17

August 2020 Reads

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Summer is officially over and today is the first day of school for the kiddos. It’s also Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. August was another great reading month for me. Out of the 10 books I read, they were all 4 star reads except for one! I’m not sure if I’m being more selective about which books I read, but I’m not going to complain. Here are my August 2020 Reads:

3 stars:

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Good Girls Lie by J. T. Ellison – (suspense, December 2019) A student at an elite, all-girls boarding school in Virginia is found dead. Was it suicide or murder? I found this book so unbelievable, yet had to finish it to see what happened.

4 stars:

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Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins – (Contemporary Fiction, June 2020) A couple are married for almost fifty years. The husband is bike riding when he gets hit by a car and ends up having a stroke. During this time the wife discovers a secret he’s been keeping from her. Meanwhile their two adult daughters are facing struggles of their own. This book shows all the messiness and complications of family dynamics. This is only the second book that I’ve read by this author, but I have to read more of her stuff.

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Eliza Starts a Rumor by Jane Rosen – (Contemporary Fiction, June 2020) An online moderator for a women’s parenting forum starts a rumor after she learns of a rival online parenting group. Unfortunately, this rumor has major consequences for some women. I was interested in this book since it takes place in the Hudson Valley and I actually live in the Hudson Valley. I wasn’t sure what to expect before reading this. But it was really enjoyable. The characters were all likable and there was a lot more depth and emotion to the book than I thought there would be.

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A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight – (suspense, May 2020) Described as Big Little Lies meets Presumed Innocent. A lawyer gets a call from a college friend who is accused of murdering his wife. While she tries to help him, her own marriage is slowly falling apart. This was a fast paced thriller that had me guessing until the end.

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley – (suspense/thriller, June 2020) The most perfectly planned wedding is taking place on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. Except nothing is turning out as the bride expected and then someone ends up dead. Although I didn’t really like any of the characters the story itself kept me reading.

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Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – (historical fiction, February 2017) In early 1900’s Korea a young woman is impregnated by a wealthy man she falls in love with. But he’s married with kids. A sick minister staying at her mother’s boarding house offers to wed her and the two move to Japan. The story covers a span of over 50 years. I learned so much about Koreans living in Japan during this time period.

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Pretty Things by Janelle Brown – (suspense, April 2020) Two young women get involved in a game of deceit. One a petty swindler has her eye on conning the other, a heiress and Instagram influencer. But of course, things don’t go as planned. This was a good, suspense book and I read it’s being turned into an Amazon series adaptation starring Nicole Kidman.

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Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – (YA Fantasy, July 2019) This YA fantasy book is described as Project Runway meets Mulan. A teen girl who is an excellent tailor pretends to be a boy so she can compete to try to become a Royal Tailor to the Imperial Majesty. This is the first book in a series. My teen daughter read and enjoyed this so I gave it a try and liked it as well.

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The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman -(Contemporary Fiction, April 2019) A woman inherits her family’s cottage. She leaves her cheating husband, quits her job and attempts to renovate the cottage into a bed and breakfast. This was a touching, light summer read. I’ve enjoyed all of Shipman’s books that I’ve read.

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The Young Elites by Marie Lu – (YA Fantasy, October 2014) Ten years ago a deadly blood fever left some teens with special powers. These “young elites” are targeted by the king to be destroyed before they destroy the country. One new elite just discovered her power but it may be too dark for even the Young Elites. This was a YA fantasy book that we’ve had sitting unread on our bookshelf for ages. I was surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. This is also the first book in a series.

You may also enjoy these posts:

July 2020 Reads

June 2020 Reads

May 2020 Reads

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July Reads {2020}

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting the blog!

And just like that July is over. It was a great reading month for me with a lot of 4 and 5 star reads! As always, I’m sharing my July reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. Here’s to continued great reading in August!

3 stars

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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – (Mystery/Thriller) On her 25th birthday, an adopted girl inherits her birth family’s home. We learn about the house’s past and the family that used to live there. This was my fourth Jewell read and my least favorite so far. Definitely a creepier and more bizarre read than I was expecting.

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Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – (romance) Girl: isn’t taken seriously by her family and works as a clown for kid’s parties. Boy: Best friends with girl’s brother, known as a “player” and is back home nursing an athletic injury and his ego. Both want to be taken more seriously and come up with an agreement that will hopefully benefit them both. This book has some steamy sex scenes but some of the sexual references were eye roll inducing.

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I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman – (Contemporary Fiction/Chick Lit) A workaholic mom and her teen daughter embark on an organized East Coast college bus tour. The two get to know each other and test their relationship amidst some drama. As a mother of a teen daughter, I could relate well to their relationship. A light, entertaining read. I didn’t enjoy this as much as The Garden of Small Beginnings.

4 stars

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The Bright Side of Going Dark by Kelly Harms – (contemporary fiction/chick-lit) A social media influencer gets dumped by her fiance right before their wedding. She eventually realizes that she needs to try living life offline. However, while she thinks she has “gone dark” on social media, her account is hacked and impersonated by a very tech savvy individual. This book was more deep than I expected. Harms also wrote The Overdue Life of Amy Byler which I had enjoyed.

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In Five Years by Rebecca Serle – (contemporary fiction/romance) The night of her proposal, a young woman gets a short glimpse five years into her future. She then tries to change the future that she saw. This emotional read was a love story that also touched on the power of friendship. It was a little heavier than what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it.

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The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal – (fiction) A family saga that follows two estranged sisters who take different life paths but both end up in the beer-making world. This was a fun, heart-warming read that gave me a lot more insight into the craft brewery world.

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The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett – (historical fiction/literary fiction) Twin African American sisters run away from home at 16 years of age. One twin passes for white and ends up keeping her past a secret. The other moves back home with her black daughter. This story follows their life paths and how the choices they’ve made affect those around them. The book is being made into a limited HBO series. It took me a little bit to get into this book but once I got invested in the characters it had me hooked. Unfortunately, I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and wanted more.

5 stars

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas – (YA Fantasy) Girl hunting to keep her poor family alive mistakenly kills a Fae. As a consequence she must live her life with her captor in a magical kingdom. She is then tasked with having to break an ancient curse if she wishes to save him. This book is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I don’t know why I waited so long to read this book, but I’m glad I finally did. This is not my usual reading genre, but it was a very engaging story.

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A Good Neighborhood by Therese Ann Fowler – (contemporary fiction) Oak Knoll is a “good neighborhood” filled with close knit neighbors. The book focuses on two neighboring families that differ in race and wealth and how their lives intertwine. This is a tragic story but very relevant.

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Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain – (historical fiction) Set in a rural North Carolina town, this book tells the story of the Eugenics program and its impact on one particular family and the young social worker assigned to help them. I didn’t realize before reading this book that the Eugenics Program was a real thing. This was an enlightening read.

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June Reads {2020}

Happy 12th birthday to my son today and happy book day! Today I’m sharing my June reads and linking up with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books linkup. So far, summer has been great in both the quantity and quality of my reading. I read 10 books in June and we are almost halfway through July and I’ve already read over 5 books! It’s funny because me, who loves holding and reading actual books, has read most of my books this month on my kindle. It’s been relatively easy to get new releases of ebooks from my library system. And with my library closed for so long, this was one of my few options for new books. But great news, my library has been open for curbside pick up and will soon be open to visit! Here are my June reads:

3 stars

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The Dead Girl in 2A by Carter Wilson – Clara sits down next to Jake on a plane and they both feel like they know each other, but can’t figure out from where. When they land in Colorado, he is off to do interviews for a ghost writing job and she tells him that she will heading into the mountains to kill herself. As the story unfolds we discover how the two end up knowing each other and the cause of the memory issues they have both been experiencing. I found this to be a pretty slow read that didn’t hold my interest very well. I actually found it to be a bit sci-fi in the unbelievable factor. (mystery/thriller)

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The Jetsetters by Amand Eyre Ward – Charlotte Perkins writes an essay and ends up winning the “Become a Jetsetter” contest. She ends up asking her three estranged adult children to come with her on a ten day cruise to Athens, Barcelona and Rome. Of course there is lots of drama, and everyone has secrets that end up being revealed. I thought that I’d enjoy this book but was disappointed. None of the characters were likable and it didn’t feel like anything was resolved. (contemporary fiction)

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Open Book by Jessica Simpson – I was never a huge fan of Jessica Simpson or her music. But I did watch a few episodes of “Newlyweds” and had heard a lot of good reviews of this book. It was interesting to see how things really were behind the scenes but overall this was just an “eh” read for me. (memoir)

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Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore – On the night of Oona’s 19th birthday, which happens to be New Year’s Eve, she ends up time traveling and wakes up as her 51 year-old self. From then on, each New Year’s Eve she time travels to a different age. As she travels, she slowly pieces together the events of her life. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. I didn’t really know much about it before I read it and I didn’t really love the whole time travel aspect. None of the characters were really likeable, except Kensie. (contemporary/science fiction/time travel)

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher – Thursday’s husband is a polygamist. He has two other wives that he sees, but that she has never met. She gets tired of only seeing him on Thursdays (really? right?!). So when she discovers their names she starts looking into the other wives and even befriends one. But of course things don’t go well. This was a fast-paced read with the usual unreliable narrator. However, I found the ending to be horrible. (thriller/mystery)

4 stars

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Beach Read by Emily Henry – August is a literary fiction author. January is a romance writer. The two end up neighbors and make a deal where they each write a book in the other’s genre. As they embark on field trips and interview to help each other research the genre, they of course end up getting close. Although this is a contemporary romance read, it’s not one that I’d classify as light and fluffy. (contemporary romance)

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Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner – Plus-sized influencer Daphne Berg is shocked when her old high school friend Drue Cavanaugh asks her to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding. The two have a checkered past and Drue is not liked by many people. Daphne agrees and heads to Cape Cod to help Drue celebrate when things go downhill from there. I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers. This book was much different than the Weiner books that I’m used to. There was a mystery aspect to the book and I liked how Weiner addressed issues of body image, family and friendship. However, I did find some of the relationships a bit unrealistic. (contemporary fiction/mystery)

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The Happy Ever Playlist by Abby Jimenez – It’s been two years since Sloan’s fiance died and she still hasn’t gotten her life back together. While driving one day, she ends saving a dog. This dog, Tucker, ends up bringing Jason, his owner, into her life. The two hit it off right from the first phone call. But Sloan doesn’t realize that Jason is a rising rock star. Can a relationship survive his career? This is the second book in the Friend Zone series. I learned after reading this book, that it was actually written first, before The Friend Zone but was published after. The Friend Zone gives Sloan’s backstory which leads up to this book. I actually enjoyed this book more than the first! (contemporary romance)

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Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier – Marin and Derek seem to have the perfect life. They are wealthy and both own and run successful businesses. But as they discover when their four-year-old son is abducted while they are out Christmas shopping, money cannot buy happiness. A year after Sebastian’s abduction, Marin discovers her husband is having an affair. She puts a plan in motion to end the affair because she will not lose her husband too. But of course, things don’t go according to plan. This was a fast-paced thriller that had me guessing until the end. (thriller/mystery)

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See – Li-yan and her family are part of the Akha people and live in the rural mountains of China farming tea. After she gets pregnant and has a baby out of wedlock, Li-yan drops her baby girl at an orphanage and cannot return to her family. She later ends up selling tea and studying under a tea master. She creates a new life for herself, but never forgets the daughter that she had to give up. This book was informative and well written. You really learn about the tea industry and I had never heard of the Akha people prior to reading this. I’ve read several of See’s books and have enjoyed them all. (historical fiction)

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May Reads {2020}

The weather has been beautiful and there’s nothing I’ve been enjoying more than reading outside on the deck. I’m sharing my May reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.

3 Stars

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Anna K. by Jenny Lee – A YA retelling of Anna Karenina featuring super wealthy teens in NYC. According to goodreads, I read Anna Karenina in 2013. I didn’t like it, but I was curious to see how a modern YA adaptation would read. From what I remember (and it’s not a lot!) it seemed to follow the classic pretty well. Most teens will likely find it to be a contemporary romance, as I’m sure not many of them have read Anna Karenina!

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The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben – Wilde grew up in the woods without a family. Now, an adult, he is helping to find a missing teen girl. This is the briefest of brief summaries of a book where there is a lot going on! As with all of Coben’s books, this was a quick, suspenseful read.

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The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez – Kristin Petersen is enjoying life, selling dog supplies and staircases for small dogs, and having a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend Tyler. Josh Copeland, best friend of Brandon, her best friend’s (Sloan’s) fiance, moves to town. Of course the two end up attracted to each other but there are just some major issues affecting their relationship. I really enjoyed Kristin and Josh’s characters. However, I wasn’t a fan of the ending. I did enjoy this romance/chick-lit book enough to read the sequel, which is currently sitting on my kindle waiting for me to read.

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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Alice, a famous painter, shoots and kills her husband Gabriel and doesn’t speak again. She’s now in a psychiatric facility where psychotherapist, Theo Farber, believes he can get her to speak. As the story unfolds we discover what led up the shooting event. This was 2019 Goodreads choice book winner and I had heard good things about it from a coworker. However, I was pretty underwhelmed. I thought it was a pretty slow read until the end.

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A Stranger In the House by Shari Lapena – Tom arrives home to find his wife, Karen, missing. She ends up in a car accident that leaves her with memory loss. There just so happens to be a murder right near where she has the accident. Overall, this was just an okay, suspense/thriller read. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. I’ve read The Couple Next Door and Someone We Know and enjoyed them a lot more than this book.

4 Stars

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The Flastshare by Beth O’Leary – Tiffy ends up sharing a flat with Leon. Since he works nights, the two never see each other and communicate via Post-It notes. She ends up finding a way to help him with a family situation and the two become closer. Although this book is a cute romance, it also deals with the effects of an emotionally abusive relationship.

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – Alice Love is at a spin class when she falls of a bike and hits her head. When she wakes up, she believes it is ten years earlier, where she is pregnant with her first child. In reality, she’s about to turn 40, in the midst of getting divorced and has three children. She must learn to navigate this new life that she has no memory of. This is one of Moriarty’s older books and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read it. As much as I haven’t been a fan of her newer stuff, I enjoyed this book as much as I did her other older books that I’ve read.

5 Stars

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Untamed by Glennon Doyle – Doyle’s memoir where she reveals how she stopped meeting the expectations of others and truly started living and loving the life that she was meant to have. It’s honest, raw and so relatable. There are lessons for us all in this book. This was my first book by Doyle that I’ve read, but I now want to read her other ones.

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April Reads {2020}

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Another month, another book link up. Once again, I’m sharing my April reads with Steph and Jana. This month’s reading was filled with books off my own shelf and kindle books. It was a pretty good reading month and while May has been off to a slow start, I hope to keep up the reading momentum. Here are my April reads:

3 stars:

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Collision by Jeff Abbott – Ben Forsberg, a private corporate consultant, and “Pilgrim,” a former CIA agent end up working together to find out who has set the two of them up and tried to kill them both. While I enjoy fast-paced, action, thrillers, I realized that I would have enjoyed watching this as a movie, versus reading it.

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Somebody’s Daughter by Rochelle Weinstein – Emma and Bobby Ross live with their twin daughters, in “The Ross,” the hotel that they own. The book opens on the night of their daughters’ 15th birthday party. On this night, they learn that a private moment between Zoe and a classmate was videotaped and has gone viral. This event has a tremendous impact on each of the family members as they try to recover and seek justice. I thought this book was relevant in portraying the dangers of social media and was an okay read.

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The Other Family by Loretta Nyhan – (c/o Netgalley) Ally Anderson is adopted. Her daughter, Kylie, suffers from severe allergies that may be genetic. In order to help her daughter, Ally takes a DNA test and discovers that she has an aunt that lives nearby. Ally and Kylie end up befriending Micki and her family, while Ally gets to learn more about her past and seek treatment for Kylie. I felt like there was too much going on in this book, with Kylie’s autoimmune disorder, Ally connecting with her biological family, oh and did I mention the divorce she is currently in the process of getting?!

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Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin – This nonfiction book follows Greg Mortenson from his failed attempt in the early 90’s to climb K2 to building over 50 schools, health centers and women’s centers. This book had been on my to read list for a long time. We have a mini free library at work and a coworker saw this book on the shelf and recommended I read it, which was the catalyst of me finally giving it a try.
I did enjoy learning more about Afghanistan and Pakistan and I do believe Mortenson has good intentions. However, this book was way too slow for me and then I read about the inaccuracies and controversies of the book.

4 stars:

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Before the Fall by Noah Howley – A private jet on its way from Martha’s Vineyard to New York crashes into the ocean. The only two survivors are Scott Burroughs, a painter, and 4 year-old J.J. who are both thrown into the spotlight as authorities try to figure out what happened. The story switches back and forth pre and post crash as well follow the different characters who were on board the plane. It was an engaging read that my husband, teen daughter and I have all now read.

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The Best of Friends by Lucinda Berry – (c/of Netgalley) Lindsey, Dani and Kendra have been best friends since they were children. Now, they all have boys the same age. Except after a sleepover gone bad, one boy is dead, one boy is brain dead in a coma, and the only boy who knows what happened that night has become mute and is in the midst of an emotional breakdown. As the story unfolds, lots of secrets are revealed as the parents and police try to figure out what happened that night. There was almost too much going on and I felt the ending was unfinished. However, I found it to be an riveting read. I read an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley, which comes out in August. This was my first Berry book and I didn’t realize that she has written so many others. I will definitely be checking out some of her other books.

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Long Bright River by Liz Moore – Kacey and Mickey grew up being raised by their grandmother, after their mother dies of a drug overdose. Kacey is a drug addict and lives on the streets. Mickey is now a cop, working the streets of Philadelphia while also trying to keep tabs on her sister. There’s a series of murders that Mickey is working on and when she realizes that she hasn’t seen Kacey in awhile, she becomes obsessed with finding her. As the story unfolds, there are so many layers revealed. It’s a dark and heavy, bu really good read!

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Lucky Girl by Mei-Ling Hopgood – This is the autobiography of Mei-Ling Hopgood. She was adopted from China at 8 months by Rollie and Chris Hopgood. Her parents also adopted two boys from South Korea and they all grew up happily in Michigan. As a young adult, during a visit with Sister Maureen, the nun who helped facilitate Mei-Ling’s adoption, it is brought up that she can likely find her birth parents. Eventually Mei-Ling takes Sister Maureen up on her offer and is contact with her birth parents and family. What follows are trips abroad as she gets to know her biological family. I don’t know if this book was so compelling to me because, I myself am adopted from South Korea. However, I enjoyed seeing how Mei-Ling was able to balance both worlds and families.

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On Dublin Street by Samantha Young – Joss Butler made a home in Scotland, after her parents and baby sister died and she was old enough to leave the United States. Ellie is looking for a roommate to share her beautiful apartment with and she and Joss become fast friends. Unfortunately, Ellie’s brother Braden happens to be very good looking and used to getting what he wants. Joss falls for his charm and the two end up in a friends with benefits arrangement. But will it become serious? I got this book way back when Fifty Shades of Grey was big and it’s been sitting on my shelf since then. I finally decided to read it and found it was an addicting, steamy, contemporary romance.

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March Reads {2020}

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I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during this global health pandemic. These are some crazy scary times that we are currently facing. My reading has definitely increased with all of this time at home. I’ve been reading books off of my own shelf and even reading on my kindle, which I rarely do. When you’re desperate for books, you go to drastic measures! As usual, I’m sharing this post with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books link up. Here are my March reads:

3 stars

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Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde (ARC c/o Netgalley) – Brooke is driving her car when it gets hijacked with her two year-old daughter, Etta still in it. Etta is found by Molly, a teenager who has been living for months on the streets of L.A. Molly protects Etta and helps to reunite her with Brooke, which helps create a unique relationship between the three of them. This was my first Hyde book and I didn’t realize that she was such a prolific writer. This was just an okay read for me but I’m open to giving some of her other books a try.

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Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova – Lana wants to have a baby and after many failed attempts and miscarriages, resorts to an egg donor with her partner, Tyler. He tries to help fulfill Lana’s request to have a donor of Bulgarian descent. Katya is a college student who Lana meets by chance, and the two end up becoming friends. When Katya unexpectedly disappears, Lana ends up digging into Katya’s past and discovers the secrets she’s been keeping. This was my book club read for the month (even though we didn’t end up having book club). I’ve been trying to avoid reading too many suspense/thriller books because they’ve all been pretty disappointing recently. I was not a fan of this book. All of the characters were so unlikable and I didn’t find the story line very interesting.

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Lying Next to Me by Gregg Olsen – Adam and Sophie Warner are vacationing with their three year-old daughter when Adam sees his wife being abducted. Kristen and Connor are staying in a cabin next door to the Adam and Sophie. As Detective Lee Husemann investigates the case, she finds that the couples have a history and that secrets are being kept from her. This was just another okay suspense read for me.

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Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson – Amy Whey is married with an infant son and a stepdaughter. She helps run the neighborhood book club with her best friend Charlotte. But one, night, a new neighbor shows up. “Roux” gets the women liquored up and starts a game of Never Have I Ever, getting them to reveal their secrets. While Amy doesn’t reveal anything, it appears that Roux knows secrets from her past and blackmails her. Amy can’t afford to lose the life she loves, so she has to beat Roux at her own game. While this book did have lots of plot twists and surprises, it was just unbelievable on so many levels. Of course this didn’t keep me from finishing it, because I had to see how it would end.

4 stars

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Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner – This book follows Jo and Bethie Kaufman, from children in the 1950’s to present day adults. It shows how their past experiences have shaped them into who they are, tackling complex themes in a very readable way. I’ve only read a couple of Weiner’s books and they were read years ago, so I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read this one. But after seeing a lot of positive reviews, I gave it a try and I’m glad that I did. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would.

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Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein – This book is a guide to manifesting and becoming a super attractor (living in alignment with the universe). It will definitely be a little “woo-woo” for some people, but I found it pretty interesting.

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Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center – Cassie Hanwell is one of the only female fire fighters in the Texas firehouse that she has been working at all of her career. Cassie’s estranged mom invites her to Boston for one year, to assist her after a medical procedure. She ends up finding a job at a traditional all male firehouse. Not only does Cassie have to adjust to her new job, but she also needs to work on her relationship with a mother that she doesn’t really know. I’ve only read a couple of Center’s books, but I’ve enjoyed them all, including this one.

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Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – Pepper is a high school student, captain of the swim team and runs the twitter account for Big League Burger, the fast-food chain that her family owns. Jack is her classmate and the class clown, who works at his family’s deli. The two become involved in a Twitter war when Big League Burger steals a recipe from his family’s deli. This is a YA book that reads like a YA book. It’s a contemporary, light, fun read.

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What You Wish For by Katherine Center (ARC c/o Netgalley) – Samantha Casey is a librarian at an elementary school in Texas. The principal of the school unexpectedly passes away and his replacement is Duncan Carpenter. Samantha used to teach with the goofy, fun teacher before moving to Texas, and might have had an unrequited crush on him. But now, he’s a very serious person and making changes to the school that Samantha and her colleagues are not on board with. She becomes the one to stand up to him in hopes of saving the school that everyone loves. This book is expected to be published in July. Two Katherine Center books read in one month! Like Things You Save in a Fire, I enjoyed this book a lot!

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February Reads {2020}

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February flew by and even though it’s a shorter month, I still managed to read 7 books. I even had my first 5 star read of the year! I’m sharing my February reads with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books linkup.

3 Stars

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Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown – Alice and her husband move from the city into an old house in the suburbs. In the basement she discovers an old, 1950’s cookbook from the previous owner. Alice ends up cooking her way through the book and learns that she and Nellie Murdoch have a lot in common, despite the several decades separating their lives. Overall, I found this to be just an okay.

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The Soul Searcher’s Handbook by Emma Mildon – For those looking to learn and connect more with their spiritual side, this book gives a light overview of all the different areas of everything New Age (crystals, feng-shui, numerology, astrology, etc.). I found this book to be a good, basic intro of a variety of topics.

4 Stars

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American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins – After a tragic incident, Lydia and her son Lucas are forced to leave Mexico. They travel as migrants through dangerous conditions, hoping to make it to the United States. Only after I was halfway through reading this book did I discover all of the controversy surrounding it. Mainly, that this story wasn’t the Caucasian author’s story to tell. Regardless, I thought it was an enjoyable story and has me interested in reading more about Mexican migration into the United States.

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Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – This story takes alternates between 1939 Memphis and present day Aiken, South Carolina. In 1939 Memphis, when Rill and her four siblings are alone on their family’s houseboat, they are taken into custody of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage. Present day, Avery Stafford, is a daughter of wealth and privilege, being groomed to take after her father’s political footsteps. On a publicity visit with her father to a nursing home, she meets a woman who leads her on a journey that uncovers secrets from the past. This was a goodreads choice 2017 winner. It was also my book club’s February book pick, so I did a reread and liked it as much this time as I did the first read.

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The Escape Room by Megan Golden – Four coworkers at Stanhope, a major investment/financial firm are invited to an Escape Room activity. However, they didn’t realize this “game” would involve them locked together in an elevator where all of their secrets are revealed. I’ve debated between a 3 and 4 star rating for this book (3.5?) . This was such an unrealistic thriller and all of the characters were unlikable. However, it was a fast-paced read that had me interested in how it would end.

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The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood – Kat, Bea, Vi and Des are four sisters who live in a small town with their grandmother. The story takes place over a summer, as each girl goes through her own drama. This book was a read off of our own bookshelf (actually, my daughter’s!). It is told in alternating POVs of each of the sisters and was an enjoyable contemporary YA read with feminist and LGBT characters.

5 Stars

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Regretting You by Colleen Hoover – At 17 Morgan gets pregnant and marries her boyfriend, now husband, Chris. Present day and Morgan now has a sixteen year-old daughter, Clara, who is interested in a boy that Chris tells her is no good. When Chris is involved in a tragic car accident, both Morgan and Clara’s world is forever changed when they learn the secrets that Chris was keeping. Colleen Hoover is on my favorite authors list, and this book did not disappoint. When a book gets me in tears, it usually rates a 5 star read!

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January Reads {2020}

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January flew by and I did A LOT of reading! This year, I set my annual goal of 75 books again. I was short last year by TWO books! But, I’ m off to a good start for this year. I can’t remember the last time that I read 8 books in one month! I’m trying in the new year to read at least 5 books a month: one book off my own shelf, one historical fiction book, one YA book, one non-fiction book and one fiction book. I realize sometimes I can double up on my reading, like reading a YA historical fiction or a historical fiction book off my own shelf. I’m not very good at sticking with reading goals though, so we’ll see. We are almost two weeks into February and I only have one book read! I’m sharing my reads with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Book linkup. Here are my January reads:

2 stars:

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Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob & Jenna Torres – Around mid-December, after watching Game Changers on Netflix, our family decided to go vegan. So, being new to veganism, I decided to read this book. Some of the information was useful, but I found the author to be so condescending and having a “holier than thou” attitude about being vegan. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan.

3 Stars:

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer – Delilah is a high school loner who prefers to spend her time reading. When she discovers that she can speak to Oliver, one of the characters in her favorite fairy tale book, the two try to create a plan where they can be together. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. I own almost every one of her books so I had to get this book that she co-wrote with her daughter. I’ve had this for years and finally decided to read it off my shelf. This book is VERY YA and I wasn’t a big fan.

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Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis – This book is geared towards women who want to achieve their goals. It overs motivation and advice in her tell-it-to-you-straight manner, but didn’t really tell me anything I haven’t heard or read before. I enjoyed Girl, Wash Your Face more and after listening to a few episodes of her podcast, I think I’ve had enough of Hollis.

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The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald – Abi Knight’s teen daughter is brain dead but being kept alive because she’s pregnant. The police rule her fall as an accident. But Abi is determined to find out what really happened that night to her daughter. This was a good, suspenseful read.

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Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson – This book opens at 16 year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony. The story then goes back to the past and tells the story of her parents and grandparents and how they all got to this moment in time. The chapters weren’t labeled and I found the jumping from different character’s stories to be a bit disorienting. Overall, I found the book to be an okay read.

4 stars:

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The Arrangement by Robyn Harding – Natalie Murphy is a poor art student trying to survive in NYC. She learns about being a sugar daddy from a classmate and thinks that she’s found the answer to all of her financial problems. Then she meets Gabe and ends up falling in love with him. So when he unexpectedly ends things with her, she doesn’t take it very well. This was a fast-paced, suspenseful read for me.

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid – Emira, is a 25 year-old African-American woman who makes a living babysitting two white Caucasian children. Unfortunately, she’s involved in a confrontation at a local grocery store, when the security guard thinks that she has kidnapped the toddler she is watching. The incident ends up being videotaped and mom Alix, attempts to make things right for Emira. I went into this book not knowing anything about it. I was pleasantly surprised at Reid’s writing and her take on race and privilege.

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What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon – Anne Gallagher was very close with her grandfather Eoin. When he dies, she fulfills her promise to him and brings his ashes back to Ireland. During her visit she ends up being transported back to 1921 and is mistaken for her great grandmother, whom she looks just like. Anne adjusts to living in Ireland and during this time period meets Thomas, who helps her navigate this new world. This book is historical fiction and time travel. It started out super slow for me. I only stuck it out because this is my work book club’s current read. I am glad that I finished reading, because about half-way through the story picks up and had me hooked.

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December Reads {2019}

I ended my year of reading with holiday themed reads. If I read these types of books any other time of the year, I’d think they were cheesy and hate them. However, there’s something about Christmas time where, even though many holiday themed books rank high on the cheese factor, they are still enjoyable. Reading these themed books makes for a nice, light ending to the year. As always, I’m sharing these December reads with Steph and Jana’s SUYB linkup. Enjoy!

3 stars

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25 Days ’til Christmas by Poppy Alexander – Kate, a young widow, wants to make this the best Christmas ever for her 6 year-old son Jack. She creates an Advent calendar with a fun holiday activity each day for the two of them to do. But with hardly any money and a dead-end job, she needs a miracle to pull it off. She then meets Daniel, who is as lonely and sad as she is. The two end up befriending each other and help each other through the holidays. This was actually a pretty sad and depressing holiday read that touched upon a lot of tough topics. If you want a light and fluffy holiday read, skip this one!

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The Christmas Boutique by Jennifer Chiaverini – Basically, this story is about a group of quilters that pulls together to make sure the annual Christmas Boutique runs, after a major disaster occurs. I did not realize when I put this book on hold from the library that 1. it was about quilting (not really a topic of interest to me) and 2. that it was part of a series. Overall, it was an okay holiday read.

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Christmas at the Little Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan – Polly is busy with Christmas baking. Her best friend, Kerensa has a huge secret that Polly is burdened with keeping. Then Polly has to deal with her own personal family issues. Christmas is not looking so great for her, but can she make it a happy holiday for everyone? I really enjoyed then first book in this series, but found this book to be just okay.

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Let it Snow by Nancy Thayer – Christine owns a toy shop (shed) on Nantucket. When her landlord raises the rent, she and her fellow shopkeeper friends have to come up with a plan to save their businesses. She also meets Wink, a nine year-old little girl and Andy, her uncle, who both end up having a big impact on her.

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You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman – In this sequel to Class Mom, Jen Dixon is class mom of her son’s 3rd grade class. This year she is also roped into organizing the 5th grade school safety patrol. Her emails to the parents are filled with her usual snark and sarcasm, that is not appreciated by everyone. In addition, she’s also dealing with family issues, which leads to her feeling a bit overwhelmed. This book was a bit of a letdown, since I enjoyed Class Mom so much. It was an entertaining read, just not as funny as the first. This is also my only non-holiday read of the month, since I started this one after Christmas.

4 stars

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The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan – Three sisters, Hannah, Beth and Posy are reunited in Scotland with their adopted parents for the Christmas holiday. Each sister is dealing with her own personal issues, but spending time together as a family helps them all. This wasn’t too sappy of a holiday read.

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Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler – Emmie loves Christmas. She sets up a big, fun holiday-themed weekend scavenger hunt for her boyfriend Grant, but a different guy accidentally gets the clues. She ends up discovering that Sam, the other guy, loves Christmas as much as she does. When Grant finally does arrive in Christmas Point, he’s not very interested in all of Emmie’s special plans. She eventually has some decisions to make regarding their relationship. This was cute and sappy in a good way! Last year I read and really liked Schaler’s book Christmas Camp. This book didn’t disappoint either.

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November Reads {2019}

It’s December and I’m currently all about the holiday themed reads! But today, I’m sharing my November reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly book link up. I’ve been averaging 4-5 books a month and last month was no different, with five books read. Here are my November reads from least to most liked:

3 stars:

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The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger – This book revolves around four families that are great friends. They all have children in the 5th grade and met when the kids were babies. When a new public charter gifted school, Crystal Academy, plans to open, the parents end up going to extreme measures to try to get their kids into the middle school. The book is told from the perspectives of different characters in the story. It has been compared to Big Little Lies, which I really liked. Overall, I found this to be a decent contemporary fiction read and rate it more of a 3.5, if half stars were available on goodreads.

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Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Sawyer Taft’s estranged grandmother shows up at her door with an interesting proposition. Sawyer has to participate in debutante season and in exchange she will get a six figure award. Sawyer is immersed in an unfamiliar world of wealth and parties. As she upholds her end of the deal, she is also able to investigate her unknown birth father’s identity. This was a fun YA book that’s been compared to Pretty Little Liars.

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Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory – Vivian Forest is accompanying her daughter on a work trip and is visiting England for the first time. On her first day there she meets Malcolm Hudson. He ends up showing her around the area and of course, a romance begins. But this is a vacation…..can/will they do a long distance relationship? I didn’t realize that this was the fourth book in a series, so it can be read without reading the others. I enjoy a good contemporary romance, but this was just an okay read for me. I found it very predictable and a little cheesy. This was my first book by Guillory, and I think I’ll pass on her others.

4 stars:

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The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff – This book tells the story of two women, Noa and Astrid, who are trapeze artists in a traveling circus during WWII. This historical fiction book was last month’s read for my in-person book club and we all enjoyed it. I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially books about WWII. I enjoyed this book’s unique perspective of the time period, as I didn’t even realize that there were traveling circuses during this time. Definitely a book that you need to be in the right mind frame to read, but in my opinion, worth the time.

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Something Like Happy by Eva Woods – Annie feels stuck in her miserable life. Then she meets Polly who is terminally ill, but living her 100 Days of Happy Challenge. She ends up recruiting Annie, which has drastic changes on both of their lives. Although not everyone may enjoy this book, I think there are takeaways that we can all use. This book is a good reminder to embrace life and live with no regrets.