exhibit and adding history in conversation.  I felt like that worked well.  In the end, I actually do love that the author took the time to show  some of the buildings and real history here.

My only other concern with this book would be technical issues and grammatical errors.  Let’s just say that the book could have stood a few more rounds of proof reading.  Quotation marks were dropped, pagination had issues, words were added/ dropped…… it made it hard at times to stay in the story.  Between that and the fact that some of the history drops broke the flow of the book, I had to dock this piece a bit.  What would have been a four-star book is now a three.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s some language.  The book is geared toward older readers but because there is so little sexual inuendo or content I would still give it to my niece if she were interested.  I give it a three.  General.svg

The book is out!  Have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy Reading,

Amber

New Release Tuesday!!!!!! 7-24-18

Hey guys!  Happy New Release Tuesday!!!!!

This week I only had one ARC coming out.  If you want read my review of Believe Me, J. P. Delaney click on that link.

Summary from Goodreads:

In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

Suffice to say, I loved it.  I loved the erratic, untrustworthy narrative.  The plot was genius and the author made fantastic use of several intriguing literary devices as well as writing in different formats to get her point across.  Judging from other reviews, other readers aren’t always loving the crazy, erratic nature of the book but I found it fascinating- mostly because it was done correctly.

believe me jp

So that’s it for this week.  Did I miss a release?  Let me know!

Happy reading,

Amber

Believe Me, J. P. Delaney

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Title: Believe Me

Author: J. P. Delaney

Pages:  352

Genre: Phycological thriller

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish date: July 24th, 2018

Summary:

Claire Wright wants to act.  It’s all she ever wanted- the thrill of stepping into character, the spotlight, the applause…. magic.  When she blew her shot back home she comes to America, ostensibly to study acting.  She has no green card, she needs money and there’s only one thing she wants to do- act.  So what’s a girl to do?

Henry and his law firm seem like a good fit.  She pretends to be available to be picked up or hired by the client’s husband- if they take the bait, there’s filmed proof of them either propositioning a prostitute or trying to cheat depending on the job.  Claire can do this- it’s just acting, right?  One client, though, seems very different.  Stella is agitated…. scared.  She almost seems afraid her husband Patrick won’t take the bait.  The job doesn’t work out- Patrick, the handsome intellectual, doesn’t go for the bait.  Instead, Claire leaves with a book of poetry he translated.

The next day, her life comes crashing down.  Stella is dead and she and Patrick both seem to be suspects.  As she tries to acquit herself, the detective on the case has an idea.  She has to be a decoy again- for Patrick.  Get close, become intimate.  Find something, anything, that links him to this murder and maybe others.

The game is afoot- but as it moves along one must wonder- who’s the real decoy?

My thoughts:

What a ride!  I loved this book so much!  The characters, the premise, writing style, plot….. it was perfection.  Seriously, excuse me while I fangirl all over this review.

Claire was in interesting character.  I loved her, I hated her, I believed her, I distrusted her, I judged her.  I think I liked her so much because she forced all these emotions from me.  It’s fairly obvious that she’s an untrustworthy narrative from the start.  She’s an actress that isn’t allowed to act; and so the world- life- is her stage.

The author plays this well by allowing scenes in Claire’s mind to play much like… well…. a play.  I hadn’t seen this before, and I felt like it was both intriguing and helped move the story along.  It helped to highlight Claire’s narcissism, her need to be the center of attention and claim the limelight.  It also helped to suggest that her mind might be…. a tad “off” perhaps.

The plot itself is really interesting- the “decoy” that might actually be the target.  It was hard for me to know where the story was going, and I really liked that.  Every time I thought I had a bead on things, they moved.  The other characters- Henry, Frank and especially Patrick were interesting and well developed.  It should be noted that a lot of the things I adore about this book seem to have left a bad taste in other readers’ mouths. They, in fact, preferred the less erratic beginning of the book whereas I wasn’t sold until the second half.  I was just such a crazy, wild ride for me.  I seriously cannot recommend this book enough- five stars!!  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s a lot.  Violence, sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language.  I give it an eight.  Not for young teens by any means.  mature audience.

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Random House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  pro_reader_120

The book comes out tomorrow!  Go get it!!!

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy Reading,

Amber

Weekly Wrap-up! July 18th -23rd

As everything in my life has basically been bookish this week, we’ll skip the personal.

I made contact with the local Writer’s Guild via Facebook, which is something I long wanted to do, but didn’t know how it would be received.  I am not, after all, a writer.  I am a reader- a literary junky honestly.  Fearing that they would take my interest as a cry for free books I stayed away.  In the end, though, writers need readers and I am willing to pay for my books.  I wanted to learn about the local authors, give them my support and allow them to know me as a member of their audience.  I am very excited about several friendships I have made since.

One writer actually approached me, and I bought her first book from Amazon.  I am going through it now and liking different aspects.  There are some major technical issues, though.  As this is the finished copy one has to wonder how to approach such a review.  I don’t want to bash the book- the characters are lively and interesting and the premise is fantastic- but there are some glaring mistakes that take me out of the author’s world.  I would actually like advice here on how to approach this- do I state it lightly in the review on line.  Should I contact the author about these things?  I mean, there are times where the odd typo shows up even in books brought out by established publishing companies.  Yet, if it bothers me, won’t it bother everyone else?  The second book in this series was sent to me in a word doc and the hubs is losing his OCD mind wanting to fix pagination issues and place it into epub so that I can read on either my phone or tablet.

Other than that, I finished JP Delaney’s Believe Me and absolutely adored it!  This was such an interesting, intense book.  The author utilized several different writing styles to drag you further into the story.  I’ll be reviewing today after I go through my notes a bit more.

Oh, and I went on a mini-book spree today.  We have a new Dollar Tree in the area and I found some absolute gems!  I always promise myself I am not buying more books- especially paper copies!- when my TBR of bought books is in the hundreds and yet…. here we are.  I can’t help myself. It’s an addiction! An illness!  Lol, but it was only four bucks!!!!!!

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My husband’s gonna kill me, but it’s worth it.  What have you guys been up to?

-Amber

Killer Characters, Ellery Adams

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Title:  Killer Characters

Author: Ellery Adams

Pages: 274

Is this part of a series?  Yes.  Book #8 of the Books By the Bay series.  It’s worth noting, also, that this is the end of the series.

Published:  May 2nd, 2017

Summary:

Laurel has spread herself thin for months.  Between her career and the boys she is also helping to care for Steve’s terminally ill mother.  When it comes to light that Steve was having an affair with Rachel’s Hospice nurse, Laurel looses it.  An impassioned threat, told in the heat of the moment, comes back to haunt her.

Stacy, the nurse in question is dead.  Who has more of a motive than the spurned wife?  Other evidence comes to light and Rawlings has no choice but to take his friend in.  To keep her friend safe Olivia will use every friend and resource at her disposal to find the real killer.  The deeper the writer’s dig, though, the crazier it becomes.  Missing jewelry, a theft ring, spurned lovers….. we go from having one suspect in a murder to a slew.  Can the crew put everything in order before it’s too late?

My thoughts:

You know that feeling, deep in your chest when you know you’re saying goodbye to characters and you just aren’t ready?  That’s how I feel.  I wasn’t ready for this series to end.  I want to see Millay flourish as an author.  I want to read more of the series she’s writing even if I only got snippets.  I want to read the stories Olivia is writing, and see Harris.  I loved this series- there was so much character growth and the description of Oyster Bay felt like home.

This particular book was harder for me.  Because of Laurel’s arrest the writers are torn between Rawlings and Harris who work for the police and can’t be involved, and Olivia and Millay both of which are going a little crazy.  It was hard to see them hurting, especially Rawlings.  I love that character.  Strong and understanding, he tried to power through an awful case while placating his wife and trying to be there for his friend without showing favoritism in front of the department.

I am a little torn up about this one.  For one, I hate Steve now more than ever and I kind of wish Laurel was harder on him.  One of the writers will fall, which we haven’t seen since book one.  I hated that.  Looking at the reviews I think a lot of people felt this one took too dark a turn; but it was still a fantastic read.  It simply wasn’t as quick nor as light as the others.  The series always dealt with heavy subjects and got a bit dark…. but they never left me feeling heavy until now.  In spite of…. or maybe because of… that, this is a five star book for me.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating\

On the adult content scale, there’s a lot of language and some violence.  I give it a four.  General.svg

The book is out, have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy Reading,

Amber