This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg

I mean, when you are obsessed with DNA stories, love Young Adult Fiction, AND love Thrillers, how could you NOT pass this book up?!

Thank you Flatiron Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: The Winslow family lives by five principles:

1. No one can know your real name.
2. Don’t stay in one place too long.
3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.
4. Keeping our family together is everything.
5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please—do not ask.

Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice. When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality. Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous—and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?

This was a super fun read for me. It was a drama-filled story that kept me wanting to come back for more. I read it in one sitting – like I was watching a movie shoving popcorn in my face the entire time. Yeah, some parts weren’t as riveting as I had hoped for, but the writing is excellent and the characters were so well developed, it was worth every moment. With an ending such as this one, I’m hoping we get to hear more from this family in the future!

4.5/5 Stars

The Heart Keeper by Alex Dahl

A lot of my book friends have RAVED about Alex Dahl’s previous book, so I was SO excited to be apart of the blog tour for her latest book, The Heart Keeper.

Thank you Berkley for my gifted copy and letting me be apart of the tour.

Synopsis: When Alison’s beloved daughter Amalie drowns, her world turns impenetrably dark.  Alison tries to hold it together throughout the bleak Fall, but in the darkest days of the Norwegian Winter she completely falls apart. In another family, Amalie’s passing is a new beginning. After years of severe health problems, young Kaia receives a new heart on the morning after Amalie drowns. Her mother Iselin has struggled to raise Kaia on her own and now things are finally looking up. She’s even made an affluent new friend who’s taken a special interest in her and her daughter. Alison knows she shouldn’t interfere, but really, she’s just trying to help Iselin and Kaia. She can give them the life they never had, and by staying close to them, she can still be with her daughter. Kaia is just like her, and surely, something of Amalie must live on in her. As her grief transforms into a terrifying obsession, Alison won’t let anything stop her from getting back what she has lost.

I didn’t expect this book to be as emotional as it was, but in a good way!! I could not imagine what it feels like to go through what Alison did. Alex did a phenomenal job in putting me right there in the thick of it. The obsession was real and raw and thrilling! I wasn’t the biggest fan of the story being divided into three parts because I felt like the book started out strong and lost some of it’s oomph in the end. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this read! Alex Dahl will be an author I will always look out for!

4/5 Stars

Just One Bite by Jack Heath

I’m excited to be joining along in featuring Jack Heath’s latest book “Just One Bite”. Thank you Hanover Square Press for my e-copy!

Synopsis: Timothy Blake, ex-consultant for the FBI, now works in body disposal for a local crime lord. One night he stumbles across a body he wasn’t supposed to find and is forced to hide it. When the FBI calls Blake in to investigate a missing university professor, Blake recognizes him as the dead man in his freezer.
Then another man goes missing. And another.
There’s a serial killer in Houston, Texas, and Blake is running out of time to solve the case. His investigation takes him to a sex doll factory, a sprawling landfill in Louisiana and a secret cabin in the woods.
As they hunt the killer together, FBI agent Reese Thistle starts to warm to Blake—but she also gets closer and closer to discovering his terrible secret.
Can Blake uncover the killer without being exposed himself?

I’m excited to feature a special sneak peak inside this book. Enjoy and comment to let me know what you think of it!


What has a neck but no head?

If Charlie Warner wants you dead, first she steals your shoes.

Not in person. She has people all over Houston.

One of them is James Tyrrell, a pudgy guy with Coke-bottle glasses and scar tissue on his arm where the number 88 used to be. A coded white-supremacist tattoo—H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. The 88 means Heil Hitler. “I’m no Nazi,” I heard him say once. “But if you want to survive Huntsville prison, you gotta pick a team.”

Tyrrell will open your front door with a police-issue lock-release gun and go to your bedroom wearing latex gloves and a hairnet. He’ll steal your most expensive pair of shoes. Usually black, always shiny—the kind you might wear to a funeral. He’ll take some socks, too, but won’t touch anything else on his way out.

Two more guys will drive a white van with stolen plates to wherever it is you work. Their names are Jordan Francis and Theo Sariklis. They both have thick necks, square jaws and crew cuts. It took me a while to tell them apart. Sariklis is the one with the drooping eyelid and the Ramones shirt. He’s been working for Warner longer than me. Francis is new—just moved here from San Jose, California. He’s the one who cracks jokes. Even in winter he wears a wife-beater to show off his biceps. He might go to the gym after killing you.

Francis will park the van next to the driver’s side of your car. Sariklis will open the sliding door on the side of the van and wait.

You’ll walk out of the office and approach your car. When you go to open the door, Francis will grab you and drag you into the van. It takes seconds. He’s had plenty of practice—in San Jose he worked for one of the Sureño gangs. You won’t even have time to scream before Francis shuts the van door.

You’ll know who they work for. Warner doesn’t target bystanders. They’re here because you stole from her, or lied to her, or informed on her. Or maybe you didn’t pay your tab at one of her businesses. An underground casino, a bordello, a drug den.

They’ll ask you questions. The first few are a test; they already know the answers. If you lie, Francis will hold you down, while Sariklis forces a water bottle into your mouth and pinches your nose shut so it feels like drowning. They do it like that because they’re still in the parking lot. There aren’t many quiet ways to torture someone.

Just when it feels like you’re gonna die, Sariklis will take the bottle out. You’ll throw up. Then Sariklis will ask you some more questions. The real ones. Whatever Warner needs to know. Who have you told? What are their names? Where do they live? Show us the messages.

The final question is always about the PIN for your bank account. You’ll answer that one gladly. You’ll think it means they only want money. You’ll think they’re going to let you go.

After you give them your PIN, Sariklis will stick the bottle back in your mouth. This time he won’t let up. He’ll drown you, right there in the parking lot. Three minutes until your heart gives up, four until brain death.

Francis will stay in the van with your body while Sariklis takes your car, your phone and your wallet to an ATM. He’ll withdraw as much as he can, then drive to a secluded stretch of beach in Galveston.

There he’ll meet Tyrrell, who has your shoes. Sariklis will place your shoes side by side on the sand, your wallet and keys tucked inside like frightened mice. Tyrrell will do a factory reset on your phone, switch it off and hurl it into the sea. They’ll abandon your car on the side of the road, within sight of the gray ocean, and take Tyrrell’s car back to Warner’s office to give her the cash.

I’ve only been to Warner’s office once, and I had a bag on my head for the whole journey. But I was memorizing the turns, and counting the seconds. Afterward I got them to drop me off someplace else, and I memorized that journey, too. Later I looked at a map, and narrowed it down to four city blocks near Market Square Park.

They usually take you on a Friday. If you live alone, you may not be reported missing until Monday. The police will find your car and shoes around Wednesday. Some of them will say you drowned accidentally while swimming. Others will suggest that it was suicide. The shoes are too classy for a normal swim, they’ll say, and there’s no towel. Plus, your bathing suit is still at your home.

Because of the ATM withdrawal, still others will say that you faked your death. You did have some powerful enemies, after all. Your missing phone lends credence to this theory. But anyone who suspects Warner will be smart enough not to say so.

All this is assuming you’re one of the lucky ones, and Warner doesn’t want the credit for your death. Sometimes she kills someone to send a message. No stolen shoes, no water bottle. The body turns up in dozens of pieces, each removed from a living person.

Once upon a time Warner’s men would have just thrown your body into the ocean. The water in your lungs would make sense on the autopsy report. But the bruising around your lips and wrists, plus the damage to your gums, might raise some eyebrows. Now they have a better way.

While Sariklis and Tyrrell bring the cash to Warner’s office, Francis will take the van onto State Highway 12, alone. Your body will be in the back under a sheet, slowly going cold. Francis will drive through the dark, watching the buildings disappear and the trees get taller and taller.

Then he’ll see a beat-up Toyota Corolla parked on the shoulder, miles from anywhere. He’ll pull over. Despite what he’s seen and done, he’ll shudder before he gets out of the car.

Then he’ll slide open the van door, and give your body to me.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

I’m really excited to join the blog tour for The Flatshare! I’ve been so anxious to read it since the day I heard about it!

Thank you Flatiron Books for my gifted cop and letting my join the blog tour!

Synopsis: Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

How cool does that sound? This was such a unique story (and would be a really cool movie)! This book is so much more than a chick-lit romance – it pulled at all my heart strings! I absolutely loved how these two grew their relationship as roommates by leaving notes for each other. Of course, the entire time I assumed the obvious (boy meets girl…), but Beth delivered a whole lot more. She does a great job about painting a true picture of life – toxic relationships, the housing crisis, dealing with messy family dynamics, wonderful friendships, and more. This one is worth the read!

4/5 Stars

My Ex Best Friend’s Wedding

I’m excited to be joining the blog tour for Wendy Wax’s newest book, “My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding”!

Thank you Berkley Books for my gifted copy and letting my join the tour!

Synopsis: Prized and stored away for safekeeping, the timeless ivory wedding dress, with its scooped neck and cleverly fitted bodice, sits gently folded in its box, whispering of Happily Ever Afters. To Kendra, Brianna, and Lauren it’s a reminder of what could have been, the promise of a fairy tale, and a friendship torn apart. But as Kendra knows firsthand: it wasn’t the dress’s fault.Once closer than sisters, Lauren and Bree have grown up and grown apart, allowing broken promises and unfulfilled dreams to destroy their friendship. A successful author, Lauren returns home to the Outer Banks, fiance’ in tow, to claim the dress she never thought she’d wear. While Bree, a bookstore owner, grapples with the realities of life after you marry the handsome prince. As the former best friends wrestle with their uncertain futures, they are both certain of one thing: some betrayals can never be forgiven. Now on the eve of her daughter Lauren’s wedding, Kendra struggles with a secret she’s kept for far too long. And vows to make sure the dress will finally bring Lauren and Bree back together–knowing they’ll need each other to survive the coming storm.

I love the idea of one wedding dress getting to experience so many stories of its own. The Outer Banks is my favorite beach, so the setting for this story was absolutely perfect. This book could not have arrived at a more perfect time, especially in wedding season! A story of true friendship, family bonds, and love that surpasses all. It’s not a cheesy drama, but a story of strong family bonds and deep friendships that cannot be broken despite secrets and revenge. A perfect summer read!

4/5 Stars

Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan

I’m always trying to expand my horizons when it comes to reading, and fantasy is one of those genres I’m really trying to dive more into.

Thank you Wednesday Books for gifting me an ebook copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: When Nadya prays to the gods, they listen, and magic flows through her veins. For nearly a century the Kalyazi have been locked in a deadly holy war with Tranavian heretics, and her power is the only thing that is a match for the enemy’s blood magic. But when the Travanian High Prince, and his army invade the monastery she is hiding in, instead of saving her people, Nadya is forced to flee the only home she’s ever known, leaving it in flames behind her, and vengeance in her heart. As night falls, she chooses to defy her gods and forge a dangerous alliance with a pair of refugees and their Tranavian blood mage leader, a beautiful, broken boy who deserted his homeland after witnessing his blood cult commit unthinkable monstrosities. The plan? Assassinate the king and stop the war. But when they discover a nefarious conspiracy that goes beyond their two countries, everything Nadya believes is thrown into question, including her budding feelings for her new partner. Someone has been harvesting blood mages for a dark purpose, experimenting with combining Tranavian blood magic with the Kalyazi’s divine one. In order to save her people, Nadya must now decide whether to trust the High Prince – her country’s enemy – or the beautiful boy with powers that may ignite something far worse than the war they’re trying to end. 

First off, how cool is this cover? I absolutely love it! As someone who doesn’t read fantasy books often, this was powerful. It’s full of quarrelsome in every which manner: magic, politics, religion…it’s heavy, but in a good way. I feel like there are a lot of layers to the story, which intrigued me for some parts, but lost my interest in others. I am always fond of a strong female lead in a story and a nice love triangle, but the characters never really pulled me in. I didn’t feel like I was in a rush to get to the end to find out what happens. It is a dark book which captured my attention as something that pulls me from my ordinary reads. I did really enjoy the villain…any author that can successfully do that is a win in my book! Like I said, it’s dark, so enter at your own risk. Congrats to Emily as this book was chosen as one of the Young Adult Book of the Month Club picks for the month of April. I look forward to hearing what you all think of it!

3.5/5 Stars

In Another Life by CC Hunter

I am honored to be apart of the Wednesday Books Blog Tour for In Another Life. Thank you for the opportunity!

Synopsis from Goodreads: Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her. When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth. As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

The first few chapters of this book had one of my eyebrows raised. Chloe had a lot of teenage drama going on and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle it for the rest of the book. Boy, was I wrong! The book quickly took a turn for the better. Chloe runs into Cash. The story turned upside down (for the better)! I will say that I predicted a few of the major events (or twists) early on, but it did not stop me from enjoying the read. Cash completely stole my heart. He has gotten himself into so much mess in his life. But, the determination he had to find his foster parents’ lost daughter was emotional and heartbreaking. I kept cheering him on despite decisions he had made previously. The ending wrapped up perfectly. I didn’t feel like I was left with unanswered questions. All in all, what a fun read to finish in one night!

4/5 Stars

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird

I’m super excited to announce that I am participating in St. Martin’s Press Blog Tour for Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird! Be Sure to read ALL of this post -hint hint-!

About the Author:
Bird - Author Image (credit Sarah Wilson)
SARAH BIRD’s previous novel, Above the East China Sea, was long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award. Sarah has been selected for the Meryl Streep Screenwriting Lab, the B&N Discover Great Writers program, NPR’s Moth Radio series, the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and New York Libraries Books to Remember list. She first heard Cathy Williams’ story in the late seventies while researching African-American rodeos.
About the Book:
The compelling, hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
“Here’s the first thing you need to know about Miss Cathy Williams: I am the daughter of a daughter of queen and my mama never let me forget it.”
Though born into bondage on a “miserable tobacco farm” in Little Dixie, Missouri, Cathy Williams was never allowed to consider herself a slave. According to her mother, she was a captive, destined by her noble warrior blood to escape the enemy. Her means of deliverance is Union general Phillip Henry “Smash ‘em Up” Sheridan, the outcast of West Point who takes the rawboned, prideful young woman into service. At war’s end, having tasted freedom, Cathy refuses to return to servitude and makes the monumental decision to disguise herself as a man and join the Army’s legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
Alone now in the ultimate man’s world, Cathy must fight not only for her survival and freedom, but she also vows to never give up on finding her mother, her little sister, and the love of the only man strong enough to win her heart. Inspired by the stunning, true story of Private Williams, this American heroine comes to vivid life in a sweeping and magnificent tale about one woman’s fight for freedom, respect and independence.
Buy Links:


This is not a book I would typically pick up, but I really did enjoy it. The dialect for the characters were so true to the time period and it really felt like you were right there with them. I am a teacher by trade and I feel like this would be a wonderful asset to a High School History class. It has such character and emotional depth to it, you can’t help but feel for Cathy. What a brave woman. It’s a fast-pace story that flows quite nicely. I could easily follow along and never felt myself getting too side-tracked. Am I the only one who got some Mulan vibes here? There are some slow parts in the middle of the book that I felt weren’t necessary, but it did make the story well-rounded.

4/5 Stars

And, GUESS WHAT? I’m giving away a hard copy of this book! You can follow me on instagram (@livereadandprosper) for a chance to win or just enter below! This giveaway is sponsored by St Martin’s Press.

Click Here To Enter The Giveaway!

Daniel Daniels and the World’s Worst Zoo by Robbie Yates


I’m happy to announce that I am participating in a Digital Reads Blog Tour! Today, I am hosting Daniel Daniels and the World’s Worst Zoo by Robbie Yates. Since having a little one, I have been diving back into children’s books. This is pretty adorable!

Book Synopsis: Daniel Daniels spends most of his time doing one of two things:

  1. Avoiding the school bully, or
  2. Hanging out with his animal friends.

Unfortunately, Daniel’s animal friends all live at The World’s Worst Zoo, run by the cruel and crabby Mr Gregory. One day, an unfortunate incident with some ointment at the zoo leaves Daniel with a few special tricks up his sleeve‌—‌tricks that he can use to save the animals, and teach Mr Gregory a lesson. Curious, witty and sweet, this adventurous chapter book will charm and thrill the young and the young-at-heart!

Haven’t heard of Robbie Yates? He is an author based in the vibrant city of Melbourne, Australia. He enjoys the crunch of autumn leaves, and eating tasty snacks from his childhood. In his free time, Robbie likes to read the stories of Roald Dahl, Paul Jennings and J.K. Rowling. Robbie also likes to go geocaching, play board games, and have water-balloon fights.

Check out Robbie’s website here.

Here is his amazon page if you’re interested in seeing more of his work.

Here is the link to the book!