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June Reads 2018

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It’s the second Tuesday of the month and time to share my June Reads with Jana and Steph’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  I thought June was off to a great start.  But in the end, like last month, I only read five books.  Quality-wise, most weren’t even that great.  But, July is  a new month.  I feel like I read more in the summer, so I’m hoping that still remains true! Here are my June reads:

2 stars

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The Perfect Nanny by Leiia Slimani – This was one of the times that I should have relied on the goodreads rating of this book.  This book was translated from French and I was interested in seeing what kind of thriller this would be.  Let’s just say this wasn’t suspenseful at all.  I felt like it didn’t go anywhere and there were no likable characters.  Overall, this was a big disappointment.

3 stars

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A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay – I got this book years ago after reading and loving de Rosnay’s book Sarah’s Key.  The book focuses on the complexity of family relationships but the secret was a bit of a letdown.  I’m happy to have finally read a book off my own bookshelf though and can now pass it on.

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The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod – This was my non-fiction book of the month.  At age 20, Elrod was clinically dead for 6 minutes after being hit head-on by a drunk driver.  This accident made him reevaluate his life.  He realized the power of getting up early and performing a consistent morning ritual. His morning practice, L.I.F.E.S.A.V.E.R.S., is the foundation of The Miracle Morning.   I found Elrod’s story inspiring.  And I really believe there’s a connection between being an early riser and success.  I just need to actually put this book into practice!

 4 stars

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center –  Maggie had it all – a dream job, a nice apartment and an amazing boyfriend.  However, everything changes on the night of her engagement.  She wakes up in a hospital having to face that her life will never be the same.  She does a lot of growing and a majority of the book focuses on her coming to terms with her new life.  I believe that this book was recommended in the last SUYB.  I had wanted to read one of Center’s other books, Happiness for Beginners, for awhile now.  I am hopefully going to get to that one sooner than later now, since I enjoyed this book.

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The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman – I’ve been a big Viola Shipman fan since I read The Charm Bracelet.  Her books tend to have a formulaic quality, with objects, or in this case recipes, leading to a story.  This book in particular felt a little repetitive to me at times, but overall it was an enjoyable story.

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May 2018 Reads

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It’s time to share my May 2018 Reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  May was a slow reading month for me.  I was busy and when I did have some free time, I was just not motivated to read.  June is off to a great start though, so hopefully my reading mojo is back!  Here are my May reads:
3 Stars

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus – I started this book months ago, wasn’t into it and returned it to the library unfinished.  Then, several SUYB bloggers raved about it.  So I decided that I needed to give it another try.  It was Breakfast Club-esque.  It’s also a YA book and I feel like it read like a YA book.  Overall, it was an okay read for me but I’m glad that I went back and finished it.

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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – I hadn’t heard of this book until I discovered that Starz was creating a television show based on it. I’m all about reading the book before the show or movie so I had to give it a try.  As a foodie, I loved reading about the food and getting a behind the scenes look at the restaurant.  However, I found the writing to be overly-wordy and I found none of the characters really likeable.  I’m curious to see what the show is like though.  Has anyone seen it?!

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You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero – I really liked Sincero’s first book, You Are a Badass.  Her second book focuses on bringing more money into your life via manifesting and mindset.  Not a bad book if you are into that type of thing.

4 Stars

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Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins – When Nora Stuart is injured in an accident, she moves from Boston back to her small hometown of Maine to recover.  While there, she ends up discovering things about her past and forges new relationships.  I enjoyed this book and think it would make a good summer read.  This was my first Higgins book, but I think I may check some of her other books out.

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Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt – This was the second non-fiction book that I read this month.  Your Best Year Ever provides an actionable 5-step plan to reach your goals.  It’s motivational and helpful in goal setting.  However, I think I’d get more out of this book if I owned it, rather than borrowed it from the library.

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April 2018 Reads

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It’s the second Tuesday of the month which means that I’m sharing my April reads with Jana and Steph’s Show Us Your Books linkup.  It was a slow reading month for me.  I only read five books, but all but one were great reads.  Here are my April 2018 reads in least to most liked.

3 stars
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Soulful Simplicity  by Courtney Carver – This was my only non-fiction book of the month.  After being diagnosed with MS, Carver reassessed her life and decided to live a more minimalist life.  Her book gives tips and strategies on how to pursue minimalism.  I found it to be too autobiographical and the advice was pretty basic.  

4 stars

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The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth – This book is about Pleasant Court and three women, Essie, Ange and Fran, who live with their families there.  When Isabelle, a single woman, moves into the neighborhood the women are on high alert.  Each of the women, including Isabelle, are each dealing with their own struggles.  While it appears to the others that their lives are perfect they are indeed not.  The story line and writing style of this book reminded me of Liane Moriarty.  While Hepworth has become a recent favorite author, this book had a different writing style/feel than her other books that I’ve read.  It was still an enjoyable read for me though.

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah – Hannah has been a favorite author for awhile.   I found this book to start off slow.  At first, I was thinking this wasn’t my kind of read.  However, once I got about half-way through I got really invested into Leni’s life, rooting for her and her mom.

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The Other Mother by Carol Goodman – Daphne meets Laurel at a postpartum mother’s support group.  The two both have daughters named Chloe.  Soon Daphne starts dressing and looking like Laurel.  Their intense friendship has some drastic consequences. When I picked up this book, I realized that I had read one of Goodman’s books many years ago and wasn’t a big fan of it.  So, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy this book.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover this was a decent suspense read.

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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney – Amber wakes up in the hospital, unable to see or speak. However, she can hear everything going on around her.  As the story unfolds between the past, the week before her accident and the present, we discover what really happened.  I feel like I’ve read a couple of books recently where the wife was in an accident and can’t remember what happened prior to it and I wasn’t impressed.  This book though had lots of twists and I found it to be an enjoyable read.

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March 2018 Reads

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Working full-time now, I’m happy that I’ve still been able to get in some quality reading time.  March was a good month in terms of quantity, but was mostly a book of just okay reads.  Read on to see my March 2018 reads.  As always, I’m linking up with Jana and Steph’s Show Us Your Books linkup and will be adding tons of books to my to-read list!

3 stars:

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan –  James, an important political figure, is accused of a crime.  No one, especially his wife Sophie believes that he is guilty.  Kate is the barrister prosecuting the case and is sure that James has committed the crime and will do everything to prove it. This was just an okay suspense book.  I almost gave up on the book but was curious to find out what they big mystery was.

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The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher – Lara and Maggie are married to brothers, Massimo and Nico.  Although Lara’s life looks perfect: a son, a nice house, being able to be a stay-at-home mom, it’s not.  She hides a dark secret from everyone.  Maggie is the new stepmom to teenage Francesca, who still hasn’t gotten over her mother’s death two years ago.  Maggie attempts to create a new life for herself, despite the rumors of being a “gold-digger.”  While cleaning out the attic she discovers a secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin and has to decide whether to tell him or not.  While they don’t appear to have anything in common, Lara and Maggie begin to help each other navigate the family dynamics.  This book explores family relationships and the struggles of being the second wife.  I haven’t read any of Fisher’s previous books and wasn’t the biggest fan of this book to want to read more.

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Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella – Already married for ten years, Sylvie and Dance discover that they may have 68 more years of married life together.  They agree that they need to bring surprises into their marriage.  This leads to secrets being revealed and both questioning if they really know each other.  I haven’t read a Kinsella book in awhile and this book didn’t really impress me.

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T is for Transformation by Shaun T – Shaun T is the creator of the Insanity and Focus T25 workouts, neither of which I’ve done.  In this book Shaun writes about 7 transformational principles that guide his life and have helped lead him to success.  This was my only non-fiction book of the month.  His story is inspiring and I enjoyed all of his “truth bombs.”

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The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – Anna Fox lives alone in NYC.  She hasn’t left her house in months and spends her days watching all of her neighbors.  When the Russells move in across the street, Anna sees something that she shouldn’t.  However, with all of the pills that she takes along with all of the alcohol, did it really happen or did she just imagine it?  This book moved a bit slow up until the middle and I was so tired of reading about all the pill taking and drinking.  The second half of the book turned into a page-turner and I didn’t see the ending.  There was so much hype about this book that I was excited to read it, but overall, I was a bit disappointed.

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A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle – I read this book with my son when we heard it was being made into a movie.  I had not previously read this book and didn’t really know what the book was about.  It involves time and space travel which isn’t really my thing.  I didn’t realize that this is the first book in a six book series and I don’t really have a desire to continue the series.  We did go see the movie opening weekend and although it had a great cast, it differed a lot from the book and overall I wasn’t impressed.

4 stars:

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Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino – Matt and Grace met their senior year of college.  What starts as a friendship ends up becoming more serious.  But then they graduate and lose touch.  15 years later, and Matt spots Grace on the subway, just as it’s pulling away from the platform.  Will they be able to reconnect?  This is a contemporary romance that was a great read.  I was a fan of Carlino’s Swear on This Life and want to read more of her other books.

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Still Me by Jojo Moyes – This is the third book in the Me Before You series.  Louisa is living in New York City, hired to be an assistant to the very wealthy Agnes Gopnik.  Louisa is trying to adjust to life in the city, a long distance relationship and her new job.  This was a humorous and heart-warming read and I enjoyed reading more of Louisa’s story.

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February 2018 Reads

Ratings and reviews of my February2018 reads.

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It’s one of my favorite days of the month, Steph and Jana’s Shows Us Your Books link up!  I love getting to share my recent reads as well as get a bunch of new reading recommendations.  Although February is a short month, I think I read a decent amount.  Especially since I returned to work full-time at the end of January, which means my reading time has substantially decreased.  Even better, most of my February 2018 reads were 4 stars!

3 Stars

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52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life by Andrea Owen – This was my only non-fiction read this month.  So far, I’ve been good with my goal of reading at least one non-fiction book a month.  This book is made up of 52 very short chapters, where each chapter is a different tip.  While this book didn’t really tell me anything new or wow me, Owen provided lots of reminders on how to live your best life.

4 Stars

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The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson  – The “gardener” has created a beautiful garden of butterflies.  The butterflies just happen to be kidnapped young girls.  But something has happened and the garden is no more.  The FBI question Maya, one of the survivors where we are told about the gardener via her stories and flashbacks.  After reading about this book from several bloggers in past linkups, I had to read it.  This is a disturbing story, yet I had to continue reading it to see how it all unfolded.  It’s the first in a three book series, which I now want to continue.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – I have read so many rave reviews of this book on these linkups and I can finally understand why.  Eleanor is such a quirky, likeable character.  I enjoyed this book and can see how she has been compared to Ove in A Man Called Ove.

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Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner – I thought I’d start listening to audio books on my commute to work.  I listened to this book and then my cd player/radio died.  I’ve been two weeks now without any radio/cd player as we wait for one more part my husband needs to replace it. So, no more audio books after this one for awhile. Live to Tell is the fourth book in the D.D. Warren series.  In this book an entire family is murdered, with the father as the primary suspect.  Detective D.D. Warren is assigned to the case and as she starts investigating, realizes that there’s more going on. I’ve been trying to avoid starting new series, especially those with a lot of books in them.  However, I had started this series way back and it was nice to start back up with Gardner’s Detective D.D. Warren series.  This was a really good book to listen to on audio, with multiple narrators.

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Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine – Gina Royal accidentally discovers her husband’s secret…..that he is a serial killer.  Even though he’s in prison, people still think that she was involved with her husband’s crimes and have targeted her and her children.  They have been living a life on the run, constantly changing names and moving.  Stillhouse Lake is actually starting to feel like home when a dead body turns up and they start receiving threatening letters.  This is the first book in a series, which I didn’t know until I read it…..it ends with a cliffhanger!  The author includes a soundtrack at the end of the book of songs that accompanied her during the writing of this book.  I found it to be a unique concept to include and had fun listening to the songs on YouTube, though some were too heavy metal for my liking.  Overall, a great, suspense read for those that like this genre.

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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – This story revolves around three characters, the husband, the ex-wife and the new fiancee.  It’s hard to say much more without giving away spoilers.  This was a surprisingly enjoyable suspense read with several plot twists that kept me guessing. I recently read that it’s going to be made into a movie, which I think will be pretty good.

 

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January 2018 Reads

A look at the books that I read in January 2018.

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The second Tuesday of the month means that it’s time to join Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  Each month many other book lovers share the books that they read the previous month and their review.  This is a great way to get new book recommendations…..and my to-read list grows significantly!  You will be seeing more non-fiction books this year in my monthly reviews, as one of my goals this year is to read at least one non-fiction book a month.  I had a pretty good reading month in January in terms of quantity. However, quality-wise, a lot of my reads were just okay.  Here are my January 2018 reads in order of least to most liked.

3 Stars

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I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll – While on a train, Ella Longfield overhears two young men just out of prison, chatting with two teenage girls.  She later discovers that one of the girls, Anna Ballard, is missing.  A year later Anna is still missing and Ella is receiving threatening letters.  During an anniversary appeal, new evidence comes in and it appears everyone has been keeping secrets.  This book is told through the perspectives of Ella (the Witness), Henry (Anna’s father), Sarah (Anna’s friend) and Matthew (the private investigator).  Overall, it was just an okay suspense read for me.

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Close to Me by Amanda Reynolds – Jo Harding falls down the stairs in her home, hitting her head.  She now suffers from partial amnesia and cannot remember anything that happened from the last year of her life.  As she starts to piece together the details of her life before the accident, she realizes that everyone has been keeping secrets, including her two children.  The story is told in alternating before the fall/after the fall chapters.  I found this book to be too drawn out and the characters, especially the daughter, to be annoying.

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Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart – Sisters Quinn and Nora haven’t seen each other in almost a year.  When Quinn receives a text from Nora that says I have something for you she is not expecting a little girl. Soon, their mother also gets involved in this little girl’s life and all the mystery that surrounds her appearance.  This book is allegedly a “suspense/thriller.” As a huge fan of this genre, I was so disappointed with this book.  This was more of a family drama that moved way too slowly for my liking.

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Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequest –  The premise of this book drew me in, “leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living.” I had also seen and read a lot of positive reviews of this book.  Unfortunately, I found this book to me more a memoir of Niequest’s quest for a more simple and soulful way of living, rather than giving the reader ideas.  It was also a little more religious than I would have liked.

4 Stars

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The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman – I had heard the five different love languages (words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch) referred to many times, but never read the book until now.  I find the concept of having different love languages interesting and valid.  There’s a quiz in this book if you are unsure of what your love language is.

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills –  Paige and Iris break up and Claudia ends up overhearing the entire thing. Iris isn’t the friendliest of girls and unfortunately for Claudia, the two end up being partnered together to write a paper.  They are then are forced to audition for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where Claudia is exposed to a whole new world of teenage life.  This was a cute and fun YA read that shows the ups and downs of adolescence and adapting to change.  I could have done without all the references to Battle Quest, a multi-player

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Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda – Jessa’s recent ex-boyfriend Caleb is dead and she feels like everyone blames her.  So when his mom asks her to help box up his things, she says yes.  As she does, she discovers things and learns more about him that make her question their relationship and whether she really knew him.  I’ve read one other of Miranda’s books, The Perfect Stranger, but enjoyed this book a lot more. Although this YA mystery book was slow at times, it picked up mid-way and turned into a page-turner.

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The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan – My son and I had been reading this book together for almost 2 1/2 months and finally finished last month.  This is the first book in The Heroes of Olympus series, a spin-off of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.  In this book, Jason, Leo and Piper are brought together on a quest to save Hera from Gaea’s potential awakening.  The book is told from the various points of view of the three main characters.  This was my first Riordan book and I can see why so many tweens love his books.  He sucks the reader in and his books are filled with humor and adventure.

5 Stars

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The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth – Mother and daughter, Alice and Zoe, have always been a pair. But then Alice is diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. She has no family to help her after her surgery and during her chemo treatments. Her teenage daughter Zoe suffers from severe social anxiety.  Kate, one of Alice’s nurses and Sonya, her social worker are both dealing with their own personal issues, but they both help Alice and Zoe. I am not very familiar with anxiety and reading about Zoe’s anxiety issues made me feel anxious.  I cannot imagine how difficult life must be for people living with the severe anxiety that she had.  Beware, this book is an emotional tear-jerker of a read, but so good!  I read one of her previous books, The Things We Keep and really enjoyed it. I plan on reading The Secret of Midwives soon and her soon-to-be released book, The Family Next Door.

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December 2017 Reads

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It’s the second Tuesday of the month and time to share my December 2017 reads in Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  December was a good reading month for me.  I only read seven books but all except one were four or five stars.  January has gotten off to a good reading start, so I hope to continue the trend!

3 Stars

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I had always thought that this was a historical fiction book that I wouldn’t be interested in.  Then, a friend told me about how good the show was on Hulu.  I’m all about reading the book before I see the movie or show, so I had to read it. In a dystopian future, where births are declining,  Offred and the other Handmaids have one job – to become pregnant.  The book delves into Offred’s past in random flashbacks.  I have to say overall the book has an interesting premise.  However, I felt like there was too much unanswered that left me unsatisfied as a reader.  I am curious to see the show now though!

4 Stars

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Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate –  This book has two consecutive story lines taking place as you read.  There’s present day South Carolina where Avery Stafford, raised in wealth and privilege discovers information about her grandmother that sends her digging into the family’s past.  Then there’s 1939 Memphis, Tennessee, where 12-year-old Rill Foss’ family is torn apart when she and her siblings are taken to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage.  I had no idea what this book was about before I started reading, just that it was the winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction.  And I like a good historical fiction book.  It was more horrifying to learn that this book is based on actual events that I had no idea about.

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter – Two sisters, Charlotte and Samantha, are brutally attacked and one is left for dead.  This is after they witness the intruders shoot and kill their mother.  Twenty-eight years later, the sisters barely speak, living separate lives.  Charlotte is witness to a school violence incident that rattles her enough for her husband to call Samantha to come.  I am fairly new to Karin Slaughter.  While I don’t want to start either of her series, I did read Pretty Girls and enjoyed it.  Although this one had a slow start for me, about half-way through I couldn’t put it down.

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Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak – The Birch family is spending Christmas in quarantine Emma and Andrew’s oldest daughter Olivia is returning after helping to treat a Haag (ebola-like) epidemic in Liberia.  Younger sister Phoebe has just become engaged. The family of four, have not been together in years and are not used to the close proximity.  Each of them is harboring a secret that of course ends up coming out during the seven days of quarantine.  The book is told from alternating points of view, in short chapters.  Overall, I found this to be an engaging, family drama read.

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This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell – (c/o netgalley)  Jessie wants a one week break from her boyfriend Chris.  The he ends up vanishing.  Since they started dating, Chris has written her a love letter every week.  This book is a note that she writes to him as she tries to find him.  We get a history of their relationship and discover why she wanted the break.  There’s some racial issues (she’s Caucasian, Chris is African-American) and mental illness issues addressed (hoarding, depression). This was a decent YA read, but a bit heavy.  I just wish that more time was spent addressing some of the serious issues touched upon (don’t want to go into more detail and reveal spoilers!).

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Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand –  Every year in December I try to read a couple of holiday-themed reads.  I’ve heard such good things about the Winter series.  This is the first book, and is about a bed and breakfast that shares the name of the title of the book.  Right before Christmas, Kelley Quinn, owner of Winter Street, discovers that his wife Mitzi is having an affair.  His four grown children are all dealing with their own issues.  They all end up together on Christmas, which is of course filled with drama.  Despite the drama, this is a heart-warming holiday read that leaves off unfinished.  Luckily, I know that this book is part of a series and the story continues. But if I had read this when it first came out I’d be unsatisfied with the ending.

5 Stars

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Dear Martin by Nic Stone – Justyce McAllister is arrested by a white cop when helping his drunk girlfriend.  After experiencing this racial injustice, he turns to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for some answers.  He tries to live like Dr. King would and writes him letters.  But when Justyce and his best friend Manny end up involved in a shooting, he doesn’t know if he can live like Martin.  Fans of The Hate U Give will most likely enjoy this book.  It touches upon the same powerful issues of police brutality, racial profiling and racism that is too prevalent in today’s society.

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Best Books of 2017

The best books that I read in 2017.

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If you are looking for some new books to read, today’s post is for you.  I’m sharing my best books of 2017 with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books linkup.  I’m always looking for book recommendations and I can’t wait to add tons of books to my goodreads “want to read” list after checking out everyone’s posts! According to Goodreads, I read 89 books this year, but I may get in one more read before the 31st.  These are my five star reads of the year. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order.  If you’re a regular reader of my monthly book reviews, you know that my favorite genre is suspense/thrillers.  However, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a 5 star book in this genre.  I don’t give many 5 star ratings.  The books that I give 5 stars to have to make me think, make me feel, and/or make me cry.  I have less than 10 books here, that I consider my best books of 2017.

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Beartown by Fredrik Backman – I think readers either love or hate this book.  I am definitely a lover.  This was the first Backman book I read.  I had heard others rave about it but was hesitant since it’s about hockey.  I’m not a huge hockey fan and didn’t think I’d love a book about it.  But it’s so much more than hockey.  Backman is a great storyteller. The only other book I’ve read of his so far is A Man Called Ove, which I enjoyed.  I plan to read more of his books next year.

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Dear Martin by Nic Stone – This was one of the last books that I read this month.  While it has a similar story line to The Hate U Give (see below), it was still a well-written, emotional and powerful read.  Authors tend to write about relevant topics, and it is sad to see that the shootings of unarmed black teenagers has become a norm.

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Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner – This is a YA book that was an emotional, all the feels, read.  It touches upon the importance of not texting and driving but is so much more.

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Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult – Picoult has been and continues to be one of my favorite authors. Her books tackle controversial issues and are told through the different points of view of multiple characters.  This is the first of two of her books that made my best of 2017 list.  This book is about a young girl with Osteogenisis Imperfecta (OI) a defect that causes her to have brittle bones and the lengths that her family will go to to protect her.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – Although this is a YA book, it is a powerful and relevant read on race.  Like Dear Martin, this is another book where an unarmed black youth is shot by a police officer.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling – We listened to this book on audio over the summer when we were traveling.  Not much to say about this one since almost everyone has probably read it.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – We did it!  We finally finished the Harry Potter series this summer.  I don’t know what took me so long to finish the series, but I’m glad that I was able to read this last book with my son.  Rowling is a master storyteller and this was such a great series!

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I think I have read all of TJR’s books now and this one has been my favorite.

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Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult –   Another book that focuses on race and racism in America.  This is a powerful and thought-provoking read.

 

What was your favorite book of the year?

 

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November 2017 Reads

Happy Tuesday.  I want to wish all my Jewish readers a Happy Hanukkah! It is also time once again to share my November 2017 Reads.  As usual, I’m joining Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  November was a slow reading month.  I just had very little motivation to read.  So, unfortunately, there’s not much to share this month.  However, I’m looking forward to checking out all of the other posts in the link up to add to my to read list!

3 Stars

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier –  This review was posted in my new monthly The Tweens Read post, since both my kids read this book last month.  This is a graphic novel with a telling title, since the book is about ghosts. Catrina’s little sister Maya has cystic fibrosis.  Their family moves to Northern California for Maya’s health.  As they explore their new neighborhood they discover that there are ghosts all around them.  This book was inspired by Dia de Los Muertos.  This was the first children’s book that I’ve read that has a character with cystic fibrosis.  I thought the author did a good job of describing the illness.  There has been some controversy over the accuracy of how Dia de Los Muertos is depicted in the book. If this is a child’s first book about the Day of the Dead, they make get a skewed idea of what the day is really about. This book is different than Telgemeier’s other graphic novels,  like Smile and Sisters, which are more realistic fiction based.  Both my kids enjoyed this book.

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I Totally Meant to Do That by Jane Borden – I’ve had this memoir on my shelf for so long.  Borden is from North Carolina but moves to New York City.  It’s basically living in two different worlds.  Some parts of the book were humorous and others dragged on.  Overall, just an “eh” read for me.  Now that it’s read though it’s getting donated!

4 Stars

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Far From the Tree by Robin Benway – This YA book is about three adopted siblings living in different families.  They end up meeting each other in their late teens.  Each of them is going through their own issues but end up supporting each other.  This book really takes a look at adoption and what defines family.  It’s an emotional but really good read.

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The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine – Amber Patterson is a nobody, but she has a plan to make herself into a somebody….doing whatever she has to to get there.  This suspense/thriller book got me out of my recent reading slump.  Although it’s slow in the middle, it picked up at the end.  I found it interesting that this book was co-authored by sisters (Liv Constantine is their pen name).

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – This book is a family drama with a LOT going on.  Everyone has secrets and nothing is as it appears.  I enjoyed Ng’s storytelling  even though it took me awhile to get into the book.  This is the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Fiction. Ng’s other book, Everything I Never Told You has been on my to read list for awhile now.  Since I enjoyed this one so much, I may have to read it sooner than later.

 

 

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October 2017 Reads

A review of my October 2017 Reads with ratings.

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It’s time once again for Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books link up.  It’s a time where I get to show off my October 2017 reads as well as see what other bloggers have been reading this past month.  My to-read list grows significantly today! October was a decent reading month for me.  I read seven books last month, with about half being really good reads.  I’ve been in a reading slump lately and even though it’s mid-November, I have only book read so far this month.  I’m hoping that some recommendations from this link-up will help get me reading again!

3 Stars

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The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse (c/o NetGalley) – Nina is happily married and a stay-at-home mom to two boys, living a life of luxury.  When her husband Finn dies in a car accident, she discovers that he has been hiding their huge financial problems.  Her house is repossessed and she must start a new life with her sons.  She moves closer to her sister and begins to find herself, discovering that she’s stronger than she believed.  I didn’t hate this book.  It just was a very slow read for me.  I didn’t realize that Prowse has written so many other books.  I am not giving up on her as an author yet and may try some of her other books.

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – I finally read the second book in the YA Lunar Chronicles series and I’m kind of disappointed.  I read Cinder so long ago and don’t remember much of it.  I do know that I enjoyed it a lot more than this second book.  For those of you unfamiliar with this series, the books are futuristic, fantasy takes on familiar fairy tales.  Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with references to grandmother and the Wolf.  There’s a lot of action and adventure in this book, but I haven’t been into this genre recently.  I’m not sure yet if I’ll finish up the series.

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Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley – A book that revolves around a bookstore where people leave notes to each other in the pages of books sounds like a book that I’d love.  I just didn’t. I found this to be a very slow read until the end.  And it was just so sad and depressing.  I know a couple other Show Us Your Book bloggers have read this book which is where I think I got the recommendation.  It just wasn’t a fave of mine.

4 Stars

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Class Mom by Laurie Gelman – Jen Dixon is an older mom with two grown daughters in college and a son Max, in Kindergarten.  Her friend Nina convinces her to be the class mom for Max’s class.  Jen sends out snarky, but hilarious, e-mails to the other parents.  One of the dad’s in the class is a former high school crush of hers.  She also trains for a mud run and has to deal with some parent and teacher drama.  This is a light, funny read.  While I am involved in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) at my kids’ schools, I have never volunteered for the role of class parent.  This book totally reminds me why!

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So Happiness to Meet You by Karin Esterhammer – (digital copy provided by Prospect Park Books) In 2008, during the recession, Karin and her husband leave LA with their young son.  They move abroad to Vietnam where they can live more cheaply.  We get an inside look at Vietnamese culture as they live among the locals for almost three years.  I found this to be such an interesting read.  Esterhammer gives a realistic account of what it’s like to live as an outsider in a new country and I loved learning about the Vietnamese culture.  It’s been awhile since I’ve read a non-fiction/memoir book and this was a good pick!

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Without Merit by Colleen Hoover – I am a huge Colleen Hoover fan and I think I’ve read most of her books.  I knew nothing about this book before reading it, just that it was her newest book.  Every character in this book had some pretty deep issues.  I felt like the issues were glossed over and never really addressed beneath a surface level.  So this wasn’t a favorite of Hoover’s.  However, I really enjoy her storytelling, so it still gets 4 stars!  If you’ve never read a Hoover book, don’t make this one your first!

5 Stars

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – This is a middle-grade chapter book that I read with my son.  It’s told from the perspective of Ivan, a mighty silverback gorilla.  He lives in a mall with his friend Stella, an elephant and Bob, the dog.  When new baby elephant, Ruby, arrives, he is forced to reevaluate his situation and make some important decisions.  This book had me laughing and crying and was just an overall great story for both kids and adults!  This was my first book I read of Applegate’s, but now I’m going to have to check out some of her other children’s books.