Book Review: Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart

Y'all. I just couldn't finish this one, after it has received great reviews and has been placed in all the prominent places in my local bookstore and all over my bookstagram feed. I wanted to love this one, as this was my first pandemic read, a book truly capturing the pandemic with a new perspective. I found that I was bored at the beginning and middle by the way upper class folks must be coping with their difficult, privileged lives. I think we can all relate to stocking up on the spirits, crackers, and sequestering ourselves away from civilization. But, I don't know any one that has bungalows and invited their friends over to live in them, secluded and enjoying the high life for months on end. That being said, maybe I'm overly sensitive to the romanticism that I felt when reading this, page after page. It got to be too much and I wanted to feel and see some of myself and my experiences in the book. This book was not for me, and I have so many books lined up waiting, that it's time for me to move on to the next bouquet of words. #3stars #couldntfinish #ourcountryfriends #reallytried #betterlucknextbook #bookreviews #honest #everyonegetsanopinion

Book Review: A Little Hope by Ethan Joella

 

5 Stars for A Little Hope by Ethan Joella. I found A Little Hope at BN 50% off. Maybe I needed a little hope and decided, at 50%, it would be worth it. I was right. Chapter 1 hooked me. So much so, that I messaged Ethan myself and let him know I was hooked. Sometimes, you read a book and meet these amazing characters and wonder how someone could create something from a blank page that you can see so clearly and relate to so well. This was that book. Multiple characters, chapter after chapter contained so much depth and description that I was committed to the outcomes of each of them, and thoroughly enjoyed how they were all connected by grief, sorrow, and loss. But also, hope. I will remain a little bitter about one of the twists in the book. Without letting too many details fly here, I'll be emailing Ethan again about it. But, in the end I understood that it was all part of the realness of the story. If you're looking for a book that feels very real, allows you not to feel so alone, and shines a light on the ray of hope we are all continually walking towards even though we can't see it, this book is your next read. Thank me later. I check my messages. #alittlehope #5stars #bookfor2022 #wellwritten #risingstarauthor #quickread #sendmebooks #booklover #bookreviewsforfun #lovewriters #lovereaders @joellawriting

Book Review: Gone With The Wind

Gone With The Wind is such a majorly controversial book. There were so many parts that made my head spin. Alternatively, what an interesting and valuable perspective on historical happenings in the South. This is officially the longest book I've ever read. I was immediately hooked. That being said, I feel that the book is so controversial that it's probably going to disappear from shelves and reading lists and that makes me a little sad. I feel the magic of the writing and the important story (although fiction) would be lost today if this book was re-released or discussed because of the racial themes, descriptions, and happenings. All of that to say, personally I think it's a gem of a book. It's heartbreaking and enlightening. The characters are desperate and vulnerable. A true classic with lots of fuel for heated and loving discussions. Unpredictable, startling, and a cliff-hanger of an ending. 5 bold stars. #margaretmitchell #gonewiththewind #thebookisbetter #historicalread #deepsouth #controversialread #importantstory #bookreview #5stars #sendmebooks #longestbookeverread 

Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry Book 2 in The Giver Series

5 Stars for Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. Book 2 in The Giver series, this one did not disappoint. It was different enough from The Giver with many of the same themes and @loislowrywriter painted the characters with a fine-haired brush. Intricately done, with poised and deliberate attention to details, Gathering Blue caused me to slow down and look around in my own life, as I did with The Giver. Even though Gathering Blue is meant to be book 2 in the series, it could be read as a standalone novel. But, it's obvious now that despite each book having their own ups and downs, there is a more sinister rumbling going on, ominous and foreboding. Needless to say, I'm excited to dive into Book 3. This series is different from anything I've ever read. It's refreshing and the details are written so intentionally, it's easy to get sucked in quickly. It's also a much needed reminder for humanity of our great responsibility to each other, our connectedness, and our ability to see the light and sometimes dark in others. I love the broken characters. And, their individual triumphs and relationships. A great read! #5stars #bookreview #highlyrecommend #nextseries #loislowry #gatheringblue #readgoodbooks #underrated #symbolicread #greatfiction 

Book Review: In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

A wishy-washy 3 stars for In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren. I don't remember the last time I was so on the fence about a book. The first half was a solid 3 stars. The second half was a strong 4 stars. Maelyn (Mae) Jones has been in love with a close family friend for as long as she can remember. Their families spend the Christmas holiday together every year in a cabin and have a lifetime of memories. When they receive some unexpected news, Mae keeps waking up and experiencing the same few days over and over. She decides to be brave and up front about her feelings, and circumstances begin to change around her. A feel good book? Absolutely. A struggle at the beginning when she keeps reliving the same moments over and over? Also absolutely. Once the days stopped repeating, I found that I didn't want to put it down. This was a book of the month of mine from last year that I never got around to reading. I'm happy I put it on my holiday reading list and also happy that I pushed through to the end of this one. What are you reading for the holidays? Last year, I gobbled up the Elin Hilderbrand Winter Series and really enjoyed all 4 books. #3stars #bookreview #holidayreads #inaholidaze #christinalauren #bookofthemonth #lovetoread #booknerd #instabooks #mixedreview

Book Review: The Giver

 

5 Moving Stars for The Giver by Lois Lowry. Maybe it's only as adults we can look back with wise eyes and understand the required reading of our pasts. My oldest has been assigned The Giver for school, due in January with a book report. He told me after being about 1/4 of the way in that I needed to read it. Recommendations from a middle schooler? OK. This is something I can get behind. It must be REALLY good. I ordered myself a copy. Started it at 9pm Saturday night. I was introduced to the world of Jonas. I slept and had vivid dreams about the book. By noon on Sunday, I was finished with the book. Reeling. My son has a few chapters left. I ordered the rest of the books in the series. THERE IS A SERIES. I'm glad it's required reading. I can't help but think how different the world would be if everyone read it as adults. It's futuristic, it's scary in the way that Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale is scary. Only, everything is perfect. There is no pain. The world is colorless. It's mind-blowing. If you're looking for some required reading to dig up, with some perspective that will have you looking at the autumn leaves and winter snow with new eyes, The Giver is just the book for you. #5stars  #bookreview #thegiver #requiredreading #canwemandatebooks #mandatoryread #eyeopening #lovebooks #loislowry @loislowrywriter

Book Review: It Ends With Us

 

5 Stars for It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover! A page-turner! This was my second book by Colleen Hoover and although completely different than the previous book I read by her, it was just as good! It Ends With Us was powerful, jarring, and extremely eye-opening. I gained new insights about what it is like for women who are abused and why they continue to stay. Told with honesty, integrity, and grippingly suspenseful details, Colleen wraps us up in her characters in the way that only she knows how to do. I cheered for the victim, I was full of hope for the villain. This may be one of the best books I've read this year and is for sure one to discuss in small groups, instaworld, and even with strangers on the bus that may be reading it. It's that good. #colleenhoover #itendswithus #gripping #5stars #quickread #instabook #bookreviews #readgoodbooks #behindonreviews #readtoescape #bookfortravel #flightread #pageturner @colleenhoover

Two Book Reviews in ONE!

 


Both 5 Stars, very similar books about Solitude and an inward journey for peace and acceptance, Fifty Days of Solitude by Doris Grumbach and A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson both spoke to me on a very deep and personal level. Quite different as far as the perspective from the storyteller, and quite different reasons for seeking solitude, both stories are so inspirational and I found myself underlining them both with understanding and I identified with so much of the thoughts of the authors.

It seems I am on a memoir/ non-fiction binge right now. I don't know why that is. Maybe I'm just needing to hear from real people about circumstances that drove them away from the world, and why. And, just how did they come out on the other side?

I am inundated with technology. With the internet. Noise. TV. Pings. Even music. So much stimulation. And, I long for a simple life, sheltering my soul and my light from the darkness that comes from over-stimulation and over-production. 

I find myself saying the following (not in either book, strictly mine)-

1. Even Jesus had to leave civilization by himself to seek peace, pray, and recharge. 

2. Even the crops in the fields have to be rotated in order  for the soil to be remain productive.

So, if you're also looking for some insight. Some real stories about leaving all the things and stress behind on a search for a more creative life, either from choice or from circumstances outside of your control, I think you'll really like both of these books. 

Happy Reading dear friends!

#5stars #memoirs #olderbooksaregoodtoo #readtounderstand #readtogrow #sendmebooks #whenigrowupiwanttoreadandwrite #bloggerforfun #solitude #peace #innergrowth #creativelife 

Book Review: A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf

 5 Stars!

Lyrically written, full of descriptions that take you right in the middle of the wilderness, this book by John Muir is exactly what I was craving. 


A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf was eye-opening. What a brave man! What a visionary! And, what a profound and spiritual being John Muir seems to be. 


When I started reading A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, my hope was that the book would satisfy my deep desire and longing to escape on my own for a bit in solitude. What I found, page after page, word after word and journal entry after journal entry, was that it only reiterated all of the reasons I long for solitude on a daily basis. And, what a blessed and fortunate man, to leave all the things "comfortable," to most for his own "comfort." 


Highly recommend this one if you're looking for a non-fiction, inspirational, colorful, and historic read. 


#readtoescape #legend #5 stars #bookreviews #Ilovetoread #readthechange #environmentalist #loveroftrees #floraandfauna 

Book Review: The Wish by Nicholas Sparks


5 Tear-Jerking Stars for The Wish by Nicholas Sparks. Having read every Nicholas Sparks novel, I was itching to get my hands on the The Wish. I've been on a thriller cadence lately so I wasn't sure if I was ready for a Nicholas Sparks, if you know what I mean. 12 pages in, I texted my bestie that I was hooked. 

Amazing characters, the dreamy setting and heart-wrenching struggles that make us all love Nicholas Sparks were turned up a notch in The Wish. A love story without the ending I hoped for, but with a big happy twist at the end set things right and had the tears falling by the last page. I couldn't put this one down. And, if you have a Nicholas Sparks fan in your life, this is a great one for them to curl up with this fall. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll wake up a little to things you may take for granted. You'll think about the family members that love you most and the ones that have never loved you like you've needed. 

As Mick Jagger says, "You can't always get what you want. You can't always get what you want. But, if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." 

Thank you to my friends @grandcentralpub for the advanced copy of this one. And, to @nicholassparks for doing what you do best and making it different and the same, every time. This world surely needs dependable storytellers like you!

#5stars #thewish #nicholassparks #fallread #booktosnuggleupwith #lovestory #withatwist #sendmebooks #bookreviews #readgoodbooks #finishedin2days

Book Review: That Summer by Jennifer Weiner


4 stars for That Summer by @jenniferweinerwrites! I lugged this one around for a few weeks with me to baseball practice and on dewy mornings out on the porch. It wasn't a quick read for me but great nonetheless. Because I had to read it in pieces over the period of a few weeks, I had a difficult time keeping the Dianas straight at the beginning. Two Dianas have more in common than their names. What starts out as seeking revenge leads to a twist and a great ending! #4stars #bookreviews #readgoodbooks #summerreading #thatsummer #sendmebooks 

Book Review: What We Find by Robyn Carr

5 Stars for What We Find by Robyn Carr. 

A slow build, a happy ending. Somewhat predictable for me in a time when I needed a good, predictable read. 

Robyn created loveable characters in a beautiful setting, making this book a joy to read and a great escape. 

Two characters find out what really matters when they retreat to a campground after life deals them some crappy cards. 

I'm excited this is part of a series, I'm looking forward to what comes next for Cal and Maggie. 

Great book @robyncarrwriter, keep them coming!

#slowbuild #happyending #lovebookcharacters #5 stars #robyncarr #summerread #sendmebooks #bookreviews #readnext 

Book Review: The Wreckage Of My Presence by Casey Wilson

4 stars for The Wreckage Of My Presence by Casey Wilson. Equal parts funny and moving, I found tears rolling down my face on page 283 in a letter Casey wrote to her deceased mother. 

 I would have never picked this one up if not for Drew Barrymore. When I saw Drew openly weeping and shouting its praises on her instagram, I knew I had to pick up my copy and dive in. Unapologetically, brutally candid, open and honest about everything from her past relationships to her failed attempts to find jobs, Casey has a knack for writing in a way that will make you feel like you are a treasured friend and confidant of hers. 

#readgoodbooks #newrelease #sendmebooks #4starreview #thewreckageofmypresence #caseywilson #nonfiction #essays #quickread

Book Review: Wintering by Katherine May

 

5 moving stars for Wintering by Katherine May. 

You all know that for all kinds of reasons, I limit my non-fiction reads. 

Add this one to the must-read list.

I'm not sure where I heard about Wintering but I was immediately intrigued with this notion of "winter," as it relates both physically and figuratively. 

I'm a "Wintering," pro. A hunker-downer. A cozy-sock and soft blanket guru. This book talks about how life has all kinds of seasons, and some are longer than others. Wintering is hard on your soul, calls on you to dig deeper within, to hold on tight, to be patient. To sit. Mull. Simmer. Rest. Be quiet. The author shares how she has gone through so many winters. How they can be excruciating and jarring. Catch you off guard, knock you out of sync with everything and everyone. 

For all of those reasons, I gobbled it up quickly and underlined A LOT. 

#wintering #greatread #nonfiction #memoir #readgoodbooks #growyourthinking #stretchyourmind #learnnewthings #sendmebooks #bookreview #5stars #introvertbook #lovetoread

Book Review: Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Another happy 5 stars for Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. 

If you loved Emily Henry's Beach Read and People We Meet On Vacation, you'll also love this one. 

A feel good book and what I would call an easy read. It's filled cover to cover with playful characters and witty dialogue between them. I found it hard to put down, and did read during dinner last night. 

This one would make another great addition to the beach bag, if you're looking for ideas. 

#summerreading #booksofsummer #evviedrakestartsover #lindaholmes #readgoodbooks #summerreadingisthebest #letsread #vacationbook #staycationbook #quickread #5stars #bookreviews #sendmebooks #lifeishort #readalot #nerdalert #loveabook #feelgoodbook @lindaholmes97

Book Review: The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle


5 Stars for The Shell Collector, by Nancy Naigle! @Nancynaigle

I have to admit, it took me a little bit to get into this one. I felt like I knew where the story was headed, that it was predictable. 

What I wasn't prepared for was the way the characters just sucked me right in. 

A widowed military wife heads to the coast to start a new life with 2 small children, a sad heart, and memories. She learns that sometimes, we have to ask for help. And, when we open up our hearts, our families, and our lives to hope and help, things happen as they should. 

I laughed. I cried. Once I got a few pages into this one, I couldn't put it down. 

If you're looking for a good beach read, this one will do just the trick! The setting, the people, and the struggles will have you longing for that coastal life we all dream of here in the city.

#beachread #nancynaigle #quickread #coastallife #shellcollector #seashells #ncauthor #loveanauthor #readmorebooks #readgoodthings #takeavacationinabook #sand #waves #heartwarming 


Book Review: People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

5 Stars for People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry. 

Oh, Poppy and Alex. My goodness, what a story. Was this book as good as Emily Henry's last book? Definitely yes. Is this book a must read? Definitely yes. Why? Well, because I felt I was with them on all of these summer vacations- in every detail, right down to the humidity and sticky bar floors. 

Emily's ability to describe the surroundings has this magical way of putting the reader right with her characters. 

A quick read. 

Perfect for a book hangover or rut. Perfect for when you don't know what you want to read next. 

It will break your heart and bring you full circle. You won't be able to put it down. 

I double-dog dare you to try.

Meanwhile, I'll be patiently impatiently waiting for more books by @emilyhenrywrites. 

Maybe I'm taking a break from thrillers and mysteries. Is "feel good book," a new genre? If so, I'm so in. And, I'm bringing this book with me. In flipflops with big celeb sunglasses. 

Hello summer!

#greatread #quickread #amazingcharacters #inlovewithAlex #peoplewemeetonvacation #setting #emilyhenry #summerreadinglist #beachbook #carbook #bookhangoversolution #youwillloveit

Book Review: It's Already Tomorrow Here by Lucetta Zaytoun

5 Full- hearted stars for It's Already Tomorrow Here by Lucetta Zaytoun. 

Full disclosure, I finished this book more than a week ago. I've been struggling to find words that would convey how valuable and moving this book is. I still haven't found them. So, I'm just going to let what comes, spill out. And, I'll hope it comes close to being enough since it will be untidy, from the heart, and as high-level as I can be about it. 

It's Already Tomorrow Here shows the power of the written word and the profound impact that sharing paths, stories, triumph, and devastation can have.  It paints the way I believe that true healing happens. Healing happens with people and healing happens alone. The books shows how people dance in and out of our lives, when there is music and when there are tears. All different kinds of people. People we welcome in, and those strangers that somehow show up just at the right times. All contributing somehow to our journey, our path, and our healing. 

Reading It's Already Tomorrow Here is like a warm blanket and a big bowl of chicken noodle soup. It's both pulled curtains, and an open door with a breeze. It's hiding, and it's celebration. It's broken, and it's patched up and stronger in the parts previously torn by life's disappointments. 

But mostly, it's honest. And, a true representation of how it feels to have (and need) both roots and wings. Of feeling planted and free. It's about getting to the bottom of who you are, when you look up and see that for so long, what you thought was so real, so concrete, so lasting, vanishes. Walks away. Finds someone else. And you're left in the aftermath of all the feelings and fears. The quiet. The lonely. 

If you know of anyone going through anything... this book is for them. And, for you. Although I don't think the point of the writing was to be for you. It was just to let it all out. And, that is exactly what Lucetta does in the book. She puts it out there, raw. Unashamedly. Stripped down and looking upwards for hope, for light while standing in the middle of the dark. If you haven't been there. You will. And, I hope you'll remember this book. Because, healing happens alone. And with others. 

This book lifted me in ways I really needed. And, the timing of it could not have been more personal or relevant for me. Maybe it's like that for everyone who reads it. I don't know. This book is eye contact. It is intimate in the way that you'll feel seen and be able to fully see someone else. And, what a better world this would be if we all took a little bit of time, and appreciated the dancing in and out of the people in our lives and really understood that we are all just welcoming each other home. One journey, one heartache, one tear, one belly laugh, one beer, and one all-in watergun fight at a time. 

#mustread #bookofmyyear #almosttomorrowhere #laughed #cried #rootsandwings #beautifulbook #welcomehome #onward #forward #heal #lovecompletely #lovewins #lovedoes 

Book Review: When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash Release Date 9/21/21

5 Stars for When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash. (Release Date 9/21/21)

Wiley takes us to a different time in one of my favorite coastal areas- the area surrounding Wilmington, NC. A plane crash in small town with a dead man start off the book with a lot of questions and puzzle pieces that don't seem to quite fit. In the midst of this chaos and brackish details, there are also political games at play. The sheriff is up for re-election. And, the one thing that a quest for power can do, is put a town at odds with each other, neighbor against neighbor. Very quickly, racial tensions mount and create an intense and gut-wrenching read. There were multiple times that I shuddered at the language, treatment, and historical relevance threaded in this book. 

A surprising ending with a lot of turbulence along the way makes this Wiley's best book yet. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an advanced copy of one of my favorite NC authors in exchange for an honest review. 

#WhenGhostsComeHome #NetGalley #5stars #bookreview #comingsoon @WilliamMorrowbooks @customhousebooks @wileycashauthor #NCauthor 

Book Review: The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller Release Date 7/20/2021

5 Nail-Biting Stars for The Sinful Lives of  Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller. The perfect ratio of suspense, mystery, friendship, and curiosity made this one a lightning read for me. 

Kristin Miller captured my interest by inviting me into the secret lives of extremely wealthy women in a secure, tightly knit neighborhood. Once the effects of the chardonnay and botox begin to fade, so does the illusion of perfection. 

Georgia St. Claire has lost two husbands in a short amount of time. Gossip precedes her wherever she goes. Now that she's engaged again to another very wealthy man, only time will tell if their deaths were related or the accidents that Georgia claims they were. 

I immediately loved Brooke, the new wife on the block. And, of course there's Erin, Georgia's best friend. Erin is the one who knows all of Georgia's secrets. Together, the three of them will have you hiding away to read, trying to piece together the perfect and relentless twists that Kristin Miller weaves in so perfectly. 

Thank you to @netgalley and @randomhouse @penguinrandomhouse for the ARC. I can't wait to see how fast this one rises to the top when it's released in July. 

#5stars #quickread #trophywives #bookreview #kristinmiller #chardonnayandbotox #perfectsummerread #mystery #bookwithtwists #bookish #sendmebooks #readtoescape

Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

5 fascinating stars for The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner! 

When I closed the book after finishing it, I literally said, "Wow."

I finished this book in 2 days, reading every chance I got. Including at the dinner table (gasp)! 

Immediately, I was drawn to the main character, visiting London alone after finding out her husband had cheated on her. She finds a treasure while doing touristy things and unravels a mystery over 200 years old. 

Told from two different perspectives, the way each chapter switches from 200 years ago to present day will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting on the next chapter to begin. 

I wasn't so sure about this book, as it is very different from other books I have read. I may have loved that about it the most. And, like any good mystery, there are a few excellent, eyebrow-raising twists waiting. 

Beautifully written with exquisite detail to characters, setting, and suspense, this one is surely to be one you can't put down either. #authordebut #lostapothecary #historicalfiction #mystery #5stars #bookreview #quickread #mustread #pageturner #booklover #bookstagram #readgoodbooks @sarah_penner_author

Book Review: Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

5 Stars for Fly Away by Kristin Hannah! Many don't know that Kristin Hannah wrote a book to follow Firefly Lane. After zipping through Firefly Lane pretty quickly, I was figuratively holding my breath when Fly Away arrived. To say I was on a Kristin Hannah reading blitz would be an understatement. I've read so many books of hers in a row now, I'm going to have to will myself to attack my TBR list more aggressively. 

Believe it or not, I liked Fly Away more than Firefly Lane. It seemed to drag a bit in the middle but with only around 100 pages left, I could not decipher how in the world Kristin was going to fix the tangled mess of despair she so carefully crafted over 2 books. I kept reading, kept hoping she was going to sort everyone out that was so damaged and broken. 

Like Firefly Lane, Fly Away felt different in many ways than other books by @Kristinhannahauthor. However, many of the characteristics I love about her writing were woven throughout this book so beautifully. Fly Away is very emotional, believable, and captivating and if you loved Firefly Lane, I think you'll also love Fly Away. 

#readmorebooks #readgoodbooks @kristinhannahauthor #sequel #flyaway #fireflylane #kateandtully #tullyandkate #bestfriendbook #5stars #bookreview #greatbook #bookstagram #booksofinsta #bookreviewer 

Book Review: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah


5 Expected Stars for Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. After reading so many of her books, I wanted to make sure and read Firefly Lane before watching the series on Netflix. Well, because the book is always better. 

 I read this one pretty quickly but haven't gotten around to posting the review. Similar to Kristin's other books, I loved how she jumps through time periods, carrying us into the 70s and back to present day. The two main characters Kate and Tully come of age and into adulthood, never missing a beat together. The conflict and twist in the book was difficult for me to read, as I'm sure so many women will be able to relate. 

True to everything I love about Kristin Hannah's writing, the women characters in Firefly Lane are strong, resilient, smart, and overcomers. And, those elements keep me coming back for more of her books. 

I am currently reading the follow up to Firefly Lane, called Fly Away and it picks up right where Firefly Lane ends. So, if you are looking for more of TullyandKate, you'd probably like Fly Away as well. 

#lovebooks #loveKristinHannah #comingofage #readmorebooks #bookreviews #5stars #thebookwasbetter #fireflylane #bestfriendbook #strongwomencharacters @kristinhannahauthor

Book Review: The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah


5 Stars (can't help it, it is what it is) for Kristin Hannah's The Things We Do For Love. I'm on a bit of a Kristin Hannah kick, as you can tell. This one seemed different than her others. However, on page 122, I said to myself, "Ah, this is going to be a feel good book." 

Full disclosure, this one brought me to tears. And, true to everything Kristin Hannah writes, you'll find amazingly strong female characters with grit, hope, perseverance, and courage. An unloved teen and freshly divorced woman find love and acceptance in this page turner! The Things We Do For Love doesn't end how you think. I started to feel it was getting to be predictable and then...BAM, PLOT TWIST :) 

If you're a Kristin Hannah fan, you'll like this one too. @kristinhannahauthor #greatread #5stars #bookreviews #sendmebooks #loveabook #loveawriter #sendmebooks #readtoescape #booknerd #bookedlife #bibliophile #instabook #bookstagrammer


Book Review: The Great Alone


 5 Stars (no surprise here) for Kristin Hannah's The Great Alone. I fell in love with Kristin's writing with The Nightingale. Next, I picked up The Four Winds. The Great Alone had been patiently waiting on my TBR shelf. After hearing so many great things about it and being in a book hangover after The Four Winds, I knew it was time. 

The Great Alone forged new territory for me as a reader. It created an immersive landscape with characters that are timeless, and themes that are evergreen. Kristin tackles some really heavy topics in The Great Alone. A few are PTSD, child abuse, physical abuse and desertion. The way she uses those topics to pull out hope and show how the light can overcome darkness is unparalleled to anything I've ever read. Trust, hope, belonging, family, friends, community, and bravery run through this book like the fish run through the waters in Alaska. 

It's an adventure of heart. You don't need anything but to sit back and let it all unfold. You'll laugh, gasp, ugly cry, and think about so many things. 

#5stars #bookreview #sendmebooks #kristinhannahfan #keepwriting #lovebooks #booksarepower #booknerd #bookish #review #keepreading #bibliophile #addictedtobooks @kristinhannahauthor

Book Review: Nomadland by Jessica Bruder

5 fascinating stars for Nomadland by @thatjess Jessica Bruder. I picked this book up at Costco. It was originally published in 2017 and quite an interesting read after just finishing Four Winds by Kristin Hannah and reading about "Okies," "Wanderers," and people living out of tents and in their cars, on sites all across the midwest in a fictional world based on true events during the 1930s.

Let's be honest, some days in the corporate world, I feel like I'm one email away from going to live in a van down by the river. I have days where I dream of living off the grid, in the wilderness with my husband, my kids, and our poodle. So, this book caught my eye. I wanted to learn...and to get an honest glimpse into understanding what the final straws are for many, currently living a nomadic life. 

Nomadland paints a picture of a subculture that has existed in the US for many years and is written with empathy by someone who wasn't looking to write an article and walk away. This book was written by someone who wanted to understand the life, the culture, the people, by walking in their shoes, and for that I am thankful. I know the amazing people mentioned in the book are also grateful to have their stories told by someone who looked them in the eye and cared to listen. 

I cannot help but wonder about the impact of Covid-19 on the # of nomads, wanderers, and vanilies that now exist that didn't exist before. I wonder about the shift in demographics of the "newer" nomads- both people choosing to leave everything behind and those forced. 

Nomadland is filled to the brim with wisdom. With stories of courage and grit that we can only hope we all witness in others in this life we are all passing through. As I had hoped, it does appear to be freeing to get rid of all the "stuff," and all the expectations. And, although I'll wake up tomorrow and log in to my computer, check emails and attend conference calls while virtual learning goes on downstairs, I was able to escape between the pages of Nomadland and understand a rapidly growing subculture in the United States thanks to this book. And, for that I am forever thankful. 

#nomads #nomadliving #vanily #grit #5stars #camping #gypsyreader #greatread #subcultures #choosehappy #readhappy #readtounderstand #bookreviews #sendmebooks #lovedoes #listentooneanother #peacelovebooks

Book Review: The Push by Ashley Audrain

 An easy 5 stars for The Push by @ashleyaudrain! I was hooked from page 16. I couldn't decide if the main character was a villain or a mother, desperate for help and for someone to listen and believe her. 

Written from such an interesting perspective, it was devastatingly real and I couldn't put The Push down. There were so many parts of the story moms and daughters will related to. The balances and imbalances in mundane moments are described so clearly and so foggy at the same time, I found myself in my most comfy chair cancelling my Saturday night plans for this one. 

This story of mothers and daughters, and specifically Blythe and Violet had me feeling like I was watching each scene unfold like a fast-paced thriller in a theater.  If this book was a movie, it would be the kind that makes you pause mid-chew on your popcorn, with your mouth slightly open. 

I will be watching closely for more books from @ashleyaudrain. This one is surely to leave you hanging in a deep thriller hangover. Be warned that whatever you pick up afterwards is going to have some big shoes to fill. Now, go get your copy. 

#ashleyaudrain #thepush #psychothriller #suspense #greatread #scarynovel #5stars #bookreviews #lovebooks #sendmebooks #readtolive #readmore #couldntputdown #bookofthemonth @bookofthemonth #ireviewbooksforfun #readersgottaread #makeitamovieplease

Book Review: Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty

5 Stars for Think Like a Monk by @jayshetty. I typically limit the number of non-fiction books I read. I limit my non-fiction books because  reading is my time to escape the real world and, spend some time in fictional lives and places.  That being said, I flew through Think Like a Monk. 

5 stars were earned because there were parts that I spent extra time thinking about, parts that I mulled over. LOTS of underlining and writing in the borders. I cannot say that I was able to truly absorb all that the book has to offer. I think it's one of those books you would get something new from with each read. 

By no means does this book push any specific teaching, religion, or thought to be more significant or "right," than any other. Perhaps that is why I loved it so. I felt Think Like a Monk was educational, with thought-provoking stories and quotes scattered throughout from religious thought-leaders, holy writings, and well-known authors. It's all offered up in such a way that if you can use it, you should take it. If not, maybe it's meant for a different time in your life, or a different walk. 

Think Like a Monk will leave you different than you found it. And if not, the fault is your own. I'm thankful I picked it up and look forward to more writings by @jayshetty in the future. I highly recommend this one if you're in the mood for something to help put a few things (or even one thing) in perspective. 

#thinklikeamonk #breathe #patience #peace #purpose #passion #intent #letgo #ease #stillness #calm #balance #5stars #nonfictionread #bookreview #booknerd #sendmorebooks #booklover #readtolive #jayshetty #bestseller #nowyouknow

Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah Release Date 2/2/2021

 


5 easy stars for The Four Winds! I knew The Four Winds by @kristinhannahauthor was going to be a quick read within about 30 pages. I started thinking about what a fantastic movie it would be because of how easy it was for me to be swallowed up in the setting with the characters. The way Kristin describes the heat, the earth, and the life struggles of the main character, Elsa is gripping. The dialogue and depth of internal feelings of the main characters sprouted empathy that are difficult to find in books, portrayed by words. 

Elsa thinks she is destined to live a loveless life. A change in circumstances and twist at the beginning changes all of that and she is quickly thrust out into the world with practically strangers. The strangers take her in and love her in ways she has never felt from her own family, filling voids she thought would always remain. Multiple twists, turns, and devastating blows later, this story shows the significance of the love of family and the power of relentless hope. 

This book contains parallels to the trying times we are in. Thrust into lives much different than we had pre-Covid19, I felt it encourages us all to find the hope Elsa clings so tightly to throughout the book, the hope that is very American, with the capacity for overcoming difficult times and holding on to dreams and aspirations we all collectively share with grit that only comes from consistently putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. 

I recommend The Four Winds. If you like Kristin's other books, you will surely want to add this one to your collection and crack it open asap. If you aren't familiar with her other writings, this one is a great one to start with. Thank you to @netgalley @stmartinspress and @kristinhannahauthor for the ARC of The Four Winds in exchange for an honest review. #fourwinds #5starread #bookreviews #readgoodbooks #historicalfiction #greatread #sendmebooks #bookaholic #readtolive #lovebooks #booknerd #nerdalert

Book Review: The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

 

5 BIG stars for The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd. When I read the description for BOL, I didn't even raise an eyebrow with interest. But, I continued to see positive review after positive review from people who I KNOW read good stuff. I figured I could chance it. After all, I was already in a slump of reading slumps. 

Is the book about Jesus? Sort of. It's more about a strong woman named Ana, who doesn't fit into the mold society has set out for her. It's about the search for meaning, about women who see each other during difficult times in a world I am sure still exists today. And, about Jesus- this man Ana loves. There is a wonderful dance between fact and fiction, written so well, I was only able to enjoy it after I stopped trying to line up what I recalled about Jesus and let Ana tell her story. 

There are some deeply moving scenes in this book, as you can imagine. The notion that everyone has a largeness inside of them and a "voice," runs throughout the pages with such sensitivity, I continue to think about it after finishing the last page.. This book was so carefully and masterfully written, I doubt I will ever read anything that would touch me in the same ways. 

I highly recommend this book. I set aside another one to start it, with a lot of reluctance and a heap of hope that I would dig out from the reading slump I had been in. It may be my first read of 2021, but it will have a place on my shelf and in my heart for all the years I have left. 

#mustread #5stars #booknerd #readandrun #readtolive #factandfiction #bookoflongings #bookreview #sendmorebooks #suemonkkidd #readnext #bibliophile 

Book Review: Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane

 It isn't you, it's me. I'm not in the right headspace right now for a mystery/thriller. Chalk it up to the holidays, to the uncertainty with Covid, to work stress and home stress. I don't know. I'm not going to put this as a DNF, however I'm not going to make finishing it a priority with so many books lined up for me to crack open and dive in, in hopes of being whisked away quickly and effortlessly. 

 Pretty Little Wife is interesting. It has a strong and different plot. That's why I can't rate it low and I can't say I'm not going to finish it. It's been urking because I don't take book reviews lightly. I hardly think of myself as a bookfluencer. However, I don't want to put reviews out into the world for others to see that would in any way not do justice to the work and love born into text by an author and devout team of supporters that made it so. 

 I'm currently reading The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd. I'm also almost finished with a very short memoir by Odis Stephenson called It Only Seems Like Yesterday. I've got an arc of Kristin Hannah's newest book, The Four Winds waiting for me as well as wanting to dive into This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. 

I don't know how everyone else is doing. I can't help but wish I had a career in the literary world, surrounded by people who get me and my nerdy love for written words and the crafting of mind movies with such ease. Instead, reading and my booklife continues to just be sprinkles on top while I continue to try and just make the damn cupcakes. I hope 2021 brings a lot more sprinkled cupcakes. 

#bookthoughts #reflectingonreading #inafunk #tired #wanttoread #busylife #needtosimplify #priorities #corporateworkishard #sendmorebooks #loveanauthor #lovelife #readlife 

Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

5 Stars for The Nightingale by @kristinhannahauthor. This one was heavy. I try to limit my "heavy," reads to a handful a year. It's hard for me to shake off books like The Nightingale and just pick up my next read. This book was originally published in 2015 so I'm behind the rest of the world in the captivating story of two sisters growing up and coming of age in the middle of the Holocaust in France. 

 The Nightingale is an inspirational and heartbreaking story of resilience and fortitude. It is about powerful "quiet," women, of  the will to keep fighting, and relentlessly moving forward. It is a story that will never get old because the themes, good and the bad, are evergreen. 

The depths of hopelessness, disregard for human life, devastation, and brutality were difficult to stomach and feel, and they were very thick themes in the book. Unfortunately, I feel they are necessary because I believe it is the only way to even paint a fraction of how awful that time truly was on the timeline of humanity. 

In my humble opinion, this novel should be required reading. It's moving. Pivotal. It transcends space, time, and has the power to reach right into the depths of your soul and connect you with characters who will stay with you. I will carry Isabelle and Vianne with me for a very long time and this book will always have a home on my bookshelf. 

#historicalfiction #5stars #journalaboutreading #instabook #instaread #highlyrecommendedread #thenightingale #mustread #heavybook #readtolive #livetoread #bibliophile #sendmebooks #tearjerker #greatbook

Book Review: Winter Series (4 books) by Elin Hilderbrand

 

5 stars for all of the Winter Series books by @Elinhilderbrand! Oh, what a winter treat they are. I thought I would review each one separately, and initially started out that way. However, I gobbled up the books so quickly over Thanksgiving, I decided to review them all together. 

The series started out as a trilogy, with Elin writing the last one despite having only planned for 3. I must say, the last one was my favorite and a tear-jerker. After spending hundreds of pages with the characters over multiple Christmases in the books, the final one really shook me and I'm sad to see my relationship with each of the characters end. 

If you're looking for some great holiday reading, look no further. Elin's  Winter Series (Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, and Winter Solace) are worth picking up. With just the right mix of drama, heartstrings, eggnog, and Grinch, you can bet you'll fall in love with Christmas on Nantucket. If you're anything like me, you'll have a few things added to your bucketlist after these amazing books. 

#holidayreading #yuletidebooks #nantucketchristmas #sendsnow #readgoodbooks #bestcharactersever #jinglebells #mistletoe #elinhilderbrand #5starbookreviews #bestholidayseriesever #winterstroll #winterstreet #winterstorm #wintersolace

Book Review: Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

 

5 Stars for Winter Street by @elinhilderbrand. Let me start by saying, if you're looking for a holiday book to cozy up with, this is the one. Or FOUR. I am thankful that I have all four of these waiting patiently on my bookshelf. I wouldn't recommend starting the first one without the follow ups. I don't know how all of you wait years for writers to complete books in series. 

What makes this book such a great holiday read? Well, the setting is a festive Inn on Nantucket. It comes complete with Nutcrackers, eggnog, Christmas carols, and garland. It wouldn't be a cozy read without family drama. This family comes with quite a bit and you'll feel right at home when you meet the characters. 

You'll have to wait for the ugly Christmas sweaters, though. They come in book 2. Which I started immediately after finishing this one. 

I'm grateful for books that give me some place warm, cozy, and festive to go when I have to stay where I am. And, a Christmas on Nantucket couldn't get more believable than this series. 

#winterstreet #winteronnantucket #islandholiday #garlandandeggnog #5stars #falalalala #bookreviews #holidaybook #readmorebooks #bookit #justaddeggnog #snuggleup #readtogoplaces

Book Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

 

4 stars for What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. 

Many people have raved about Haruki Murakami's writings in the past. I must admit, I've never read anything else by him. I stumbled on this book when looking for books about running. And, I'm really glad that I did. Equal parts memoir and running and writing advice, I was able to finish this book in a day. 

Haruki shares his experiences and calls out the parallels between running and writing. He talks about both writing and running chose him. Being a passionate reader and passionate runner, this book resonated with me. I gave it 4 stars because I think he could have dug a bit deeper. I felt he only skimmed the surface in relating how significant writing and reading are to his life and I found myself wanting to know more. 

If you are a runner and a writer or a runner and a reader, I recommend this one. 

#runnersread #greatread #memoir #haruki #murakami #lovetoread #lovetorun #runstagram #readstagram #4stars 

Book Review: A Bad Day For Sunshine by Darynda Jones

 

4 Stars for A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones. 

 A quick read for the fall, I liked this one! I've been in quite a reading slump and even found that I stretched this one out a little longer than usual. Because of my slump, I'm not sure my delay was all on me or the writing. 

Nevertheless, Darynda creates characters you will relate to and find yourself wondering who is involved in the disappearances of two children in the small town. I'm not usually a fan of mysteries told from the view of a police officer or investigator. That being said, Darynda did a good job pulling in the chief's daughter. I was captivated by her from the first few pages in the book. 

I read A Bad Day For Sunshine for book club and was so glad my friends told me that the ending is a cliffhanger. I'm not sure when the sequel is due to be released but, I look forward to more of Levi...that is for sure!

#abaddayforsunshine #bookreview #4stars #quickread #likeablecharacters #readgoodbooks #booklover #bookstagram #bookstafriends #bookedlife #nerdlife #readingweather @daryndajonesofficial 

Book Review: The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle Release Date 10/20/2020


5 Stars for The Girl in the Mirror by @rosecarlyle100! If you're looking for a book with a twist, look no further! The end of the book was like the grand finale of a fireworks show! I thought the twists were over, I thought I had everything figured out and then, BAM even MORE twists. I could hardly keep up and loved it. 

The last 50 pages in particular were amazing for me as a reader and I could not put it down. This is the debut novel for @rosecarlyle100 and I'm expecting more great books from her in the future the way this one seemed so effortlessly to unfold on the pages. 

I think this one would also make a great movie. I wonder if Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are available. Did anyone else have them in mind the entire book as the twin characters? 

#5stars #heirmoney #deceit #lies #twinthriller #couldnotputitdown #pageturner #quickread #sendmebooks #bookreview #bookfluencer #readgoodbooks

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

 


5 Stars for Hillbilly Elegy by J.D.Vance. 

I am limited unfortunately to the # characters on my instagram review. So, I'll consolidate my review by trying to leave all of the personal ways this book affected me out of the review. 

I am not a hillbilly. But, my ancestors were sharecroppers in NC. Their crops were tobacco and moonshine. I come from a long line of badassery. And, I try to remind myself of that when I feel defeated, underestimated, or not good enough. I remind myself that I am from a long line of people who have done really hard things, lost a lot, and have often been too ashamed to discuss any of it with the likes of me. 

My mother was not a drug addict and my father was not an alcoholic. But, I recall what it was like to have to walk to the barn to use the bathroom. I remember the tub that I used to get bathed in that was moved into the kitchen because we were in a house with no plumbing. I remember how we gathered in 1 room in the back of the house to stay warm because we only had a woodstove in 1 room for heat. I'm white but not a stranger to poverty. 

I love this book. And the vivid imagery and descriptions J.D uses. His Mamaw felt like home to me. And, it's amazing how words and memories can do that to us, isn't it? This book was heavy. But, isn't that where the power is? 

Dare I say, our country needs a leader like J.D. Vance. An overcomer. Someone who knows what it feels like to scrape by only by the edge of his teeth and the kindness of those who saw something special in him. This is not a political message. It's a 5 Star review from a white girl who grew up with challenges, and because of the grit and persistence of my family, and countless teachers, mentors, and application approvers along the way, is reviewing a book that I read for FUN. 

I could write an essay response to Hillbilly Elegy. It was personal, it was uplifting, and is going to sit with me for a bit. I try to take a break from my thrillers and mysteries from time to time to sit with a powerful work of nonfiction. This was one of those. 

#5stars #bookreview #addittothelist #nonfiction #hillbilly #hillbillyelegy #overcome #grittybook #5starmemoir #roots #wings #mamaw #readgoodbooks #stretchyourmind #empathy #compassion #poignantread #greatbook 

Book Review: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom Released in 2010

5 Stars for The Kitchen House by @kathleengrissom. This book left me speechless and wide-eyed. Many reviews compared this book to The Help. I'd say, I only partially agree with that due to the underlying themes of slavery, racism, poverty, deceit, and they social injustices they share. 

This book, having been set in the late 1700s/early 1800s was thrilling, heart-wrenching, and in my opinion, a MUST READ. It really pulled me in and I was enamored with the characters and on edge for so many of them throughout the entire book. 

A plantation, slaves, a captain, family secrets, sacrifices, and unfaltering love will have you scratching your head and wondering why no one you know has been talking about this book. 

I loved it, @kathleengrissom. My copy will proudly remain on my shelf with my other cherished books for my children for when they are old enough to appreciate such a powerful and thought-provoking treasure.

#mustread #5stars #bookreviews #booksaboutracism #booksaboutslavery #eyeopeningread #thekitchenhouse #amazingwriter #lovedoes #family #unforgettableread #quickread #couldnotputdown #treasuredbook #shouldberequiredreading #speechlessafterfinishing 

Book Review: Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand Release Date 10/6/2020

 
5 stars for Elin's final installment of her Paradise Series. Lucky for me, I was late to the Paradise party so it shortened my waiting time significantly. I'm not sure how others waited as long as they did between the releases of her 3 books. 

The characters will always stay with me, I was so happy to join them in St. John's for book 3 and felt like they were waiting for me to return so they could finish the story with me. 

5 stars for the setting (oh, the SETTING) and the characters- I'm still #teamcash. And, 5 stars for a heavy plot with suspense, surprise, and at times nothing short of chaos on the island. 

Troubles in Paradise is a great book to end the summer on, as we transition to the long-sleeve, pale skin, beanie-wearing weather. I highly recommend all 3 of the trilogy for a good mental vacation. I promise you will feel the St. John sunshine on page 1.

Also, this book pairs well with a strong rum punch. I loved how you wrapped this one up just so, @elinhilderbrand!

#5stars #bookreview #troublesinparadise #elinhilderbrand #islandlife #booksanddrinks #summerbooks #book3 #sendmethebooks #sendmetostjohn #teamcash #greatbook #botm #readallthree 

Book Review: The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline


 5 Stars for The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline! This was my second book by Christina Baker Kline. It's no coincidence that I loved The Exiles by her. I found myself underlining a lot, as I often do when I read phrases or parts that stick out to me and are truly well written. I find Christina Baker Kline has an ability to create characters and settings that allow you to step away for moments in your real life. When you return to her pages, it's like you never left. 

The Exiles was a pretty dark book, the settings were dark and it was metaphorically dark. I was moved by the strength of the characters and their perseverance, courage, and strength through extraordinarily hard times. The grit of the characters, and their commitment to one another was moving. 

If you're looking for something a little bit different that will suck you right in, this one is for you. It isn't a a thriller, but I'd say there are definite scenes packed full of suspense. @bakerkline creates women in her books that we all need to know and be influenced by. 

#5stars #womenconvicts #prisoners #grit #bookreview #readnext #addtobooklist #powerfulwomen #readgoodbooks #sendmebooks #bookedlife #booknerd #theexiles

Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

 0 stars for Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. If I have to choose a star to leave a review, I'll go with a 1. I was looking forward to this read, having heard amazing things about it. This was my first Fredrik Backman novel so I had high hopes of falling in love with another writer's work. 

By page 100, I felt like I was watching 8 squirrels chase each other all around the yard and up and down the same trees. I was appalled at the police interviews and the only reason I kept reading was because I was fascinated with the way all of the characters were related. After I figured out how their lives intersected, I just could not keep flipping the pages. 

I tried flipping 50 pages forward to see if I could just get past a section. No luck. After reading other reviews, I find that others felt the same way, which makes this very interesting. It appears people either absolutely loved it or absolutely hated it. #anxiouspeople #bookreview #1star #toughread #didnotfinish #dnf #readgoodbooks #bibliophile #booknerd #sendmebooks #hardtoleavebadreviews #nextbookplease 




Book Review: The Return by Nicholas Sparks Release Date 9/29/2020


3 Stars for The Return by Nicholas Sparks! It has been years since I've settled down with a Nicholas Sparks read. I'm always impressed at how different his novels are from one to the next and always sure I'm in for a quick read. I gave this one 3 stars because I found the middle to drag quite a bit, atypical for Sparks, in my opinion. 

A young veteran is left his grandfather's house and bees to tend to. A small town sheriff has her heart on guard, and a runaway with a secret past all collide in a way only Sparks could create for us. His recipe for great reads remains dependable with loveable characters in heart-wrenching situations. With 3 pages left, I was still on edge to see how this one would end!

I've read every.single.one of @Nicholassparks books the week they have been released since I was a teenager. I was thrilled to receive an ARC of #thereturn from @grandcentralpub in exchange for an honest book review along with my #ncbookstagramfriends for a buddy read. #NCReturnstoSparks #booklovers #ncreaders #ncwriters #newrelease #newbern #grandcentralpub #bookreviews #5stars #fallread #giftidea #holidaysarecoming #cantwaitthatlong #bookbuddies #buddyread #bookclubidea #beekeeper #buzz #generatebuzz 

Book Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

 


5 Stars for The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager!

I held on to this book for a bit, knowing it was the only remaining @Riley.Sager book I hadn't read yet. What I truly love about his writing is that the style, detail, and suspense are all a guarantee. And, each plot, mystery, and book is very different. 

A summer camp nestled far away for girls from prominent and wealthy families is forever changed by the disappearance of 3 young campers. Their only other cabin mate returns 15 years later when it reopens. She returns to uncover the secrets buried 15 years ago. 

Each time I thought I knew where this one was leading, Riley flipped the script and led me down a different wooded path. His incredible ability to paint with words is why I will continue to seek out all of his future books. If you're looking for a thriller, a mystery, a fast read, I can recommend this one with 5 stars.  #thelasttimeIlied #rileysager #5stars #bookreview #sendmebooks #readgoodbooks #readmore #mystery #thriller #suspense #mustread #bookstoreadduringcovid #cozybooks

Book Review: One by One by Ruth Ware


3 Stars for One by One by Ruth Ware! To say this book was "highly anticipated," for me would be the understatement of 2020. I've been fangirling Ruth Ware books since The Woman in Cabin 10. I was overjoyed when this one was an option for my Book of the Month box. 

 It was atypical of Ruth. I found it hard to follow, even after investing 100 pages. But, because it's Ruth Ware, I gave her time to fold in all of her ingredients and let it marinate. And then, on page 282, my waiting finally paid off. My breath caught and I literally exhaled with excitement.

 The setting for One by One will have the tip of your nose and your toes chilly. Overall, I was disappointed but that may have been because I had been anxiously awaiting it for so long. The reviews on this one are mixed. What did you think? 

#thriller #thrillsandchills #avalanche #bangingcover #anticipatedread #3starreview #bookreviews #booksarelife #booknerd #getalifeandread #booklover #sendmebooks #disappointedwiththestart #morebooks 

Book Review: Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand


3 stars for Elin's Summer of '69.  I've lost count of how many Elin books I've read this summer. Each one catches me off guard. For some reason, I expect her books to be the same. But, I am continuously surprised at how she comes up with the characters in circumstances so relatable. This one was easy and light-hearted, one you could crawl into and let the rest of the world march ahead for a bit. I gave it 3 stars because it just wasn't one I had a hard time putting down. I had to keep grabbing it and carrying it with me, knowing I have a few other books lined up made me want to fly through this one. I feel it could have been about 100 pages shorter and had the same ending. Nevertheless, it was classic Elin with her amazing setting and descriptions. #easyread #3stars #covidescape #booklover #bookreviews #sendmethebooks #bookedlife #Nantucket #Marthasvineyard #readgoodbooks

Book Review: What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

 

5 Stars for What Happens in Paradise by @elinhilderbrand! Elin took my back to St. John and her beloved characters seamlessly. I can't imagine having to wait for this one after reading the first one. However, now I find that I'm waiting until October for the final book in the series. 

The first book had a cliffhanger of an ending and so.did.this.one. What the heck? Elin's honed use of imagery is powerful and immersive. I felt like I needed to keep applying the SPF50.
 
If you're looking for something light to read in between your thrillers like I was, I can recommend anything by Elin so far that I've read. However, I'm slightly in love with the characters in the Paradise trilogy. The ingredients I love the most about her books in this trilogy are: scandal, sibling rivalry (#teamcash), the FBI, references to restaurants and bars I hope to one day visit, and a few romances that never seem to workout like I think they will. 

I'm in the middle of Summer of '69 by her as well. Then, I've got One by One from Ruth Ware and Anxious People from Fredrik Backman waiting impatiently patient. I'm off for a few extra days next week and looking forward to fancy drinks by myself with lots of page turning. 

#paradisebook #setinstjohn #islandlife #introvertlikeitsmyjob #bookreviews #5stars #sendmebooks #lovetoread #nerdalert #bibliophile #bookstagram #bookie #readgoodbooks #flipthepage #covidreads #summerturnstofall #grabablanket #getcozyandread #mixadrinkandgrababook

Book Review: Winter In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

 

5 Stars for Elin Hilderbrand's Winter In Paradise! I went into this one knowing it was a trilogy. Holy moly, I practically inhaled this book.  It had all of the ingredients I was looking for in my next read- secrets, paradise, wealth, and island life! The plot kept me turning pages in a dreamy setting. If you're looking for a great, addictive read, grab your coconut rum and buckle up. 

But, we have to pace ourselves. The third book in the trilogy isn't out until October so...sip and read this one in monderation. I loved this one, @elinhilderbrand!

#perfectsummerread #islandlife #quickread #loveawriter #5stars #bookreviews #sendmebooks #sendmetotheisland #coconut #sandyfeet #justaddrum 

Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

4 Stars for Final Girls by @RileySager! You know what I love the most about Riley Sager? There's no building up, no waiting for something to happen. There's none of this introduce all the characters and THEN set the hook. Nope. Not Riley Sager's books. You're saying, "no," to all kinds of commitments and suggesting cereal for dinner on PAGE 1. 

So far, this is my least favorite of Riley's books. It had so much gore, more than I typically like in a mystery/thriller. But, I stayed with it because um, it's a Riley Sager book. And, I'm so glad I did. I didn't see the ending coming. It's great if you're looking for a book to snuggle up with as the seasons start to change. 

This leaves me 1 more Riley Sager book to read and review. But, I think I'm going to head off to spend the Winter in Paradise, first ;)

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Book Review: Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler


2 Stars for Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler. This book was about an ordinary man seemingly content to go through the motions of his ordinary life. He lived a life where everything was predictable and just so. He liked everything in control, in it's place, and lived a life full of order. 

That being said, I felt it was an, "ordinary," book. This was my first Anne Tyler novel so I was pretty disappointed there wasn't a rich plot and equally disappointed when the turning point only came on the very last page. I kept holding out hope for something exciting, something that never occurred. 

After being on such a roll with 5 star books, my last two reads have me holding my breath for what I crack open next. 

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