May 26, 2019

Review: Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith

Product Description:
Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.

A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.

But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?

My Thoughts: 
I picked out Something Like Gravity specifically because it was billed as being similar to Eleanor & Park which I absolutely loved. I didn't read the full description so I had no idea this was a story about a transgender teen. I most likely wouldn't have selected it if I had known but honestly it wasn't a bad story. The only reason I didn't rate it higher was that the story is kind of choppy. 

Chris takes off running in the beginning of the book and his parents and best friend have a major freak out for what seems like no reason. Then the back story behind Maia's sister Mallory's death seems more sinister than it turns out to be so everything just seemed a little off kilter when I was reading. 

My Recommendation:
Overall I enjoyed the story and I'm glad I read it but at the end of the day I probably wouldn't recommend it when asked for my opinion.

April 15, 2019

Review: Come and Get Me: A Caitlin Bergman Novel by August Norman

Product Description:
At Indiana University, someone’s been studying the female student body: their dating customs, nocturnal activities—and how long they can survive in captivity.

When award-winning journalist Caitlin Bergman is invited back to campus to receive an honorary degree, she finds an opportunity for a well-earned victory lap—and a chance to face the trauma that almost destroyed her as an undergrad. But her lap becomes an all-out race when a student begs her to probe an unsolved campus disappearance: Angela Chapman went out one Friday night and never came back.

To find the missing woman, Caitlin must join forces with a local police detective and the department that botched her own case so long ago. But while Caitlin follows the clues behind Angela’s disappearance, someone else is following her…

Unearthing secrets hidden beneath an idyllic Midwestern college town, Caitlin must expose what really happened to Angela—before she herself becomes the newest addition to a twisted collection.

My Thoughts:
I am a huge fan of suspense thrillers but as much as I tried I could not get into this book at all. From the very beginning I just wasn't pulled into the story but I was committed to a review so I kept reading. About a third of the way in I just said screw it and skipped the whole next third of the book and picked up at about the last third. Honestly other than some minor details of what went on, I wasn't at all lost and just kept right on reading. Luckily the last third had a little more action to sustain the book but at the end of the date the book isn't one that I'd recommend. 

My Recommendation:
Sadly, I say pass on this one. There are way too many books out there to waste time with this one. 

March 12, 2019

Review: Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Product Description:
Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades...beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden—one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed...

My Thoughts:
Secrets of a Charmed Life has now become my favorite book of 2019. It is an amazing suspense story. It reminds me a little of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford in that I kept wanting to jump to the end of the book to check if everything works out in the end. 

Two sisters separated by war in a story told over a current day's afternoon. I really couldn't get through the book fast enough. Truly wonderful.

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one to anyone who loves historical fiction.

January 1, 2019

Review: Indian Paintbrush (Carson Chronicles Book 3) by John A. Heldt

Product Description:
Arizona, December 1943. After surviving perilous six-month journeys to 1889 and 1918, the Carsons, five siblings from the present day, seek a respite in their home state. While Adam and Greg settle down with their Progressive Era brides, Natalie and Caitlin start romances with wartime aviators and Cody befriends a Japanese family in an internment camp. The time travelers regroup, bury some ghosts, and continue their search for their missing parents. Then old problems return, new ones emerge, and a peaceful hiatus becomes a race for survival. In INDIAN PAINTBRUSH, the sequel to RIVER RISING and THE MEMORY TREE, several young adults find love and adventure as they navigate the home front during the height of World War II.

My Thoughts:
By this third book in the Carson Chronicles I feel like the characters are some of my favorites to read about. They all have their distinct personalities and I feel invested in what happens to them. In each of the books there have been emotional ups and (surprisingly low) downs and I think this is what helped solidify that relationship for me. 

In Indian Paintbrush the family travels to 1943/1944. Here the men have to deal with the WWII draft, newly acquired brides and the continued search for their parents. The ladies both meet dashing men that sweep them off their feet but then they face the ultimate decision... to keep their secret or risk sharing it and put their family's safety on the line. 

While this book in the series covers some of the events in World War II and gives us a look into a Japanese internment camp, it doesn't have as much historical knowledge as other time travel books I've read and absolutely loved by Heldt. With that being said it's still a fantastic story that leaves me anxiously awaiting the next book in the Carson Chronicles. 

My Recommendation:
I recommend this for anyone who loves romantic time travel books. 

Books I've Read in 2019

  1. Winter's Web by Jennifer Estep
  2. Witch is How The Tables Turned by Adele Abbott
  3. Frill Kill by Laura Childs
  1. Whoops! We’re In Big Trouble Now by Adele Abbott
  2. You Dropped a Blonde on Me by Dakota Cassidy
  1. Witch is How The Drought Ended by Adele Abbott
  2. Murder with All the Trimmings by Elaine Viets
  3. Witch is How the Dice Fell by Adele Abbott
  1. Burning Down the Spouse by Dakota Cassidy
  2. Murder On Account by Adele Abbott
  1. The Fashion Hound Murders by Elaine Viets
  2. Death Swatch by Laura Childs
  3. Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith
  1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  2. Lock in by John Scalzi
  3. Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel
  4. Circe by Madeline Miller
  5. Killing Floor by Lee Child
  6. Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs
  7. Year One by Nora Roberts
  8. Dead on Arrival by Matt Richtel
  9. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
  1. 48 Hours by William R. Forstchen
  2. The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell
  3. The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  4. Connections in Death by J.D. Robb
  1. Die Trying by Lee Childs
  2. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
  3. Of Blood and Bone: Chronicles of The One, Book 2 by Nora Roberts
  4. Head On by John Scalzi
  5. Secrets of a Charmed Life by by Susan Meissner
  6. Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell
  7. Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer
  8. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  9. Run Away by Harlan Coben
  1. The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry
  2. On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman
  1. Spell or High Water by Scott Myer
  2. The Stars Below by David Baldacci 
  3. The Chef by James Patterson & Max DiLallo
  4. Redemption by David Baldacci 
  5. The Forever Ship by Francesca Haig
Grand Total: 42

Here's what I've read in previous years:

Top 5 Books I've Read in 2019

  1. Secrets of a Charmed Life by by Susan Meissner
  2. Circe by Madeline Miller
  3. Dead on Arrival by Matt Richtel
  4. Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel - The entire trilogy is a must read!
  5. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Books I Didn't Finish in 2019

Below will be any books I started and didn't finish and the reason why. 

    1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab 
      • I only got a few chapters in but I couldn't concentrate long enough to care about any of the characters so I bailed pretty quickly on this one.