book review, books

Books Lately

Time to link up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!!! For sure my favorite link up of the month!

Then You Were Gone by Claire Moss


I had a hard time getting in to this book at first. I am not sure if I just wasn’t in the right mood or what? This  book really made me think, how well do I really know anybody?? Simone’s boyfriend Mack disappears and her and her guy friend Jazzy set out on a quest to figure out what happened to him. I felt like there was a story line brewing between maybe a lost flame between Jazzy and Simone but it was sort of a fizzle and could have been elaborated a bit more for a plot twist or interest. Other than that, the book basically follows them around as they try to piece together what they actually know about Mack. Which they realize, isn’t much.

To be honest, I really liked Jazzy but I didn’t care much for Mack. Perhaps because we didn’t know that much about him? Either way, I almost felt indifferent most of the book as to whether or not they even find him.

This is sort of a suspenseful book but in the why did Mack leave sort of way. Which did peak my interest throughout. The thing was I knew instantly why he had went off and Simone and Jazzy didn’t even have the real reason cross their minds, which to me was ridiculous because it was so obvious to me!!

Bottom Line: I did enjoy most of this book, I just wish I had liked Mack more. I guess that is part of the suspense, because you don’t really know him. Though I didn’t need to know much about him at all to figure out the end. Overall, it was an interesting read, I just wish it was a little more developed with the plot because it is a fantastic plot idea.

I was provided a copy of this book (Before We Were Strangers) by the publisher and author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

I listened to this one via audiobook. This book is based on a true story/experience. It changes perspectives from present day Helmut in jail to memories of his past that lead up to him being in jail. I immediately related to the character. While I obviously am not German nor did I live in the WWII era, I can appreciate how people felt back then. I loved how Helmut had his own thoughts. He was told that all the books he reads must be German, but he thinks that is ridiculous and loves his American Western novels. He sees Jewish people being treated badly and it upsets him. He tunes in to the BBC radio in the evenings to get the true story about what is going on around the world, not what is fed to him by the German government. Standing up for what you believe in at such a young age is a very brave thing to do.

When Helmut goes to jail for simply speaking the truth, it is rather eye opening to realize how many people this really happened to then. I insist that if you do read or listen to this book, you stick around for the author notes.

What I find the most interesting is that this stuff still goes on today. I am not so naive to think that our own government doesn’t hide certain truths from us, but even worse in other countries. Look at North and South Korea!! The people of North Korea were told recently that their astronauts landed on Saturn. Saturn!!! Last checked, Saturn is a gas giant planet. Only about 1,000 people (mostly North Korean government) have internet in that whole country. Just crazy, right?!?! They have no way of knowing what is really going on.

Bottom Line: I highly recommend this book if you like historical fiction, or just want to understand more about Germany and the Hitler Youth. While all the events are not real, they are based on a real person and the author did extensive research to make the most plausible story.

Freefall by Tess Oliver

This was such a quick read for me, about two days. Nix owns a tattoo shop that he opened with an inheritance from his father that passed away. He is a former heartbreaker with a core group of friends and is a sweet guy. He looks after his sick grandmother and seems to be the levelheaded one of his group. Scottlyn is a selective mute who lost her family in a tragic car accident and has never quite recovered. She was taken in by a douche canoe named Lincoln who is controlling and in to shady business. Scottlyn meets Nix when Lincoln takes her to Freefall to get her scar from the accident covered with a tattoo. A spark is ignited between Nix and Scottlyn. You see where this is going….

This book is considered romance, but there is much more story line and hardly any smut. So this is a great choice for those of you who don’t care for the smut in romance novels.

Bottom Line: I liked this book. It had a little suspense in it that kept me interested in finding out what would happen next. I liked the characters, though I felt like Clutch and Taylor was a weird side story that never went anywhere. One thing I didn’t like? The book needed editing bad!!! There were several errors that I caught. Also, the ending came quick in a perfect little bow and I thought more could have be done with it.

Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

I did this one via audible and I loved it! I used to watch Girls Next Door, so I was already familiar with Holly and the other girls that were on the show. This really gave you a different perspective on what the Playboy Mansion life was really like. I remember when I watched the show I thought that it probably wasn’t as glamorous as they tried to make it seem.

Bottom Line: If you watched Girls Next Door or are at all curious about what Hef is really like, then this is a great read. I found it really entertaining to listen to, as Holly reads it herself. I loved the Alice and Wonderland quotes at the beginning of every chapter, even if Holly’s English accent is the worst I have ever heard.

Game of Love Melissa Foster

This book was (maybe still is????) free on ibooks! I am going to be honest, the main draw to it for me was that Dex, the leading male character, is a video game developer. Since I like video games and am married to a gamer/computer mastermind, I felt like I would connect with him. This is your typical love story of the girl in need being rescued by her strong man. In this case, Ellie was a child “of the system” when she was younger and grew up next to Dex. Her foster parents decided to let her go and she left without saying goodbye to him. Several years she showed up at his door for a weekend and left again without saying bye. He never recovered. Now she is back and a lot  of the book is her struggle with wanting to stay with him and fighting the urge to run.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed the plot of the book and I really liked Dex. My issue is that the author kept repeating over and over again the struggle that Ellie was going through. We get it, she was a foster child, she had a hard time earlier in life, she is a flight risk now because of it…quit repeating it! For that reason, I will only be rating this book 2 stars. But I really did love the idea behind it.

Other books I read this month:

Before We Were Strangers

I started The Scam over the weekend. It is Janet Evanovich’s new novel and I am excited! She is one of my favorite authors 🙂 What are you reading?

Life According to Steph

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  • Reply SMD @ Life According to Steph September 8, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Wait, did Holly read just the quotes in an english accent or the whole book? I had Christina from Easily Entertained give me the low down on the interesting stuff in that book. The whole Hef situation grosses me out. What a weird man.

  • Reply Brittany Pines September 8, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Freefall sounds interesting- love stories can be so good or so cheesy, so anytime someone says one is more in depth than just “These two people are going to end up together!” it’s nice.

    I kind of want to read Holly’s book, as I watched The Girls Next Door when she was on it…but I am somehow worried it is going to make me feel bad about that era lol.

  • Reply Amanda September 8, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Idk why I’m so intrigued by Down the Rabbit Hole but I just am!!!!

  • Reply September 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

    yup–agree all the way with the holly madison one!! such a fun listen.

  • Reply Andrea @ Living On Cloud Nine September 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Janet E is my mom’s favorite so I plan on getting her The Scam, then I can read it! Ha ha! I always appreciate your reviews and helps me tweet my list! Four day week, woohoo!! Happy Tuesday lovely lady!!

  • Reply Kelli September 8, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Down The Rabbit Hole added, I loved girls next door!

  • Reply Kate September 8, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I’m staying with my mom for a couple of weeks while I’m in limbo between my move and her guest room doesn’t have a TV so I am finally trying audio books. Down the Rabbit Hole sounds like a good one to try next!

  • Reply kristen September 8, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    oooh can’t wait to hear how the new Evanovich book is! lol @ Holly Madison’s English accent. Hilarious.

  • Reply Marie September 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Oh I totally need to read Holly’s book. I loved her on that show.

  • Reply Kate @ Green Fashionista September 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I definitely still want to read Holly’s book, and LOL at her horrible English accent. I can only imagine! 🙂

  • Reply Biana @ Blovedboston September 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I read some excerpts from Holly’s book and really liked it so I just need to purchase and read this one! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • Reply Mattie September 8, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    You did so much reading! I think I need to really start making myself read more. I have a bunch of books to get through!

  • Reply Lauren September 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I couldn’t get into a book with a character named Scottlyn…. people need to stop it with the fake names! I do want to read Down the Rabbit Hole but apparently so does everyone else at the library! Glad it was worth it, though!

  • Reply Kimmi September 8, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I have Down the Rabbit Hole on hold….I cannot wait to read it because I was seriously hooked on Girls Next Door! I gotta know the behind the scenes stuff!

    The Boy Who Dared sounds amazing! Going on the list now!

  • Reply Dorrie @ Rt 1 US 1 September 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    So I’m being cyber-antisocial lately and have not read any blogs or updated, but I’m so glad that you liked Holly’s book! I’m not sure I could have gotten into it if I hadn’t done the Audible thing. And I agree, her English accent made me cringe at the start of every chapter, as well as everything being “decadent.” Also, FYI on the Audible- when I went to cancel after my free trial, I clicked through a couple pages confirming that I wanted to cancel, and then they offered me $7ish a month for 3 months- TOTALLY worth keeping for 3 more months and 3 more books. We’ll see what happens once I cancel after that!!

  • Reply Jana @ Jana Says September 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I love months with eclectic reads! I might have to recommend The Boy Who Dared to my mom. She loves those types of books.

  • Reply lisacng @ September 8, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I’m not usually a fan of historic fiction but the Boy Who Dared sounds compelling.

  • Reply Christina September 8, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I read Rabbit Hole last month and wish I’d known Holly narrated it! The Boy Who Dared sounds really good!

  • Reply Kerry September 8, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Freefall certainly looks good! 😉 I heard Heather’s book was sour grapes but I did watch Girls Next Door so it would be fascinating to get a behind the scenes look, his whole life/vibe is kinda gross but he’s living his dream.

  • Reply Rose @ Ramblin' Rose September 8, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    I’m definitely adding The Boy who Dared to my list. I’m a fan of any WWII or Holocaust book.

  • Reply Laura September 8, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    You’re such a good little reader — so jealous I didn’t take more advantage of maternity leave and read some books. However, I really think I’m going to have to jump on that Holly Madison one — I loved that show !! When are they going to bring that one onto Netflix or Hulu?!?!

  • Reply Jessica September 8, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Oooo I really want to read the Holly Madison book!! I didn’t even know it existed!

  • Reply Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand September 8, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I added The Boy Who Dared. That one looks like a good one! I admit it…I judge a book by its cover, and even the cover had me intrigued.

    I’m not sure I could read all the Hef details. I once saw a stand-up comedian who said some pretty disgusting details about Hef. I don’t want to envision any more!

  • Reply alyssa September 8, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    I hadn’t heard of any of these but The Boy Who Dared sounds really interesting!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Heather @ My Little HEA September 9, 2015 at 7:04 am

    You know I added Freefall to my TBR and it looked like I already DLd it probably because it was free, lol. Looks like some good books this month!!

  • Reply B @ The Sequin Notebook September 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I definitely want to check out Holly’s book and get all the behind-the-scenes gossip!

  • Reply Teh Megan September 10, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Not gonna lie. I added Freefall to my TBR list because 1- sappy book not centered on sex, 2- HELLO HOTTIE ON THE COVER.

  • Reply Michael September 15, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Other than the Holly Madison book these all sound perfect for me! I’m all about mystery and suspense novels! They’re my fall/winter go-to’s.

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