Book Review – What You Wish For

What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Genre: Romance

Synopsis:

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Thoughts:

I received an advance review ecopy of What You Wish For for free from NetGalley and am leaving this honest review voluntarily. The book is due to be published on July 14, 2020 from St. Martins Press.

I have quickly become a fan of Katherine Center’s books! Her newest book is laugh out loud funny with lovable characters. While it’s a light hearted fun read, it also tackles the serious topic of ptsd and finding joy in life after living through a tragic event. This book did not disappoint and I think it will make a great summer read this year!

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Thoughts:

This book took me a bit to get into, but once I did, holy cow what a ride! I had to read it during the day because it is definitely full of creepy vibes. And let’s talk about the ending . . . blew me away!!! I’m definitely going to check out some of C.J. Tudor’s other books.

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – American Dirt

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Thoughts:

There was a fare amount of controversy surrounding this book when it first came out and I did my best to not pay attention to it. I wanted to be able to read it without any preconceived opinions formed. I’m so glad I did that, because I truly loved this book!! I read it every chance I got and I thought about it when I wasn’t reading it. My heart ached for what Lydia and Luca went through and what they had to endure making their way to freedom in the U.S.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I would highly recommend doing so.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I gave this book 5/5 stars!

Book Review – Little Secrets

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis

A mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.


Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado’s four-year-old son.

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.

Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.

Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.

Thoughts

I received an advance copy ecopy of Little Secrets for free from NetGalley and am leaving this honest review voluntarily. The book is due to come out on April 21, 2020.

This was the first book I’ve read by this author and I really enjoyed it! I was hooked from the very beginning of the book. It’s faced paced and kept me engaged until the very end. I will be reading more books by Jennifer Hillier and definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers.

I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – Finding Annie

Finding Annie by Katherine Turner
Genre: Romance

Synopsis

Heartbreaking and redemptive, Annie’s story reveals the strength of her spirit, the healing power of unconditional love, and the potential of unexpected relationships to teach us to accept ourselves.

When Annie returns to the town where she grew up after twelve years, she plans to house-sit for her mother and take a much-needed break from her stressful job and worsening anxiety. But revisiting the past is never straightforward, and she soon discovers that she can no longer run from the things she’s tried so hard to leave behind.

Her ex-boyfriend Rob, the once-love of her life, is still living in her hometown, and Annie barely has time to process what seeing him again could mean before another surprising figure appears on her friend and mentor’s doorstep. Suddenly, Annie’s quiet sabbatical has turned into a whirlwind of traumatic memories and new romance, and the responsibility of navigating her PTSD without burdening anyone else in her life threatens to overwhelm her.

But even flawed love can help us to heal in unexpected ways, if we can only learn to accept it. Annie’s journey will keep readers glued to the page, brimming with compassion and rooting for her to find the love and peace she deserves.

Thoughts

I received an advance review ecopy of Finding Annie for free from BookSirens and am leaving this honest review voluntarily. The book is due to come out on April 10, 2020.

Full Disclosure: The subject matter of this book is pretty heavy as it deals with the subject of rape and a woman’s journey to heal and find strength again.

I don’t mind cursing in a book, but this book had it on steroids. I don’t think it was necessary and wouldn’t have taken away from the story if it had been toned down. I also had a hard time relating to Rob and Annie’s relationship. I felt like Rob was pretty controlling of Annie and was kind of surprised that they ended up together in the end.

Not a horrible story, but this one was just an ok read for me and I gave it 3/5 stars.

Book Review – Pretty Things

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer–traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: A mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina, Vanessa, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

Thoughts

This book comes out on April 21, 2020 and I received an advance ebook from NetGalley to read and provide my honest opinion.

I feel like the story could have been shorter than it was. There was a lot of time spent on the backstories of Nina and Vanessa that I don’t think was necessary. I was also able to guess some of the twists that took place in the story.

The book wasn’t bad, but it was just ok for me and I gave it 3/5 stars.

Book Review – The Turn Of The Key

The Turn Of The Key by Ruth Ware
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Thoughts on the book:

I enjoyed this book. It was definitely a fast read and the chapters were mostly short which I enjoy in a book. I feel that there were parts of the book that felt a little drawn out. I did not see the twists coming at the end of the book and I actually had to read the first twist over again because I was so surprised as to what had just unfolded. I was a little disappointed with the ending of the book because I felt it ended abruptly and left me feeling like there were still questions that needed answering.

Overall, I liked this book and gave it 4/5 stars.

Book Review – Code Name Helene

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon
Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name.

It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper. She is fighting to cover the disturbing reports of violence coming out of Vienna and Berlin when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.

Thoughts:

I received this ebook ARC through NetGalley. The book will be published on March 31, 2020 by Doubleday Books.

Nancy Wake was a real life spy and one of the most decorated women for her role during WWII. She went by four code names throughout the war (Lucienne Carlier, The White Mouse, Helene and Madam Andree). While the author did tweak some of the facts in the book, the majority of what you will read in this story really happened.

I enjoyed reading the relationship that was developed between Nancy and her husband, Henri and the heartbreak she endured at the end of the war.

What Nancy did during WWII was extraordinary and taught me that women who were involved during that war were true heroes and complete and total badasses.

If you like stories about strong women or Historical Fiction, I think you would enjoy this book and would definitely recommend it!

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – The Confetti Pact

The Confetti Pact by Lilly Bartlett
Genre: Romance

Synopsis:

Nelly Roberts needs a fiancé – fast!

When she’s left in the lurch with not just a wedding but also the country’s biggest magazine feature on the line, social media star, Nelly, has no choice but to substitute one groom for another. Luckily, Rafael Moreno Cortes needs a visa, so they make a deal: act the perfect couple for as long as it takes to get them both what they want. The catch? Absolutely nobody can know the truth.

With the magazine following their every move, Nelly’s ex re-emerges with a change of heart just as her pretend feelings for Rafael start to be anything but pretend. What could possibly go wrong? 

Thoughts:

I was contacted by Michele Gorman (aka Lilly Bartlett) asking if I would like to read her latest book, The Confetti Pact, in exchange for an honest review.

This book was hilarious and laugh out loud funny. It was a fast, light hearted read and I just loved the characters and the plot.

This book comes out on February 12, 2020, and for the month of February, Amazon is offering the Ebook for $2.99!

If you like romances with quirky characters, this book is for you!

I gave this book a 5 star rating.

Book Review – In Pieces

In Pieces by Sally Field
Genre: Memoir

Synopsis:

In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her story for the first time, and in her own gorgeous words-about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.

One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. From Gidget‘s sweet-faced “girl next door” to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within.

With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships-including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century. 

Thoughts:

Such a beautifully narrated book by Sally Field. The honesty and rawness of what she experienced as a child comes through her words and just left me gutted. I also had no idea of how much she doubted her work as it certainly doesn’t come through that way on the screen (at least for me). She is one of my favorite actresses and maybe it’s because of her insecurities she’s able to deliver such outstanding performances.

A fantastic read for me and I gave it 5/5 stars!