Confess by Colleen Hoover

IMG_0366

This book evoked every emotion, from heartbreak to anger to joy. I was hooked from the very beginning by the characters and the author’s incredible writing style. It is more than a romance; it’s a story of fate and sacrifice.

The story starts with a stab to the heart, but it is the underlying theme throughout and is a necessary tear-jerker moment. Thankfully, it’s very brief and just long enough to make you have to wipe away a tear. After that, it switches to adult Auburn, who is hilarious and has suffered a lot of loss, but does not let it keep her down. She is an incredible character that is impossible to not love. Since it is written in first-person, I was able to read her thoughts and she made me laugh all the way through, even when the scenes were more serious.

Owen, with the mysterious past and secrets, is equally loveable. He is what a man should be. He does not seek to own her. In fact, he is livid over the fact that another man lays claim to her. In his opinion, it is not a matter of ownership, but a matter of deserving and loving someone with all you have. He offers that to Auburn, but life has a way of coming between love and responsibility.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel is the meaning of the word Confess. It is the backbone of the story and brings new meaning to the word. Owen is an artist who paints people’s anonymous confessions. Some were incredible and shocking, while others were heart-wrenching and painful. A wonderful surprise is the inclusion of some of his artwork. They are truly magnificent and give the reader a true feeling for the confessions. The story starts with a confession and it ends with a confession. All the confessions in-between added so much to the story that I was overwhelmed.

I have read other books by this author and been a little disappointed due to the overwhelming stellar reviews. This time, I made sure to ignore any of the hype and go into it completely blind. I am so relieved that I did, because it is truly a beautiful story. The ending felt a bit abrupt and I wish it had a bit more meat to it, but it is a strong story throughout and the characters are consistent and incredibly well-developed. This is one book that will stay with me forever.

For the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – It is a romance, but there is so much more going on that it is also contemporary fiction. It is definitely for adults.
  • Level of sexuality – There are definite steamy moments, but they are beautifully done and are not graphic. There is a scene that is hard to read, but was not over the top. It is a sensitive topic, though, and some readers might find it hard to read. I know I did and it only scratched the surface of what could have been.
  • Is there graphic language? There is a moderate use of the f-word, but it is not extreme.
  • Did I cry? I got misty eyed on more than one occasion.
  • Did I laugh? Over and over. The first half is especially entertaining, but even the second half has moments that made me chuckle.
  • Is this part of a series? Nope.
  • Level of character development – Owen and Auburn are magnificently done. I was thrilled to read their story and they never lacked or left me wondering how they felt or what their motivations were. The side characters received less attention, but Trey had enough screen time to create strong emotions.

To say I loved this book is an understatement. It was beautiful and has left its mark. I flew through this book as quickly as possible, because I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a light and fluffy read, but it is addictive and I highly suggest it for readers who are looking for a more emotional read that is not time intensive. I am happy to award it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ shiny stars.

The Long Harbor Testament by Tom Minder

Testament

This is an engrossing story of a strongly knit community with priests, married couples, adulterers, unmarried couples, gangsters, police officers, murderers, and witnesses, just to name a few. Bad things wouldn’t have happened if Silvio had actually been a plumber instead of a bookie-in-disguise. It is from Silvio that the line of negative action descends, pulling in a person here and a person there. If only Long Harbor had not been a haven for sinners to indulge in the vice of gambling and losing, losing, losing.

Luckily, Long Harbor has its favorite diner where everybody loves to dine, especially on bean soup night, and from where Detective Mark Porfino keeps a keen eye on anyone who becomes of interest in the town’s current murder, which is Silvio, of course. In spite of Detective Porfino interrupting people’s lives while he investigates, they all manage to go about their business of observing each other and having their own thoughts and, of course, secrets.

Father Ray is keeping an eye on Father Jim. He has a pretty good idea what Father Jim’s secret is. Silvio has a pretty good idea what wife, Jessie, is up to, just not who with. Jessie knows what Silvio is up to and she knows who with. Detective Porfino has an unwelcome mole in his department and interestingly, Mister Richardson’s dog, Reggie, has a secret of his own. Many of the characters are regular day people who really don’t want to feel suspicious of anyone. However, people do like to gossip and sometimes the most innocent conversation just seems to draw a person into giving more information than maybe he should.

In spite of this being a story of the consequences of murder, it contains so much more and is written with such character and charm, I was constantly intrigued with the people and what they would do next. There are a lot of characters and a lot of happening, but at no time was I confused or lost in the story. This book is well worth your time.

Now, for the grading:

  • Genre and general reading age – Contemporary for adults.
  • Level of sexuality – Low.
  • Is there graphic language? No.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? Often.
  • Is this part of a series? No, this is a standalone.
  • Level of character development – The author was quite good at dragging the best out of his characters.

I am happy to give this book a stellar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Featured Author: Kerri Ann

Kerri_Ann_Logo

Who are you?

What to say, what to say? I’m a pretty easy girl. I have a nine to five-day job where I sell vehicles to the business world, giving them the most I can. But once I’m off, I write stories, snowboard, SUP board, bike and hike. I love to travel and see the world too. My thoughts are this: we’re meant to see this whole world as much as possible, not just our own little postage stamp of home. I’m a mother of two amazing boys that understand my twisted sense of humor and my odd sense of sarcasm. They game and drive my husband crazy being online so much, but it’s fun to taunt him. My lovely hubby is a fireman that has the job he’s always wanted. He does a great job, he comes home and deals with my insanity. I’ll stuff myself in a story or online with friends for hours, thankfully he’s appeasing until I hide too long. We have more pets than people and I wouldn’t trade them for the world — even as they drive us crazy.

  1. When did you start writing? High school for a project, but otherwise not until a few years ago. I would drive to and from work for hours everyday, and as I did my mind would wander and the stories would appear. I’d hear these stories and write them out to keep my sanity. So many thoughts and so many voices talking, you feel like a crazy person if it’s not penned.


  2. What is your inspiration? They are. The characters are the inspiration. They tell me what they want and I put it together. I don’t lay out a story, drafting it into a storyline, it just appears as I write. I’ll go back and forth in the story and add as needed, but all in all it’s as it happens to come to me. Never is it when I expect, or when I think they should be flowing out of my fingers, the story is as it wants.


  3. How do you come up with your stories? Sure, there’s a bit of inspiration from things around me and that takes on part of the story each time. But most stories are just a wild thought in my head. I’ve been at music festivals, snowboarding, on vacation, at a ball game, or just biking around my town and situations will oddly end up piquing my interest. You need to be careful wherever I am, as you can appear in the stories I write.


  4. Where is your favorite place to write? I don’t have a favorite place to write, but I do to edit. Editing must be done at Starbucks. The sounds of other conversations makes me concentrate. Yeah, I have to use headphones and music playlists to keep me in the frame of mind but their conversations help me block everything out.


  5. Do you plan your stories out before starting? No. They flow as I type. I wish I could do more to entice the direction of it, but it happens as I type. I hate to know the storyline upfront and that comes across in the stories. There has to be elements that make it suspenseful, intriguing, and hopefully enough to keep you engaged. Sure, I’ll give you the story in the end — what made them tick, but until then I want you to fall in love with them.


  6. When did you first consider yourself a writer? About a month ago. It had nothing to do with sales, friends or followers, it had to do with stories just flowing out and feeling right. When a story feels like a story, it makes you feel more like a writer and less like a dabbler.


  7. Do you see writing as a career? Yes. No question about it. At this time I have a full-time job and I wish that writing were it. Soon enough it will be because it gives me such joy.


  8. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The tie-ins. I know where I’m taking them, I know where they came from, but it’s the bits that tie it all together. That is what makes it seamless and necessary. You can overdo it, or under, it’s knowing when to give it more.


  9. What was the hardest part of writing your book? Blurbs are always a challenge, but the acknowledgements and dedications. It’s evil to think of all those who have helped or made you better.


  10. Can you share a little of your current work with us? It’s a series. I don’t know when it became apparent that it would stretch out to the number of books I’m putting into it, but it felt right to give them all their due. My Crown and Anchor series will be stretched across three families. There’s darkness, sadness and intense happiness. I hope it’s enjoyed.


  11. Do you have any advice for other writers? Yes. Don’t focus on the sales. Sure it’s great to see yourself climbing charts, being noticed, and seeing that people have picked up your books, but it’s not the reason you started. If it was, find another profession to dabble in. Writing is a passion and if you don’t have a passion for it, then others will know. Care about your characters, give everyone you meet fairness and remember when someone helped you. Don’t be a bitch later because you’re amazing now. Always remember who you are and why you did it.


  12. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thank you. It’s that whole, ‘if a tree falls in the forest’ then who knew of you. Without readers picking it up and flipping pages you’d be nothing. I love their feedback, their care to share you and the sweetness they show for your stories. It’s immeasurable what it means.

Rushed Charged Fate of Amber

4acac296-444d-4c07-b852-562cdf96782e-4652-00000f365dbf4e0f_tmp

Read our review for Crashed: Casper’s Ghost by Kerri Ann

Perfect Tenn by Heather Dahlgren

IMG_0365

This romantic comedy is a difficult one to review. There are so many strengths, but there are some weaknesses that detract from the overall story. I enjoyed it immensely and read it very quickly. It is a book that I definitely suggest for romance readers.

Regan is a gorgeous redhead who lives with her equally gorgeous best friend, Tennyson. They’ve known each other almost all their lives and at twenty-three they decide sharing an apartment is perfect for them. It’s a typical premise, but has some flair that makes it a unique read. Regan hasn’t had a date in over two years. The author doesn’t just come out and say it is due to her subconscious desire for Tenn, but it is obvious from page one. Her friends, including Tenn, convince her that she needs a real man, instead of her drawer of sex toys. So, they set her up on a series of hilarious but disastrous dates. The story is told first-person Regan and she is a riot. From start to finish, she never let me down and I laughed until I cried.

Initially, Tenn sleeps with everything in a skirt with such exuberance that Regan has to wear earplugs. It becomes clear within a few pages that he has the hots for Regan, but won’t just come out and say it. So, like many other romance novels with this storyline, he thinks having lots of sex with anonymous women will get her attention. It certainly does. Only instead of making her realize he wants her, she thinks he’s a man-whore. Slut status aside, he’s a very likeable guy. He’s not as funny as Regan, but it’s not told from his perspective and he cannot hold a candle to Regan’s sarcasm.

One of my issues with the book is the parents. Both Regan’s and Tenn’s parents are best friends and apparently do everything together. They are also single-minded and think about nothing but sex. They draw their children into these wildly inappropriate conversations and give descriptive details of their own insanely active sex lives. The first encounter was awkward, but humorous. The second was still funny, but even more awkward. This went on through the entire book. Regan would beg them to stop, but it seemed that they could only discuss sex. At one point, both mothers take Regan for a girl’s day, which included a trip to a sex shop. The mothers are overjoyed and act like they are in heaven. Regan hides outside in the parking lot. I felt sorry for her, because they did not seem to care that they made her so uncomfortable that she had to down a bottle of wine just to get through dinner. What was incredible was that they had dinner with their parents several times a week. If my parents humiliated me and asked about my sex life, then compared it to theirs, including what they had just been up to seconds before I rang the bell, I would rarely see them.

Another aspect of the book that bothered me was Tenn’s idiotic idea that having scream-inducing sex every weekend right on the other side of the wall from Regan would make her realize he was attracted to her. It’s a premise I’ve seen a million times and I’m always confounded. I know that it is for drama and it definitely fits the bill, but she would have to wonder if he had picked up something nasty after banging a thousand easy women. Apparently, nothing says ‘I love you’ like excessive copulation with anyone other than that person.

Even with my personal issues regarding this book, I still read it all the way through and enjoyed most of it. Regan was the perfect storyteller; she was a riot, she was a strong woman who swore like a sailor, and she was the perfect amount of aloof when it came to Tenn. The side characters were entertaining, although the parents were too much for me, and added just the right amount of funny without detracting from the couple. Typos were a huge problem. I read the e-book, so I do not know if the print version has been edited, but it was obvious that this one hadn’t. I am amazed, because the author is clearly gifted and was able to produce such a wonderful story without reading through it to check for errors. It was enough to make me pause, but the fact that I finished says a lot for this book.

For the rating:

  • Genre and general audience – romantic comedy and only for mature readers.
  • The level of sexuality – is incredibly high. It’s dirty and graphic. Not only do the parents think about it constantly, so does Regan. The difference is she doesn’t give play-by-play until later on.
  • Is there graphic language? Tons. It’s always refreshing when it’s not just the guy who swears, which is a stereotype of most romances, and Regan has no problems using colorful descriptors.
  • Did I cry? Only from laughing so hard.
  • Did I laugh? Like I said; I laughed hard enough that I had to wipe a tear from my eye.
  • Is this part of a series? It is a stand-alone.
  • Level of character development – Both Regan and Tenn are highly developed. Regan is a well-rounded character and never slips. Tenn is also a constant, once he makes a story-altering decision. Of course, Regan doesn’t pick up on it, but the reader sees it right away. The side characters are fairly one-sided, but they are consistent and serve their purposes well.

I loved the book, even with the plethora of typos. I can forgive a certain amount and after that I usually stop reading, but this story kept me hooked and I had to see what entertaining scene was going to happen next. For being a popular storyline, it stood out amongst the others I have read, because it was so well-written (aside from the lack of editing) and the never-ending laughter. If the parents had been toned down just a bit and a second round of editing done, I would have given it one of my very rare five stars. What can I say? I love to laugh. As it stands, I’m happy to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars. I highly recommend this book for romance readers who want a light, happy read and I am looking out for more from Ms. Dahlgren.

Available here on Amazon

Macadamian Pliers by Steve Conoboy

Macadamian_Pliers

This book has a strange and awesome title and an equally awesome story. There is no way for you not to be caught up in this freaky mystery. Cherry Rains and her family are moving into a new house half a state away. She plans on never calling it home, as moving was never her idea. Her goofy brother, Frank, has already tried to claim the attic as his bedroom. Thankfully, she won’t have to listen to him stomping overhead every night, since Mom vetoed that plan.

Not only is Cherry upset about the move, but the realtor is a real creep, too. He has a strange body shape, seems to walk around on silent, kitty feet, appearing near her when she is most vulnerable and alone, has a wicked missing eye, and the other eye stares mercilessly at her. Don’t forget the long, knobby fingers that are never still. Cherry is truly frightened when she notices him standing outside their house at night, his fingers moving rapidly or appearing to wave a stick. What could possibly be going on?

Frank, on the other hand, has found a new friend, Jack, and a haunted house! On the way to school they walk by and Cherry decides right then and there that she will never, ever go in. However, Jack and Frank are already plotting when they will take a peek. Adding more excitement to their lives, packing boxes begin to hop up and down, doors slam, and even a bathrobe assumes the shape of a human and floats towards them. When Mom receives a nasty bite on her arm, Cherry decides she has had enough. There must be some way to rid themselves of these nasty spirits. She enlists Frank and Jack to help her research ghosts and other scary things. She’s stunned to find that there seems to be an overabundance of these in town.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The characters are so engrossing that I enjoyed pursuing the story of each one. They are all interestingly intertwined to give us an engrossing tale. This is not your usual woo-oooo story; at no time was I creeped out, bored, or wishing it would just end. This has a cliffhanger ending, but a sequel is not mentioned. I was fine with the end, since it all came together nicely, but you do have to wonder…*a little Twilight Zone music here, please*

Now for the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – Paranormal mystery for older teens and adults.
  • Level of sexuality – None.
  • Is there graphic language – Very low.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? No.
  • Is this part of a series? This was published in January 2017 and there is no mention of a sequel.
  • Level of character development – Nicely done. The kids are a bit quirky, but it’s entertaining and aren’t kids always that way?

I gladly give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Find it here on Amazon