the time in between, by kristen ashley

The Time in Between is classic KA. It’s reminiscent of books like Motorcycle Man and Sweet Dreams where the reader forms a life-like bond with the characters. Ashley’s ability to form a strong emotional connection with the fictional worlds that she builds is like no other author. I could not put this book down. As the 3rd and final installment in the Magdalene series, it did not disappoint.

Spanning the course of roughly 2 decades, The Time in Between chronicles the story of Coert and Cady. Young, misunderstood, and unappreciated by her family, Cady falls in with a tough crowd. And while they are by no means on the up and up, they embrace Cady and look out for her.

When Coert enters the picture, then known as Tony, he starts to run with the same crew. And while they too embrace him, it’s for a very different reason. Whereas Cady is looking for a replacement family, Coert/Tony is looking to rise up within the criminal enterprise that’s being built. What they find in each other is love and acceptance.

But the consequences of both Coert/Tony and Cady’s actions ultimately tear them apart–for 18 years. Told in alternating present day and year’s past voices, Ashley explores what happens when young love turns deadly and if it can truly stand the test of time after years of being apart.

Whether this is your 1st or 31st KA book, it will only leave you wanting more. Though this series is complete–and this book can be read as a stand alone–there’s plenty of KA goodness out there. Heart-wrenching throughout, I have nothing but good things to say about The Time in Between.

sting, by sandra brown

Sandra Brown was the first to autograph my edible bookmark poster my first year at RT Booklovers. I was a fan long before I met her and was in awe at how gracious and kind she was. I mean, it’s Sandra Brown–best selling author, forever. A master at romance and suspense combined, she weaves a tale with twists that keep you intrigued page after page.

In the case of Sting, I just knew there was something off about the protagonist. Shaw Kinnard, a hit man, hired to kill the sister of a genius money launderer and scammer, he seemed principled. What contract killer who accepts a job to off a woman feels remorse when he realizes that his flexicuffs are leaving scars on her wrists?

Jordan (Jordie) had spent her life ‘protecting’ her little brother from the choices he’d made. Out of a sense of misplaced guilt for a childhood accident, the consequences she suffered for her misguided love were grave, to say the least. When the mobster her brother has gotten into bed with decides that taking her out is the best way to gain revenge on her rat brother, she once again can’t completely turn her back on him–even if it may cost her, her life.

One of the things that I always grapple with in any book is character connection. I need to like someone in a book–anyone. And in this one, I struggled early on. There was little to like about the hitman, the kidnapped, and certainly not the weasel brother. The FBI agents on the case had promise, but it wasn’t enough out of the gate and so it took me longer to finish this book than usual.

However, Brown’s storytelling kept me intrigued enough to want to know what happened to everyone. And the slow underlying sizzle she built between Jordie and Shaw had me wondering if Stockholm Syndrome was surely to blame for the stolen kisses and pulsing heart rates.

I liked where the story landed and the unexpected paths it took to get there. The characters grew on me and the plot was solid. Unfortunately, it was a little slow in character development. It seemed you were plunged into a world with a bunch of people you had cursory knowledge of and no build up to make you care about them. They fell flat and it wasn’t until halfway through the book that you actually cared anything for any of them.

That short-coming aside, Sting was a well-written “somewhat romantic” suspense novel that keeps you wondering until the last page. You definitely don’t see the ending coming–at least I didn’t. It was worth pushing through the first half to get where it was going.

end of summer reads

I know, technically Labor Day has come and gone and kids are back in school. But, if you know me personally or follow me on social media then you already know that the edible bookmark (i.e. that’s me) is on vacation. It’s my family’s annual trip to Hawaii that always happens after everyone else is back to their routines and business as usual, though we’re here a little early this year. Never the less, I’m finally settling in and starting to relax. Would you believe the first 2 days I actually had to do work?!?! But enough of that nonsense–on to fun!

Because the plane ride is so long (roughly 10.5+ hours) I usually read  book on the flight over, one on the return, and several throughout the 2-week stay. However, I chose to sleep and watch movies on the way over–Fate of the Furious and John Wick, Chapter 2–what can I say, I like action movies. But I digress…

I’m currently 8 books behind in the Goodreads reading challenge–EIGHT BOOKS BEHIND. It’s freaking me out. So my reading schedule this vacation is quite aggressive. Will it all come together? I don’t know. But in an effort to catch up and make it happen this post will be short. Well, that and…I’m on vacation!

These are the books that will transport my mind now that my body is in paradise. Of course, I’ll keep you posted on how I do. Aloha!

My Hawaii TBR (to be read) Pile:

 

 

 

 

shopping for a ceo’s wife, by julia kent

“…you make me see a world that isn’t there for anyone else.”–Andrew McCormick, Anterdec CEO

This is one of those quotes that makes you swoon. The words were uttered by the hero of Shopping for a CEO’s Wife, to his fiancée, and employee, Amanda. The 12th book in the “Shopping for a Billionaire” series, Andrew is the epitome of the perfect life partner.

Young, rich, powerful, viral, handsome and with a good sense of humor to boot–what’s not to like? Essentially, nothing. Somehow, his perfection wasn’t annoying–so perhaps there was a flaw or two here and there.

Amanda, who has less depth than her soon-to-be-spouse, is young, attractive, and surrounded by a colorful cast of characters (and what a cast it is). There are so many secondary players from the previous books–which I myself have not read–that it was hard to keep everyone straight. However, they are an entertaining bunch, much like the heroine, and help bring depth to what is otherwise a book missing a plot.

The majority of the story focuses on the antics surrounding the wedding planning and the attention, unwanted by Andrew and Amanda, that Andrew’s father James, is orchestrating. Because wedding publicity leads to Anterdec publicity, which is good publicity. Not too far off from today’s reality tv premise.

I found the last 50 pages of the book to be the most engaging. It’s then that we see true conflict when Amanda stands up for her mother and herself, and expresses a feeling of loneliness even though she’s surrounded by people and love. You find yourself drawn in and wanting to know how it all ends. Throughout, however, there is little to grab on to in terms of storyline and Amanda’s ongoing preoccupation with Andrew’s wealth starts to come across as disingenuous. How many times can one be startled about having a $20k monthly allotment when your fiancée is a multi-millionaire and CEO?

If you’re looking for a light-hearted read where the bedroom scenes aren’t very risqué, then this the book for you. The characters are likable, the subject matter isn’t intense, and some of the more comical scenes, while over the top, are fun. I do think it would be of great benefit to read the first 11 books in the series. While that sounds like a commitment, and it is, with this one just over 200 pages in the digital version, I don’t think catching up will take too long.

“All of my fantasies are coming true every day I spend with you. Every damn one.”–Andrew McCormick, Anterdec CEO

Suffice to say, Andrew had some good one-liners.

sexsomnia–sleepless in manhattan, by anya omah

Sexsomnia, or sleep sex, is a condition in which a person will engage in sexual activities while asleep. I had no idea such a thing existed. Intrigued by the subject matter, I borrowed Sexsomnia–Sleepless in Manhattan on my Kindle.

To start, Abigail is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read in quite some time. She’s not a wide-eyed virgin who’s infatuated with the hero. Her initial actions might give you pause, but her dialogue, particularly in the beginning, is demonstrative of genuine reactionary retorts. Absent are the one-liners that have you thinking, “no man would do that and no woman would ever say that.” In their place are the heroine actually rolling her eyes and calling out the hero in what would surely be multiple sexual harassment suits in the face of his over-the-top-behavior.

Jayden, on the other hand, is the typical over protective, arrogant, alpha billionaire that we’ve read before. CEO of the Four Kings Group, a hotel empire, he has a dark secret, rift in his family, owns a club… There’s always a club. The hero always owns it and comps the heroine for everything on the night she’s there and doesn’t know that he is. A fight breaks out and he saves the day. That can’t be considered a spoiler since that same scene appears in most billionaire romance novels. Do people still go to clubs? Is that even a lucrative investment for the rich in this day and age? I digress.

Make no mistake, club scene aside, this was a throughly enjoyable read. Abigail has been diagnosed with sexsomnia and she’s desperate to gain a better understanding of the condition in the hopes  of leading a normal life. While employed as Jay’s assistant, their relationship evolves into more than that of employer/employee and the cloud that hovers over both of their pasts begins to dissipate as they learn to trust one another. But while the past ceases to haunt them, it’s the secrets of the present that threaten to tear the lovers apart.

There is strong subject matter, outside of the sleep condition, but the writer, Omah, handles the situations respectfully and without being overly sensationalistic. A German author, this is Omah’s first book written in English. While there are a few grammatical inconsistencies, they aren’t enough to derail the complexity of emotions and plot that make this book such a good read. By mid-book, the author has you asking yourself, “What would I do in this situation?”

I finished the book in one day and after you’re drawn in, I think you’ll find it hard to put down as well.

Edible Bookmark Request: I have absolutely no idea how to use my Kindle Paperwhite and I find the reading experience on my iPad Mini far more enjoyable. If anyone has pointers on how to get more use out of my Paperwhite, please reach out either in the comments or my contact form–I’m stumped!