WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer three questions: What are you reading now? What did you just read? What will you be reading next? I’m using this as a way to keep track of my books as well. I already keep track of them on Goodreads, if you have an account add me please, but I thought these Wednesday posts are also a good way to talk about my reading progress here with you guys. Let me know what you are reading and how you’re liking it in the comments. Now on to the books!

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What I’m reading now:

I’ve gotten into this habit of reading three books at a time: one e-book, one physical book, and an audio book. I’m currently reading Red Rising (Red Rising Saga, #1) by Pierce Brown. I’ve heard such great things about this series, and I felt like starting a long one. I’m also listening to an audio book of Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) by Neal Shusterman. Finally, I know! It’s been taking me forever to finish the series, not because it’s bad but because the first book had some closure to it and I didn’t immediately feel like grabbing the second one. Lastly, I’m reading Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. This is another one I’ve been putting off, and as soon as I started reading it I knew this book would destroy me. It’s about young love and this has always been a weakness of mine.

You can read my review of Scythe here.

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What I plan to read next:

I plan to finish the Scythe series by reading The Toll next. I’ve also been curious about The Guest List audio book so I will probably listen to that one next too. Lastly, I’ve been wanting to read Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s These Broken Stars series, so I think I will start that one as an e-book as well.

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What I just read:

I just finished my reread of the Illuminae Files series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and it was just as amazing as the first time around. I also reread Twilight in preparation for Midnight Sun (Twilight, #5) by Stephenie Meyer. Rereading this one reminded me how much I’ve outgrown these books, since I read them back in High School, but it still gave me a nice nostalgic feeling, and it got me all hyped up for Midnight Sun.

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I Dare You Book Tag

I saw this book tag on Mani’s Book Corner and thought it looked really fun. If you are reading this then consider yourself tagged. Please remember to tag me back so I can read your answers. Now on to the books!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

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1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

I am more likely to read newer books than older ones that have been sitting on my shelf for a while. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren has been out since 2018 and I keep putting it off. I tried the audio book at some point to see if that motivated me, but the narrator’s voice was really annoying so I stopped.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you will read next?

Current read: Gemina (Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Last read: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Next read: Obsidio (Illuminae Files, #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

lady midnight by Cassandra clare shadowhunters the dark artifices book one
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3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

I love ALMOST all Cassandra Clare books, and I adore Shadowhunters, but I just couldn’t get into Lady Midnight. Most probably it was due to it containing one of my most hated tropes “forbidden love” *shudders*

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you will read, but you probably won’t?

My pile of ARC’s. Just kidding! I do eventually read those 🙂

5. Which book are you saving for retirement?

I haven’t read many classics, and I think when I retire and have the time I might make a list and read the most famous ones.

6. Last page: Do you read it first or wait to the end?

What kind of monster does this?! I have heard of people doing this, but I don’t like to spoil the ending for myself. I know the last page is out of context and I probably wouldn’t understand it if I read it, but then I would be wondering about it the whole book.

things you save in a fire book by katherine center
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7. Acknowledgements: are they a waste of paper and ink or interesting?

I like to read acknowledgements. Sometimes they are boring, but a lot of times they are interesting. For example, in Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center I got to learn that her husband is a firefighter and he was a really great help to her while writing and editing. I always like to learn things about the authors which makes their stories more real and relatable.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Definitely Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses, not only is she married to Rhysand (who is my book boyfriend), but she gets to live in the Night Court and be part of the Inner Circle.

treasure island book by robert louis stevenson
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9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

When I was thirteen I got Treasure Island from the school book fair. The class clown in my science classroom thought it would be funny to write on it. I’ve never liked writing on books, so I was pissed. That’s how our back and forth banter and eventually our relationship began. The class clown and the bookworm. That boy is now my husband. We have been together for sixteen years and counting.

P.S. He wrote “Hi”

P.S.S. He’s still a clown, and his dad jokes are the best 🙂

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

I cannot think of one.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

I give books as gifts all the time. Sometimes I’ll read a book and it will remind me of someone and I’ll give them a copy. Last year for mother’s day I gave my grandma, mom, and my aunt all a copy of the same book (Angels and Demons by Dan Brown) so that they could do a buddy read.

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone by j.k. rowling
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12. Which book has been with you the most places?

This battered paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has been with me since I was twelve years old. It has been through about ten moves and too many rereads to count.

13. Any required reading you hated in High School that wasn’t so bad a few years later?

I was that nerd that actually liked required reading AND enjoyed it. I do remember not really liking The Scarlet Letter, but I never reread it.

14. Used or brand new?

A good book is a good book to me no matter what condition it’s in. I enjoy browsing regular book stores, as well as used book stores.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Yes, but only one: The Da Vinci Code. I do plan to read the rest of the Robert Langdon series eventually.

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16. Have you ever seen a movie that you liked more than the book?

Never, for me the books are always better.

the hunger games book one by suzanne collins
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17. A book that’s made you hungry?

It’s so cliché that The Hunger Games make me hungry, but they do. It’s not the parts when they’re in the games and can’t get any food, or when they are back home in the Districts. It’s the parties with all the lavish food and drinks that really get me every time.

18. Who is the person who’s book advice you’ll always take?

All of you wonderful people who actually read and take the time to comment on my posts and give me bookish advice. Also, all my friends on Bookstagram and Goodreads who have really good taste in books. I really appreciate all of you ❤

19. Most read authors?

Stephen King, Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, and Nicolas Sparks. What a weird mix I know. I like to mix it up genre wise every once in a while.

20. Ship from two different books?

Mia from Nevernight and Mor from ACOTAR, dark and light, they would go so well together!

Pandemonium

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

pandemonium by willow anderson
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Author: Willow Anderson

Published: April 27, 2020

Pages: 360

Goodreads Rating: 4.55/5

For fans of: Fantasy, Caraval, and the Night Circus

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Lace Ashburn was only twelve years old when she witnessed a murder behind Pandemonium’s grandeur – a strange, magical traveling show where admittance is hard to gain. With a dead Ringmaster and his murderer in jail, Pandemonium packed up and fled in the middle of the night, remaining missing for five years.

When Lace’s older brother steps up to take the throne of Falhaven, he announces not only the return of Pandemonium but an arranged marriage for her with their neighboring country’s prince. With less than a week to discover a way to keep her freedom from her fiancé, Lace finds her way back into the heart of Pandemonium.

With a new Ringmaster heading Pandemonium, Lace is pulled into a competition run by the strange show with an invaluable prize at the end should she win. Paired together with a mysterious partner, Lace fights through the contest to keep not only her independence but her heart safe.

Come one, come all, to the show that will enthrall…welcome to Pandemonium where in order to win, you must lose it all.

My Review:

This was a great story. It was a surprisingly good mix of the competition trope (one of my favorite tropes) and a love triangle (one of my least favorite tropes). Thankfully, the romance aspect was subtle and did not take center stage. The ring master was a morally gray character which I always find enjoyable. Lace was a strong female character, but without an aggressive disposition and not afraid to show some vulnerability at times.

I enjoyed the strong friendship between Lace and her sister, they had a bond I don’t see too often in Fantasy books. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of sibling rivalry and sisters being pitted against each other, and this change was refreshing.

The plot developed with a sense of urgency, but without sacrificing any details or descriptions. There is a mysterious undertone to the story which I enjoyed. As a reader I was able to compete and solve the riddles and clues alongside Lace. I do love a good twist and Anderson definitely delivered. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy fans!

Bookstagram Guide

bookstagram the ultimate guide by taylor mack
Picture taken by me. Get the Guide Here.

I was fortunate enough to have come across Bookstagram: The Ultimate Guide by Taylor Mack, and I want to shout about it. This guide has been a great resource as a bookstagrammer and has helped me grow my Bookstagram account exponentially since I read it.

Disclaimer: You can purchase the Guide or the flipbook by clicking on the pictures or links and I will receive a small percentage. The price will be the same for you whether or not you use my link. If you are planning to buy it please consider using my link and helping a fellow book blogger 🙂

The guide is divided into five parts:

1. A Bookstagram Back Story

This part explains what Bookstagram is (an amazing bookish community that you should join if you haven’t!). My favorite part about this section was the tips on how to Bookstagram on a budget.

2. The First Impression

This part explains what engagement is, and whether a business account or a personal account is the right one for you. My favorite section here was the instructions on creating the perfect Instagram Bio, which was extremely useful.

3. Content Creation

There are some great photography tips in this section, as well as a guide on what your feed should look like. My favorite part here was all the advice about where you can get creative inspiration when you need it.

4. Dynamic Strategies for Growth

This part includes information on hashtags and how they work, posting and tagging, and engaging with your audience. My favorite part here was the information on how to use Instagram stories and what to share on them.

5. Publishers, Partnerships, and Brand Deals

This is the part that I was most interested in learning about when I first got this guide. I really wanted the details on how to get Publishers to want to send me books to read and review, and how to get companies to partner with me. Taylor shared all her knowledge without holding anything back, and she also included some quotes from other successful Instagrammers with great advice.

Get it here

Taylor also designed this Bookstagram Planner and Hashtag Flipbook that I found super useful. You can purchase this flipbook and the Bookstagram Guide, or the guide alone. I use the planner to plan out my posts for the week, keep track of my challenges, and keep a list of the books I plan to read. I love that I can flip through the hashtag list and select the ones I want to use for my post that day. I highly recommend getting both the Guide and the Flipbook if you want to take your Bookstagram account to the next level!

If you want to follow me on Instagram click on the link, I could always use more Bookstagram friends 🙂

The Bromance Book Club

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the bromance book club book by lyssa kay adams
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon.

Author: Lyssa Kay Adams

Published: November 5, 2019

Pages: 352

Goodreads Rating: 3.95/5

Series: The Bromance Book Club, #1

For fans of: Romance, Sports Fictions, Humor, Get a Life Chloe Brown, Beach Read, The Happy Ever After Playlist, Well Met

Good to know before you read: explicit sex scenes

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

My Mini Review:

This was a very cute romantic read. The story was fast paced and full of humor. It dealt with marital problems, child rearing, and family drama, but in a very light-hearted way. There was some unnecessary drama towards the middle, which is what made me dock one star from my rating.

I thought the fact that Gavin had a speech impediment was very unique, I personally have never read a book where the main character has one. I am looking forward to reading the second book in this series, but I’m not sure if I will like Liv, Thea’s sister, as the main character, since I did not like her very much in this book. Overall, I would recommend this book to all Romance fans.

Have you read this one? Do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!

Things You Save in a Fire

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

things you save in a fire book by Katherine center
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Author: Katherine Center

Published: August 13, 2019

Pages: 320

Goodreads Rating: 4.04/5

For fans of: Domestic Fiction, Romance, Ask Again Yes, The Giver of Stars, Beach Read, The Unhoneymooners, books about forgiveness, books with strong female leads

Good to know before you read: mentions of child sexual abuse

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

My Review:

People who wanted to wrestle with complicated emotions became therapists, or poets. People who wanted to keep things simple became firefighters.”

I have been a 911 Dispatcher for seven years now, so this book hit very close to home. I handle emergencies through the phone on a daily basis, and I can only imagine what it would be like to handle these situations in person. As a dispatcher I’ve been through training exercises in which I had to wear full firefighter gear so that I could really see what it’s like to be in their shoes, and why they have to scream to speak into their handheld radios during a fire. I got to experience how heavy the gear is, how hot it gets in the Florida heat (let alone an actual fire) , and how strong the water pressure feels when I was holding the hose (it almost knocked me down when the person helping me let go). I felt so claustrophobic inside the gear, and breathing through the oxygen tank was uncomfortable. I could picture all of these things very vividly while I read this book.

Center mentioned that her husband is a firefighter, so all her descriptions and scenes were very accurate. I can also attest to how real all these situations she talked about are, even the most ridiculous calls she mentioned (don’t want to ruin it for you guys with details). I was laughing out loud at times, and almost in tears at others (I’m not a crier so this is rare for me). I enjoyed the hilarious pranks the firefighters played on each other. The dialogue between the characters felt natural and realistic, and the playful banter was entertaining.

Knowing everything we know about how hard life is and choosing to love anyway…That’s not weakness. That’s bravery.”

Even though the book was funny at times, it was not a light read in any shape or form. The story dealt with very serious topics such as grief, rape, forgiveness, abandonment, and substance abuse, to name a few. I liked how Center approached the topic of workplace equality for women in a male dominated occupation. Cassie, the main character, was definitely a bigger person than I am, but I admit I don’t deal well with forgiveness. There were many situations in which I wondered if I would’ve made the same decisions as she. This story is a good one to make you ponder social, workplace, and family moral dilemmas.

The romance was very realistic. It took a while for the characters to get together, and I liked that they took it slow given Cassie’s abusive past. The story did become a bit too dramatic for me at one point in which everything seemed to be going wrong for Cassie. It reminded me of one of those Lifetime movies that I don’t enjoy. I felt like Cassie had already been through enough and she did not need the extra drama. With that said, this was a great book with so many good life lessons and great advice. I highly recommend it to all Romance and Domestic Fiction fans.

pin hoop ocean themed by the bookish creations etsy shop
Pin hoop by The Bookish Creations Etsy Shop

I got all these pins from handling different calls at work. Some are life saves and some are teamwork awards. I recently handled my first baby delivery through the phone (it was a baby boy), and I’m still waiting for my little stork pin to arrive 🙂

If you are wondering where I got this amazing underwater themed pin hoop, you can click on The Bookish Creations Etsy Shop link and use code DEE15 to save! I represent Chelsea’s shop on Instagram, and she is a wonderful person and creator 🙂 She sells great quality bookish and K-Pop themed totes, water bottles, bookmarks, and pin hoops.

Books I’m Rereading

a reaper at the gates book three in an ember in the ashes series by sabaa tahir
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So many books, so little time. I haven’t found a lot of time for rereading any books lately. There are some books I need to read before the sequels are released so I can get a refresher and hype myself up. Others are some of my favorite series that I haven’t read in a long time. Any books you love to reread every once in a while?

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

a sky beyond the storm an ember in the ashes book four by sabaa tahir
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An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir (click on the link for a Synopsis of the first book)

I’m really excited about the release of A Sky Beyond the Storm the fourth book in this series, on December 1 of this year. It will be like Christmas coming early 🙂 I’ve also been looking for an excuse to get the audio books for this one, so this is the perfect time to do that.

illuminae files book by amie kaufman and jay kristoff
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Illuminae Files Series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (click on the link for a Synopsis of the first book)

I’ve been waiting for my husband to finish reading the Harry Potter series so that he can get started on this one. I might reread it at the same time that he does just for fun. I love this series, and if you haven’t tried the audio books you definitely should! It’s like listening to a very descriptive movie along with all the sound effects that make for a very immersive reading experience. You can read my review of Illuminae here.

serpent and dove book by Shelby mahurin
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Serpent and Dove (#1) by Shelby Mahurin (click on the link for a Synopsis of the first book)

I’m super hyped up for the release of Blood and Honey, the second book in this series, on September 1 of this year. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. You can read my review here.

the red scrolls of magic by cassandra clare
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The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1) by Cassandra Clare (click on the link for a Synopsis of the first book)

Magnus Bane is my favorite character in all the Shadowhunter series, and I was so excited when I read this book where he is the main character. The second book, The Lost Book of the White, will be released on September 1 of this year and I absolutely cannot wait! Meanwhile, I’ll have to settle for rereading the first book 🙂 You can read my review of that one here.

Truelife

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

truelife book three in lifelike series by jay kristoff
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Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: June 30, 2020

Pages: 480

Series: Lifelike, #3

Goodreads rating: 4.22/5

For fans of: Dystopian Fantasy, YA, The Lunar Chronicles, Illuminae, Aurora Rising, Sci-Fi

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads (*Don’t read if you haven’t read the rest of the series*):

Best friends have become enemies. Lovers have become strangers. And deciding whose side you’re on could be the difference between life and death. For Eve and Lemon, discovering the truth about themselves–and each other–was too much for their friendship to take. But with the country on the brink of a new world war–this time between the BioMaas swarm at CityHive and Daedalus’s army at Megopolis, loyalties will be pushed to the brink, unlikely alliances will form and with them, betrayals. But the threat doesn’t stop there, because the lifelikes are determined to access the program that will set every robot free, a task requiring both Eve and Ana, the girl she was created to replace. In the end, violent clashes and heartbreaking choices reveal the true heroes . . . and they may not be who you think they are.

My Review:

You built a world on metal backs. Held together by metal hands. And one day soon, those hands will close. And they’ll become fists.”

What an amazing ending to a great series. In this finale, Kristoff takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions as he continues exploring what it really means to be alive. Lifelikes and logika have been artificially made, but they have feelings, they feel pain, they love and they hate, so what exactly makes them not human? What gives humans the right to oppress them? Kristoff also delves into environmental issues as people attempt to survive and build a life in this post nuclear war world.

Maybe after seeing how close they’d all come to running out of future, people were finally learning from the mistakes of the past.”

Kristoff’s quirky writing and made-up language is what makes this series so unique. I especially enjoyed the playful banter between the characters even while in the midst of chaos and destruction. The author also excels at writing lovable characters, and I even found myself liking the villains. My favorite character was Lemon Fresh, she was truly “brilliful” inside and out. My favorite side character was Cricket, who still reminds me so much of Iko from the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. All the characters had impressive character arcs and had so much growth. I highly recommend this series to all YA Dystopian and Fantasy fans.

You might like:

-My review of Lifelike (Lifelike, #1) by Jay Kristoff (buy on Amazon)

-My Review of Deviate (Lifelike, #2) by Kay Kristoff (buy on Amazon)

Recent Additions to My TBR

the shadows by alex north the vanishing half by brit bennet the book of longings by sue monk kidd books book of the month subscription july
My July Book of the Month picks. Click on link to subscribe for $10! (I get a free book if you do)

I recently received a book cart for my birthday, and I am seriously not sure if it has been hindering or helping my book buying situation. It has definitely helped me tackle my TBR though! There’s something about seeing those books just sitting there on that cart that makes me want to read them…maybe so that I can fill it with more?

tbr book cart
Picture taken by me. Add me on Instagram

I have been loving my Book of the Month subscription, but I do admit it’s not helping the TBR situation. I have been trying to prioritize those, but I almost never get them read on the month that I got them. This subscription has helped to open my mind to so many new genres and authors though, and I really look forward to picking the books I want, and then seeing my little blue box on my door step every month 🙂

Have you added any new books to your TBR recently? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

the shadows book by alex north
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The Shadows by Alex North

Goodreads rating: 4.13/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The haunting new thriller from Alex North, author of the New York Times bestseller The Whisper Man

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…

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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Goodreads rating: 4.33/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.”

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Goodreads rating: 4.47/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From The New York Times -bestselling author of The Mothers , a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

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American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Goodreads rating: 4.29/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

A Good Marriage

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

a good marriage book by Kimberly mccreight
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon

Author: Kimberly McCreight

Published: May 5, 2020

Pages: 400

For fans of: Suspense, Mysteries, Slow-burn Thrillers, books like The Girl on the Train, Big Little Lies, Presumed Innocent, who-done-it plots

Good to know: mentions of child sexual abuse, different POV’s, story switches between past and present time lines

This was one of my June Book of the Month picks (click on the link to save on a subscription while I get a free book credit :))

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Big Little Lies meets Presumed Innocent in this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, in which a woman’s brutal murder reveals the perilous compromises some couples make—and the secrets they keep—in order to stay together.

Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

My Review:

The worst part of marriage was the way somebody else’s problems became your own”

This is a slow-burn Thriller, meaning it took seventy percent of the book for everything to start coming together and the pace to pick up. I don’t particularly enjoy books about trials, or when the legal aspects take over the plot, but I did feel like the court documents and transcripts included were necessary to the story. The legal jargon and court preparation did get a bit bothersome at times, and this is probably why the story was so slow to develop.

Success is an abstraction only to rich people”

This book was full of unlikeable characters. Both of the main female characters, Amanda and Lizzie, made multiple reckless and impulsive decisions just to get a rise out of their husbands or to get their attention. The only character I actually liked was Sebe, one of the side character’s husbands, and Millie, the detective who helps Lizzie. My list of suspects was constantly changing, and by the end I still was not one hundred percent sure who the killer was. There were some major plot twists, which I really enjoyed. I highly recommend this book to all Mystery/Thriller fans.