Book Reviews

Blog Tour: Without Merit (Colleen Hoover) @colleenhoover @AtriaBooks

WITHOUT MERIT blog tour banner_final1

Welcome to my stop on the Without Merit blog tour! I am so excited to be participating in my first blog tour today for an amazing author that I adore so much. I fell in love with her writing when I first read Confess. I have been under Colleen Hoover’s spell ever since!

So let’s start off with the synopsis of her new novel!



The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Poignant and powerful, WITHOUT MERIT explores the layers of lies that tie a family together and the power of love.

My Thoughts: 

After reading strictly crime thrilling novels for a whole year, this was such a REFRESHING read that I needed. I have been a Colleen Hoover fan for last 2 1/2 years. Her first novel I read was Confess. Upon reading that book, she put me under her spell. I spent the next several days, weeks, and months binge reading all of her novels she had published back then. Along the way I have purchased every physical copy and have my own shelf dedicated to her.

I was so excited to read Without Merit when I found out she wrote a new novel. But I was not as excited as when I finished it. This book guys and ladies is hands down my most favorite one she has written. I have never felt so many emotions in any other books than a Colleen Hoover book and this book hit all my feels. I laughed, I became angry, I sympathized, I cried, and I was thankful. This will be a book I will recommend over and over again.

I do want to warn readers though, without giving anything away, you will read about depression, you will read about anxiety and you will read about attempted suicide. I personally have never had depression symptoms but I’ve definitely have had bursts of anxiety. This book does not come across as dark and dismal. This is a book about a family coming together when they learn that secrets and lack of communication are not the key to life. I loved the way the book referenced each of these mental health issues and how they handled it as a family. It broke my heart in so many good ways.

I know some of you may now be thinking that this is going to be a dark read that may put off readers. I’m here to tell you now that it’s not. Even though it touches on some dark issues, it is a light read that will have you falling in love with the Voss family.

Without Merit was a fast paced, captivating read and I encourage any Colleen Hoover fan to buy this book NOW! If you have not read a book by her yet, please choose this one to be your first. You will not regret it and if you do, well this will be a subject we disagree on! 🙂

It is so hard for me to sit here and talk about a novel that I am going to deem as my most favorite of 2017 and not talk about the characters and give away spoilers. This is a book I wished characters were real life because I would surround myself with these people to not only learn from them, but to learn how to love with them.

Well done Hoover. (5 Stars)

Thank you to Atria Publishing for providing me with this advanced readers copy, and thank you to Colleen Hoover for bringing out the ugly cry in me once again! It was an absolute joy to provide my honest thoughts on this novel. 

About the Author:


Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, Confess, November 9, and It Ends with Us. She has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance twice – for Confess in 2015 and It Ends with Us in 2016. Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Colleen and her family founded The Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service offering signed novels donated by authors. All profits are given to various charities each month to help those in need. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Please visit




Twitter: @ColleenHoover

Instagram: @ColleenHoover



Atria Books Paperback | 384 pages | ISBN: 9781501170621 | October 3, 2017 | $16.00

eBook: 384 pages | ISBN: 9781501170638 | $7.99




Barnes & Noble:








Now for the fun….the #WithoutMerit Contest!

Enter the Rafflecopter to win a limited edition signed hardcover copy of WITHOUT MERIT! (5 winners in total) Contest is open until October 30th!

Thanks for stopping by! I had an amazing time writing this review and I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did! Don’t forget to let me know how you enjoy this book when you read it!


Book Reviews

How I Lost You (Jenny Blackhurst) @JennyBlackhurst

Author: Jenny Blackhurst
Goodreads Rating: 
★★★★☆ (3.89)
October 10, 2017 | Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don’t you? My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address, and a chance to rebuild my tattered life. This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he’s dead? If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

My Review (4 Stars):

This was a novel that had me on the edge of my seat asking for more!

Starting off this story we meet the main character Susan Webster whose name is now Emma Cartwright. She has been in a Psychiatric Institute for the past four years. Now she is out and has the chance to start over. She has done a great job so far. She’s made new friends, kept an old friend from the institute, Cassie, and is well on her way to living a new life. Until it all goes wrong, or maybe I should say right. Inside an envelope that has been dropped off on a Sunday there is a handsome picture of a 4 year old boy. On the back of that picture is the name of her son who she killed almost 3 years ago.

The first person Emma calls is Cassie. Cassie reassures her that this is just a nasty prank. Even though she has a new identity, if a person wanted to, they could figure out your past. People don’t like child killers, do they? There is completely no way possible that her son is still alive. Or is there?

One day, as Emma is sitting at home trying to convince herself that her son is not alive, a man comes to the door. His name is Nick and he knows exactly who she is and she knows exactly who he is. A reporter. Not feeling at all comfortable she slams the door in his face.

Emma starts experiencing the feeling of being watched. She has had her house trashed and she even came home to her cat murdered. Who could be tormenting her like this? Turning to her new found friend, Nick, and her dearest friend Cassie, they set out to find the perpetrator behind the tormenting. But more importantly to find out if Dylan is still alive.

Deep within these pages you see a woman go from confidently believing in the fact that she killed her child, to not knowing who she can trust, digging up her husbands past secrets and fighting for her life. Then to realize that she spent the last four years in a place she might not have deserved to be at.

I really enjoyed Emma/Susan’s character. Not having children of my own, I could still very easily put myself in her shoes. I mourned the loss of her eleven-month-old son. I was terrified with her as she was getting harassed and attacked. I even fell in love with her when it came to the characters of her past and her present. She was very easy to get long with it which is something that wins me over in a novel!

Throughout this novel, I always thought I had the answer. I always thought I had the characters figured out, only to be side-railed with another twist to remind me not to judge too soon. This book was absolutely clever and can easily be read in one sitting

This was a novel that had me on the edge of my seat asking for more! There were twists, there were turns and then there were shocking moments that had me saying “oh sh*t!” The characters are developed perfectly and are charming. But while you’re reading, I must warn you: trust at your own risk!

Thank you tremendously to Atria Books, NetGalley and Jenny Blackhurst for allowing me to read this novel for my honest review!




Book Reviews

The Breakdown (B.A. Paris) @BAParisAuthor

 Author: B.A. Paris
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.04)
Pages: 415
Published: July 18, 2017 | Harper Collins UK

Goodreads Synopsis:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust? It all started that night in the woods. Cass Anderson didn’t stop to help the woman in the car, and now she’s dead. Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she’s sure someone is watching her. Consumed by guilt, she’s also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.

My Thoughts (4 Stars)

Entering the book we meet one of few main characters, Cass Anderson, wife to Matthew and best friend to Rachel. She is a school teacher and after a party for the end of the year, to celebrate holiday, she decided to leave early to be home with her husband since having a migraine. On her way home she took a dark, twisty road that Matthew warned her not to take since it being nighttime and it’s severely storming. While on this road she sees a car pulled off to the side and her better instinct tells her to keep going, but somewhere deep down inside she knew the woman she just passed needed her help.

Not being able to tell if the woman needed help seeing she never got out of her car nor flashed her signals to Cass, Cass went home. The next morning when Cass wakes up she finds out that the woman she passed last night is dead. And she was her friend.

Being distraught, feeling like she helped kill her friend, Cass ends up becoming very paranoid. With the killer on the loose, she starts receiving phone calls with somebody on the other line yet they never say a word. Then the worst happens, Cass starts forgetting important things. What the alarm code is, how to work the microwave, not remembering placing orders, get-together’s, birthdays and dinner dates.

But just as she realizes she doesn’t know who she can trust, she gets diagnosed from a doctor with what her mother had before she died, early onset dementia. How can she even trust herself now?

After reading Paris’ first novel Behind Closed Doors I was very excited to hear that she was coming out with a second novel. While reading this book, I had the same likes and dislikes I did when reading her first novel.

There were parts of the story that I felt very bored with. These parts, I felt could have moved a little faster for my pace of reading but the story always knew how to keep me holding on.

I loved that Cass was the narrator of the story. I felt she did a great job at telling the story while having early on set dementia. You could feel the times the Alzheimer’s were really there but then you could tell when there was just a little bit more going on than forgetfulness. Cass, during the first part of the story made it very suspenseful. Being at a murder scene before it happened, keeping the secrets of being down that road to herself, getting creepy phone calls, it all had me on the edge of my seat. Then the middle of the book came and I couldn’t stand Cass. I was getting very fed up with her for how unrealistic she was being in certain situations. I wanted to scream at her myself but once the end of the book came, I could not in all my physical power, put it down.

I’ve been asked a lot when reading this book which was better: The Breakdown or Behind Closed Doors. I REALLY enjoyed both books. Behind Closed Doors started out very slow for me. To the point where I almost put it down but the ending was incredible! The Breakdown, as I said above started strong, got a little weak in the middle and ended with an incredible bang! In my personal opinion, more was happening for me in The Breakdown to stay engaged and I would say that I liked The Breakdown just a little bit more than Behind Closed Doors.

You can click here for my review of Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris.

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Book Reviews

Here and Gone (Haylen Beck) @HaylenBeck @CrownPublishing

Author: Haylen Beck
Goodreads Rating:
★★★★☆ (4.03)
June 20, 2017 | Crown Publishing

Goodreads Synopsis:

Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities. It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them … Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

My Thoughts (5 Stars)

What a jaw-dropping, rollercoaster ride!

I started this book back at the beginning of the month, thinking that I could read two books at once but for the second time, I realized that I am a one book kind of girl. So back when I started this book I had read about four chapters and in that short amount of time, I was hooked.

Picking it up again two weeks later, the novel only intensified. This book was a perfectly well written novel about a mother who will stop at nothing to save her children.

Opening up the novel we meet one of a couple main characters, Audra, mother of Sean and Louise. Audra is a wife who is scared for not only her well being but also her children’s and when she gets pulled over on the highway, she knows something bad is about to happen. The fear of running from New York, running from her husband and running from social services is nothing compared to what she is about to endure when Officer Whiteside pulls her over.

The car is over packed, Audra and the kids are hot and tired so the officer so kindly helps them lighten the load of the trunk until a mysterious substance is found inside and Audra is arrested. After Whiteside calls it in, Officer Collins comes to help and takes the children somewhere safe while Audra is read her rights. But what Audra doesn’t know is that these two officers planned on kidnapping her kids before she was even pulled off onto the side of the road.

Amidst the backlash from the police, FBI and reporters Audra is stuck in a world who wants her head on a silver platter. Watching the news from a local bar is a man who feels connected to Audra, who feels her pain, who has seen this same situation. Danny knows how she feels because it happened to him. He has a violent past and an eye for an eye future. His brain books a flight to Arizona before his body can even process what he is doing. He has to help. He has to know who took his six year old little girl.

This story is chilling, intense and electrifying. It is a page turner that you won’t want to set down. There were times in this book that I actually had to stop reading because I would get so upset and angry.

One thing I really enjoyed about Beck’s writing style is the way he broke up the chapters between different points of view. Between Audra’s, the officers, Sean’s and Danny’s you get a look into the different emotions and perspectives that makes this novel so frightfully amazing.

I want to talk a little bit about a certain character. Sean. Audra’s eldest child. He was so resilient in this novel. The way he steps up from a boy to a man to not only protect his sister but also to take care of her in times of need. He stopped at nothing when it came to finding an escape and his will to survive was astounding. He was easily my favorite character inside the story.

One thing that I wish would have got touched on a little more was Danny’s character at the end of the novel. Something HUGE goes down and it’s left wide open. For the sake of not giving away any spoilers I will leave it at that and once you read it you can let me know what you think may or may not have happened!

I completely enjoyed this thrill ride and will be a book I recommend to others!

Thank you NetGalley, Crown Publishing and Haylen Beck for the opportunity to read Here and Gone for my honest review!


Book Reviews

The Snowman (Jo Nesbø)

Author: Jo Nesbø
Goodreads Rating:
★★★★☆ (4.04)
April 17, 2012

Goodreads Synopsis:

One night, after the first snowfall of the year, a boy named Jonas wakes up and discovers that his mother has disappeared. Only one trace of her remains: a pink scarf, his Christmas gift to her, now worn by the snowman that inexplicably appeared in their yard earlier that day. Inspector Harry Hole suspects a link between the missing woman and a suspicious letter he’s received. The case deepens when a pattern emerges: over the past decade, eleven women have vanished – all on the day of the first snow. But this is a killer who makes his own rules… and he’ll break his pattern just to keep the game interesting, as he draws Harry ever closer into his twisted web.

My Review (4 Stars)

Round of applause to Jo Nesbø for now opening up the creepiness to innocent snowmen! I read The Snowman as a buddy read with my book bestie Megan over at Coffee by the Novel! I was first suggested to read this book by Abby from Crime by the Book. I simply approached her after realizing how many books the Harry Hole series had and asked if you had to read all the books in order or if they could be read as stand alones. Surprisingly enough she told me to start here. From there I suggested the book to Megan as she was out shopping in the bookstore and the rest is history! Boy do I love this book community!

Anyway, back to The Snowman. This book did not disappoint. There were some parts that were harder for me to get into. My hardest part was coming to terms with the pronunciation of some of the Scandinavian names but I quickly made nicknames for them. One thing Megan and I both had to do was write down notes for each character for we would get slightly confused between characters if we did not.

I will not be providing spoilers, so no need to worry on that front. I just have to say though that this being the first Nesbø book I have read, he really knows how to keep the writing creepy on all accounts. I am one obviously that loves the crime/thriller/mystery genre and the occasional scary movies “at night” but I found myself in a couple spots where I put the book down because it startled me. It honestly gave me the heebie geebies.

I had a lot of fun with this book as well. Investigations always intrigue me and if you could take tours and sit in on an investigation, I would definitely be the first to sign up. With that being said, I really enjoyed Hole’s character. He’s never very funny or charming but he is definitely a badass. Nesbø created a reading atmosphere (for me) of cat and mouse. The minute I thought The Snowman was a certain character he flipped the script and I was left guessing all over again.

This novel kept me on the edge of my seat, it was like I said before very creepy and it had me reading aloud to people I live with to share it’s intensity! Trying to find a motive behind the killings and the killer was very suspenseful. Nesbø provided the right amount of twists and turns to keep you guessing. This winter when I see a snowman, I will definitely be on guard.

Megan’s (Coffee by the Novel) Thoughts:

“Jo Nesbø sure knows how to build suspense and mislead the reader (several times I might add). I actually went through a few suspects and scenarios in my head before I started to put the pieces together that Nesbø so easily laid out for me. Oddly enough, what creeped me out the most about this book was the thought of a snowman in a dark forest or staring at me through the window, not the serial killer on the prowl. Who would have thought that something as innocent as a snowman could be so terrifying? Overall, I really enjoyed my first Jo Nesbø and would definitely read another book in the Harry Hole series!” Rated: 4 stars.

Head on over to her to her blog later today to see her review of Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman!


Book Reviews

I See You (Clare Mackintosh) @claremackint0sh @bookouture

Author: Clare Mackintosh
Goodreads Rating:
★★★★☆ (3.90)
February 21, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis

You do the same thing every day. You know exactly where you’re going. You’re not alone. When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that. Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make?

My Review (5 Stars)

Shut the front door. That ending had me dropping my kindle! A toast to you Mackintosh for the most clever ending I have yet to read!!

This book is the second book written by Clare Mackintosh following I Let You GO. I Let You Go was a great read with a second novel that tops it! Mind you, you do NOT have to read these books in order. You will not be confused by any characters or plots in the story if read backwards. Click here for my review on I Let You Go.

I See You was one of the first books I requested on NetGalley and got approved for it by Bookouture. I am not proud to say it has taken me this long to read it. But to my defense I thought you had to read the books in order. Silly me. Any who, I am most mad because this book lived up to it’s reputation. The whole time reading this novel, I had friends telling me that it’s one of their favorite books, the best psychological thriller … well now I know why!

Opening up to the book, we meet the main character Zoe Walker. She has two children Justin and Katie along with a new boyfriend Simon. Her and her ex-husband, Matt, are still good friends and have a long line of history. In the opening chapters Zoe is reading the London newspaper and sees her picture in an advertisement for a dating website. Not just any dating website either, Hard to believe, she takes it to her family and asks them what their thoughts are. No one believes it’s really her until more women are added to the advertisements every day and they start being attacked. Scared to find the truth, Zoe sets out to find the perpetrator since the police, to her, are not doing everything in their power.

When police officer Kelly Swift cracks the password to get onto the website, it is more shocking than they expected. To be a member you chose a membership and within that you can download women’s commutes. Not just their commutes but their every day routine, what they look like and what they constantly wear.

I wholeheartedly wish that I could just spill the beans on what happens in this book. I have already talked to three different people because I was so mind blown by the ending. But I’m going to spare you all the spoilers and tell you to go read this book right NOW!!

Each chapter is broken down into three different points of view. The first is Zoe Walker, the second is police officer Kelly Swift and the third is antagonist who is behind the website. The way Mackintosh had these chapters set up in the order they are had me on the edge of my seat, making me want to read faster.

The concept of this whole book completely creeped me out. Reading along, I could actually see this happening in real life. It takes stalking to a whole new level. Stalking a human being to be able to sell their routine to men so they could “by chance” bump into them to see if they could spark a relationship. I think not! I definitely vowed to myself last night that I will never make a constant schedule to where nothing changes. The fear that was instilled in me after this book is completely unreal. Amazing job to Clare Mackintosh on this frightening thriller! Hands down one of my top 5 favorite reads and is highly recommended!

Thank you to Bookouture, NetGalley and Clare Mackintosh for allowing me to read I See You for an honest review!




Book Reviews

The Darkest Lies (Barbara Copperthwaite) @Bookouture @BCopperthwait

Author: Barbara Copperthwaite
Goodreads Rating:
★★★★☆ (4.01)
Published: May 12, 2017
Publisher: Bookouture

Goodreads Synopsis:

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret. Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village. Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home. Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker.

Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk? As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenage has been harboring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger …

My Review (4 Stars)

When I finished The Darkest Lies late last night, it took me about 10 minutes to decide if I wanted to rate this book 3.5 stars or 4 stars. I know on Goodreads you can’t really do half a star but that’s not why I chose to pick 4 stars. I chose 4 stars because not only was this book a very well written psychological thriller, it also made me cry and hit me in all the feels.

I want to start from the beginning though. Meeting the main character Melanie Oak. A mother to a 13, soon to be 14 year-old daughter, Beth, and a loving wife to her husband, Jacob. Oh and you can’t forget their beautiful dog Wiggins. They are, like the synopsis said a beautiful family. The perfect family. They love each other unconditionally, they take silly pictures together, they make dinner together, they have girl nights together where they pamper each other. Yes even Jacob participates in these girl nights.

But one night, their world is turned upside down when Melanie walks her daughter to her best friends house and ends up letting her walk the last few feet to the house. What Melanie didn’t realize was that the second she turned her back on her daughter and walked back home that Beth would disappear into the night and be found brutally beaten the next morning.

Then you meet another main character named Glenn. He used to live in Fenmere but moved and recently came back to reside. He through this whole story rubbed me the wrong way. Ever since I met him. He seemed sketchy, and to me very annoying. When he and Melanie reconnected, he learned all about the case and been her go to guy. Everyone else in town couldn’t even look her in the eye when it came to the subject. She learned she couldn’t talk to Jacob without him really listening to her so she chose to confide in Glenn. They decided on solving the case together and bounced different ideas when it came to her daughter. He used Melanie and constantly pushed her into being a drunk and more a less a laughing stock of town while she desperately was trying to figure out what happened to her daughter.

Something else that bothered me was Melanie’s outbursts. After Glenn got in her head to solve the case on her own she was racing all over town trying to convict someone. It didn’t even matter if they were life long friends of hers. In my eyes it was very distasteful and psychotic. I wouldn’t have the first clue about what she was going through but I know that I would trust in the police force enough to solve a crime and know that any information I had, I would hand over. Not just go on some wild goose chase.

I loved Jacob’s character. What a loving and supporting father and husband. Even though he gets caught doing something that he shouldn’t have, I have so much respect for him in his time of disaster and even after the crime is solved. His character hit me hard and definitely had me shedding a few tears.

Another thing I really loved was the setting for this story. The book opens with an unnerving description that draws you in perfectly to a beautifully and isolated area of marshes that are both home to the Oaks and where they find death.

The other characters in this story were perfectly written. They were the type of villagers who stuck closely together, while knowing so much information about what happened to Beth but yet no one ever steps forward. They are frustrating, yet caring. The one thing that trumps all is the fact that everyone has a secret they don’t want the town to find out about.

This book is filled with many chapters. 106 to be exact without counting the prologue and epilogue. They are short chapters but hold clues to help you solve not one but two crimes that should not have been committed in the first place.

Thank you to Bookouture, NetGalley and Barbara Copperthwaite for letting me read The Darkest Lies for an honest review.