Review: Chloe Liese’s She’s a Spitfire

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Happy publication day to Chloe Liese’s She’s a Spitfire, the sequel to her debut novel, He’s a Brute. I am so very fortunate to have been sent an ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Chloe Liese!

She’s a Spitfire is the second book in the Tough Love series. She’s a Spitfire continues the story of Zed and Nairne. Zed and Nairne’s love for one another is strong, and they are both ready and willing to fight for their future – together. But their future together is getting more distant by the day with a present life Zed can’t escape from and a past life Nairne keeps running from.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy steamy romance novels (18+ sexual content – dom/sub)
  • you need a little thrill/suspense in your romance i.e., the mafia
  • you love well rounded, inclusive, strong female characters

You might not like this book if:

  • you dislike suspense/danger in your romance
  • you dislike mafia romance
  • you prefer to read standalones as opposed to series

Alright so to get us all up to speed – you can read my review on the first book in the series here. Now that we’re all on the same page…everything I loved about He’s a Brute stays true for this sequel. I still loved the romance and the steam between our main characters. Chloe Liese definitely knows how to deliver a strong romance.

While I loved the characterization of Nairne in He’s a Brute, it was even better in She’s a Spitfire. Nairne is the definition of a strong, independent woman. She literately is “a spitfire.” There is no damsel in distress here. Nairne doesn’t back down from any challenge that’s thrown her way. She’s intelligent and she’s not waiting for a man to save her. She’s willing to save herself and those around her. I just love this strong, female character.

So if you go back and read my review for He’s a Brute, my one complaint was that I wanted to see more mafia romance. Well She’s a Spitfire met this demand and then some. From the very first chapter, I was completely drawn in. This series is my first time reading a mafia romance, and I found that I loved it. Any time my romance has a bit of suspense/danger, I am totally sold.

I loved being able to read and see more from our secondary characters. I love reading about Elodie and Lucas, and I think I detected a slight flirtation between them? I’m kind of hoping the next book explores this.

Also, Chloe Liese publishes playlists for her books. I love listening to them and reading along with the story. It literately makes it feel like a movie is playing in my head. If you enjoy music while you read, I definitely recommend this. Or even if you listen to the playlist after reading, I think it’s a really fun experience to hear the different vibes of the books. You can find both playlists here.

Lastly, I need to talk about the ending…let’s just say I was holding my breath for the last 10% of the book. This book delivered serious steam and was very suspenseful. Then, just when I thought I was in the clear, I read the last chapter. I am so happy that I don’t have to wait long to read book three, because I can’t wait to read the rest of Zed and Nairne’s story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this new adult romance. If y’all check it out, please let me know what you think! She’s a Spitfire gets a 5/5 from me.

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 4.9
My Overall Rating: 5/5
Steam: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Friendship: 4/5
Suspense: 4/5

Get More Info: visit Chloe Liese’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; find He’s a Brute on Amazon; find She’s a Spitfire, now

She’s a Spitfire is new adult romance, and it was published on June 24, 2019. It’s available to purchase here.

About the Author: Chloe writes stories that, like people, resist categories. Her contemporary romances are hot, witty, full of heart and keep you on the edge of your seat. She’s an avid reader, Harry Potter lover, and eats more peanut butter cups than she probably should.

Review: Lynn Weingarten’s Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls

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When I found Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls on Book Depository, I immediately added it to my cart. I had seen this book floating around Goodreads and Bookstagram before, so I was excited to add this to my backlist books this year.

TW: mentions of suicide, drug use, abortion, sexual assault, and rape

Synopsis
June’s best friend is dead. The official report says that Delia committed suicide by burning herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. June and Delia used to be best friends – the kind that did everything together and knew everything about one another. The two were inseparable, until they weren’t. This is why June doesn’t believe Delia committed suicide. She believes Delia was murdered. Now all she needs to do is prove it.

Spoiler Free Review
I’m going to be upfront and say that I gave this book a 2/5. I honestly did not really enjoy it. With that being said, there was still some things that I did like about Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls. For starters, I love the title. It’s very catchy, and it immediately drew my attention. I also loved the book cover. Honestly, everything about the outward appearance made me so excited to begin reading.

I also enjoyed the first chapter or two of the book. The premise drew me in, and it seemed like everyone could have been guilty right off the bat. Plus, I was quickly turning the pages to see the reason behind June and Delia’s falling out. All of this was great. The book had a strong start, but then it lost me.

My first (small) issue is with June’s narration. There is something about reading through her POV that is so troubling. Her voice sounds dead and detached (and not in a good way). Further, she sounds like this before she realizes her best friend is dead. From the very beginning she just sounds alone, detached, and lifeless. It did not seem purposeful and just felt off putting.

My largest issue with this book is the plot itself. Honestly, it felt all over the place. The plot goes from cheating to suicide to murder to rape to sexual abuse to abortion to drug use and it just keeps going. There were a lot of twists and turns, but not in a good way. It more so felt like the author was just throwing elements in there for the sake of having them.

By the time I got to the end of the book, I still had no idea what was going on, really. There were so many questions left unanswered. So many issues left unresolved. Then, naturally, the ending is open-ended; it allows the reader the ability to interpret the ending. I did not like this. When I’m reading a thriller, especially a whodunit, I want to know whodunit. I don’t want to read an entire thriller and still be just as confused on the last page as I was on the first. You have no idea if any of Delia’s reasons/explanations were true or not. I also still didn’t understand the depth of the relationship between June and Delia. It seemed at times June was willing to go to the ends of the earth for Delia, and there was a depth of desperation there. Yet, just a while before, June was completely fine with not being friends anymore, content to live her life with her boyfriend. It just didn’t make sense.

Overall, I give this a 2/5. It was not the thriller for me, and I don’t recommend it.

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 3.46/5
My Overall Rating: 2/5
Suspense: 3/5
Ending: 1/5
Characterization: 1/5

Get More Info: visit Lynn Weingarten; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls on Amazon

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls is young adult thriller, and it published on July 7, 2015. It is available to purchase here.

About the Author: Lynn Weingarten is a New York Times bestselling author and Creative Director living in Brooklyn. In the past, Lynn has been an editor at Alloy Entertainment and Working Partners, where she developed ideas for books (and edited them). She is currently Creative Director of Dovetail Fiction, a new YA packager and sister business to  Working Partners. She lives in Brooklyn.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Review: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera’s What If It’s Us

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Ok so I’ve been sitting on this review for a little while. I felt so conflicted upon finishing the book that I didn’t trust myself to write a honest review right off the bat. There was a lot that I liked here, but honestly there was a lot that I didn’t. I know the internet seemed to be really championing this book, as the authors are loved and the book features very inclusive characters, but unfortunately it didn’t really work for me.

Synopsis
Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office in New York, where Arthur is working for the summer. Arthur feels its a sign from the universe – he’s ready for his first big shot at romance. Ben doesn’t buy into the whole “the universe works in mysterious ways” – he thinks the way the universe works sucks. After all, the sucky universe is one of the reasons he is at the post office in the first place – to mail back his ex-boyfriend’s things. Arthur is determined to find the mysterious boy from their meet-cute, because he can’t help but thinking what if?

Will I like this?
You might enjoy this book if…

  • You enjoy YA romance that is sweet with little to no steam
  • You love books with inclusive characters of diverse backgrounds
  • You enjoy having your romance rooted in realism

You might not enjoy this book if…

  • You prefer a romance that is more new adult/adult
  • You prefer more mature characters
  • You prefer endings with a firm resolution

Spoiler Free Review
I want to start with what I liked. I loved the representation and inclusion in this book. This is a romance between Arthur, a Jewish boy who has ADHD and Ben whose Puerto Rican. It’s so important to write romance stories for everyone, and I love this book for its inclusivity. Also, it’s obviously a M/M romance, which is awesome! For this reason alone I wanted to absolutely love this book, but unfortunately,  it just missed the mark in other ways for me.

I also loved how this book wasn’t afraid to tackle big issues. We’re talking everything from homophobia to anxiety to privilege. This book also features a host of secondary characters with diverse experiences and backgrounds. Truly, this book’s diversity is its strongest aspect in my opinion.

I also enjoyed the fact that this book was just plain ol’ realistic. The romance between Ben and Arthur felt real. There was no fairy tale aspect. There were times when things felt awkward between them or when things just did not work out the way they wanted them to. I appreciated this. I even loved the realistic relationship mirroring between Ben & Arthur and the relationship we saw in Arthur’s parents. While there were some points that I felt the parent’s relationship was a bit toxic, they also showed that a loving relationship isn’t always perfect.

Onto what I didn’t love. I hated all the pop culture references, I’m just going to say it. While I appreciate a few Harry Potter references (because, c’mon, I love HP), this book seriously went overboard. There were so many. So, so many. They were in every chapter and even became plot points in the book. (Honestly, I found this to be an issue in other Becky Albertalli books that I’ve read.) This makes the book feel so immature and young to me. While I appreciate that this is YA, the references just brought it down a level. Also, I feel like this dates the book. When people are reading this ten years from now, all the references can be isolating to a reader who wasn’t there to appreciate them. I’m down for a few, but this book overdid it.

Lastly, while I loved that the book was realistic, the romance honestly still felt forced and a bit off to me. It didn’t feel like a natural progression and it felt like both characters were trying to force their relationship to work because of all they went through to find each other again. It felt like a bit of “well after all that, we have to make this work!” Everyone was cheering them on and a fan of their relationship, so it felt like they were trying to hard to make it work because they felt like they should. I really wasn’t buying into it. As a book where the romance is such a huge focus, this is where it really brought it down for me. I think the book could still keep its realism, while injecting a bit more romance/friendship between the two. Sometimes  felt like they were making it so awkward for the sake of being like “this is real romance! sometimes its awkward!” that they went overboard and lost the heart of the romance.

Overall, I give this a 3/5. I enjoyed reading the book, but there were minor issues that kept me from really liking it or even loving it.

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 4.0
My Overall Rating: 3/5
Steam: 0/5
Romance: 2.5/5
Friendship: 4/5

Get More Info: visit Becky Albertalli’s website; visit Adam Silvera’s website; find What if It’s Us on Amazon.

What if It’s Us is a young adult contemporary collaboration between Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. Becky Albertalli is author of the wildly popular Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Adam Silvera is author of the deeply emotional book They Both Die at the End. What if It’s Us released on October 9, 2018. It’s available to purchase now.

About the Authors: Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, D.C. She now lives with her family outside of Atlanta. She is an American author of young adult fiction, best known for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was adapted into the 2018 film Love, Simon.

Adam Silvera is the New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the EndMore Happy Than NotHistory Is All You Left Me, and What If It’s Us with Becky Albertalli. All his novels have received multiple starred reviews. He worked in the publishing industry as a children’s bookseller, community manager at a content development company, and book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. He was born and raised in New York. He lives in Los Angeles and is tall for no reason.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Review: Tessa Bailey’s Fix Her Up

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First, I want to say thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy of Fix Her Up in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, thank you!!

Synopsis
Fix Her Up follows Georgie Castle and Travis Ford. Georgie is tired of her family treating her like the baby of the family – as if her existence is just one big joke. She’s determined to take control of her life – starting with a new wardrobe and hopefully ending with a new framework for her business. Travis Ford is struggling to find his footing after an injury ended his major league baseball career. He is biding his time flipping houses until he decides what his next move is. Georgie cooks up a plan that she think will benefit both her and Travis that forces them both to reconsider what is real and what’s not. Did I mention Travis is Georgie’s brother’s best friend and her life-long crush?

Will I like this?
You might enjoy this book if…

  • You enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope
  • You are interested in romance books with steamy scenes
  • You like books with strong secondary characters/women empowering women

You might not enjoy this book if…

  • You do not enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope
  • You prefer fade-to-black romance

Spoiler Free Review
This is not my first Tessa Bailey novel, but it’s definitely my favorite. Fix Her Up had everything I love about new adult contemporary. It had slow burn romance, uplifting women’s empowerment, individual character growth, well-developed side characters, a fake relationship trope, and a classic character makeover. I went into this one expecting to like it, but it surpassed any expectations. Fix Her Up is officially on my favorites list.

I really enjoyed Fix Her Up. Bailey’s writing is of high quality and it made it easy to fly through the story. I loved both lead characters for their romance with one another, but also for their individual growth. Fix Her Up is a novel where both main characters go through tremendous growth that you can’t help but cheer them on in the end. I really couldn’t put this one down – I was so invested in this world and these characters.

Also, the sexy scenes are pretty, um, sexy. I gotta give it up to Tessa Bailey, because she wrote an intense, passionate romance. Yet, the passion felt balanced out (in the best way) by the humor and lightness of the character’s banter. The opening scene when you first see Georgie and Travis interact – I was seriously laughing out loud. Tessa Bailey describes it so richly that you can really see the scene play out in your head. Fix Her Up is rich with both humor and passion, my favorite combination.

Overall, I give this a 5/5. I’m so excited to see who the next book will be about! I’ll definitely be pre-ordering it whenever it’s out.

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 3.9
My Overall Rating: 5/5
Steam: 5/5
Romance: 4/5
Friendship: 5/5

Get More Info: Visit Tessa Bailey’s Website; connect with the author on Twitter; connect with the author on Instagram; find Fix Her Up on Amazon Fix Her Up is Tessa Bailey’s newest novel and is the first in her new series Hot and Hammered. It’s a new adult contemporary, and it releases on June 11, 2019. It’s available for pre-order now.

About the Author: Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eleven years and seven-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Staci Hart’s Well Suited

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Y’all I’m back with another romance book! I have to thank Staci Hart for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Well Suited is the final book in the Red Lipstick Coalition series, although each can be read as a standalone. Prior to reading Well Suited, I had only read Work in Progress, the third book in this series. I went into this expecting a lighthearted, funny, rom com…and Staci Hart delivered. There were a few qualms I had, but overall I did have a lot of fun reading this one, and will definitely check out the earlier two books in the series.

Well Suited is the story of Katherine and Theo, who meet through Amelia (one of Katherine’s best friends) and Tommy (Theo’s brother) when they all go out for a night of dancing. Surprisingly, Katherine and Theo hit it off and end up spending the night with each other. Afterward, Theo is determined to keep their connection, but Katherine is determined to leave it in the past. Until she finds out she’s pregnant. Theo is determined to show her that they are well-suited — to co-parent, to be friends, and to be together.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy romantic comedies
  • you are fan of the accidental pregnancy trope
  • you enjoy female protagonists that have a unique point of view with a strong voice

You might not like this book if:

  • you dislike the accidental pregnancy trope
  • you dislike books where a majority of the conflict comes from characters’ lack of communication

I want to start with what I liked about Well Suited. My favorite thing about Well Suited was Katherine’s voice/perspective. Her voice was not one that I have seen in the romance genre before, and it felt refreshing. I loved that she did not act like a stereotypical female protagonist that we’ve come to expect in a romance. She prided herself on her independence and self-sufficiency. Her relationship with Theo was one of want, not of need.

I also enjoyed Theo’s characterization. From the very beginning he was passionate about becoming a parent and co-parenting. He never doubted his role in the baby’s life or the kind of father he wanted to be. What is not to love about that?

Now onto some of my qualms with this story. I first have to mention that on the whole, I am not a fan of the accidental pregnancy trope. 90% of the time a novel has this trope, I find  myself not connecting as much with the story. This time was not an exception. There is something about this trope that makes the relationship feel so forced (I mean it kind of does force it realistically, so this makes sense) that just turns me off to the story. However, this is just a personal taste “issue” with the book that you probably won’t have if you are a fan of the trope.

Another element that I wasn’t crazy for was some of the dialogue. While I loved Katherine’s character (how formal and rigid she was), it made for some awkward dialogue. While I can appreciate that her character was formal, the dialogue felt so rigid and just…unrealistic. It didn’t really make for a romantic comedy vibe (in my opinion). I cringed at times hearing how she talked about the pregnancy process and just some of her vocabulary in general felt so unnatural. It just brought me out of the romantic comedy mindset a little.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was great to see how Staci Hart ended the series, and I enjoyed reading through Katherine’s perspective. I related to her a lot in the way that she was closed off and required control due to her upbringing. I would say to pick this one up if you’re looking for a rom-com. I will be checking out the earlier books in the series. I gave it 3/5.

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Well Suited is new adult romance, and it is the fourth book in the Red Lipstick Coalition series. It was published on May 2, 2019. It is 217 pages and has a 4.47 rating on Goodreads. As of 5/5/19, it is on Kindle Unlimited.

get more info: visit Staci Hart’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Well Suited on Amazon

 

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. The author was kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project

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The Happiness Project is one of my favorite non-fiction reads. I received a copy of this graciously as a Christmas gift (thank you, Sarah!) and I knew pretty much immediately that I was going to love it. I actually spread reading this out over a few months in order to really digest the content. I started reading in early January and after reading the first chapter or so I was inspired to create this blog. Here I am, three months later, and I’ve finished the book and I couldn’t have made a better decision to start Whimsical and Witty. So for that, I have to thank The Happiness Project.

So what is The Happiness Project? The Happiness Project chronicles a year in Gretchen Rubin’s life as she explores what it means to be truly happy. How does one become happier? Well, Rubin takes a methodical approach and spends one year working towards measurable goals with concrete steps. She takes aspects of her life that are important to her (family, marriage, work) and divides them up into measurable goals that she can do to improve these areas. Every step Rubin takes is (hopefully) one step towards “happier.”

spoiler free: I loved The Happiness Project. It was a feel-good, inspirational read that had me analyzing and examining my own life. I was asking myself from the very first page – Am I as happy as I could be? In January, that answer was definitely no.

After reading the first few chapters of The Happiness Project, I was inspired to change things up in my own life. That’s one of the best things about this book. Although, Gretchen Rubin provides advice, examples, and overarching themes – the book is still ultimately her journey towards happiness. My journey, your journey, anyone’s journey is going to look different. The book is intended to inspire you to think about what would make you happier. The Happiness Project succeeded in this for me. I realized that I didn’t have anything to channel my passion for reading and writing. I was afraid to share my thoughts online. Why? It was a risk and I was afraid. What if no one reads it? What if someone I know in real life thinks it’s stupid? After reading The Happiness Project I didn’t have a good answer for this. The Happiness Project squashed these fears, because what if it’s something that really will make me happy? Thus, the blog, Whimsical and Witty, was born. Three months later, I couldn’t be more proud or happy with my decision.

Overall, I really loved this book. The author’s methodological approach meshed so well with my personality type. If there is any goal that I want to achieve, I’m automatically attempting to break it down into measurable steps. It’s how my brain works. So, when faced with something abstract like “happiness” sometimes I don’t know where to start. Gretchen Rubin’s book is great for this. By reading her story and seeing the small and big steps she takes to improve her life, you can’t help but feel motivated to inject more happiness into your own.

A small disclaimer though: The Happiness Project does not attempt to cure depression or any other type of mental illness. Gretchen Rubin herself admits that before beginning the project she is a relatively happy person. While I think anyone can benefit from reading her book, I still think this disclaimer is worth mentioning.

Overall, this was a fun and positive non-fiction read for me. I gave it a 5/5.

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get more info: visit Gretchen Ruben’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; explore the author’s podcast; find The Happiness Project on Amazon

Review: Carol Wyer’s The Dare

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Alright y’all I have got to talk about one of my new favorites, Carol Wyer. I actually came randomly across Carol Wyer’s The Dare while browsing on Netgalley, and was immediately intrigued by the premise. I of course had a blonde moment and requested the book without realizing it was actually the third in its series. (Side note: thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me early access to this ARC!) Luckily, I was able to read the story without feeling like I missed out on anything. Wyer does a great job of explaining any plot/character growth that may have occurred in the past that is relevant to know. I didn’t feel left out at all. Even so, I’m quickly going back and reading the first and second in the series, so hopefully I can eventually review the series as a whole.

Long intro aside, I loved Carol Wyer’s The Dare, the third book in the Detective Natalie Ward series.

spoiler free: There was so much that I loved in The Dare. First, I can’t praise Carol Wyer enough regarding the quality of writing. I genuinely felt as though I was a part of Ward’s investigation team. I actually felt as though I was in the midst of a serial killer. Wyer lets you (the reader) in on each stage in the investigation and it makes it feel hauntingly real. If you’re a fan of Law and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds or true crime/police investigations – you will love this book.

I also loved reading through the perspective of Natalie Ward. She was an amazing character to focus on. She felt so well rounded – like I could actually walk into a police station and find her sitting there. I also really enjoyed the contrast between the intense situation in her work life and the drama of her home life. Wyer shed light on just how difficult it is to have a demanding career and balancing the intricacies of being a parent (especially a parent to teenagers). Natalie Ward was complex, flawed, and fiercely dedicated. This made for a compelling main character.

Lastly, let us talk about, you know, the actual mystery here. I truly flew through his book – it had be hooked from the very first chapter. The plot is fairly complex, and I didn’t know the killer’s identity until the book revealed it (and then of course, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it.)

During the middle of the book, the plot did feel a bit slow as the case felt somewhat hopeless as the team was left with so few clues. Yet, I felt this was intentional. It was slow and a bit frustrating as a reader, because it was slow and frustrating to the team. This just added to my connection with the story. I felt like I was in the thick of it with them.

Overall, I gave this one a 5/5. I recommend this fully, however if you’re new to Carol Wyer – I may suggest starting at the beginning of this series as I’m about to now!

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get more info: Visit Carol Wyer’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find The Dare on Amazon

The Dare is Carol Wyer’s third book in the Detective Natalie Ward series. It is classified as a thriller, and it releases on April 25, 2019. It is available for pre-order now.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.