Listen by Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant did an outstanding job with this book. Her best work so far! Listen is so sweet and compelling you just cannot help but fall in love with the characters she has created.

Lily Croft is a 27-year-old hermit. She spends the majority of her time in her Chicago apartment with her rescued tomcat. Lily lives for math and she excels at her finance focused career. She does not interact with anyone other than basic conversations. With no friends or family, this amazingly talented woman has shut herself off from the world. Why? Lily is a child music prodigy. Leading symphonies by the time she was 11 years old. With that talent came unspeakable demands and abuse from her parents. Forced to play 24/7, Lily began to have mental health issues including social phobia. Therefore she cut everyone out of her life, including the music that she once loved so much.

Hope De’Marco is also a musician. Hope runs a grant-funded music therapy studio that focuses on children with disabilities and inner-city kids. Lily just happens to be sub-contracted to a company that is right by Hope’s studio. One evening on her way home Lily hears Hope playing and it sparks curiosity in her and draws her to the music. She continues to go by the studio to hear the pianist play again.

Hope and Lily have a charming romance. Its gentle pace has you rooting for Lily’s growth and cheering Hope’s gentleness. What Bryant really excels at with this story is letting the reader feel the emotions of Lily. You feel her anxiety rippling off the page. When she was in a social experience that sparked her anxiety you were right there with her feeling those heart-pounding emotions. You root for Lily’s growth, you are dazzled by Hope’s kindness and you are terrified for that inevitable shoe to drop. A great book that keeps you spellbound to the end. You leave this one with a massive smile on your face.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Berlin Hungers by Justine Saracen

When you pick up a Justine Saracen novel you know that you will undoubtedly finish the book with a respect for her historical detailedness and more knowledge than you had before. I love that her stories are so intricate and well, smart.

The Berlin Hunger takes us to the direct chaos that directly followed World War II. The horrors that took place in “peacetime” are tragic and hard to stomach. There is blatant brutality and at times it is hard to read.

Gillian Somerville was a pilot for the Air Transport Axillary during the war. She loved flying for her country but when the war ends Gillian suddenly finds herself with no work as a pilot. The women are not needed for that duty anymore. Unable to just go home, her whole family has passed, she decides to join the WAAF to become an air traffic controller.

Erika Brandt was a musician before the war. Now as the Russians have control of Berlin, she is scavaging for food to keep from starving to death. The Russians men portrayed in this book are animals and Erika faces unspeakable horrors to survive in this desperate time.

Erika and Gillian meet by chance a couple of times in the book and strike up a friendship born out of kindness. As the book progresses more feelings develop. This is a star-crossed lover romance though. These two have a lot going on and cannot see each other often for a multitude of reasons. So a lot of longing from afar.

Overall, I loved the historical aspect of the book. I felt as if Saracen dropped my in Berlin post-war and I was right there with the characters. The romance wasn’t my favorite. I loved the characters don’t get me wrong, and I was absolutely rooting for their happiness. I just felt like it dragged a bit. This is more historical fiction than your hot burning romance. Still a very good read!

3 out of 5 stars

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Shades of Blue (The Loudest Silence, #2) by Olivia Janae

I have held off writing this review for a few days. I needed to let my thoughts marinate on just how to say exactly how I feel about this one. When I finished The Loudest Silence, I wrote in my review that “I was glad this wasn’t over, I need more of this in my life”. I needed this sequel. I had to see where the two characters go. While reading the sequel, I cannot say this thought continued. I confusing statement but let me explain.

Is the book well written? Absolutely, Olivia Janae is an amazingly gifted author. There is no question about that. Where I got hung up, is that in the first book, I loved the time that Kate and Vivian spent together. Whether they are fighting, friends or lovers their interactions were spellbinding. In Shades of Blue, the two characters don’t for a large portion of the book, even see one another. Over the course of reading the book, I was struck by the coldness of the book. I could hash this out in detail but I don’t want to ruin it for would be readers. You can gather that there is a break of some sort and it’s rather harsh.

While in the end, the two main characters come back together, this is a romance, you know it’s all but guaranteed. I’m going to be honest here, and I will probably be in the minority, I felt like the ship had sailed. It felt final, I felt like the reunion was grasping at straws. Again this is just my take on a very good book. Is it worth reading? YES! Did it hurt my heart, again a yes, but isn’t why a good book is hard to beat.

Overall a solid 4 stars

  • Publisher: Heartsome Books
  • heartsomebooks.com/the-loudest-silence

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The Loudest Silence (Part One) by Olivia Janae

A great book to me usually has a few key elements. Dialogue is first and foremost the most important aspect. The dialogue in a story is absolutely crucial. Second, interesting characters. I want them to captivate me, I want to love them or loathe them, but please have them be amazing one way or the other. If I can get some tension and angst thrown in I will love you forever. So when you have it all wrapped into one delicious story, if you are me, your heart sings with happiness. The Loudest Silence has it all and sooooo much more. This book captivated me from the start and you couldn’t have pulled me away if you tried. I loved it!

Kate Flynn has just arrived in Chicago to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a fill-in for a fellow cellist who had an unfortunate accident and will need an extensive recovery time. This is the first time in forever that Kate and her three-year-old son, Max will be able to put down some roots for longer than a handful of months. Kate is loveable, she’s down to Earth, an amazing mom and she doesn’t hold anything back. If something needs to be said, you can count on Kate to let you know exactly what she thinks.

Vivian Kensington is the ice queen of all ice queens. She is gorgeous, formidable, intimidating, abrasive, rich and above all else, she is the boss. Vivian, who lost her hearing is a young child, was raised by world-class musicians. Unable to go into playing music herself she went into the business side of the music world. You do not want to cross this woman, and of course, that is exactly what Kate does in their first interaction.

The ladies are opposites and it totally works. They butt heads until they realize neither is as bad as the other one has made her out to be. An unlikely friendship strikes up and the love of young Max solidifies this bond. Of course, nothing is easy and there is the not-so-sane, bass player Ash Campbell for their romance to deal with.

I know that this at one time was a SwanQueen fanfic. I know that I read it, but it doesn’t feel the same, and I mean this in the best possible way. I felt like I was getting a new story that was so fantastic just every once in a while I had an, oh yeah, I remember this moment. This book is wonderfully written and will grab your attention and keep it until the last page is turned. It is part of a series with a bit of an angsty ending. So, be prepared to start counting down the days till Olivia Janae releases the next one. I was glad this wasn’t over, I need more of this in my life.

5 out of 5 stars

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Perfect Rhythm by Jae

I have taken a step back from reading for a bit, there is a lot going on and at times I find myself reading current events more than being able to zone out with a book. It hasn’t helped that the last couple of months nothing really sounds interesting to read. When I got a chance to read Jae’s newest book, it sat on my Kindle for a few days before I opened it. Can I just say, I am so glad I did. Perfect Rhythm has that quintessential Jae style. It’s focused, romantic, detailed and has that amazing quality where you come out on the other side smarter than you went in.

Leontyne Blake is a pop star. She has made it big, a household name with millions of fans and millions in her bank account. She is also just going through the motions of life, she’s burnt out, tired and needs a break from the constant travel of pop star life. She’s lost in a sea of fans and adoration. When her mother calls and tells her to come home, her dad is very ill, Leo finally has a break from music but has to face her demons of coming back to her childhood home.

Holly Drummond is Leo’s father’s home health nurse. Her job is her passion, so going above and beyond the call of duty is nothing new to her. She is a godsend to Leo’s mother. Holly is happy with small town life, loves seeing her friends and family regularly and she can’t begin to understand how Leo left her hometown and her parents behind.

These two start off on the wrong foot, they spar a bit before breaking down and communicating their misconceptions about the other. Jae keeps the tension high and then takes it from “enemies”, friends and then to romance. She does it wonderfully, the emotions that pour out in this book are amazing. I found myself hanging on every word, devouring their dialougue and loving every moment. It is a very well written romance!

While the two characters move from friends to the development of romantic feelings, Holly holds back from Leo. Holly is an asexual lesbian. Coming from poor relationships in the past, Holly is not willing to take that risk with the world famous pop star, no matter how down to earth she is. Leo is everything she wants in a partner, but the uncertainty of their future is too great to chance it. You can say angst, and it’s my favorite when done right. Let me tell you, it’s done masterfully!

Never does the book feel like a human sexuality book or preachy soapbox, this is a romance novel. The love story is front and center, Holly lets Leo know how she feels, her experiences, how she’s different but it never overshadows the heart of the book. You don’t want to miss this one, it’s a fabulously written romance that pulls at your heart strings. Thank you, Jae, for a book that renewed my faith in taking time out for a damn good book.

5 out of 5 stars

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A Fine Mess by Breanna Hughes

Harper Foley’s life is a manageable mess. When you first meet her you find out that both of her parents were tragically killed in a car accident a few years prior. This life changing incident sent her, as a young adult, on a trajectory of change. First, Harper becomes the guardian to her sister Emily, who happens to be a seventeen-year-old with a serious drug problem. Emily runs away from home, and Harper spends years searching for her to no avail. Second, at the time of her parent’s death Harper is engaged to a nice guy named Finn. They have been together years, in Finn’s mind, they were blissfully happy, to Harper something quintessential was missing. So, Harper breaks in off one week before the big “I do” moment. Ouch! Third, well… let’s get to that in a minute.

Harper, a college graduate, spends her days working at a bookstore. Her career is unfulfilling to her. She spends all of her other time devoted to her music. This singer/songwriter is trying to break out in LA’s music scene, and she does okay playing at local bars and coffeehouses. You feel a sense of sadness and despair as you read Harper’s story, but for quite awhile I wasn’t sure where we were headed with her.

So Finn is still an integral part of the story as well. He is seeking therapy because he cannot get over Harper. She has wrecked his heart but he takes any sign from her, even a simple phone call as a chance to win her back.

Then you have Kiley. Kiley, Haper’s ride-or-die best friend, is a drop dead gorgeous tornado. She blows in and out of guy’s bedrooms like there’s no tomorrow. To say there is a revolving door would be an understatement. A product of an unloving home, Kiley uses sex as a way to forget. This is fine and dandy, do what you want, but every action has consequences.

What consequences, you ask? Well it takes a while to get to this point, for a long time I was somewhat as lost as you are right now. So big reveal, Harper has a thing for her BFF. Harper, lets no one in on the big secret. Not even a hint that she might be looking at girls in a different way. She internalizes everything and lets Kiley’s promiscuity eat away at her.

My thoughts on this one are a mixed bag. First off, I liked Haper and Kiley, and I wanted to know more about them. I was invested in those two characters. With that being said, the hooking up with random guys, and this is for both ladies, detracted from the overall love story. There were a few parts, I was left shaking my head at why would you do this! Also, I needed more from Kiley’s point of view. I felt myself wanting to get in her headspace and see why she acted and at the times reacted the way she did. I wanted more on why she used sex with random men to hide her true feelings and how that made her feel afterwards. If as the reader I could have tapped into her angst level, it would have made me feel more towards her and overall the book. Kiley’s character need more fleshing out, because she was a really, really intriguing part of the book.

Second, I really did not want to read about Finn, his story and his pseudo-romance with his therapist was distracting. I found myself trying to skip these sections to get back to the leading ladies. I didn’t know what Finn brought to the table storywise other than he’s really nice and not over Harper. I wanted more on the main characters and less history on the sub-characters, Emily was fine, Finn and the therapist, not so much.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, it does have some typos/grammar errors but I was able to move easily past them. It was not a problem in the slightest for me, but you can probably read my reviews and kill a red pen with my missed commas.  With all that being said, Breanne Hughes is a talented writer. Her story, while it had a lot of moving pieces was formed well and held my attention to the end. Overall a good read, and an author I would not hesitate to read again.

3.25 out of 5 stars

    • Publisher: Triplicity Publishing, LLC

To Purchase:A Fine Mess

A Fine Mess by [Hughes, Breanna]

Requiem For Immortals by Lee Winter

Requiem For Immortals by Lee Winter is easily one of the best books I have read in some time. The characters are fascinating. The writing is superb and the story , absolutely captivating. Some adjectives right! This book will stay with you in and leave you wondering what’s next. Not in the frustrating cliffhanger kind of way, but in write another one already, I need more kind of way.

The story is center around our two main characters, Natalya and Alison. These two are your yin and yang. Natalya Tsvetnenko is a classical musician, a cellist, who plays for the Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra in Melbourne. This is one-half of who this woman is. The other, almost like another personality, is Requiem. Requiem is an assassin for hire. A cold blooded killer, that will do whatever the highest bidder needs. Both sides of Natalya’s life are regimented, consisting of extreme discipline and control, just with very different outcomes.

Alison Ryan is your basic, Melbourne woman. Average in every way, she goes to work, Monday through Friday. Miss Ryan does her eight-hour shift and then heads home to care for her disabled, abusive mother. Her only passion is music. She has no lovers, no unseemly vices, so why on Earth does Requiem have a contract to kill her for double the average payment?

Oh my, the tangled web, Lee Winters has weaved with this one. This psychological thriller throws curve ball after curve ball leaving you on the edge of your seat the whole book. Oh so good!

5 out of 5 stars

Requiem for Immortals (The Law Game Book 1)
by Lee Winter
Link: https://amzn.com/B01JK1NN2Q

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