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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I am getting ready to hit the books for 2018. I cannot believe an entire year has come and gone, it happened so quickly! When it comes to reading, I feel like from January to March I am in this reading funk. For three months, I have no desire to read. I feel down and reading is one of the last things I want. This past year, however, I did not feel that initially. I may have later on, but it was not like years past. This year, I hope the reading funk will be gone again. Right now I am in a reading mood, and want to be doing it continuously. I always have a book or kindle at hand, and while I am driving there is always an audiobook playing.

At this moment I am reading a couple of books. I finally started Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I have owned it for a long time, probably since it first came out, and have never picked it up. I began the audio version due to having gotten it as a Daily Deal with audible. I have heard so much about this series, and have seen it everywhere. So… this past week, I joined the many people reading this series.

Let’s first discuss the premise. There is a girl named Mare, and she lives in a dystopian society. There are a couple of tiers, which can be further broken down, but I will just describe the main two. There are Reds and Silvers. Red, Mare’s group, are lower class. They are the worker bees, and they are forced to go and fight in a war raging along with Silvers who are trained to fight. The Silvers have special abilities such as being able to control metal, read minds, control fire or water, and many others.

Mare has several siblings, two who have already been sent into battle. Mare is just months away from having to join the war, and now she has her best friend, Kilorn, also about to leave. He had been under and apprenticeship and would have been saved, however, the man over him passed away.

Mare is a skilled thief. While her sister helps make money by sewing beautiful garments, Mare picks pockets and uses a five finger discount. This is how she contributes to the family. Her mother does not like this, even though stealing is Mare’s art, and the family needs the items or money she gleans. Her father had been injured while fighting the battle himself, and now is unable to work and barely moves around the family home. Through her shady dealings, she knows smugglers, and comes up with smuggling herself and Kilorn to avoid the draft. This, though, will come with a price. How she will pay the required amount will be difficult, it is enough to feed her family for over a year.

While out one night, after a disastrous attempt to secure the money, she meets a young man. He gives her a gold crown, much to her shock. This is one of 2,000 she will need to escape. How he came about such money in the Red community she does not know, but gladly accepts.

Later she is called to work in the palace as a select group of Reds are permitted to do so. While there, she finds she has a special skill that is a surprise to her, and those around her. This skill might be of help to those who have now formed a Red rebel forces hoping to overtake the throne and end the war, treatment of the lower class, and class levels.
I am not going to tell more, it would totally ruin the book for you, but then again I have to ask… would it really?

I find that this book is no different, essentially, than the many others I have read. You have your dystopian society. Check. Lower class girl who is rescued by royalty. Check. A group hoping to use rebel forces to change society. A battle going on between the upper and lower class. The ridiculous names… I could go on and on. I feel like I have already read this book before, and I liked the other versions better.

To me, if feels like this book is more depressing than any others I have read, The Hunger Games included. This just feels negative period. I enjoyed The Selection series, The Goddess Test series, Hunger Games, and more, but this is not at the top of my list. I have a feeling I will not read the second book, no matter how it ends. I would rather just look up the summary, and ruin it that way than suffer through the others.

I have not finished the book, I am about 80% finished right now, so I will not give my full review or rating, but right now, this is around 2.5 not so shiny stars. Would I recommend this book to others based on what I know now? No. I would find a similar theme and refer them to those. I would pass on Red Queen.

I am looking forward to 2018 and what books it will hold. I already have several lined up, Sourdough by Robin Sloan is the first. Do you have a book already waiting for 2018 to get here? Do you experience the reading funk? How do stop it?

See yall in 2018, unless I have a new thought this week. Eh, I am sure I will.

Have a happy holidays, and a very safe and happy new year!

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I have a blog post that still needs to go up from November telling about the beach trip to PCB we take every year, and the book I read, but it will have to go up later, I need to do some edits due to a member of the trip passing away. I want to mention him as well. I finished a book recently that I am sure most of you have already read by now, heck, I should have read it by now. I finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I cannot wait to discuss that book! I loved it so much that I read it in around 2 days, I just could not stop! I then watched the HBO Miniseries.

First, let me set up the premise. There are several mothers and children at the heart of this tale, along with different dynamics. There are the career mommies, stay at home mommies, and Jane a mother who is working but not wealthy like her nanny yielding counterparts. Also, a unique addition is Bonnie who is a yogi, crunchy mommy struggling with her husband’s ex-wife Madeline (a main character). There are also dads who play various roles in the story, some more influential than others. This is more than your playground gossip amongst catty moms happening. These are moms who want the best for their children, and themselves, at the cost of other’s happiness, sometimes more is better on both fronts. The more you twist the knife in someone else, the better you feel.

The story is set in Australia, the authors home, at Pirriwee Public school, while the award winning, HBO Miniseries is in Monterey Bay and Otter Bay Elementary School. The school is a “private school with a public school price.” The children are beginning the new school year with Kindergarten Orientation, which is not the day before school, but rather later.

The main players in the book are women, though we see glimpses of their lives with their husbands, ex-husband, and children.

Madeline Martha Mackenzie, though no one uses the Martha who turned 40 years old on the day of the book’s beginning. A mom who volunteers while parenting her three children. She is proud to be a stay at home mommy who does work, and she can hold it over their heads. She is married to a sweet man named Ed who must have a lot of patience. Madeline will not back down from a fight, and is extremely loyal to her friends. She has as much love and passion for her friends as she does spite towards her enemies. Her oldest daughter, Abigail, was the daughter of her and Nathan, Madeline’s first husband. He left her while Abigail was a newborn, and when they both said they could not “do this” in response to the exhausting and crying baby, he said he literally meant it and left. He was never there for his daughter growing up, and never assisted in paying for her needs either.

Celeste is a beautiful mom, the mother of two identical twin boys, and the wife of Perry. She was formerly a lawyer, though she stopped practicing to begin her family. Her health and stress level is mentioned a few times giving the reader thought to as why it could be talked about. I do not want to go into that too much because it reveals more about the book than I will divulge. She and Madeline are best friends, and both loyal. She is incredibly rich, thanks to her husband’s, Perry, incredible job. I got the impression, if it was not clearly laid out, that she is almost embarrassed with the money. She is known to donate to many causes and charity, and has a great deal of compassion for others. Little do we know she is holding a secret that could destroy the appearance and actual life, home, and family.

Jane is a single mother to Ziggy. In the book it is a reference to Ziggy Marley, however, in the show it is for Ziegfeld. I like either, personally. Jane is new to the town, and while she has not told anyone why she moved there, she is also harboring a secret all her own. Ziggy does not know his father, as we learn due to a school project. Jane describes her encounter with the man as a one night stand. Her secret too is a sad fact that can ruin lives and bring up old trauma.

Bonnie is the wife of Nathan, Madeline’s ex-husband. She is crunchy and a yogi, mom to daughter Skye with Nathan. She is a friend to Abigail, much to Madeline’s dismay. Honestly, I did not hate her, I felt like she really tried, but you will find yourself loyal to Madeline. She may overstep at times, and is a little too “cool” and is a “friend” while she should be a parent to Abigail. Overall, I do not dislike her. I know that will sound strange, and as a person who could be in Madeline’s position, I might feel the same. But as just a stranger, I think there could be worse.

Renata is a mommy who works and is a bigwig. She is always working and joining boards, and likes to hold that over other’s heads. She is the woman who can do it all. She is also an enemy of Madeline and it only gets worse as the book goes on. She loves all things French, as it represents class and wealth. Her nanny is French, her daughter’s name is French – Amabella. Amabella is a sweet little girl, and she in the beginning sets off a chain of events which will be the basis for much of our story.

For our tale, all the trouble begins at orientation when someone chokes sweet, little Amabella. The teacher asks her to point to the person responsible for the action. Amabella picks out Ziggy, who firmly denies touching her. This becomes the catalyst for the chain of events leading to a murder of an unknown victim.

I loved this book, I read it in less than two days, and that included me working full-time. I could not put this one down. I felt like with this author, anyone was fair game to be the murdered and murderer. You may think, oh, I know who it is, and then boom, you have no idea. I was so happy with that fact. It was like you were guessing all the way to the end.

I feel like this book also shed light on a subject women do not like to talk about, and that is abuse. Domestic violence is a terrible thing, and this goes to show you how someone is in this situation, and reason why they choose to stay. This was not just a lighthearted mystery, but rather a book that had a lesson on violence against women everyone should hear.

I gave this book five shiny gold stars. I was hooked from the first page, all the way to the last. It is a book I could see myself reading again, now that I know what to look for as I go along. This is a favorite from 2017. It will stand out in my mind for a long time.

I think the HBO Miniseries was a good adaptation. There were several slight changes, and a couple of big ones. I read about the differences, especially with Madeline’s character, and I understand why they made them. If you have not read the book, or watched the show, I suggest you do both. Each one is excellent in it’s own right. The only issue I have would be with the fact a few things are explained in the book, yet are not in the show. The ending is much more clear in the novel, but from what I read, people were confused at the end of the series. Several outlets explained what actually happened and why. The book did not need this assistance.

In 2018, read more! Add this to your TBR Shelf, if you haven’t already. If you have, lets discuss new books to read in the new year? Are you doing any of the challenges online? I am looking at Book Riot’s challenge along with PopSugar. They both sound like fun. So, I will be utilizing them for sure.

With a new year comes new books, and I look forward to new reads. Sourdough is first on my list. What about yall? Have you already picked your first new book for 2018?

Have a very Merry Christmas, and a safe, healthy, blessed New Year!!!

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Beach Reads! Again!

Well, it is that time of year again. Time to make our yearly trip to the beach for the annual car show. I know many people would think heading to the beach in November is crazy, but I love it. The weather is usually wonderful, there is not an outrageous crowd to fight for everything, and we also really love the car show. It is so much fun to see all these people together having fun, listening to some old tune, and seeing cars from days gone by. I love it.

With this also comes the big question as to what should I read? It is difficult because part of you wants to read just trash, part wants some great thriller, part wants to read something really lighthearted and funny, and part wants to tackle the books you have been meaning to get to for forever. I have been trying to narrow it down for a while now. Thank goodness for Kindles where I  have hundreds of books at my fingertips. I am going to take some hardcopies, however. I have one I have restarted several times, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, which I said I would never read. I have The Edge of Always, which I bought for our beach trip as a pre-order (it came out the day we got there), and I never read… a few years ago… I am terrible. I have The Girl with All the Gifts, but I am not sure if I want to read that one or not. I watched the movie, and now I am like, ehhh. Even though I wanted to read it terribly. I have Remember Me This Way, which I have started several times as well, and really picked it up this weekend and liked a lot. I just do not know. I feel like I want to read a paper book. An actual hardback. Not an audiobook, although I ADORE them (Yes, it warranted all caps.) I want to read a book that I can carry around and feel in my fingertips.

Any suggestions? I am sorry to cut this short, but we are about to walk out the door. I will catch you up when I decide what to read.


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Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

I have been reading The Stand by Stephen King, but I needed a little quick read to break from the dreary read. In comes a book that I read earlier, and did not get to review, and now listened and read with audio. I want to discuss the pleasure of the novel Little Monsters by Kara Thomas. This is a YA book that has been compared to PLL and Gone Girl, and let me say it lives up to the hype! Wait. I am not going to compare it to PLL, because, while I loved that series, I feel it is a little bit of an insult. I do not mean that to be ugly, it is just this is so much better than that series, and manages in one book what it takes an entire arc to achieve with PLL. As far as Gone Girl… I think this is even better! Little Monsters is a book that deserves that comparison, and, in my opinion, is more amazing than the standard all other books are held up against.

Let me add my review that I posted on GR.

Oh, my goodness! This is one of the best books I have read in a long time, and one of my favorite narrations on audio as well. I read this book, and listened. I listened on my commute to and from work, and read when I was not traveling.

First let me comment on the narration if you want to listen. The narrator is amazing. Just simply amazing! If I did not know that it was only one person, I would have easily thought there were two reading. She makes the characters really come to life and had a great way of making each sound distinct and you knew who was talking at all times. I could listen to all her books she narrates.

Now, on to the book. This is, like I said, one of my favorite books I have read all year. It can be compared to Gone Girl, and as a YA Gone Girl, and let me say it lives up to the hype. I think I may have even loved this more than Gone Girl! Actually, I know I did. Here is how you need to read this book, though. Do not do like I want to do and try to gather clues and drive yourself insane trying to figure it out. Simply read and enjoy. Just ride the ride and let it go. You will be so happy you did. This is a book that up until the last bit you are still guessing. That is not to say I did not know what happened before the end, but it took a lot longer than normal. I was so happy for that. I have recommended this book to everyone I know, and will continue to do so.

In this book, Kacey is a new girl moving from New York to a small town Broken Falls in Wisconsin. She befriends two girls who take her in immediately, and is welcomed into a loving family consisting of a father she never knew, a kind step-mother, half sister, and step-brother. She feels that she is still that kid she used to be while in New York with a neglectful mother, and struggles to feel accepted by her new family who truly loves her.

When her friend Bailey mysteriously disappears, Kacey seems like a possible suspect. Did she, or didn’t she?

This is a great book that transitions from Kacey’s POV and a series of diary entries from the missing teen, Bailey. All of this keeps you on the edge of your seat, and you do not want to stop reading until you reach the conclusion.

Be sure to pick this great mystery up! You will not be disappointed. I am not going to compare it to PLL, because it is better than that, and compare it to Gone Girl, and say I loved it more than the original standard others are held up against. Read this twisted thriller. You will be happy you did! Five Shiny Gold Stars!

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The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

I finally broke down and started the sequel to The Poet by Michael Connelly. The Poet came out in 1996, and I read the novel 2014. I had already read several books by Michael Connelly the previous couple of years, he was a new author to me until around the end of 2011 – 2012. I loved the Bosch series, and I happened upon this one by chance. I loved that book so much. I found it exciting and fresh, despite being eight years old at the time. I felt like it had a nice little twist that someone might not see coming. The Scarecrow, which is considered the sequel came out in 2009. Well… let me say that again. The Scarecrow is a sequel to The Poet, while The Narrows, which came out in 2004, was said to be the “official” sequel to The Poet. Good and confused now? Great. You are right there with me.

I have wanted to read this book for a long time, however, I wanted to read The Narrows, Blood Word, and A Darkness More Than Night, which feature Jack McEvoy and/or Rachel Walling, and ties up loose ends from The Poet. See how this can all be confusing. I would like to read The Narrows, and it is up next on my list, so that is slightly out of order. The whole “this is the sequel,” and “this is the ‘official’ sequel,” confused me, and I just gave in to temptation and selected this novel.

I am still reading the book, and I am not finished yet, so I will not post my review yet. I will tell you, however, what I think so far. With McEvoy, a journalist at the Los Angeles Times, and just let go due to budget cuts, he stumbles upon a story that could radically change his career. While The Poet (the serial killer) defined him as a journalist, and established him as a published author, this could be just as big.

Without going into too many details, I am shocked at McEvoy. As a journalist who works the crime beat, I would be suspicious of anyone and everything. So when events begin to unfold in his life, and strange things begin to occur to him after discovering this amazing story lead and puzzle, I would have immediately made some sort of connection. I feel like he was clueless for too long. Example. I once got a box in the mail that I did not know what it was, where it came from, or who sent it. I was ready to call the police thinking it was a bomb. While on the phone with my mom, I BRAVELY opened the box to discover it was filled with books from an author. I had signed up with a program to distribute the books to individuals, introduce her writing to those who may not know her, and hopefully, become a new reader. This was something I volunteered for, and forgot, and yet I was worried a bomber was going to try and get me. I am a normal, everyday person. If I can be panicked over something that simple, why wasn’t McEvoy concerned more than the average Joe when he has a possible serial killer and possible identity being stolen? Come on, now. Am I giving you more credit than you deserve?

This book has been good so far, and I am enjoying the plot. Already, something occurred that I did not see happening right away. While it was a thought, there were other signs that pointed in different directions. Gotta love those red herrings!

This is my first Connelly book in a long time. I would say, I probably have not read any of his work in almost 3 years. It was like being put together with an old buddy I have not seen in a while. I just slipped into his reading effortlessly.

I am over halfway finished with The Scarecrow, and I expect to finish the book this weekend. I will be sure and post when I get my final review in. I highly recommend this read to yall who love a good mystery. There has not been any graphic gore, blood, and/or guts. Just a good mystery/thriller. There is murder, though, but it is not like what Karin Slaughter or Tess Gerritsen might have in their books.

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I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen

I have a few other books to discuss, but I want to get to a great one right away, because some of the others can be quite a bummer. Not that murder is a great, happy party, but it does not make you rethink your life, and potential end-of-life plans.

Today’s book is one I am so excited about. I was lucky enough to meet this author earlier this month, and it was the coolest. I am here to talk about a book I have loved so much this summer… I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen. This is a new Rizzoli and Isles book, and is a welcome addition to the series. Let me give a little background story though before the review.

This year at The Decatur Book Festival, I went to a discussion about Murder and Fiction with the authors Tess Gerritsen and J.T. Ellison. Being a huge fan of Tess, I was looking forward to this for so long, and lucky for me, I also discovered J.T. Ellison. They each spoke about their newest books, their process, how they became writers, and more. Both of them are amazing and inspiring women. They also just seemed so cool. I instantly wanted to become their best friends. Like, “Oh, yeah, well… I was talking to Tess and J.T. the other day…” Because, after all, you know we are on first name basis. Afterwards the audience got to ask questions, and I asked one I always wonder… “What is the strangest thing you have Googled, or can bring up in a random conversation that mays people say, ‘What?!’” They were both kind enough to answer. I felt pretty good because it was probably the oddest question, and to me would be the most fun to try and reply. When the discussion was over, I got books signed by both authors. I actually got J.T.’s book on Sunday, and it did not come out until that Tuesday! I will be sure to review that one ASAP.

I had thought ahead and brought my mom who had things signed for me too. Tess was so nice, she signed not only the latest book, but Body Double, my favorite Rizzoli and Isles, or one of my favorites. We bought Playing with Fire, and she signed it as well. She also signed my first and last DVD cases for the show Rizzoli & Isles. Is that not so nice? They both also let me get pictures with each of them, and I will always have that.

Now, on to the review. In I Know a Secret, Isles is called to a crime scene at Christmas time. Upon arriving, she knows this is different than others. Isles learns that a young woman is dead, but the method is what is so peculiar. On top of that is added dramatics. Her father upon finding his daughter has had a heart attack and has been whisked away in an Ambulance.

In the young woman’s apartment, there are many posters for classic horror films. One, however, is pointed out to Dr. Isles, a poster that says “I See You,” and has a large eye featured. This could be a possible clue when she goes to inspect the body and finds the young woman, laying on her bed, seemingly asleep, except for her eyeballs which rest in her hands. The young woman who has found this end is an aspiring filmmaker, and created I See You. She has just began the process of completing her second film which is based on a true event. Rizzoli and Frost learn this while interviewing her co-workers and co-creators of the film, all former film students together.

Adding to this, Maura’s mother Amalthea has tried to enter her life again. She has tried numerous times over the years, but with her on her deathbed, Maura has finally given in and granted her one more visit. Amalthea is very cryptic with her message, and seems to imply that Maura will be confronted with her past, a past she never knew she had. A past that might help her with this case.

While working on the case, Maura is confronted with something new, she is unsure of the method of killing. It appears at first that the victim did not suffer any trauma, with the exception of her eyes. This just adds to the mystery and intrigue of the case.
Rizzoli is not left out in the cold either. She is dealing with her own issues and family, as her mother prepares to take up for herself. Now back together with her husband, Angela is thinking that maybe she can do better than wait hand and foot on an ungrateful, cheater of a husband.

I loved this book, I loved the themes. I reasons for the method, or rather imagery, of the murder is fascinating. You get to know the characters even more, with Maura being the primary focus of this novel, and get to know a side character who may be a potential future victim as well.

This book seems different to me because I feel that not everyone is who they appear. I loved the acknowledgement of “Horror 101” from the film students when discussing the crime surrounding their friend. It felt like a homage to Scream, where you say “We know the rules, and here they are.” It is as if you are in a lucid dream.
This is one of my favorite books of the year. It was one of the ones I looked forward to the most that is for sure. I loved it. I love these characters. It is like I am slipping into a conversation with good friends.

I hope you all go out and give this book a go. You will not regret it.


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After You by Jojo Moyes

If you are on this site and like to hear more about my mysteries, do not worry, I have several coming up. I am, however, going to tell about some of the other books I have been reading this summer. Today’s novel is more… romance/self-discovery/I do not know what. Let me set the stage. I was partnered with a book buddy to read a book together from our TBR shelves that we both wanted to read. The other person, said she had done this before, selected one book that we were going to read, and it was not even a book I had on my TBR shelf. I offered up other books that we both had in common, but she was dead set on reading that book. After much discussion, we finally compromised on another one book she chose for us, After You by Jojo Moyes. This is the sequel to the beloved Me Before You, which was made into a movie last summer. I read the book before the movie came out, and I was hooked. With the first book, I may (or may not) have stayed home from my small group meeting to finish. Oh, my. I was a mess when I read the first of the two. I sobbed an ugly cry, sitting on my couch alone in my apartment with only my cats. It is like those quotes or cartoons that say you feel like you have just had a death in your family when the book ends. No one understands. Luckily, my sister was only a phone call away, and she was able to get my pain.

Now, over a year later, I am being forced to read the sequel. Do not get me wrong. This book was on my list of books to read, and I wanted to see what happened, but I was just not ready yet. (Also, the person who insisted we read the book… never even read it. She said she started the first few pages and did not like it. Sigh.) I had heard many times over it was not as good as the first, and was just… different. I was excited to see how Lou was doing, but I was afraid to see how much the tone had changed. Let me give you my initial review I provided on my online book group:
In the follow-up to Me Before You, we see Louisa after life with Will. This book, as I have read before, was quite different from the first, and that was not a plus. I will explain more later.

Louisa is adjusting to her new life, attending a group therapy addressing moving on, and has suffered an accident leaving her with emotional and physical pain. She is not where she imagined, stuck in an airport bar, instead of living the life that Will would have dreamed for her.

Over the course of the book, two people enter her life that will change it drastically. These people will help her realize what it means to love and care for someone else again, and help her to work through her grief.

I do not want to go into too much of a review due to the fact it will reveal too much about the story. I will simply say that, while I liked this book, I did not like this book anywhere as much as I did the first. Due to the theme of grief and pain (yes, there was love too), it was so out of character for the Lou we grew to love and know. Even her wonderful, colorful wardrobe became bland and sad. This was a great read, and I recommend it to others, but give the warning that it is not like the first if that is what you are expecting. Four gold stars. Really 3.5, but I will round up.

So, you see how I feel. If Me Before You was the perfect ice cream sundae, this was a sad, unfortunate plain vanilla soft serve. Do not get me wrong, I love a good vanilla soft serve on a hot summer day, but when you have had the best, it is hard to compare. Lou was a favorite character. I felt like I could relate to her quirky style and thoughts. She reminds me a lot of myself, or how I see myself, around the “normal” everyday people. This book made me ache for her, not just because she had experienced great grief, but because she turned away from everything which made her happy and let her sadness consume her. It affected her attitude, her life, her outlook on her own circumstances, her job, personality, and even her wardrobe. You may think, that is not a big deal! It is just clothes! But for Lou, this was just one way she expressed herself. Imagine someone like me who dresses in all pink and often sequins, feathers, bows, pearls, beading… even in the day for work, and suddenly wearing all black, grey and brown with plain everything. You would get the feeling something is wrong. It is the same with Lou. She transformed completely, and while I appreciate seeing a character grow or change, this felt all wrong.

I am incredibly sorry, I feel like at this point I am just going on and on. I will go ahead and let it go. Great, now the song is stuck in my head… So. Overall, a book I would tell others about, if you have read the first, but with the warning that it is completely different. 3.5 not so shiny stars.

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Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Goodness! I have not posted in so long. I feel terrible. But, yea! I have some really good books to review since I have been gone. I did go on vacation, and I had so many books to choose from while I was there. We went to the beach, and when we got there it was so hot and humid that I immediately thought, “This is a mistake. We made a huge mistake, we should have never come here.” We were at Myrtle Beach and it was unreal. Then the best thing happened. The week we were there, it was not as hot, it rained some, but not a lot, it was really pleasant. The water was great. Every morning we got up and set out our spots on the patio at the edge of the building right where you entered the beach. It was a pretty quiet spot, nice place to play your tunes and read, had a little awning over our chairs, and away from the craziness of the pool. It was heaven on the walkway. So we would set up our spots, have breakfast, be out all day pretty much, we would boogie board in the ocean a lot of the morning, and relax. We ate outside for lunch most days. It was just a lot of fun. So… what did I end up reading? Well, I did not get to read much due to being in and out of the water, but I started The Final Girls. I thought it was really good, the parts I got in. I still have not finished it due to buddy reads and other reads for book picks, but I will get it finished and I will let you know what I think. I have several other books I have gotten through Book of the Month, and I will let you know what all they are. Right now though, I want to do a quick post of a book that I have finished since last I posted. I have several to write, so get ready.

I will post the ones I finished before and work my way to the present. Today’s post is for Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica. I had high hopes for this book. It thought it started out with an interesting premise, and really grabbed my attention. I did not feel that way about the author’s previous work at all. With her book The Good Girl, I was flat out disappointed. I saw the plot from the very beginning. This one you see the beginning, and there is a slight twist, but I think my initial review will provide insight into how I felt about the plot twist. Here is my review I gave right after I read the book:

Well. What did I think? This author has a way about her where she creates a slow burn. You read a story, and you are intrigued, and you continue to read, but when you get about 65% into it you think, Yeah. I am done. You have long figured out what happens, you know the ending, and frankly, you do not care anymore.

I started out liking this book, and thought I knew what was happening, but unlike The Good Girl, there was an actual twist at the end. Sadly, by the time it happened, I did not care. I was tired of this book and was ready for it to be over. I just finished the book so I could say I finished. I did not actually care if I ever found out what happened or not.
I give this book three stars. So, how did I arrive at this rating? Well, I liked it, but I did not love it. It was okay, but I feel that is about it. I would recommend it to others, but add that it was not my favorite book. It was not so terrible that I would discourage others from reading. It was just, “Eh.”

This was a book that I hoped would make me like the author more. At first, she felt redeemed in my eyes, but that slowly began to dissolve. I have read her most recent book, which I will also provide my review for, but for now I will stick with the current book at hand. It did not make me like her anymore, or give her “Must Read” status in my mind. She will not be those authors who she compared to such as Gillian Flynn. She is like the generic version, at a lower dose.

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My Beach Read

Hi, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your summer reads! I have a weeklong vacation coming up, and I am getting some beach reads together for where else, but… the beach! I could not decide what I wanted to take with me. I did not want to read something to heavy, or two intense, maybe something light? I have a few options, but I think I narrowed it down. The goal was to take an actual paperback. Something that I would not worry over if sand got on it, so my kindle was protected. Plus, doesn’t it just feel good to be on the beach or by the pool with the feel of a paperback in your hands. Turning the pages… In the end, I picked something that is going to be probably more serious and intense than I had planned. I decided to read The Girl in the Spider’s Web written by David Lagercrantz. This is the fourth book in the originally Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.

I had said that I would never, ever, ever pay money for this book due to the greed of Larsson’s father and brother. I did not care at all for the way they treated his partner, Eva Gabrielsson. If you have the chance, read her book describing their relationship, why they were not married, and how she helped him write his novels. Larsson’s father and brother, in my mind, are simply money monsters. Gabrielsson even offered to write the next few books in the series due to knowledge of what they were going to be about before Larsson died, but they would not let her. Instead they got someone else. Heaven forbid she actually get some compensation for her work on a series she played a major role in, with her partner of 30 years. Geez.

When I learned of everything that went down between all of them, I was furious. I said I would never participate and be an enabler with them, but here I am. I feel better because I got the book for free, but that is the only way I am going to feel better about reading. Goodness, I guess I am a huge hypocrite. That is hard to admit.

This was starting out to be a review of another book, but I will let that be a separate post. I guess I just really needed to get that off my chest. What do you think? Do you know what all happened with that situation and family? What was your opinion, if you did? Did you read the book?

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Big Rock by Lauren Blakely

I noticed I got a few followers lately, and while I read mainly mysteries, I will read the occasional contemporary romance, which is code for hot, hot, hot. So… people who do not like those types of books, avert your eyes. Everyone else, read on!

I finished earrrly this morning Big Rock by Lauren Blakely and narrated on audio by Sebastian York. I both read the book and listened on audio. This was a creative story, but due to the main character, a guy named Spencer, being a playboy, cocky, wealthy, and knows it, he sounds a lot like Drew from Emma Chase’s Tangled series. Listen. I adore Sebastian York. I love that deep, gruff (but smooth) voice of his. But this seemed like the same character. With that being said, I was so excited to hear him narrate another book for me. (Only me guys, you are just reaping the benefits.)

In Big Rock, Spencer’s father owns several highly sought after jewelry stores, Katherine’s, named after his wife. He build the business from the ground up, and because of it, he is a self-made man, wealthy, and is now hoping to retire and travel the world with the wife he loves so dearly.

Spencer is also a self-made man, not having to depend on daddy’s money. He created a very successful dating app, and sold it for a great profit. He also now co-owns several bars around town called The Lucky Spot with his friend from college, Charlotte. They are the best of friends, and have a great collaboration and work relationship.

When Spencer’s father finds a family oriented business man who wants to purchase the company, since Spencer and his sister do not want to take over, the gentleman insinuates that Spencer is not wholesome enough. In an effort to help his father seal his contract and deal, Spencer convinces Charlotte to pretend to be his fiancé for a week. To make it seem believable, he even convinces his family.

Spencer and Charlotte set clear rules to ensure there are not complicated or hurt feelings in the end. They are great friends, and after all, what could possibly go wrong?

I loved this story because it seemed to be able to tell a steamy romance without being ridiculous like so many others. The story was cute and fun, and made you laugh out loud. Yes, there was plenty of language and detailed scenes, but if you are familiar with this genre, you will not be surprised.

I gave this book 5 shiny gold stars simply due to the adorable story and the fact that I actually cared about the characters. I saw where there was a second about his friend coming out after that one, but I have not checked it out. I would love to hear more from Spencer and Charlotte, however! If this is your thing, go out and get it! You will be so happy you did!

I will endorse this as a cute, naughty beach read, perfect for lounging by the pool. Watch out, however, you may need to hit the pool, and not just from the heat of the sun!

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