Watching Glass Shatter by James J Cudney

61Fplag25QL._SY346_I was quite intrigued by the premise of this book.

From the description:

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

This was something new and different!

Olivia and Ben were a happily married couple in their sixties, and had been married 40 years. Ben was nearing retirement, and they were making plans for travel and relaxation. All five sons are grown, with the youngest being in medical school preparing to become a doctor. The oldest works at the family law firm, having been groomed to take his father’s place upon his retirement. Another brother works there also, handling the financial side of the business. One son is an architect and has moved to Maine, and another is portrayed as the black sheep of the family, when in reality he has been sober for several years and is hiding a successful DJ career from his family.

When Ben dies unexpectedly, Olivia is shattered. Then after the reading of the will, the lawyer gives her two letters from Ben, one for herself and one to give one of their sons. In this letter he tells Olivia what happened long ago, and the name of the woman who switched babies with him willingly. He does not, however, tell which son was switched, and she must first speak to the birth mother for answers.

While she is waiting for the lawyer to track down the other woman, Olivia decides to spend a week with each of her sons, to enjoy the time with them before knowing which wasn’t really her son. Even though she is still mourning her beloved husband and processing the anger she feels at his betrayal, she learns that her perfect family isn’t so perfect, and each of her sons is hiding his own secret. Olivia realizes her family is broken in many ways, and they need to heal each other.

At last, the birth mother is located and Olivia learns what really happened that day, and which of the sons was switched. She ultimately has to decide whether or not to tell her sons what happened, and how that will affect their fragile bonds.

 

This is not a light, easy read. It’s captivating and engrossing, but not easy at all. This family is being attacked by life on all sides – not only by the death of Ben, but mother and sons all have their own demons to face. Some are reconcilable, but not all. In the end, however, this is a story about the strength of family bonds.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Get it here 

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Wired Fear by Toby Neal

40498372Toby Neal has been one of my favorite authors for several years now, since I read the first book of her Lei Crime series. At this point, I’ve read almost everything she’s written and she is one of the few authors whose books I preorder, no matter what.

I’ve had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Wired Fear, the 8th book in the Paradise Crime series. While the main investigation is a standalone, I do think this book is better after reading Wired Secret.

So on to the review.
Can these characters just become real people? Please?
Sophie Ang has been one of my very favorite characters for several years, since making her debut in the Lei Crime series. In the Paradise Crime series, she is definitely shining. She is learning so much about herself and how to interact with people and it’s so endearing to read.Wired Fear takes place not terribly long after the events of Wired Secret. Sophie has moved on with Jake, and they are opening a branch of Security Solutions in Hilo. They are adjusting to many things – new homes, new office and staff, new locations, and new relationship dynamics.

There are a couple themes being explored in this book. One I won’t get into because spoilers. Another is a take on good vs evil – if someone does evil to bring about good in the long term, is that okay? And also if someone does good for evil reasons, what does that mean? Is life as clear cut as “good” vs “evil” or are things carried out in murky shades of gray? And now I’m feeling like the ever present vog was intentional, to represent the shades of gray coloring everything on the island…

Anyway, Sophie. Jake. Alika. Connor. Did you think the matter was settled? It seems to be, in the end. But there are big changes coming so who knows what will happen?

This book has a more introspective Sophie than ass-kicking Sophie, but that’s okay. She is not a machine designed to rule the computer world and fight. She is a human and still must come to terms with what that means. Jake does plenty to make up for it. And we see familiar faces and old enemies again. While one storyline is resolved, I am sure this is not nearly the end of another.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Preorder Wired Fear here. It will be available on August 30.

Back To You by Claudia Burgoa

backtoyouBack To You is the conclusion of the Chaotic Love duet. (Begin With You reviewed here.)

Back picks up right where Begin left off, so we don’t miss any of the story. Wes and Sterling, along with the HIB team, are searching for Abby. After the rescue, Abby goes to a center founded by Luna to help victims recover, heal, and get therapy, but first she tells Wes they cannot be together while she’s healing.

A lot of the next part of the book is told in letters written between Wes and Abby. Once Abby lets her guard down and really starts letting her truths come out, there are some profound insights. This is one of my favourites:

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Eventually, Abby is ready to leave the compound. She gets an accounting job through the foundation’s connections and moves to New York. She and Sterling remain close friends, and they end up working together in a new enterprise.

When Wes reenters the picture, neither one of them knows how to react. Finally Wes proposes a trial of ten dates to get to know each other again. They have a lot to learn about who the other person has become. They have both grown up during their separation, now they have to see if they can grow together.

I was torn when I finished this book. I absolutely love this author’s books – the characters, the writing skill, the depth – and this is no different. But something about this one didn’t make me fall in love with it. I can’t say exactly why, either. Maybe because we missed the rescue itself, maybe because (slight spoiler alert) Wes and Abby didn’t complete the 10 date trial before deciding their future.

What I loved:

Sterling. Wes’s older brother is a fantastic character and I can’t wait to read more about him.

Abby. The maturity and insight she shows after treatment, and with continuing therapy, is beautiful. I love that she’s also pursuing – and achieving – her dream.

Chester and Oakley. Dogs get me every time. I love them!

Abby and Linda. I was so happy to see resolution there.

Back To You released today. Get it here

My rating: ♥♥♥♥

Let Me Be Your First by Lynsey M Stewart

51uF-WfVdiL._SY346_Oh, sweet Elle.

Elle is a 23 year old social worker, whose job is not just a job but a calling. She worked hard throughout college and training to get this dream job, but didn’t take the time to date. Now, though, she is tired of being the Virgin Friend but wants her first time to be special.

In the past, she had a crush on her somewhat older mentor/trainer Luke. They developed a friendship and flirtation, but never went beyond that. He transferred to another office and that was the end of that. Abi, Elle’s best friend and coworker, runs into Luke and he asks about Elle, and she soon gets in touch with him and they pick up their friendship. Things soon progress, and they are in a relationship of sorts.

Luke.

I spent most of the book HATING Luke. He is a selfish, manipulative asshole. I wondered for so long how he would be redeemed, but also not quite wanting it to happen. The last thing I want is for young women to read about a woman in a bad relationship who changes him with her love – that’s not reality and is quite the dangerous message. But then again, I’m a sucker for happy endings.

Enter Ben. Ben is a match from an internet dating site that Elle’s friends set up for her. They message back and forth for a long time before finally meeting. Ben seems like everything Luke isn’t, but is he too good to be true?

I had such mixed feelings throughout much of this book because of the Elle/Luke relationship. But then, the beautiful redemption. There was a lot of growth for Elle and her suitors (one way more than the other). In the end, Elle made the perfect choice for her.

Side note: her friends are amazing and I want an Abi!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Get it here