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October Reads {2018}

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It’s the second Tuesday of the month and time to share my October Reads with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books linkup.  I’m going to be honest, October was a pretty disappointing reading month for me.  Almost all of my reads were 3 stars and just okay reads.  And it was a slow reading month for me with only five books read.  Here they are from least to most liked:

3 stars:
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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin – I used to be a big Emily Giffin fan and have read almost every one of her books.  I actually enjoyed this story that shows the divide between the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy and the effects that bad decisions teens make can have on their peers and families.  My only issue was that the story felt unresolved to me and rushed at the end.

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The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances – Laura is happy to meet her son’s new girlfriend.  But she doesn’t get good vibes from Cherry (yes, I had a problem with this name!), and thinks that she’s a manipulative gold digger.  But her son has fallen for her and now must choose between his girlfriend and mother.  When Daniel is injured in an accident, Laura makes a decision that she thinks is in his best interest….but ultimately there are consequences.  Some things in this book were a bit far fetched, but overall an okay suspense read.

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Next of Kin by James Tucker – This is the first book in the Detective Buddy Lock series.  I’ve been avoiding starting a new series, but decided to give this one a go.  Detective Lock investigates the murder of the prestigious Brook family.  Their 10-year-old son Ben, is the only survivor, but someone wants him dead too.  Buddy tries to keep Ben safe while finding the murderer.  This was a quick read and an okay mystery.  I’m willing to give the next book in the series a try.

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The Other Woman by Sandie Jones – I didn’t realize when I put this book on hold that it had a very similar premise to The Girlfriend – son has a girlfriend, mom is jealous.  So, I might have tired of the plot line and thus my 3 star rating.  But I don’t know.  The story had me interested, but questioning why does Emily stay with Adam?  Pammie did some shady things to keep Emily away from her son.  This was a suspenseful read and the ending totally surprised me….so it may be worth the read if you like suspense books.  Of the two, I’d recommend this one over The Girlfriend.

4 stars:
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Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis – This was my non-fiction read of the month.  I have become a fan of Rachel Hollis after listening to the Rise Together podcast that she does with her husband.  Then I learned that she has her own podcast Rise and realized that I read one of her fiction books Party Girl and really liked it.  In this book, she talks about the lies that we tell ourselves and how we need to get over them to live our best life.  It’s an inspiring read told in a very down-to-earth way.

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August Reads {2018}

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It’s hard to believe that summer is over.  And it with it, the lazy weekends and extra time to read. Although my schedule doesn’t change come the fall, the kids’ schedules get filled up with their activities, and my reading time seems to decrease drastically!  I feel like I read a good amount over the summer but know I won’t be able to keep up reading 6-8 books a month.  See that library haul of books in that photo above?  Sadly, half of them will be returned unread.  Last month was great in both quantity and quality of reads.  Here are my August reads from least to most liked that I’m sharing with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.

3 Stars

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The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll – I read Knoll’s other novel, Luckiest Girl Alive and only gave it three stars as well.  That should have been a warning, but I decided to give this book a go.  For some reason, it’s categorized as a mystery/thriller, but I do not think it should be.  This book follows several different women in a reality television show called “Goal Diggers.”  There is of course drama and each woman is harboring secrets.  I love a good reality television show.  I think because I went into it expecting something else I was a bit disappointed.

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Promises by Belva Plain – When I was growing up my mom used to read a lot of Belva Plain’s books.  By default, since they were around, I also read her books and found them enjoyable.  Somehow, a couple of Plain’s books have been sitting on my bookshelf for YEARS.  In an effort to clear off my bookshelves I decided to read Promises. It appears my reading tastes have changed drastically from those college years.  Even though most of the story takes place in the 90’s, it felt so antiquated.  What wife says, “Oh darling” when referring to her husband?!! And nowadays, I don’t believe a woman would put her career on hold for her husband’s advancement (or I hope she wouldn’t).  This book probably rates close to 2.5 than 3 stars for me, but Goodreads doesn’t allow me to give half star ratings.

4 Stars

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The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky – Miranda Regent is one of 6 kids chosen around the world to prep for a mission to Mars.  The only American chosen, she soon starts receiving threatening messages.  Is she in danger? This is a middle grade fiction book that I picked up at the library for my son to read.  He wasn’t that into it and didn’t finish it.  However, if it’s not manga or a graphic novel, I’ve been having difficulty getting him to read it.  I read it and thought it was a pretty good read.  You have to go in with the expectation that it is geared toward children and fiction.  Like, super smart teenagers going into space fiction.  But there was a lot of action and adventure.  So, if you know of kids who like this type of book I’d have them give this one a try.

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Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hiller – Georgina “Geo”, Angela and Kai were high school best friends. One night Angela disappears and is never seen again.  Fourteen years later her remains are discovered and Kai, now a police detective discovers that she was a victim of serial killer Calvin James.  Calvin just happened to be Geo’s girlfriend at the time of Angela’s disappearance.  This book had lots of secrets and hidden surprises.  This is the type of book that I think of when I think of a mystery/thriller.

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The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon – In 1992, Abby and Liam were dating and in love.  But when her brother dies in a car accident, Abby feels responsible and pushes Liam away.  Fast forward to present day and Abby is married to Nate, the man who came upon the accident and actually saved Abby’s life. They have a teenage daughter and are happily married.  But then, Liam and his family end up moving in next door.  Will their past be discovered?  Again, I didn’t really find this book to much of a mystery/thriller.  But about half-way through it became a page-turner.

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Reading People by Anne Bogel – This a collection of different personality tests/frameworks that Bogel explains in hopes of helping the reader learn more about herself and others.  Personality frameworks have always interested me and I found this book to be enjoyable and insightful.  This was my non-fiction read of the month.

 

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July Reads 2018

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It’s time once again to link up with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  Summer is flying by and I’ve been trying to read up a storm.  I read a good mix of books this month including three non-fiction books and variety of fiction.  And I’m happy to report that the majority of them were enjoyable reads!  Here are my July reads:

3 stars

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Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman – I have recently become a big fan of The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise.  If you are a fan of the show, do not read this book!  This book will ruin the show for you.  While it’s nice to know the truth behind the show, I’ve become jaded by the info I learned.  I will continue to watch the show, but unfortunately, not with the same enthusiasm that I had.

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Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris – I really enjoyed Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown.  However, I found this book to be a bit disappointing.  I found several of the plot lines unbelievable and didn’t really like any of the characters.  Fans of B.A. Paris may want to give this book a try.  Otherwise, I don’t recommend it.

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The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking – I’m late to the hygge (hue-guh) game and only finally got to this book now.  I feel like I picked the wrong season to read this book.  Hygge is all about coziness (think warm sweaters, candles, stews, etc.).  I thought this book was okay, describing all things hygge and how to live a life of hygge.  This was one of three non-fiction books I read this month.

4 stars

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Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee – Two sisters struggle as one sister, Lucia has a mental illness.  Older sister Miranda feels responsible for taking care of and watching Lucia. But as an adult, Lucia is able to live her own life.  This book was a good look at how mental illness affects a family.

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How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake – This was a decent YA book.  There are a couple of story lines going on in this book – one with Grace dealing with a mother who acts more like a child and the other with Grace falling in love with a girl.  This book has gotten a lot of positive reviews in the LGBT community, as I know this was the first YA book that I’ve read with a bisexual character.  I really disliked Grace’s mom and it’s hard to believe that there are really parents like her out there.

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In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park – Park was born in North Korea and fled the country at age 13. She eventually made it to South Korea and this book is the story of her escape.  I found this book to be so insightful.  I’ve heard about how bad North Korea is, but didn’t realize how bad it was, until reading this.  Park’s story is so inspirational after all of the horrific events she survived.

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Killman Creek by Rachel Caine – This is the second book in the Stillhouse Lake series.  You do need to read the first book in the series, Stillhouse Lake, before reading this one.  I found it just as suspenseful as the first.  The third book won’t be released until March of 2019, but I will be reading it to see where the series goes!

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell –  Ellie Mack disappears at 15.  Her mother Laurel meets a man at a local cafe and the two start a romance.  But when Laurel meets his 9-year-old daughter Poppy, who shares a strange resemblance to her missing daughter, she starts wondering what really happened to her daughter.  I had taken a break from suspense books for a bit, since I was finding them to be so formulaic and predictable.  This book was actually a decent read and a nice reentry to the genre.

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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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