Monday, January 15, 2018

Blog Tour: Degrees of Love by Lisa Slabach (Book Review & Giveaway)

Book Details:

Book Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach
Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Bookbaby
Release date: Dec 1, 2017
Tour dates: Jan 3 to 31, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Adult themes including infidelity, occasional F-word, non-explicit sex scenes)

Book Description:

At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She's just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.

Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt's work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.

Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.

A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the fa├žade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.

"Degrees of Love" is Lisa's first novel but I never would guessed that by the writing style or the way the story flowed so seamlessly together. Lisa had me hooked from page one and I couldn't stop reading till the end. I read this book in one night. Yes 344 pages in one night. I just couldn't wait to see what would happen next. 

Susan is 36 and from the outside it appears she has it all but she doesn't think so. Even when she gets the promotion she's been waiting for, it isn't enough to make her completely happy. She feels as if something is missing. Her life is simply mundane. The same things happen day in and day out. 

It wasn't a conscience decision but it begins to happen anyway. Susan takes steps to make her life more enticing and before she knows it her marriage is in trouble and her life is out of control.

I'm not one for cheating and I usually don't like books that have it in them but this one was different somehow. I found myself understanding Susan's point of view on life even though I didn't condone what she did.

I think as a reader our job is to give each book a chance to tell the story it is meant to and then we decide if the author makes us fall or not. I know I fell for this book hard and I hope others do too. 

Praise for Degrees of Love:

"Slabach crafts a relatable, heartbreakingly real story that will no doubt resonate with those at a similar station in life: women who love their families yet yearn for just a little more—to feel wanted rather than needed, to feel passion rather than complacency. In engaging prose and through skillful storytelling, Slabach captivates with an all-too-familiar story that raises questions with no easy answers."
- Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"This does not read like a debut author’s book. Slabach shows herself to be adept at portraying the complex emotions of the human condition. Her characters live and breathe on the page in a way that every author strives for, but few actually manage. Susan’s struggles ring true, and the way she handles everything makes her a very likable and relatable character."
- Sarah Perry, San Francisco Book Review, 5 Stars

"Profound, heart wrenching and very emotional, it is hard to believe that Degrees of Love is a debut novel by Lisa Slabach. This is one of the best novels I have read this year."
- Rabia Tanveer, Readers' Favorite

To read more reviews, please visit Lisa Slabach's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Degrees of Love is Lisa Slabach’s debut novel. She is currently working on her third full-length manuscript and a collection of short stories inspired by her experiences growing up in a small farm community in Washington’s Yakima Valley. In addition to writing, Lisa works for a Fortune 500 Company, leading a sales team in the financial industry. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and has two daughters, who are both pursuing careers in film. In her free time, she enjoys drinking wine with friends and cooking in her pink kitchen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Ends Feb 7

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Book Review: The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Young Adult, Horror
Publication Date:October 10, 2017
Published By:  Delacorte Press
Website:Hillary Monahan 

The Hollow Girl on Goodreads
My review copy:
Borrowed from local library

Where to get:


For fans of AsylumAnna Dressed in Blood, and The Haunting of Sunshine Girl comes a new feminist horror novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Mary: The Summoning.

Five boys attacked her.
Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.

Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.

One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.

She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn.


The Hollow Girl was my last read of 2017 and the book that officially doubled my Goodreads goal. It was also an amazing book to end the year on. Graphic and intense, but amazing.

After Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and leave Martyn for dead, Bethan and Drina (aka Gran) give the boys a chance to apologize. When they don't, Gran informs Bethan that “their fates are yours. You can harvest them for what you need and banish them as mochadi. You can harvest them and allow them to stay. You can bind them to you to serve. You can kill them all if it pleases you. Whatever you choose, I support you.” That's love, guys.

Bethan goes through the emotions of mutilating these boys, from determination to regret and back again. She reminds herself of what they did to her and Martyn, which allows her to feel little pity regarding their fates.

Bethan grows from a shy and timid girl to a strong and fierce woman - extracting revenge by cutting off body parts will do that to people. There are times when Hillary gets rather graphic, but if you're not phased by gore and blood you'll be fine. If you are someone who isn't a huge fan of gore, deal with it because while this is a story of revenge, it's also about love, family, and not letting the bastards win.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date:March 22, 2016
Published By: Simon Schuster Audio
Website:Amber Smith

The Way I Used to Be on Goodreads
My review copy:
Borrowed from local library

Where to get:

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.


The Way I Used to Be is a powerful and emotional novel. I listened to it in two days, finishing as an eBook because I couldn't stop and had to find out how it ended.

The story starts with Eden's rape. It's not grotesque, but not pleasant either. She wakes the next morning thinking it was a dream but quickly finds out it was real. She knows she should tell her Mom, but has trouble finding the words to do so. Instead, she showers and heads downstairs to have breakfast with her family and Kevin.

What follows is Eden's experience through high school while dealing with this traumatic event she has not told anyone. She experiences many common firsts in high school (making friends, losing friends, romantic relationships, etc.) while at the same time trying to "move on" from what happened without actually moving on.

Her relationships with her parents and brother suffer, she sleeps in a sleeping bag on the floor, and finds a comfort in continually updating her number with a string of random guys.

This story is raw and powerful. While a work of fiction, it's heartbreaking to know that some semblance of Eden's story and character is true to life. Individuals who have gone through traumatic experiences and are trying to cope with what happened to them. Trying to live.

It's at times uncomfortable and unsettling, but Amber handles this with grace, class, and honestly. Eden goes through a hard and lonely journey, but at the same time her journey is a meaningful one that ends with something we could all use a little more of: hope.

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