Book Review: The Family Upstairs

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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell was interesting. I was very confused when I first read what the book was about, so I am going to do my best to describe what it was about, but be warned, you may be just as confused as I was. It wasn’t until I started reading it that everything came together and began to make sense. Overall, I would say it was a pretty strong novel. Not my favorite, but still a good book.

On her 25th birthday, Libby Jones, receives a letter that she has been patiently waiting for her whole life. Through this letter she learns the identity of her birth parents and she also learns that she has now inherited their abandoned mansion that is worth millions. Twenty five years ago the police were called to this mansion with reports of a baby crying. When the police arrived they found three adults dead downstairs in the kitchen, but the baby was alive and well upstairs in her crib. Four other children were reported to live there, but they have never been found. Now Libby is learning about her past and trying to find where the four other children have gone.

This book was kind of confusing, but once I started reading it it began to make a lot more sense. I have read quite a few books by Lisa Jewell and I have to say she’s not my favorite author, but I do enjoy her novels. I was trying so hard to figure everything out that this ended up being a super quick read. If you are looking for something easy to read or a nice thriller I would definitely recommend this book.

I gave this book 3/5 stars. It was definitely interesting, just not my favorite book I have ever read. I would still recommend it though. If you like thrillers I would also recommend checking out Lisa Jewell’s other novels.

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

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I absolutely loved The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It took me about a day to read because I just could not put it down. I can’t believe it took me this long to read. If you have not read it yet I highly recommend it.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs. He believes he is smarter and has nearly a human soul. He educates himself by watching TV and listening to Denny Swift, his master. On the eve of his death, Enzo recalls his life. He tells the story of family, love, loyalty, and hope.

I love that this book was told from a dogs perspective. As an adult, we don’t really get a lot of books told from an animals point of view. Obviously, this book made me sob. You know from the description that Enzo is going to die, but it still got me at the end. I actually had to stop reading for a bit because I was crying so hard I could not see the page clearly enough to read. Overall though, this book was one of a kind and was written really well. It did a great job at depicting life, but from a dogs perspective.

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars. I would highly recommend this book. I think every single person can get something out of it and also enjoy it. Just be prepared and have your tissues ready because you are going to need them!

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

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I pretty much cried my way through Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I think I started crying on page one and didn’t stop until the very last page. Even then I think I cried for like an hour after I finished it. I think this may be the best book I have read so far this year and I would not hesitate to read it again.

No one has ever told Eleanor Oliphant that life should be better than fine. Eleanor Oliphant struggles with appropriate social skills and most of the time will just say exactly what she is thinking. Everything in her life is scheduled and each day, each week, is practically the same. Everything changes for Eleanor though when she meets Raymond. Raymond is the IT guy from her office and together they save an elderly man who had fallen. The three of them seem to rescue each other from their lonely isolated lives. Raymond’s big heart shows Eleanor that that there is more to life and he helps her to get help for all of trauma and hardships from her past. Eleanor learns from Raymond that she is capable of finding friendship and love.

This book broke me, but in a good way. Eleanor was a wonderfully written character. Throughout the novel I found that I related to Eleanor in so many ways. Which in some ways, made the book harder to read, but I also believe it made it easier to read. This book did a great job of balancing humor and trauma. I found myself actually laughing out loud at some parts of it, while simultaneously crying, because I really don’t think I stopped crying from page one of this book. I think so many people could gain something from reading this novel.

I gave this book 5/5 stars. I can’t say enough good things about it. It was just beautifully written. It was charming, heartbreaking, humorous, and overall a very important story. I think everyone could learn something from Eleanor Oliphant. I would honestly read this book over and over again. If you have not read this yet, I highly recommend that you do. I cannot say enough good things about this novel.

Book Review: The Liar’s Daughter

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The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson was so good. I could not put this book down. As soon as I read the description I was hooked. I love a book that centers around a cult because I find them to be absolutely fascinating.

Seventeen year old Piper was raised in a cult. Piper doesn’t know this though. All she knows is that Father is a prophet. He is the chosen one. She also knows she would do anything for him. She knows that he knows best. Until one day, when the government raids the compound and takes her away from Father and Mother and her siblings. She is now living with a woman who they claim is her real mother. They claim Father stole her from her. Piper doesn’t believe it though, and she is planning her escape.

This book was super interesting. For anyone who has never been controlled by other people I think this concept can be hard to wrap your mind around, but Piper was in this everyday so of course she was going to believe everything Father said. She was brainwashed for so long all of her earlier memories were wiped out. I loved how the characters were written. Especially Piper. It was really interesting watching her character growth throughout the novel.

I gave this book 3.5/5 stars. I would highly recommend this book. Especially if you have an interest in cults. Also if you enjoy mystery and young adult novels I think you would enjoy this book. I randomly found this book on Amazon and decided to order it and I am so glad that I did. It was not the best book I ever read, but I really enjoyed it.

Book Review: The Woman in the Window

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I could not put down The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. It wasn’t the best book that I ever read, but there was just something about it that kept me hooked in from the beginning and I could not stop reading it. It was the exact type of thriller I needed to read.

Anna Fox lives in New York City and is a recluse. Living alone she spends her days, drinking wine, watching old movies, thinking about her past and happier times, and also spying on her neighbors. When the Russels move into the house across the street, a father, mother, and teenage son, they appear to be the perfect family. But one night when Anna is looking out her window, she sees something she shouldn’t and her whole world begins to crumble and secrets begin to come to the surface.

This whole book kept me guessing. At times I even felt as if I was going crazy. I really enjoyed that you could not figure out whether or not Anna was a reliable character and witness. All of the characters were very mysterious and the whole time I was just trying to figure out who was actually reliable. I just could not put this book down for some reason.

Overall, I gave this book 3.5/5 stars. It was not the best thriller I ever read, but clearly I enjoyed it and there was something about it that just made it feel different from other thrillers. I have been really happy with the books I have read so far this year. This year might be my best reading year and I look forward to seeing what other great books I read throughout 2022.

Book Review: Burned

Burned by Ellen Hopkins is a novel that is written completely in verse. It was a very interesting read and I look forward to reading the sequel Smoke in the future. Ellen Hopkins has a way of writing that instantly pulls the reader in.

Pattyn Von Stratten is different than most teenage girls. She is being raised in an extremely religious, but abusive, family. Pattyn is beginning to question things and when she starts questioning things, her father does not approve. Pattyn begins questiong god, a woman’s role, sex, love, and she can’t stop thinking about love. She wants to know what it is, where is it, and most importantly, will she ever be able to experience it? She is not even sure she is deserving of it. These questions could be the first steps toward hell and eternal damnation. Pattyn’s father catches her in a compromising position and things begin to spin out of control and Pattyn ends up suspended from school and is sent to live with an aunt she does not know. When she moves in with her aunt for the first time in her life she finds love and acceptance.

From the beginning of this book I couldn’t stop reading. There was something about it that just instantly pulled me in and made me want to keep reading. I think Pattyn was a really well written character. I think this book can also help people understand everyone better. In Pattyn’s community she was made out to seem like she was rebellious, and uncaring, when in fact she was the complete opposite.

I gave this book 3.5/4 stars. I would definitely recommend this book. With it being written in verse it had an extra element to it that made it that much more interesting. The characters were strong, the plot was complicated and riveting. The whole novel just kept me hooked until the very end. If you have never read any of Ellen Hopkins books I would definitely recommend them!

Book Review: Appalachian Daughter

I read Appalachian Daughter by Mary Jane Salyers last month and I highly recommend the book. It was a short, fast, interesting read. I happened upon it randomly on Kindle Unlimited and I am so glad I decided to read it.

Maggie Campbell lives on a farm in Campbell Hollow, a narrow mountain valley in East Tennessee. Maggie Martin is the oldest of eight children and her family struggles to make ends meet. At the end of eighth grade Maggie begins to dream of a different life. She wants to escape her hometown one day and make her own way in life. While working hard throughout high school Maggie continues to help her family out. Her mother, Corie May, is extremely strict and Maggie strives to fit in at high school, with all of Corie May’s rules. She turns to find support in her father, Ray, who is much more easy going than Corie May. This novel follows Maggie through high school as she tries to find herself while also trying to be the person her mother wants her to be.

This novel was really interesting to me and a very good story. I liked that it was a coming of age novel, but it started with Maggie in eighth grade and the book ended when she graduated high school. When you are in high school it feels so important at the time and I liked that this novel was able to depict that. When you are at the age of 14-18 there is a lot of change and a lot of big decisions and I think people don’t take it seriously because they think kids of that age are too young to make decisions or understand what they want. Maggie was trying so hard to please her mom while also trying to figure out who she was. Even though this is a historical fiction novel, I think a lot of kids in high school today could relate to Maggie and I think this book is a good read for that age range.

I gave this book 3.5/5 stars. I thought it was well written, there were a lot of strong characters, and most of all, for me, it was very realistic and relatable. I would highly recommend this novel. It was short and really didn’t take me long to read at all. I think even if you don’t really enjoy historical fiction you would enjoy this novel!

Book Review: April Reading Wrap-Up

Now that it is officially a new month it is time for my April Reading wrap-up! This is one of my favorite posts each month because I love looking back at everything I have read the last month and it makes me more excited to see what I will read next. In April I read 12 books, which I am really happy about. I felt like I was lagging a little in February and March and I wanted to try to read more in April. The 12 books I red in April were:

  1. The Lake House by Kate Morton
  2. Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
  3. The Kinfolk by Eliza Maxwell
  4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  5. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
  6. The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate
  7. All the Forgivenesses by Elizabeth Hardinger
  8. After She Left by Claire Amarti
  9. Appalachian Daughter by Mary Jane Salyers
  10. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
  11. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
  12. The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

I really enjoyed every book that I read in April. There was not one book on this list that I wished I didn’t read. I would say this was probably my best reading month this year. I would recommend every single book on this list. My favorite book I read this month is probably Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford. I wrote a review on that book already so be sure to check that out!

My least favorite read this month was After She Left by Claire Amarti. I liked the concept of it, but I just wasn’t really feeling it. My review on that book is already up, so you can see more of my thoughts on that in the blog post. Overall though, I would highly recommend each book on this list. My goal is to read 15 books in May and I am looking forward to seeing what my favorites will be!

Book Review: After She Left

After She Left by Claire Amarti had a lot of potential, but overall I felt the writing was a bit too simple. It was a nice, easy, quick read, but there was just something lacking for me. There were choices that the characters made that just confused me at times and I don’t know exactly what it was, but there was just something missing for me.

Gillian’s sister, Abigail, is gone. On December 26th, Abigail walks out of her house, located in the suburbs of Westchester, New York. Only leaving behind a strange note on the kitchen table. She is also leaving behind her ten year old son, Sam. Abigail has always been a little bit unreliable, but she has not done anything like this since Sam was born ten years ago. Now Gillian has to take care of Sam, while also trying to figure out where her sister went and when she will be back. At this time though, Gillian is also dealing with issues at home with her husband. His behavior has been odd and he has been out late into the night. Gillian has to now face all of these issues head on and when she discovers why her sister left, the truth will upend her whole world.

I had a lot of hope with this novel. I really was into in the beginning and I was eager to find out the ending, but when the truth came out about where Abigail was, it honestly fell really flat for me. I felt like there was a lot of build up for nothing really. In some regards I understand it, but overall I was pretty disappointed with this book. I think it was an easy read that for the most part kept me entertained though. I just wish there had been more to the story.

Overall I gave this book 2.5/5 stars. It definitely was not my favorite, but by no means did I hate the book. Like I mentioned earlier, it just kind of fell flat for me and left me longing for something else, and not in the satisfying way. I would definitely read another book by Claire Amarti because I did enjoy the real life feel to it, it just was not my favorite book or something I would ever long to read again.

Book Review: All The Forgivenesses

I absolutely loved the novel All The Forgivenesses by Elizabeth Hardinger. It told the story of hardships, and trauma, and family, and addiction, and sacrifice, in such a beautiful way. All of the experiences of the main character were real and raw and the reader could feel the pain she was feeling.

On a farm in rural Kentcuky, 15 year old Albertina, also known as Bertie, Winslow has learned a lot from her mom, Polly. She knows how to take care of the house, cook, and most of the chores, but what she does not really know, is how to take care of children, how a mother should. When Polly is overtaken by an illness and dies, Bertie takes on the care of her four younger siblings. No matter how hard she tries though it is all just too much. Her father is also an alcoholic who is unreliable. Bertie makes the difficult decision to break up the family, in order for them all to survive and thrive. She sends the younger boys to live with one of her older brothers and she takes the girls. Bertie marries young and is grateful she found a husband willing to take on the care of her younger sisters. But Bertie quickly realizes marriage can’t fix everything, and it seems the grief and heartache from her past will always catch up with her.

Bertie was a very well written character. She was strong, but also vulnerable. The pain she experienced throughout the novel was palpable. Throughout a majority of the novel Bertie was only 15 and at times I would forget that because she had to take on so much. Lately I have been really loving historical fiction and coming of age novels, and this one did not disappoint. It was exactly what I needed.

I gave this book 4/5 stars. I would not hesitate to recommend it, especially if you like historical fiction and coming of age novels. This book was included with my kindle unlimited and I just randomly picked it one day and I am so glad that I did. The cover is what initially drew me in and from the beginning I could not stop reading it. I highly recommend this novel if you have not read it.

Book Review: The Book of Lost Friends

I cannot stop thinking about The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate. This novel was so good. It was beautifully written and left a lasting impact on me. It jumped between time periods which I loved, and all of the characters were strong and sympathetic.

Louisiana 1875, Hannie, Juneau Jane, and Lavinia are on a journey together heading for Texas. For Juneau Jane and Lavinia this journey is for an inheritance from their father, for Hannie, this journey is to find her family who she was separated from before the end of slavery. All Hannie wants to know, is if her family is still out there somewhere. Louisiana 1987, first year teacher, Benedetta Silva is working in a poor rural school. The town is not very welcoming of newcomers and Benny feels as if this is all too much. She doesn’t know how to reach her students, nor can she begin to comprehend their poverty-stricken lives. But amidst all of this, lies the history of three young women on a long ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything and help Benny finally be able to reach her students.

I found this novel to be so interesting and different. I loved that it jumped back and forth between time periods and that the characters mentioned in 1875 were being connected to the characters from 1987. I found that with it jumping back and forth between time periods, it made the book go faster because it almost felt like two different novels. This book also contained real letters from newspapers in 1875. These letters and articles were known as The Lost Friends where people would write letters looking for their family, whom they were separated from during slavery.

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars. I would highly recommend this novel. I have been on a bit of a historical fiction kick lately and this novel made me just want to keep reading historical fiction. I honestly kind of randomly bought this book and I am so glad that I did. It was a super fast read for me, but I was able to take away so much from it. If you are looking for a good historical fiction novel, I would not hesitate to recommend this book.

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

I feel like I am kind of late to the game with Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, but I am so glad I finally read it. I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book. This book is a story of survival, but that is not all. It is also a story of resiliency, heartbreak, trauma, and ultimately love.

For years, Kya Clark, has been dubbed as “The Marsh Girl” by the residents of Barkley Cove. Kya has lived her life in the marsh by herself, as her family has one by one abandoned her. When Chase Andrews, who is a popular town resident, is found dead, the community of Barkley Cove immediately turn to Kya as the culprit. Kya though, is not what everyone believes, she is smart, and gentle, and kind. She has the skills to live in solitude forever, but she discovers that she does not really want to be alone forever. Kya opens herself up to two young men from town who are both intrigued by her, but then the unthinkable happens.

This book holds a lot. It is a historical fiction, coming of age novel, while also being a murder mystery novel. On top of that, romance is also thrown in and plays a big part in this novel. This book beautifully written and Kya Clark is such a strong character. Her growth throughout the novel was just so well written. And I felt the ending of the novel was perfect. It didn’t leave me longing for more. I found I got everything I could have wanted out of this book.

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars. Like I mentioned earlier, I absolutely loved this novel and I am so glad I finally read it. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. I think everyone could get something out of it and enjoy it.

Book Review: The Grave Tender

At this point I have read quite a few books by Eliza Maxwell and I have to say The Grave Tender may be one of my favorites by her. It was super dark and chilling, but also incredibly interesting, and I all of the characters were well written and different.

Hadley Dixon feels haunted by her childhood in East Texas. People say that Hadley’s mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but one night irreparable act by her mother, shatters Hadley’s life forever. The aftershock after that night will haunt Hadley throughout her life, but she also knows the secrets and lies had all started long before that night. Now it is years later and widowed and pregnant Hadley is returning to her childhood home. Things don’t feel the same as before with a local boy’s disappearance hanging in the air with no answers. The townspeople are still whispering about Hadley’s reclusive Uncle Eli, and Hadley’s grandmother and her father, who are everything to her, avoid all of her questions. Hadley needs to figure out if this is a safe space to raise her children, but all of these questions begin shining light on all of the lies that have been surrounding Hadley her whole life.

As mentioned earlier, this book was really dark, but it was so interesting and I could not stop reading it. I would add a trigger warning because this book does deal with sexual assault. Throughout the whole novel I didn’t know who to trust. From the first page I was hooked in and I think I read the book in about a day. Hadley was a really strong character and all of the characters were well written. Reading this novel made me want to just keep reading books by Eliza Maxwell.

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars. I could not put this book down and when it was over I wished that there was more. I wanted to keep reading about Hadley and her life. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book or any of Eliza Maxwell’s novels.

Book Review: Somebody’s Daughter

Somebody’s Daughter is a beautiful memoir by Ashley C. Ford. It was a quick read, but very powerful, and exquisitely written. I would not hesitate to read this book again, nor would I hesitate to recommend it.

Ashley’s father has been incarcerated for most of her life and for as long as she can remember she has put him on a pedestal. She only has vague memories of seeing him in person, but she feels like he is the only person who really truly understands her. She believes she understands him as well. She believes one day they will be reunited and she will finally feel complete. The problem with this though is that he is in prison, she has no idea when he will get out, and she also does not know what he did to end up in prison. Through her difficulties at home with her mother, dealing with the aftermath of being raped, and through puberty and poverty, Ashley kind of leans on the image of her father as a comfort and as encouragement. When Ashley finally finds out why her father is really in prison that is kind of where the story really begins for her.

For being a relatively short book there was a still a whole lot to unpack in this memoir. I honestly cannot stop thinking about it because there were things in it that I related to, other things I was able to learn from. One of the things I personally love about reading memoirs is I feel that you can learn a lot from them, but you also can find yourself in them as well and learn from that and also know that you are not alone. Even though your experience is unique to you it is also comforting to know someone else has gone through something similar and you are not alone even if it feels as if you are.

I gave this book 5/5 stars and like I mentioned earlier, I would not hesitate to recommend it. I honestly will probably read this book multiple times. I am so glad I picked this book in my Book of the Month box a couple of months ago.

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Gaslighting

It was supposed to be some sort of an apology; it started out as an apology-but somewhere along the way it turned into a list of things that is wrong with me; the sink has been dripping throughout this entire conversation- the longer the conversation goes on- the louder the sink seems to drip; you are getting closer and closer to me; your breath is hot on my face- and I cannot pinpoint the exact smell- but I do not like it; I am staring at the wall behind you- it is not particularly interesting- but it is better than staring into your eyes; a flicker of flames seem to be dancing inside of them; in this moment your eyes hold so much hatred; I do not remember ever seeing love in your eyes; I am sure it was there at some point- but it must have been long ago; thunder is rolling in the distance as wind whips across the trees; I do not see a way out of whatever this is; I can feel my lip quivering; I berate myself in my head for showing even the slightest sign of weakness; like an animal- I know you can smell fear.

Book Review: Underneath the Sycamore Tree

Underneath the Sycamore Tree by B. Celeste was both a hit and a miss for me. There were some aspects of it that I really enjoyed, but there were other aspects that I could just not get behind. Overall, I think I would recommend it, but I also had some issues with it as well.

Emerson’s father left when she was very young. Her twin sister ended up dying from an incurable autoimmune disease. Then her mother started breaking down. Emerson was then diagnosed with the same autoimmune disease that took her sister. Emerson realized her mother could not handle all of this so she moves in with her dad and his new family, which includes a new stepmom and a new stepbrother. Her stepbrother Kaiden, is the only person who has made her feel normal, but also, hated, cared for, loathed, and even loved. Her and Kaiden form an unbreakable bond, but Emerson knows that nothing good ever lasts.

I think from the description you can kind of see where things are going to go with Emerson and Kaiden. I thought the story was very interesting, and raw, and real, but I could not get behind her falling in love with her stepbrother. I understand that they have pretty much just met and it is not the same as growing up together, but all in all, he is still her stepbrother. There were so many aspects of this book that I loved, but I was really having a hard time with Kaiden and Emerson falling in love. There was just something about it that made me uncomfortable.

I gave this book 3/5 stars. I would recommend it even though I had my own issues with it. I think overall the story is important and it talks about real problems and you see a lot of character development from all of the characters. I even felt most of the plot was really strong. The biggest issue I had was that I could just not get past the fact that they were essentially siblings. I do think the book is worth it if you like romance or contemporary fiction. This book kind of comes down to what you like and also your own biases.

Book Review: The Maidens

If you read and enjoyed The Silent Patient by Alex Michealides I highly recommend his book The Maidens. I chose The Maidens in my Book of the Month box a while back and I am so glad I decided to add it. The book was very different and I really enjoyed it.

Mariana is absolutely certain that Edward Fosca is a murderer. He is a Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University and is adored by the staff and the students. He is particularly adored by the members of a secret society made up of female students known as The Maidens. One member of The Maidens, Zoe, is found murdered one day. Zoe is a friend of Mariana’s niece and Mariana is convinced that Edward has something to do with Zoe’s murder, despite his alibi. When another body is found shortly after Zoe, Mariana does everything she can to try and prove that Edward Fosca is the murderer.

I thought this book was really well written and it kept me guessing throughout the whole novel. Mariana did get on my nerves a little bit throughout the book, but I almost feel like she was supposed to. There were a lot of characters in this book which at times made things a bit confusing. Overall I really enjoyed it though. I also liked that the book had really short chapters because I feel the shorter chapters made me read it more quickly.

I gave this book 3.5/5 stars. It was not my favorite book ever, but I would definitely recommend it. I would especially recommend it if you have already read The Silent Patient. I think the novel had a lot of good moments, it was written well, the characters were strong, and it moved along quickly. If you are looking for a good mystery or thriller to read next I would recommend The Maidens.

Book Review: The Stillwater Girls

The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent had so much potential, but the last plot twist just completely ruined the entire novel for me. Up until pretty much the very end I loved this book. I found it to be intriguing and pretty different from a lot of books I have read, but then the ending came and I just could not get behind the final plot twist that took place.

Wren is 19 years old and along with her two sisters, Sage and Evie, they were raised in the middle of the woods completely off the grid and in isolation. When Evie becomes gravely ill, their mother leaves with her to get help in a nearby town. Evie and their mother never return though. As months pass, Wren and Sage begin to run out of supplies and a brutal winter is on its way. Then one day a strange man shows up looking for their mother, but he refuses to leave without the two girls. In order to escape, Wren and Sage must break their mothers biggest rule: to never go beyond the forest. With this escape they will discover everything that has been hidden from them and all of the secrets that have left them isolated their whole lives.

Like I mentioned earlier, when I first started this novel I really enjoyed it. From the first page I was hooked in, but the biggest downfall for me was the ending. I just cannot move past that ending. It was a terrible ending. I hate to be so critical of it, but it was absolutely ridiculous. I know it is fiction, but I felt like the novel was supposed to be realistic and it just wasn’t. No matter how I thought about it I just could not wrap my head around it.

I gave this book 1.5/5 stars. I liked the beginning so that is why I did not give it just 1 star. I so wish it ended differently because I would not hesitate to recommend this book if the ending was different. At this point though, I would say not to waste your time. There are much better books out there. I don’t have anything against this author. I enjoyed her writing style and I even enjoyed most of the book. I just wish the ending had been thought out a little bit better.

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My Body: Maybe My Choice?

The world collectively goes to sleep- as my nightmares cast shadows on the walls; tonight- the same as so many other nights- I am completely alone; last night- I dyed a strip of my hair- hoping to reclaim a part of myself; tonight- I will dye another- hoping this tiny act of rebellion will help me claim my body back; it is funny- yet not funny at all- that the only thing separating me from him- are these streaks of blonde and blue throughout my hair; the only thing separating me from him- are my tattoos and my piercings; because in all of these- I had a choice; choice- the most important thing a human can have; while the world falls asleep- I will be planning out the next way I will be able to make a choice about my own body; I will watch as my nightmares play out in front of me; tomorrow- I will belong to no one and everyone.

Book Review: The Lake House

I absolutely loved the novel The Lake House by Kate Morton. It was beautifully written, had multiple character perspectives, and the mystery of it all kept you guessing right up to the very end. I look forward to reading more of Morton’s books in the future.

In June of 1933, 11 month old, Theo Edevane, goes missing from his crib during his family’s Midsummer Eve party at their country home called, Loeanneth. After an extensive search Theo is still missing and there is no evidence or clues to where he could be. The Edevane family decides to close up the country home and return to London, never returning to Loeanneth again. Seventy years later, detective Sadie Sparrow goes to her grandfathers cottage in Cornwall after a troubling case. While there she discovers the story of Theo Edevane and she cannot seem to let it go. Alice Edevane, who was 16 at the time of her brothers disappearance, is now living in London and is a famous author of murder mystery novels. Alice has spent her life trying to escape what happened in the summer of 1933, but when Sadie Sparrow starts reaching out and asking her questions about her family’s past, all of the secrets Alice has spent seventy years trying to escape from, threaten to come out.

This novel kept me guessing, even up to the final pages. Right when I thought I had it figured out, something else completely unexpected would happen, and I would be left trying to figure it out all over again. I also loved that this book jumped back and forth between time periods. It was interesting getting to know the characters at the different stages of their life. Every single character in this novel held a secret. That kept me guessing throughout the whole book because when one secret was revealed, another secret would end up coming out. This book had it all. It had romance, mystery, family drama, historical references, etc.

I gave this book 4/5 stars and would highly recommend it. I cannot wait to read more books by Morton and I feel as if I will love them as much as I loved this one. If you like romance, historical fiction, and mystery, this is the book for you.

Book Review: The Caretakers

The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell was a huge hit for me. Every novel I have read by Maxwell so far, I have loved. There is just something about them that makes me fall in love with the book right from the beginning. Even though there are clues that most of them are set in modern times, there is something about them that gives them an older, historical fiction type vibe.

Tessa Shepherd is a filmmaker who helped free a man who she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he ends up killing again, Tessa’s reputation is destroyed and she is racked with guilt. To add on to the emotional turmoil, her mother also suddenly passes away and tension with her sister, Margot, begin to escalate. Tessa learns of a strange inheritance from her mother. An old, isolated estate known as Fallbrook. The mansion has been abandoned, except by two elderly sisters who are there as caretakers of the old home. The caretakers are also guarding a past full of secrets and mysteries.

I absolutely loved this book. I could not put it down. The characters were so interesting, the plot kept me guessing, and the author did a great job of describing everything so vividly. I almost felt like I was there. I could picture everything so clearly. I wish I could read this book again for the first time.

I gave this book 5/5 stars. I would love to read it again in the future, but I know I am going to lose that original feel of reading it for the first time, but I still think I will love it just as much. As mentioned earlier, I have enjoyed every single one of Maxwell’s novels I have read so far and I look forward to reading more.

Book Review: Bloodline

Bloodline by Jess Lourey was a very intriguing and different read. The whole time I was reading it I felt as if I was watching an episode of The Twilight Zone. I could not put this book down. Honestly, it was a little bit creepier than most books I read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This story is inspired by real events. Joan Harken is a pregnant journalist, who is excited, but also cautious, about moving back to her Fiance’s Minnesota hometown, Lilydale. Lilydale’s motto is: “Come Home Forever” and Joan feels it couldn’t be more inviting. Except, something about it all feels off. She feels the friendliness is almost intrusive. Joan feels like everything she is doing is being watched and tracked. An archaic organization holds the town in thrall and so does the mystery of a little boy who vanished decades ago. Her fiance just keeps telling her she is paranoid, but Joan feels like she may have moved to the deadliest small town on earth.

This book was very different from a lot of the books I read. It was almost was too creepy for me, but at the same time I could not put it down. I just needed to know what was going on and what was going to happen. This novel almost made me feel like I was being paranoid about things.

I gave this book 5/5 stars. I would highly recommend it. Also, if you are a fan of The Twilight Zone I think you would like this book. The characters were interesting and unreliable, it was creepy, mysterious, it made me think throughout the whole novel because I had no idea what was coming. I can’t recommend this book enough. I also read Unspeakable Things by this author and I highly recommend that book as well. I hope in the future Jess Lourey writes more novels because I would 100% read them.

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I am Everything (And Nothing)

*April is an important month to me. Not only is it National Poetry Month, but it is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. These two events collide in my world in an unfortunate way, but I am taking that pain and turning it in to something, that I hope in a way, can be beautiful. I am also taking control of what happened every time I write a poem. I know that what I write is not for everyone and I respect that, but I hope people can respect me and understand why I am writing these poems. Thank you to those who read and support my poetry and have nothing but positive things to say.*

Tonight when I cry the whole world will fall to its knees; tonight everyone will know the pain I feel; behind these walls I know I am nothing- but I try to pretend I am everything; when I cry tonight I will not promise myself this will be the last time; there is no shame in crying; no shame in reaching deep into yourself and prying out the broken; when I cry- do not tell me everything is okay- because nothing is okay right now; right now- my body needs to fall apart- in order to put herself back together; tonight- my body belongs to me- I will cherish every second she belongs solely to myself; the walls surround me; create a false hope of safety; the world outside is so big; behind these walls I know I am nothing- but I try to pretend I am everything.

March Reading Wrap-up

With today being the start of a new month, it is that time again to look back on all of the books I read last month. Today’s post is dedicated to my March reading wrap-up! I kind of had a slow start to reading this month so I ended up only reading 7 books. The 7 books I read last month were:

  1. Underneath the Sycamore Tree by B. Celeste
  2. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
  3. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  4. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
  5. My Daughter’s Mistake by Kate Hewitt
  6. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  7. This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

These books were definitely a mix across genres. I kind of jumped all over the place last month. My favorite books I read last month are The Broken Girls and The Art of Racing in the Rain. I absolutely loved both of these novels. I was able to finish them both within about two days. I already wrote my review on The Broken Girls but keep an eye out for The Art of Racing in the Rain because that review will be coming soon. I would highly recommend both of these novels if you have not read them yet.

My least favorite book was easily This Beautiful Life. I had a lot of issues with that novel and I almost stopped reading it a couple of times. I will do a longer review on that book soon, but I will say here, I would not recommend that book. I know some people loved it, but I had issues with it.

Overall, I would say it was a pretty good reading month for me. I am hoping to read more this month and I look forward to seeing what my new favorites are at the end of April!

Book Review: The Edelweiss Sisters

Historical fiction novels are typically a hit or miss for me. The Edelweiss Sisters by Kate Hewitt was one hundred percent a hit. I found it to be beautifully written, heartbreaking, but also there were a lot of happy moments throughout the novel, even through all of the devastation.

This book takes place in 1938 in Salzburg, when the Nazis are occupying Austria. Johanna, Birgit, and Lotte Eder have always lived quiet lives and kept to themselves. They help out their mother at home and help their father in his clock making shop. Their father hires Franz, a jewish man, to help him out in his shop. Johanna begins to fall in love with Franz, which puts the all in danger. Johanna and her sisters work together to get Franz to safety in Switzerland. By doing this they are risking everything. The three of them would die for each other, but now they are being tested to see if they are willing to die for what is right.

There was a lot of heartbreaking moments in this book, but it also showed the strength that people have when in dire situations. It also shows how when someone believes in something, how hard they will fight for it. These three sisters risked everything to help a man who they were still getting to know, but they ultimately knew it was the right thing to do. I found each of these characters to be incredibly strong, well written, and sympathetic. Like I mentioned earlier, historical fiction can be a hit or miss for me just because sometimes I find it to be a bit boring and I enjoy faster paced novels, but I really enjoyed this book. I have read other books by this author and this one is just so different from the others. I’ve enjoyed every book I have read by her, but this one I think may be my favorite so far.

I gave this book 3.5/5 stars. I would not hesitate to recommend this novel, especially if you enjoy historical fiction. This novel definitely left an impact on me and I thought about it for days after I read it. I look forward to reading more of Hewitt’s historical fiction novels in the future!

Book Review: The Broken Girls

If you have not read The Broken Girls by Simone St. James yet, do yourself a favor and read it. I randomly picked this book for my Book of the Month box and I am so glad that I did. It was such an interesting read with lots of twists and I could not stop reading this book.

In Vermont 1950 Idlewild hall was a boarding school for “troubled girls”. There are rumors that this boarding school is haunted. Four roommates end up kind of bonding over this story and their friendship continues to grow until one of them seems to just vanish. Now it is 2014 and Fiona Sheridan is a growing journalist. in 1994 her sisters body was found on the abandoned grounds of Idlewild Hall. Even though her sisters boyfriend at the time was arrested and convicted of her murder, Fiona cannot stop thinking about it and feeling as if things just don’t add up. As Fiona continues to look into it and the history of Idlewild Hall, secrets that were meant to stay hidden begin to surface.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the jumping between time periods. I felt that it added another element and made me want to keep reading even more. This novel was also told from multiple viewpoints, which I always think adds to the story. The characters were all strong and I was able to feel a connection with each of them. I read this book really quickly and could not put it down.

Overall I give this book 4/5 stars. Like I mentioned earlier, it had strong characters, an interesting plot, multiple viewpoints, and I enjoyed the jump between time periods. I can’t wait to read more books by this author. I imagine I’ll enjoy her other novels just as much as I enjoyed this one!

Book Review: My Daughter’s Mistake

My Daughter’s Mistake by Kate Hewitt is a novel that challenged how I think about different things and my judgement on people. As soon as I read what it was about I was immediately drawn in. This is my third book by Kate Hewitt and I look forward to reading more.

This book takes place in a small college town in New Hampshire. It is a safe place to live. Everyone seems to know each other, or at least know of each other. One day Jenna’s six year old daughter, Amy Rose, is hit by a car that is being driven by seventeen year old Maddie. Maddie’s mom, Ellen, a college professor insists the whole thing must be an accident because her daughter is super careful and never distracted while driving. Both mothers seem to be hiding something though, as well as Maddie.

I read this book in about a day. I thought all of the characters were well written and I liked that the novel was told from the perspective of both Jenna and Ellen. I do kind of wish that we got to see Maddie’s perspective of everything as well, but I get that the story was supposed to mainly be about the two mothers. I felt the character development throughout the novel was also well done. This book really reminded me of a lot of Jodi Picoult’s novels.

I gave this book 3/5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. My biggest issue is that there were a lot of typos and editing mistakes throughout the book and it did make it hard for me to get through the book at times because I felt like I was just constantly editing it in my head. Overall though, I felt it was a good read and I would recommend it to people who enjoy contemporary fiction and realistic fiction.

Book Review: Not a Happy Family

In February I read Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena. While it was not my favorite book, I still found it to be entertaining and a good thriller. It only took me about two days to read the book because I just wanted to know what happened.

Fred and Sheila Merton own a beautiful home in Brecken Hill in upstate New York. This neighborhood is extremely expensive and you have to be rich to live there. The Mertons are brutally murdered the night after having Easter dinner with their three adult children. Their children are devastated about what happened to their parents. Or are they? With the death of their parents each of them are set to inherit millions, so the question is, would one of them be willing to kill for the money?

If you are interested in true crime at all, you know that murdering for money is a common motive. I love true crime so I love reading a novel like this, where it all feels so real. Some of the characters did really get on my nerves, but I almost felt like they were supposed to. Not every character in this novel was supposed to be likable. Throughout the book I kept feeling like I figured out who the murderer was, but then something else would happen and I would have to rethink everything. I liked that it was not super easy to figure out, but at the same time was kind of predictable.

I gave this book 3/5 stars. It was not my favorite book or favorite thriller I have ever read, but I did enjoy it. Like I said earlier, some of the characters really got on my nerves. That was probably the biggest downfall for me honestly. Even though I do think you were supposed to dislike some of the characters. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book. I think people who like thrillers will really enjoy this book!

Book Review: Her Final Words

I am still at a loss of words for the book Her Final Words by Brianna Labuskes. It was a thriller, but it had other elements to it. I found the whole concept to be fascinating and really different from other books.

17 year old Eliza Cook seeks out FBI special agent Lucy Thorne to confess to a murder of a twelve year old boy. This seems like an open and shut case, but Lucy believes there is more to this. After Eliza confesses to the murder she refuses to share anymore details, or even talk. This forces Lucy to go to the scene of the crime, so she can uncover what really is going on in the small town Eliza has come from.

I love a book that is centered around a small town. This small town is not unlike others, there are a lot of secrets, people have a hard time accepting outsiders, and this one is also super religious. I really enjoyed this novel. It moved quickly, there were a lot of different elements to the story, and the characters were really strong. Like I mentioned earlier, I found this book to be really different from other books and I really liked that. As someone who reads a lot, sometimes books can all start to feel the same, but this one did not make me feel like that.

I gave this book 4/5 stars. I would highly recommend it. Especially to people who enjoy thrillers, or small town mysteries. I also enjoyed the authors writing style. I have read two books by Labuskes and I thoroughly enjoyed both of them and I look forward to reading more books by her!

February Reading Wrap-up

Today’s blog is going to be dedicated to my February reading wrap-up! I did not read as many books this month as I did in January, but I still managed to read quite a few. In the month of February I read 8 books. Here are the 8 books I read:

  1. Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre
  2. The Edelweiss Sisters by Kate Hewitt
  3. One Year Gone by Avery Bishop
  4. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
  5. Girls of Glass by Brianna Labuskes
  6. Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
  7. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  8. Burned by Ellen Hopkins

This was not my best reading month ever, but I still think it was a pretty good one. None of these books were the best I ever read, but I did really enjoy pretty much all of them. My favorite book this month I would say is The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I found it to be well written and an exciting thriller. I also really enjoyed Burned by Ellen Hopkins and I look forward to reading the sequel.

My least favorite I would say is Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. I think I can handle books that are more disturbing or dark, but this one was even too much for me at times. I also felt the book ended super abruptly and I wish there were a little bit more to the ending. This book actually slowed me down quite a bit because it was so dark I had to read it slowly because at times it just became too much.

Overall, I would recommend each book that I read this month. I did not regret reading any of them or feel that any of them were a waste of my time. I will do more thorough reviews of each of these books throughout the month, so be on the lookout for that! I am excited to see how many books I read this month and if any of them will become my new favorite!