Hear Me Roar by Joy Smith


Hear Me Roar by Joy Smith
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Jan Simmons never expected trouble to move into her quiet Charming Way cul-de-sac. Nor did she expect her husband Jeff’s weakness for fast money to drag their once happy family into danger.

When her husband turns to crime, Jan, a people-pleaser with little self-worth, must release the death grip she has on her failing marriage for the sake of her children and draw on her inner strength.

As Jan fights to free her family from a web of lies and deceit she also battles to save herself.

Life can give us the unexpected, but when your husband turns to living a life breaking the law what does a wife do? Jan Simmons has a lot she is dealing with. It’s hard when her husband Jeff, the breadwinner of the household, lost his job and has to take a lesser paying job. I am not sure if the loss of his job ignited this change for the worst in Jeff, but this is the path he is traveling…a bickering, cheating drunk. Jeff is a character that I found very unlikeable. His priorities never seemed to be on his family and as the story goes on he gets caught up in a web of a mess and loses all sight of being a family man.

I enjoyed the author’s style of writing, but the story starts out slow. There wasn’t anything exciting about the life of a stay-at-home mom tending to kids, baking and conversations with other stay-at-home moms.The lack-luster husband who shows signs of a second life helped give the story something to look forward to. It’s a predictable story that was drawn out too long.

The new neighbor to Charming Way, Frank Carlucci (Digiorno) brought interest to the storyline but left me wondering why did he only have one card game at his house and why did he let Jeff accrue such a debt which in turn set the stage for Jeff to veer down his path of lawlessness.

Even though the story told of mafia behavior with drug dealing and kidnapping there wasn’t really any action. The story tells of a kidnapping but doesn’t show the events. I would have liked to have read the action. There were more details shared on the mom’s day than there were on the action details that must have taken place during the kidnapping and the trouble Jeff was involved in.

Jan didn’t start out as a strong woman but she eventually saw she had to provide for her family and protect their lives from the life her husband started to bring home. I like that Jan is a survivor and a fighter. She always kept her children’s best interest in mind. Maybe her growth and strength is the reason behind the title. Jan evolves from a housewife to finding her footing to being a business owner and mom of two.

The story is well written. It shows the courage of a woman taking charge of her life and the livelihood of her family. If you enjoy reading stories of women and their growth into a strong lioness be sure not to miss Hear Me Roar.

Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell


Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell
Publisher: Prospect Park Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

“My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted.”

Thus begins this riveting story of a woman’s quest to understand her recently deceased mother, a glamorous, cruel narcissist who left her only child, Elsie, an inheritance of debts and mysteries. While coping with threats that she suspects are coming from the cult-like spiritual program her mother belonged to, Elsie works to unravel the message her dying mother left for her, a quest that ultimately takes her to the South African family homestead she never knew existed.

I don’t know where to start on my review for this book. The author’s writing style captured me from the very start of the novel. This is a well written book that includes a wondrously structured plot of suspense. I couldn’t help but feel for Elsie as she opened up revealing various pains that all seem to have generated from the soiled relationship with her mother. Elsie has made the best of her life, but with the recent death of her mother, Rachel, old wounds start to open up and Elsie is challenged to face not only her demons but also her mother’s.

Elsie is a strong young lady who, even though she lacked her mother’s love and approval, still seemed to get through life. No, she wasn’t perfect and she had her faults but I guess that’s what made her so easy to connect with. She was a teen performance dancer, she dealt with being anorexic, she loses her best friend but gains the lead dance role. Any mother would be proud to have a daughter with such a successful early career. That’s one thing, even after finishing the novel I still didn’t understand why Elsie’s mother treated her like she did. She was her mother’s only child and yet in a way Elsie was motherless. Elsie’s self-pity is so strong that she’d rather be alone in the world; pushing away the one man that loves her beyond measure.

Elsie’s ex-husband Ted is her stronghold and voice of reason. I enjoyed reading their story. I was sad to read that Elsie’s willingness to give up and free Ted, but I was glad and found it touching that Ted’s love continued during the bad. I was glad Ted is true and consistent in Elsie’s life and that even though they are divorced he still took time to answer her calls and to help her when he could.

I enjoyed the writing style and the voice of Elsie as she looked for answers in finding herself and along the way making sense to find answers to her life. Her mother’s death didn’t necessarily mean an end, but it seemed to give Elsie strength and purpose. As I mentioned earlier, I still didn’t understand Elsie’s mother’s reasons for her actions and way of mothering. The many years that her mom had ties with the Seekers was strange to me. This part of the story is different and I tried thinking of some other reason that could put a wedge between a mother and a daughter; I guess Rachel’s deep involvement with the Seekers is good enough reason for a wedge. Reading about a cult-like religion is something new to me and it worked for this story.

I highly recommend this story for readers who enjoy going deep into a character’s emotional life where their story remains long after the you’ve turned the last page.

Pretty Masks by C. A. Bell


Pretty Masks – A Twisted Tale of Revenge by C. A. Bell
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (120 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Masking a problem doesn’t fix it. No matter how long you keep it covered.

We all hide behind masks. Whether that be a forced smile to a loved one after a long day. A sympathetic frown of concern to someone that doesn’t really matter to you. Or a professional face at work after an almighty row at home. The fact is, we all do it. We do it because we want to be prettier on the outside than we truly are on the inside. We do it to hide the cracks that have formed due to life. But what about the people who are forced to wear masks? The people who are forced to hide their true colours because society says so?

Life has thrown its fair share of crap at Lois Johnston, and the one thing that has kept her sane and going for the last seven years is her husband, Nathan. But what happens when the one person that is keeping you safe from yourself leaves, taking not only your heart, but your sanity with them as well?

For the first time in a long time Lois is about to remove the mask that was forced upon her years ago. But what’s matured underneath after years of heartache and hiding is something even uglier than before. Life has twisted her into a monster, and she’s about to set it free.

The book started off okay. Lois Johnston is waiting for her husband Nathan to come home, she had plans to greet him with a romantic dinner that she has made. Coming home late for the last four month, Nathan placates Lois by telling her that they will take a romantic trip soon. Lois doesn’t come across as a strong woman to me. Her husband basically showed her by his actions that she wasn’t a priority, that their marriage wasn’t a priority. It is sad that she is in a marriage where she is unseen and neglected. I didn’t like that the author didn’t give Lois a life. There wasn’t any mention of any close friends. I didn’t see Lois as a fully developed character for these reasons and that her story focused more on her tragedy and disorder and not on her as a woman.

The story does alternate from Lois’s past and present. Her past gives a glimpse of how she got to where she is in the present. The glimpses of her past do help to show how her disorder developed.

I understand the Dissociative Identity Disorder to a small degree and it was disclosed that she dealt with traumatic abuse, but I didn’t understand how if Lois has been doing fine with her disorder but all of a sudden she loses control of herself and starts her journey into a world of revenge and madness. I am not familiar with what brings about DID triggers nor did I expect the dark tale of sex and murder that personality X brought to the story. I am not sure how I feel about X standing up for Lois. I want Lois to be strong and take control of her fears and life, but not by a means of violence. I wanted her husband Nathan to reap what he sowed for hurting and neglecting Lois. I guess X made him pay by her standards of punishment and I couldn’t expect a happy or satisfying ending for someone dealing with impulsive behavior.

This is a short story that is sure to keep your attention as it takes you on a ride on the many faces of Lois. This is a good, quick read that delivers the dark side of Dissociative Identity Disorder and what could possibility be the devastating results.

The Doctor Is In by Carl Weber and Brenda Hampton


The Doctor Is In by Carl Weber and Brenda Hampton
Publisher: Urban Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (209 pgs)
Heat level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Dr. Kasen Phillips has the magic touch when it comes to helping his patients who are in dire need of counseling services, but when the love of his life winds up missing in action, Kasen s life takes a horrific turn for the worse. His office manager, Voncile Harper, is there to lend a helping hand. She s on a mission to shake Kasen from his misery, by offering him hersweet heatthat he can t resist. It s not long before Kasen finds himself caught up in a web of Voncile s lies, and when he realizes that he may have bitten off more than he can chew, he wants out of their reckless relationship for good. Unfortunately for Kasen, walking away may be difficult to do. Voncile is deep in love, and any man who refuses to play by her rules may be forced to suffer dire consequences.

What do you get when you mix a resentful best friend and an infatuated office manager? Murder, kidnapping and loss of sleep from staying up at night trying to read to see what happens next.

Have you ever met a person and you can tell some things not right about that person real quick? Well that’s the feeling I got when Voncile Harper was introduced in this story. That little voice says she is up to something and it’s not going to be good. Vonvile is Dr. Kasen Phillips’ office manager of two years. Voncile has harbored feelings of lust for Kasen and silently waited to make her interest known. One afternoon after seeing a patient, Kasen has an epiphany and decides to propose to his live-in girlfriend of three years, Raine. Voncile isn’t the only one that’s not happy about Kasen’s proposal.

After his proposal to Raine doesn’t go as he had planned, Kasen arrives home to an empty house. Raine’s belongings are gone and so is Raine. I know we try to give people the benefit of the doubt but Kasen was slow and naive to the people around him because the signs are there that they definitely didn’t have his best interest at heart. For all Kasen knows Raine has ran off with another man and then shortly after Omar stops answering his calls. Kasen isn’t sure what is going on but he has Vonvile to keep him distracted. If only Kasen could have heard me while I was talking to the book telling him no don’t do that.

I highly enjoyed this book. It wasn’t predictable and with the twist it kept the storyline moving in a fast pace. The anticipation was high as I was concerned how will Raine ever get out of her situation. Will Kasen find out how Omar really feels about him? The authors didn’t spend a lot of time with character details but with a novel written with such an active plot I wasn’t left feeling like something was missing.

I am a fan of Carl Weber and familiar with his work. This is the first book I’ve read by Brenda Hampton and I must say I want to read more by this author. This book had my full attention. Suspense, murder, crazy people and a man fighting for the woman that he loves that surely is a book that I’d want to read.

The Pastor’s Husband by Tiffany L. Warren


The Pastor’s Husband by Tiffany L. Warren
Publisher: Dafina
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (337 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Felicia Caldwell has a great job, a healthy bank account, and stunning good looks. But she longs for a husband and family to go along with it. So when charismatic superstar pastor Nya Hempstead declares that partnership is on its way, Felicia is elated—until her life becomes filled with more curses than blessings. Five years later, someone has to pay—and that someone is Nya. Soon, Felicia is moving to Dallas and joins the church led by Nya and her co-pastor husband, Gregory…

In the eyes of the public, Nya and Gregory have the perfect life. But their marriage is feeling the strain of Nya’s success. While she’s hitting the talk show circuit and the bestseller list, Gregory is fading into the background. It’s no surprise he enjoys the fawning attention of new church member, Felicia. Little does he know her intentions are far from pure. And as she infiltrates the pastors’ lives it will take a team of prayer warriors and heavenly intervention to save their relationship—and their ministry. Along the way, will they remember the mission they started with?

In the eyes of the public, Nya Hempstead and Gregory have the perfect life. Felicia Caldwell was unemployed and alone until pastor Nya spoke blessings into her life. Sometimes what we think are blessings may not be.

The storyline grabbed my attention from the start, and continued to develop and hold its steady pace. The author’s talent is shown with the twists and turns that kept the story going. The character development is near perfection. The look into a large scale ministry is realistic. The marriage between Nya and Greg is relayed as a relationship that could actually be real. Their bond is tested and their marriage feels the strain of Nya’s success by either distance or outside elements that could be deadly to their marriage. Greg could be perceived as being jealous of Nya’s fame. To me he stood true in voicing his concern for Nya as she was surrounded by association that wasn’t in line with their spiritual walk. I admired Greg and his being committed to his marriage. But there was one point when he did disappoint me in taking Felicia’s side. Nya seemed naive to the path she was heading towards in her association with Lady Sandy and also naive in leaving her husband alone so much while she traveled; leaving him to build the ministry that they planned and started together.

Felicia Caldwell is a story in herself. I knew this was going to be an interesting tale when she stated that she believed that God blessed her with a married man. From that point on Felicia’s life and hopes of her happily ever after went all wrong. As Felicia sees it, Nya is to blame for her misfortunes.

Something that I took from this book is that just because we think something is a blessing, doesn’t mean it is a blessing from God. Nya’s reasoning is that her fame was a blessing but when she mislead others in her prophecy to Felicia, and her not being able to tell Lady Sandy no along with neglecting her husband’s needs all shows that maybe it’s not a blessing but a distraction. Felicia perceived her losing weight and getting a job as a blessing and those very well could be, but when she saw her relationship with a married man as a blessing she took something divine and made it repugnant.

I enjoyed the book. The entertaining plot combined with the moving characters makes this one that I would highly recommend.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole


An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .

Adventure, romance, sex… perfect for escape reading. What free woman would trade in her freedom to carry out her passion for justice?

This is a well written book with a unique plot. Elle Burn is a unique woman by a lot of means. Courageous is the word that I would use to describe her. Elle is a freed slave going undercover to get information to the Union to help defeat the Confederates and she also has the ability to remember everything that she read and see. So her gift helps in the service that she does for the Union. This isn’t a book where I found myself necessarily liking a particular character or even connecting with one but if I had to pick one it would be Elle. She is courageous, she is selfless and for her to face the dangers in the fight to end slavery as well as becoming involved in forbidden love is a woman that is truly bold.

While undercover Elle meets Malcolm McCall. They both have a lot in common. Malcolm has his personal reasons for helping the Union. During their mission to help the Union Malcolm happens to see Elle and finds himself attracted to her. As the story goes on their attraction and passion for each other grows. Another thing they both have in common is that they read and quote Shakespeare and Sun Tzu. I like that they have similar things to share and draw closeness on.

The story is summarized and told so well but it seems there is more telling than showing. I enjoy a good historical read but I felt this storyline center more around Elle and Malcolm’s growth into a relationship as well as their active sex life. Their personal relationship took away from the story line. There wasn’t a balance of romance and historical events. Even though Elle and Malcolm didn’t have it easy in trying to be with each other, the story doesn’t offer much as to the suspense of the outcome. I could predict that the outcome would be in the best interest of Elle and Malcolm. I think this would have been a good story without the sex-capade.

This is an extraordinary story, but probably doesn’t offer a realistic historical outcome.  For this reason I would recommend this to readers that enjoy an escape but aren’t exceptionally choosy about historical accuracy.  It also offers readers a sensual romance with a happy ending.

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner


Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (398 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives.

A double murder at a local gas station and Telly Ray Nash’s foster parents are found murdered. Has Sharlah’s brother killed again?

I can always count on Lisa Gardner for a suspense thriller and she did not disappoint me. Her normal style of descriptive details is ever present, so that I feel that I am there physically and also in the character’s head. I really liked the idea of FBI Profiler Pierce Quincy and Rainie taking in a foster child… and what a match. Sharlah is so receptive to the profilers training and mindset. With her family history, I think she admires the role that her foster parents chose as a career and towards the end of the book she actually puts to use the things she has learned from her foster parents.

I did get a little lost when the details started being revealed. I wanted to make sure I understood how things tied in together and I didn’t want to miss anything so I reread a few chapters. Once I was clear, there was that feeling that a Lisa Gardner book gives me; that moment when I’m reading and I ask myself “how did she come up with this idea” followed by “how did she put it together to play out so smoothly and still keeping the suspense intact”? I applaud and thank her for giving readers a book that offers a satisfying story.

I enjoyed Sharlah and Telly’s voices in the book. Even though Sandra and Frank Duvall are deceased, the way Telly spoke of them warmed my heart. That they took Telly in and gave him support, acceptance and guidance on being a man was wonderful. With foster parents like the Duvalls, Telly’s past doesn’t have to determine his future. Even though Telly hadn’t seen his sister in years he still has the big brother qualities to protect his sister. This story is bigger than Sharlah and Telly. It’s almost a case of deja vu of being in a family that causes Telly and Sharlah to take action to save both of their lives. The story is told in a even pace, with action and suspense and it ends with no loose ends. I would like to read future books about Sharlah to see how her life with Quincy and Raine turned out.

Of course I recommend this book! For readers that enjoy suspense, family closeness and even family disfunction, characters that draw you in or simply even if you just enjoy reading a good book.

Love in the Golden Years by Ellynore Seybold


Love in the Golden Years by Ellynore Seybold
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (28 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Harold, a widower and a retired government worker, misses his wife and decides to take up a hobby. Courageously stepping out of his shell, he joins a scuba diving class, where he meets a vivacious widow and discovers new adventures.

Attractive and fun-loving Aletha spices up Harold’s mostly routine life with one surprise after another. Neither of them expect any obstacles to a nice relationship, but everything—from sexual malfunction to legalese to Aletha’s new career—seems to interfere.

Will they ever find married bliss?

Love in the Golden Years is an enjoyable sweet read that gives proof that a second love is possible. The story is mostly told from widower Harold’s view. Harold misses his wife of 42 years but finds his interest is sparked when he meets adventurous Aletha. Aletha is a widow and in her golden years is looking for something interesting. She takes to Harold, even though I think she is a little bit too much for him.

This is a short read, that had my attention from the beginning. I would have liked to have read a little more from Aletha’s point of view. I enjoyed reading how Aletha and her husband Norman met and their love seemed so real and actually touched my heart. I classify them as an adventurous and daring couple that won my heart. I hated to see that their 30 years of marriage ended so abruptly. Even though the introduction of their meeting was short and their marriage was mentioned briefly I enjoyed reading about their bond and closeness. I am glad that Aletha kept living and kept her adventurous side active.

Harold tells most of the story of their relationship. I get the feeling that Harold felt left out often, but he didn’t voice this to Aletha, perhaps fearing he would run her off. Harold enjoyed Aletha’s liveliness and I think this is what kept him around even though they faced conflicts.

The plot is interesting and the writing is simple and to the point. The characters are likable and I can picture them dancing and enjoying the night. Even though I am not in my golden years, the story can be relatable to someone of age because it varies from losing someone, starting a new relationship and the events that come with new beginnings.

I would recommend this pleasurable read to readers that enjoy reading about love and happy endings.

Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby


Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (172 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Befriending Traci Calloway Cole is the best thing Simone Phillips has ever done. Traci is the kind of woman Simone wants to be-in every way possible. She begins copying her role model. Not because she wants to be Traci. She just wants to be exactly like Traci.

Traci doesn’t worry, though. She knows Simone doesn’t mean any harm and that her mimicry is only sincere admiration. Until she discovers how far Simone’s obsession has gone. It is then that Simone’s entire world begins unraveling, and dreadful secrets from her past are exposed with no warning. Secrets that she’ll do almost anything to protect.

Would you find it flattering if someone mimicked your style, taste and behavior? Once Simone Phillips met her role model, author Traci Calloway Cole, Simone has been doing all she can to be just like Traci.

This isn’t Traci’s first time having a woman to copy her style. Which is what left me puzzled as to why Traci was being so naive to Simone’s behavior. Traci has been through this, and even wrote a book about a lady being a copycat and still didn’t have a clue or insight to see what Simone was doing. Her husband warned her and even her sister who met Simone only once but she was able to see Simone’s fascination with Traci was questionable.

This is a quick read that for a short read had some parts that were too detailed in things that didn’t necessarily contribute to the plot. The dialogue was slow but the plot made it interesting. I was curious how long Simone was going to let this behavior continue before it all crumbled. I love reading about couples and their happiness but the relationship between Traci and her husband Timothy just seemed unrealistic and too perfect.

The author delivered an interesting plot without the use of profanity or erotic behavior. References to church, scriptural quotes are mentioned but weren’t overly preachy. Whether low self esteem and lack of self love or maybe Simone had mental issues… I am not sure which but the subject of losing oneself and thinking if they look like or act like someone else that this would bring about happiness is real. In her past, Simone filed for bankruptcy and lately was been responsible with her credit but then with her obsession with Traci she lost her self identity, her morals and ended up with unnecessary material possessions and building up debt that would take years to get out of. She did all this while losing herself and her fiance.

I enjoyed the pre-marriage counseling session between Simone and her fiancé, Chris. I questioned why Chris was even interested in Simone. Simone has a past that she isn’t proud of. Simone’s past gave some interest to the story because I definitely was wondering what she was ashamed of. Simone has some deep rooted issues and her story and her point of view was sad, but it’s even more sad that she didn’t realize how deep and bizarre her behavior was as she was so rapidly transforming herself into Traci.

Both bizarre and humorous, I’d recommend this story to readers who like stories a little outside the norm.

Can You Keep a Secret by Mary Monroe


Can You Keep a Secret by Mary Monroe
Publisher: Dafina
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (89 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

In this page-turning prequel to her thrilling Lonely Heart, Deadly Heart series, New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe introduces Lola Poole and Joan Proctor, fast friends getting a crash course in love, family, betrayal—and other little disasters…

They couldn’t be less alike—except for their restless spirits. Lola came from a loving home, even though it included her father’s live-in mistress. And Joan is a secret wild child chafing under her mother’s watchful eye. So when Lola’s quiet world shatters and her hopes seem out of reach for good, Joan has the perfect consolation in mind.

But the besties will soon discover that boyfriends, money, and good times are no real escape from their families’ ever-scandalous drama. Soon, with demanding stepparents, conniving relatives, and simmering secrets closing in, they’ll have to watch each other’s backs and use their quick wits to save their lifelong dreams…

“A deathbed promise is nothing to take lightly.” And Lola Poole did not take the promise she made to her dad lightly.

Lola Poole and Joan Proctor are the best of friends but come from two different families. Lola’s dad has a live-in mistress and she thinks it’s all right. Joan has a home that’s full of family members. Joan is never alone and hardly has any personal space. Lola is use to being the talk of the town but not in a good way. For someone so young she seemed to have a huge load to carry. Lola’s family members are slowly dismissed from her life. The life Lola once knew has completely changed and the only person still constant is her faithful friend Joan. I love that Joan is a true friend in Lola’s time of need. At their age they should be out having fun and having not a care or responsibility in the world. Due to the fact that Lola promised her dad that she would look after Bertha May, Lola isn’t able to enjoy her youth. I want to call Bertha selfish but maybe it’s a little of her being selfish but also her need for attention and to feel cared for. Her twin children serve no real purpose in her life but to make her feel lesser. This could by why Lola feels obligated to care for Bertha. Sometimes family isn’t necessarily blood related. Those that aren’t born into your family could end up being closer than blood.

Thought the book is short, I enjoyed it. Lola and Joan have a true friendship to admire. They have a valuable relationship that I enjoyed reading about. Lola needed and wanted a family and had to worry about being in this world alone, but Joan made sure that Lola always felt love and she was by Lola’s side. Lola’s life drastically changed, and she went through a lot in her few years. Her life could seem pretty sad to some but I get the feeling that Lola is a strong young lady that will be able to overcome and build off of her pain. She didn’t focus on the bad stuff.  Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the story, because Lola didn’t use her unfortunate situation to have pity for herself or turn to a life that took her down the wrong path. The story is a good teaser that makes me want to read what happens to Lola and Joan next.