Sleeping with the Enemy by Tracy Solheim

  • sleeping with the enemyTitle:  Sleeping with the Enemy
  • Series:  Out of Bounds #4
  • Author:  Tracy Solheim
  • Pages:  320
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  September 2015 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher/NetGalley

Description:  Dot-com millionaire Jay McManus is discovering that owning a pro football team like the Baltimore Blaze isn’t easy. An anonymous blogger is out to destroy his reputation, and now his team is being sued by its own cheerleaders. If Jay’s not careful, he could lose big—and not just financially.

Bridgett Janik’s brother may play for the Baltimore Blaze, but she’s not thrilled to be defending Jay McManus, the man who broke her heart. It’s bad enough she has to mingle with Jay during games, but working beside her former lover may be too much for her body—and her heart—to resist.

Jay’s determined not to let Bridgett slip away from him a second time. But, as the two follow the mysterious blogger’s trail, secrets—both past and present—are revealed, and Jay and Bridgett must decide if their relationship can be something more than just sleeping with the enemy.  (publisher)

My take: This is the first book by author Tracy Solheim I’ve read and the fourth book in the Out of Bounds series. Happily, it can stand alone because Solheim provided enough information about previously featured characters who make appearances in Sleeping With the Enemy.

If you like confident (some might say arrogant) alpha characters you’ll probably like Jay McManus. Equally confident but more sympathetic is Bridgett Janik, the lawyer Jay wants working on the case against him and his organization. These two have a history and Bridgett is determined to keep their contact strictly business. Jay wants business with benefits. So, does Bridgett have the resolve to keep things above-board or will she let her emotions rule – and will they ever talk about what happened all those years ago?

The plot took a couple of turns that drew me in which is good because at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. However, I thought Solheim brought all issues to a satisfactory conclusion and she had me wondering if there is going to be a fifth book in the series. I would read it.

If you like a contemporary romance about rich and famous characters with sports and second-chance-at-love themes I think you’ll enjoy Sleeping With the Enemy.


I read Sleeping With The Enemy as part of the BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge 2015

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The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore

  • The AdmissionsTitle:  The Admissions
  • Author:  Meg Mitchell Moore
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  September 2015 – Doubleday
  • Source:  BookSparks

Description:  The Hawthorne family has it all. Great jobs, a beautiful house in one of the most affluent areas of northern California, and three charming kids with perfectly straight teeth. And then comes their eldest daughter’s senior year of high school . . .
     Firstborn Angela Hawthorne is a straight-A student and star athlete, with extracurricular activities coming out of her ears and a college application that’s not going to write itself. She’s set her sights on Harvard, her father’s alma mater, and like a dog with a chew toy, Angela won’t let up until she’s basking in crimson-colored glory. Except her class rank as valedictorian is under attack, she’s suddenly losing her edge at cross-country, and she can’t help but daydream about the cute baseball player in English class. Of course Angela knows the time put into her schoolgirl crush would be better spent coming up with a subject for her term paper—which, along with her college essay and community service hours has a rapidly approaching deadline. 
     Angela’s mother, Nora, is similarly stretched to the limit, juggling parent-teacher meetings, carpool, and a real-estate career where she caters to the mega rich and super-picky buyers and sellers of the Bay Area. The youngest daughter, Maya, still can’t read at the age of eight; the middle-child, Cecily, is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid she once was; and the dad, Gabe, seems oblivious to the mounting pressures at home because a devastating secret of his own might be exposed. A few ill-advised moves put the Hawthorne family on a heedless collision course that’s equal parts achingly real and delightfully screwball.
     Sharp and topical, The Admissions shows that if you pull at a loose thread, even the sturdiest of lives start to unravel at the seams of high achievement.  (publisher)

My take:  This is a story about a family with hopes and dreams…and secrets. It’s about what happens when their secrets become known to others and how each person deals with it.

It’s also about how we view others – our perceptions and the actual reality of what we think we know. Does that family next door really have life by the tail? How can they be so lucky when I’m not? It’s about the expectations we feel or place upon others and the intense anxiety that almost always follows. Anyone who went to college, played a sport in school or participated in a competitive group or had kids who did the same will recognize some of the emotions felt by one or all of the characters in this novel.

There’s foreshadowing from page one but as the author revealed events I was second-guessing myself in what I thought was going to happen. Meg Mitchell Moore’s novel is a warm, entertaining and addictive read that left me missing this family after turning the last page. Recommended.

I read The Admissions as part of the BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge 2015

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Blog Tour and US Giveaway: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

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  • Title:  After I Do
  • Author:  Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  July 2014 – Washington Square Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes. Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for? This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after. (publisher)

After I Do (July 1)

 

My take:  This gem of a novel explores what happens to a relationship when the shine wears off. Lauren and Ryan have gone from being completely gaga over each other to a resentment that you can almost taste. The author paced the unfolding of their story perfectly and it was impossible to not feel for these two. They took a bit of an unorthodox way of trying to figure things out and make a go of it. I pulled for them all the way and enjoyed every page of the book.

I loved Taylor Jenkins Reid’s first novel Forever, Interrupted and wasn’t sure what to expect from After I Do. I loved it just as much as the first and have already thought of a few people I’ll buy it for. Do yourself a favor and read this book! You don’t have to be married to appreciate it. You can be married a long time (like me) and enjoy it. I think engaged and newlywed readers will learn from it. Highly recommended.

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Giveaway (US)

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Praise for the book: “Moving, gorgeous and, at times, heart-wrenching. Taylor Jenkins Reid writes with wit and true emotion that you can feel. Read it, savor it, share it.” – Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of The Violets of March

Buy the book

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About the author:

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Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Media Studies. Her first novel, Forever, Interrupted, was named one of the “11 Debuts We Love” by Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit.

Connect with the author:

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Blog tour: The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

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Synopsis:  The story of a married couple, Diane and Brian, that learn they are pregnant with their first child has come at an unfortunate time.  Brian is thrilled with the news since he has patiently waited for twelve years to become a father, however Diane is unsure of her excitement.  With her family’s dark past, her recent promotion, and Brian being called away to London for work parenthood has arrived unexpectedly.  When a year has passed and Diane is completely head over heels in love with her precious baby girl, Grace, Brian has still not returned from London.  Diane’s dark past collides with her mysterious new life and the surreal family drama is unveiled.

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the memory child

  • Title:  The Memory Child
  • Author:  Steena Holmes
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  March 2014 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher/Book Sparks PR

My take: The Memory Child is the first book by Steena Holmes I’ve read. Holmes kept me guessing and turning the pages to find out what was going on in this story. That’s saying a lot because character driven novels aren’t always my cup of tea. Not so with this one. It quietly got inside my brain and didn’t let go until I turned the final page.

My opinion of the characters changed more than once as the story progressed.  I liked that the novel wasn’t predictable and played with my brain a bit.

It’s an eerie and emotional story. If the publisher’s synopsis and my take make it seem like a novel you’d like to read then go get a copy! I’m glad I had the chance to read The Memory Child.

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Steena Holmes grew up in a small town in Canada and holds a bachelor’s degree in theology. She is the author of image001eleven novels and novellas, including Finding Emma, for which she was awarded a National Indie Excellence Book Award in 2012. She currently lives in Calgary with her husband and three daughters, and loves to wake up to the Rocky Mountains each morning.

A Girl Like You by Maria Geraci

Title:  A Girl Like You

Author:  Maria Geraci

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  August 2012 – Berkley

Trade Paperback – 320 pages

Synopsis:  Emma Frazier is smart, hardworking, and loves her job as a journalist for a Florida lifestyle magazine. Emma knows she’s no great beauty, but she’s pretty certain she has a shot with her handsome new boss, Ben Gallagher—until Emma overhears a mutual acquaintance refer to her as the “ugly friend.” In an effort to reclaim her battered self-esteem, Emma decides to impress Ben at work by promising an exclusive interview with NASCAR legend, Trip Monroe.

Emma and Trip went to high school together and although it’s been fourteen years since they’ve spoken, Emma is certain she can score an interview with the elusive super star. But connecting with Trip turns out to be harder than Emma imagined. Her quest for the interview leads her back to her tiny hometown of Catfish Cove, where old secrets and a new romantic interest shake up Emma’s views on life and teach her that maybe the key to finding true love is as simple as accepting yourself for the person you were always meant to be.

My take:  I’ll just go ahead and start by saying A Girl Like You is the most enjoyable Chick Lit I’ve read in a long, long time. Whether you’re in the genre target age or not (I’m clearly not) Emma Frazier is a character most female readers will find relatable. She doesn’t consider herself perfect (in beauty, weight, etc.) but she has a fairly good sense of herself that I found endearing and made me want to cheer for her as she navigates the path of relationships.

That said, the night she overhears someone refer to her as “the ugly friend”  – meaning she makes her other friends look better, she starts to question herself. She goes home where her moms (yes she has two moms) give her unconditional love and support. She also runs into a former classmate whom she’d had a crush on back in high school. He does a lot for her self-esteem. Emma goes back to her apartment and job a few hours away where she still has a crush on her boss. In hopes of impressing him she offers to get the interview of the year with another former classmate who has hit it big on the NASCAR circuit. He’s almost impossible to track down so Emma has her work cut out for her. Will she be able to get the interview, impress her boss, and maybe fall in love? You’ll have to read to find out 🙂

Maria Geraci has a new fan in me! I read this novel in just a few hours because I couldn’t put it down. Her writing style is so easy and smooth (addicting, some might say). And I liked the humor she injected along the way. Like I said earlier, I was cheering for Emma all the way – and I wasn’t even sure how it would or should end. Geraci threw in a few small twists that kept me wondering. I liked that.

So, if you like Chick Lit and you’re looking for a good book to read anywhere, I can enthusiastically recommend A Girl Like You!

Disclosure:  I received a review copy from the publicist for the blog tour. I was not compensated for my review. Please see sidebar for full disclosure policy.

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Maria Geraci’s website; Facebook; Twitter

About the author:

Maria Geraci was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised on Florida’s Space Coast. Her love of books started with the classic Little Women (a book she read so often growing up, she could probably quote it). She lives with her husband and their three children in north Florida where she works as a part-time labor and delivery nurse by night and a full-time romance writer during the day.

Blood Orchids by Toby Neal

Title:  Blood Orchids – The Lei Crime Series

Author:  Toby Neal

Genre:  Crime fiction; series

Published:  November 2011 – Amazon Digital Services

About:  (Goodreads synopsis) Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.
Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers—one of whom she’d recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl’s harsh life and tragic death affect Lei deeply. She becomes obsessed—even as the killer is drawn to Lei’s intensity, feeding off her vulnerabilities and toying with her sanity.
Despite her obsession with the case and fear that she’s being stalked, Lei finds herself falling in love for the first time. Steaming volcanoes, black sand beaches and shrouded fern forests are the backdrop to Lei’s quest for answers—and the stalker is closer than she can imagine, as threads of the past tangle in her future. Lei is determined to find the killer—but he knows where to find her first.

My take:  Blood Orchids is definitely outside my reading comfort zone but I’m glad I gave it a try.  Lei Texeira is a deeply wounded character. She’s also very brave.  She survived a horrible childhood but never truly worked through her issues which has resulted in her being a bit of a loner. She avoids romantic relationships. Her abuser called her DG (for damaged goods) and that’s what she’s carried with her since that time. Lei relies on coping mechanisms to get through the times when her past comes to the forefront. Thankfully she has a great friend in her Rottweiler Keiki who offers her security and unconditional devotion.

When the case she’s working on shows possible similarities to what happened to her she vows to find the murderer and bring him to justice. Detective Michael Stevens is just as determined to solve the case as Lei. In addition, they are attracted to each other. She knows a relationship would be doomed so she tries to discourage him. He had a tough childhood as well and is determined to show Lei he’s willing to wait until she’s ready. Together they work on finding the murderer.

I loved the pace of the story. I found myself looking forward to picking the book up each day which is saying a lot since the book involves gruesome crimes. Neal is a native Hawaiian as well as a mental health therapist which came through in the novel. At one point Lei is ordered by her chief to attend counseling sessions. That is when she begins to address her childhood abuse. I liked the understated and compassionate therapist and wonder if she’ll appear in future books.

While not completely surprised by the identity of the murderer (there were a few possibilities) I was absorbed in the novel right through to the exciting conclusion. I recommend Blood Orchids and look forward to the next book in the series.

Source:  BookSparks PR.

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

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Raised on the island of Kauai, Neal uses her native knowledge and first-hand experience as a therapist to create realistic settings and experiences, complex characters and an all around chilling crime thriller.

For information about Toby Neal and Blood Orchids, visit Neal’s website.

You can also connect with her on Facebook and  Twitter .