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*Thank you Flatiron Books for this ARC!*

This was the first ARC I ever requested directly from a publisher… and I’m so glad I did.

My Synopsis: Four women learn their misogynistic boss is next in line to be CEO, and decide to put a stop to it.

Pairs best with: TBH, I totally cheated on the “snack” part of this pic. But what could this pair well with other than adorable babies? A glass of wine. Because nothing screams “girl power” like a glass of rosé.

Brief Review:

This book is everything. It had so much potential and so much going on, and it succeeded at every turn. I loved each character, even with their flaws. It was by far the most relatable book I’ve ever read. 

I was hooked. I laughed. I sent pictures of lines to my friends. I even got teary at parts. It’s insanely timely, both in the world, and in my life at the moment. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!

Extended Review: *SPOILERS BELOW*

Guys. If you couldn’t tell already, I loved this book. It was the most relatable book I’ve read, so this post will be a bit personal. I just couldn’t help relating everything to personal experiences, so here we go!

This book is so applicable to the #metoo movement, which is exactly what all the reviews said. But as a 29 year old woman in the corporate world, especially one who just had a baby about 2 weeks ago, this book really spoke to me on a personal level. I don’t work in a legal department, but I always thought the environment of a public accounting firm in Manhattan was similar to practicing law. Even though the firm I work at is technically more women than men, the actual billable staff are heavily male and it can be difficult being a woman in that world.

As a new mom, I’ve spent an absurd amount of time in the last 9 months thinking about my the future of my career. I’m also moving in a week, which will change my 20 minute walk to work into an hour commute. The combination of these two things is making me question pretty much every decision I’ve ever made in my career, along with where I will be going forward. Commuting an hour and working full time while trying to be a caregiver to my daughter is something I have been already struggling with in theory – and I haven’t even had to do it yet. If I stay at my current position, I will need to have some type of flex schedule, which is allowed at my company, but of course is looked down upon by the all male management of the firm. My direct boss is a woman, but everyone above her is male. It makes for a difficult situation where there appear to be options, but the system is flawed.

I heavily connected with Grace because of the new mom status. Especially because I was reading this while I was feeding the baby at nights (though I fed from a bottle… so I couldn’t relate to the breast feeding part!). While Sloane was used to and able to balance work and her daughter, Grace was new to it and struggled. I’m still on maternity leave (like I said, it’s been 2 weeks), but I fully anticipate a similar struggle come October.

This leads me to the few times the book mentioned “having it all.” This is such an interesting concept to me in general. When you hear that, you think of societies definition of “all,” but I’m a firm believer that everyone should define that for themselves. Whether it’s having a career and family life, or staying home to raise your kids, there shouldn’t be pressure to do everything at once. Anyway, I digress. Back to the book!

Each chapter started off with little blurb about how it is for working women. And I. ATE. THOSE. UP. I took pictures of blurbs and sent them to friends. I laughed out loud. I don’t know the last time I laughed out loud at a book. They were just all so true and so honest. Why yes Chandler Baker, you’re right, I DID waste my entire weekend watching Jane the Virgin. And yes, I DID read Lean In, and you’re right, it didn’t help my career. All the little snippets of information really helped build the story and sucked me in.

Obviously, some things were less relatable. I probably would not actually push my boss off the roof. But I also won’t say I haven’t thought about it!

Also understandable – the cliqueiness (not a word) of the women in the story. I loved all of the characters, despite their flaws, but it was interesting to me how a new woman joined the company and they instantly tried to get her to join “their side.” To me, it seemed them taking Katherine under their wings was them trying to win her over. To have another ally. It didn’t seem innocent.

Okay lets talk about the BAD list. This was so creative. I don’t live in Dallas, but I live in Manhattan which is its own beast. I could see a list like this circulating a college, and it isn’t so far fetched to think about it circulating a city either.

Sexual harassment. A very prevalent theme throughout the book. I was surprised in the end to find out that Ardie had also been raped by Ames, and I liked that in the end it was her and Katherine that had ultimately killed him. Katherine’s story line was frustrating, but rang all too true. And to be honest, I get where she was coming from. Why let an incident of something that happened TO her define her? If she could use it to elevate herself, why only let it hurt her and bring her down? I wish she didn’t have to do it at the expense of the other ladies, but I understand not wanting to relive that over and over for the public just to get back at a man who was already dead.

Rosalita. I figured out early on, but only once the hints started, that Ames was her sons dad. Reading that part and her confessions is what drove me to a few tears (but we can also blame the postpartum hormones. I know Grace would feel me on that). I loved that she was so brave and stuck with the women to help bring Ames down. I’m a sucker for strong female characters.

There was so much feminism and girl power in the book that I can’t even write about everything I loved. From Ardie and Sloane sticking up for Sloane’s daughter to the law firm they build at the end and everything in between. This book was chock full of great moral lessons and positive messages.

Listen. None of these women were perfect. They were cheaters, they were single moms, they struggled, some of them were kind of murderers. But they were real and honest and raw, and by sticking together they were able to make a big change.

I can’t wait for a day when a book like this seems like something of the past. When the idea of women in the work place being treated differently than their male counterparts is historical fiction rather than contemporary. That the thought of women who accuse a man of sexual harassment aren’t bribed by a higher paycheck or have their authenticity questioned by other women.

If women stick together, like Ardie, Grace, Sloane, and Rosalita did, maybe we can make that happen! Until then, we have books like this to get us through.

If you can’t tell, I highly recommend this. Keep an eye out for it in July 2019!!

The Aftermath

I have a lot of thoughts on this book. I wish I wrote this post a while ago while it was still fresh in my mind, but lets see what stuck…

My Synopsis: This story follows a German family and a British family one year post WWII, showing how the war effected each person individually.

Pairs best with: Popcorn. The movie just came out… but of course you have to read the book first!! Nothing pairs better with a movie-book than popcorn.

Brief Review:

I’d say this was about 3.5 stars on the 5 star scale – it was pretty entertaining, but more than that it was an interesting time period you don’t hear about often. Germany one year post WWII. It brought up something you don’t think of; the kids who grew up during WWII, didn’t fully understand what was going on, but knew enough to feel the loss of loved ones and their home. Though the story itself wasn’t the most gripping, the setting and time period made up for it. Worth a read!

Extended Review: *SPOILERS AHEAD*

OKAY. Like I said, I have a lot of thoughts. Overall, I liked this book. But there were a lot of things that just didn’t add up or get fully developed. And I think that was my biggest issue – there were so many starts to story lines that didn’t quite make it as far as they needed to go, and it lost a lot of the momentum of the story.

Maybe this was explained and I just missed it, but I was confused at the ages of Edmund and Freda. Yes, Freda was older, but I didn’t think she was that much older. Their plots were so different that their ages seemed exasperated. Edmund was written as a child, while Freda was portrayed as an angsty teen. This confused me throughout the story.

At one point, Edmund is looking through Lewis’s wallet and notices that Lewis has pictures of Rachael and Michel, but not Edmund. When Edmund asks him about it, he gives a reason that Lewis latches on to even though its not the real reason. But we never learn what the real reason is. So I’m not sure what the point of this was?? Or did I miss an explanation elsewhere??

Jumping right to the end of the story – when Lewis’ driver gets shot in the end, I wanted to be heart broken. But I wasn’t. We met him in one scene, and yes the shot was supposed to kill Lewis, but it didn’t have the same gripping effect than if the guy (who’s name I don’t even remember!) had been a main character being killed.

One of the main plots in the story is the relationship between Rachael and Lubert. I get the concept of their affair; we can see the winners and the losers in a war, but at the end of war, everyone has lost something. Everyone deals with grief the same way, and even though they were on opposing sides, they both lost a loved one and had to learn to cope. But the way the first kiss started was just too out of left field. It didn’t make sense to me that Lubert just kissed her out of nowhere to distract her, and thats what led to the affair.

I didn’t follow Otis’s plot line. At the end, it tied in, but I didn’t care about it.

Freda’s plot line was the most interesting to me. Hated her. Full on hated. But it’s such an interesting point that I’ve never thought of. There was a whole generation that grew up in Germany during WWII, didn’t fully understand what was going on, but knew they had lost people they cared about and were angry. Having lost her mom (or thinking she lost her mom), I didn’t blame Freda for being angry. I always think about the adults in WWII/Holocaust books and how they were to blame in some situations, but the kids grew up being fed these ideas. It put a different spin on something I grew up believing.

I loved Lewis. He was almost too perfect, but he gave me hope that theres still good people in the world no matter what garbage is going on. Especially in todays world, it’s a really nice message to get from a book.

I know I just pointed out a lot of negatives, but I’d say all around this story worked because of the unique time and place. It did fall short in a lot of places and could have been much better developed, but the unique idea behind it still makes it an interesting read.

Have you read The Aftermath? What did you think?

The Guest Book

*Thank you Netgalley for this ARC*

Do you ever finish a book and you just loved it so much you have to tell everyone to read it immediately?! Thats how I’m feeling right now. So I might be 8 books behind reviewing, but this one is cutting the line damnit!

My synopsis: A story flipping back and forth between three generations of women within one family and how family secrets can effect everyone

Pairs best with: Passed down family recipes. In this one, it was a french toast recipe I recently got from my mom. Following a recipe written in her handwriting makes a meal even more special.

Brief Review:

I love love love loved this book. I love a book that has multiple generations and really love historical fiction. Hopping back and forth between the different time periods and story lines was done seamlessly. Even though this family’s story could not have been any more different than my family history, there was something very relatable about it. I even liked the love story in there! I would recommend this to everyone!

Extended Review: *SPOILERS BELOW*

Ugh man I loved this book.

When I said above that I related to it, I really couldn’t explain why. The family was anti-Semitic (my family is Jewish), wealthy (my family is not), and almost all of them had a lot of kids (my moms one of one, I’m one of two) but something about it was just so relatable. Something about family secrets and drama is just enticing.

The beginning started off really sad. When Neddie died, I had a hard time getting through that. I felt for Kitty. And I know this is the time period, but the whole “don’t show your feelings, sweep it under the rug, you’re better off not talking about it” bothered me. I’m not one to share my feelings openly, trust me, but at least have the option.

I want to say I caught on fairly early that Moss was gay. It was never clearly stated, but as soon as it mentioned that he hung out a lot with Reg, I had a feeling. I love that it wasn’t overt, it was a subtle “figure this out for yourself,” but it made his character more admirable and human. It showed that there was more to him than just his family name, and not in a surface way.

Moss actually reminded me a lot of Simon in The Immortalists, and he was my favorite sibling in that book. It wasn’t just the obvious similarities, but trying to pursue their dreams (a musician or a dancer) in a family that expected a certain thing in a similar time period. It’s also an easy comparison between the two books that are so focused on family.

I usually hate love stories, but I didn’t hate Len and Joans. I had a feeling they weren’t going to end up together because Evie talked a lot about her dad without it ever saying his name – if it was Len (or if she knew it was Len), it wouldn’t have been such a secret. But ya know what… I liked that. Maybe its the cynic in me, but I like it better when a love story doesn’t work out. Obviously I wish it had been for a different reason than his religion, but I guess essentially it was. It was the bigger picture.

I had such mixed feelings about Ogden. Obviously, his Nazi ties were far from ideal. Agreed on that one. And I’m a little bit confused about his relationship with Elsa. I think I just wasn’t paying enough attention in the beginning, but it sounded like he had a thing with her before Kitty?? During Kitty?? Anyone have clarification on that? And I think she was part of the resistance, so it surprises me that he was on both sides of that. Pick one, dude. And pick the right one. Theres only one good answer…

Kitty was a helpless soul. I felt for her because I know it was the time period, but at the same time it was hard to look past some of her flaws and general biases. My heart broke for her when Neddie died, and I wish she had helped Elsa, but I still had a soft spot for her.

Overall, I really loved this book. I can’t wait for it to come out May 7th so everyone else can enjoy it too!!

Where the Crawdads Sing

I said in my last post that The Night Olivia Fell was the most hyped book on social media, but I might have been wrong. It might be Where the Crawdads Sing. So, obviously, this was next.

My Synopsis: A double story following a young girl growing up alone in a marsh, and a murder in the same marsh years later.

Pairs best with: Grits. But I don’t know how to to make grits, nor do I think I’ve ever had them?? So I made pancakes instead. Obviously with chocolate chips. In retrospect, I wish I had mud cake. Damn it, now I’m mad I didn’t think of that before I took this picture!

Brief Review: 

Though it started slow, this book grew on me as it went. It was beautifully written, with a fast faced ending. My only criticism is the ending just didn’t quite click with me, things felt off. This book is one of the most hyped these days, and I definitely understand why. It combines a lot of different genres in a really well written way.

Extended Review: *SPOILERS BELOW*

So I know that I just said this book was good, and it was! But it had one main thing I really questioned.

The ending. The whole mystery was who killed Chase. Kya was accused and found not guilty, but in the end you find out she did do it. Great – do it! He sucked, and she was (in a nice way) a wild animal – her natural instinct was to protect herself and eliminate the threat. I get that part of it. But the elaborate scheme behind it just didn’t make sense to me. Kya was obviously incredibly smart. She knew the marsh like the back of her hand (what a weird saying) and it doesn’t surprise me at all she could plan a murder and get away with it within those parameters.

What made NO SENSE to me is the elaborate scheme she went through to make a scene of buying a bus ticket, getting on the bus, finding a hotel closer to the bus station, sneaking back into town, luring him into the marsh, killing him, getting back on the bus to the hotel, waking up in the hotel, and faking shock when she got home to find out he died. Really?? A girl who has literally never left the marsh except to go into town to get gas and groceries all of a sudden finds a map of a far away town she happens to get invited to, picks a convenient hotel, and gets a disguise to sneak back and forth!?

There was no evidence, so it makes sense that she didn’t get convicted. I knew the second they said not guilty that she actually was guilty – whatever she was found, I knew the “end twist” was going to be the opposite. There was nothing saying she did it. I just couldn’t get over how out of character the whole scheme was! Between the slow beginning and the ending, I wouldn’t say I loved this book as much as the vast majority.

Loved Tate, though.

Did you read this book? What did you think?

The Night Olivia Fell

*Thank you Netgalley for this ARC!*

Probably the most hyped book I have seen on instagram. You know me, I had to see what the hype was about.

My Synopsis: A 19 year old girl falls off a bridge. Or did she…? 

Pairs best with: Honestly, whatever you’re eating at the time whenever you’re eating it. For me, it was a salad at my desk while I rushed to finish this at lunch. It wasn’t even a “I CAN’T PUT THIS DOWN” but it was a “I am curious and work is boring so lets see if I can get away with it.”

Brief Review:

This book was a classic thriller, and I loved it for that. I didn’t see the end twist coming directly, and some of the journey was pretty heart breaking (like the revelations in the later chapters that you knew Olivia never got to tell her mom, and that her mom never got to tell her). I can see why this book is getting so much hype!

Extended Review: *SPOILERS BELOW*

I love thrillers. Hands down, my favorite type of book. In 2019 I’ve been expanding my horizons, so maybe its not clear from this blog, but in general I definitely tend to go more towards thrillers.

Was this the best thriller I’ve ever read? No. Did it pull at my heart strings more than some others have? Yes. Okay lets dive in shall we:

Where to even start! I guess I’ll start with a little more background on the story. Olivia is 19 years old, and falls/gets pushed off of a bridge. She is brain dead, being kept alive only by life support. TWIST: she is also pregnant. And in Washington state, it is illegal to take a pregnant person off of life support while the fetus is still alive.

The book goes back and forth between the past being narrated by Olivia, the 19 year old who dies, and the present being narrated by her mother, Abi. Because of this, a large theme of the book is mother/daughter relationships. It made me reflect both on my relationship with my mom, and my relationship with my future daughter (when she gets here in approx. 11 weeks, but who’s counting).

This is the part that was heart breaking. Towards the end, Olivia comes to a lot of realizations about her mom. As the reader, we know that she will never get the opportunity to tell her mom these things, because in Abi’s chapters she is fully unaware. It was incredibly sad to know that their relationship ended so much more strained than it needed to, and really emphasized the “live each moment like its your last” decal stickers so many teens have on their walls. YOLO.

But really, I almost (almost) got teary eyed when Olivia went to kiss her mom goodnight in her last chapter. Her mom doesn’t, and never will, know that happened. I was taking notes on a post-it while I read and just wrote “Olivias mom sleeping :(.” That was sad.

There were some parts of the book that had me scratching my head. Her relationship with Anthony was weird and obviously not what it seemed from the start. It didn’t make sense he just showed up and cared. Even after the explanation that he was really working for the police, it still was a little extreme. Why did he care tHaAaAt much. I get that they explained why, but I still don’t buy it.

While the murderer being Tyler shouldn’t have been a huge twist (the boyfriend did it… I mean, its not anything ground breaking) I didn’t see it coming! They did such a good job making it seem like it was the dad and step sister (who’s names I’m blanking on), that I knew it couldn’t be them. It was a good tie in to be related to the step sister, without being her. But she still seemed like a troubled person so I’m glad she was somewhat involved.

In the end, the baby had to live. There was nothing surprising about that, but I was still glad she did.

Also. I must say, as a 29 week pregnant lady, I did not enjoy reading about the C-section. I’m choosing the “blissfully unaware” method of childbirth. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

The author very easily could have written “Olivia was 19. Fell off a bridge. Died.” without throwing in the baby. Normally, I’m anti-baby as a plot point, but in this case I thought it really added a lot to the story. It gave a reason for Olivia to stay alive even in her death, and kept her as a character in Abi’s parts as more than a memory. It was a bold, but overall successful, choice by the author that I admire.

Have you read The Night Olivia Fell? What did you think?

The Siren

I’m usually more of a mermaid fan, but I guess sirens are close enough.

My Synopsis: A siren meets a boy and falls in love. But she can’t speak to him without risking his life, and can never be with him because she belongs to the Ocean.

Pairs best with: Whatever your favorite food is. For me, Charleston Chews. Since sirens are not technically human, they don’t need to eat to survive. They still can eat for enjoyment though (and don’t put on any weight). Where do I sign up??

Brief Review:

This was an enjoyable read, but it didn’t live up to The Selection (which I loved). It was well written and had a really interesting plot, but there were parts of it that were a little slow and dragged. There were too many chapters of the main characters internal struggle without having enough action woven in. But overall it was a quick and satisfying read!

Extended review: *SPOILERS AHEAD*

The Selection is definitely my favorite YA series. I loved it. Shortly after I finished, I got The Siren and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. I’m talking years. Seriously – the purchase order is still in there and I bought it 11/2/2016. Do you know how much has happened since November 2016?! I got a dog. I got married. I got pregnant. I moved twice. But did I read The Siren? NOPE.

Enter bookstagram: someone posted they were reading this book on instagram, and I commented that it had been sitting on my bookshelf for years and I still hadn’t read it. She responded “read it with me!” and I couldn’t pass that up. A chance to clear an unread book from my shelf, and have someone to talk about it with. SOLD!

She hasn’t finished it yet so I haven’t had a chance to discuss it with her. And I think by the end there are definitely things to discuss, the middle just dragged a little. It wasn’t a “chat as you go” kind of book.

Kahlen (a name I had a hard time pronouncing in my head) falls in love with Akinli (…same) and I honestly did buy their love. I have a hard time with love stories because sometimes I just don’t believe the two characters are in love. Akinli’s interest in her made sense because he seemed somewhat like a lost soul. He fit in fine, but he enjoyed having someone he really could talk to. Kahlen’s love worked because she needed someone to see the real her without knowing her background or who she was.

There was a lot of violence in this book, and I enjoyed those parts. The book starts with a shipwreck and has 2 (maybe 3?) more throughout. It’s an intriguing start, and every time it comes back to the morbid ship wrecks it got a little exciting. But there were parts in between the wrecks that were a little slow.

A lot of the book is thoughts inside of Kahlen’s head, and while I understood her struggle, it came across a bit whiney at times. When she was with Akinli trying not to speak and towards the end when she is sick – that had the action other parts were missing.

I really enjoyed the Ocean being its own character. It reminded me a little of Moana – except meaner. But when they were being sent around the world to different countries, I pictured Moana’s ocean. I thought the dialogue between the Ocean and the girls was great, and I loved how it was written in italics rather than quotations because they were speaking somewhat telepathically.

The end was fairly predictable. But the more I write about this book, the more I think I enjoyed it! I feel like I’m talking myself into liking it more and more. It definitely was not The Selection (<3333), but I’m glad I finally got to it!

Have you read The Siren? What did you think?

Maid

*Thank you NetGalley for this ARC!*

I just finished the book Maid, and it was enlightening. Though I do have to say, while this one was incredibly well written, I keep trying memoirs and they are just not my type of book.

My Synopsis: A young, single mother, documents her experience with trying to raise a young woman alone while battling with poverty.

Pairs best with: A beer. Throughout the book, whenever Stephanie was splurging on food, it was a burger and a beer. She also talked a lot about missing being able to stop at a bar on her way home from work. I hope that now that she wrote this highly successful book, she can stop for beers whenever she wants!

Brief review:

Maid was a great story, and showed a life that I don’t often hear about. Of course, I know about poverty in America and the different government programs that we have, but I have never read a book (or memoir) told from the point of view of someone that has used them. Though the book only approached these options on a surface level, reading Stephanie’s story was really enlightening. She had a unique situation of being a single mother who was somewhat born into the poverty that she was in, but still had more family support than others in that situation might have had. It made for a very interesting dynamic. Stephanie had a great voice, and overall it was a really enjoyable and eye opening book. I finished reading this with a lot of respect for the author, and a pride that she was able to achieve her goal of becoming a writer.

Extended Review *SPOILERS AHEAD*

I know that I said that I was done with memoirs, and honestly I am. The next time someone sees me start one on Goodreads, say “Brooke. I know this one sounds good. But don’t do it!!” But this wasn’t the fault of Stephanie. She did a great job writing this book, and like I said, I felt genuinely proud every time she mentioned her dream of being a writer. She succeeded!

I just have realized its not my favorite type of book. And thats okay! I can still appreciate the book.

Have you read it? What did you think?

The Adults

I saw this one on social media, and liked the sound of it. Well, bookstagram for the win! Because it was adorable.

My Synopsis: Mom and Dad decide to bring their daughter, Scarlet, on a Christmas trip. The catch? They’re divorced and each bring their significant other. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, and you find out on the first page – someone gets shot with an arrow.

Pairs best with: Fish of any kind. Also pasta of any kind. Basically anything because Claire is an amazing chef and finds cooking relaxing (the opposite of me). But I went with the fish and pasta theme – shrimp pasta!

Brief Review:

Overall, this book was super cute. It wasn’t laugh out loud funny, and I wasn’t drawn into the mystery dying to know who did it, but it was really enjoyable and light. The author also did a really good job of using different voices and sharing different points of view. Definitely worth the read!

Extended Review: *SPOILERS AHEAD*

Honestly, this one will be brief. It was a really cute book, but theres not much to discuss! Reviews said it was “laugh out loud funny,” which it wasn’t quite, and some labeled it as a mystery, which it wasn’t really either. But it was really light and enjoyable.

I loved Alex, I felt bad for her because she was in such an impossible situation. But I thought (for the most part… obviously the wine didn’t help) that all of her thoughts and actions were reasonable. Patrick, on the other hand, was annoying AF. I felt for him also, an equally as impossible situation (if not worse), but sometimes he was annoying.

I wasn’t surprised how drawn out the “mystery” of who got shot was and who did the shooting, I also wasn’t surprised to find out it wasn’t the true story. But, like I said, I still really enjoyed it. It didn’t need the mystery to make the story, it just helped add to it.

Sometimes, neat happy endings can drive me mad because they’re just so unrealistic, but I liked this one. Even though Patrick bugged me at times, I was very happy to have a hint of him getting his own happily ever after. I was glad that Matt and Alex were okay, and that Claire was fine on her own.

Also – I got this far without mentioning Posey. But I think I’ll continue to not mention Posey. All I’ll say is I was happy for Scarlet that he “left” too.

One thing the author did REALLY REALLY well is different characters and points of view. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of books with different points of view per chapter that aren’t written well, and its a personal pet peeve. If they are different people speaking, I should be able to tell. Different people have different tones, different speech patterns, different slang. I thought this book did a good job of the 3 different POV (Alex, Patrick, and Scarlet) and it was interesting reading the same situation from different peoples perspectives.

I also thought it was an interesting, and good, choice to only have Alex, Patrick, and Scarlet speak. Not hearing directly from Claire or Matt helped legitimize Alex and Patricks feelings, which I really appreciated.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! Have you read it? What did you think?

The Other Woman

Let’s begin with an embarrassing story.

I have seen this book all over the bookstagram world. It was touted as a thriller, but the front cover has a wedding dress. Purely judging a book by its cover, I decided it wasn’t worth it.

Trying to make new friends on instagram once I created @stacks_and_snacks, I commented on a picture of someone who liked it and said “I had heard of this and felt (totally judging based on nothing) that it would be meh. But I’ve seen nothing but good reviews – I have to check it out!” Little did I know, the author was tagged in the picture, and she commented back “Really hope its better than meh for you!”

So I had to see what it was about.

My Synopsis: Emily is ecstatic to be engaged to the love of her life. Her soon to be mother in law doesn’t quite feel the same.

Pairs best with: These peanut butter protein balls I saw on every wedding blog when I was getting married. I’m sure Emily scoped out a few wedding blogs since she had a wedding to plan in such a short period of time! This was the first time I made them, and honestly, they’re so easy and so delicious (2/3 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup ground flax seeds, 2 tablespoons honey. Mix everything up, fridge for 20 minutes, roll them into balls. Then they can stay in the fridge for up to week).

Brief Review:

This book. The entire time, it was a solid 2 stars. The end saved it, brought it up to a 3 because it wasn’t as predictable as I thought it was going to be. 

What really bugged me is that Emily and Adams love story wasn’t built up enough. He kept doing shitty things, but nothing happened before to make me understand why she stayed with him. I hate weak protagonists when it comes to men, it makes it hard for me to get through a book. 

I also wouldn’t characterize this as a thriller. 

Overall, 3 stars, because the end twist was good, but getting there took a bit.

Extended Review: *SPOILERS AHEAD*

Midway through reading this, I took out a notebook to write down some things that were bugging me so I could remember to rant to you about them. So buckle up. *Cracks knuckles*

Like I said in my brief review above, I really can’t stand weak female protagonists. Emily was the definition of THAT girl (tied with Lucy from The Light We Lost, but I digress). This wasn’t entirely Emilys fault. The love story between Emily and Adam wasn’t developed enough that I could understand why she was still with him. Every time he did something shitty, she had to stay with him because she loved him. But why?? Why did she love him?? I couldn’t get behind that. Give me some reasonable doubt – fine! But there was nothing.

The whole love story plot with James made no sense throughout the book. By the end it gets kind of wrapped up, but throughout the whole book I was so confused why James was flirting with her. It also made no sense that she was feeling guilty about it. Having a crush on your boyfriends brother is weird, I get that, but she went to dinner/lunch/coffee (or whatever it was) twice with her future brother in law. Is that really so weird to feel THAT guilty about? No.

Okay, this is just a bone to pick in general with the last approximately 8 books that I read. WHYYYY oh why oh why do authors throw in a surprise baby and think “oh baby (pun), what a twist!” Seriously. It’s at the point where someone in a book has sex, and I automatically think “well, now they’re pregnant.” And I’m usually right. Guess what, thats not how it happens! Well, technically it is, but you know what I mean.

While we’re on the topic of her pregnancy, she woke up projectile vomiting for an entire day and thought “I must be pregnant.” Then at 2 months, she was feeling well enough to go out at night with her friends. This was just too convenient. You don’t have one day of throwing up to alert you to your pregnancy. Either you’re REALLY sick for at least 10 – 12 weeks, or you’re not projectile vomiting for a day straight. Obviously everyone has different experiences, but take it from this 26 week pregnant mama-to-be, thats not the most realistic take on this.

The second thing that I wrote down when plotting annoying points was “Adam sometimes agrees with his mom, especially on Seb, and its annoying. He sucks.” So I won’t say I predicted the ending (I didn’t figure it out until they wanted you to, I thought the end was a good twist), but I can see where the hints were!

The end did save the book. About 10 pages before the reveal, I thought “oh, the mom was doing it to protect Emily,” and she was. It was still effing weird, there are better ways to protect her, but whatever. It was a twist I didn’t see coming. I thought the mom killed Rebecca and that was that. But I always do enjoy a good twist.

Did the twist make it worth it? Maybe, maybe not. About halfway through I wanted to give up. I started to read this thinking it was a THRILLER and being really tired of the weak protagonists I’d been reading about in romance stories. But… this had the same situation. I wouldn’t consider this a thriller. As my best friend (and fellow bookstagrammer – @skyflyreads – follow her!) noted, sometimes the classifications of books can make or break. I was expecting a thriller. And while the end was unexpected, I didn’t spend the whole book needing to know who did it.

So if you want to read this book – go for it! Just don’t expect a thriller, or any strong female characters.

It Ends With Us

I’ll start my first blog post with an older (if 2016 is older) classic. I just finished this one, and have so many thoughts!

One thing you will learn about me is that I HATE to read the description of a book. Sometimes, it gives too much away! So instead, I will give my own brief synopsis, followed by my quick review, and then my extended review (with spoilers). So if you haven’t read this yet, stop before that last part!

My synopsis: Boy meets girl. Girls first love was a VERY complicated relationship that gets mixed up in the new relationship.

Pairs best with: Chocolate chip cookies. Atlas makes Lily chocolate chip cookies when they’re kids (before going on to become a chef – note the knife set in the background). I don’t know about you, but chocolate chip cookies are enough to make me fall in love with anyone.

Brief review:

This was my 4th love story in a row (by accident). I start each of the love story reviews with “this is not my normal type of book” because it’s really not. I find love story protagonists to be really irritating and often weak. That was not the case with this book – I loved this. I found her to be strong willed and proactive. It also bugs me in stories about love triangles when someone is married to one person but still hung up another and I didn’t feel that was the case in this either. I thought all feelings on all sides were justified. 

I think it was the dark plot line of domestic abuse thread into the love story that really hooked me. Highly recommend.

Extended Review: *SPOILERS AHEAD*

This book was suh good! It had a good love story, but more importantly it tackled the unconformable issue of domestic abuse. Lily grew up in a house where her father abused her mother, and somehow found herself in a similar (though entirely different) situation. I loved that she was able to analyze the differences between her relationship and her parents, without making excuses for Ryle.

While we’re on the topic of Ryle. WHAT KIND OF NAME IS RYLE. Thats not a name. I have two exboyfriends – one was named Ryan and the other was named Kyle. Was she trying to combine these?! Because Ryle is not a name. And while we’re talking about names, Emmy Dory is a terrible name. But I digress.

I LOVEEDDDD that she didn’t stay with Ryle in the end.

I hate in books with a love triangle how they always make the spouse seem like the bad guy without any solid evidence that he is. It always seems like the girl doesn’t really love him, but if you can’t be with the love, (try to) love the one you’re with. It drives me crazy! In this case, I fully believe that Lily loved Ryle. I enjoyed reading her struggle of whether or not to stay with him, and I loved that in the end she chose to do what was best for herself and her daughter.

I also like that her relationship Ryle wasn’t ruined because of Atlas. It was because of Ryle. He wasn’t mentally stable enough to be trusted. And while Atlas was there and helped her, he wasn’t the root of the problem.

Thats why I loved this book. It took a common love triangle premise, and brought in so much more depth. I didn’t find the main character weak or question her decisions at all throughout the story, I commiserated with her and wanted what was best for her throughout.

Did you read this book? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!