The Butterfly Whisperer by Lisa Moreau

I read the news every day. Every day lately, I wish this was a habit I could break. As much as I try every morning at 5 AM, I’m up, back at inundating myself in the latest world crisis or political snafu. I decompress/escape by heading out for a run or grabbing a book. The Butterfly Whisperer was just what I needed after a long week of craziness that just won’t quit. A great escape, that didn’t overthink what it really was, two girls with a life-long bond that even after ten years of separation, the love was still there.

Jordan Lee owns one-half of a matchmaking company that is super successful, and super exclusive. Her clients are Hollywood’s elitist. A self-made woman, Jordan left her home at the age of 18 just months away from graduating from high school. Her father threw her out when he discovered her personal journals. Only through her writing could Jordan admit the truth. She was undoubtedly head over heels in love with her best friend Sophie.

Sophie Sanders is a lepidopterist. Her work and life’s passion is running a local Monarch butterfly sanctuary in her hometown of Monarch, CA. Sophie is a character that is ruled by her spirit, she has this great zen-like approach to life. She is literally adored by the entire town. The only thing she hasn’t been able to find is her true love. She is hobbled by the fact that Jordan took off and never looked back. Jordan doesn’t know it but she took Sophie’s heart when she ran away.

Add a bit of conflict, add a bit of angst and you have a really good read. Is this anything revolutionary, nope, but it’s not intended to be either. What this book is a great escape. A few hours or days (depending on your speed reading capabilities) to decompress for life’s craziness, and enjoy a quality story with cute characters. Not to mention butterflies, who doesn’t love those.

4 out of 5 stars

To Purchase on Amazon: The Butterfly Whisperer29502529

Knight’s Sacrifice by Nita Round

The proprietor of a funeral home, Catherine Samuels, knows all about the dead but that’s not what concerns her. No, it’s the dead that suddenly become undead that keeps her up a night. So zombies? Well, that too, plus some demons, ghouls and well you get the drift. . . scary creatures! For Catherine this is her legacy, her family has been put in charge of the gate to Hell since the beginning of time. The problem is Catherine’s family kept her out of the family business, and now that they have all passed on she’s grasping at straws to figure out what to do next and stop the increasing flow of dead bodies that are coming back to life and reeking havoc.

Cassandra “Cassie” Evans, is a fighter. Her job on Earth is to put the evil undead back where they belong. She uses her special skills to keep order between the living and the departed. Cassie comes to Catherine’s funeral home to help her figure out this mess. She has no clue that Catherine does not know her families secrets and what her duty as the keeper of the gate entails.

When Cassie gets to Catherine’s manor in the beginning of the book you have your basic, “I’m attracted to you, but I don’t want to be” setup. Cassie sees Catherine as part of her job and she wants nothing more than a professional relationship. What threw me as the reader is then we go for about a week with the boss and the employee completely avoiding each other. They even live in the same house, but no communication whatsoever. Once the do communicate its with kisses. Whoa! That kind of threw me, talk about zero to sixty.

Overall the book is an interesting tale of two women fighting to hold the world together, at the same time finding their inner powers. I will say there were times when I was a bit lost as to what was happening. I would have liked a bit more background information on what was happening and the Samuel legacy. You are finding out at the same time Catherine does, so as the reader, I felt as in the dark as she did. At times I found this to be a bit frustrating, but I was still interested in the outcome of the book. I believe this is Nita Round’s debut novel, and I will definitely read whatever she writes next.

3 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Blue Beacon Books by Regal Crest

To Purchase: Knight’s Sacrifice

32926275

Into Thin Air by Jeannie Levig

Two things are apparent to me after reading Jeannie Levig’s three novels. 1. She is an absolutely fantastic writer. 2. She is anything but formulaic. Every single one of her books has been good, but all so different. This writer knows how to drawn emotion from her readers.

Infidelity, a hard subject to tackle, right. You want to hate the cheater, you want them to be punished and feel remorse, because, well they suck as a human. You want the cheated to find happiness, to move past her pain and soar to new heights. That’s what have in Into Thin Air, but in a dark, gritty way.

Hannah Lewis and Jordan Webber have been together three years. The high school guidance counselor with all-American good looks with the broody, but kind civil rights lawyer. Sounds great on paper. Here is the caveat. Jordan likes Hannah, but she doesn’t love her. She has a dark side that demands being fed. So while Hannah lives in her happy, self-absorbed bubble, Jordan cheats with every woman she can. She keeps a part of herself removed from Hannah and their easy/fun relationship, she doesn’t feel remorse, she is who she is and she will have what she desires. Sooooo, Jordan is a giant a$$hole. She also vanishes into thin air one morning. Gone!

Nicki Medina is Jordan’s bestie. She is the one person who knows how Jordan really operates. She doesn’t know all of the secrets of Jordan, one can only imagine how many there really are, but she does know more than anyone else. Nicki had pulled away from Hannah and Jordan the couple, not willing to watch the betrayal of a good woman from the sidelines. She comes back into Hannah’s life when Jordan goes missing without a trace.

This story is truly multifaceted. You have the loss of Jordan to Hannah and Nicki and the panic as to what has happened. Was she killed, abducted, has she run away. Where is she, why… This panic state of emotions. You also have the uncovering of absolute betrayal that Hannah is completely blindsided by and the conflicting emotions that come with it.

Hannah and Nicki are bonded by this nightmarish event. They become to rely on each other for strength and support. You feel them changing over time and becoming more than just friend. Leving carefully crafts this relationship and you, as the reader, are absorbed in their slow burn romance.

Where is a$$hat Jordan? That’s where it goes dark and sinister. I’m not going to tell you this part, I will say you wouldn’t wish this on your worst enemy.

I told you it was multifaceted! Leving challenges you with this book. This story is like a pendulum of emotions, so well crafted that you can’t stop even when it gets difficult to read Jordan’s plight. This is a really fantastic book, you haven’t read anything like this one, I promise.

4.25 stars out of 5

To Purchase from Amazon: Into Thin Air

29502523

Amounting to Nothing (Tacoma Mounted Patrol #3) by Karis Walsh

Karis Walsh is known for quality books. Her characters are likable and well developed, her stories have interesting/realistic dialogue. She is one of my go-to authors for an easy, enjoyable read.

Billie Mitchell is one of the mounted patrol officers for the Tacoma Police Department. As a former soldier, Billie suffers from PTSD from her time in the Middle East. She uses her past to help others as an in-house counselor of sorts. She is readily available for the department to help victims who have experienced trauma and grief. This skill leads her to Merissa Karr.

Merissa has just witnessed a murder. Driving around a less than desirable inner city neighborhood, Merissa and her boss, David were scouting locations for their newest housing development. As Merissa leaned down to pick up a dropped piece of paper, David was shot and killed. Why would a successful architect be murdered for no apparent reason? Billie becomes Merissa’s contact with the TPD, trying to find bits of information that may help uncover the killer’s identity.

This is a mix of mystery and romance. Each part is done with enough balance for the other. As the mystery is uncovered piece by piece, you have the two main characters moving closer together to solve the crime. Their interactions with each other a cute and slowly draw you into the story and hold your attention. The book was slower than expected for a murder mystery, but I found myself enjoying it’s less than frantic pace. The story and the romance build slowly and cautiously. Overall, I really liked this one more than I suspected I would.

4 out of 5 stars

To Purchase: Amounting to Nothing (Mounted)

29502573

The Right Kind of Wrong by P.J. Trebelhorn

A lot of times if the romance genre we see a lot of the same plot devices recycled. You’ve read the I’m in love with my best friend but won’t/can’t tell her many, many times. When done really well this plot tends to deliver a lot of glorious angst, which I am a huge fan of. The Right Kind of Wrong
by P.J. Trebelhorn fall somewhere in the middle. Not a fantastic book, but not terrible either.

Quinn Burke is a forty something bartender who runs through college co-eds like water. Having had her heart-broke not that long ago, Quinn has turned to one night stands to keep things emotionally easy. The only problem with that is she has long harbored romantic feelings for her bestie for about twenty years.

Grace Everett, a small bookstore owner adores Quinn. When Quinn asked her out years ago she told her she needed a friend more than a lover. Over the years, it always seemed as they were never single at the same time. So when attraction popped up, she would squash it down because their friendship is so precious. When Quinn’s mom has a heart attack, that becomes the catalyst for Grace to finally admit to Quinn her feelings.

So much missed communication ensues, so much repressed emotion, and what was surprising to me is normally I like all of that. This story, however was lacking, I struggled to keep going. Its not overly complicated, its just kind of flat. The angst is there but didn’t really move me. All the side character drama felt like filler and didn’t help the story at all, it was more distracting than anything. Towards the end you feel like your reading the same chapters over and over, characters having the same conversations yet again. By the end I was glad to see the two mains get together so I could move on.

2.75 stars out of 5

To Purchase: Desperate Measures

29502432

 

Becoming You by Michelle Grubb

Emotional whiplash is what Becoming You by Michelle Grubb’s is. Whew! Up, down, all around is what you’re going to get. At times this book is very hard, at times, it tackles some difficult subject matter, infidelity for example, and will keep you on your toes till the very end.

When we first meet Airlie Porter she is traveling from Australia to Ireland to start a new life. No job, no place to live, just headed with her bestie, Hannah on this cross-continent adventure. Uh-uh, nope, that is just cray. Come on girls we need more planning than that is what my control freak mind kept saying. Airlie has just upended her long term relationship with Sam. No matter how nice he was, a totally good guy, Airlie could not help feeling a sense of doom as she closed in on the married life. So she destroyed her relationship and took off with Hannah. Airlie doesn’t know why she feels so much discontent. Until a night in a bar when she meets Rachel does the big clue drop.

Olivia is a married woman who lives in a seaside town a few hours outside of Dublin. Seated next to Airlie and Hannah on the flight back from Australia, she hit it off with the two fellow Aussies and invited them, (they had no lodging remember), to stay with her till they decided to take off for the big city. Olivia and Airlie instantly connect and form a bond that is unlike anything they have ever experienced.

This is where it gets tricky! Airlie’s struggle with her sexuality is very real. you feel her anger, her pain, she is writhing with denial. All I wanted to do was hug her. To make matter infinitely worse the one woman she can see herself with is the most unavailable female on planet Earth. Not to mention, Olivia has neve once given any indication she plays for the lady-loving team.

Well, it’s a romance so you know where this is going to go. This best-friendship turns to something more. This is where we take a hard turn in the book. We go from Airlie’s personal struggle to acceptance and then to one giant seriously messed up seriously destructive relationship. Airlie and Olivia begin an affair after long denying their attraction. Okay, lose the hubby, Olivia. Oh, that would be too easy. Olivia a kind, understanding, sentinel of a woman to Airlie becomes the worst person ever. She became an absolute a$$hole to Airlie and to her husband. The character switch towards the last quarter or the book was pretty daunting.

Overall, this book is quite good. It tackles some difficult subjects and for the most part, does it quite well. I thought the ending was a bit too convenient and didn’t really redeem either of the main characters. With that being said, it is not my favorite from Michelle Grubb, but she is still absolutely on my automatic read list.

 
3 out of 5 stars

To Purchase:Becoming You

29502554

Drawn Together by JD Glass

I love when I read a book that just makes your heart sing. Whatever the genre may be, it’s a great feeling when you find a book that you just connect with. They same cannot be said, obviously, when the book is just not your favorite. This, unfortunately, is the case with Drawn Together by JD Glass. Let me explain…

Zoe Glenn Edwards is one of or main characters. A graphic artist, who is very well known and respected in the comic book world. Her drawings are amazing! A loner by nature, Zoe connects through digital media with a relatively famous author to collaborate on a new book. The author’s writings move her so much, they take her art to another level.

Dion “D” Richards is that author. Dion is beyond flattered that the superbly talented Zoe Glenn would want to work with her. Through their project, these two become besties, even though they have never met in person. To her wife, Kerry’s consternation, Dion cannot help the connection she feels to the other artist.

My first issue with the book is character related. Never once do you know what Zoe looks like or what her backstory is. Dion’s character is much the same, maybe slightly more, but not nearly enough. Character development is essential for me to connect and to “see” the story. In Drawn Together the characters are very flat. Over and over I was told how a character feels, but you don’t feel the connection. Other than being talented in their craft, and working well together, you never know why these two are drawn together. The book starts out as gushing emails/texts/blog posts about their amazing work relationship. Then you have the same emails/texts/blog posts about how they are now BFF’s. Literally, the same conversation about how you’re my best friend happens over and over and over again. Like eleventy billion times. STOP! Best friends don’t do that…maybe once or twice, maybe if you have had way too many pints, but come on it was supreme overkill.

Second, this book is pretty dark. If I had known that from the plot description, I would have passed on it. I didn’t, so I went in pretty blind. Okay, I can put on my big girl pants and deal, but there are so many cringeworthy moments that are left as loose threads, oy vey. First, is the story these two are working on. The story characters are twisted. You have suicide attempts, cutting, physical/emotional abuse and quite frankly a rape scene that made me want to puke. I had zero clue it was coming, and talk about a WTF moment. Still makes my stomach hurt. That isn’t where the darkness ends either, the main characters have a lot of that in their own tale as well. Kerry, Dion’s wife is a straight up psychopath. [ She is a master manipulator, serial cheater, she drugs her wife continuously as a control method, she’s abusive and Oh this is the big one, she may have had her wife sexually assaulted to have a hero moment (with her father’s help no less). You’ll never know because this is one of the loose threads of the book. (hide spoiler)]

Third, when out two mains finally get together, they exude ridiculousness. I love you, turns in a baby this, baby that. Stop, stop, stop it now. It’s not cute, it’s back to that your my best friend weird. Cringe!

To be quite frank, I’m surprised I finished this one. I like the plot idea of two artists collaborating, and add into the use of digital media as a forum for their connection, but it just didn’t work character wise for me, and the gritty/darkness didn’t help the matter at all.

2 out of 5 stars

  • Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

To Purchase: Drawn Together

33812911