Book Reviews

Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan/Book Review

I learn something every time I read a women’s fiction book. I believe each one has a life lesson if you’re paying attention. In Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan, we meet Yasmen and Josiah Wade, a couple everyone believed would be together forever. Both are dealing with loss but in different ways that causes them to not communicate well, then Yasmen wants an divorce.

About Before I Let Go

Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve or save everything.

It couldn’t save their marriage.

Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s is finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.

Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another…and then more. It’s hot. It’s illicit. It’s all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better, the second time around?

Purchase at Amazon/ B&N

My Review

I connected with Yasmen’s character right away with how she dealt with grief in the book. Grief touches everyone different and in how they handle it. The author portrays grief, loss and the feelings of each character so well in this book.

As the reader, I could feel their pain and understand what they were going through. When it comes to other themes such as divorce, I’ve never experienced it, but the need to not let go and the longing for each other was settle. The way Yasmen and Josiah handles their emotions needed work, but I liked the way therapy was introduced and even for their son.

Everything fell into place in this book for me. The way Yasmen works to regain the love from her children again after dealing with depression, especially with her daughter, Deja, was moving. I got a little emotion later in the book reading their interaction with each other.

This book brought tears to my eyes but also made me recognize a lot of what I went through in my depression after loosing my mother. The best thing Yasmen and myself could do is fight our way back. The author does say in her acknowledgement she hopes the book helps someone dealing with divorce, depression, loss etc. The way the book is written with the readers best interest at heart I believe it will help and touch many.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I will read more of her women’s fiction books as long as she writes them.

Book Reviews

Mini-Reviews: Week of 2/7/22-2/11/22

Mending Fences by Sherryl Woods

Two families. One incident that changes all their lives. We meet the Carters and the Dobbs, they have been best friends for a while from the children to the mothers, but habits of the Carters trinkle into the Dobbs household. Emily Dobbs must decide how important is her friendship with Marcia Carter and if keeping her daughter Dani safe. This was an intense book for me that truly shows how quick people change when terrible things happen. Support that you’ve relied on disappears leaving questions unanswered until you get to the twist in the story. I really enjoyed this book and how things unraveled, but also frustrated about Dani staying silent too long.

This is My American by Kim Johnson

This book is about Tracy, daughter and sister trying to keep her family intact while clearing their name. She is a strong character and incredibly determined to bring to like the racism and unfair treatment of her father and brother’s cases. While Tracy fights for her family she uncovers a history of wrongdoings that affects not only her family, but another one, which is the shocking reveal in the story. This is a book worth reading.

The Arrangement by Kiersten Modglin

Who says marriage is boring? It’s not in this book. Ainsley and Peter make an arrangement to see other people to repair their marriage. Was it a bad idea? Most definitely. Once their arrangement starts it uncovers incidents that Ainsley and Peter will have to get themselves out of. This was a great read of weaving through chaos, secrets, and unsuspected reveals. Loved it!

The Apothecary Poison by C. J. Archer

This is book three in the Glass and Steele series, we meet back up with Matt and India on the search for Dr. Hale in hopes that he can lead them to Chronos. Matt’s health is not well, and he still needs to get his watch fixed. When Dr. Hale is murdered, Matt becomes the primary suspect. Matt and India are running out of time. This book had unsuspected twist and had me anticipating what would happen next. I loved that it was harder to figure out who killed Hale. I also love the series carrying over the mission on finding Chronos. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

This is book three in the Veronica Speedwell series, Veronica and Stoker on looking into the disappearance of Stoker’s former expedition partner. It seems there have been unfortunate events happening around this expedition especially with a shadowing figure stalking about. I enjoyed the book and the reveal, but it took a little bit longer to get into it. This may be because I listened to the audiobook. I will continue this series because overall I am really it and look forward to reading the next book.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Book Features, Giveaways

Sneak Peek of Three Coins by Kimberly Sullivan

The doorbell rang. Gently, Tiffany placed the shoes down and made her way to the door. After peering through the peephole, she smiled and flung open the door.

Ciao bello. Come stai oggi?

Simone’s eyes examined her from head to toe. Grasping her by the shoulder, he spun her gently around. “Wow, much better after seeing you. Good thing I never have students like you in my classes. Too distracting.”

She tapped him on the chest. “You’re such a tease. You didn’t even see me in my heels. I’ll knock before I go out.”

There was a spark in his hazel eyes. “Where are you going, dressed to kill? Out to break more hearts?”

She sighed. “I wish. I’m going to a party. The producer of a show I’m auditioning for will be there. I have to make a good impression.”

Simone raised an eyebrow. “Dressed like that, how could you not?” He reached for her hand. “It sounds to me like you need a good, home-cooked meal to strengthen you before the attack.”

Tiffany groaned. “Not again. I had to hold my breath to squeeze into this dress. Your cooking will bust the seams.”

“There’s nothing to you, Tiffany. I may not watch those shows, but I am an Italian male. I don’t think skeletal frames are any man’s ideal. Just a little. I promise not to force-feed you.” He smiled, setting off the crinkles around his eyes.

Tiffany could never resist Simone. He was like a big puppy dog. And since they’d been neighbors, he was more like a brother to her than her own brother had ever been. “Okay, you win. Lead the way.”

She allowed herself to be nudged next door. She’d been so many times to this apartment, a mirror image of her own, but so much more grown up. Good quality furniture, overflowing floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a fully equipped kitchen that Simone actually used on a daily basis. When Simone returned from the high school biology classes he taught, he went for a jog, then got to work in the kitchen. Heavenly aromas wafted from under his door every evening when she returned, while Tiffany wondered if she had enough lettuce left over in the fridge for a salad.

“I still haven’t gotten used to cooking for one.” He pulled a hot bakery tray from the oven.

Tiffany waited until he’d turned. “How’s Ramona? Have you spoken to her?” She knew Simone didn’t want to talk about it, while still wanting desperatelyto talk about it.

He turned his back to her again, placing bread slowly onto a plate. “She likes Chicago. She prefers e-mailing to calling or Skyping, says the sound of my voice makes her nostalgic. Makes her weaken her resolve about our deal.” His shoulders slouched.

Tiffany held back rather than slipping comforting arms around him.

“I hate how she calls it ‘our’ deal, when she’s the one who wanted to go to Chicago, free from all ties. I was willing to wait for her.”

Tiffany heard a sigh, but when Simone turned around he was smiling. She suspected his acting skills were far more developed than her own.

He placed the serving plate on the table with a flourish. “Crusty, homemade French bread, with melted gorgonzola and hazelnuts.”

“You’re freaking kidding me. You even bake your own bread?”

“Ah, ah, ah.” He slapped her hand playfully. “No profanity at this dinner table, Signorina Walker.”

“Oh, please.” Tiffany held up a steaming piece of baguette, smelling the melted gorgonzola. “Your English is so damned perfect and precise. You need to shake it up a bit, make it a bit more colorful.” She grinned. “That’s where I come in.”

“So you see? I lucked out with my choice of neighbor.”

“Ha!” Tiffany swallowed a bite. “Luck’s got nothing to do with it. Where else could we afford to live on two teacher’s salaries? A penthouse on Piazza di Spagna?”

Simone’s face clouded over. “Ramona’s company pays for some luxurious condo.”

He made a face and the word, on his lips, sounded vulgar.

“It overlooks Lake Michigan and the skyline. It has a gym and a twenty-four hour doorman.” He allowed his voice to grow soft. “She’s not coming back.”

Tiffany sighed and placed her hand over Simone’s. His hazel eyes looked so vulnerable. A lock of his thick, dark hair fell over his eyes, and she longed to brush it away. “No, she isn’t, Simone.”

“Yeah, I know.”

His voice sounded heartbreakingly sad. For the second time, Tiffany fought the urge to embrace him. “You need to get over her. There must be some gorgeous colleague at work. Cook her dinner and she’ll swoon.” She stroked his arm. “I can’t think of a better boyfriend than you.”

His gaze met hers. “Ramona didn’t think so. She couldn’t sprint away fast enough.”

“Ramona doesn’t know what she’s missing.”

One side of his mouth twitched up. “Then why aren’t you jumping me when you have the chance? I’m lonely and vulnerable.”

“I would, but I’m vain and shallow. I need a man in show business, with a fancy car and a yacht. Someone who’ll have the contacts to get me on TV.” She shrugged. “A high school biology teacher—no matter how sexy and adept in the kitchen he is—just won’t cut it.”

Simone laughed. “Fair enough. You’re more honest than my girlfriend. I mean, my ex.” He poured wine into her glass. The oven timer went off. “The lasagna is ready.”

Three Coins

by Kimberly Sullivan

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

One Eternal City. Three women. Three wishes. Three coins.

Emma, an American expat living in Rome for twenty years, can’t count on her ex-husband to help out with the kids when things get tough. Dario Rinaldi, famed plastic surgeon to the stars, is too busy gallivanting around Europe with young women to take an interest in his family.

Beautiful Tiffany, born and bred in Iowa, is desperate to get a spot as a dancer on an Italian television show. But is she willing to do whatever it takes to make her dreams of TV stardom come true?

Annarita, from an Italian-American family in Yonkers, teaches English to over-privileged Italians and regularly has her heart trampled by boyfriends all wrong for her. As her mother is always quick to point out, nothing has gone right for her since she moved to Italy. And she isn’t getting any younger, either.

Emma, Tiffany and Annarita all meet up by chance at a 1950s movie night while on a restorative holiday at a beach resort off-season. The triumphs and hardships of these three very different women become intertwined as they form an unlikely friendship and work to better their messy lives.

**On Sale for only $1.99 December  6th – 12th!!**

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I write the women’s fiction stories I love to read, both contemporary and historic tales of women and the rich lives they lead along their journeys of self-discovery. A lifetime admirer and longtime resident of Italy, I’m often guilty of sneaking the bel paese into my stories.

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Book Reviews, Meet The Author

Interview with Paulette Stout

Paulette Stout is the fearless author of Love, Only Better, a contemporary novel and bedroom rallying cry for women everywhere.

Born in Manhattan, Paulette is the gold-star wordsmith and owner of her content marketing agency, Media Goddess Inc., where she crafts content for her list of global clients. Prior to MGI, Paulette led content and design teams at several tech companies, and one educational publisher where her elimination of the Oxford comma caused a near riot.

Paulette’s prior career as a media buyer/planner in New York earned her three industry awards, including a MediaWeek All-Star. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Cornell University and her MBA in Marketing from the Lubin School of Business, Pace University.

You can usually find Paulette rearranging words into pleasing patterns while wearing grammar t-shirts.

Q & A with Paulette Stout

How did you come to write a novel on such an unconventional topic as women climaxing in the bedroom?

I wrote Love, Only Better for the millions of women who feel “less than” because they suffer with unfulfilling intimate lives. It’s a taboo topic to discuss, even with one’s partner, and this leaves too many women feeling ashamed and alone. Love, Only Better puts women’s sexual gratification front and center. My hope is that as women experience the main character’s sexual transformation, they’ll feel empowered to seek transformations of their own. 

What makes now the right time for us to have this cultural conversation?

Women’s gratification is so relevant to the current conversation we’re having about women’s empowerment. From work, to home, to the public square—and the White House, women are finding their voices. It’s time we extend that agency into the bedroom. We as women deserve it all, especially in bed.

Why did you choose to write a novel vs. a memoir or non-fiction work?

The journey in the book is one I personally experienced. But when I was seeking help, the only information available was clinical, dry and useless. Writing it as a novel enabled me to share all those useful lessons an approachable package that’s easy to consume. And truthfully, if I wrote it as nonfiction, no one would believe it!

How much in the book is your authentic story, vs. fictionalized?

The entire sexual journey presented in the book happened as depicted. From the doctor visit, to my participation in the clinical study, the radio vibrator comparison, all the way through to the experiences with the masturbation coach. It all happened. The romance and all the characters are completely fictionalized, though as all writers do, I draw inspiration on my personal life.

Did you have any concerns about writing a book on this topic?

Yes of course. I would be crazy not to. But it was a story I felt compelled to tell. I’ve always felt that If I had a question, or a complaint I needed to speak up. Undoubtedly, there are always others with the same question or concern who are not comfortable using their voice. I happen to be someone who is comfortable using my voice, and Love, Only Better is the ultimate test of that courage.

The study scenes in the book are striking. Can you talk to us about what it was like to participate in a process like that?

Sitting in the spotlight talking to a room full of doctors sitting in shadow was the most violating experience of my life. But that gives you a sense of my level of desperation that I would put myself through that. Their questions were brutal: What arouses you during sex? How did you feel when you touched this or stroked that? Those types of questions are so deeply personal. Our sex partners may not even know. However, every step got me close to my goal, so that includes the study.

Why do you think women’s sexual gratification has been so taboo for so long?

In many ways, society still likes to keep women chaste and muzzled. Men are the virile ones. Their sexuality is on display, discussed and measured. Their prowess comes first, while women’s is an afterthought. It’s important to note that our gratification often comes not through intercourse, but other stimulation. That turns the male standard of sex on its head, and it’s perhaps not something men want to even consider. It makes more work for them!

What message do you have for women who had the same challenges you did?

Don’t give up. You’ll get there. Sex is an amazing experience when women are able to climax. It’s worth the effort to understand one’s self and learn the techniques that will make sex worthwhile.

What do you hope women will gain by reading your book?

That it’s okay to talk about orgasms. That every woman should demand more of herself and her partner to make sex an enjoyable experience.

Is your novel a how-to book?

No. it’ a fun romance novel. But it does have enough how-to information to guide women to more satisfying bedroom experiences. I’ve even created a tip sheet of topics covered that’s available for free on my website,

Talk to us about the best friend character, Barbara. She’s a lawyer. Was having a Black professional significant for you to include?

Barbara is a great character and I enjoy writing her. I may give her a series of her own one day. Growing up in Manhattan, I was surrounded on a daily bases by a melting pot of people from all walks of life, including many successful Black professionals. Too often in our society when we talk about the Black community, we only talk about those struggling in inner cities. However, there is a growing Black middle class, upper class and millionaire class, so I wanted to accurately portray the people I saw around me when living in New York. I wanted to share that perspective.

Did the main character’s estrangement from her parents mirror your own life?

I was a quintessential latch-key kid, so yes. I had a tremendous amount of independence at an early age. That can be empowering, but also isolating. Rebecca definitely reflects aspects of the loneliness and frustration that can happen when teens are left to their own devices a bit too much when growing up.

The love interest, Kyle. Is the stunning man with the black motorcycle based on someone in particular?

Yes of course! He’s a composite of all the wonderful qualities I love about my husband.

Connect with Paulette

FB: @paulettestoutauthor

IG: @paulettestoutauthor

Twitter: @stoutcontent

About The Book

For Rebecca, sex is a joke missing a punchline. No crashing waves. Only pangs of inadequacy. At twenty-eight, shouldn’t she have had one by now? Her snickering ex thought so. His taunts echo in her ears as he rolls out of her bed. Then out of her life.

Lost, Rebecca seeks expert help, joining a study for women who can’t “finish” in the bedroom. There is such a thing? It’s unconventional, for sure, but she’s desperate for answers. The no-sex mandate is a no brainer. Who’d want to be with her anyway?

Then Kyle moves in. Her blue-eyed, black motorcycle-riding dream of a neighbor lives a heartbeat away. Sparks flew immediately. But could the timing be any worse?

If he learns her secret, she’ll lose her best chance at love. But if her lessons fail, she’ll be left eternally broken. Unlovable.

What started as a search for fulfillment, has suddenly become a quest for something far greater.

Love, Only Better is an intimate quest full of heart, blending a fun next-door romance with steamy dates-for-one. Perfect for fans of Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient), Jennifer Weiner (Good In Bed), Jojo Moyes and fans of women’s fiction full of wit, spice and soul.

Buy links:

Amazon / B&N

My Thoughts


Love, Only Better is about a young woman having a issue with intimacy and not a clue on how to fix it. Rebecca the main character was a delight to get to know. The solution she tries was hilarious, but not unrealistic. The homework assignments were ones that should have helped Rebecca, but I believe she was fighting against them. Her negative thoughts were blocking her from the full experience.

When she meets Kyle, the nephew of her neighbor Bessie, I was hopeful since Ethan broke up with her. I kept wondering if she was going to tell Kyle about the study she was in especially after finding out his ex-girlfriend was the videographer. I did appreciate Kyle’s character especially for his patience with Rebecca.

This book touches on a conversational topic that is taboo, but I’m glad the author wrote an entertaining yet educational story. It reads as a well researched book. The characters were relatable and easy to connect to especially Rebecca and her friend Barbara, who brought a little humor to the story for me.

This book also drops a little wisdom. I will say go into this book not solely as a romance book, but also women fiction with a little humor. Its main focus is helping Rebecca understand her body to achieve satisfaction, the romance element is a bonus. I recommend Love, Only Better to Readers to women fiction readers who happen to like romance.

*This book was provided by the author for review purposes only.