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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.

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October Reads {2019}

It’s time once again to share my monthly reads with Jana and Steph’s monthly linkup. It seems like the number of books I’m reading each month keeps decreasing. However, I seem to be reading good books and I much prefer quality over quantity! Here are my October reads:

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3 stars

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Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle – This is the story of two women. One is on the run from an abusive husband. The other is missing. Not much can be said about this suspense/thriller book without giving spoilers away. It was an enjoyable read even though I figured it out before the end.

4 stars

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After the End by Clare Mackintosh – Max and Pip’s young son Dylan is terminally ill. But the two differ on the best treatment for him. Part one of the book tells the background story of their family and Dylan’s illness. The second half of the book is a little confusing. It shows what the future would be like for Max and Pip after both treatment decisions. This book is much different than the author’s usual suspense books. However, it is based on a similar situation that the author and her husband faced. It is an emotional, but well written novel.

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Someone We Know by Shari Lapena – Teenager, Raleigh, has been breaking into his neighbors’ houses and hacking into their computers. But when a woman in the neighborhood is found dead, it turns out everyone has secrets they are keeping. And what exactly, if anything, does Raleigh know? This was an enjoyable suspense read where everyone’s a suspect and it had me guessing until the end.

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Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell – This is the story of three women, Hallie, Flo and Tasha. They each have their own stories: Hallie has cystic fibrosis and is waiting for a lung transplant. She’s in love with someone she knows she can’t have. Flo has inherited an apartment, to take care of the deceased woman’s cat. However, the apartment owner’s grand daughter, Lena, is not happy about the arrangement. And Flo ends up falling for Lena’s brother Zander. Finally, Tasha has a boyfriend who loves thrills and adventure. She’s constantly worried that something bad will happen to him. Throughout the story, the three women cross paths. However, it isn’t until the end of the book when their stories merge. This was my first book by Mansell. I liked it and didn’t realize that she’s written so many other books. I’ll definitely be reading more by her.

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September Reads {2019}

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Today’s September reads post is short and sweet. Sadly, I was stuck in a reading rut and didn’t have much motivation to read. Part of the problem was that I made myself finish a book for my book club that I just wasn’t into. So it was very slow reading and not many books were read. The books I read were all over the rating scale. With only four books read, I had a 2, 3, 4 and 5 star read this month. Here are my September reads that I’m sharing with Jana and Steph’s monthly linkup.

2 stars

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Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – In 1962 Pasquale is running his family’s hotel on the Italian coast. American actress Dee Moray ends up as a guest at his inn. The two end up forming a close relationship despite their language barrier. Present day, Claire Silver must listen to movie pitches for her movie producer boss. An unexpected visitor leads her on a path to connecting the past. This book ruined me this month. I would have given up on it, but it was my book club’s read for the month. It had been on my to read list, so I’m glad that I finally was able to give it a try. I was also the only one in the book club who didn’t love it. The story line didn’t interest me at all which made me want to do anything but read. However, I’m definitely in the minority with my opinion about this book. If it’s been on your to read list, I recommend you give it a try.

3 stars

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My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni – Tracy Crosswhite has spent 20 years looking into the disappearance of her younger sister, Sarah. Edmund House was convicted and put in jail, but she’s not convinced he’s guilty. But then Sarah’s body is discovered and Tracy makes some discoveries that put her life in danger. This was just an okay mystery for me and didn’t make me interested in continuing the Tracy Crosswhite series.


4 stars

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Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane – Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson are neighbors and best friends. Their fathers, both cops, met on the job and moved their families to the suburbs. After a tragic accident, the two families who were once cordial to one another, are not the same. As the book progresses, we follow Peter and Kate and how their lives are shaped by the accident. This book was Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Summer Reads book pick. My husband listened to it on audio and I read it so we can discuss it with each other. This book gave me insight into mental illness and alcoholism and the effects they have on a family.

5 stars

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – It’s 1942 and Lale Sokolov is transported from Slovokia to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He is given the job of tattooist, marking his fellow prisoners with the numbers that will identify them. For over two years he survives at the camp, even falling in love. This book had been on my to read list for awhile. While the subject matter of the Holocaust is always difficult to read, I think that it’s important to remember. Like many books about this time period, it is based on a true story. It is well written and a highly recommended read.

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July Reads {2019}

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It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. I haven’t read half of what I wanted to read! The good news is that I read eight books last month and almost all of them were four star reads! My library is hosting an adult summer reading BINGO game, so I enjoyed reading books to get a BINGO. Maybe I’ll even win a prize! I’m sharing my books with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. Here are my July reads:

3 stars:

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The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda – Jane Harris lives in a beautiful home in a gated community and seems to have the perfect life. Overcome with grief after her older daughter Mary’s death, she’s barely left the house over the past year. With her younger daughter Betsy graduating high school, Jane is ready to get her life back. However, things aren’t as perfect as they appear and it is harder for her than expected. I like a good suspense/psychological thriller, but I wasn’t a fan of this book. Unlikable characters, unreliable narrator….I just wasn’t impressed.

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Startup by Doree Shafrir – Mack McAllister is trying to launch an improved version of his Mindfulness app and needs money from investors to do so. Katya is a writer for a tech blog, where Dan Blum is her boss. With two young children at home, Dan’s wife Sabrina decides to reenter the work force and ends up being one of the oldest employees working at Mack’s company, helping them with their social media. After a scandal breaks, Katya and Sabrina This was my in-person book club’s July read. I didn’t realize that Doree Shafrir, of the Forever35 podcast that I listen to, had written a book! While I found the look into the tech startup world interesting, the story was pretty “eh.” None of the characters were very likable and the ending left me wanting more.

4 stars:

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The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver – Lincoln Rhyme was a star criminologist until a work accident left him a paraplegic. He’s been called in to assist when a serial killer on a case he finds intriguing. With the assistance of police detective Amelia Sach, the pair work together to try to stop the killer. I watched this movie starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie years ago. I was trying to find a book to fit the “crime” category for my library BINGO game and decided to read this book, since I liked the movie. It was really good! I enjoyed the detailed forensics and what goes into a crime scene investigation. Now I want to watch the movie again.

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A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams – Lily has known Budgie since they were kids spending summers together in Seaview, Rhode Island. During college, Budgie dated Graham Pendleton and Lily fell in love with his football teammate Nick Greenwald. Fast forward to Memorial Day, 1938 and Lily is back in Seaview to spend the summer with her family. When Budgie and Nick Greenwald arrive they get the small town talking, and not in a good way. Told between the past and present day (1938), we learn the story of what happened between Lily and Nick. This book has been on my to read list since 2013! Based on the title, I decided to make it a summer read. Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable read.

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One Day in December by Josie Silver – Laurie doesn’t believe in love at first sight…..until one day she’s on a bus and she sees Jack sitting at the bus stop. After a year looking for him, her best friend and roommate, Sarah, brings home her boyfriend to introduce to Laurie…..and it turns out to be Jack. The story is told over ten years as we follow the three of them through their ups and downs. This was a cute contemporary romance and a perfect light summer read.

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The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth – Ever since Lucy married Ollie, she was never close to her mother-in-law, Diana. Five years later and Diana is found dead in what appears to look like a suicide, but is not. Now everyone is a suspect and who had motive to want Diana dead? The book alternates between Diana’s past and present day. I thought the book gave an interesting look at family dynamics and parenting privileged kids. I’ve enjoyed every Hepworth book that I’ve read and this one didn’t disappoint.

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The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms – When Amy’s husband reappears in her life after three years and wants to spend some quality time with their children, Amy is left with a lot of time on her hands. She ends up in NYC for the summer on #momspringa living an exciting life. But when summer ends she has to figure out if she really wants to return to her old life. I know a lot of people read and posted about this book in past linkups and weren’t huge fans. As a mom of an 11 and 13 year old, the overwhelm and under appreciation is real! I could relate to Amy in that respect and for the first time ever, took a short two day solo trip to a wellness spa this past June. Overall, this was a relatable, fun read for me.

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Verity by Colleen Hoover – Lowen is given a job to finish writing the remaining books of bestselling author Verity Crawford. Going through Verity’s notes, Lowen discovers an autobiography that she wrote with lots of revelations that she’s not sure Verity’s husband, Jeremy, is aware of. As Lowen starts falling for Jeremy she wrestles with sharing what she’s discovered. I recommended this book for my work book club’s July read and everyone loved it. This was the first Hoover book that any of them had read. I’m a huge fan of Hoover and have read almost all of her books. This book is so much darker than her normal stuff. It was a bit disturbing but also hard to put down.