This Tender Land

Fun fact… I just took the book cover to take this picture. The full book was too heavy to bring apple picking!

My Synopsis: Odie, his brother, a classmate, and a little girl from the town they go to school in embark on a necessary adventure to save their own lives.

Pairs Best With:  Fresh off the tree apples, or anything fresh off a farm. Bonus points for anything that little Emmy grew.

Brief Review: A slow burn, but a beautifully written book. Odies story embraces some tough topics like family and faith. The end had some crazy twists, but in a great way that brought closure to the whole story. Overall a great one!

Interested in reading this one? You can get it here:

Daisy Jones and The Six

MY SECOND AUDIOBOOK… and it will be hard to top!!

My Synopsis: A documentary that follows the rise and fall of a 70s band Daisy Jones and the Six.

Pairs Best With:  Champagne for breakfast. Also probably with heroine, but I skipped that one (which I highly recommend doing).

Brief Review: I listened to this book and I loved every second of it! It honestly felt like I was watching a documentary about a band. I wanted to google the songs they were talking about and had to remind myself it’s fiction.

I also loved how women in this book were portrayed. There were only 4 primary ones (out if a large cast of characters), but they ran the gamete. I really appreciated that she didn’t stick to a few stereotypes. It showed real genuine female friendships in a male dominated world and I am here for it. Also Karen was my favorite – but I might have just liked her voice on the audiobook the best.

I was hesitant to read this because of the hype, but I’m so glad I did!!

Interested in reading this one? You can get it here:

Mother Knows Best

Thank you Netgalley for this ARC!

My Synopsis: A woman loses her child to a biological disease, and goes to great lengths to prevent it happening to her future children. With illegal scientific procedures, a doctor & his assistant help blend 2 people’s eggs to prevent the disease from occurring again. Twists, turns, and terror follow.

Pairs Best With:  Two eggs… too on the nose?

Brief Review: This was the perfect beach thriller – a quick, easy read with lots of twists. Some were predictable, others were less. I really enjoyed the science-y side to this book. It added unique spin you don’t see often. Although it bugged me that Jillian was a genius science prodigy who’s one downfall was a man (🙄), it was essential to the story. I’d recommend this one!

Interested in reading this one? You can get it here:

BLOG HOP!

Guys! My first blog hop!!

What is a blog hop? It’s a group of people who answer the same question so that you can get different perspectives… and find new blogs! The entire month of September, a wonderful group of people have been collaborating and swapping who posts the answers. In this case, the question is: a book you started but never finished. Let’s see what we got…

Next by Michael Crichton. I got up to page 114 before deciding to DNF. I love thrillers, and this one sounds interesting as it delves into the world of genetics but I just couldn’t get into it. I might give it another try in the future though. 

www.JoLinsdell.com


The most memorable book I had to DFN this year was Envy by Amanda Robson. Here is my “review” from Goodreads. “This was the disjointed book I have ever read. There were no decent characters to be found. 

This line really bothered me…”You pause.You swallow. I watch your Adam’s apple move up and down your pretty throat.” Technically, we have them, but they are not prominent. If so, are they attractive?

Lastly, the fact that the book changed POV, often within the same paragraph, in the same first-person voice, made it impossible to read. This is because the chapters we named after the four principal characters, yet the POV kept changing, so we did not always know who was talking.”

https://www.robinlovesreading.com


The book I DNF and need to finish some day was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

https://spookysmaze.blogspot.com/?m=1


I don’t DNF very often… I’ve read some books I regretted by the end, but I pushed through because of sheer obstinacy, and the delusion that somehow it was going to redeem itself at the very end… but often it didn’t.

There are a few titles that come to mind of books I started and then just got so bored with it that I gave up:

The Allan Quartermain Series by H. Rider Haggard–I had read and enjoyed the abridged and illustrated version of King Solomon’s Mines, which was part of this series, so I thought I wanted to read the full version… but no. I got partway through but the story was very much buried under a deluge of menial, trivial, and laborious descriptions. Most memorable was an entire paragraph devoted to a sequence in which a man is up a tree trying to cut down branches and the axe slips and the head ends up floating on the surface of the lake below. Naturally, we are treated to the exact height of the tree, the dimensions of the axe, the physics of how fast and how far it fell, the fact that the characters are so incredulous because the weight and density of the axe head did not lend itself to buoyancy–needless to say, I had enough. There wasn’t enough action and emotion between the minutiae to hold my attention.

The other book that still sits on my shelf with the bookmark still sticking out of it at probably the halfway mark is The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I was fascinated by the Shannara Chronicles series on Netflix, so when I saw that book at a book sale I thought I’d dive right into it…. But again, the minutiae got to me, and there was too much of the action and setting I didn’t understand. It didn’t mesh with what I remembered seeing in the TV show, and the story didn’t compel me as much as, say, The Broken Empire did, seeing as both of those functioned under similar settings, with an alternate Earth populated by fantasy creatures and scenarios… so I moved on to better and more exciting novels and that one still remains for whenever I get back around to it out of sheer boredom!

www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com


Have you read any of these books? What have you read lately that you DNF (did not finish)?

August 2019

August 2019 was a BUSY MONTH. It’s the second to last month of my maternity leave (insert any and all crying gifs here), but the first month of my husbands paternity leave. On our list of “goals for leave” was for me to finish a book every 2 days. That didn’t quite happen… but I had an even 8 (for the 8th month of the year) with some great ones! They are listed below in the order I read them.

Note: I hate reading synopsis that give too much away. I promise no spoilers, and nothing you wouldn’t find out past, say, page 50. Theres also links to buy all these books at the bottom of the page!


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Every once in a while theres a book that is SO hyped, and lives up to ALL OF IT. Evelyn Hugo is the ultimate movie super star, legendary for having seven husbands. Towards the end of her life, she asks a seemingly random, young journalist to write her life story. For the first time, she decides to tell the story of each husband. But why now? And why this journalist?


Red Clocks

Leni Zumas

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A story about 4 women in a future US where abortion is illegal, a fetus is a person by law, and only 2 parents can adopt a kid. An extremely interesting concept with a really unique writing style.


Th1rt3en

Steve Cavanagh

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The cover says it all – the real murderer is in the jury box.

The plot of this book had me intrigued – the murderer is in the courtroom, but he’s not the defendant. He’s a juror. A twist on the typical courtroom drama and thriller. This book is part of a series, but works just as well as a standalone.


Lock Every Door

Riley Sager

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Riley Sager lives up to his reputation as “King of Misdirection” (a title I appointed him) in his newest thriller. Jules is newly single and broke, living on her friends couch with no job, when she finds the opportunity of a lifetime. One of the most famous residential buildings in Manhattan is looking for apartment sitters. $1,000/week to live in a luxurious duplex right on Central Park. Sounds too good to be true, right? Spoiler alert: it is. 

Side note – if you haven’t read his second book, The Last Time I Lied, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!


The People We Hate At The Wedding

Grant Ginder

Rating: 2 out of 5.

A family drama about an upcoming wedding. The wedding itself is only at the absolute very end, but leading up to the wedding is often the more dramatic part! Alice is recovering from a traumatic life experience, Paul is dating Mark (who sucks), and their half sister Eloise is getting married. Told from multiple points of view, this story is D.R.A.M.A.


What Alice Forgot

Liane Moriarty

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Alice is 39 years old in 2008 when she hits her head and wakes up thinking its 1998. She thinks she’s happily married, early in her first pregnancy, and extremely close with her family. As she learns the truth about her current life, she’s forced to reconcile the life she always thought she’d have with what really happened.


The Ventriloquists

E.R. Ramzipoor

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Historical fiction at its finest! Brussels 1943, a team of rebels is forced to create a fake propaganda newspaper promoting the Nazis. In another act of rebellion, they decide to create an additional fake propaganda newspaper against the Nazis, promoting their own agenda. An interesting twist on the typical WWII novel!


Mother Knows Best

Kira Peikoff

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A woman loses her child to a biological disease, and goes to great lengths to prevent it happening to her future children. With illegal scientific procedures, a doctor & his assistant help blend 2 people’s eggs to prevent the disease from occurring again. Twists, turns, and terror follow. Such an interesting science twist on a classic thriller!


Any of these books sound interesting to you? Check them out on the links below!


The 6 Best Summer Releases You Might Have Missed

This post originally appeared on The Nerd Mom. She is AWESOME. You can check out the original post here.

So maybe your reading plans for the summer didn’t go entirely as scheduled. All those hot new releases you were looking forward to didn’t quite happen. And that’s okay! I’m here to help! Here are the 6 summer releases you might not have gotten to, but are worth finding time for once your school routine is finally back. 

Note: I hate reading synopsis that give too much away. I promise no spoilers below, and nothing you wouldn’t find out past, say, page 50. All synopses and pictures are my own, from my book instagram – check out the link below!

Lock Every Door 

by Riley Sager

Riley Sager lives up to his reputation as “King of Misdirection” (a title I appointed him) in his newest thriller. Jules is newly single and broke, living on her friends couch with no job, when she finds the opportunity of a lifetime. One of the most famous residential buildings in Manhattan is looking for apartment sitters. $1,000/week to live in a luxurious duplex right on Central Park. Sounds too good to be true, right? Spoiler alert: it is. 

Side note – if you haven’t read his second book, The Last Time I Lied, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!

The Flatshare

by Beth O’Leary

I’ll be honest, I’m normally not a huge romcom fan. Not my genre. But this one melted my heart. Tiffy is fresh out of a terrible relationship and on the hunt for a new apartment on a limited salary. She ends up finding a unique situation – not just sharing a flat, but sharing a bed! Tiffy gets it at night, and her new roommate, Leon, gets it during the day. And never the two shall meet (or so they plan).

Summer of ‘69

by Ellen Hilderbrand

How can you go an entire summer without an Ellen Hilderbrand read?! She is the queen of summer reads, and her newest novel is no exception. The perfect historical fiction, set in the busy American summer of 1969. It’s the story (/drama) of a family who normally summers in Nantucket, but who’s world is slightly adrift because of the only son being deployed to Vietnam. There are multiple viewpoints from each family member (minus the son), and how the most historic summer in American history shapes them all.

The Two Lila Bennetts

by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke 

This book is Sliding Doors meets your favorite thriller/mystery. Lila is faced with a decision, and that decision takes her life in 2 drastically different directions. In one life, she’s kidnapped and held hostage. In the other, she avoids kidnapping, but someone is still trying to ruin her life. It makes you realize how our choices can affect everything. 

Miracle Creek

by Angie Kim

This slowburn courtroom drama follows the aftermath of a hyperbaric chamber exploding, which resulted in the death of two, including a child with autism. The explosion was not an accident. This book has alternating points of view to see the wide range of people getting help (from infertility to autism), the lengths people go to when it comes to protecting family, and the different alliances that form along the way. It’s Angie Kim’s first book, and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us. 

Whisper Network

by Chandler Baker

When the CEO of a company dies and their boss is next in line for the position, a group of women band together to make sure his misogynistic and sexist ways start to come to light. The #metoo book that every woman who has been in the working world needs to read. There’s nothing else to say without giving away too much, except to say – READ THIS. 

Happy reading!

Want to check out any of these titles? See the links below!

The Ventriloquists

Thank you Park Row Books for this ARC! This book is out TODAY!!

My Synopsis: Brussels 1943, a team of rebels is forced to create a fake newspaper promoting the Nazis. In another act of rebellion, they decide to create an additional fake newspaper against the Nazis, promoting their own agenda.

Pairs Best With:  I had no idea what to pair this book with, so I consulted with @thereadingchemist – Belgium… fries! And I’m never one to pass up an opportunity for fries!

Brief Review: This book was a very interesting twist on other WWII novels I have read. To start, you rarely see a WWII book with only one Jewish character! Each character was written really well, and I enjoyed the short chapters set in the present. They broke up the story nicely. Each persons plight and backstory was unique and intriguing – I was especially drawn to David Spiegelmans story. Don’t let the page count scare you off – though there’s a lot going on, it’s a fairly quick read.

The one thing I have to mention is I found one historical inaccuracy and was a bit confused in America’s involvement throughout the story.

Interested in reading this one? You can buy it here:

The Ventriloquists: A Novel

The Friend Zone

Warning: unpopular opinion below

My synopsis: Two people who are clearly meant to be together can’t be. Classic.

Pairs best with: Tacos. Because they talk about them a lot, and every time they do, I want some.

Brief review: I have a whole lot of feelings about this book. A WHOLE LOT. I was hesitant at first because I’m usually not a fan of romance. But there are definitely some I love, and this book was everywhere (plus I won it in a giveaway), so I gave it a whirl. There were times I was tempted to lean towards “like” but I think I hated it. The ending, like last 20 pages, included my biggest pet peeve in books of all time. (If you know me, that was a spoiler, so I apologize.) The whole second half was so depressing and I was not expecting that AT ALL, nor did I find it necessary.

The end made me so mad I almost forgot about how annoying and problematic the “cool girl” troupe was and always is. Hate that shit.

But, at the end of the day, a book that evokes this much emotion is obviously well written and really gets to you. So originally I gave it 3 stars. But the more I think about it the more it bugs me for reasons that are spoilers, so 2 it is.

Extended review: *includes spoilers*

Let’s start from the beginning issues: COOL GIRL. Overdone, and honestly, problematic. A girl can be worthy of love without “basically being a dude.” Kills me. I was hesitant I’d hate this book because of that alone, now I barely remember hating that part. Because there’s more.

The accident. Okay Brandon’s accident was so depressing and honestly unnecessary. I get that the lesson was people have real issues, yours aren’t that big. But it still was unnecessary.

And then he dies?! That was just too much. Sad. Very sad. But again, unnecessary. It didn’t even help their relationship develop!!!! She still wouldn’t be with him!! Which brings me to something I forgot about being annoyed by…

If she’s such a “cool girl” who always “says what she’s thinking,” why the eff couldn’t she just tell him the problem from the start. MAJOR. EYE. ROLL. Be an adult and give him the real reason or cut him loose. The “it’s only sex” HAS NEVER WORKED ASK ANY MOVIE, TV SHOW, OR BOOK EVER.

Okay back to where we were. Brandon’s dead. They’re still not together. Josh did research, they can have kids, they can be in love. Great. They go to get the hysterectomy and she’s. Fucking. Pregnant.

If you know me, you know my biggest pet peeve in books is “we had sex once and now I’m pregnant – oops!” So not only is she pregnant, but they back date it to being the first time they had sex. Of course! Super sperm can cure broken uteruses!

I want to praise the author for writing about infertility because it’s such a sensitive topic and I’ve read very little with it before, but honestly I found the way that it ended insensitive.

And this isn’t a personal thing, I got pregnant somewhat unintentionally (sorry Millie, still love you!) but to have a character some people can connect to on such a sensitive topic and then give them their happy ending naturally was too much. Show the rest of the struggle. Show them going through IVF and treatments. THEN give them the happy ending. Keep it real. I’m genuinely happy they had their miracle baby. I am. But it was a character for other people to relate to and then the ending was just a cop out.

This book was widely successful and my opinions are in the minority. Did you read it? What did you think?

Still interested in reading this book? You can buy it here: The Friend Zone

Pretty Revenge

I just finished Pretty Revenge. I have a lot of thoughts. I need to get them out. So let’s dive right in shall we.

My synopsis: Kerrie is out to get revenge on a girl, Jordana, who ruined her life 18 years ago. Jordana is now a big shot wedding planner in Manhattan with her own troubled past.

Pairs best with: The only thing the Manhattan hot shots in this book eat is salads, and probably without the croutons… good thing I’m just a Manhattan cold shot because I enjoy my croutons! So yes, pair with a salad. Or go the Kerrie route and pair with pizza (this sounds way better to be honest).

Brief review: I enjoyed this book a lot while reading it, but thinking back on it I’m not so sure. It’s a light and quick read, it’s chick lit with a small mystery in the background. It definitely made me want to be a wedding planner, but I didn’t think the mystery twist really held up in the end. All that being said, I still enjoyed reading this book in the moment and would recommend it. Just be warned: this is chick lit (as much as I hate that term) and not a thriller.

Extended review: *includes spoilers*

The whole time I was excited to see what big wrong Jordan did to Kerrie. The things they they were hinting at didn’t seem like something that would still eat away at you 18 years later… and I was right. Obviously it’s tragic that Kerrie’s grandma died in a fire, but it sounds like it was an accident. And obviously stealing is wrong, but 18 years later you’re going to commit your life to destroying hers over that? Sounds extreme.

The end was so rushed and just way too easy. There’s about 10 pages left and BAM mwahaha I gotcha –> no argument –> boards a plane –> oh and here’s my business on a silver platter. It just was too convenient that it worked out so well for BOTH girls, and the only people hurt were the genuine bad guys.

Okay now onto William. I mean… what?! So cliche. So cliche. Oh let me just fall in love with the groom. But oh no he’s still getting married! Oh, but then he gets annulled. So again… no one gets hurt and she gets the man. Because a story isn’t complete unless you end up with a man!

Honestly, the only character I found at all relatable/real by the end was Sara.

And how many times in Jordanas chapters can she say “thank heavens for Olivia! I really like Olivia!” Just to make it so obvious she trusts her. WE GET IT. The plan is working.

So that was a lot of shit talking. Which is strange, because in general I enjoyed reading this book! The whole time I was entertained and hooked. Not necessarily by the mystery, but I liked the plot and writing. The end just killed me.

Pretty Revenge comes out July 2nd. Are you going to read it? Have you already? What did you think?

Dear Wife

Blog posts about mysteries are my favorite… Bring on all the spoilers!

My synopsis: Two stories – Beth on the run and everyone searching for a missing woman named Sabine. But how do they overlap? Great question!

Pairs best with: Anything fishy. Because everyone in this story was fishy. Get it?? Yeah. I hate me too.

Brief review: Honestly, I loved this book. I think it is her best one yet. It takes a lot to surprise me with thrillers – I’ve read way too many and I’ve seen every twist. The initial turn I figured out pretty quickly, but the final twist I definitely did not see coming!! Not much more I can say without spoilers – but check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.

Extended review: *spoilers below*

Okay. I love reviews for thrillers because I go through ALL MY THEORIES mwahahahaaa

Okay let’s start with what I got right (yay me). Right off the bat I knew Sabine wasn’t Beth. How did I know? Easy – it was too obvious. Okay but really: Beth said she left her phone in the kitchen garbage. But Sabine’s husband called her cell phone multiple times (in every room) and never heard a ring.

Now what did I get wrong: everything else! I’m telling ya, I can smell a twist a mile away but this one got me!

My theory was that Beth killed Sabine and was on the run, but making it look like Sabine ran away. Using her credit card places, getting the apartment; I thought these were all Beth pretending to be Sabine. Maybe Sabine’s boyfriends wife, maybe someone we hadn’t met yet. That part I hadn’t figured out.

Needless to say, I was wrong. Beth was Emma, Marcus’ wife. I missed the initial hint, when Emma didn’t show up to dinner. I figured it out when Marcus’ mom showed up at his house.

And I really did not see Marcus killing Sabine until Emma/Beth did.

I love love loved that Emma/Beth paid back the Church and tried to keep her new friends. It had such a neat and happy ending. Normally those don’t fit in thrillers, but this one really did and I’m happy about it.

Dear Wife is out today – have you read it yet?? If so, what did you think??