Place Your Betts by Katie Graykowski

Place Your Betts

Betts Monroe is a country music rags-to-riches story. As the daughter of the town slut, she clawed her way up from the bars of Bourbon Street to the Country Music Hall of Fame. She’s America’s sweetheart, darling of the media, and a multi-platinum star. But she has a secret. At the age of sixteen, she had a baby and gave him up for adoption because her boyfriend wasn't ready for fatherhood. Now she finds out that her precious baby boy has been living with his father from day one. 

Gabe Swanson is a Texas cattle baron riches-to-rags story. As the only son of the town's most prominent family, it was a huge blow when his father lost the family fortune in a ponzi scheme. Now, Gabe is land rich and cash poor. But he has his son and family is all that matters. 

When Betts moves back to the small town that shunned her, all hell breaks loose. She wants her son. Can Betts and Gabe leave their past in the rear view mirror so they can be a family?


I was taken in by Ms. Graykowski's novel. It has a sexy cowboy... yes, I guess it takes a little more than that to make a good book, It has combustible chemistry, an adorably spunky Momma, the misunderstood devil's right hand (GiGi), and a blossoming young love story.
The only thing that took away from the story for me was the repetitive questioning of the relationship with Gabe by Betts in her mind, and how long it took her to get the truth about what happened to her son - before Gabe got him back. That is something I would want to know right off the bat if I were in her shoes.
I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I would recommend it.


View all my reviews

Women's Work by Kari Aguila

Women's Work

“So, when most of the men were dead, women saw their chance to take over?” Kate searches her son’s eyes as he asks this. “Not take over,” she says. “Fix things.” It wasn’t hard to justify what the women had done since the end of the Last War. They rebuilt their bombed-out neighborhoods as best they could and worked to established peace and gender equality. But small groups of men roam the country, viciously indicating that the pendulum may have swung too far. When a bedraggled man shows up on Kate’s doorstep one night, will she risk everything to help him? Does he deserve her help?

Women’s Work is set in a dystopic world in the Pacific Northwest, where women struggle to survive through sustenance farming, clever engineering, and a deeply rooted sisterhood. In this suspenseful thriller, Kate and her family are asked to let go of their anger and fear on a journey to forgiveness and understanding. It is a compelling story that challenges all of us to question traditional gender roles and to confront the fragility of love.


I was definitely drawn into the post war world created in this novel. I was left wondering how I would survive if it was me, because I certainly couldn't see myself killing fluffy little animals. It's a totally different scenario when your meat comes with a face and fur. The innovative ideas for tools and gardening were very interesting as well.
It was like time was reversed, and women were being repressed, their freedoms and privileges taken away, while men fought a world war. The women finally revolted against the men when there were too few left to be able to stop them. Women negotiated peace, and because they felt hostility and aggression were tendencies more ingrained in men, they took over the power and limited the men's freedoms. It was done all in the name of keeping peace and for survival, but, it was interesting to see the situation flip flopped and how men reacted, how women reasoned their decisions and the way they treated the men.
The paranoia, any man wandering alone was considered dangerous, and the women's fear of raiders, in relation to Michael's entrance in the story didn't get as intense as I expected it would. The end became suspenseful. I don't want to give too many details. I thought it would go one of two dramatic ways, hoped for one more than the other, but it kind of meandered in between those two paths.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.
I was given a free copy of this book in order to write an honest review.

Amazon Buy Link

View all my reviews

Tiger Lily of Bangkok by Owen Jones

Description as on Amazon:

Lily was born in south-eastern Isaan near the Mekong River, the only daughter of Chinese-Thais who owned a shop in their small village. Her parents had a close friend that Lily called Uncle who used to smile at her and take her gifts as a small child. 

However, when she was just eleven years old the nature of the gifts changed and there was always a price to pay for them that Lily hated. Dare she risk upsetting her parents by telling them about it?

An accident of fate at school gave Lily an idea how to put an end to the problem once and for all and her parents came to realise what had been going on in their daughter's life. Soon after the incident, Lily's father died.


This review was originally written as a guest post for The Bookie Monster 

Tiger Lily of Bangkok is a story of tragedy, loss, and also confusion about how the bad things that happened to Lily - that caused her to be ignored and feared by people her own age in her home village - also benefited her in many ways. If she had not had to deal with her "uncle" then she didn't believe she would have had the chance to live in the city and go to university.
She comes to understand that the monetary compensation she received from her shame would not be enough to live on comfortably while paying for school, and so she takes on boyfriends who give her money and gifts, and this is not an unusual practice. It is a sad life; she doesn't have anyone to really care for, and doesn't let anyone get close to her. She never allows anyone to know the truth about her past or even see where she lives. She lies to the boyfriends, makes up different names and personas for them, and tells them she spends weekends back with her mother helping out in her shop in order to spend weekends alone.

Her unhappiness grows, and it is almost like she separates into two different people. One is violent and lashing out at people in order to take some vengeance, to feel some justice for what she went through as a child. The other is sad, lonely, and struggling to find a way to have a normal life and find someone to have a real boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with. The book makes you wonder if she had managed to kill her uncle when she was a child, or if someone else had, would it have been enough to soothe her burning need for someone to be held accountable for his crime? Would she still have developed into the person she became, or would she have been able to let it go and live a life as other teenagers did?

Lily's story kept me interested and wondering if she was going to get away with the unbelievable things she did or if it would come crashing down around her. I wasn't sure if I wanted her to get caught or not. It also begs the question - do child abusers deserve what they get? Who should be able to dole out the punishment?

I was glad that the book ended with a ray of hope.

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. The story was interesting, well planned out, and I enjoyed it.

Against the Ropes by Cindy McDonald

Against the Ropes (Unbridled #4)
Book Description on Amazon:


When the West’s good-hearted farm manager, Punch McMinn, stumbles upon Eugene Strom, a down-on-his-luck fighter threatening to jump from an old bridge, Punch takes him under his wing and convinces the patriarch of Westwood Thoroughbred Farm, Eric West, to give him a job.

But when the gun-toting mob shows up at Westwood, it’s quite obvious that good ol’ Eugene is hiding a secret—a big one. Punch finds himself questioning his good intentions when the ex-fighter puts the people he loves against the ropes—and at the edge of disaster.


I did something I rarely do, because of time constraints and obligations to my book review blog. I grabbed this book during its free kindle promotion when I came across it on twitter, and because the cover caught my eye. I downloaded it and started reading it right away. I finished it the next day. It was a really enjoyable read. "Against the Ropes" is the Fourth book in the series, I found out after reading it, but it stands well on its own. I didn't find it difficult to follow even though I did not read the previous books.
Poor Punch, "No good deed goes unpunished" sums it up for him. He tries to save strays and help the helpless. His cat is one eyed and has a crippled paw. He is such a good character in the story and even though his kind-hearted nature gets him in a spot or two of trouble, it doesn't make him bitter or change his heart.
The West family was extremely interesting, and this book wrapped up some of their details very nicely, but I know there is more to be told. I want to read the next book to find out what happens for Kate. I want to read the beginning books to see what I missed out on before the 4th book.
I truly enjoyed and highly recommend this book.

View all my reviews