16

January Reads {2021}

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January was a great reading month for me! I read ten books and most were 4 and 5 star reads! This will hopefully be a preview of the rest of my reading year! I read several YA books, written by authors of color, that are doing a great job of showcasing social justice issues. I am trying to be more educated on issues of race and I know there is always more to learn. As always, I’m sharing my book reviews with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books linkup! Check out my January reads:

4 stars:

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Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer DeLeon – (August 2020, YA/Social Justice) A teen from the inner-city is accepted into a minority program at a wealthy school in the suburbs, where she is one of a handful of students of color. At the same time that she is struggling to adjust to her new school, her father is deported back to Guatemala. This book touches on many current issues of immigration and racism. My daughter is currently reading this book.

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Family For Beginners by Sarah Morgan – (May 2020, Contemporary Romance) A lonely, single woman working at a flower shop meets a recent widow. The two hit it off, but he has two children, one a teen who does not want a replacement mom. This book does a great job of showcasing the intricacies in family relationships.

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The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth – (April 2021, Thriller/Mystery) I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Twin sisters, who are complete opposites, are super close to each other. Raised by a single mother who had mental issues, the sisters have kept a secret from childhood. One sister is desperate to have a child and will do anything to do so. Told from alternating points of view, this book has several plot twists and surprises. It had me engaged and wanting to keep reading. I have read all but one of Hepworth’s books and have yet to be disappointed.

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Insignificant Events In The Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling – (September 2017, Middle Grade Fiction) A young girl born with no arms, moves with to a western theme park that her parents will operate. She has to navigate her new life and ends up trying to solve a mystery. Aven is a spunky, likable character. This is a well written book about children with disabilities.

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Rick by Alex Gino – (April 2020, Middle Grade Fiction) A middle school student explores his identity and deals with a toxic friendship. Our family did a read-aloud of George together by the same author many years ago and enjoyed it. While I didn’t love this book as much, I think it has some great messages for kids and introduces them to the LGBTQIAP+ community.

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The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler – (May 2020, Contemporary Romance) A girl goes on her dream trip to Alaska, which turns out anything like she envisioned. While there, she is introduced to the man who runs a local food joint, “The Tourist Trap.” His one rule is to not get involved with tourists. This was a fun read and Graham and Zoey made such a cute couple. There’s a second book in the series that I’m putting off reading until November/December, since it’s a Christmas themed read.

5 stars:

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Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah – (February 2008, Contemporary Fiction) Two girls meet in the summer of 1974 and become fast friends. The book follows their friendship from the teenage years to adulthood. This was a reread for me. I read it when it was first published back in 2008 but wanted to read it again before the show came to Netflix. I have watched several episodes of the show now and think it’s okay, but really loved the book.

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The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib – (February 2019, Contemporary Fiction) A former professional dancer is admitted to a residential home for women with eating disorders. Not everyone will enjoy this book. However, I found it interesting to see the realities and struggles that individuals with eating disorders endure.

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Punching The Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam – (September 2020, YA/Poetry) This is a YA novel told in verse, reminiscent of Ellen Hopkins. A teen is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and is sent to prison. He ends up finding refuge in his art. I read this book before watching When They See Us on Netflix. The show tells the story of the Central Park jogger case and the five boys who were falsely accused and imprisoned for the crime. One of those boys was Yusef Salaam, the co-author of this book.

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This Is My America by Kim Johnson – (July 2020, YA/Social Justice) A teen has been writing letters to Innocence X, trying to help her father, an innocent black man on death row, with less than a year to live. When her older brother is arrested and accused of murdering a white teen, Innocence X decides to help her case. In the meantime, she tries to figure out what really happened on both those nights that her family members were falsely accused of crimes.

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December 2020 Reads

November 2020 Reads

24

December Reads {2020}

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It’s a new year, with hopefully lots of good books in my future! I ended my year reading a total of 98 books, which surpassed my 2020 book goal of 75. I again set this year’s goodreads goal for 75 books, which seems doable. While December seems so long ago, I’m sharing my reads from last month. It was a mixed bag of different genres and mostly good reads. Here are my December reads that I’m sharing with Steph and Jana’s monthly book linkup:

3 stars:

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Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam (October 2020, Suspense/Thriller) – A family leaves NYC for a week and rents a house out in a remote part of Long Island. A few nights into their stay the couple who owns the house arrive on the doorstep with news of a blackout in the city. Strange things start happening, but with no TV, internet or cell service, no one has any idea what is going on. This book was disappointing. I have no idea why it’s labeled suspense/thriller and even horror on goodreads. I’m not going to give away spoilers, but I hated the ending.

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The Girl In The Mirror by Rose Carlyle (October 2020, Suspense/Thriller) – Two identical twins, one who has always been jealous of the other. Now she has the opportunity, to live her twin’s life and gain a huge inheritance. But can she keep the truth from being exposed? This was an okay, not very believable read for the most part. But it did have some interesting plot twists.

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White Ivy by Susie Yang (November 2020, Contemporary/Suspense/Literary Fiction) – A coming age of story of a young Chinese girl who tries to fit in white suburban American. She develops a crush on a classmate, who ends up making a reappearance in her adult life. There are several plot twists, but I would not categorize this as a suspenseful read. In fact, it was such a slow read for me that I wish that I had given up on it earlier than making myself finish it.

4 stars:

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In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren (October 2020, holiday/romance) – A young woman makes a plea to the universe, “Please. Show me what will make me happy.” At the annual family and friends holiday get together at a cabin in Utah, she ends up in a loop where she relives the same holiday vacation over and over. This was a cute holiday romance read. I hadn’t read a Christina Lauren book in awhile and think I’m ready to get back into some of their more recent books that I had skipped.

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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (October 2017, Middle Grade/Fantasy) – On the night she is supposed to die a young girl finds herself being whisked away to Nevermoor. There she discovers that she has been selected to compete for a spot in the exclusive Wundrous Society and must pass the four trials. This book has been compared to Harry Potter and I can vaguely see the connection. It’s a fun and whimsical read. I couldn’t interest my son in reading it, but I may continue the series.

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When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal (July 2019, Contemporary Fiction) – A woman thinks that her sister is dead. But then she sees her on a news clip. So she travels from California to New Zealand to try to track her down. Will she find her? The book alternates between the two sisters POV as we discover their tragic past and secrets that they are keeping. This was an engrossing and enjoyable read.

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You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson (June 2020, YA/LGBT) – A poor, black teen has big plans to go to college to become a doctor and continue playing music. But financial aid is not providing enough money for her to attend. One of the few options she has is to try to win the scholarship for Prom Queen, despite the fact that there has never been a black or queer queen in the school’s history. This book portrays modern teen life in a realistic manner. I’m jealous of the diverse YA books available to teens today, so I have to read some of them!

20

November Reads {2020}

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It is almost the end of the year and I am 9 books away from reading 100 books this year! I likely won’t reach that goal, however, I surpassed my 75 book goal with flying colors. Thank you quarantine! Today I’m sharing my November reads with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books linkup. If you are looking for something new to read, I highly recommend checking out this linkup. Book lover/bloggers share their monthly reads and I always get tons of new book recommendations!

3 stars

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Followers by Megan Angelo – (January 2020, Contemporary/Science Fiction) This book shows the power of technology and social media and its dangerous effects. The story switches between 2015 and 2055 as it follows two characters. This was a pretty slow read for me that I thought was just “eh.”

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Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber – (October 2020, Christmas/ Romance) A vacation booking mistake leaves a busy real estate executive on a guided tour down the Amazon River instead of a relaxing beach resort she had requested. During the vacation she ends up forming a friendship with the ship’s naturalist. Will it lead to more? This was an okay holiday romance read.

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Room-maid by Sariah Wilson – (October 2020, Contemporary romance) Madison Huntington has decided to live her own life, which means being cut off from her wealthy family. Since she can’t afford her own apartment on her teacher’s salary, she ends up agreeing to be a “room-maid” for Tyler Roth. Since he travels so often, he needs someone to help keep his apartment clean while he’s away and look after his dog. The only problem is, that she has no idea how to clean. This was a light, fluffy read. Madison and Tyler’s characters were very likable. However, Madison’s lack of real life skills was a bit annoying.

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The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss – (October 2020, Christmas/Romance) Kate Turner signs up for a dating agency’s “The Twelve Dates of Christmas.” However, each holiday themed date seems to be worse than the one before. Will she find love before Christmas?

4 stars

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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – (April 2019, Contemporary Fiction) During an apartment open house, a bank robber takes the group hostage. The bank robber and hostages all have a story and learn more about themselves through the situation. I’m a Backman fan and this book didn’t disappoint.

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Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman – (June 2015, Middle Grade/Mystery) Garrison Griswold, creator of Book Scavenger, an online book hunt, is planning an epic new game. However, he is attacked and hospitalized right before the debut. When a 12 year old girl discovers a book, she believes it may be the first clue to the new game. She and her new friend James have to work to try to solve the puzzles. This was a fun, middle grade read. I borrowed it from the library in hope of getting my 7th grade son to read it….which he hasn’t yet.

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The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult – (September 2020, Contemporary Fiction) A woman surviving a plane crash reexamines her life and the two different paths that her life could have taken. There has been a lot of criticism and negative reviews for this book due to the textbook heavy information on Egyptology. I will agree that a lot of the info on the mummies, tombs and the actual The Book of Two Ways did not interest me. However, I give Picoult credit for writing a well researched book. Aside from the Egypt stuff, I also enjoyed the storyline. Picoult still remains one of my favorite authors, this book just wasn’t a favorite.

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Slider by Pete Hautman – (September 2017, Middle Grade) David mistakenly charges $2,000 to his mother’s credit card. To pay his mom back before she finds out, he enters a pizza eating contest. While training for the contest he also has to watch his autistic brother. This was a fun read. I got this for my son to read, which he did and enjoyed.

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October Reads

September Reads

31

October 2020 Reads

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Another month has flown by. My reading has continued to slow down, but I think part of the problem is that I haven’t been reading very good books. Most of my books this month were 3 star, “okay” reads. We are almost half-way through November and I am going to continue my tradition of reading some holiday books over the next month and a half! These will hopefully be light, quick, enjoyable reads! I’m sharing my October 2020 reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.

3 Stars

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Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel – (Mystery/Thriller – March 2020) – A twisted mother/daughter relationship resulting in a dark and disturbing read. I honestly couldn’t decide who was crazier!

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Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert – (Contemporary Romance – November 2019) A cute romance book about a chronically ill nerd and a red-headed apartment super/artist. I found the couple to be so awkwardly cute. A fun, light read.

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Whisper Network by Chandler Baker – (Contemporary/Mystery -July 2019) A group of women working in corporate America take a stand when one of their male colleagues will likely become the next CEO. This book is a mixture of the #metoo movement and a mystery. However, I found it to be a very slow read.

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You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkaner – (Mystery/Thriller – March 2020) A lonely girl witnesses a suicide. Then she meets sisters who befriend her and help her turn her life around. But is it too good to be true?

4 Stars

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Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey – (Contemporary Romance – April 2020) – Two strangers end up helping each other out and forming a deep friendship. With likable characters, this was a fun, light read.

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Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy – (Thriller/Mystery – October 2020) A newlywed couple move from the city to upstate NY. The The husband, a therapist sees his patients in the perfect office, in the basement of the house. He doesn’t know that a vent in the ceiling allows everything that is said to be heard in the house. Then one stormy night, he ends up disappearing. This thriller had lots of twists that made for an enjoyable read.

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One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London – (Contemporary Romance – July 2020) A plus-sized fashion blogger becomes the next star of a Bachelorette-esque show. Are the guys there for the “right reason” and can she find love? As a fan of the Bachelor/Bachelorette series, I found this to be a fun read.

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September Reads 2020

August Reads 2020

19

September Reads {2020}

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Today I’m sharing my September reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. Last month I completed my Goodreads reading challenge goal of 75 books. Unfortunately, my reading has slowed way down. In September I only read 5 books, but luckily, they were mostly great reads. Here are my September reads:

3 Stars

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An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena – (Suspense/Thriller, August 2018) – A series of guests arrive at an Inn just as a blizzard hits. As guests begin to wind up dead, the goal becomes to survive the weekend. I’ve read several other of Lapena’s books but this one wasn’t a winner for me.

4 Stars

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28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand – (Contemporary Fiction, June 2020) Girl inherits a house on Nantucket. Girl meets boy. Girl and boy then have a one weekend a year affair at said house for 28 summers. I’ve only read a couple of Hilderbrand’s books and haven’t loved most of them. This was a surprisingly enjoyable read. I got this summer read finished right before the official start of fall!

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The Last Flight by Julie Clark – (Suspense/Thriller, June 2020) Two women, who both want to disappear and start their lives over, meet at an airport and end up switching plane tickets. Their decisions ultimately have huge consequences. This was an enjoyable suspense read that had me invested in the lives of both women.

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On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – (YA – February 2019) – A poor, teenage girl, with a lot of family drama, struggles to become a rapper. This was a great read, but I just didn’t love it as much as The Hate U Give.

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The One by John Marrs – (Thriller/Science Fiction – March 2018) A company has a DNA test that will match you with your perfect partner. However, is it too good to be true? Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable suspense read.

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August 2020 Reads

July 2020 Reads

June 2020 Reads

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.

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July 2020 Reads

June 2020 Reads

May 2020 Reads

29

July Reads {2020}

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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.