Review: What’s Become of Her by Deb Caletti

What’s Become of Her by Deb Caletti
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Links: Ebook • PaperbackHardcover • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti comes an emotionally riveting story of a woman falling for a man who may be hiding a dangerous secret—perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah.

“Guilty people keep secrets.”

Isabelle Austen returns to her hometown on a small, isolated Pacific Northwest island to take over the family tourism business after the death of her mother, a disapproving parent and a hard woman to love. Feeling lost, Isabelle is also struggling with a recent divorce and wondering if she’ll ever come into her own. Then her life takes a surprising turn: The mysterious Henry North arrives on Parrish Island, steps off a seaplane, and changes Isabelle’s world forever. From the beginning, their relationship is heady and intense—then Isabelle learns of Henry’s disturbing past, involving the death of a fiancée and the disappearance of a wife. Suddenly Isabelle is caught between love and suspicion, paranoia and passion, as she searches for the truth she may not want to find—and is swept into a dangerous game she may not survive.

I used to read Deb Caletti’s YA contemporaries back in middle/high school, so when I heard she was releasing a suspense/thriller, I was intrigued enough to read it. It’s not my favorite genre, but I thought I’d give it a try to see how the author would play it out.

Isabelle Austen returns to her hometown on Parrish Island, only to take over the family tourism business because her mother recently passed away. Struggling to recover from her recent divorce, Isabelle is lost and vulnerable. It’s at this point that she meets a tourist, Henry, who begins to spend time with her and ask her out. She’s attracted to him and falls easily for him, but when a friend investigates Henry’s past and finds a dead fianceé and a dead wife, both who died of mysterious circumstances, Isabelle has to wonder if she should be afraid.

She finds out that Henry is not who she thinks he is… which causes her to make poor decisions while she’s wrapped in her paranoia and confusion. Thanks to her bad decisions, the suspense is both mysterious and frustrating, but it definitely kept me hooked and flipping the pages.

I was perplexed and intrigued by Isabelle’s character – I kept wondering why she stayed with Henry when everyone else tried to warn her off. Her decisions make her a flawed, frustrating, but addicting character. I found myself still rooting for her even when I didn’t agree with what she did.

This book is full of mystery and unanswered questions. I’m still not sure what to make of it, but it definitely succeeded in the mystery/suspense aspect. I’m excited to see if Deb Caletti will be writing more thrillers!


lacey


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Early Review: Never Let Me Go by Monica Murphy

Never Let You Go by Monica Murphy

Never Let Me Go by Monica Murphy
Series: Never Tear Us Apart #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The second novel in this darkly sexy contemporary series from bestselling author Monica Murphy wraps up an emotionally powerful two-part tale of forbidden love.
 
The truth hurts, they say—and my pain cuts deep. While I was falling for Ethan, he was deceiving me the entire time. He held a huge secret, protected by his lies. When I discovered what he was hiding, the truth shook my world, threatening to ruin us forever. Ruin me. But I soon realized that what we share can’t be destroyed.

The connection between us is too strong. It always has been. I can’t deny him any longer. And I can’t deny my truth: I’m in love with Ethan.

I don’t want to let him go.

While we’re trying our best to make this relationship work, other forces are fighting against us. My family, who wants to keep me safe. The media obsessed with my tragic past. The public that feeds off of it. Even Ethan’s father—the man who nearly destroyed me all those years ago. He’s doing his best to finish the job.

Despite my love for Ethan, the doubts creep in, clouding my mind. Is he worth the pain? Will our love survive, or will we have no choice but to end it—end us—once and for all?

Never Let You Go was a highly anticipated release of mine – I was dying to read this book after the cliffhanger in Never Tear Us Apart!! Never Tear Us Apart (my review here) was a heart-pounding, intense, unique read, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it as much as the first book. I liked seeing how Katie and Ethan ended up, but overall, Never Let You Go was just an okay read. Monica Murphy’s writing is wonderful as usual, but the story just didn’t grip me like the first book did.

Katie finally knows the truth of who Ethan is – and with this betrayal of trust, she wants nothing to do with him. Ethan, on the other hand, only wants Katie to be happy, and though he’d rather her be happy with him, he’s backed off to give her time to herself. There’s a lot of this back-and-forth for Katie – one moment, she needs him, the next she’s pushing him away. I was amazed at the patience in Ethan, but I did get a little frustrated at this because the story didn’t move forward fast enough. Still, whenever Ethan and Katie are together, they’re so sweet and wonderful. If this book had nothing but their romance, I would’ve loved it so much more!

Being with Katie makes me feel complete. Whole. Comfortable in my own skin, when I’ve moved through my life uncomfortable as hell with just about everything I’ve ever done.

Tragic events put these two characters together at a young age, but it seems like the present is trying to tear them apart. The media won’t stop hounding Katie and Ethan, and they’re even accusing Ethan of being a part of Katie’s kidnapping, rather than being her savior. This part of book was a little too dramatic for my taste. The media is overwhelming at times, and it seemed to overshadow the main characters and their relationship. I wanted a little less of it, but I understand how the author wanted to use the media in conjunction with Ethan and Katie overcoming their past.

Still, even with my annoyances with the book, I really did enjoy seeing how Katie and Ethan’s relationship turned out. I was rooting for them from the very first book, so I was happy with the events in this conclusion. If you liked Never Tear Us Apart, hopefully you’ll enjoy this sequel! The romance is slow and sweet, but everything else is just a little mediocre compared to the first book.

The boy of my past. The man of my future. The one I can never, ever let go.

3 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Never Tear Us Apart series

Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy Never Let You Go by Monica Murphy

#1 ~ Never Year Us Apart: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Never Let Me Go: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads (May 3, 2016)


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Release Day Review: Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy

Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy

Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy
Series: Never Tear Us Apart #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 5th 2016
Links: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Perfect for readers of Colleen Hoover, Jay Crownover, and K. A. Tucker, the first novel in this darkly sexy contemporary series from bestselling author Monica Murphy kicks off an emotionally powerful two-part tale of forbidden love.

Crazy how eight years can disappear in an instant. One look at Katie Watts, and I’m a fifteen-year-old again–the one who risked everything to save a terrified girl from her twisted kidnapper. She’s grown-up now–beautiful, quiet, composed–and telling her story to the world. A story that involves me in more ways than you can imagine. She used to call me her guardian angel. Sure, I risked my life, but she was worth dying for.

I need to make contact with her. Just to ensure that she’s safe.

Somehow we reconnect. We become friends . . . but I want more. I want to make her mine. And she wants me too. Does she know who I am? Has she figured me out? Not yet. But she will. In the meantime, I need to make sure that whatever hold that animal had on her is gone.

So, yeah, I’m stealing these moments with her. Savoring them. Knowing, dreading, that she’ll soon find out who I really am. And everything will fall apart. All because of that twisted, perverted monster sitting on death row. Her kidnapper. A convicted serial killer.

My father.

Oh. My. God. What an emotional read! This story is one of the most intriguing I’ve ever read, and it’s nothing like what Monica Murphy has previously written. It’s intense. Gritty. Raw. Captivating. Heartbreaking. It’s a story of innocence lost and hearts reconnecting. I’m pretty stunned at what Monica Murphy has created in Katie and Ethan’s story – this might be my favorite book of hers yet.

But I’m none of those things. Confident. Strong. Carefree. Those words belong to the old me. Once innocence is lost, you can never get it back. That’s my problem. I lost my innocence at the age of twelve, far too early. And the man who stole it from me will haunt me forever.

Eight years ago, when Katie Watts was twelve, she was kidnapped and raped by a serial killer. She’s a survivor, but for the past eight years, she’s lived in silence, a shell of herself, but no longer. Now, hoping to free herself of her past, she’s ready to tell her story of her abduction, and of the boy who saved her – her hero, her guardian angel… her kidnapper/rapist’s son.

Will Monroe, now Ethan Williams, has never forgotten the girl he saved. She haunts his dreams as his father haunts his nightmares, and now that Ethan has found Katie again, he can’t walk away from her a second time. The powerful connection that existed when they met all those years ago has never truly gone away, and Ethan is now compelled to be there for Katie, to be her hero and savior once more. The only problem is that when Ethan enters Katie’s life again, he doesn’t tell her the truth of who he is and hides behind his Ethan persona. So what happens when past is dying to be free and Ethan can’t hide who he is anymore?

I wanted her, body and soul, as much a part of me as breathing.

If you’re worried about how Monica Murphy portrays Katie’s kidnapping and rape, don’t be. The author does not romanticize what happens to Katie. She doesn’t write it in some gentler light, but neither does she go into all the details, all of which I appreciated.

Never Tear Us Apart is brilliantly written, told in Katie and Ethan’s past and present POVs. Monica Murphy had me feeling like I was experiencing every heart-wrenching feeling right alongside these characters. What was interesting to me was that the past wasn’t told in a consecutive timeline, and instead jumped around a bit, which threw me off sometimes. Ethan did weird me out in the beginning when he got a little too intense with his feelings for Katie, but otherwise, I was hooked onto this unputdownable story. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s different, and if you’re looking for something intriguing and unique, I highly recommend this book. Be forewarned though, this is a two-book series, so Never Tear Us Apart does end in a cliffhanger, but the cliffie is definitely worth the read.

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Never Tear Us Apart series

Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy Never Let You Go by Monica Murphy

#1 ~ Never Year Us Apart: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Never Let Me Go: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe

The Truth About Him by M. O'Keefe

The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 24th 2015
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

For fans of Christina Lauren and Jodi Ellen Malpas comes the next novel in M. O’Keefe’s breathtakingly sexy series about a woman called into a journey of the heart, body, and soul.

We played our roles, told each other lies.

But now Dylan is no longer just a mysterious deep voice on the other end of the line. We’re face-to-face and our relationship is very, very real.

We still have secrets—but so much is crystal clear:

The thrilling danger.

The raw, naked desire.

The need to keep feeling the way he makes me feel. Forever.Dylan is putting up walls, trying to keep me safe, but he can’t shut me out. He has seen my darkness and rescued me. Now it’s my turn, if only he will let me.

I’d been looking forward to reading The Truth About Him ever since reading that cliffhanger in Everything I Left Unsaid, and M. O’Keefe did not disappoint with Annie and Dylan’s second and final novel. It picks up right where the first book left off and continues with even more heart-pounding suspense and raw sensuality. I enjoyed this sequel every bit as much as the first – if you were a fan of Everything I Left Unsaid, you definitely need to pick up The Truth About Him.

I was not the right man for her, but I wanted to be.
And I was humbled by her choice.

While Everything I Left Unsaid is more Annie’s book, The Truth About Him is definitely more Dylan’s book. I thought it was interesting that the author wrote the first book in Annie’s 1st person POV and Dylan’s 3rd person POV, then this sequel in Dylan’s 1st person POV and Annie’s 3rd person POV. M. O’Keefe’s writing is exquisite, and definitely my favorite part about this series. It’s gorgeous, lush, and sensual, which meshes perfectly well with Annie and Dylan’s story. If there’s one thing you need to experience, it’s the writing in this series.

If you’ve read Everything I Left Unsaid, then you know Annie is in trouble. Thankfully, this trouble is wrapped up quickly, though there is so much more for Annie and Dylan to deal with. Not only is their relationship a little rocky, but there is Ben’s sickness to deal with, the dangerous MC gang who’s targeting Annie, and Dylan’s brother Max is in trouble. I honestly had no idea where the author would be taking the story, but I just went along for the ride and wasn’t disappointed. I was hooked onto the story – the suspense never slows down, and neither does the romance.

She owned me. Despondent and wrecked, smiling and bright—it didn’t matter. I was hers.

Dylan has moved into trailer park to protect Annie, and he’s struggling with his feelings for her. He knows he’ll do anything for her, go to the ends of the world for her, but he’s still not sure if he’s capable of love. Dylan is endlessly fascinating and I loved that we delved so much deeper into his character in this book. We get to know more about his past, his family, and his coworker Blake. As for Annie, I adored her character. She’s a lot more confident by now, since she knows how much she means to Dylan, but she’s still trying to prove to him that he’s capable and worthy of love. And the two of them are hotter than ever in this book – anytime Dylan and Annie are together, the chemistry between them is on fire. I loved how raw and sensual their need for the other was.

“You. You are what is different. You have changed everything.” It was the unvarnished truth. As close to love as I was capable of getting.

The word that best describes this series is fascinating. M. O’Keefe has written a series that you just can’t put down, because you NEED to know what happens next. The suspense is well-done, not too heavy, and the romance is sexy, yet sweet and tender. I absolutely enjoyed this conclusion to Dylan and Annie’s story, and highly recommend giving their books a try if you love romance and suspense. I’m really hoping there might be more books about the secondary characters, because I love the author’s writing and I’m so intrigued by the characters!

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Everything I Left Unsaid series

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O'Keefe The Truth About Him by M. O'Keefe 

#1 ~ Everything I Left Unsaid: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Truth About Him: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Burn Down the Night: EbookGoodreads (Aug. 2, 2016)


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Early Review: Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O'Keefe

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 13th 2015
Links: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Fans of Jodi Ellen Malpas, K. Bromberg, and Joanna Wylde will be unable to resist this sexy, deeply intimate tale of a woman running from her past, and the darkly mysterious man who sets her free.

I didn’t think answering someone else’s cellphone would change my life. But the stranger with the low, deep voice on the other end of the line tempted me, awakened my body, set me on fire. He was looking for someone else. Instead he found me.

And I found a hot, secret world where I felt alive for the first time.

His name was Dylan, and, strangely, he made me feel safe. Desired. Compelled. Every dark thing he asked me to do, I did. Without question. I longed to meet him, but we were both keeping secrets. And mine were dangerous. If I took the first step, if I got closer to Dylan—emotionally, physically—then I wouldn’t be hiding anymore. I would be exposed, with nothing left to surrender but the truth. And my truth could hurt us both.

What a fantastic, compelling read! I was up until 3 am trying to finish this book – I really couldn’t put it down. I was first intrigued by this book because of the blurb and the lovely cover, and I’m so glad that I wasn’t let down. Everything I Left Unsaid is a suspenseful, sexy, mysterious read that I highly enjoyed. It’s the first book in a duet, and yes, it does end in a cliffhanger! Luckily, the second book releases a month after the first.

Annie has just moved into the Flowered Manor Trailer Park, on the run from her abusive husband. The trailer park is in the middle of nowhere, so for the most part, she’s safe. She plans to keep her head down and keep to herself for as long as she can, doing some manual labor to make some money, until a mysterious man named Dylan calls a cellphone left in her trailer. Her life changes even more thanks to this stranger, who she feels an undeniable connection with. From the moment they start talking to each other on the phone, they’re fascinated with each other. Some flirting begins, and then things turn raw and sensual…

“Let me … let me tell you what to do.”
“Are you … going to laugh at me?”
“Laugh? I’m the fucking luckiest man on the planet tonight. The only thing I’m going to do is help you come.”

I myself was fascinated with Annie and Dylan. Annie is a wonderfully complex character, so tough yet innocent at the same time. She had a difficult life growing up, a life which turned dark and dangerous once her abusive husband entered the picture. She’s free now, but realizing that she’s missed out on a lot in life. With Dylan’s help, Annie breaks out of her shell, growing into herself, discovering the person she’s meant to be. And all the while, she wants Dylan desperately, their daily phone communication solidifying their relationship into something wonderful and treasured.

In the end it wasn’t a decision. Dylan was an instinct. An urge, like a tide in my blood.

Dylan is no less complex or intriguing than Annie. He’s a mysterious man – even though we get his POV (in the 3rd person), we still don’t know very much about him. I loved the way the author kept me on my toes about Dylan. He’s got both a good and bad side of him (he even refers to himself as a beast), and it was fascinating to see his secrets unravel. What we do know for sure is how much Annie consumes him – nothing in his life is the same after talking to her for the first time.

Truthfully, he would break every rule he had, every promise he’d ever made, and go to all the trouble in the world for this girl and she had no idea. None.

M. O’Keefe has written a wonderfully fascinating, entertaining book that I couldn’t put down. The writing in this is absolutely fantastic – it’s the kind of writing that keeps me reading, even when the story slows down. The characters are compelling, unique, and very likable. I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading Everything I Left Unsaid, and am very much looking forward to reading the sequel!

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Everything I Left Unsaid series

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O'Keefe The Truth About Him by M. O'Keefe 

#1 ~ Everything I Left Unsaid: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Truth About Him: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Burn Down the Night: EbookGoodreads (Aug. 2, 2016)


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