Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Review: By Your Side

Title By Your Side
By Kasie West
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
When Autumn finds herself accidentally locked in the library over a holiday weekend her anxiety threatens to overwhelm her. So when she discovers Dax Miller, the school's bad boy, is locked in with her she's half panicked half relieved. As they get to know each other they'll find something in each other worth examining.

First Sentence
I was locked in the library trying not to panic.




My last attempt at one of Kasie West's romantic contemporaries didn't go so well. I liked it but didn't find it original or engaging enough. So it was with some hesitancy that I picked this one up. I did think it would be a good choice, though, since most of it takes place in a library. Can't go wrong there, right?

And I was right. I really like this one. I inhaled it in two days. Dax was adorable and sweet and is now sitting on the shelf with all my other book boyfriends.

I loved that while it was light and cute, it did discuss anxiety in a real light. I have anxiety and while it doesn't manifest like Autumn's did I could relate. Always a good thing.

I found the ending slightly too sweet and unbelievable but since I wanted a light romance it fit the bill perfectly. Now I'm not so hesitant to try her others.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday Salon




I've decided to revamp the Sunday Salon post....again as a way to catch up with you all if I don’t manage to get any reviews posted. And as a way to combine books movies and TV because the separate posts for all that isn’t working. Ready?

Weather Small Talk: We finally got rain!!!! And more rain...and more rain. Where was all this rain this summer? I'm not sick of it yet so that's good.

On The Idiot Box: New TV shows are back. I've been keeping up with 9-1-1, The Resident and The Good Doctor and I started a new K-drama called Black. It's very different than the last one and half the time I have no idea what's going on but I'm still invested.  I gave up on American Horror Story; too pointless for me.
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Weekly Reads: I finished the Grisha Verse series and loved it; started the Bloodlines series and read a quick YA contemporary romance as a sort of palate cleanser...Cause guess what came in the mail?!!! Markus Zusak's new book!!! I can't wait to delve into it!

Crazy Kitties: All this cold weather has made the kitties overly snuggly. They're always trying to suck up all my body heat.

This Past Week: Was spent pretty lazily. We winterized out rentals but mostly I snuggled up on the couch a lot with my kitties, books and TV shows. Friday was our 5 year anniversary and we spent it pretty low key cause my husband and I have nasty head colds but I can't believe its been five years. Crazy! 

Movie(S) of the Week: We saw Venom on Sunday and it was not nearly as bad as everyone has been saying. It was funny and entertaining. Good popcorn movie.  

Food Talk: I've been sick to my stomach all week too so eating and I aren't getting along. Somethings are fine but others just make it worse. I hope whatever this is passes soon. 

Plans For The Upcoming Week: I'm spending the week in Oregon with my friend. By the time you read this I'll hopefully be walking on the beach. I'm excited from a break from work and routine and glad to be spending time with my friend. I hope my husband and kitties survive with out me.  See you on the other side! 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: Ruin and Rising

Title Ruin and Rising (Grisha Verse #3)
By Leigh Bardugo
Genre YA Fantasy
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
The final battle between Alina and the Darkling is looming but Alina is struggling with her power and without the the Firebird she doesn't have a chance. Can she and her band of alliances find the third amplifier in time?

First Sentence
I stood on a carved stone balcony, arms spread, shivering in my cheap robes, and tried to put on a good show.




I'm so glad I finally read this series. Sometimes people rave about a book or series and when I finally pick it up I can't figure out what the hell they see in it. Luckily all the raving was well warranted.

This book in particular blew me away. I talked in my reviews of the other books in this series about them following the usual fantasy recipe. This one had its moments but it took turns I totally didn't see coming.

Once again it made me FEEL so much. I love when a book can influence my feelings like that...even when it influences them to anger. Love it!

I wasn't so sure about the ending for a few moments but then I just melted. I loved the ending! It was perfect and just what needed to happen. I loved it.

Great series! If you haven't picked it up yet, do so. It's worth it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review: Bloodlines

Title Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
By Richelle Mead
Genre YA Supernatural Paranormal
Format Audio book
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Sydney's last encounter with the Moroi put her in a sticky situations with the other Alchemists. Seen as sympathetic to vampires she's in risk of losing her place. To save her younger sister being put in a dangerous situation, she takes on a new job protecting the Moroi Princess's younger sister.


First Sentence
I couldn't breath.



After reading the Vampire Academy series I was half ready to be done with that universe and half wanting more.

It's been just over two years since I finished the VA series and I guess I wanted more so I picked up Bloodlines.

I really love this world Mead has created. It's very intricate but doesn't get in the way of the story which is something that happens in other books far too easily.

Sydney as the lead was fun. She's very different than Rose and I liked learning more about her and watching her kick ass.

These series are not mind blowing for me but they are guilty little pleasures and I'm excited for a whole new series to delve into.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Review: Siege and Storm

Title Siege and Storm (Grisha Verse #2)
By Leigh Bardugo
Genre YA Fantasy
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Alina and Mal are in hiding after narrowly escaping the Darkling. But hoping to stay hidden forever and ignore the pull to her powers isn't going to work for Alina. The Darkling still searches for her and a rise of pilgrims calling her a saint will draw her back out.

First Sentence
Two weeks we'd been in Cofton, and I was still getting lost.




After really enjoying the first book I decided to jump right into the rest of the series and finish it all at once.

Second books in fantasy series can often feel like filler books but I didn't think this one had that problem. It starts out with a bang and then carries on with the story nicely. While it may have lagged a little for some people I enjoyed the time the author took to develop the characters. I loved seeing them grow.

Speaking of characters...I LOVED Nikolai! I loved his banter with Alina, I loved his sense of humor, his smarts, Agh! I loved him! Every time he and Alina talked I was giggling.

I found this one a nice, rock solid middle book and am half way through book three as I write this. I'm so excited to see how it all ends.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Review: Before We Were Yours

Title Before We Were Yours
By Lisa Wingate
Genre Adult Fiction
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
I take a breath, scoot to the edge of the seat, and straighten my jacket as the limo rolls to a stop on the boiling-hot asphalt.

I put the Goodreads synopsis on my review so you could see why I thought I was getting something completely different when I started this book. 

I expected it to feel like a historical fiction where you feel slightly distanced from the characters and like you might be tested on facts later. What I got was a rich and vivid look into the lives of a fictional family whose life was ripped apart by a real historical event. 

I guess what I'm saying is it read much more like a southern family drama than a historical fiction. Which, for me, was a good thing. I was riveted by page one and was wholly invested in the characters the whole way through. 

Great writing, gripping plot, memorable characters...what more can I say? I really liked it. My only beef with the book was the convenient way no one would reveal secrets that kept the plot moving. Not my favorite plot device. But don't let that deter you. This one is worth the read.     

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

September Wrap-Up


Well, here we are in October my favorite month of the year! That means September is over and the crisp air and falling leaves can start....any time now! Please!!! Ahem. Anyway. September started out on a crazy trip to Oregon to furnish our vacation home, to fancying up the exterior of one of our duplexes to, well, nothing. Things seemed to have calmed down and I'm loving it! More time for reading, binge watching shows and enjoying the cooler weather....anytime now, Fall.

 I read 8 books this past month. 2 print books 3 ebooks and 3 audiobooks. Fairly balanced I'd say.

The Girl From The Well
A creepy read about a murdered girl who seeks revenge until she meets a boy with an even more creepy ghost attached to him.



Shadow and Bone (Grisha Verse 1)
All the regular ingredients to a fantasy but tasted delicious.




A Simple Favor
Stupid, pointless story with deplorable characters.




The Woman in Cabin 10
A likable character in a psychological thriller? I know! I'm shocked too!




The Orphan Keeper
Intriguing page turner about a kidnapped child and his journey home.




Before We Were Yours
Surprising with twists and turns through past and present.




Big Mushy Happy Lump
Get ready to laugh for the few minutes it will take to read this delightful book.



Siege and Storm (Grisha Verse 2)
Slower middle but still so yummy! (review to come)




And there you have it. Big Mushy Lump gets 5 stars because there's nothing to dislike and I'll definitely be reading it again but The Grisha books,The Woman in Cabin 10 and Before We Were Yours were all great books too.  Besides A Simple Favor, which was just awful, I had a pretty good reading month.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Salon



I've decided to revamp the Sunday Salon post....again as a way to catch up with you all if I don’t manage to get any reviews posted. And as a way to combine books movies and TV because the separate posts for all that isn’t working. Ready?

Weather Small Talk: It's finally cooling off at nights which is glorious. The days are warm but not unbearable but it's still dry, dry, dry! It is supposed to rain next week though. I hope it really does and I hope it's lots of rain. We need it badly!

On The Idiot Box: I finished my first K-drama. The one I was talking about last week called Beating Again. It was so soap opera-y but so much fun. The ending was a bit of a cop out but I liked it. I also finished all the available episodes of The Frankenstein Chronicles. It's such a strange show but I liked it too. I Started American Horror Story The Cult and I don't know if I'll finish it. This show keeps getting worse and worse with each season.
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Weekly Reads: I finished Before We Were Yours. It wasn't at all what I was expecting and I really liked it. I'm still working on Siege and Storm the second book in the Grisha trilogy. I'm liking it but it's one of those books that's so much fun while reading but if you put it down it's hard to pick back up. I squeezed in a Sarah Scribbles book and laughed my way through it and started Bloodlines by Richelle Mead on audiobook for when I get off my butt and go walking everyday.

Crazy Kitties: My cat Belly gave me a huge scare this week. I had the front door open because I was cooking steak and the house was all smoky (I'm so not a cook) and when I was done eating I went out to find her. She's scared of the front yard and never wanders more then 20 feet from the door unless she slips around to the backyard. Well, I called and called for her looking in both the front and backyard and nothing. I started panicking and my husband and I started looking in the neighbors yards and all over the street. I decided to check inside again (I'd already checked all her usual hiding places and remembered she sometimes squeezes under my dresser) but she wasn't there. Suddenly I turn around and see her head poking out of the closet. She'd found a new spot to hide and was behind a huge fuzzy robe hanging in there. Why? Why do cats do this to us?! Ugh!

This Past Week: I went with some of my friends to an author event my library put on with Camron Wright the author of the book I reviewed on Friday, The Orphan Keeper. It was a smaller low key event but a lot of fun...and as usual, I didn't take a single picture. 

Movie(S) of the Week: We saw The House With The Clock in its Walls which is not one I'd seek out but there isn't much out in theaters that I haven't already seen so we gave this one a go. It wasn't bad. It was cute and a little spooky and a whole lot of fun. 

Food Talk: Remember those steaks I mentioned? After trying and failing to make a decent steak without smoking up the whole house and attempting a roast in my crockpot the next day that turned our dry and rubbery with half the potatoes done and the others still crunchy, I swore off cooking and we went out to dinner the following two nights! 

Plans For The Upcoming Week: It's still pretty warm but I think I'm going to start winterizing my yard: Pulling up my annuals and putting up the yard furniture etc. I like all that cleaned up so it doesn't get in the way of raking leaves...and they're starting to fall. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Review: Big Mushy Happy Lump

Title Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah's Scribbles 2)
By Sarah Andersen
Genre Graphic Novel Comedy
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



Synopsis
Sarah is back with her hilarious and oh so real look into life today as an adult.








I love Sarah Scribbles and finally got my hands on one of her books. It was, as I suspected, hilarious. I love her look at life and how completely relatable it is. My favorite comic was this one and I'm sorry to any men reading my post if it makes you uncomfortable but it's so true and had me laughing the hardest.

Every. Freaking. Time! It's so true!

My only complaint was it was too short. I could read her comics for hours without getting bored.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Review: The Orphan Keeper

Title The Orphan Keeper
By Camron Wright
Genre Adult Fiction
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Kidnapped as a young boy and thrown in an orphanage, Chellamutha tries to explain he's not an orphan but no one will listen. Adopted by a family in America he slowly adjusts to his new life. Years later memories come back and won't leave him alone prodding him to return to India and search for the family he can barely remember.

First Sentence 
The City of Erode was like a thousand others that dotted the vast landscape of India.


Another book club book. Based on the true story this one tells the story of a young boy. From his days in India to his life in America and a journey back to India to find the family he's nearly forgotten.

I did not expect to like this one. It sounded OK but also very much like the story the movie Lion was based on. However, I ended up enjoying it. The writing wasn't my favorite but the story moved along quickly and before I knew it, I was flying through pages wanting to see how everything turned out.

While I flew through the pages, I wasn't too fond of the writing, some of the characters fell flat and the story often felt rushed. So in the end this was a three star read for me. I liked it but didn't love it. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review: The Woman In Cabin 10

Title The Woman In Cabin 10
By Ruth Ware
Genre Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Lo Blacklock, a writer for a travel magazine, is going on the maiden voyage of the prestigious cruise ship the Aurora. With a recent break in at her home and her relationship with her boyfriend on the rocks Lo is finding her insomnia unbearable but lack of sleep or not she's sure of what she hears and sees one night on the cruise. A scream and a splash and something that looks like blood smeared on the balcony next to hers. Sure that something awful has happened to the woman in the cabin next to hers, Lo starts investigating but no one believes. As she starts to dig deeper the threats start coming but Lo can't give up on trying to find the woman in cabin 10.

First Sentence
The first inkling that something was wrong was waking in darkness to find the cat pawing at my face.

  This is my first Ruth Ware book and a friend of mine was horribly disappointed in it so I was reluctant to pick it up. But, as often happens, I needed an audiobook to listen to and it was available so here we are.

I actually ended up really liking the book. Mostly, I think, because the main character, while a bit naive, was likable: A rare thing in these psychological thrillers.

I also really liked the story. I wanted to know what was going on and who Lo could trust. The present day to past timeline added to the intensity as well.

I felt like I was reading an Agatha Christie book a little because you have this cast of characters isolated from the world and someone has gone missing. But where an Agatha Christie novel would have a investigator on board and everyone scared of everyone else this one was just a magazine writer against the whole company. No one else believed her and there was no record of anyone missing on board.

Anyway, it made for a fun read and I enjoyed it. I'm eager to try Ware's other books now.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: A Simple Favor

Title A Simple Favor
By Darcey Bell
Genre Adult Psychological Thriller
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️

Synopsis
Stephanie is delighted to have made a friend like Emily, She's elegant, sophisticated and seems to have it all with the perfect job and husband. So Stephanie is shocked when Emily goes missing. As the search begins for her friend, Stephanie will learn more than she bargained for about her, so called, best friend.

First Sentence
Hi moms!




I know it is no longer polite or politically correct to bash a book as bad as I'm about to but this book deserves it so get ready.

I first learned of this book because I saw a preview for the movie which looked silly but fun and I suspected it was based on a book. Of course it was, so I put the book on hold on Overdrive. Then I started seeing all the negative reviews of the book around and decided I wasn't going to read it. But I'd forgotten I put it on hold and it came in and well, I'm an idiot and glutton for punishment, apparently, because I decided to read it.

And what's worse is when it got stupider and stupider, I KEPT reading. Why?!

Most of these psychological thrillers have unlikable characters. Have you noticed? So the fact that this one was full of them was not a surprise or a deal breaker for me. What made me seethe with rage was the complete pointlessness of this one.

*Spoilers*

Emily claims she loves her son. Yeah. Right. Who would put their child through the trauma of making them believe you were dead? Really? I don't buy it. Plus she claims she wants to spend more time with him but runs away in hiding and becomes far more obsessed with her revenge and plans than with her son.  Then she shows herself to her son because, "She can't stay away" Therefore traumatizing him further because he thought she was dead then sees shes alive then when he tells people she's alive they call him a liar and suggest he needs therapy! Who does this to a six year old?!! Not someone that loves them!

Then, there's the whole insurance policy scam. That's why she pretended to be dead; to collect insurance money. When that starts to look like it won't pan out she goes nuts, kills the insurance agent, for no good reason that I could see, and then changes her story to get rid of her husband, get a divorce and lives happily with her son...but still spend all her time working so she STILL never sees her son. *face palm*

So basically she really doesn't know what she wants and accomplishes nothing but throwing her husband under the bus, allowing the only person she really loved to kill herself and traumatizing her son.

And then there's Stephanie. She was the stupidest character to walk the pages of a book since...Bella. I just didn't buy that she was that naive and malleable. Not when she had the secret she did and kept it all hush hush as well as she did...until she met Emily, that is.

*End of Spoilers*

The book was mess. There was no point and the characters were unbelievable and didn't act like actual people would. Not even psychotic people.

I was blown away that someone would read this monstrosity and think, "This would make a great movie". Just no.

However, I saw the movie (Glutton for punishment) and saw that someone obviously hated the book as much as I did but saw its potential and "fixed" it. I thought the movie was pretty stupid too but at least it had a point and ended much better then the book.

Which makes me wonder...why the hell didn't the author end the book like the movie? Did she actually think she'd written a great story here? Who the hell told her that? I'd be humiliated to have this story tied to my name in any shape or form. Yuck!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Salon






I've decided to revamp the Sunday Salon post....again as a way to catch up with you all if I don’t manage to get any reviews posted. And as a way to combine books movies and TV because the separate posts for all that isn’t working. Ready?

Weather Small Talk: It’s “sort of” cooling down now that fall is coming but the days are still so hot and dry. We have a huge wildfire in our mountains that’s barely contained and I’m desperately wishing along with everyone else in my state, for rain. So send us rainy wet vibes. We need it so bad!!

On The Idiot Box: Much to my friend Suey’s delight, I’ve started a Korean Drama. She’s been trying to get me to watch some forever it seems and I finally felt like I could commit. I KNEW I was going to get sucked into them and it is a commitment. I’m watching one called Beating Again (it’s on Netflix) that’s so soap opera-y but I’m loving it!!! I also started The Frankenstein Chronicles (also on Netflix) with my husband. We’ve watched 4 episodes and it’s a slow one but I’m getting intrigued. Frankenstein is my all time favorite book so I’m always so wary of spin-offs/retellings etc. but this one is good.
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Weekly Reads: I rushed through The Orphan Keeper for book club that took place this past week and it was pretty good. I wasn’t blown away but I liked it. And another future book club book, Before We Were Yours, that I’d put on hold, came in so I’m listening to it and really liking it so far.

Crazy Kitties: My older cat,Buns, is quite the nuisance lately. I have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she uses the kitty litter. I’ve brought her to the vet and everything checks out but she’s just such a stinker about using the kitty litter. I think she hates sharing with our other kitty, Belly. And, yes, I have plenty of litter boxes for the both of them. I even added a new one to no avail. :( Belly is getting a touch more snuggly as the weather cools down. In the summer she hardly lets me touch her.

This Past Week: We’re selling our rentals! Ahhhh! I know, right? I thought we would have them for life but we’re investing elsewhere. We spent over a week getting one ready to put on the market and that’s kept me busy but it’s on the market and under contract already so here’s hoping all goes well. And now maybe I can take a breather.

Movie(S) of the Week: We saw The Nun on Sunday and it was fun...for a horror movie. I laughed a lot and even jumped once. We also saw A Simple Favor. Which was way better than the book but still pretty dumb. But if you’re going to pick you should just go see the movie. My scathing review of the book will be up on Monday.

Food Talk: Let me tell you a little secret: When you don’t have kids and you hate to cook you end up eating out way too much. I’ve discovered that the Italian salad dressing at The Texas Roadhouse is to die for. So I pour a butt-load of it on my salad and pretend I’m so healthy. ;)

Plans For The Upcoming Week: I don’t know!!! It’s so crazy when the summer winds down and I don’t have to mow at the rentals or take care of the pool. I think I might have time to actually read and binge watch my K-drama. Crazy!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Review: Shadow and Bone

Title Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
By Leigh Bardugo
Genre YA Fantasy
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Alina Starkov always felt different but never suspected how much. When her regiment tries to cross the Shadow Fold, a stretch of darkness filled with monsters who feast on human flesh, her difference comes to light and she's whisked away to serve the Darkling and learn about the Grisha's. As she's pulled every which way by those who would use her as a tool she must learn who she really is and what she's really capable of.

First Sentence
Standing on the edge of a crowded road, I looked down onto the rolling fields and abandoned farms of the Tula Valley and got my first glimpse of the Shadow Fold.

This is one of those series I've been meaning to read since it first came out. I finally decided to pick up my copy and give it a go.

I'll be honest, it started out rough for me. I felt like I was reading a story I've read a million times before. Fantasy books have a nice little formula and this one followed the ingredients without wavering. I found myself a bit bored and having to force myself to keep going.

I'm not sure when exactly my feelings changed but even though it still followed that similar formula I started to care about the characters and story. I suppose that's why fantasy keeps being written and read and loved. It doesn't matter how formulaic it is, we seem to like it all the same.

I inhaled that last part of this book and am going to jump into the next book because I partly want to see what happens and partly don't want to forget what happened in this one; I'm afraid I won't remember much about it if I don't hurry.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review: The Girl From The Well

Title The Girl From The Well
By Rin Chupeco
Genre YA Horror
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
She hunts serial killers, child killers, kills them. It's her life's work...or her after life's work. Three hundred years ago she was murdered and thrown down a well. She's spent years hunting the type of man that killed her and wreaking her revenge. When a strange boy with arms covered in tattoos crosses her path she finds herself drawn to him and the evil thing that follows him. Can she be more than just a destroyer of souls and save one instead?

First Sentence
I am where dead children go.

We have another one of those elusive 3 star reads to review so bear with me. I think what defines a 3 star read for me is that I'm enjoying it but not on the edge of my seat or dying to get back to it after setting it down. Does that make sense? No? Yeah I don't get it either. Anywho...

Ever see that movie The Ring? With the creepy girl that climbs out of the well and then the TV and kills people? This is a book about her. Whether the lore from the book was true or made up for the book I'm not sure but basically this poor girl loved and served her master who then betrayed her and sold her to this awful guy that killed her and threw her down a well. Needless to say, she was a bit miffed.

This book is also about a boy who's mother bound an evil spirit to him to keep it from going on a killing rampage. So, yeah. Fun stuff.

I found it creepy and enjoyable and it kept me very distracted on my long drive to Oregon over Labor Day weekend.

However, I'm just not sure how memorable it will be. So far I remember it just fine but in a few months I might not remember much. I never blame this one a story though but I always wonder if a book's memorable impact says anything about its worth???? Anyway, if you like horror books and like The Ring, I'd definitely give this one a read.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: Genuine Fraud

Title Genuine Fraud
By E. Lockhart
Genre NA Psychological Thriller
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️

Synopsis
Spoiled rich girl and slightly psychotic girl equals a recipe for disaster.



First Sentence 
It was a bloody great hotel.





E. Lockhart is a hit or miss with me. I love her Ruby Oliver series but her serious books, We Were Liars and this one, apparently aren't for me. My biggest problem with this one, after the completely unlikable characters and the pointless story was, how similar it was with The Talented Mr. Ripley. It was a complete ripoff of that one. Some similarities would have been fine but this one was nearly identical.

Since I find The Talented Mr. Ripley pointless and full of crappy characters as well you can imagine why I didn't like this one.  Sadly, I really don't have much else to say. Lockhart is a great writer but sometimes her stories and me just don't get along.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

August Wrap-Up 2018

I'm finally getting a minute of downtime to do my wrap up post for August. Hopefully I can start getting some reviews written so there's SOMETHING going up on my blog. August was a crazy month!  With the trip to drive to Oregon at the end of the month looming and trying to get everything organized and packed my stress levels were through the roof. The trip went well, by the way, We made it there and back in one piece and after getting back home and both my husband and I crashing emotionally, I think we're finally back to finding some normalcy. Well, normalcy for us, anyway (we're painting at one of our rentals). Some how I managed eight books in August. Five of those were audiobooks which explains how I managed so many. Thank goodness for audiobooks, right?!


Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz, Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris, First Comes Love by Emily Giffin, Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan, A Gathering of Finches by Jane Kirkpatrick and Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.

Favorites of the month were Letters to the Lost and First Comes Love. Lease favorites were Bring Me Back and Genuine Fraud.





Friday, August 31, 2018

By The Time You Read This...


By the time you read this, I'll be...on "vacation". As you may or may not know, my husband grew up on the Oregon coast and loves it desperately. My dad was raised in Oregon and while I wasn't born there he instilled in my a love for the coast as well. So my husband and I have been traveling to Oregon once a year, at least, for a few years now and driving up and down the coast visiting our favorite spots.

Our plan was eventually to retire to the coast. Yes, there's the rain but look at that view! ^ ^ And these sunsets!



We love it so much! So, it's with great happiness that I tell you of our happy news! We purchased a vacation house on the beach! I'm absolutely thrilled! So this weekend, by the time you read this, we'll be driving (*whimpers* I hate driving) a load of furnishings to our new vacation home. We plan to do  the whole Airbnb thing as soon as we can which is great income and also leaves it available for when we want to get away...several more times than once a year now.

I'm not writing this to gloat (well, not totally) but to let you know it might be quiet around here for a while. All the prepping seriously cut into my reading time so after playing catch up with reviews the last two weeks you'll notice a lull. Not that you'll mind but, you know, I'm telling you anyway. Hopefully the blog will be back to "normal" around mid September.

In the mean time, wish us luck on the LONG drive and have a great Labor Day Weekend! (to my American friends)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Review: Witches of East End

Title Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1)
By Melissa de la cruz
Genre Adult Paranormal/Supernatural
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
Freya Beauchamp swirled the champagne in her glass so that the bubbles at the top of the lip burst one by one until there were none left. 

This book has been sitting on my shelf forever! While looking for an audiobook to listen to while working, I decided to finally read it. 

It's so hard to review a book you give three stars to. Am I right? I feel like I'm saying I didn't like it and that's just not true. Three stars is a nice, solid, rating. No, I didn't LOVE the book and, no, it's not a new favorite but I liked it. It had a great story, fun, likable characters and was very readable. I enjoyed it and am eagerly looking forward to jump into the sequels. 

That said, I don't have much else to talk about. That's why I hate three star reviews. If you want me to point out why it's not four or five stars I can. Let's just go ahead and do that to take up a bit more space, shall we? 

It's not a five star because that's reserved for books I adore! Books that I'll definitely be reading again. It's not a four star read because there was nothing horribly memorable and I'm pretty sure it'll be one of those series I enjoy and then promptly forget about. I was also bothered a tiny bit by the writing. Notice that first sentence? It's just needlessly wordy. Right? 

And there you have it. my three star review of a fun new world and characters I want more of.   

Monday, August 27, 2018

Review: A Gathering of Finches

Title A Gathering of Finches
By Jane Kirkpatrick
Genre Historical Fiction
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
When her father dies, Cassie feels pressured to marry Josiah Stearns to help her destitute mother and sister. Traveling west with her new husband brings Cassie to the wilds of Washington. Seemingly the girl who has everything with a doting husband,  a beautiful daughter and her mother and sister close, Cassie still longs for something more. When she meets the handsome Louis Simpson a forbidden love affair will end with the woman behind the man who founded North Bend, Oregon and inspired the most beautiful mansion and gardens on the Oregon coast.

First Sentence 
My friend Annie and I sat in our family's closed Victoria carriage peering out through the round, isinglass window.

Though I love the history of North Bend (the town my husband grew up in) and can imagine the beautiful house that once stood on Shore Acres, I never would have picked this book up. My husband is a little bit (okay, A LOT) obsessed with Louis J. Simpson and Shore Acres State Park. When he saw this book he bought it for me and eagerly awaited my thoughts.

The book is a historical fiction and a slow one at that but I did find it interesting. I liked that the author wrote the story from Cassie's point of view. Everything about this story and history is ALWAYS about the man. Typical. So, getting the woman's point of view was nice.

Sadly, I couldn't quite find it in my heart to care for Cassie. She was pretty selfish which always makes it hard to sympathize with. Still, the history was fun and now I know almost as much as my husband about his home town. Not a complete loss.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Review: Baby Teeth

Title Baby Teeth
By Zoje Stage
Genre Adult, Fiction
Format Audio book
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Life was supposed to be good for Suzette now. She has her crohn's under control and is married to a wonderful man. Her seven year old daughter, Hannah, however, doesn't speak, has been kicked out of every school she was enrolled in and is growing increasingly more violent. In her father's eyes, Hannah is the perfect angel but Suzette is starting to feel like Hannah would prefer her out of the picture. Permanently.

First Sentence
Maybe the machine could see the words she never spoke.


I've been eyeing this one for a long time. For some reason I'm fascinated with stories of psychotic children. I think I was expecting a disturbing horror like book and while I found this one incredibly disturbing, I think the author was going for a more serious issue-y book???

I'm not sure. All I know is I couldn't put it down. I was disturbingly fascinated from the get go.

There were a lot of plot holes in this one. I highly doubt the father would be THAT blind to how psychotic his daughter was and there was no way Suzette wouldn't have thought to record her daughter's behavior. I feel like those things were left out just to keep the story going. So, yeah, like I said, holes.

Still, the book was a page turner and all in all I enjoyed it. It was very disturbing and I kept shaking my head and muttering, "what the hell is wrong with this kid" but I couldn't look away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review: Bring Me Back

Title Bring Me Back
By B.A. Paris
Genre Adult, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️

Synopsis
Finn and Layla were in love and Finn was about ready to propose. On a road trip he stops at a rest station and leaves Layla sleeping in the car while he uses the restroom. When he comes back, Layla is gone. That's the story he tells the police, but it's not the whole truth. Years later Finn's grief and Layla's sister Ellen's grief have brought the two together. But when they get engaged everything starts falling apart. Item's from Ellen's childhood with Layla start to show up and an old neighbor claims to have seen Layla. Could Layla be back? What does she want? Is she seeking revenge?

First Sentence
We were on our way back from skiing in Megeve.



I really loved Paris' other two books, Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown so I was eager for this one. However, instead of buying it I borrowed it from the library and, boy, am I glad I did. Spending a  single dime on this would have been as bad as spending all that time reading it.

I kept seeing disappointed reviews so I should have known but I still had my hopes up. This book was one big mess! It honestly felt like Paris grabbed an old rejected manuscript from ages ago and polished it up a bit and her publishers published it now that she's made a name for herself.

It was awful. The twist wasn't surprising at all and completely unbelievable, the characters were all flat and uninteresting and the plot was boring and repetitive and made me lose interest 50 pages in.

Please, please, please don't let this one deter you from her others, though, they were both very good. This one should have been left at the bottom of her rejected manuscripts pile.

Oh well. Every author  usually has a book or two that disappoints us. I intend to read anything else she publishes so it wasn't a complete loss.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: First Comes Love

Title First Comes Love
By Emily Giffin
Genre Adult, Romance, Chick-lit
Format Audio book
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Sisters, Meredith and Josie couldn't be more different. Josie is spontaneous, extroverted and goes after what she wants, Meredith is quiet, stoic and does what's best for everyone else but herself. When their brother dies in a car crash the two sisters deal with their grief differently and those differences drive them apart. Fifteen years later as they both are at a crossroads in their lives that tragedy will either drive them further apart or bring them closer together.

First Sentence
Time is a tricky thing, Daniel said to his mother when he was still very young.

And now I've finished all of Giffin's published books. After the last one, All We Ever Wanted, I wasn't so sure I wanted to ever read another one of her books but this one restored my faith in her storytelling abilities and reminded me why I love her books so much.

This one tells the story of two very different sisters. These characters were wonderfully flawed. There were things about each of them that drove me absolutely nuts and things I really loved too. Watching their all too relatable struggles puts you right in that understood and validated space. I love that about books.

I didn't expect to love this one as much as I did. It's probably my favorite of Giffin's books and I'm glad I didn't let that last one turn me off.

If you love stories about people and family struggles with flawed characters you can root for, you should read this one. I've been thinking about Joise and Meredith long after I closed the book. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan

Title Moonlight Over Manhattan
By Sarah Morgan
Genre Adult, Romance
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list--dealing with Madi's temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
This wasn't how a date was supposed to end.


This one was recommended to me and it sounded rather cute so I decided to give it a read. 

And, well, it reminded me why I avoid romances. Now don't get me wrong, I like a good romance in a book but a ROMANCE book??? Not so much. And this book was the perfect example of WHY I don't like romance books. 

They start out really cute. Girl meets boy, sparks fly, silly yet seemingly insurmountable issue pops up and then, well, it becomes one big, fat, cheesy, cliche. 

There's just nothing new here. It's the same old story with the cute, naive girl and the handsome brooding guy. 

And even the steamy scenes were lukewarm at best. Sigh. I was just unimpressed. This isn't my genre though, so don't take my review too seriously. Other people love Morgan's books.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Review: Letters to the Lost

Title Letters to the Lost
By Brigid Kemmerer
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Juliet is reeling after the death of her mother, a world traveling photojournalist. To cope she writes her mother letters and leaves them on her gravestone. Then one day, someone writes her back. And thus begins a relationship between two broken people. If they can confide in each other then they might finally begin to heal.

First Sentence
There's this photograph I can't get out of my mind.




When I read the synopsis to this one I just knew I had to read it. It sounded like a tearjerker and we all need those once in a while, right?

I had no idea how how sad it was going to be, though. The hits just kept coming! I seriously don't know how these character's didn't just end it all. I don't think I could have went what they went through. The were so amazing and I was rooting for them in tears the whole time.

Totally character driven, this story was beautiful and sad and hopeful and I really loved it! I don't know what else to say. Go out and read it!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: Ship Out of Luck

Title Ship Out Of Luck (Antsy Bonano #3)
By Neal Shusterman
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Always getting into mischief with good intentions, Antsy intends to keep himself in check on his family's vacation cruise but when he meets Tilde and discovers her secret all his plans go right out the window.

First Sentence
Don't ask me cause I don't got an opinion.





Most people know Neal Shusterman for his Unwind series or his latest series: Arc of a Scythe but if you haven't met Antsy you're missing out.

I was beyond happy when I saw another Antsy book was coming out. I bought the book and then put off reading it for five years because I didn't want it to be over. Anyone else do that? Anywho, I finally decided I needed a good laugh and picked this one up.

And I was disappointed, guys. My heart broke a little because of that disappointment. Antsy was his same old, trouble maker with a heart of gold and he made me laugh but the story...the story felt all wrong to me.

I'm used to Antsy making observations about human nature and working on something with people at it's core. This book just took a political problem and thew Antsy into the middle of it.

I kinda, sorta, hate politics, if you haven't noticed, and think that no matter how many laws are changed or how many different presidents are in power or what political party is running things that the real problem is the way human beings treat each other: The whole, "I'm right, you're wrong, My way or the highway" mentality. So Ansty is such a great character because at his core he's genuinely good and kind.

This story felt like a cop out. Forget awesome insights into human beings treating human beings with respect and kindness that the other books in the series offer. This one just takes a political issue and places Antsy on one side of the issue. Boring!

I still gave this one three stars because...did I mention Antsy?

Don't let this one dissuade you from reading the others, though. Because they are amazing and deserve to be read and loved.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Review: Startled by His Furry Shorts

Title Startled By His Furry Shorts (Georgia Nicolson #7)
By Louise Rennison
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Georgia gave Masimo and ultimatum but while he's thinking about it she's in agony. Normally she's confide in Dave the Laugh but he's declared his interest in her, at least she thinks he did. Why does life have to be such agony?!

First Sentence
I can't believe I am once more on the rack of romance.





Georgia and her love woes are back in the 7th book of the series. I flew through this one wondering what Masimo would say but caring more about poor Dave The Laugh.

I didn't expect that ending, though! I guess I should have expected things to amp up as the series gets close to its end but wow!

These books are so silly. I'm not blown away by them but I always find they make me smile. Good, solid, three star reads.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Review: Wires and Nerve

Title Wires and Nerve (Wires and Nerve #1)
By Marissa Meyer
Genre Graphic Novel, Sci-fi, Adventure
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Before Cinder and her friends brought down Queen Levana, she released wolf hybrid soldiers on earth. The hybrids have gone rogue and to help her friend, Iko becomes a hunter. Determined to stop the hybrids before they kill anyone else.








I was excited to read this graphic novel and get more from the wonderful world Meyer created.

Of course, I enjoyed the story but I wasn't as wowed or in love as I wanted to be. A lot of the characters didn't look at all how I imagined them so I'm not sure what I thought of the art.

I loved the relationship between Iko and the guard Cinder sent to help her. It was obvious but funny.

I'm not sure if I'll continue with the series, though. I preferred the novels.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

July Wrap-Up 2018


July, as I've mentioned before, is NOT my favorite month. It's just too hot! Even with a pool it's unbearable. And it seems to go on and on! Am I right? Anywho, I'm glad Dewy's 24 Hour Readathon decided to do a reverse reathathon. It was nice having something to look forward to and it really upped my reading numbers. I read 4 books for the readathon bringing my books read in July up to 11. I'm so close to reaching my Goodreads goal for the year and I still have so many months to go! Wahoo! Here's what I read.

Wishtree by Christine Applegate, The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin, Startled By His Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison, Ship Out Of Luck by Neal Shusterman, A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson, Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf, The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby, Kristy's Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier and Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer.

Phew! Favorite was Bird Box for sure. You must go read this book! Least favorite was Our Souls at Night and All We Ever Wanted but even those were two star reads.




Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review: Kristy's Great Idea

Title Kristy's Great Idea (Baby-Sitter's Club GN #1)
By Ann M. Martin, Raina Telgemeier
Genre Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
When Kristy and her friends decide to start a baby sitting club they make friends with Stacey and get her to join. Things are going great with the club but Stacey seems to be hiding something and Kristy, upset that her mom is dating a new man, wants to know what it is.





First Sentence

Guys, I was such a Baby-Sitters Club nut growing up. I loved the books and read as many as I could get my hands on.  When I found out that Raina Telgemeier was doing graphic novels I almost cried. I bought the first one and had been saving it for the readathon. I'm so glad Dewy's 24 Hour Readathon decided to do a reverse readathon in July because there was no way I was holding back till October.

Bringing together these fun stories with Telgemeier's art was genius. It was so fun taking a trip down memory lane. I obviously don't remember the books, since it's been so long, but this brought back memories and all the feels and I loved it.

I'm just so thrilled that a new generation of young readers will get to enjoy these in graphic novel form. It makes my heart so happy!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: The Shadow Cipher

Title The Shadow Cipher (York #1)
By Laura Ruby
Genre Middle Grade Sci-fi Fantasy
Format Audio Book
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
The Morningstar Twins designed New York with amazing skyscrapers, machines, and train system then they disappeared leaving clues behind to a treasure. No one ever found the treasure. When twin's Tess and Theo's home is bought up by a greedy investor who's buying up and destroying Morningstar buildings, they'll have to move. But not before putting up a fight. Maybe if they find the treasure they can save their home. With the help of their neighbor Jaime, the twins will go on a wild ride deciphering clues and discovering more than they ever thought possible.

First Sentence
The true story of any city is never a single tale; it's a vast collection of stories with many different heroes.

I've wanted to try another Ruby book since I love Bone Gap so much and when this one was available on audio book I snatched it up...and listened to it in one day.

My synopsis did NOT do this story justice. It was so much fun! I loved all the characters...even the bad guys were memorable and fun.

This is definitely more plot driven, however, and I got immersed in the adventure as the kids chased clue after clue trying to solve the puzzle and hopefully save their building.

I loved the world Ruby created. It's like an alternate reality New York and it sounded much better than the real one. All the little differences were so fun. I want to go on an elevator that meanders about before bringing you to your destination.

My only real complaint was the unsatisfactory/cliffhanger ending. It's one of those stories that just sort of stops midway through and will continue in the next book. Which might have been fine if the next book is out but it's not! I'm so devastated! I want the next book now!