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

Always The Last To Know by Kristan Higgins


If you’ve been apart of the literary world for awhile, you should be familiar with Kristan and her wonderful work!

I’m so excited to join Berkley’s Blog Tour in introducing her latest novel, Always The Last to Know!

Sometimes you have to break a family to fix it.

From New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins, a new novel examining a family at the breaking point in all its messy, difficult, wonderful complexity.

The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other…who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters– Barb’s favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John’s darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn’t be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.

Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.

Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad–and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she’s spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.

And now Barb and John will finally have to face what’s been going on in their marriage all along.

From the author of Good Luck with That and Life and Other Inconveniences comes a new novel of heartbreaking truths and hilarious honesty about what family really means. 

It’s a feel-good emotional read that you won’t want to miss out on! Such a wonderful, heartfelt story. Now available!

The Perfect Fraud by Ellen LaCorte

A thriller with a cover AND spine that is stunning? Let’s dive right in!

Thank you Harper Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Motherhood is tough. But then, so is daughter-hood. When we first meet Claire, she’s living in Sedona, Arizona with her boyfriend Cal and ducking calls from her mother. Her mom is a world class psychic on the East Coast and Claire doesn’t want her to discover the truth. Claire works in the family business and calls herself a psychic, but she doesn’t really have “the gift” and hasn’t for a long time. She’s a fraud.Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Rena, a young mother, has family issues of her own. She’s divorced and her four-year-old daughter, Stephanie, suffers from mysterious, seemingly incurable stomach problems. No matter how many specialists Rena drags her to, no matter how many mommy-blog posts she makes about her child’s health issues, trying to get help and support from her online community, Stephanie only gets sicker.When Claire and Rena meet by chance on an airplane, their carefully constructed lives begin to explode. Can these two women help each other and can they help Stephanie before it’s too late?

I think it’s starting to happen you guys…I’m starting to not like books written in different viewpoints all over again and I’m starting to predict the twists in thrillers. This one wasn’t much of an exception. This has a really cool premise, but one that I predicted the ending in right away. I am also not really a fan of Jodi Picoult (I know, can you believe it?) and I felt like this read much like one of her books. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a BAD thriller! It was a fun, easy read, especially a nice beach read for the summer. For someone who doesn’t read thrillers often and for someone who enjoys Jodi Picoult’s style of writing, you’re going to love it!

3/5 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.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

I truly don’t feel like I read enough fiction from different cultures, so I was excited to jump on board for the blog tour for Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune.

Thank you Berkley for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: After her mother’s refusal to support her chosen career as a chef, Natalie Tan leaves behind the limitations of life on her small street in China Town to strike out on her own. After years abroad filled with unwavering estrangement from her mother and the tight-knit community she left behind, Natalie is shaken when she learns of her mother’s sudden death. Reeling in the throes of grief and regret, Natalie must journey back home to get her mother’s affairs in order. Natalie is shocked to find that over the last seven years, her once vibrant neighborhood has faded, with businesses failing and families forced to move out. But during a mystical encounter with the local tea shop owner who tells Natalie her fortune, her destiny becomes clear: she must revive her family’s closed-down restaurant to save the neighborhood. As Natalie rebuilds her connections with the community, she begins to forgive those she felt wronged by over the years, as well as herself—and she may even find new love along the way.

I thought the new cultural aspect of this book was real and raw. I appreciated the new look on family life in a different culture than mine. I will admit I am a little blind to other cultures and appreciate books like this to open my eyes to new things. The writing was beautiful, but the plot fell flat for me. I was more caught up in learning something new about a culture rather than enjoying the characters or the story-line itself. The chef idea was great, but felt choppy with the rest of the plot. Not a bad read, but not something I would pick up again.

3/5 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

This Book Is Not Yet Rated by Peter Bognanni

If you love watching movies, you’re going to want to stick around for this review!

I am so excited to be apart of this book tour! Thank you Dial Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Movies have always helped Ethan Ashby make sense of the world. So when developers swoop in and say the classic Green Street Cinema is going to be destroyed to make room for luxury condos, Ethan is ready for battle. And so a motley crew of cinema employees comes together to save the place they love: There’s Sweet Lou, the elderly organist with a penchant for not-so-sweet language; Anjo, the too-cool projectionist; Griffin and Lucas who work concessions, if they work at all; and Ethan, their manager (who can barely manage his own life). Still, it’s going to take a movie miracle for the Green Street to have a happy ending. And when Raina Allen, Ethan’s oldest friend (and possible soul mate?), comes back to town after working in Hollywood–cue lights and music–it seems that miracle may have been delivered. But life and love aren’t always like in the movies. This Book is Not Yet Rated is about growing up, letting go, and realizing love hides in plain view–in the places that shape us, the people who raise us, the first loves who leave us, and the lives that fade in and fade out all around us.

As soon as I started reading this book, I got immediate “Empire Records” vibes! I felt like that fit perfectly, considering it’s a book about movies in the first place. It has the same type of camaraderie between employees and the fight for saving the institution. I loved the characters in this book because they were all different ages, coming from different backgrounds, and each had their own quirkiness to them. I will say, the relationship between Raina and Ethan really brought me down. I really didn’t care much for Raina and felt like she was a distraction to the bigger picture at play. I was really annoyed every time she came in the picture because I was so invested into the story line of saving the theater and all the people involved. The ending didn’t really go in my favor, but I enjoyed reading this nonetheless. There aren’t many books out there that focus on movies and Peter really has a great gift of writing!

3.5/5 Stars

This book releases April 9th, 2019. Keep following the blog tour to see what others think and fun interactions along the way!

Body Swap by Sylvia McNicoll


I’ve been treasuring this book for awhile now, and I’m excited to finally share my post with you!  I truly enjoyed this book. I was expecting some Freaky Friday vibes, but it went above and beyond. It’s a whole new story all on its own and well worth the read. In fact, I have an extra special surprise because I got to interview the author! Thank you so much Sylvia for taking the time to let me enter your world for a moment. This was a blast!

Meet Sylvia:

What inspired you to become a writer?

The love of story, both the reading and writing of it, lead me to enjoy creating it. When writing goes well it’s so dreamlike and zen; you live in a world of your own and wake  up to having written a chapter. And you get paid for this?

What is the hardest thing about being a writer? Easiest thing?

Currently the most difficult thing about being a writer might be to accept pot shots at our work over the Internet.  Whether the reader loves our writing or not, we work on our books for years, they’re our children. Perhaps these children won’t shortlist for any awards or make any ten best list but how can you tell us these children are ugly? The easiest thing about writing for me are the friendships between fellow writers. I can cross the country and know I have friends in every city. In places where I don’t know writers through facebook or from encounters at festivals or workshops, I can find new friends quickly through the library or bookstores. There are always writers meeting somewhere.

Why did you decide to write middle grade and young adult books? 

After writing adult short stories, I took the last course I swore I would ever  take: Writing for Children, given by a YA writer Paul Kropp. As preparation for the class I read everything that Kropp had written and fell in love with his first person humorous and heartfelt narration, all from a young teen’s point of view. I felt that even though it was a simple writing style, it was a powerful connector. More importantly I thought it was something I could do too.

What inspired you to write Body Swap?

I’d been exploring regret through various of my stories, specifically regret about dying foolishly. Best Friends Through Eternity and Dying to Go Viral depict retakes of the characters’ last week of life. Body Swap evolved from that premise except that 15 year-old Hallie doesn’t think staring at a cell phone while walking through a parking lot causes her death. Instead she blames 82 year old Susan’s reflexes. Something I did too, when I read about the true story about such a fatal accident.  A friend challenged me on my ageism so I tackled my own flaw in thinking through this story.

If Body Swap were a movie, who would you want to play Eli, Hallie, and Susan?

To keep it authentic, I would want less known actors perhaps. Canadian television actors Eric Peterson (Corner Gas) and Jean Yoon (Kim’s Convenience) should play the two main male/female halves of Eli. Another film actor Ryan Reynolds can play the carnival operator Eli. Quevenzhané Wallis (youngest Oscar nominee for Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild could play Hallie. While Meryl Streep is too young to play Susan, perhaps makeup artists could age her enough to pass for 82.

What do you hope readers take away from reading Body Swap?

Readers should try to look outside themselves a little, to be empathetic to others. It’s too easy to see ourselves as the main actor in the story of the world and not listen or accept other points of view.

Did you get to choose the cover? (It’s gorgeous by the way!)

Thank you.  I didn’t get to choose my cover. In fact  I had a different visual in mind: one of a teen holding a cell phone with the image of an older woman covering the screen. But I was consulted. What I really didn’t want was a stylish bunch of letters floating on a cover, telling you nothing about the story. First draft, picture the current Body Swap cover without the fairground. I liked the colours instantly but it was a stylish bunch of letters revealing nothing about the story.  Very quickly the editor showed me covers with various fairgrounds added and the designer Laura Boyle did an excellent job of shaping one in with the circular title and colours so that we are all happy with it

What are your thoughts on technology use in today’s society?

It’s pretty funny to see a whole bunch of people standing somewhere, say at a bus stop, staring at their screens. I know I can get obsessive about checking social media on my phone especially when I’m discouraged about my work. “Show me a sign, Eli, that I should keep writing!” So I self-google, check Goodreads, Instagram,a nd twitter.  But I know I’m better off stepping away from it all. I hope the world learns a better balance soon. Imagine how many more books we could read if we saved all that Facebook/twitter/instagram/linkedlin checking time.

Can you tell me a little about other books you’ve written?

Crush, Candy, Corpse is the story of a 17 year old accused of manslaughter of an Alzheimer’s patient.  It was based on my own experience of wanting to feed my mom her favourite foods as she was dying of Alzheimer’s. I was told she couldn’t have blueberries, she might choke to death. An odd book I wrote was a middle grade historical fiction Revenge on the Fly based on a 1912 fly-catching contest. They were held all over the world that year because scientists blamed the spread of microbes and therefor disease on the fly.My 12  year old character William Alton’s mom and sister die of typhoid and summer complaint and when he hears that flies could have caused their death, he seeks revenge and victory at the same time. I love dogs so I write a lot about them. The Great Mistake Mysteries, The Best Mistake Mystery, The Artsy Mistake Mystery and The Snake Mistake Mysteries feature rescue dogs Ping and Pong and their young dog walkers Stephen and Renée who count their mistakes and solve crimes.

What has been your favorite book you’ve read this summer?

Black Chuck is an intense debut novel (buying first timer books is always lucky!!) by Regan McDonnell.  There’s a murder, a pregnancy and a love triangle and the plot twists around these aspects till you find out how and why.


And, SURPRISE!! To celebrate the release of this book, I’m giving away TWO COPIES! Head to my instagram @livereadandprosper to enter!