#BookReview: Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

just between usAbout the Book

Four suburban mothers conspire to cover up a deadly crime in Just Between Us, a heart-stopping novel of suspense by Rebecca Drake.

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

My Review

Friendship fiction with a suspenseful twist – yes please! From the moment I started reading Just Between Us I knew I was going to have a hard time putting this down. Four friends, four suburban mothers. Playdates, shopping, coffee chats. Standard. Until Alison, Julie and Sarah start to become concerned their friend Heather is being abused by her husband. What transpires from there is a murder and chilling mystery. I don’t want to give too much away in this review, because there are plenty of shocking twists and turns, and just when I thought I figured it all out – a new twist was ready to jump out at me. If you love suspenseful thrillers and want to escape to a twisted reality, I highly recommend this one. I spent two days completely wrapped up in this novel and look forward to reading more from Rebecca Drake.

5 stars

#BookReview: Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods

beautiful messy loveAbout the Book

‘Not since Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi has an Australian author presented the cross-cultural challenges of new Australians quite so beautifully. Beautiful Messy Love is my pick for 2017 book of the year’ AusRom Today

When football star Nick Harding hobbles into the Black Salt Cafe the morning after the night before, he is served by Anna, a waitress with haunted-looking eyes and no interest in footballers, famous or otherwise. Nick is instantly drawn to this exotic, intelligent girl. But a relationship between them risks shame for her conservative refugee family and backlash for Nick that could ruin his career.

Meanwhile, Nick’s sister, Lily, is struggling to finish her medical degree. When she meets Toby, it seems that for the first time she is following her heart, not the expectations of others. Yet what starts out as a passionate affair with a man still grieving after his wife’s death slips quickly into dangerous dependency.

Scarred by tragedy each in their own way, these warm, hopeful couples must overcome prejudice and heartbreak to prove just how much they will give for beautiful messy love.

A gorgeous, hard-hitting novel that touches on celebrity, asylum, cultural integration and family tragedy, this is a book with heart and soul.

My Review

Tess Woods writes magic. Her debut, Love at First Flight, had me feeling all kinds of ways, and recommending it wherever I could. Beautiful Messy Love is no different. I was a bit worried because I started this book with really high expectations, and wondered if I set the bar too high for Tess. But I quickly realized there was no need for that fear. I started reading this book on a Friday night, and Sunday morning flipped the final page. It is an intense story with such emotional connections between not the only characters, but also the reader to the characters. It is a longer book, but I never felt that it was stretched on unnecessarily, or any scene didn’t move the story in some way. I love that Tess was able to jump months at a time so seamlessly throughout the book, without feeling the need to overdo the gaps, and continued to get straight to the point.  One of my favorite books of 2017, and one I highly recommend you add to your reading list.

5 stars

#BookReview: The Boyfriend Swap by Meredith Schorr

the boyfriend swapAbout the Book

If you love Christmas movies, as in you check the Hallmark Channel guide starting in July, then hang on to your stockings, because here comes the merriest of indulgences in print. It’s “The Proposal” meets “The Holiday”.

First meet Robyn Lane. She’s always dated struggling creative types, including her current squeeze (Perry, an actor). For this year’s Chrismukkah celebration, her parents would love her to bring someone stable, reliable, steadily employed. You know, with health insurance and a 401(k).

Now let’s meet Sidney Bellows. Her parents already plan her professional life (she’s an attorney at her father’s law firm). If she brings her current boyfriend (Will, an attorney) to the family Christmas extravaganza, her parents will have their wedding planned by New Year’s Eve.

Leave it to a mutual friend (and copious amounts of wine) to find a playful solution: Swap those boyfriends, fool the parents, and enjoy the holidays. It’s perfect! Robyn can show off a successful attorney boyfriend, and Sidney’s high-society family won’t ring those wedding bells when they meet a flaky actor beau.

The fun isn’t in the theory, it’s in the practice.

Will turns out to be the boy-next-door Robyn crushed on hard throughout her teenage years. Sidney’s family fawns all over Perry like he’s an Oscar-winner rather than a D-list wannabe.

Fool the parents? Enjoy the holidays? Swapping boyfriends never sounded so good or went so bad. Take time to read this one. It’s like Christmas in July.

My Review

Meredith Schorr is one of my favorite chick lit authors, and I was excited to see what The Boyfriend Swap had in store for me. That answer is a lot of laughs, a fast moving story line, and a terrifically fun ending. Even though the main plot point might be a bit of stretch – you know, boyfriend swapping – it still read very relatable and I give major props to the author for that. Each character was interesting to get to know, even the supporting cast, and if you haven’t read anything from Meredith Schorr, I highly suggest you do!

5 stars