Buzzwordathon Round 4 TBR

Tomorrow (June 12) starts the latest round of the Buzzwordathon and goes through June 18. The word for this round is YOU and you can stretch that to your, you’ll, you’ve etc. I love this readathon so much because it is such a fun way to read books that I already have on my TBR.

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Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Goodreads

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Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman’s frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.

Goodreads

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No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

Goodreads

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It’s been one year since it happened…

When Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in a swimming accident, she shut out almost everyone. Now Paige has decided it’s finally time to rejoin the world, and she has a plan. First on the list: go out with Ryan Chase, her longtime and newly single crush. And last on the list: swim. Terrifying, yet possible?

But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin Max moves to town and recruits Paige for the QuizBowl team (of all things!), her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Starting over isn’t easy, but Paige knows the scariest things are usually the most difficult. Can she face her fears and open herself up to life and love again?

Goodreads

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Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

Goodreads

~Cassie

May Wrap Up

May was a great reading month for me. Not only was I able to read a good amount of books I also “read” my first audiobook. I have tried numerous times to get into audiobooks but I would just find my mind wandering and would just give up. However, I have heard great things about the one I listened to and I am so happy that I gave it a chance. I will have another mini review post up on Saturday where some of these will be reviewed so be sure to check back then for more of my thoughts on these books.

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I loved this! Review to come.

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This is my least favorite of the series. Which is another way of saying that I really didn’t like this. Review to come.

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This should be required reading in schools. Such an amazing little excerpt of a speech that I want to find and watch. Review to come.

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This is such an amazing thriller. I loved everything about it. Full review to come.

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I was nervous to read this after disliking Beneath the Sugar Sky so much but this is my favorite in the series. So good and I can’t wait for the next book to come out. Review to come.

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Another freaking fantastic book. A definite must read if you love contemporary romances. My review.

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An okay end to the series. I plan on eventually continuing on with the series because I am fascinated by the world these books are set in and I enjoy learning more about it in each book. Review to come.

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A good mystery for fans of Pretty Little Liars. My review.

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My least favorite Wendy Walker that I have read. My review.

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This has the honor of being the second book that I have ever dnf’d. I made it 33% and just couldn’t do anymore. Review to come.

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This book has such a great premise but unfortunately it failed to deliver. My review.

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Another book with a great premise but ultimately left me wanting more. This book is beautifully written though. Review to come.

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My first audiobook! This is an absolutely stunning book. I am so happy that I listened to the audiobook but I also want to get my own copy and annotate all the amazing quotes that this book is made up of. I finished this the day my chance to pick the June book of the month books and I picked her newest release because I can’t wait to read more from Elizabeth Acevedo. She also narrates The Poet X audiobook and I highly suggest you listen if you can because she does an incredible job reading her book so much emotion and feeling. I will further be reviewing this book soon.

~Cassie

June TBR

I was looking at my shelves a couple of days ago and realized that I have so many books that I want to read that I decided to make myself four tbr jars.I have broken down my picks into the different categories of jars that I made. I will also be reading my Fox Book Club June book and the few ARCs I have. I’m also participating in two readathons this month. I have already shared my Smutathon TBR and I will be sharing my buzzwordathon tbr later in the month. I’m also in the middle of three different books right now and I hope to finish them the first few days of the month. I will just be sharing my jar picks and my book club pick here and will do a full list of all the books I read during my wrap up at the end of the month.

Book of the Month pick

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Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

Goodreads

My Physical TBR shelves

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Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Goodreads

Most want to read ebooks

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Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

Goodreads

Most want to read physical books

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Romance, friendship, and dark, bone-chilling fear fill the pages of this “genuine and truly eerie” (RT Book Reviews) debut in the spirit of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.

Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work.

And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.

Goodreads

Fox Book Club 

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When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Goodreads

This is a pretty ambitious tbr for me but I feel like I can do it since my boys will be out of school next week and my schedule will be more relaxed. I plan on reading lots outside while they are playing and swimming and all the fun summer stuff. We also have a couple of road trips planned so I am hoping I will be able to successfully read all the books I have planned.

~Cassie

 

Try a chapter tag

I was recently looking at my bookshelves and realized that there are a few books that I either don’t know anything about or I have had so long that I’m not sure if I still want to read them. I thought this would be the perfect tag to do to see if I can eliminate any of them from my shelves. So, I’m going to read the first chapter of these five books and then tell you my thoughts on them.

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Isabel Dalhousie is back, in the latest installment of this enchanting, already beloved, best-selling series.

In addition to being the nosiest and most sympathetic philosopher you are likely to meet, Isabel is now a mother. Charlies, her newborn son, presents her with a myriad wonders of a new life, and doting father Jamie presents her with an intriguing proposal: marriage. In the midst of all this, she receives a disturbing letter announcing that she has been ousted as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics by the ambitious Professor Dove.

None of these things, however, in any way diminshes Isabel’s curiosity. And when she attends an art auction, she finds an irresistible puzzle: two paintings attributed to a now-deceased artist appear on the market at the same time, and both of them exhibit some unusual characteristics. Are these paintings forgeries? This proves to be sufficient fodder for Isabel’s inquisitiveness. So she begins an investigation… and soon finds herself diverging from her philosophical musings about fatherhood onto a path that leads her into the mysteries of the art world and the soul of an artist.

Goodreads

Oh boy. This book is definitely not for me and I’m so happy that I got to try it out and now  I don’t feel bad about passing it on. This is also a fourth book in a series so that may have something to do with me not connecting with it right away. Either way I am happy to pass it on and give someone else the chance to read this.

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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.  

Goodreads

I’m pretty torn about this one. A part of me really wants to read it but another part of me knows that I’m not going to pick it up anytime soon so I should just let it go. But I’m so interested in the format of the story that I am leaning toward keeping it. I think this will end up being a situation where I decide based on a gut feeling when I go to donate the books.

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For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long — Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues’ gallery of power seekers. He’s an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She’s freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston’s North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle’s bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it’s suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She’s not sure about Diesel. He’s offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that’s fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

Goodreads

This is not a particularly great book. However, it is a cozy mystery with a baking element which is my absolute favorite sub genre. I could read this and probably rate it three stars but do I want to invest that time when I have so many other things that I want to read. I’m leaning toward no.

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Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything–and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

Goodreads

This just seems like a pretty typical YA contemporary centered around the main character figuring out her sexuality. I have heard great things about this book and I think it will appeal to a lot of people. I haven’t been reading much YA the last few years so I think I am going to send this book to my sister. I feel like she will get more out of this than I will.

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It seemed to June that she had the perfect marriage until the day Ronald Pruett was arrested for the murder of Vernay Hanks. Through her job at an elementary school, June knew both the victim’s child and Pruett. Moreover, on the day of the murder, she had almost taken a ride from Pruett herself. This connection with the murder becomes an obsession – leading June into a deceitful and increasingly complicated relationship with the dead woman’s brother and her child. Pretending to have been a friend of the victim, June inserts herself into their lives – and through this deception, soon discovers some disturbing things about her marriage and herself.

Sharp and full of unsettling twists, Twenty Questions is a gripping story that speaks of violence and betrayal, feminism, and reinvention. Above all, it speaks of the human condition to resurrect itself, whatever the cost.

Goodreads

I really didn’t like the first chapter of this one. The premise sounds right up my alley but I couldn’t connect with the story at all. I think it may have been the writing style but I was pretty bored reading it which is odd because it starts out with the main character reading about the murder of Vernay and her reaction to it. Hopefully the next person to own this book likes it more than I did.

To sum up I am only (maybe) keeping one book out of the five. I feel pretty good about unhauling some books from my shelves and I will probably re do this tag next month. I have more books than I want on my unread shelf so this is a great way of weeding out the ones I no longer want to read.

~Cassie

 

The Inspection by Josh Malerman

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Title: The Inspection

Author: Josh Malerman

Pages: 400

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Publication Date: March 19, 2019

Genre: Horror

Rating: 3/5

Boys are being trained at one school for geniuses, girls at another. And neither knows the other exists–until now. The innovative author of Bird Box invites you into a tantalizing world of secrets and lies.

J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.

J is one of only twenty-six students, who think of their enigmatic school’s founder as their father. And his fellow peers are the only family J has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, but their life at the school is all they know–and all they are allowed to know.

But J is beginning to suspect that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.

In Inspection, the masterful author of Bird Box crafts a sinister and evocative gender equality anthem that will have readers guessing until the final page.

Goodreads

To me this is actually a two star read but the actual idea of this story is so compelling to me that I just felt like I needed to give it a three. Also, when the book is actually focusing on giving answers to what is happening it really shined and if the book had been more of that I probably would have given it a four. So my compromise with myself is a three and I feel comfortable with that.

The pacing was really off in this book. There were so many unnecessary pages of details into what certain characters were thinking that it really started to take away from the story. This book would have been a much better story with at least 50 pages cut. I also wish that the characters were older than 12 because it made certain things that happen later on in the story very uncomfortable for me. This is might just be a me thing though because my oldest is a few weeks away from being 10 so it hit pretty close to home. I think 14 would have been a more believable and appropriate age for the kids to be. Also, this whole experiment hinges on the fact that the opposite sex is a distraction preventing us from reaching our true potentials but it is never brought up that there are plenty of people in this world who are attracted to their own sex. It is disappointing that a whole group of people are never even mentioned in this book.

My favorite part of the book was the end because of all the action. I have read one other Malerman novel (Bird Box) and I noticed he did the same thing at the end of that one too. The story just goes along with tiny sprinkles of action throughout the bulk of the story but the end is almost constant action. I would love to read one of his other books and see if he does the same thing in those ones. I’m not against it and I actually think it would be pretty cool if that was his style of writing because I feel like the suspense the reader would be in just knowing that the ending is going to be full of so much horror, action and answers would be a fun reading experience.

I have seen some people classify The Inspection as a dystopian but to me this is a straight up horror novel. Beyond the actual horrific acts that happen or are alluded to the real horror of the story is how these boys and girls are being raised. If you like the Hunger Games or the Divergent and are interested in something darker than I suggest this book to you. Or, if like me, you find the synopsis interesting then I think you will be happy that you picked this one up.

~Cassie

ARC Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for letting me read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

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Title: Red, White & Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston

Pages: 425

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Queer

Rating: 5/5

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

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

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

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

Goodreads

I don’t read a lot of romance but when I read the synopsis of this book I instantly wanted to read it because it is such an original idea. And it definitely delivered. I am obsessed with the romance between Alex and Henry and I loved how real their relationship felt. I can honestly spend pages gushing about how freaking cute the two of them are together but I want you all to discover that all on your own.

In fact, all the relationships in this book are incredibly well done and realistically told. All the flaws felt so real and the characters were all so well rounded. Also, this gives such a positive spin on politics and politicians and it was a breath of fresh air from the world that we live in. The characters were all working towards making the world a better place and it was done in a really non confrontational way.

This is a world that I want to live in. I was crying at the end of this book because I so badly want this to be the kind of world that my boys have when they are older. Where all our differences are celebrated and it’s ok to love whoever we want. Where people are strong enough to push past old ideas and ways of thinking. But it’s done from a place of love and compassion and not from a negative place.

Honestly, this book is just amazing and I really hope that everyone gives it a chance. This is such a positive book with an amazing love story that I think so many people will relate to. I liked how much Alex grew as a character throughout the story and watching him fall in love with Henry was one of the sweetest things I have ever read.

~Cassie

ARC Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

Thank you to Netgalley and St.Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

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Title: The Night Before

Author: Wendy Walker

Pages: 320

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 2.5/5

First dates can be murder.

Riveting and compulsive, national bestselling author Wendy Walker’s The Night Before “takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go” as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control.

Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

Goodreads

This is my second Wendy Walker book and I think she does a fabulous job writing characters. She does such a great job of putting the reader inside the character’s heads and making them feel so real. There were obviously some things I didn’t like about this book but her characters were a high point.

For most of the book I thought this was going to be a three star read because while I do enjoy her characters I didn’t connect to the actual story the way I wanted to. There were a few things that I didn’t see coming but I figured out the final twist pretty early on. Since I figured out the end twist so early I was really just anxious to get to that point so I don’t think I enjoyed the lead up to there as much as I could have.

The pacing of the story is really well done though so I feel confident that most of my problems with this book are an “it’s me not you” situation. The story is told from both Laura and her sister Rosie’s perspectives as well as parts of Laura’s therapy sessions. All these different parts helped tell the story in a suspenseful way. Things would build up to something and then it would switch to another perspective. Because of that this book just flies by and I really liked all the different reveals.

Some of the things that I didn’t like would be spoilers so I can’t really go into them. I can tell you that I knocked half a star off at the very end because I really don’t like when authors booksplain (I heard this recently and thought it was genius). I don’t need pages at the end of the story to explain things to me. If an author feels it is necessary than maybe a paragraph at the most but any more than that and it comes across as lazy storytelling. Sorry if that seems harsh but booksplaining is one of my bookish pet peeves.

Overall, this is an average (average doesn’t equal bad!) thriller that I think anyone who is a fan of thrillers will enjoy. I know I rated it low but I did enjoy 99% of this book. I also think that someone who enjoys women’s fiction would also like this book because a lot of Laura’s story has to do with dating and relationships. I am also going to link the other Wendy Walker book that I read because I gave that one four stars and I do think she is so great at fleshing out characters. Also, if you aren’t familiar with the name Wendy Walker I bet most of you have heard of her last book Emma in the Night. I think she has written five novels and I plan on reading all of them.

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

~Cassie

Netgalley Review: The Better Sister bay Alafair Burke

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

 

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Title: The Better Sister

Author: The Better Sister

Pages: 336

Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: April 16, 2019

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime

Rating: 4/5

From Alafair Burke—New York Times bestselling author of the runaway hit, The Wife—comes another twisty tale of domestic noir. When a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, two estranged sisters—one the dead man’s widow, the other his ex—must set aside mistrust and old resentments . . . but can they escape their past?

Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky was always restless . . . and more than a little reckless—the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.

For a while, it seemed like both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicky married promising young attorney Adam Macintosh, and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ethan. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.

Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different—and Chloe is married to Adam. When he’s murdered by an intruder at the couple’s East Hampton beach house, Chloe reluctantly allows her teenaged stepson’s biological mother—her estranged sister, Nicky—back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect in his father’s death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past

Goodreads

The beginning of this book I was disappointed because it was resembling a book that I had recently dnf’d but thankfully it made a sharp right turn and got a lot better. The reason I didn’t like the beginning is because the author, Burke, heavily took from current events, which is fine by itself, but when page after page is the the main character, Claire,  thinking all these thoughts about current events and no actual story building is being done it got to be annoying. What Claire does is an important part of the story but it is not necessary to spend so much time on just building up her character when the author would have been better off building up the relationships that she has with the people around her. We know from the synopsis that Claire’s husband, Adam, is murdered but we don’t get to see much of their relationship before that happens. Which, if I had a choice in how the author started this book I would much rather they spent their time on Claire and Adam and not Claire and all the amazingness that she has done with her magazine.

Once the story really got going though it was a fantastic thriller. There were a lot of twists and turns and I loved watching the story unfold. If thrillers aren’t a favorite genre of yours then you might find some of the plot overdone with all the different reveals. For someone like me, who loves mysteries and thrillers, than this will be a fun adventure for you.

I also really enjoyed the pacing of this book. This book would jump forward in time at different plot points and I really felt like it kept the book from getting too stale. It also helped it to feel more realistic since everything wasn’t happening in the span of a few days. Burke also did a great job of balancing all the drama and different storylines that were happening. We know going into it that their is obviously some drama with Claire and her sister and I liked how their relationship unfolded throughout the story. Going between the drama between them, the mystery of who killed Adam and Claire trying to deal with the police and social media kept me engaged in the story.

Overall, this was a really well done thriller/mystery and I highly recommend that anyone who enjoys this genre check this book out. If you like Law & Order: SVU I also think that you would like this book. It follows the basic narrative of the episodes where there is a crime, the police investigate and then there is a court case. Also, I know I spent some time talking about how I didn’t really like the beginning but the rest of the book more than made up for that.

~Cassie

Book of the Month

A couple people that I watch on Booktube have recently shared their Book of the Month collections and I thought it would fun to share mine today. Not only am I an avid reader but I am a book collector and I take pride in my little library. (My oldest was doing a project about himself a few months ago and his fun fact about himself was that his mom has her own library *insert heart eye emojis here*).

Just to give some background, Book of the Month, is a monthly subscription box where for $14.99 you get to choose one book from five new releases for that month. For an additional $9.99 you can add a second book to your box. You can also add a third for another $9.99. Which is pretty freaking great in my book (ha) since they are hardcover copies and most of them have a Book of the Month emblem on the spine so they look so nice all shelved together. You also get a bookmark with every order and it is free shipping. The only downside is that is a U.S. only service but hopefully one day that will change. They recently adopted a reward system once you get your 12th box which is exciting because I’m only one box away!

Already Read

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Circe by Madeline Miller

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

#FashionVictim

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Killer Across the Table by John Edward Douglas, Mark Olshaker

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

Bought Used

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I love this book service so much and I highly recommend it to anyone living in America to give it a try. I am going to leave my referral link below if you want to use it to sign up for Book of the Month. You get a free book for using the link and I get a free book as well. Or if you are interested but want to support a favorite American booktuber that uses Book of the Month they almost always have their referral link in their description boxes. (I signed up using ChelseaDollingReads code.) Or you could just go to the website and sign up that way if you want to.

Book of the Month referral link

~Cassie

 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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Title: The Secret History

Author: Donna Tartt

Pages: 523

Genre: Literary Fiction, Modern Classic

Publisher: Knopf

Publication Date: October 16, 1992

Rating: /5

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

Goodreads

I went into this thinking it had a mystery aspect but oh no it doesn’t. The very first page, two paragraphs in, we find out who is killed and who killed this person. The Secret History is really about what led up to the killing of this person and then it deals with the consequences of this action. And I loved it. But I also just don’t know how to talk about it. This book seems so big in my head that I have a hard time explaining all the different parts of it.

I very much enjoy character driven stories and this is definitely one of them. In fact, Donna Tartt is probably one of my top favorite authors because she is so incredibly talented at writing characters. All the characters in this group of college kids felt so real to me but at the same time we only see them through the lens of Richard. I can see why some people might not like this aspect but I found it really enjoyable. We get to know a lot about Richard through his interactions with the people around him and less from him explaining things to us the reader. If you are familiar with my reviews you will know that I really appreciate it when an author shows the reader things versus telling us. Also, the other members of the Greek class are very complex. I could honestly write whole essays on each of the characters and how their story progresses throughout the book. Bunny, Francis, Henry, Charles and Camilla are where The Secret History really shines.

Another plus to Tartts writing is all the foreshadowing she does in the story. There are so many times when we are just moving along in the story and then Richard drops a line alluding to something (usually shocking) that is going to happen. I would get so excited by these little nuggets of information and it made it hard to put the book down. I also love how well Tartt brought the environment of the book to life. If you want to know what America was like in the early 90’s this book will tell you. The good, the bad and the ugly.

The only reason that I couldn’t give this book five stars is because I do think that it lagged  at times. The Goldfinch is a bigger book than this one but to me that book had perfect pacing. This book sometimes felt stuck at some parts. I think for me it was exhausting to read about all the times Richard drinks and does drugs away from the other characters. I didn’t mind when it was mentioned here or there but when whole pages were devoted to it I felt myself not caring. Perhaps, my issue with this book really lays with how I only felt connected to Richard when it came to his interactions with the other characters.

Honestly, Tartt is one of the best authors of our time and everyone should read her books. Also, if you enjoy true crime shows like Snapped or Dateline than I think you will appreciate this book. One of the appeals for me in watching those shows is how people can actually commit murder and that is one of the main themes in this book. This is a book that will stay with me for the rest of my life and I look forward to rereading it one day.

~Cassie