Book Review: We Were Sisters {Wendy Clarke}

I read Wendy Clarke’s We Were Sisters while on our recent getaway to Galena, IL. I hadn’t previously heard of this book but it caught my eye on the library bookshelf weeks ago. The cover says that it is “An absolutely gripping psychological thriller” Ummmm….YES PLEASE. I was super excited to read and review it!

Goodreads Synopsis of We Were Sisters

I turn to where I left my baby in his pushchair and pull up short. With a racing heart, I look around wildly, fear gripping my stomach. I only looked away for a moment. The pushchair and my baby are gone.

Kelly is taking her twin daughters to their first day of school, ushering them into the classroom, her heartbreaking to think they might not need her anymore when she turns around and sees that her newborn baby is gone.

As a desperate search ensues, baby Noah is quickly found – parked in front of a different classroom. But when Kelly reaches forward to comfort him, she finds something tucked beside his blanket. A locket that belonged to her sister Freya. A locket Kelly hasn’t seen since the day Freya died.

And then Kelly’s perfectly-ordered life begins to unravel…

We Were Sisters is a heart-pounding suspense thriller that will grip you until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train won’t be able to stop reading this incredible book. 

My Review of We Were Sisters {Wendy Clarke}:

As it turns out, this is NOT an “absolutely gripping psychological thriller.”

Eh.

So this book was good…it held my attention, had short chapters (the BEST), and an interesting plot.

However…

It was SO predictable and so much of it was just so unbelievable. Also, so many side plots meant to throw the reader off from figuring out the twists but instead just felt like unnecessary noise.

Years ago, I wrote a blog post and I explained my requirements for books I bring on vacation (check out that post…I still stand by all of the recommendations on there! You can read that post from 2019 HERE)! Would I have chosen to bring this particular book with me on vacation? Probably not as it just wasn’t “unputdownable” enough for me. However, we booked this trip quite literally 48 hours before we left (!!!) and this just happened to be the book I was reading at the the time soooo….into my suitcase it went 🙂

Reading with the prettiest view! Take me baaaaaack!

Would I recommend We Were Sisters? Well I wouldn’t NOT recommend it…but I definitely would recommend a whole bunch of other psychological thrillers instead. HERE are some of my psychological thriller recommendations!

Bottom Line

Eh.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

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Why I Loved Reading The Windfall {Diksha Basu} and You Will, Too! {Book Review}

Why I Loved Reading The Windfall {Diksha Basu} and You Will, Too! {Book Review}

Last December my family and I went on vacation and we got stuck on a mountain. However, BEFORE all of that craziness occurred, my family and I visited the most amazing bookstore I have ever visited! I purchased only 1 souvenir from that glorious book store: Diksha Basu’s The Windfall.

Diksha Basu’s Destination Wedding has been on my to read for YEARS (it was on my list of books to read in 2020) but my library hasn’t carried it. When I saw The Windfall at that glorious bookstore on our trip, I knew I had to read it! I asked the lady working if they also carried Destination Wedding but sadly they did not. I happily bought this book instead and was so excited to FINALLY have the opportunity to read and review one of Basu’s books!

Goodreads Synopsis of The Windfall {Diksha Basu}:

For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all.

The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters..

My Book Review AKA: Why I Loved Reading The Windfall {Dasha Basu}:

I truly believe that out of that entire massive selection of books at that awesome book store, I could not have made a better choice 🙂

I’ve mentioned before how much I absolutely love reading books about cultures different than my own. I always find it so fascinating to distinguish between cultural similarities and differences!

I’ve also mentioned that throughout my entire life, I’ve always felt particularly drawn to learning about the Indian culture. So many aspects of Indian culture have fascinated me from the time I was a little girl and has continued to do so.

The Windfall is EXACTLY the type of book that I find so compelling. I have read MANY books which revolve around Indian culture but none as raw and honest as this book. I learned so much without necessarily being taught…just from reading about the lives that these characters lead. I found myself Googling numerous times while reading about various cultural topics just to enhance my knowledge. I love when a book is so well written that it makes me want to learn even more factual information about the setting beyond the story!

I completely fell in love with this wonderful book and these characters. Each had such an interesting story to tell and I was equally invested in each of their stories for different reasons. I loved these characters!

And the descriptions…I truly felt like I was in India!

I finished reading this book one night last week and I woke up the following morning already missing these lovely characters. The Windfall gave me so much to think about! It’s messages about family, status, culture, love, and what is truly important in life were deep and meaningful.

AND….after checking for the millionth time…my library can now FINALLY receive a copy of Destination Wedding for me to read! I’m so excited, I have very high expectations. In fact, I’m pretty sure I love it already 🙂

Bottom Line:

Such a special book.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

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Why I Stopped Reading The House in the Cerulean Sea {TJ Klune}…But You Shouldn’t!

Why I Stopped Reading The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune…But You Shouldn’t!

Hiiii! I’m so sorry I went a bit MIA last week. It was my daughter’s Spring Break and while I had every intention of still blogging, spending that extra time with my kids just felt so good. I usually blog each morning while my son takes an online class but last week I traded that in for daily breakfast in bed with my daughter while we snuggled up to watch iCarly. It was my favorite part of the whole week and I’m missing it today 😦

I had promised you my thoughts on The House in the Cerulean Sea last week…here they are today!

**This is book #1 of the reading challenge that I set up for myself. For more on this challenge and why I’m forcing myself to do it, read THIS POST**

Goodreads Synopsis of The House in the Cerulean Sea {TJ Klune}:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

My Review of The House in the Cerulean Sea {TJ Klune}:

So the book begins with a girl levitating blocks above her head. That’s page 1. Already I wasn’t into it but I decided to keep reading.

And then the main character meets a sprite. I googled the defination of sprite and here’s what Marriam- Webster had to say: An elf or a fairy.

By this point, I was reaaaaaaaally struggling to continue reading but forged through in hopes of expanding my literary genre comfort zone.

And then around page 70ish there was a statue. That moved. On it’s own.

Aaaaaaand I was DONE.

The writing itself was good! The fact that I read 70 pages is proof of that!

I just absolutely hate this type of fantasy. SO. MUCH.

I hate books in this genre, I hate television shows in this genre, I HATE movies in this genre. The whole “alternate universe where things aren’t what they seem” is NOT something I enjoy.

Now, I must say that I’m disappointed that I just couldn’t do it. I’ve heard such BEAUTIFUL things about this book! Yes I went in with a nervous energy but I really don’t think that hindered my acceptance of any of it. Nervous energy or not, moving statues are just not for me.

I am 100 percent positive that this book gives a beautiful message but unfortunately I just couldn’t get past all of the fantastical elements to find it. People say that this book is WONDERFUL! If you love (can tolorate?) fantasy, this sounds like a truly fantastic read. I stopped reading..but you shouldn’t!

This book reminds me of Harry Potter in so many ways. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will probably love this book! I read the first 2 Harry Potter books and just couldn’t read any more.

Now what does this mean for the other 2 fantasy books that I will be (forcing myself?) to read? Well, 2 things actually:

#1 I wasn’t excited to read them before but now I’m REALLY not exited to read them….but I will! At least I’ll TRY.

#2 I think I actually might feel differently about them that I do about this book because although they are clearly fantasy, I do think they are a different TYPE of fantasy. From what I’m gathering, they are about real people who do fantastical things. No made up worlds, no moving statues, no levitating blocks, etc. Am I wrong? Please tell me (warn me?) if I’m wrong. The Time Traveler’s Wife is an example of a book like this and that book is most definitely fantasy! BUT it’s about real people who do fantastical things. Does that make sense? All of the statues in that book aren’t able to move. As it should be. I LOVED The Time Traveler’s Wife (read my thoughts HERE).

Reading challenge or not, I will forever stand by the fact that there are too many good books out there to continue reading one that you aren’t enjoying. And I reaaaaaaally wasn’t enjoying this one. So I stopped reading. Just like I always tell all of you to do!

Moving on…

Bottom Line:

This type of fantasy is just not for me no matter how hard I try.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

This book clearly isn’t for me but you might love it!  Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

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The #1 Reason Why Everyone Should Read This Beautiful Book

My 9 year old daughter drew this picture of me last night and I love it so much!

I read this book last week and I absolutely loved it. It’s such a wonderfully written book with such a loud and clear message.I had never heard of it but randomly found it on the shelf at my library a few weeks ago and it’s synopsis immediately grabbed me! It’s such a wonderfully written book with such a loud and clear message. If you haven’t yet read this book, READ THIS BOOK!

Goodreads Synopsis of The Bright Side of Going Dark {Kelly Harms}:

As one of the most popular influencers on social media, Mia Bell has lived her life online for years. With her celebrity dog and gorgeous fiancé, she is planning the ultimate virtual wedding—expensive, elaborate, and entirely paid for by sponsors. But off-camera, her world is far from picture perfect. After being jilted by her fiancé and faking her nuptials to please her sponsors, Mia finally has had enough. She heaves her phone off a cliff, ready to live—and maybe find love—offline for a change.

Mia’s sudden absence doesn’t go unnoticed, especially by techie loner Paige Miller, who hacks Mia’s account and begins impersonating the internet celebrity. Paige has her reasons. Her half sister, Jessica, idolizes Mia and desperately needs something to believe in. If taking over Mia’s online persona is Paige’s only means of connecting to her sister, so be it.

Creating a like-worthy life is more fun than Paige expected. But when she grows too bold and is caught in the act, a fiasco ensues that could forever change Mia, Paige, and the people who love them. Because somewhere amid the chaos is an invaluable lesson—one that only real life can teach.

My Review of The Bright Side of Going Dark {Kelly Harms}:

I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK.

Oh it’s such a beautifully written book, one that made me THINK.

I can admit that I am fully, 100 percent obsessed with my phone. Who isn’t???

This book made me think about so much about the digital world in relation to the everyday, real life world. From social media to apps to influencers and how each of them relate to our own lives, this book truly opened my eyes on so many levels.

EVERYONE should read this book as it will open your eyes to exactly how much we are all UNNECESSARILY relying on our phones for HOURS each day. This book seriously made me think about just how much time I am spending on my phone from using Google maps when I need directions, emails, text messages, SOCIAL MEDIA, the reality tv websites that I visit daily for updates (!), all of my apps, etc. And don’t even get me started on Amazon 😉

This book made me THINK. Is all of this time spent on our phones really necessary? Spoiler: It’s not.

These characters are so endearing, so lovable, and so special…this book and it’s deep messages will stay with me for a very long time. I read this book over 3 days but could easily have read it cover to cover in 1 day. It’s delightful!

I highly recommend The Bright Side of Going Dark for anyone but ESPECIALLY for those (like me) who are unnecessarily obsessed with their phones. Such an important topic and so wonderfully addressed.

This was my first Kelly Harms book and I’m a big fan! I love her writing style! Can’t wait to read more 🙂

Bottom Line:

This wonderful book and it’s important message gave me SO MUCH to think about…

**I’ll post my thoughts on The House in the Cerulean Sea later this week! Stay tuned!**

Have you read The Bright Side of Going Dark? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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This Book Is Amazing! Lost You {Haylen Beck}

Haylen Beck’s Lost You had been on my TBR for quite some time and I was so excited to finally be able to get my hands on a copy! Spoiler: It’s AMAZING. Check out this synopsis…

Goodreads Synopsis of Lost You {Haylen Beck}:

A provocative and unputdownable psychological suspense about two women locked in a desperate fight over a child each believes is rightfully hers

Libby needs a break. Three years ago her husband split, leaving her to raise their infant son Ethan alone as she struggled to launch her writing career. Now for the first time in years, things are looking up. She’s just sold her first novel, and she and Ethan are going on a much-needed vacation. Everything seems to be going their way, so why can’t she stop looking over her shoulder or panicking every time Ethan wanders out of view? Is it because of what happened when Ethan was born? Except Libby’s never told anyone the full story of what happened, and there’s no way anyone could find her and Ethan at a faraway resort . . . right?

But three days into their vacation, Libby’s fears prove justified. In a moment of inattention, Ethan wanders into an elevator before Libby can reach him. When the elevator stops and the doors open, Ethan is gone. Hotel security scours the building and finds no trace of him, but when CCTV footage is found of an adult finding the child wandering alone and leading him away by the hand, the police are called in. The search intensifies, a lost child case turning into a possible abduction. Hours later, a child is seen with a woman stepping through an emergency exit. Libby and the police track the woman down and corner her, but she refuses to release Ethan. Asked who she is, the woman replies:

“I’m his mother.”

What follows is one of the most shocking, twist-y, and provocative works of psychological suspense ever written. A story of stolen identity, of surrogacy gone horribly wrong, and of two women whose insistence that each is the “real” mother puts them at deadly cross-purposes, Lost You is sure to be one of 2019’s most buzzed-about novels.

My Review of Lost You {Haylen Beck}:

I. Could. Not. Put. This. Book. Down.

Omg.

From the very first page, I was ALL IN. It literally GRABBED me! The first night I picked it up, I thought I would read 10 pages and then go to sleep. Aaaaaaaand 70 pages and 1:00 AM later…

Everything about this story was CRAZY and AWESOME. Such detailed characters, such detailed stories, and every single prediction that I had turned out to be incorrect. LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS.

As a mother, this book absolutely angered me, warmed me, scared me, broke my heart, and made me hug my kids even tighter. I felt EVERYTHING while reading this book. Do you remember that shirt that I wore during my recent trip to Tennessee?

I kept thinking about the term “Mama Bear” the entire time while I was reading! Mama Bears will do ANYTHING to protect their children and they love their children FIERCELY….this book sums up those feelings so perfectly.

I loved Haylen Beck’s writing style and I’m excited to read more of his books (FYI Haylen Beck is actually a pseudonym of author Stuart Neville). And…SHORT CHAPTERS! You KNOW I love that 🙂

I finished reading this book late last night and I hard time sleeping because I couldn’t stop thinking about these characters and their stories! Omg.

Bottom Line:

Absolutely loved it.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

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I Hate This Book and I Love This Book: Ghosted {Rosie Walsh}

Man do I have a lot to say about Rosie Walsh’s Ghosted. I HATE this book…..aaaaaaand I LOVE this book. How does that even happen???? My thoughts on this one are truly all over the place.

Goodreads Synopsis of Ghosted {Rosie Walsh}:

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth. 

I Hate This Book and I Love This Book: Ghosted {Rosie Walsh}:

First of all, it’s like 3 separate books in one. The first third of the book is…not good. Not good at all. It’s super confusing, super hard to follow, and super boring because there is quite literally nothing explained. It’s like the story just STARTS and the reader is thrown right into it without ANY explanation or background knowledge. I HATED the beginning of this book mostly because I had no clue what the hell was going on! A lot of the book is like this but the beginning is especially confusing. Hated it. Almost gave up reading.

The next third of the book is…better! The story starts to come together, characters aren’t quite so random, and you begin to get the sense of what is happening.

And then the last third of the book is….dark. Dramatic. Heavy. AMAZING. SPECTACULAR. IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT DOWN.

Before reading, I assumed this would be a light hearted and fun read! Girl meets boy and boy doesn’t call, sounds light! Spoiler: It’s not.

Something I loved: While I found a few parts of this book very predictable most of it was NOT! The best part of this book were the surprising twists that it took when I least expected it. Story lines completely took paths that I NEVER saw coming.

Something I didn’t love: I found more than 1 story line quite unbelievable and a bit TOO coincidental.

This overall story was incredible…but the actual writing was not. I am NOT a fan of Rosie Walsh’s writing style. I found it so confusing and I kept mixing up the characters right up until the very end. Story lines weren’t fully developed, everything kept bouncing around in terms of timelines and points of view, and overall it all just felt so disjointed to me.

And I’ll just say it. Sarah’s obsessive behavior was cringe worthy.

HOWEVER….the actual story was INCREDIBLE and quite literally left me breathless at the end. I actually heard myself give a big audible sigh after I closed the back cover, lol. There was A LOT of story packed into those 337 pages! I guess that’s what happens when each character and each story line isn’t given enough time to be properly developed and you don’t waste pages filling in the reader of any background knowledge for the entire beginning of the book, lol.

But here’s the confusing part: even though it was completely disjointed, this book as a whole was WONDERFUL. I’m not sure how that even happens but looking back on what I just read…it somehow all just worked to come together to tell this amazing story.

Although I’m clearly not a fan of Rosie Walsh’s writing style, I do respect her ability to write a book like this. Wow.

It turns out that my review of this book is just as confusing as the beginning of the book, lol.

I find it perfect that Liane Moriarty gives her recommendation of this book right on the front cover. I have such a love/hate relationship with Liane Moriarty (you read more about that HERE) and I also have a love/hate relationship with this book! Perfect pairing 😉

Would I recommend Ghosted? For the story as a whole and for the last 100ish pages alone…..HELL YES. I can’t stop thinking about it. Omg. WHAT. A. STORY.

Bottom Line:

If you can make it past the first 100ish pages…this story is truly incredible.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

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Why Parachutes By Kelly Yang Was Wonderful {Book Review}

Kelly Yang’s Parachutes had been on my radar for months ever since it’s release in May. I was excited when my copy arrived at my library and I started reading immediately (after first Clorox wiping it down and then letting it dry. Pandemics are weird).

Goodreads Synopsis of Parachutes {Kelly Yang}:

Speak enters the world of Gossip Girl in this modern immigrant story from New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang about two girls navigating wealth, power, friendship, and trauma.

They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the US while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California. Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out.

Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate-team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. When her debate coach starts working with her privately, Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course.

Desperately trying to avoid each other under the same roof, Dani and Claire find themselves on a collision course, intertwining in deeper and more complicated ways, as they grapple with life-altering experiences. Award-winning author Kelly Yang weaves together an unforgettable modern immigrant story about love, trauma, family, corruption, and the power of speaking out.

My Book Review of Parachutes {Kelly Yang}:

I really, really loved this book.

This is the kind of book where if I had an entire day to myself I could have EASILY read this entire book in 1 sitting.

476 pages absolutely flew by! The interesting and extremely complex story lines, the characters, all of it.

Short chapters are my absolute FAVORITE…whyyyyy do authors write long chapters???? This book had 85 (!) chapters, each just a few pages long. I absolutely LOVE this and wish every book could be written like this! The BEST!

After I closed the back cover, I sat in silence to reflect upon this book. So much to think about and so many viewpoints to consider.

What a special book! It explores SO many relative and important topics and issues….the specifics of which I will not be discussing (see THIS POST for details as to why).

Highly recommend!

This book should absolutely be required reading for all high schoolers. So much that teenagers (and adults) would learn from reading this wonderful book.

Bottom Line:

If you are a fan of YA, this book should absolutely be on your to read list.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

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**READ THIS BOOK** Book Review: The Chicken Sisters {KJ Dell’Antonia}

I first saw KJ Dell’Antonia’s The Chicken Sisters when I browsing the shelves at the most amazing bookstore I’ve ever visited. I read the back cover on the book and immediately knew that I wanted to read and review it! Reality tv + small town+ family relationships??? Count me IN!

After I took the above picture, my kids each took a side of the wishbone and made a wish as they pulled it apart. My daughter won. My son cried. I digress….

Goodreads Synopsis of The Chicken Sisters {KJ Dell’Antonia}

Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster.

In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state–and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi’s before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie’s. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire. . .

The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, Food Wars becomes her chance to step back into the limelight. Mae is certain she can make the fading Mimi’s look good–even if that pits her against Amanda and Frannie’s. With a greedy producer stoking the flames, their friendly rivalry quickly turns into a game of chicken. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?

My Review of The Chicken Sisters {KJ Dell’Antonia}

I absolutely LOVED this book. From the very first page, I was alllllll in. I read this book slowly just to savor it, I truly didn’t want for it to end!

It is such a lovely and beautifully written book. Everything about this book is just wonderful! The character development, the complicated story lines, the small town atmosphere, and an added bonus…a behind scenes glimpse into the making of a reality tv show!

The Chicken Sisters was the Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick last December…Excellent choice, Reese 🙂

The timing of my reading this book was so ironic. When we were on our southern vacation in December, my husband had his heart SET on eating delicious fried chicken while we were there. He insisted on us driving 30 minutes to a bordering state just to enjoy fried chicken from a tiny place with the word “shack” in it’s name (he had done extensive fried chicken research before we arrived and apparently this was THE PLACE). Him and our kids enjoyed their fried chicken and fries on a random bench outside of the restaurant with plastic utensils and a roll of paper towels. They all LOVED it and my husband declared that it was definitely worth the drive. This experience was a perfect reference for me as I was reading The Chicken Sisters! Exactly how I pictured Mimi’s!

***Side Note*** Fried chicken and fries aren’t my thing and I may or may not have brought my own lunch of a turkey sandwich and baked chips to enjoy on that bench…oh MAN would Mimi and Frannie have been disappointed in me! I’m so sorry Mimi and Frannie!

My favorite things about this book are the absolutely beautiful takeaways it left me with. Without giving away spoilers, I will just say that this book has so many beautiful lessons within these pages and so many lovely quotes that I wrote down from these characters.

Do you remember the post I wrote titled The Best Books I Read in 2020? I can already promise you that this book will be on my 2021 post.

Bottom Line

Absolutely loved every second of reading this lovely book. Highly recommend!

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

The 12 best books I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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Book Review: Every Last Secret {A.R. Torre}

I randomly saw A.R.Torre’s Every Last Secret on the shelf at the library a few weeks ago and the synopsis immediately had me wanting more! I was so excited to read this book and review it!

Goodreads Synopsis of Every Last Secret {A.R. Torre}:

Welcome to the neighborhood. Watch your husband, watch your friends, and watch your back.

Cat Winthorpe has worked hard to get what she has: a gorgeous home; social standing; and William, her successful, handsome husband. Then a friendly new couple moves into the estate next door. While cautious, a good neighbor like Cat greets them with open arms and warm hospitality.

Neena Ryder isn’t a fellow lady of leisure. A life coach with off-the-rack dresses, personal issues, and a husband who hasn’t delivered, she’s anxious to move up in the world. This beautiful new town is a step in the right direction. It’s also making Neena aware of what she doesn’t have. Namely, William. When Neena’s infatuation escalates into obsession, it’s just a matter of eliminating a few obstacles to get the life she wants. The life next door.

As Neena’s secret fixation grows, so does her friendship with Cat. But beneath their cordial interactions is a wealth of temptations, secrets, and toxic jealousy. For both women, the desire for a perfect life can turn perfectly dangerous.

My Review of Every Last Secret {A.R. Torre}:

This book was GOOD…but lacked being GREAT. Predictable? Yes. Great? No.

The synopsis SOUNDS so great, right???

I just kept waiting and waiting for something to grab my attention and would suddenly turn all of my opinions around. Unfortunately that moment never came.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book where I didn’t like ANY of the characters! Each character in this book was so completely unlikable. I think that is what made this story feel like it was dragging at times. When there is nobody to root for… you don’t really care what happens to anyone, am I right?

I had to write this review immediately after I closed the back cover because I knew that if I waited even a few days…I would completely forget everything. That’s how detached from this story I was. When you finish a book, you want the characters in the story lines to stay with you for many years to come! These characters and storylines might stay with me for 2 days max. Speaking of covers, I could be wrong…but I’m pretty sure that the scene on the front cover never even happened in this story. Like, ever. I kept waiting! What???

Also, infidelity is disgusting and at times this book felt like a step by step how to guide on stealing someone’s husband. Gross.

Bottom Line

Eh.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Clearly I’m not a big fan of this book…but you just might be, lol. Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

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2 Book Reviews: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda AND Leah on the Offbeat {Becky Albertalli}

Thank you all SO MUCH for your amazing and supportive comments on my LAST POST 🙂 It has been such a fun time over these past 11 days and definitely continues to be such an awesome experience! A giant warm welcome to all of my new readers 🙂 I absolutely love sharing my blog with all of you and today, I have 2 book reviews to share! Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda has been on my to read list for YEARS. A few months ago, when Jenna from Jenna Stop Reading posted a giveaway containing Simon’s sequel, Leah on the Offbeat, I knew I had to enter! Once I won, it was exactly the push I needed to finally read Simon. I immediately put it on the wait list at my local library and I’m so glad that I did! (To see the other 3 books that I won in that giveaway, you can read about them HERE).

Book Review #1: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda {Becky Albertalli}:

Goodreads Synopsis of Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda {Becky Albertalli}:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. 

My Review of Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda {Becky Albertalli}:

Oh I absolutely LOVED this book!

Becky Albertalli has such an awesome way of getting into the minds of a younger generation and writing from their point of view. The dialogue in this book felt like actual teenagers were speaking!

These characters were so wonderful and the rich storylines were so detailed.

And FUNNY. Becky Albertalli is so funny! I found myself smiling through so much of this book. I absolutely love the way that she writes! She must be such fun in real life 🙂

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is such a beautiful, emotional, and powerful read which discusses such important topics.

This book was made into the movie Love, Simon which I haven’t seen. I did see the trailer, however and I have so many thoughts. In the 2 1/2 minutes…I already can spot 100 differences from the book. I actually have zero desire to see this movie because I can already tell that the differences will annoy me! Side note: seeing Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel play the roles of the PARENTS of the high schoolers just makes me feel old.

The movie trailer:

Have any of you seen the movie? I’d love to hear how it compares to the book. I WILL say that I like the movie title a WHOLE lot more than the book title…

There is also a tv spinoff currently available on Hulu called Love, Victor…have any of you watched? I have not.

Basically this book was everything I was so hoping that this other book that I read a few months ago was going to be.

Bottom Line:

Absolutely loved it.

Book Review #2: Leah on the Offbeat {Becky Albertalli}:

I started to read Simon’s sequel Leah on the Offbeat immediately after I finished reading Simon. There are actually 3 books in this series but Leah is the sequel to Simon even though there is a book in between? Becky Albertalli’s website addresses this:

My first three books are part of the same universe, so if you want to experience the full story chronologically, you should read SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, then THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED, then LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT. That said, The Upside of Unrequited takes place in a different setting, and can easily exist as a standalone story (meaning: it will make total sense if you read it on its own, and also, you do not need to read it to understand Leah On the Offbeat). You can read Leah On the Offbeat on its own, but I think you’ll get more out of it if you read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda first (or at least see Love, Simon)(but seriously, IMO, Leah is much more exciting if you read Simon Vs first).

Goodreads Synopsis of Leah on the Offbeat {Becky Albertalli}:

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

My Review of Leah on the Offbeat {Becky Albertelli}:

So one of the very best things about Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is the very reason that I had to STOP reading Leah on the Offbeat. Becky Albertalli has such a gift of getting into the heads of these teenage characters and truly writing as if she were a teenager. The way they think, the way they talk, the actions they take. It’s amazing!

HOWEVER…

Finishing Simon and starting Leah literally within the span of less than 1 hour was TOO MUCH time spent in the heads of teenagers and I just needed to get out, lol. I read about 120 pages and finally…this grown mother of 2 just needed a break from very literally being inside the minds of teenagers.

Becky Albertalli is AWESOME and truly has a gift for writing from the INSIDES of teenagers minds. It’s very hard to find a YA author that masters this the way that she does! Reading these books back to back was just a bit…too much teenager thought for me.

Would any of my local readers like my copy of Leah on the Offbeat? I can leave it on my front porch for you! If not, I will put it in my local Little Free Library.

Bottom Line:

This is truly a case of (most likely) good book, wrong time.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the images below to order the books through my Amazon affiliate links. When you order through these links, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

The 12 best books I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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