Book Review: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

The Soulmate Equation
Author: Christina Lauren

Published:  May 18, 2021
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 29- June 2, 2021

Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess–who is barely making ends meet–is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist–and the science behind a soulmate–than she thought.

Jessica’s Review:

I am not much of a romance reader; in fact, this is the first book I have read from writing duo Christina Lauren. (They are writing partners and best friends).  What piqued my interest in The Soulmate Equation was the similar concept to John MarrsThe One.   Other than the same basic premise, these are two very different books, and surprisingly I really enjoyed The Soulmate Equation! 

Basically dragged by her best friend into doing the GeneticAlly DNA test, Jess matches at an unheard of number with the founder, whom she has previously met and yes, they clash.  GeneticAlly says that they will pay Jess to spend 3 months with Pena to see what happens as the business is about to go public and stands to make a. lot. of. money.  And the business wants to capitalize on this match! Being Jess is struggling to make ends meet and take care of her daughter she agrees. 

This is one of those typical romance tropes (I hate you then later on maybe not), so you know where it is going and it was fun to see the journey. I did like that the main character’s name is Jess and her daughter’s name is even more unique: Juno.  There is even something unexpected that happens in the last quarter of the novel that I enjoyed.  

Remember that Jess is a ‘number person’ and there is a lot of science explained behind GeneticAlly where the reader can understand. I liked Jess and adored her best friend Fizzy: Everyone needs a Fizzy!  And as this is a romance book the chemistry gets hot and there are sex scenes which are not explicit, but enjoyable to read.

For not being much of a romance reader, giving it a 4-star review is saying something and the fact that I listened to it as often as I could and had it finished in just a handful of days says I liked it!  I enjoyed this novel and might just have to read more by this writing duo. I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Patti Murin and she did a great job of bringing Jess to life for us. She might be another narrator for me to be on the lookout for! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Diary from the Lunatic Asylum by Mary Pengilly

Diary from the Lunatic Asylum
Author: Mary Pengilly

Published: November 2, 2012
28 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

DECEMBER.—They will not allow me to go home, and I must write these things down for fear I forget. It will help to pass the time away. It is very hard to endure this prison life, and know that my sons think me insane when I am not.

Kim’s Review:

So this isn’t a horror story; it’s not even fiction. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed. However, once I figured out that this was an actual diary, written by a real woman who had been committed to a real asylum, I just went for it. It’s definitely not as good as Nellie Bly’s account, but it was interesting and informative. Mrs. Pengilly managed to write an account from a relatively neutral viewpoint, while still keeping a handle on all the problems. It’s a simple, easy to read report on her stay, the issues in the Aylin’s of her time, and a list of solutions. I looked up Mrs. Pengilly after I finished reading this book, and she went on to spearhead some cool movements to try to improve conditions for female patients.

It’s not a book I’d recommend to everyone, but it’s a good personal story that I enjoyed reading.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Author Spotlight: Jeff Menapace

Today I bring you an Author Spotlight for Jeff Menapace.   He has written twelve novels with more coming and today three novels will be featured, starting with his newest: Caleb which is a spinoff from his Bad Games series. He considers himself a Dark Fiction Author who is disturbing readers and loving it.

A native of the Philadelphia area, Jeff has published multiple works both fiction and non-fiction. His horror short story titled SUGAR DADDY earned him the 2011 Red Adept Reviews Indie Award for Horror.

With twelve novels under his belt, Jeff’s debut novel BAD GAMES was a #1 bestseller that spawned four acclaimed sequels. CALEB, his latest release, is a spin-off from the BAD GAMES series and readers are already pushing for another installment. Other popular series include WILDLIFE and NUMB, both of which have further installments planned. Although Jeff enjoys creating disturbing thrillers and horror stories loaded with suspense, he has also written novels in the paranormal mystery, crime fiction/FBI procedural, post-apocalyptic/dystopian genres.

Free time for Jeff is spent watching horror movies, The Three Stooges, and mixed martial arts. He loves steak and more steak, thinks the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the greatest movie ever, wants to pet a lion one day, and hates spiders.

He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Kelly, and their three cats, Sammy, Bear, and Baby Girl.


CALEB

Published: March 21, 2021
230 Pages

Vengeance is therapy.

Caleb Lambert kills people for a living. The money is nice, but it comes a distant second to his primary reason for choosing such a vocation: Caleb often calls it “scratching an itch.”

Here’s the thing, though: Caleb won’t just accept any contract. He and his team thoroughly vet each and every prospective mark to make sure they deserve to be punished.

And why not? If anyone knows about true evil in this world, it’s Caleb Lambert. Along with his family, Caleb endured hell at the hands of multiple serial killers throughout his childhood, twisting his young mind into the mess it is today. Forever installed that need to “scratch an itch.”

And Caleb is frequently itchy, and business is good. But when a new job comes across his desk, Caleb’s entire world is turned upside down. The job appears to hold so many similarities to his past that he finds it all but impossible to turn down. An impulsive decision that could cost him dearly.

Author’s note: Caleb is a spin-off of the Bad Games series; however it is a stand-alone novel, and it is not necessary to have read/listened to the Bad Games series to enjoy.

**Available from Amazon in paperback, e-book, audiobook, and free with Kindle Unlimited subscription.**

BAD GAMES – A Dark Psychological Thriller
(Bad Games Series Book 1)

Published: February 18, 2013
312 Pages

The terrifying bestseller that started it all, now optioned for feature film.

The Lambert Family is heading to Crescent Lake for an idyllic weekend getaway. Some fishing, some barbecue, some games…

The Fannelli brothers are heading to Crescent Lake too. Some stalking, some kidnapping, some murder, definitely some games…though certainly not the type of games the Lamberts had in mind.

But it doesn’t matter. The Lamberts are playing whether they like it or not. A dark and intense psychological thriller, Bad Games will keep you up all night as it delves into the evil in man, along with the will and determination an innocent family must summon to fight back against horrific odds.

**Available from Amazon in paperback, e-book, audiobook, and free with Kindle Unlimited subscription.**
The BAD GAMES SERIES (Books 1 – 5 ) is also available as a set in Kindle edition.

WILDLIFE – A Dark Thriller
(Wildlife Series Book 1)


Published: April 7, 2015
206 Pages

In the Everglades, some sights aren’t meant to be seen…

Deep in the Florida Everglades, a horrific accident ignites a deadly feud between two families.

Meanwhile, a vacationing family takes a boat ride into the isolated wilds of the Everglades, only to become unwitting witnesses to a brutal crime.

Now, as night falls, forced to travel on foot, they must flee through the treacherous wilderness while avoiding the dangerous wildlife…and the far more lethal human predators that are hunting them.

From the award-winning author of the bestselling Bad Games series comes a heart-stopping new foray into terror like nothing you’ve ever read.

**Available from Amazon in paperback, e-book, audiobook, and free with Kindle Unlimited subscription.**


UPCOMING FROM JEFF:

BOOKISH MERCHANDISE

Stay tuned for news on adding bookish merchandise! If you have favorite items like bookmarks, t-shirts, mugs, etc. please send a message. Be sure you are following on social media and signed up for email alerts at the links provided.

NEXT RELEASE

Reviewers have been loud and clear concerning the demand for another installment for the CALEB series. I aim to please, so it looks like we may see more of Caleb’s version of therapy coming up next.

I’m also working on a horror collaboration with three other authors (Jeff Strand, Iain Rob Wright, and William Malmborg). It will be four different novellas with a “slasher movie” theme. The title is Slice and Dice and was just released on May 30th!

Contact Jeff:

Website (and sign up for his newsletter!)
Amazon
Twitter @JeffMenapace
Instagram @JeffMenapace
Goodreads
Linkedin
Bookbub

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