General

Trying Not to Wallow

Is anyone else out there wallowing? Anyone else in a funk and just having trouble getting out of it? That’s where I’ve been (on and off) for awhile now. I’ve been in a mood that I just can’t fully shake. And when I get like this, I wallow. Despite all the advice to just stop thinking about it, just move on, just get into a better mood, just…. The list goes on.

The other problem is that when I’m in a funk (for whatever reason) I think back to things in the past (I’m talking YEARS in the past), things I wish I’d said or done differently, things I wish others had said or done differently. I know it’s pointless and futile, and just perpetuating The Mood. But it’s a difficult habit/behavior to stop.

Anyone else feel me on this?

Anyway – I (finally) finished The Maiden by Jude Deveraux last night! It’s a relatively short book, and should be easy reading, but it took me a whopping 20 days to read it! That’s probably partly due to the fact that it’s not really my genre, so I wasn’t burning to pick it up every day. Full review of that book (as well as the rest of the Velvet series) to come!

In an effort to get out of the aforementioned funk and shake off The Mood, I’m starting a new book today: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I’m super excited about this one! I’ve heard nothing but good buzz, and I have a feeling it’s just what I need right now.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Cheers!

General

What’s on My Kindle!

My TBR pile is…well, piling up! I keep telling myself that I need to stop requesting ARCs on NetGalley until I get some of the current ones read, but it’s just so hard when there are so many good books coming out soon (or recently)! So, in honor of my ever expanding ARC/TBR list, here are the ARCs that are currently waiting on my Kindle (all summaries courtesy of GoodReads):

 

Two Like Me And YouTitle/Author: Two Like Me And You by Chad Alan Gibbs
Publication Date: May 20th, 2019

Edwin Green’s ex-girlfriend is famous. We’re talking cover-of-every-tabloid-in-the-grocery-store-line famous. She dumped Edwin one year ago on what he refers to as Black Saturday, and in hopes of winning her back, he’s spent the last twelve months trying to become famous himself. It hasn’t gone well.

But when a history class assignment pairs Edwin with Parker Haddaway, the mysterious new girl at school, she introduces him to Garland Lenox, a nursing-home-bound World War II veteran who will change Edwin’s life forever.

The three escape to France, in search of the old man’s long-lost love, and as word of their adventure spreads, they become media darlings. But when things fall apart, they also become the focus of French authorities. In a race against time, who will find love, and who will only find more heartache?

 

Red White and Royal BlueTitle/Author: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Publication Date: May 14th, 2019

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

 

Man of the YearTitle/Author: Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker
Publication Date: June 11th, 2019

Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school, finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate, Nick, needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guest house. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity.

But when he begins to notice his new houseguest getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack. All the little lies Robert tells—harmless falsehoods meant to protect everything he holds dear—begin to mount. Before long, he’s embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, destroying the lives that stand in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends, his wife—who can clearly see the truth.

 

The First MistakeTitle/Author: The First Mistake by Sandie Jones
Publication Date: June 11th, 2019

THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.

HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.

HER BEST FRIEND: Through the ups and downs of life, from celebratory nights out to comforting each other through loss, Alice knows that with her best friend Beth by her side, they can survive anything together. So when Nathan starts acting strangely, Alice turns to Beth for help. But soon, Alice begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced . . .

 

Because You're MineTitle/Author: Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey
Publication Date: August 6th, 2019

Single mother Lee has the daily routine down to a science: shower in six minutes. Cut food into perfect squares. Never leave her on-the-spectrum son Mason in someone else’s care. She’ll do anything—anything—to keep his carefully constructed world from falling apart. Do anything to keep him safe.

But when her best friend Grace convinces her she needs a small break from motherhood to recharge her batteries, Lee gives in to a weekend trip. Surely a long weekend away from home won’t hurt?
Noah, Mason’s handsome, bright, charismatic tutor—the first man in ages Lee’s even noticed—is more than happy to stay with him.

Forty-eight hours later, someone is dead.

But not all is as it seems. Noah may be more than who he claims to be. Grace has a secret—one that will destroy Lee. Lee has secrets of her own that she will do anything to keep hidden.
As the dominoes begin to fall and the past comes to light, perhaps it’s no mystery someone is gone after all…

 

The Long CallTitle/Author: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished, the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back into the community he thought he had left behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.

2019 Reads, Advance Review Copies (ARCs), Book Reviews

Saving Meghan by D. J. Palmer

Saving Meghan

 

Title: Saving Meghan
Author: D. J. Palmer
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: April 9th, 2019
Page Count: 372
Format: Paperback ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250107459

My Rating: 4 Stars

Author Website | Amazon | GoodReads

 

 

 

 

 


Teenager Meghan Gerard has been in and out of hospitals for the last couple of years, but no one can figure out what’s wrong with her. Her mother, Becky, continues to push for answers despite test results that continually come back normal or inconclusive. Is Becky a devoted mother doing everything in her power to save her sick daughter, or is something more insidious going on? Is Meghan’s sickness real, or is it all in her (or her mother’s) head?


This is a very interesting book that deals with possible Munchausen syndrome/Munchausen syndrome by proxy. If you aren’t familiar with these, let me catch you up: Munchausen syndrome is a mental disorder where the person affected repeatedly and deliberately acts like they have a physical or mental illness when they’re not really physically sick at all (it’s commonly associated with severe emotional difficulties or challenges). Munchausen syndrome by proxy is when the person exhibits attention-seeking behavior for someone in their care. In short – the person pretends/acts like they (or someone they are caring for) are sick.

There are lots of twists and turns in this book to keep you guessing – I found it to be pretty fast-paced and entertaining! I can’t say that I was overly shocked by anything in particular, but I also didn’t totally guess all of the big twists. Some things were obvious, and some things were maybe a little predictable.

One downside was that I didn’t particularly love any of the characters – in fact I rather disliked most of them (except Zach Fisher) for much of the book. However, if you really try to put yourself in any of their shoes, and imagine that you’re going through the things they are going through, you can understand why they behave the way that they do.

I don’t really want to say too much in this review – it’s hard to say more without giving everything away. Suffice it to say that I really enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it! Overall, this was a really entertaining, fast-paced page-turner! A solid 4 Stars for me.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a free advance review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was granted access to an electronic ARC by NetGalley and was also sent a paperback ARC directly from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press.

2018 Reads, Advance Review Copies (ARCs), Book Reviews

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Little Darlings

 

Title: Little Darlings
Author: Melanie Golding
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: April 30th, 2019
Page Count: 304
Format: Electronic ARC provided by  NetGalley
ISBN: 9781683319979

My Rating: 3 Stars

Author Website | Amazon | GoodReads

 

 

 

 

 


Lauren Tranter is a new mother to twins Morgan and Riley, and she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw that night in her hospital room: a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.


 

I needed some time after finishing this book (with some serious internal processing and debate) before even giving it a rating much less a review. Don’t get me wrong – this was an incredibly good book – well-written, thrilling, terrifying, mysterious. But it was also very depressing.

The book itself, as I originally stated, is actually very good – it’s well written and well thought out, extremely creepy and chilling, and very mysterious. But at the end of the day, I couldn’t give it 5 stars based solely on that. I have to weigh in my own emotional response and feelings, and unfortunately, they weren’t all positive.

The problem was that this book ended up being, for me, extremely depressing. I guess that’s the point (and not necessarily a bad thing in a book), but I just don’t really enjoy that sort of thing. It ends with you questioning everything you read, and wondering what was really going on, what was real and what wasn’t. There really isn’t a happy ending for anyone, however you view the events that occurred.

And I just did not like the husband in this book. From the very beginning you get the feeling that something is off about their relationship, and though some things do come to light throughout the story, I was just never entirely sure what to make of him or his relationship with Lauren.

I actually almost abandoned this book in the first couple of pages (which I NEVER do) because of the writing style. Some paragraphs were so wordy that I just got bored and skimmed. And some things were so unnecessarily graphic that my stomach was churning. But that was really only the first chapter or so, then it improved. I’m glad I stuck it out because it was definitely an interesting read.

I can’t stop thinking about this book. And not 100% in a good way; more like a creepy and depressed way. It certainly was impactful. I just wish it had ended a little differently.

I’d like to end by saying that, though this book wasn’t necessarily my favorite, I know it will find its audience. If you like a dark, intense, creepy, mysterious book that keeps you wondering and guessing, then this book might just be for you!

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me with a free advance review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

General

Happy Friday!

Hello! As a new blogger, I’m still trying to develop my “brand,” and how I want to run this blog. So, for the time being, please consider this site still under construction, a work in progress. Are there any features you would like to see (monthly wrap up, upcoming new releases, author interviews, giveaways)? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an e-mail!

I wanted to jump on today and give you a quick update about what I’m currently reading, what I’m looking forward to reading, and what books are in my back-log. Enjoy!

What I’m Currently Reading

The Maiden

The Maiden by Jude Deveraux (Part of the Mongomery/Taggert book series, originally published in 1988).

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’m reading this series, as they are total “bodice rippers” (which I didn’t even know was a class of books until I started reading these). I bought this series a long, long time ago, and they’ve just been sitting on my shelf. I decided it was time to finally tackle them. Full review (as well as reviews for its predecessor The Black Lyon, and the four books in the Velvet series) to come!

What I’m Looking Forward To Reading

Courting Mr Lincoln

Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard (Published April 23rd, 2019)

I JUST picked this book up from the library yesterday, and I’m so excited to (eventually) get to it! I don’t have much to say on this one as I haven’t started it yet, but I’m very much looking forward to getting inside the mind of Mary Todd.

 

 

What’s In My Back-Log

Bookshelf

 

My back-log is extensive! I have almost 3 full shelves on my physical book shelf of to-read books. I also have several advance review copies (ARCs) and Amazon First Reads sitting on my Kindle. For now, I’ll just list what ARCs I have coming up. What’s on your to-read shelf? Comment below so I can discover even more new books to add to my ever-growing list!

 

 

  • Two Like Me And You by Chad Alan Gibbs (Borne Back Books | May 20th, 2019)
  • The First Mistake by Sandie Jones (Minotaur Books | June 11th, 2019)
  • Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker (Gallery Books | June 11th, 2019)
  • Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey (St. Martin’s Griffin | August 6th, 2019)
  • The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur Books | September 3rd, 2019)
2019 Reads, Advance Review Copies (ARCs), Book Reviews

Hotel Dare by Terry Blas and Claudia Aguirre

Hotel Dare

 

Title: Hotel Dare
Author: Terry Blas
Illustrator: Claudia Aguirre
Publisher: KaBOOM!
Publication Date: June 11th, 2019
Page Count: 144
Format: Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley/KaBOOM!
ISBN: 9781684152056

My Rating: 4 Stars

Author Website | Illustrator Website | Amazon | GoodReads

 

 

 

 


Olive Dare and her two adopted siblings, Darwin and Charlotte, are spending the summer with their grandmother, Mama Lupe (who happens to live in a non-operating hotel). After some unauthorized snooping, the Dare siblings discover an amazing secret – opening certain doors of the hotel will take you to different worlds! Each sibling travels to a different world and inadvertently begins to collect puzzle pieces of information that may explain why Mama Lupe and Olive’s father have a strained relationship. Can they get the answers they’re looking for, or will the lose their lives in the process?


 

I have to say, I haven’t read that many graphic novels to date, but I really enjoyed this! The story was engaging and entertaining, and the art was absolutely gorgeous! I love the color palate and the style. I also really loved the story line, and how the author managed to pack so many important things into such a relatively short story: the importance of family (chosen AND biological), blended/interracial families, inclusion of a queer character, family struggles, and showing how characters that are thought of by others as weak can end up being strong when someone believes in them and convinces them to believe in themselves. And it all felt so natural and effortless. Just beautiful!

Not a spoiler, but I think my favorite moment, if I had to pick one, would be when Darwin saw a unicorn for the first time. I believe my heart actually melted a little bit.

This book did a great job with world building, and setting up a bigger story. I haven’t seen any mention of a sequel, but I would really love to see this story continued!

A huge thank you to KaBoom!, NetGalley, and Book Riot for providing me with a free advance review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. I won a free, temporary electronic copy of this via the Book Riot e-mail list, and was also granted access by NetGalley.

2019 Reads, Advance Review Copies (ARCs), Book Reviews

Cape May by Chip Cheek

Cape May


Title:
Cape  May
Author: Chip Cheek
Publisher: Celadon Books
Publication Date: April 30th, 2019
Page Count: 256
Format: Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley/Celadon
ISBN: 9781250297150

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Author Website | Amazon | GoodReads

 


Set in the 1950’s, Cape May tells the story of Henry and Effie, a young, newly married couple from the south, and a honeymoon that will forever alter the course of their lives. They spend their honeymoon in the town of Cape May, where Effie spent many happy summers in her childhood. But they are honeymooning in September, and Cape May is in its off-season. Effie is visibly disappointed, but Henry tries to make the most of it. When the couple run into an old acquaintance of Effie’s, however, their boring honeymoon takes an interesting turn.


 

This was a tricky one for me. 95% of the book tells the day-to-day happenings of this couple on their honeymoon over the period of 3 weeks. The last 5% jumps forward and gives the reader little glimpses of their lives all the way into old age. I don’t really like when books do a big time-hop at the end – it leaves me feeling hollow for some reason. I think it’s becasue we spend such a hgue chunk of the book getting to know these characters, and relating to them. Then, suddenly, they are going through huge life changes; we’re jumping to different stages of their lives and only getting quick glimpses. We’re no longer in their heads on a day-to-day, moment-by-moment basis. It’s hard for me to put into words. Continue reading “Cape May by Chip Cheek”