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Books

Linking up with Steph and Jana to share all the books!

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NG

Everything I Never Told You

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. 

I am not sure what I want to say about this book. It was so well written, and kept my attention the entire time. But, I thought it was going to be more of a mystery about what happened to Lydia. Instead it is more about the truth about her family. As a parent, it was heartbreaking and difficult to watch the parents pushing their kids to be what they wanted them to be. It was a great reminder that we can’t live vicariously through our children’s lives. They need to be their own people. Let them come up with their own ideas of what they want, and don’t put the guilt on them if it isn’t what you want. I appreciated that the side story of Marilyn’s disappearance and how it kept coming back around in the book. Another great reminder that our actions can have consequences and impact the rest of our lives. The characters can be very unlikable at times, but then you also feel sorry for them.

Bottom Line: Read it. While it can be difficult at times, the book is wonderfully written and tells a great, albeit, tragic story.

Scotland or Bust by Kira Archer

Scotland or Bust

I absolutely LOVED 69 Million Reasons, the first book in this series. The second wasn’t quite as good but still enjoyable. I feel the same about this one. There were a lot of references to Outlander in this book. I don’t know what that is or anything about it, so I didn’t care for the “show not to be named” references all throughout the book. That being said, I loved Harrison’s quirky family and thought it was a fun and cute read. What I didn’t get was why they kept holding out on themselves over getting together. There wasn’t a strong enough reason in my mind.

Bottom Line: Fun, quick read.

**I received a copy of Scotland or Bust from Netgalley in Exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

Strange Brew by Kathy Trocheck AKA Mary Kay Andrews

Strange Brew (Callahan Garrity Mystery, #6)

When the body of a murdered microbrewer is discovered in the aftermath of a furious Halloween gale, suspicion falls on the aging “flower child” shopkeeper whom the victim put out of business. Callahan isn’t as quick to condemn a colorful local character as some law officers still on the force. But her investigative zeal is stirring up secrets that are forcing her to reassess old friendships and a one-time love—and is brewing up more lethal trouble than Callahan and her “mice” can safely swallow. 

I have come to love Callahan Garrity and her House Mouse cleaning girls. I only have two more books in the series, and I am going to be so sad when I am done. I think I will be slowing my roll on these so I can come back to an old friend if I get in a rut any time soon. This one was fun, as it involved a brewery and some other places in the Little Five Points area that I remember and still exist today. I started to guess some of the mystery, but was still surprised at the very end. Just the way I like it.

Bottom Line: Such a fun cozy mystery series!!! Read it if that is your thing.

Atrophy by Edith Wharton

Image result for atrophy edith wharton

An unhappily married matron named Nora Fenway hears that her one-time clandestine lover, Christopher, is severely ill; she risks her reputation by going to visit him, but is turned away by his sanctimonious sister.

This was a quick, heartbreaking read about  social duty and etiquette. Nora wants to see her lover one last time, and you can practically feel her desperation.

Bottom Line: This was a quick read, around 30 minutes. I wouldn’t go out of my way to track it down…but if you happen to come across it in the library, would be worth it.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day. 

The premise of this book was so interesting. I am not sure if I am for or against Death-Cast to be honest? Can you imagine getting a call at 1:30am that you are going to die within 24 hours? How would you live your last day??? It really made me think a lot throughout the book. And the forging relationship between Rufus and Mateo, two different kids becoming friends over their one common thread – dying that day.

Bottom Line: Read it! This book was tragic and inspirng all at once.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This has been on my TBR forever. While the book is about high school students,  it touches on the deep subject of death, suicide, depression and mental illness. It shows how powerful true friendship can be. It was beautiful, tragic, heart-wrenching, and even whimsical at times. I really liked the idea of completing a school project to see the wonders of their state. I actually want to create my own list of places to locally wonder. This book, it really hits all the feels.

Bottom Line: This was such a beautiful, tragic book. Definitely has some triggers though, as it deals with mental illness and suicide. I highly recommend it.

Current Reading:

I squealed when I saw that Netgalley approved me for the newest TJR!!! I really wanted to have it finished before this link up, but that didn’t happen. I am about half way through and can tell you I am loving it! Reminds me of watching a VH1 behind the music episode.

Daisy Jones and The Six

book review, books

Books

Linking up with Steph and Jana to share some more books this month! I feel like I have read a lot more books this month than I realized. I had some really good reads, and a few that were just okay. One I could have done without. Let’s jump in!

Not So Nice Guy by RS Grey

Not So Nice Guy

“We’re extremely close, stuck so deep inside a Jim-and-Pam-style friendzone everyone at works assumes we’re a couple – that is until one day, word spreads through the teacher’s lounge that he’s single. Fair game. Suddenly, it’s open season on Ian. He should be reveling in all the newfound attention, but to our mutual surprise, the only attention he seems to want is mine.”

RS Grey is my favorite romantic comedy author! Dare I say the queen of RomCom?!  This is a cute and quirky friends to lovers rom-com that had me laughing from the very first page! I really loved the chemistry and banter between Sam and Ian. I devoured this book in 24 hours, which is huge for me. I love that the book switched POV between Sam and Ian, so you get to know both better. This is the perfect type of book to break up some more serious ones…or to take with you on that last trip to the beach this summer!

Bottom Line: Read it!

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me

A trip to the doctor projects that Sylvie and Dan will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades. In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all. 

I am not sure that anything from Kinsella will top My Not So Perfect Life for me. I didn’t love this  book. I mean, the whole premise is that the characters find out they are going to get 68 more years together, that is awesome news! When you get married, don’t you go into it expecting to spend the rest of your lives growing old together??? That is sort of the point. So I just don’t get the whole freak out over living another 68 years together. I got really bored reading this book, and it took me a month to finish. I am going to be completely honest…I skipped over about 30% of the book and didn’t even miss anything.

Bottom Line: There really isn’t anything special about this book. I didn’t mind the ending, and can appreciate that the characters grew and changed…but I was bored most of this book and couldn’t wait to just be done with it. So I can’t really recommend it.

**I received a copy of Surprise me from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.””

All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue

All the Summer Girls

Kate is dumped by her fiance the day she learns she is pregnant with his child. Vanessa is obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. Dani, the aspiring writer who can’t seem to put down a book–or a cocktail–long enough to open her laptop, has just been fired… again. In an effort to regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani retreat to the New Jersey beach town where they once spent their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of the shore, the women begin to realize how much their lives, and friendships, have been shaped by the choices they made one fateful night on the beach eight years earlier–and the secrets that only now threaten to surface.

I am not sure how I feel about this book after finishing it. Most of the book you don’t know the full story of the secret each of the girls is keeping, so I stayed interested the whole time wanting to know what happened. I just feel like the characters weren’t really any that I cared about. Throughout the book, each of them is so focused on the drama in their own lives, the lies that they have kept to themselves and what happened in their pasts. None of them are all that likable and there wasn’t a whole lot going on in the book until the secrets are spilled towards the end.

Bottom Line: This is a decent beach read, if you are just looking for something to pass the time. It will probably be one that I forget about very soon, knowing that I read it but not remembering what all happened.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This book!!! It is SO good you guys!!! I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I smiled. This is one of those books that makes you wonder how you would handle the situation if it were to happen to you. It is tragic and raw. You really get to know the characters, as the novel switches between them. And there are several letters between Roy and Celestial while he is in prison. I went back and forth on what I wanted to happen for each of them. I really liked the ending. It was well written, and not rushed. I have so many more things I could say about this book, but go read it first and then let’s talk!

Bottom Line: Definitely read it! It deserves the hype.

Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni

Things I'm Seeing Without You

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails. Jonah, the first boy she’d told she loved and the first boy to say it back. Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming. Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse? As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

I was drawn to the book from the cover. I wont lie. I wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that it was a YA, but the premise sounded interesting so I figured…why not? I am so glad I did! I really enjoyed this book. The lead female character is sort of quirky and awkward. She has a no bullshit attitude that I can really appreciate for her age, she is quite snarky. This book deals with suicide, so it is a heavier issue than your typical YA read. I felt like the emotions in the book were raw and real. Tess can seem a little harsh, but it is just the way she deals with grief. The book really makes you think about life and relationships. Do we really know our friends and people in our lives? Depression is so complex, and I like that this book sheds some light on that.

Bottom Line: This is definitely a Y.A. If you like to read those from time to time, check this one out. I appreciated the strong lead female character and it deals with a heavier issue.

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

If I Run (If I Run, #1)

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore. But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

I started this book not knowing there would be more to follow. I am a little irritated that it ends on a cliff hanger and I am torn if I want to pursue more. I probably will, because I have to know what happens!  The writing of the book is a little childish. I guess that is the best way I can describe it? And I didn’t realize this was a Christian book. I am not against reading Christian books, its just that they can come off preachy and this one will randomly go on a tangent about a bible story or Casey will say something like, “I wish I believed in prayer.” or “I wish I knew there was an afterlife.” Like it would change the situation she is currently in. Also, there was this judgy little banter between Casey and another girl about tattoos and it really rubbed me wrong. The premise of the book though is what got me and kept me interested. If you can get past the judgy parts of the book, it is actually a pretty decent story.

Bottom Line: Overall, the premise is interesting, but I only suggest getting in to this series if you are ok with Christian books and God talk. And can handle some judgy comments.

If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock

If I'm Found (If I Run #2)

So I had to know what happens, and the wait list wasn’t too long for the second book. I have been enjoying the overall story, but I am going to say that I find it a little unbelievable that Casey keeps meeting people that she can help save. How does she keep getting herself in those situations?? That part is far fetched. But again, I am enjoying following along and want to know how it is all going to play out.

Bottom Line: Again, if you don’t mind some judgy comments and God talk…the premise of this book is good and interesting enough to keep me around.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

The Identicals

Nantucket is only two and a half hours away from Martha’s Vineyard by ferry. But the two islands might as well be worlds apart for a set of identical twin sisters who have been at odds for years. When a family crisis forces them to band together — or at least appear to — the twins slowly come to realize that the special bond that they share is more important than the sibling rivalry that’s driven them apart for the better part of their lives. 

I just love diving in to a Hilderbrand book. I always know I am going to get a solid beach read. I loved the drama between the two sisters, the issues with their parents, and the side drama of Tabatha’s daughter Ainsley. The book was a little slow at times, but there was just enough excitement mixed in to keep you from putting it down. There was a good bit of juicy scandal thrown in for good measure. I really liked the epilogue at the end. I wont say more so it will be a fun little surprise for you too!

Bottom Line: Perfect beach read to end the summer!

Mr Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Mr. Miracle (Angelic Intervention, #10)

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

I didn’t realize this was #10 in a series until I went to mark it as currently reading on Goodreads. It doesn’t matter though, it is a stand alone book. This isn’t my favorite from Macomber. The romance feel really flat for me. It was a super quick read, so I hung with it. It passed the time by just fine, but I am sure I will forget about it soon enough. One thing I appreciated in the book is the idea that guardian angels can be in animal form too. I like to think that way when I look back on my time with Gracie.

Bottom Line: Quick, Christmas read that passed the time but isn’t very memorable.

Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Stroll (Winter #2)

The Quinns are looking forward to celebrating Genevieve’s baptism, welcoming Isabelle to the family, and enjoying the cheer of Nantucket’s traditional Christmas Stroll. But just when a peaceful family gathering seems within reach, Kelley’s estranged second wife, Mitzi, shows up on the island after souring on her relationship with the inn’s former Santa Claus. Soon Kelley isn’t the only Quinn entertaining a surprise guest from Christmases past as lovers old and new gather beneath the mistletoe. With jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns–and the inn–through the holidays intact. 

I loved picking up the following Christmas in this second book of the Winter series. I gained a new perspective on Mitzi, which I always appreciate when an author can change my mind about someone. This has that Christmas cheer, and some good old Quinn family drama. I felt like the ending was sort of abrupt though, and leaves off on a total cliffhanger!!! I was just reading along and all of a sudden I was like wait, where is the rest?

Bottom Line: Cute, cozy Christmas read with family drama. Just be prepared to need the next one immediately, as there is a cliffhanger!

Heart Trouble by Kathy Hogan Trocheck AKA Mary Kay Andrews

Heart Trouble (Callahan Garrity, #5)

I love Callahan Garrity! I have really enjoyed this series. I think there are eight books total, so I have three more to dive in to!  I love how they are written in the 90s around Atlanta. The set of main characters we have all come to know and love comes back in each book, as we are introduced to another new case. I like that in this book, the client that Callahan takes on isn’t 100% likable…but that you still want justice for her.

Bottom Line: This is a super fun cozy mystery series if you like that sort of thing.

book review, books

Books

Linking up with Jana and Steph for another month of  books! I had a month of enjoyable reads, so let’s just jump right in!

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

The Rumor

Madeline King and Grace Pancik are best friends and the envy of Nantucket for their perfect marriages, their beautiful kids, their Sunday night double dates with their devoted husbands. But this summer, something’s changed, and if there’s anything Nantucket likes better than cocktails on the beach at sunset, it’s a good rumor.

So this is my third Hilderbrand book, and I have to say that I liked Here’s to Us and Winter Street better. But that is not to say that this is a bad book. I enjoyed it, I just felt like the characters weren’t as likable. What I love about Hilderbrand is that she must have a map/family tree of fictional characters for Nantucket, because “Fast Eddie” was mentioned in Winter Street, and here he is one of the main male characters in this book. There was another character mentioned in another book, as well as a few of the places around town. So you really feel like you are part of that world while reading. I do love a good story about town drama, but since this book is called “The Rumor” you get an extra amount of gossip. I felt like most of the characters in this book are not all that identifiable. However, I still enjoyed it and finished it in less than a week. So that says something!

Bottom Line: This would make a great beach read.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

The Wife Between Us

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Man, this book!!! It was a really slow build up, but I never saw the twists coming! They were so clever! The tag line says that you will make assumptions about the book and to assume nothing…and it sure delivers! I didn’t super love all of the characters, but that didn’t take away from the book at all. I don’t always love a book with a unreliable narrator, but it works well in this one.

Bottom Line: If you like suspense type books, read it!

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down

Will’s brother Shawn was just murdered. Will is on an elevator with a gun in his waistband, revenge on his mind. As the elevator stops on each floor, someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

This is such a powerful read. It took less than two hours to get through, so I highly suggest reading it! I listened to it on audiobook because the author reads it himself and it was written in verse. I love knowing that it was delivered exactly as intended. The ending is really left up for interpretation though. I listened to it about four or five times trying to decide how I thought he meant it to go. If you have read it, I would love to know how you took it.

Bottom Line: Just read it!

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

The Almost Sisters

 One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood. Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding.  

I feel like I waited forever for this book at the library. I have really come to love Joshilyn Jackson. She is such an engaging writer and I feel like her books are deeper than just a beach read. She knows how to develop a character. Small town Alabama can feel like you walked right in to the 80’s, and that is how Jackson writes about Birchville in this book. I loved all the drama that was written in to the Birch family history. So many secrets. I also like that there is a story within a story with the graphic novel series that Leia wrote.

Bottom Line: This is a very enjoyable read! You get the good, bad and ugly of the deep south, some family drama, secrets, a super hero and a woman who just wants to solve all the problems and doing the best that she can. Read it!

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

All We Ever Wanted

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving. One photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame. At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

I finished this book in just a couple of sittings at the beach. It was actually a heavier topic than most of Giffin’s books. I felt like it was very realistic and now in terms of the issue and what happened. I do feel though that Giffin just touched the surface, and it could have gone a little deeper. I liked the way the book switched between Nina, Tom and Lyla. You got to see the story from each of their points of views and know what they were feeling. I didn’t really get attached to any of the characters the way I like to, but they were likeable enough. The ending sort of wrapped up a little too quickly for me, leaving me wanting something more from the book.

Bottom Line: I think Giffin fans will appreciate this book for its heavier subject matter. This was a quick and enjoyable read.

**I received a copy of All We Ever Wanted from Netgalley in exchange for me honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Currently Reading

All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue

All the Summer Girls

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me

book review, books

Books

Cant believe it is the second Tuesday of the month already! Though, I am not sure why I am surprised since last week was a year long. Just me? Anyways, we are here to talk about books now, so let’s jump right in! I cried, I laughed, I was shocked, I had all the feels. Here we go! Linking up with Steph and Jana.

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still Me (Me Before You, #3)

Funny, romantic, and poignant, Still Me follows Lou as she navigates how to stay true to herself, while pushing to live boldly in her brave new world.

I just really love Louisa Clark and was excited to dive back in to her life. I was surprised by how much this book really touched me and pulled at my heart strings. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it! I loved the new characters that we got to meet in this one, and who doesn’t want more of ambulance Sam in their lives?

Bottom Line: I do love this series! I found this one to be just as enjoyable as the first two!

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. The Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

This book! Is the main character reliable or is she not??? Is what happened real or made up? I went back and forth as to what I think really  happened. I just love a book that throws me for a loop! I had a suspicion about everything from the very beginning, and I ended up being right. But I had changed my mind a few times along the way.

Bottom Line: If psychological suspense is your thing, read it!

Homemade Sin and Happy Never After by Kathy Hogan Trocheck AKA Mary Kay Andrews

Homemade Sin

Happy Never After

I read books three and four in the Callahan Garrity series and am still loving it! You get all the regular elements of a cozy mystery with these books, but they are a little bit deeper because Callahan isn’t your amateur sleuth. She is a former Atlanta police officer that has real experience. I am constantly guessing “who done it” and usually change my mind a few times before the end of each book.

Bottom Line: This is such a fun cozy mystery series!

Here’s To Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Here's to Us

Celebrity chef Deacon Thorpe passes at his beach house in Nantucket. Now Deacon’s three wives, his children, and his best friend gather on the island he loved to say farewell. Secrets are revealed, confidences are shared, and improbable bonds are formed as this unlikely family says goodbye to the man who brought them all together.

I have been meaning to get around to reading Elin Hilderbrand, and I thought this beachy book would be the perfect start! I enjoyed this book way more than I anticipated. This book was a little bit deeper than I thought it was going to be. You really get to know the characters, as different chapters of the book alternate between them. You also get some back story for each of the characters and their relationship with Deacon as well. I was sad when the book was done, and I have been missing some of these characters. That is the signs of a good read to me. I rated this five stars, I don’t always throw those out for a beach read. Just sayin’.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for the perfect beach read and enjoy a little family drama, this is for you! Also, there are recipes throughout the book that sound divine!

Believe Me by J.P. Delaney

Believe Me

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

What is up with me and books this month where you are trying to decide if your narrator was reliable or not? Sometimes you have a hard time deciding where the acting ends and the real life begins. I am going to be honest, I had a really  hard time connecting with this book. I really enjoyed The Girl Before, but this one didn’t blow me away. I didn’t care about any of the characters or what happened to them, so it took me awhile to read through this one. The writing wasn’t bad at all, so I am not sure why I couldn’t connect. The premise was really interesting though. I did enjoy the physiological aspects of the book, both in the acting classes and with the therapist who was invested in the case.

Bottom Line: This one had an interesting premise, but fell a little flat for me. I just didn’t care about any of the characters. However, it still held my interest and was well written. If you enjoyed the writing of The Girl Before, I think it is worth the read.

**I received a copy of Believe Me from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Street (Winter, #1)

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. When he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus, utter chaos descends. It might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.

I really enjoyed this book! I loved the family dynamics. There was just enough drama to be realistic, and sometimes funny. The book move along quickly. I didn’t feel like it dragged at all, which is sometimes appreciated. I am all for backstory and getting to know the characters, but I still feel like you get to in this one even though it moves quickly. There is a cliffhanger at the end, so I cant wait to dive in to the next one when it becomes available from the library.

Bottom Line: Great Christmas-y read if you enjoy chick lit and family drama. I did laugh a few times or say oh snap! Which I always like in a book.

Currently Reading

I might be on a Hilderbrand kick. You know me, I love a good binge read of an author!

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

The Rumor

book review, books

Books

Book day is here!!! Normally I don’t like Tuesdays. They are my least favorite day of the week. Book day makes them so much better! I read several really good ones this month, so let’s just jump right in. Linking up with Steph and Jana.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Bring Me Back

Coming back from holiday, Layla goes missing at a rest stop. Finn moves on many years later, but then an item appears that can only be from Layla. Is she alive? Finn is engaged to be married and is happy now. But he cant help but wonder. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind? 

B.A. Paris really knows how to suck  you in to a book and get you hooked! You can never trust any of her characters for very long, and I love that I am always trying to guess what is really happening and looking for clues. I had figured this one out early on, then ditched everything I believed only to have been right from the start. I love how I (and Finn!!!) kept changing our minds on what was really happening. I liked The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors a little better than this one, but it was still good!

Bottom Line: This book will be out in June, be sure to get on the wait list at the library now!! If you enjoyed her other two, you are sure to like this as well.

**I received a copy of Bring Me Back from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Smitten by Janet Evanovich

Smitten (Elsie Hawkins #2)

Single mom Lizabeth Kane isn’t exactly carpenter material — she’s never picked up a hammer in her life. But she desperately needs the construction job that builder Matt Hallahan is offering. And even though he knows trouble is ahead, Matt can’t refuse Lizbeth’s irresistible smile.

I actually didn’t realize that this was the second in a series until I grabbed the link to write this post. It totally works as a stand alone novel. I love Janet Evanovich and have read all of the Stephanie Plum series and a  few other of her novels. I am going to be honest and say this was probably my least favorite from her. It is one of her early day novels (from 1990) and is just sort of silly. The relationship between Elizabeth and Matt moves way too fast and is just absurd at times. Elizabeth sort of reminds me of Stephanie Plum with her brown curly hair and her inability to do simple tasks like put a lid back on a can of paint. Then there is Aunt Elsie who is basically Grandma Mazur. I believe I read somewhere that Evanovich actually modeled Grandma Mazur after Elsie. She was actually pretty hilarious and just what you would expect from an Evanovich character. The novel was really short, and so at least there weren’t any dull, unnecessary parts.

Bottom Line: Overall, the story line was pretty cute. I just didn’t really love Matt or Elizabeth to be honest. True Evanovich fans would really appreciate Elsie though. And it was worth a read if you are just looking for mindless fluff to pass the time.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood

Leonora, a reclusive crime writer, reluctantly agrees to make the trip to a hen weekend with an old friend she has lost contact with. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured  with the knowledge that someone is dead. She tries to piece together the events of the past weekend, and remember things from the past.

I was hooked from the very beginning of this one! I liked how the book started out in the hospital, and then moves back and forth in time between the present and the past. You aren’t quite sure who you want to trust the deeper you dig. I enjoyed the imperfectness in the relationships with some of these characters as well as their development throughout the book. I had a hard time putting it down.

Bottom Line: This was a really good read!

Every Crooked Nanny by Mary Kay Andrews writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck

Every Crooked Nanny

Former cop Callahan Garrity trades in her badge for a broom and starts a housekeeping business. She’s on the job when her client announces that her nanny has disappeared—along with jewelry, silver, and some sensitive real-estate documents. Soon Callahan and her crew are involved in a job messier than any they’ve ever encountered. Illicit love triangles, crooked business deals, long-distance scams— it’s going to require some industrial-strength sleuthing on Callahan’s part to solve this one.

I love a cozy mystery. I was drawn to this book because I enjoyed The Weekenders by MKA and saw that this book takes place in Atlanta. It was written in 1992 and I loved that aspect of it. Before social media and all of that. Plus, those of you in the south remember Rich’s department store??? Nostalgia at it’s finest.  I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would. I did this on audiobook and the southern accents were perfection. As you can see below, I went and binged on the second in this series directly after, that is how much I loved it.

Bottom Line: This is a super fun cozy mystery series if you enjoy that kind of thing!

To Live and Die in Dixie by Mary Kay Andrews writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck

To Live and Die in Dixie

Callahan Garrity has no idea what she’s getting into when she agrees to work for infamous antiques dealer Elliot Littlefield. The first day on the job she and her crew discover the bloodied body of a young woman in a bedroom — and are soon on the trail of a priceless Civil War diary stolen by the killer. As if two crimes aren’t enough, deadly serious collectors, right-wing radicals, and impulsive teenagers make the case even more difficult to tidy up … and more dangerous.

I enjoyed the first in this series so much, I decided to jump on the second while it was still available at my library. This one is just as good as the first. I am so invested in Callahan and her mom Edna. This one takes place shortly after the first and we get a whole new cast of characters that are just as quirky. You are never sure who to pin the murder on and have several theories before it is all said and done. I love that.

Bottom Line: This is a super fun cozy mystery series if you enjoy that kind of thing!

Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

Any Dream Will Do

Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, she realized she would give up everything for him. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold. Pastor Drew Douglas lost his wife. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew. The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose.When Caden returns to town, it threatens to destroy everything Shay has rebuilt.

I do love a book about second chances. This is much more faith based than the other Debbie Macomber books, but I didn’t mind. In fact, if you are looking for a good love story….but don’t enjoy the sexy talk, this would be for you. There is no graphic scenes in the book.  I really loved the main characters in this book, you get to know them on an emotional level and there is a lot of development. This story is rich with deep emotion and intense feelings. I feel like the ending was perfect as well, it wasn’t rushed at all.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed this one. If you are looking for a story about hope, faith, second chances…this is for you.

**I received a copy of Any Dream Will Do from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Arrogant Devil by RS Grey

Arrogant Devil

Everyone in Cedar Creek, Texas, knows Jack McNight is an arrogant devil. When Meredith shows up on his door step at the Blue Stone Ranch needing a job and a place to stay, she has no idea what she is getting in to. 

Every time I think of RS Grey and her books, I cant help but smile. I fall in love with her characters so quickly!! She is hilarious and these are true romantic comedy books that I have read so far by her. I couldn’t get enough of Jack and Meredith’s banter. I loved all Meredith’s thoughts and inner dialogue that we get. Total perfection. This is a good, slow burn. You have the love/hate relationship, some cute side characters, a wonderful farm/ranch setting in the heat of Texas. Love love love! This is a story of second chances, restarting your life. The way this one progressed is so believable and not forced.

Bottom Line: Read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is on pre-sale right now for 99 cents!!!!!

**I received an ARC copy of Arrogant Devil from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**