Introducing the Tactical Crime Division by Harlequin Books

Perfect for fans of Criminal Minds and Blacklist

Uncover the lives and loves of the FBI elite as they take on the toughest assignments. This is a new four-book miniseries featuring an ensemble cast of characters spread across 4 books, featuring 4 urgent cases, with one stellar team of crime solving experts. 

The Tactical Crime Division—TCD—is a specialized unit of the FBI. Because of the growing concerns and need for ever increasing response time to criminal events, the FBI created a specialized tech and tactical team combing specialists from several active divisions that include: weapons, crime scene investigation, protection, negotiation and IT. 

Each title can be read as a standalone novel, featuring a unique hard to solve crime case.

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGQTOGlXW-c.

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Book 1_48 Hour Lockdown_Carla Cassidy

Book #1: 48 Hour Lockdown by Carla Cassidy (on-sale March 17, 2020)

Book description: The Tactical Crime Division—TCD—is a specialized unit of the FBI.They handle the toughest cases in the most remote locations. When TCD learns of a school invasion turned lockdown, every agent is ready to engage. With children in jeopardy, the stakes couldn’t be higher. But it becomes personal for hostage negotiator agent Evan Duran when he learns Annalise Taylor is one of the captives holed up with the students in a school for the gifted. He’ll need every resource available at TCD and every ounce of his expertise to turn this disastrous situation into a rescue mission—and if he succeeds, maybe reunite with the woman he never stopped loving.

About Carla Cassidy: Carla Cassidy is a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than 125 novels for Harlequin Books. She is listed on the Romance Writer’s of America Honor Roll and has won numerous awards. Carla believes the only thing better than curling up with a good book to read is sitting down at the computer with a good story to write.

Purchase links:

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Book 2_Secret Investigation_Elizabeth Heiter

Book #2: Secret Investigation by Elizabeth Heiter (on-sale April 21, 2020)

Book description: In the wake of a tragedy, the Tactical Crime Division is the first call. When ironclad body armor inexplicably fails and soldiers perish, the Tactical Crime Division jumps into action. Agent and former ranger Davis Rogers asks to go undercover to find the traitor responsible for the death of one of his friends, and Petrov Armor CEO Leila Petrov is happy to provide access to her company…especially once she discovers she’s being framed. But will their joint efforts be enough to uncover the truth?

About Elizabeth Heiter: Publishers Weekly bestselling and award-winning author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists and a little romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and translated into eight languages. Visit her at www.elizabethheiter.com

Purchase links:

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Book 3_Midnight Abduction_Nichole Severn

Book #3: Midnight Abduction by Nichole Severn (on-sale May 19, 2020)

Book description: For the Tactical Crime Division, no case is left cold. When Benning Reeves’s twins are kidnapped, the frantic father knows who can help: the Tactical Crime Division and Ana Ramirez. Even though Ana once shattered Benning’s heart, the special agent is the only one he can trust. But Ana is still tormented by the unresolved case that brought them together years before—a case somehow entangled with Benning’s children. It’s up to the TCD and Ana to discover why…before it’s too late.

About Nichole Severn: Nichole Severn writes romantic suspense with strong heroines, heroes who dare challenge them, and a hell of a lot of guns. When she’s not writing, she’s injuring herself running and practicing yoga.

Purchase links:

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Book 4_Running Out of Time_Cindi Myers

Book #4: Running Out of Time by Cindi Myers (on-sale June 16, 2020)

Book description: When a terrorist is on the loose, the Tactical Crime Division is on the case. To find out who poisoned medications, two of TCD’s agents are tapped to go undercover posing as a married couple and infiltrate the company. But as soon as Jace Cantrell and Laura Smith arrive at Stroud Pharmaceuticals, someone ups the ante by planting explosives in their midst. Turns out that the small-town family business is hiding a million secrets. Could they unknowingly be protecting a vengeful killer?

About Cindi Myers: Cindy Myers became one of the most popular people in eighth grade when she and her best friend wrote a torrid historical romance and passed the manuscript around among friends. Fame was short-lived, alas; the English teacher confiscated the manuscript. Since then, Cindy has written more than 50 published novels. Her historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction have garnered praise from reviewers and readers alike.

Purchase links:

The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne

Thank you Harlequin Books for allowing me to participate in The Sea Glass Cottage Blog Tour! I was given a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Rating: ★★★★

The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn’t so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured in a car accident, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.

It’s just for a few months—that’s what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.

As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it’s never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness.

Review:

This was my first RaeAnne Thayne novel but definitely not my last!

This book was all female, mostly all of the time. There were many female characters, Liv, her niece and her mother, with whom she has a stressed relationship with. Sometimes, I would think this would be too much drama going on, but I think RaeAnne Thayne did a phenomenal job with the writing to keep the reader interested.

Like I said, there was a lot going on. If this was separated by character and chapters, it would’ve for sure been way too confusing. However, it was just an overall story about these characters and it was like watching a soap opera in my head. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. It was as they say, “like a train crash, you want to look away, but you can’t.”

There are a lot of emotions in this book. It’s crushing and heartwarming all in the same book. RaeAnne Thayne did a wonderful job making sure all of the characters were heard in the same way. I didn’t feel as though I knew more about one character than I did another. Also, the story is a lot about overcoming obstacles whether they are physical or mental. I really enjoyed that aspect of this novel.

Lastly, RaeAnne Thayne did a great job with the talk of drug abuse in this novel. This is a really sensitive topic with the society we are in. As someone who has lost individuals to this epidemic, I felt as though RaeAnne Thayne handled this with care. She really did make this feel as though we were looking at this story through Caitlin’s eyes. Losing someone to this is soul-crushing and I really felt that with Liv’s niece.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Sea Glass Cottage. There was a lot going on, but I think it was really good. I will for sure be giving RaeAnne Thayne another read!

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See below for an excerpt of The Sea Glass Cottage!

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Moonlight in Vermont by Kacy Cross

Publication Date: February 18, 2019
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Rating: ★★★★

Some of the best things in life are worth the wait…

Fiona Rangely loves her fast-paced life as a high-end real estate broker in New York City. Or at least, she does until her boyfriend dumps her, claiming that he doesn’t get enough of her time.

She retreats to her family’s quaint Vermont Inn to evaluate her life…but her ex-boyfriend soon shows up with a brand new girlfriend. Fiona quickly devises a plan to win him back: pretend the handsome and laid-back head chef Derek is her new boyfriend!

Will her ex realize what he’s missing? And will Fiona herself start seeing life–and love—in a new light?

Review:

Fake relationships/marriages is one of my favorite tropes. I just adore the thought of two people starting a fake relationship to fool parents or to make exes jealous…and then  falling for each other themselves for real? Swoon! This story was crazy from start to finish. For Hallmark, I felt like this was extra dramatic! But I loved it!

The characters were everything I needed and more. Fiona’s character was the best. I loved her development and the realization that she didn’t even want her ex anymore was perfection. I think out of all of them, Kacy Cross wrote Fiona the best. She wrote Fiona like she had personally experienced something like this before and it made the story that much more real for me.

My favorite part of this novel was the sweetness of the romance. It wasn’t too strong but it wasn’t too much either. It was really a wonderful moment to see how the story of Fiona and Derek was going to play out. As the head chef, he knows he’s too busy and it’s almost like a forbidden love story at some parts.

The only reason why I didn’t give this book five-stars is because I wish it was a little longer! It was only 182 pages and I wish it would just keep going and going. I think ultimately it was wrapped up well and the story was great, but I would’ve liked a little more.

Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone. This was a good story for any age. Moonlight in Vermonwas the perfect book to get me excited for the rest of Kacy Cross’ books!

The Story of Us by Teri Wilson

Publication Date: January 6, 2020
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Rating: ★★★

A bookstore owner…
her former high school sweetheart…
And a box of old love letters
that could change everything.

Jamie always adored True Love Bookstore and Café, and now she’s the owner. But businesses are struggling in her small town, and her beloved store is threatened by a new retail development scheme.

Sawyer, Jamie’s former high school sweetheart, startles her when he comes to town for the first time in fifteen years. She soon learns he’s the architect of the proposed development and he’s there to sell local business owners on his plan. Sawyer had no idea that Jamie had bought the bookstore and poured everything she had into it. If he takes it over, he’ll break her heart a second time.

Jamie’s discovery of a box of old love letters and valentines might hold the key to saving her shop. And after all this time, could love be in the cards for Jamie and Sawyer, too?

Review:

This was a very cute book to read for Valentine’s Day which is why Hallmark released it January 6. It’s very cute to read at anytime during the year, but if you’re feeling especially lovey-dovey, save this one for the next holiday/Valentine’s Day season.

A romance in a bookstore is always a book for me. As I used to work in a library, the thought of two people falling in love surrounded by books just makes my heart flutter.  I’m just a sucker for it. Teri Wilson didn’t disappoint when it came to this. The romance was definitely on point.

There were a few things that I did struggle with within this story, though. I think ultimately for me, this story was drug out a little too long. It definitely could’ve finished multiple times before it actually did and it made it a little hard to get through.

The story was a little underdeveloped for me in the beginning. I was just waiting for it to get to the entire story and when it did, it was good. Then, the story started to drag for me like I said before. I just wish it would’ve taken a little quicker to get started, but finish in that timely manner after everything came full circle.

I really did like the outsiders in this story. The two main characters were good, but I loved seeing everyone conspire against them to get them together. It was awesome to see all of the budding relationships and friendships that this novel had to offer.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I didn’t hate it. Hallmark recently made this into a movie on their channel and I would definitely watch it!

 

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Rating: ★★★

You Can’t Stop Watching Her.

Violet Young is a hugely popular journalist-turned-mummy-vlogger, with three young children, a successful husband and a million subscribers on YouTube who tune in daily to watch her everyday life unfold.

Until the day she’s no longer there.

But one day she disappears from the online world – her entire social media presence deleted overnight, with no explanation. Has she simply decided that baring her life to all online is no longer a good idea, or has something more sinister happened to her?

Review:

Thank you to Charlotte Duckworth, Crooked Lane Books & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This book’s synopsis definitely grabbed my attention. Being in a society that is essentially run by social media, these types of books really show the dangers of what can happen in real life. However, a lot of these books are coming out, especially within the last few years. After reading them all, they all start to sound the same mystery wise. Someone disappears, they have a social media presence..yadda yadda.

I didn’t hate this book. I really didn’t. I thought learning about Violet and what happened to her and why she deleted her social media without a trace was pretty interesting. I just think that the background details just were kind of meh. I didn’t feel any specific way towards that, but I did enjoy the thrilling aspect of it. This honestly could’ve been classified more as a thriller than a mystery in my eyes.

My favorite part about this book was that two fans were trying to figure out the mystery of what happened to their favorite Youtuber. Usually, watching the news or reading a story about it, if something happens to someone with a social media presence, it’s a crazed fan that did something to them. Don’t get me wrong, these two were definitely obsessive over Violet, but it was nice to read something that wasn’t like the others in that aspect. I really liked the difference of story there.

The difference in point-of-views had me a little confused at times. Throwing Violet’s husband in there to separate things was very smart on Charlotte Duckworth’s part because I was able to distinguish the multiple feelings of this story.

Overall, this was interesting but it didn’t WOW me. The writing was alright, there were definitely some attention-grabbing parts, but I just didn’t have the best time with this novel. The conclusion was just alright, but if you’re looking for a fast-paced story to read while you’re staying inside, this is a good one that’ll take up a day!

 

20 Books to Read While You’re Quarantined

Obviously, we are all SHOOK with what’s going on around the world right now. I’ve found myself inside and staying there unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out! This is giving me the option to catch up on my current reads as well as review some of my recent reads! I decided to make a list of 20 books for you all to read during this self-quarantine time! Feel free to click the pictures to take you to the Goodreads pages! Stay safe everyone!

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Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Published: December 10, 2019

Colleen Hoover is always an easy choice when it comes to one of my favorite authors. She has a way with words and her latest novel, Regretting You, was nothing short of spectacular. You could read any of her books and be happy in your quarantine!

It’s currently available for free on Kindle Unlimited or you can buy it on Kindle for only $1.99! Find that: here. If you’re more of a book-in-hand person, this is still on Amazon Prime for only $7.48! Find that: here.

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The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Publisher: Avon Books
Published: February 4, 2020

I received this book as an advanced reader copy. I got to read it before the publication date and I will say that I really, really enjoyed it. You can read my full review: here. Because it is relatively new, the price of the ebook is $12.99 and the paperback is $12.62 with Prime eligibility. You can find those: here.

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Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton Books
Published: July 2, 2019

I will never get over the mystery that was Lock Every Door. From start to finish, I just adored every twist and turn this novel had to offer me. This was my first Riley Sager novel, but I cannot wait to see where her novels end up. I have her other mystery Final Girls on my to-be-read, but just haven’t gotten to it yet. Soon enough! Lock Every Door is available on Kindle for $13 and in paperback for $17! Find that: here.

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: May 15, 2018

This was the first Katherine Center novel I read and I wanted more. Her writing was impeccable and I honestly can’t even explain this book without spoiling anything. There was romance, angst, drama, sorrow, very real mental health issues and more. Both the Kindle ebook and the paperback are $9.99 on Amazon right now. Find those: here.

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The Note by Teresa Mummert
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: March 11, 2013

Romance lovers. Military lovers. Mental health lovers. Everyone really. I want you to read this book. It’s a SELF-PUBLISHED novel about a military man that finds love after war. I have never been in war or even really surrounded by anyone that has been in war. I felt like I could personally resonate with the main characters and that’s really hard to do with readers who don’t have that relatable situation. The Note is available on Kindle for $4.99 and on paperback for $14.99! Find those: here.

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18 Hours To Us by Krista Noorman
Published: November 21, 2017

This YA book was really different and that was something I could appreciate. The writing was impeccable and that’s why it had such a high rating for me. Krista Noorman wrote this awesome story and made sure that all of her bases were covered, which was my favorite part about it. You can read this book for free on Kindle Unlimited or free on regular Kindle! You can also order the paperback off Amazon Prime for only $9.99! Find those: here.

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Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Publisher: Avery Books

Published: September 11, 2012

There’s a lot of scary moments going on around the world and it’s easy for someone with anxiety or depression to fall into a scary moment within themselves. As someone who has deals with that and read this book, Brené Brown has a way with her words to really get through to you. She really helps and not only does Brené have this as a self-help, but she shares her own personal experiences within life to really show you that you’re not alone. If you want to pick a self-help author, Brené Brown is IT. Daring Greatly is available on Kindle for $12.99 and paperback for $9.39 on Prime. Find that: here.

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: June 28, 2016

All the Missing Girls was Megan Miranda’s breakout novel. This story is was wild from start to finish. It was different than anything I really read before as it is told backwards. It had me on the edge of my seat and to this day is one of my favorite mysteries. You can find this book on Kindle for $11.99 and paperback for $10.34 on Prime! Find those: here.

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The Game Changer by Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Published: January 7, 2020

I recently read this one and I really, really enjoyed it. I have been trying to read all of the Hallmark Publishing novels as they’re usually a cute-sy romance type. This one, however, really caught my eye. It’s a romance for sure, but this is a mystery as well. If you’re someone who likes the romantic suspense genre, this is DEFINITELY for you. You can find this on Kindle for $7.89 or paperback for $10.89 on Amazon Prime! Find those options: here.

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Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: July 30, 2019

Love and Other Mistakes is classified as a Christian Romance novel. I am not really religious in the slightest bit, but Jessica Kate has the writing ability to sneak in little hints of religion here and there. I read her other book, A Girl’s Guide to the Outback, recently and I found myself really enjoying her writing style. She writes about heavy topics with romance and little bit of self-love! Find Love and Other Mistakes: here.

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The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Published: March 17, 2020

Newly published, I was lucky enough to receive The Sea Glass Cottage before its publication date. It was a really interesting story of family, drama and all that happens in between. RaeAnne Thayne writes as if these are her family members and you really get attached to them in this book. This was a quick read for me as I enjoyed it so much and I think you will too! To find it on Amazon, click here.

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Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Avon Books
Published: January 14, 2020

Calling all steamy romance lovers. Tessa Bailey has a way of writing that you will question every steamy romance novel you’ve ever read before. This trope, Tessa’s writing, everything about this book was amazing! She really pulls at your heart strings as well as showing you that old-school romance still is a thing! If you’re looking for a new romance author, Tessa Bailey is it! To find this book on Amazon, click here.

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Graydon House
Published: December 30, 2019

I read this story not too long ago and it’s really unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The story of this one will have you questioning if these type of things go on in real life. This book grips you from the very beginning and the ending…PHEW. It will definitely keep you interested when you need your brain stimulated! Find it on Amazon here.

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Sunrise Cabin by Stacey Donovan
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Published: September 16, 2018

I had to pick another Hallmark book…didn’t I? I fell in love with Sunrise Cabin as soon as I started reading it. The story captured me as something I’ve never really read in a romance novel before. The angst and drama make this book, not even going to lie. The romance is such a big part of this book, but the drama and angst is an even bigger part. Who doesn’t love some good drama?! Find it on Amazon here.

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The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper
Publisher: Ebury Press
Published: March 7, 2019

The Day We Met is about two people that meet at a younger age and know they’re right for each other, but never make it back to each other after meeting all those years ago. They see each other throughout the years, knowing that they’re soulmates, but as their lives take them in two different directions, they both move along with their lives as well. It’s absolutely heartwrenching, romantic, and it’s so real that it can actually happen in life. Find that on Amazon here.

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American Fire by Monica Hesse
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
Published: July 11, 2017

Where are my true crime lovers? This non-fiction novel about an arsonist is from the perspective of Washington Post reporter, Monica Hesse. It is so amazing and so twisty-turny to see from her perspective that we have no idea what is even going on. This happened in Virginia in the early 2010s and I feel like it never even made national news (from what I remember). Reading this story was so interesting and I know you’ll love it too. Find it here.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Published: May 9, 2017

I think that everyone should have to read this in their lifetime. Eleanor Oliphant to this day is one of my favorite characters in a book. She is quirky, social awkward, and just hard to understand sometimes. Gail Honeyman did a phenomenal job writing this book, and it is one of my favorites. i’d recommend it to anyone. Find this book on Amazon: here.

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The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 17, 2016

Mary Kay Andrews is my favorite author. Her writing style is impeccable and I love it in every book she writes. Normally, she’s just a romance writer with little to no steam, but a hell of a story. This one was a little different and it’s one of my favorite books. This is a romantic suspense and the story captures you from the beginning literally until the last page. I recommend this book to everyone! Find it here.

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No Exit
No Exit by Taylor Adams
Publisher: Joffe Books
Published: June 25, 2017

You want to hear about an underrated mystery novel? This book was INSANE. Whenever I talk mysteries with someone, I always tell them about this book and most of the time, they’ve never even heard of it. I want that to change!! From the first few sentences until the final words, you are gripped into this crazy moment. This book is all about moments! Find it on Amazon here.

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This Train is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams
Publisher: Amulet Books

Published: February 11, 2020

Last but certainly not least, a book that touched my heart in more ways than one. This book was recently just published in February 2020, but I’m hoping that this book explodes and becomes one of the top YA books of the year. This story gripped my heart and squeezed it into oblivion. This story is so so real, and it really relates to today’s society. You can read my full review here. You can find this book on Amazon here.

 

The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes

Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: ★★

Willa Parker, 646th and least-popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life. Did she choose this life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa’s life is easy. It’s her famous genius mother’s idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and Willa has no intention of fitting in. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit in. When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel Remy spinning right out of her grasp.

Review:

When I read the synopsis and first started this book, I thought it had a lot of promising qualities that really could have me interested. The cover is what really got me. Harper Teen really put out a beautiful cover on this one. As I got in to it, I really had issues with a lot of things going on and I frankly feel like this book failed to deliver. I will say I read this book all the way through to see where it was going to go. I did find that there was a story, but it was in the beginning and then about 60% in and then it fell off again. This one was a struggle.

The main thing I had an issue with about this novel was the writing. The writing was short and to the point, and while that’s not always bad, I felt like I was reading a book that had been transcribed from a reading or audio. There wasn’t much detail, I feel like I was thrown back and forth a little, and I had to restart pages because I was just plain confused. I don’t think that the trope was bad or even that the story was bad, but I think the way that it was explained was a little confusing to me.

On the other hand, I will say that Remy was the most exciting part of this book. I loved every part of her. I was very interested to see where her story was going to lead which is where the book finally started to pick up for me.

I gave this book two stars because Andrea Portes does have some underlying dark tones in her book. I really think she handled them with care. I am someone who really can’t do substance abuse or drug abuse in books, but she did well with this and really took care of her readers when it came to that.

Overall, this wasn’t my favorite YA. I did struggle a lot with the writing and wish it was a little more in-depth instead of short and choppy. I would definitely give Andrea Portes another chance and hopes that the writing is a little different in the next one.

 

 

 

This Train is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams

Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Publisher: Amulet Books
Rating: ★★★★★

When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs. Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most.

Review:

It’s been a really long time where I’ve enjoyed a young adult novel as much as I did with This Train is Being Held. This is a moving story about a young man named Alex and a young lady named Isabelle (Isa as she’s called in the book). It’s a love-trumps-all type of trope which overcomes a lot of unhappy topics surrounding today’s society. I’ve never read anything like this, where a train of all things brings two people together when they need it the most.

The best part of this book is the romance. Like I said, there is an important message surrounding their relationship, but Ismée Amiel Williams did such a phenomenal job with making sure that love is still a very prominent part of this book. The angst is so tough on your heart that you want to reach into the book and hug them both. You truly have no idea what’s going on in their heads at that moment, but it’s written so vividly right in front of us. The writing of the romance was spectacular and I commend Ismée Amiel Williams for making sure that it was still there where it was supposed to be in a book with a variety of things going on.

Alex is my favorite character that I’ve read in a book in a long time. You can’t help but feel everything he’s feeling. You feel so guilty and so upset for what he’s going through. He’s a Latino male that wants to write poetry instead of play baseball like his dad wants him to. It is such a terrible situation and you just want to be his friend. You want to reach out to him and say, “I’m here for you”. It’s been a long time where a book has made me feel like that about a character.

The location of This Train is Being Held is so wonderful. As someone who lives near a city, it’s so easy to picture the subway. You can close your eyes and picture what their train car would look like, the sounds that are going on around you and more.

Finally, I love that this book was dual language at some parts. I’m not someone who understands Spanish as a second language, but Ismée Amiel Williams made it easy for  me to understand. I was able to see what was going on between characters and it showed the Latino side of Alex’s family as well. It was interesting to see the two sides between Alex’s family and Isa’s family.

Overall, this is a perfect young adult novel. I’d recommend it to those in high school or I’d recommend it to any adult that likes a good, romantic novel that ties into today’s society. I cannot wait for Ismée Amiel Williams’ future novels.

Country Hearts by Cindi Madsen

Publication Date: December 26, 2019
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing

Rating: ★★★

She shouldn’t get involved with the cowboy next door…

After she’s laid off from her teaching job in the city, Jemma Monroe finds a position in a tiny town and rents a house on the outskirts. A visitor soon shows up at her door — a horse. His owner, a handsome neighbor in boots and a cowboy hat, comes by to collect him.

When single dad Wyatt Langford meets Jemma, it’s the first time he feels interest in a woman since his wife left. But she’s his daughter’s new teacher, so they both know they should keep their distance.

Nonetheless, Wyatt keeps finding excuses to be with Jemma, and Wyatt’s daughter becomes more and more attached to her. With them, Jemma discovers the good things about country living, from starry skies to s’mores cooked over a fire. But she still misses her past life in the city. Is there any reason for them to dream of a future together?

Review:

This was my first Hallmark Publishing novel that I read, and I was not disappointed. I am not someone who watches Hallmark movies normally, but after reading from their publishing company, I just might do so.

Jemma has a lot going on in her life. She’s laid off in the middle of the school  year and has to figure out what to do in order to pay her debt. This is unfortunately super realistic nowadays and I appreciated that it was so relatable.

Another thing that was relatable about this story was Wyatt’s character. He’s a single dad and Jemma and Wyatt meet when Jemma becomes Wyatt’s daughter’s substitute teacher. I completely expected this book to be a “city-girl having a lot of trouble and her country neighbor helping her adapt to the country life” type of book, but I didn’t really get that from this. I think that the story was very cute and had the perfect amount of romance.

Wyatt’s daughter Bailey was one of the best characters in this book. Cindi Madsen did a phenomenal job with her, showing what it’s like to have a single father, and what it’s like when that child realizes that there’s a new woman in his life. It was very interesting and really pulled at my heart strings a couple times.

The only reason why I gave this novel a three-star rating was because the writing was a little slow at points. I enjoyed the trope and the characters, but I wish it picked up more at points than what it did.

I love the recipes at the end of Hallmark books, and hopefully, after reading them all, you could make a whole dinner party worth of things! Overall, Country Hearts was a good one and I’m excited to see the rest of Hallmark Publishing’s books!