The 2 Books I Started Reading This Week but Never Finished.

This week I started reading 2 different books…and put both books down before I read them though to the end.  UGH.  I haaaaate when that happens.  I find that when I put 1 book down before finishing, the trend seems to follow right into the next book that I pick up as well.  Whyyyy??  Does this ever happen to anyone else??

I have been reading some GREAT books lately (I am currently working on 3 upcoming blog posts with my reviews) and then…BAM…these 2 books.

Book 1:

Goodreads Synopsis of Tell Me Everything {Cambria Brockman}:

In her first weeks at Hawthorne College, Malin is swept up into a tight-knit circle that will stick together through all four years. There’s Gemma, an insecure theater major from London; John, a tall, handsome, and wealthy New Englander; Max, John’s cousin and a shy pre-med major; Khaled, a wise-cracking prince from Abu Dhabi; and Ruby, a beautiful art history major. But Malin isn’t quite like the rest of her friends. She’s an expert at hiding her troubling past. She acts as if she is concerned with the preoccupations of those around her – boys, partying – all while using her extraordinary insight to detect their deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

By Senior Day, on the cusp of graduation, Malin’s secrets – and those of her friends – are revealed. While she scrambles to maintain her artfully curated image, her missteps set in motion a devastating chain of events that ends in a murder. And as their fragile relationships hang in the balance and close alliances start shifting, Malin will test the limits of what she’s capable of to stop the truth from coming out.

I will be the first to say that I didn’t give this book a fair chance.  At all.  I quit reading after 30ish pages ONLY because I recently finished reading THIS BOOK (review coming next week!) and these books were just so similar.  Both YA, both containing a mysterious murder, both focusing on groups of friends.  Eh.  I have a hard time reading books back to back with similar themes, genres, characters, etc.  I just couldn’t get into this one!  I really do feel that it was a matter of timing for me, though.  Had I picked this book up at a different time, I think it had the potential to be great.  The writing seemed to be ok, the characters seemed to be ok, the setting seemed to be ok, I just wasn’t invested enough to stick around to see if those “OKs” would eventually have turned into “greats”.  Have any of you read this book?

Moving on…

Book 2:

I posted this on Facebook last weekend and the comments were OVERWHELMINGLY positive about this book!  So many of you love it!  I was so excited to start reading!

I started reading and from page 1, I just really wasn’t into it.  I posted a poll on Instagram.

Aaaaaaand my result was deemed inconclusive:

I made it to page 115 before I closed the cover for good.  I just was SO BORED.

I think a big part of why I just couldn’t get into this book was the fact that I went into it literally BLIND as to what it was going to be about.  There is absolutely zero synopsis on the book cover.  Nothing on the front, nothing on the back, nothing in the inside cover.  Just this weird ominous front cover.  That’s it.

Even the Goodreads synopsis of In A Dark, Dark, Wood {Ruth Ware} is super vague:

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

Not knowing what the book was about made for a very frustrating reading experience.  I kept waiting for SOMETHING, ANYTHING to happen and after 115 pages nothing really did.  There was an annoying mention of a hidden past but I was so disconnected from all of the characters that even THAT didn’t phase me.  Once I decided that I was over it, I ended up Googling the ending just to see what happened.  Reading about the ending and how everything played out leading up to it made me even more confident in my decision to stop reading.

That was very disappointing for me as I’m a BIG Ruth Ware fan.  I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED The Turn of the Key (the book synopsis and my review HERE) and I also really enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10 (Amazon affiliate link HERE).

Aaaaand how incredibly random is this?!?  In doing research for this blog post, I came across this blub on Goodreads for Tell Me Everything which SO RANDOMLY compares it to In A Dark, Dark, Wood!  How weird is that?!?  No wonder I didn’t like either book, lol:

“A murder at an elite New England college tears apart a group of friends – and one of them is playing a dangerous game – in this electrifying debut in the tradition of In a Dark, Dark Wood…”

So now, here I sit, without a book to read.  I will be heading to the library drive thru today because a few books that I put on hold are waiting for me.  I have been quarantining library books in my garage for 3 days before reading.  However, I will be using disinfectant wipes to wipe these down and will start reading TONIGHT…desperate times call for desperate measures over here 🙂

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

Xo,

Jenny

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My Gorgeous Condominium in Downtown Chicago and a Book Review: Lock Every Door {Riley Sager}

Sharing a bit about my beautiful condominium in downtown Chicago and also my review of Riley Sager’s book, Lock Every Door.

My Life in Downtown Chicago:

Before I was married, I lived alone for many years in the most beautiful city in the world…downtown Chicago.  My memories of that time in my life will forever hold such a special place in my heart.

My gorgeous condo building:

My condo was a 550 square feet studio and I was forced to listen to the hum of my refrigerator all night as my bed wasn’t far away.  I had no dishwasher, had to take the elevator down 30 stories just to switch my laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, and had to determine which groceries needed to be refrigerated and which could sit in my car overnight to avoid multiple trips up and down the elevator.

However, despite all of that…IT.  WAS.  PERFECT.

I lived on the 29th floor, had the most spectacular view of the city that I have ever seen, and an entire wall in my condo was nothing but windows.  It had valet parking, a grocery store in the building, a doorman, and a bookshelf off the lobby where the residents could leave and take books whenever they pleased.  Living there made me feel so fancy and grown up!  My entire condo was PINK, my dishes were shaped like stiletto heels, my picture frames were shaped like purses, and my microwave was concealed behind floral curtains held back with rhinestone tie backs.  I absolutely loved it and miss it so much!  A piece of my heart will forever live in that beautiful, itty bitty teeny tiny pink space.

I couldn’t help but think of my beautiful condo building as I read Lock Every Door.  Having this background knowledge made this book feel SO REAL to me…and I think freaked me out even more as I was reading.  Yikes.

Goodreads Synopsis of Lock Every Door {Riley Sager}:

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent. 

My Review of Lock Every Door {Riley Sager}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

This book is MESSED UP.

So weird, so creepy…I liked it 😉

This was the first Riley Sager book I’ve read and I must say…I loved the writing!  This book hooked me in from the very beginning and had me guessing all the way until the very end.  Love when that happens!  The stories and characters were so detailed, I could easily see every scene of this creepy story so clearly in my mind.  And obviously I imagined some of those scenes in my very own beloved condo building which freaked me out even more 😉

This book was mysterious, it was dark, it was weird, it was GREAT!  If you are looking for a page turning psychological thriller this book really is a good one.  Such an easy read, I read it in just a few days.

Oh and pro tip:  Don’t even TRY to guess the ending.  You will be wrong.

Bottom Line:

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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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Book Review: Last Couple Standing {Matthew Norman}

I had been eagerly awaiting the release of Matthew Norman’s newest book, Last Couple Standing.  You may remember it being included in my 6 New Books to be Released in 2020 post!  I had my name on the library wait list for MONTHS and it was a happy day when it finally came in!

Goodreads Synopsis of Last Couple Standing {Matthew Norman}:

The Core Four have been friends since college: four men, four women, four couples. They got married around the same time, had kids around the same time, and now, fifteen years later, they’ve started getting divorced around the same time, too. With three of the Core Four unions crumbling to dust around them, Jessica and Mitch Butler take a long, hard look at their own marriage. Can it be saved? Or is divorce, like some fortysomething zombie virus, simply inescapable?

To maximize their chance at immunity, Jessica and Mitch try something radical. Their friends’ divorces mostly had to do with sex—having it, not having it, wanting to have it with other people—so they decide to relax a few things. Terms are discussed, conditions are made, and together the Butlers embark on the great experiment of taking their otherwise happy, functional marriage and breaking some very serious rules.

Jessica and Mitch are convinced they’ve hit upon the next evolution of marriage. But as lines are crossed and hot bartenders pursued, they each start to wonder if they’ve made a huge mistake. What follows is sexy, fun, painful, messy, and completely surprising to them both. Because sometimes doing something bad is the only way to get to the heart of what’s really good.

My Review of Last Couple Standing {Matthew Norman}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

This was the 2nd book that I read while on our beautiful vacation (you can read the GLOWING review of the 1st book that I read HERE and a recap of our perfect vacation HERE).

I read the majority of this book with this exact view in front of me:

Book.  Coffee.  HAPPY.

Take me baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

As for this book, the entire premise of the topic of the book just felt so incredibly icky to me.  Open marriage, cheating, or whatever you want to call it…hard pass.  I would literally DESTROY THE BITCH who would even TRY to look at my husband.

However, this book kept my attention from the very first page and I actually really enjoyed it despite it’s yucky premise.  The characters and the story lines were interesting, and many parts of this book were thought provoking.  It was an easy read and I quickly flew though it!  I loved the humor sprinkled throughout, it made such a heavy and weird topic feel a bit lighter.

This was the first book that I have read of Matthew Norman’s and…I’m a FAN!  LOVED his writing style!  I will absolutely be reading more books that he has written asap.

**Side Note: The main character, Jessica, is now officially one of my most hated book characters of all time.  I absolutely loathed her.**

I continued reading this book once we got home from Michigan although the scenery surrounding me wasn’t nearly as beautiful.  I always find it sad to start a book on vacation and then have to finish reading once I return home.  Anyone else feel this way???

I posted this on Facebook once we returned:

Bottom Line:

Icky topic….but….I liked the book???

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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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Looking for a Page Turner? Oh Do I Have the Book for You!

This book is the very definition of page turner.  I COULD NOT put it down.  One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.  Ever.  You need to read this book…EVERYONE needs to read this book!

I once wrote a list of my top book recommendations to bring on vacation. In that post (link HERE), I discuss a bit more of my qualifications for a book to be a perfect book to bring with you on a trip.  This book was PERFECT.

I brought this book with me on our recent trip to Michigan and every morning I went outside with my book to read with a view:

American Dirt Controversy:

This is easily the most controversial book I’ve ever reviewed on my blog.  I’ve done loads of research on the controversy and there are just so many facets as to why people feel the way that they do.  The author of this book has received death threats and as a result the book tour had to be canceled!  Here is a short video that I found online which sums up all of the controversy in an easy to understand, 5 minute clip.  I know the cover photo of these 3 men looks like it has nothing to do with this but I promise that it does!  This video does NOT contain spoilers, just an overall view of why this book is making so many people really, really upset. START WATCHING AT 2:35:

So now that you have a bit of background, let’s dive into my review…

Goodreads Synopsis of American Dirt {Jeanine Cummins}:

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

My Review of American Dirt {Jeanine Cummins}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I absolutely loved it.  I devoured it.  I couldn’t put it down.  I cried.  My heart pounded.  I had to use my hand to cover entire paragraphs just so I wouldn’t be tempted to read ahead.

WHAT.  A.  STORY.

This story and these characters will stay with me for a very long time.

It’s a beautifully written, intensively involved story that had me sucked in from the very beginning allllllll the way until the very end.  I so very highly, highly recommend this book!

Pro Tip: If you are not fluent in Spanish, HAVE A PHONE NEXT TO YOU WHILE READING.  I simply CANNOT come to a word I do not understand and continue reading with an assumption of what that word means!  In American Dirt, there are LOTS of words and phrases written in Spanish.  I was actually quite impressed with how much I was able to channel my high school Spanish class (gracias, Senorita Dan!) to figure out the meanings but there were MANY words that I had to look up.  Many of these words weren’t relevant to the story (words such as “damn”, etc.) however many WERE actually relevant to the story!

For the love of God please do not send me a message telling me to get a Kindle so I can look up words as I am reading.  I don’t want one (read why HERE)!

I did an extensive amount of research on the topics in this book.  I watched videos of La Bestia.  I google imaged pictures of the places that they went.  I read countless articles about immigration and learned so much about so many different and important topics.  I LOVE WHEN BOOKS INSPIRE ME TO WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TOPICS I MAY NOT ALREADY HAVE AN EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT!  Oh I learned SO much from this book.  Interesting facts, heartbreaking facts, mind blowing facts.

As for my opinion of Jeanine Cummins writing this book without personally having lived through this herself…I’m not entirely sure that even matters.  This story is brilliant and IMPORTANT and needs to be shared.  Does it really matter WHO shares it?  Many people are saying that this isn’t “her story to tell” but truthfully, how many fiction writers are basing their stories solely on personal experience?  Jeanine Cummins is a brilliant storyteller and this book is an exceptional story which will make readers think, discuss, and analyze.  I cannot speak to the stereotypes in this book but what I CAN speak to is the fact that I will always support books which make readers THINK about topics outside of their comfort zone.  Any book which encourages people to talk about issues and brings awareness and understanding to hard to discuss topics deserves praise.  Jeanine Cummins did just that.

Bottom Line:

This book is absolutely brilliant.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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!*

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

I Highly, Highly Recommend This Book!

My friend Jana and I refer to each other as “Book Twins”.  Not only is our taste in books so similar but we know and trust each other’s tastes enough to know that when one of us has a book to recommend to the other….it’s highly likely that it’s going to be a hit with both of us.  I had never heard of The Fire on High or of it’s author Elizabeth Acevedo.  However, as soon as Jana sent me a message a few weeks ago saying this book is now one of her favorite books of 2020…I immediately put it on hold at the library.  Thank you, Book Twin!

Goodreads Synopsis of With the Fire on High {Elizabeth Acevedo}:

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

My Review of With The Fire On High {Elizabeth Acevedo}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

Oh this book is BEAUTIFUL.  I absolutely loved everything about it!

I love a good YA (young adult) book and this one is an absolute gem.  A must read.

The characters are so well developed and each will stay with me for a very long time.  I haven’t stopped thinking of them since I finished reading the last page yesterday!  The story lines are rich in detail, description, and depth.  This book was so beautifully written.  Even the cover art is stunning!  I absolutely loved everything about this book.

My one and only complaint with this book is something that I usually love in books!  The chapters in this book are SHORT…like sometimes just 2 pages short.  While I usually do love this, I did feel at times like they were a bit TOO short and just as a story line was really taking off…the chapter abruptly ended.  However, these short chapters did make it so easy to fly through this book!  I easily could have read this entire book over the course of 1 or 2 days if I wasn’t currently quarantined with 2 young children 😉

This book is absolutely BEGGING for a sequel…so many story lines that I would love to see extended!  Fingers crossed…

My book twin did not disappoint me!  She rarely does.  Except that one time.

Bottom Line:

If you love YA, you will LOVE this book!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think? 

Have you read any of Elizabeth Acevedo’s other books?  Which would you recommend? 

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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!*

*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

READ. THIS. BOOK.

During this quarantine I have been continuously making sure to have books on hand to occupy myself as the library has been closed.  At first I looked at this as somewhat of a challenge to FINALLY read those books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for years.  I read one of them (whyyyyy on Earth did it take me such a long time to read that book?!?) but then I was faced with a pile of other books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long.  And despite everything else…I truly didn’t (and still don’t) have a desire to read any of them.  Ugh.  So I borrowed a book from a friend (another one that I loved) and worked my way through the pile of library books that I had previously checkout out pre-corona.

Back in May, another dear friend and neighbor of mine texted to see if I would like to do a book swap with her as by that point we were both needing some new material to keep us busy!  We texted each other pictures of books that we own and were willing to trade.  The 2 that I gave to her were these:

Eh.  Despite popular opinion (everyone else seems to love both of these), I truly didn’t love either of these books.  You can read my review of The Wives HERE and of Becoming HERE.  I happily passed both of these books along!

After looking though the pictures of the books that she was willing to offer, I chose these 2!  I had never heard of either title nor had I heard of either author.  After a bit of Internet research, both sounded great!

She put them on her front porch.  I sent my husband to grab them and replace them with the 2 that I was giving to her, and…success!  Now her and I both had some new-to-us reading material.

Book friends are the best 🙂

I chose to read The Perfect Girlfriend first and…WOW.

Book Synopsis of The Perfect Girlfriend {Karen Hamilton}:

My Book Review of The Perfect Girlfriend {Karen Hamilton}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

THIS.  BOOK.  WAS.  GREAT.

After finishing the last book that I read and didn’t love, I was more than ready to read an awesome book, one which wouldn’t allow for me to put it down.  JACKPOT.

(Great book + Dunkin’ coffee = joy)

From page 1 until the very last sentence, I was completely hooked.  This book was CRAZY and I found myself with my hand literally covering my mouth on NUMEROUS occasions while reading….the sign of an awesome psychological thriller.  This genre is absolutely one of my very favorites, and books like this are the reason why.

Short chapters, awesome story lines, CRAZY main character who does even CRAZIER things as the book goes on….loved it all.

You must read this book!  I absolutely loved everything about it and couldn’t put it down.  Definitely one of the best books I read during the quarantine…and one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2020!  I feel bad for my friend because the 2 books that I gave to  her were NOT nearly as good as this one, lol.  Oops.  Sorry Megan!

I cannot wait to read more from this author!  Apparently this is her debut book.  If she can create a story and characters this involved and awesome right from the start, I can only imagine how amazing her other books will be!

Karen Hamilton, I’m a FAN.

Bottom Line:

Read this  book.  Stat.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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!*

*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

Book Review: The Sun Down Motel {Simone St. James}

I had been wanting to read and review The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James for MONTHS.  I finally got to the point where I couldn’t wait even one more day to read it  (you can read the post where I finally broke down and bought this book HERE).

Goodreads Synopsis of The Sun Down Motel {Simone St. James}:

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

My Review of The Sun Down Motel {Simone St. James}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

Before purchasing this book, I did read peoples’ spoiler free reviews just to make sure that this was a book I would indeed want to buy.  I was BLOWN AWAY by the amount of positive reviews that everyone had!  It’s so rare to find a book where literally it seems that EVERYONE has such glowing things to say!  Reading these reviews made me even more confident in my decision to buy this book.

From my Instagram:

So what are my thoughts after reading?

First of all, this book was most definitely NOT what I was expecting.  LOTS OF TRUE CRIME, ghosts, etc.

My feelings as I was reading were ALL over the place.  Just when I was starting to like this book…suddenly I was bored.  Just when I was bored…the pace picked up and I was liking it once again.

My biggest complaint with this book was that it was told from the perspectives of 2 woman leading extremely similar lives yet 35 years apart both alongside many of the same characters.  It got CONFUSING.  So many characters, so many timelines, so many story lines. If one of these main characters had been male while the other had been female, I think that really would have helped to keep their story lines and characters straight.  If you do read this book, I would highly suggest making yourself a chart with all of the characters and story lines to reference as you read.  You’ll thank me later!

There was a large portion of this book where I literally had no idea what was going on!  Truth be told, if this was a library book there was no way I would have finished it.  HOWEVER, because I bought it…I was finishing no matter what!  It took me significantly longer to finish this book than I would have liked but I honestly just never wanted to pick it up.  Eh.

I’m glad I did finish because the last 100ish pages were the best parts of the book!  Everything finally came together and made a bit more sense.  I did figure out one major twist pretty early on (ugh) but none of my other predictions turned out to be correct!

The cover is GORGEOUS but not how the Sun Down Motel’s building, surroundings, or sign are actually described in the book???  How does that even happen???

Would I recommend this book?  If you are a true crime fan than 100 PERCENT YES!  This entire book is true crime.  If you are like me and don’t necessarily love true crime….eh….probably not the book for you.

I’m also not a huge paranormal fan and this book most definitely has paranormal elements.  I knew about this before I started reading but all of those positive reviews had me convinced that I should read something out of my normal comfort zone.  I’m glad I did….sometimes you need to read things that you normally wouldn’t read and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Thank GOD my library drive thru has reopened!  I have now purchased 2 books over the past few months and didn’t love either one (you can read about the other one that I bought HERE).  Ugh.

Bottom Line:

True crime + ghosts + too many characters + too many similarities in different story lines = not the book for me.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

I didn’t love this book…but you might!  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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Book Review: Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate}

Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours has been on my To Read list for such a long time.  It has received such high praise and due to that, I knew I wanted to read it and yet for some reason just never did.  Maybe because I knew how heavy the story was going to be?  Maybe because I’m not a huge historical fiction fan?  Whatever the reason, this book has been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year.  No time like a quarantine to catch up on your To Read list!  I was so excited to finally read and review this book for the blog.

If you recall from my last WWW post, I was reading another book and was planning on reading this one next but ultimately changed my mind.  I HAD to find out why everyone loves this book so much!  I put the other book down after reading just a few chapters although I do plan on picking it back up again at another time.  The time just felt right for me to dig into this one…and I’m so glad that I finally did.

Goodreads Synopsis of Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate} :

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

My Review of Before We Were Yours {Lisa Wingate}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that on Saturday I posted the following:

After reading the comments, there was one big takeaway:  KEEP ON READING.  And so read I did.  And just like that…I couldn’t put it down.  I read on Saturday, I read on Sunday, I read yesterday.  FINISHED.

Yesterday morning’s Instagram story:

Like everyone else, I ended up truly loving this beautiful book. I LIKED it from the beginning but it wasn’t until I was about 3/4 of the way through where I couldn’t put it down.  I was expecting to feel this way from the start but unfortunately it took a bit for me to get there.  However once I got there…wow.  WHAT.  A.  STORY.

Once I finished reading, I was up until 1:00 am researching the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and Georgia Tann.  The more I researched, the more I just can’t believe that this is a piece of our country’s history.  I also can’t believe that this piece of history is not more well known.  A big kudos to Lisa Wingate for bringing this horrific part of our country’s past into the minds and hearts of readers today.  The more I read about this topic, the more disgusted and outraged I became.  HOW on Earth did Georgia Tann get away with this and for as long as she did?!? Absolutely mind blowing.

One complaint that I do have with this book is that for as much as the beautiful and complicated STORY was so incredibly well developed, I wish that the characters were as well.  There were so many characters (many with a few different names) that at times I had to remind myself who was who to keep each of them straight (especially the siblings).  I also wish we could have had more of a glimpse into life on the Arcadia at the BEGINNING of the story rather than first learning the beautiful bits and pieces throughout.

However, it is such an amazing book filled with such a detailed, complicated, messy, beautiful, and heartbreaking story.  The impression that this book has made will stay with me forever.

I highly, highly recommend this book if you haven’t yet read it.  I will absolutely be looking into reading more titles by Lisa Wingate.  I loved her writing style and she painted such clear images throughout this book.  What a talent!

…And on a side note, I’ve got my favorite seasonal candle burning next to me as I’m working on this post.  WHAT SEASON IS IT ANYMORE?!?!  #quarantinelife

Bottom Line:

This book is both heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.  A must read.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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

Book Review: The Other’s Gold {Elizabeth Ames}

When I randomly picked up The Other’s Gold by Elizabeth Ames on the library shelf, the synopsis gave off the same type of vibe as THIS BOOK which I absolutely loved.  I couldn’t wait to read it and write a review!  I hadn’t heard of this book or this author but obviously the subject of 4 best friends who met in college sucked me right in.

Goodreads Synopsis of The Other’s Gold {Elizabeth Ames}:

Assigned to the same suite during their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorne College, Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret quickly become inseparable. But they soon find their bonds–forged in joy, and fused by fear–must weather threats that come at them from institutions, from one another, and ultimately, from within themselves.

The Other’s Gold follows the four friends as each makes a terrible mistake, moving from their wild college days to their more feral days as new parents. With one part devoted to each mistake–the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite–this complex yet compulsively readable debut interrogates the way that growing up forces our friendships to evolve as the women discover what they and their loved ones are capable of, and capable of forgiving.

My Book Review:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

4 Stars

The beginning of this book was written on a path aimed directly into my heart.  4 best friends who met freshman year of college and INSTANTLY became soulmates???  Their instant connection?  Their immediate bond?  The fact that 4 strangers could immediately become FAMILY? It was insane. It was US. I texted my 3 best friends and told them that I was currently reading a book that written about US.

**You can read about my relationship with my amazing besties HERE and HERE**

And then as the characters began to unfold and their stories came to light, it was ABUNDANTLY clear that this book was NOT in fact written about us.  Nope, not at all.  Not even a little bit.  How could I ever even think to compare the 4 of us to these 4 awful women?!

The girls in this book turned into 4 of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever read about.  I couldn’t connect to ANY of them, their life decisions, or the way that they ultimately treated each other and at times treated their friendship.

I am ALWAYS thankful for my 3 beautiful best friends but after reading this book I am even MORE thankful that we have each other and that we are NOTHING like these awful women.  Yikes.

Warning: Parts of this book are hard to read.  The subjects (especially in the 2nd half of the book) are extremely uncomfortable.

The writing was…interesting.  Extremely descriptive, sometimes TOO descriptive.

So why am I giving this book about these horrible women 4 stars??? I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.  This was the kind of book where I would sneak in a little bit of reading time anytime that I could because I HAD to know what was going to happen next.  I felt my mouth physically DROP OPEN reading about some of these decisions that these 4 were making and I found myself physically covering sections with my hand so I wouldn’t mistakenly read ahead.  I loved the tiny cliffhangers at the end of certain chapters!  Why can’t more authors master this?!  Awesome!!

My review of this book is so all over the place.  Things I loved?  YES!  Things I hated?  YES!  Able to put it down and stop reading until I finished?  NO!

Bottom Line:

I’m not sure how I can like AND recommend a book where I hate the characters and subjects…but….I do?!?

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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!*

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

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

Book Review: The Family Upstairs {Lisa Jewell}

During the first week of the COVID-19 quarantine, one of my best friends texted me that she was dropping Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs on my front porch.  She loved it and thought that I would as well.  I couldn’t wait to start reading and to write my book review, I had heard such great things from so many people about this book!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

4 Stars

Omg I LOVED this book!

There are so many storylines and characters which I usually hate but in this book was completely necessary in order to properly tell this story.  The first half of the book set the scene for the second half of the book which I couldn’t put down!  I read the first half over the course of a week or so and the second half over the course of only 2 days.  Loved it.

Some storylines I figured out while some I did NOT.  This book is creepy, twisted, interesting, fascinating, and AWESOME.

This is the 2nd Lisa Jewell book that I’ve read (you can read my review of another one HERE) and I’m such a huge fan of her writing style.  She tells such detailed, colorful stories with the most fascinating characters!  Also, I love her short chapters as this makes it so easy to FLY through her books (more on my thoughts on this HERE).  As soon as this quarantine is over, I’ll be running to the library to check out her other books!  I’m a BIG fan!

And…apparently she’s a fan of ME too 😉

Twitter:

Instagram:

How cool is that?!  #besties

I should add here that the copy of this book that I read was a “Barnes and Noble exclusive” copy which contained a special author’s note at the end.  This piece was fascinating and added another rich layer to the already complex story.  If you can get your hands on a Barnes and Noble copy, I highly recommend it!  Lisa Jewell discusses the background on how this story came to be and even hints at a possible future project…loved reading this special addition.  It added another whole dimension to this book!

I should also add that I will be returning this book to my friend in the EXACT condition as it was when it was left on my front porch.  It was hard but I did it!  Phew 😉

Bottom Line:

Please, please, please someone make this awesome book into a movie!

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would 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!*

*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)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*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