Summer Reading Update: books that have been my hits & misses lately

 

SUMMER READING UPDATE

Hi Reading Friends! I’m back with a summer update of books I consider my hits & misses these last few months. It seems my blogging hiatus lasted quite a bit longer than I expected. My reading life has been on such a roller coaster of ups, downs, and one major slump lasting over a month that I wondered if I’d ever get my reading mojo back. Good news, it’s back and I’m very excited to get back into the blogging world and catch up on all things books and reading! I do think it’s important to share that even avid readers which I consider myself to be can occasionally find themselves hitting a wall and sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back, relax and regroup. I’m very happy to be back and sharing some of the books I’ve loved over the last few months. I’ve also got a few average reads that were either disappointing or just didn’t blow me away as well as some DNF’s (Did Not Finish). I’ve decided to make it a priority to put down any book I’m just not enjoying which is actually pretty freeing and has led me to really enjoy my reading life again.

A Few of My Must Read Books

36249638How To Walk Away

Published May 15th by St. Martin’s Press

I wish I could break my rating up for the first 85% of the book…5 stars…and the last 15% 3.5 stars because I really enjoyed almost the whole story. Almost. This love story that starts with a plane crash had me completely engrossed until the last 15% which I felt completely left the rails. Maggie and Ian, the main characters, did some things I just can’t believe based on what we already knew about them and I spent the majority of my time eye rolling and wishing the author wouldn’t have taken that path. If that last part would’ve played out differently this would’ve been a 5 star read for me. But, I do still recommend it and a final positive thought, I’m so glad we got an epilogue.

 

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Summer Wives

Published July 10th By William Morrow

I really enjoyed this book! Told in alternating time periods between 2 women, I really feel that Beatriz Williams is one of the few authors who can pull this type of narrative off SO well. I loved the setting…a little island…and how she was able to evoke the details of time and place so that I felt I was there, sipping one of MANY cocktails with the characters in the story. I thought she weaved a fantastic story and although I may have had a tiny issue with an event at the end, it wasn’t enough to influence my enjoyment of the way the story unfolded. Definitely a summer must read that I highly recommend! 

 

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Tiger Woods

Published March 27th By Simon & Schuster

Hear me out on this one! This was SO much better than I expected. In fact, I couldn’t put it down which believe me was a total surprise to me. I’m not a huge golf fan but my husband and son play. I’ve seen Tiger play in person and I’m familiar with many of the other players on Tour which did help with my enjoyment.  I’ve never actually been all that interested in Tiger as a person but as a parent and someone who’s always loved to study human behavior, I was very interested in how he rose and fell so greatly. The authors did not disappoint, providing a riveting, well balanced, often depressing, yet fascinating, look at the creation of Tiger Woods the golfer which eclipsed Tiger Woods the person by leaps and bounds. There were many juicy details I’d never heard before and the writing and narrative was extremely well paced. I listened to about half on audio and it was also fantastic. An unlikely summer must read in my opinion!!

 

36315374Jar of Hearts

Published June 12th by Minotaur Books

Murder, drama, revenge…yes please. I loved this book! I read this in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed myself. This was the perfect read to get me out of my month long reading slump. Bizarre, crazy and with enough turns to keep me guessing the entire time. There’s mystery, suspense and some fantastic writing to be found here. This book saved my summer reading and was just SO good!

My Disappointing Reads

You might be surprised to see these popular bestsellers on my list of disappointments and actually I am too because they were all on my highly anticipated list. I’m convinced, however, that these big hitters led to my reading slump. The Outsider , at almost 600 pages, was a huge investment of time and while I absolutely loved the first half of the book, the second completely fell apart for me. Also, I felt like this could’ve had about 200 pages cut and the story would’ve been better for it. Us Against You ended up being just ok for me. I thought it lacked the tension, drama and suspense of Beartown (My Review) and felt bogged down by the political aspects of the story. The Perfect Couple seemed like it would be the perfect beach read, especially since it involved a mystery but overall it didn’t work for me. While I loved the setting and her writing which is always fast paced, the story itself didn’t wow me and I thought there were many holes in the plot of the mystery.

My Summer DNF’s (Did Not Finish) 

Visible EmpireAll We Ever WantedThe Kiss Quotient, and Little Disasters are some of my surprising DNF’s because based on the blurbs and early reviews, I thought I’d really like all of these. Whether it was the narrative structure (Visible Empire & Little Disasters) or the story (All We Ever Wanted & The Kiss Quotient), I couldn’t get into these books and happily made the choice to put them down. The only one I feel like I might give another try to at some point is All We Ever Wanted because I do love Emily Giffin’s writing and most of her past books.

So that’s it for now, I do have some other must reads I’ll share with you soon but in the meantime, I’d love to hear which books have made YOUR summer hits & misses lists so feel free to leave a comment below.   Have a great reading week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 books on my Spring Reading List

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As much as I love reading by the fire and cozy nights under a blanket with a glass of wine and my current read, I’m so READY to say goodbye to winter and hello spring! With that being said, I have quite a few upcoming spring reads that sound pretty good but for this post I’ve picked the top 8 I’m most excited about. I’ll give you a sneak peak with my short thoughts, rather than just putting in lengthy blurbs. I hope some or all spark your interest…bring on the pre-orders and library holds!

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The Room on Rue Amelie March 27, 2018 by Gallery Books 

For fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this powerful novel of fate, resistance, and family—by the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and When We Meet Again—tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.

I was drawn in yet again by the “for fans of ” marketing ploy comparing this to The Nightingale. I just couldn’t resist. That and early reviews on Goodreads are very positive for this one. Fingers crossed it lives up to the comparison

 

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We Own the Sky April 3, 2018 By Park Row

Rob Coates feels like he’s won the lottery of life. There is Anna, his incredible wife, their London town house and, most precious of all, Jack, their son, who makes every day an extraordinary adventure. But when a devastating illness befalls his family, Rob’s world begins to unravel. Suddenly finding himself alone, Rob seeks solace in photographing the skyscrapers and clifftops he and his son Jack used to visit. And just when it seems that all hope is lost, Rob embarks on the most unforgettable of journeys to find his way back to life, and forgiveness.

I’m a sucker for love stories that hint of loss and finding one’s way back so this debut sounds right up my alley.

 

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The Craftsman   April 5, 2018 By Trapeze

Devoted father or merciless killer?

His secrets are buried with him.
Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.
Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.  Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play?
***This publishes in the UK first so the link I’ve provided is for Book Depository, it’s not an affiliate for me, I’m pre-ordering my copy from them!***

This is my MOST anticipated book of spring, Sharon Bolton is one of my very favorite authors and early buzz for this is that it’s one of her best and scary creepy. I can’t wait.

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Love and Other Words April 10 By Gallery Books 

Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her…

I love stories about the one who got away, first loves and new loves colliding, etc and this seems to have all those elements. Plus people seem to love this writing duo, here’s hoping I do too

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You Think It, I’ll Say It April 24, 2018 by Random House 

The theme that unites these stories in this dazzling first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld is how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, this collection shows Sittenfeld’s knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with brilliant dry wit. 

 

This is a curiosity pick for me. I loved her previous book, Eligible, and I love the idea of hearing her take on how we often misread others. I’m definitely trying something new here since I don’t ever read short stories but I feel pretty confident that this author will deliver

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Tin Man May 15, 2018 by G.P Putnam’s Sons

An unforgettable and heartbreaking novel celebrating love in all of its forms 

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

This sounds like another potentially heartbreaking love story so I’m in. And it hints of a mystery as well…I really want to know what happened to Michael and what about all those years in between! I have very high hopes for this one and it’s already gotten tons of high ratings on Goodreads (I’m not reading ANY reviews)

 

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Paper Ghosts May 15, 2018 by Ballantine Books 

Carl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer.

That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted.

Before his admission to a care home for dementia

Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip.

Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . .

I love stories where a person’s guilt or innocence for murder is called into question so this book pushed all my must read buttons. The did he or didn’t he and what will she find out and do about it has me very excited for this read

 

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The Outsider May 22, 2018 By Scribner 

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.
As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge questions surface about Terry Maitland who seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can

I’m all about this story  and the fact that IT’S STEPHEN KING! Even though I didn’t care for Sleeping Beauties (it was a DNF for me), I ‘m super excited about this book and I fully expect to be creeped out and turning the pages late into the night…I can’t wait!

So, what do you think? Any of these interest you or are already on your list for Spring? I’d love to hear what you think and also what’s on your must read list this Spring

HAPPY READING! 

 

 

 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

 

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Hosted by The Book Date

Happy Monday everyone! I had a great weekend, not only in terms of reading but also because I attended one of my very favorite places to go every spring called The Gift of Light Expo which is a mind/body/health/wellness expo. I love it because it includes the opportunity to sit down with many psychics and if you recall my post about The Immortalists you’ll remember I have 2 favorite psychics I chat with every year. It’s enlightening and so much fun! On the reading front I had a bit of an ARC crisis last week as I tried to read a couple of my upcoming ones and I couldn’t get into them. I know I’m not the only mood reader out there, so those of you who are as well will understand that sometimes only a certain genre will “hit” you and for me this past week it’s been…wait for it…romance!! I feel like overall I don’t read a lot of romance but when I come across well-written, angst filled, juicy drama I just love it. Yes, I’m also a sucker for love triangles, that’s probably why I love The Bachelor, isn’t that the ultimate love triangle?? So, you may be surprised about my current reads but I’d love to hear from you if you have other top romance recommendations for me…your favorites and must reads…bring them on!!

RECENTLY READ…

Collide is book one of two in the Collide series and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing drew me in immediately and once I settled in with my glass of wine, I flew through this book in one evening. This was exactly the type of read I was looking for and I don’t know how I haven’t come across Gail McHugh before.  Pulse is book two and I also read it in a day. These definitely need to be read in order. While I liked Collide a smidge more, I did find a certain twist the author included in Pulse to be so surprising and unexpected that I found myself seriously considering throwing my kindle across the room! In the end, I recovered and my kindle is fine:) Check back later this week for mini reviews of both. ***In the meantime, if anyone knows why Gail McHugh hasn’t wrote a book in almost 3 years please let me know, I want to start Amber to Ashes but apparently it ends in a cliffhanger and the next book has never come out***

 

TRIED BUT WASN’T FEELING….

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Well, I got to about 24% (kindle reading) which is a lot for a book I kind of liked but wasn’t really feeling and then I decided I really didn’t care about picking it back up. It wasn’t that it was bad either because I thought the beginning was great but for some reason the storyline stalled and I lost interest. As others have suggested I’ll try a different Bohjalian at another time.

 

PODCAST I’M LOVING…..

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You guys know I love podcasts and true crime so I’m thrilled I found this podcast which has kept me busy through several long drives and house projects. Georgia and Karen bring a dark humor vibe to their show (they’re comedians) and I just love it. I highly recommend starting with their episode titled Project Artichoke if you decide to give it a try

 

UPCOMING READING POSSIBILITIES….

Both of these sound great so I may head back into dark and scary with The Sandman or  psychological tension and suspense with Tangerine. Of course I may also grab another romance to squeeze in this week!

Hope you have a great reading week and please feel free to give me some of your favorite must reads in romance

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published months or years ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

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Published Jan 2017 by HQN books

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is being blindsided by a breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her older half sister, Kate, who’s struggling with a sudden loss of her own.

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You know what’s so fun for me? Finding a new to me author, reading her just released book (Now That You Mention It) , loving it, and then starting on her backlist and loving that even more! Seriously, I’m kicking myself across the room for not reading Kristan Higgins sooner. She writes such realistic characters that I feel I know (and love and/or love to hate) and she writes them in such a way that causes me to think about them when I’m not reading. I couldn’t wait to get back to the story when I was away from it and I even had a couple past-my-bedtime nights of reading!

The story revolves around half sisters Ainsley and Kate and the fact that both their lives get turned upside down in very different ways. Of course there’s family drama, boyfriend drama, in-law drama, work drama…a veritable smorgasbord of you guessed it…drama! There was emotional highs and lows, humor, and even an unexpected twist or two which I really enjoyed.  Higgins was able to (magically it seems) keep all these dramatic balls in the air with fresh writing, spot on dialogue, and a fast pace. One thing I especially loved was the fact that Kate and Ainsley were strong women and didn’t let anyone walk all over them. I loved that! I have to say, the ending made me tear up and when I turned the last page I was happy that I loved the story but sad to see these characters go…and for me THAT’s the sign of a story well told. My 2018 reads may have  to wait a little longer while I dive into more of Kristin Higgin’s backlist. Seriously, if you enjoy a great story with engaging, well developed characters in a fast paced read you’ve got to give On Second Thought a try!

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Annie at The Misstery

Amy at Novel Gossip

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine

Laura at Snazzy Books

 

 

MY FAVORITE READS OF 2017

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What an amazing and fun filled reading year this has been for me! This has been my first full year of blogging and I truly didn’t realize how much it has transformed my reading life until I sat down to compile my best of 2017 list. Last year my top 10 consisted of the ONLY books I had given 5 stars to for the whole year. Only 10 books for the whole year, that seems crazy to me now. This year, I had so many more 5 star reads that I had to really narrow down my choices and I even had a tie that made me decide to go beyond 10 books this year because I just HAD to include all of the following books! The reason these are my very favorites even though I had other 5 star reads is because these are the ones that completely blew me away, that moved me in ways that either shocked me or made me cry, and that I found myself still thinking about weeks and months later.  With that being said,  here they are in no particular order except yes I do have my number 1 pick for the year at the end!! **These are all books I’ve read in 2017, but may have been published earlier

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo gets the award for the best book I didn’t think I wanted to read. This was my biggest surprise hit of the year not only because it was SO much more than I expected but also it made me cry which I really didn’t expect!

 

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The Force  was the book I initially thought would take my top spot of the year! I consider this book the best in drama, dialogue, scandal, betrayal, lies, corruption…all things juicy and morally corrupt

 

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BearTown was another book I resisted reading but ah the drama, suspense, and layered characters were amazing. So reminiscent of my fav tv show Friday Night Lights. I’d call this the best sports book not really about sports

 

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The Nightingale gets the award for the best historical fiction I’ve read in years. I was completely lost in this story and mesmerized by the way Hannah weaved such an intricate tale. Another one I should’ve read sooner!

 

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Castle of Water was a book I discovered on #bookstagram and if it wasn’t for all the love it was getting there I don’t think it would’ve crossed my radar. The writing was gorgeous, the story an adventure tied up with love and tragedy.  I literally read this in an evening, I couldn’t put it down! And it made me cry so there’s that:)

 

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I Liked My Life gets the award for more than meets the eye. This fantastic novel had humor, drama, mystery, all wrapped up in a heartfelt, ultimately uplifting story. I laughed, I cried, I tried to figure out the mystery, and in the end I realized this was one of the best debuts I’ve ever read.

 

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Sirens is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in years! Actually, it has 2 mysteries which was double the fun as I couldn’t figure out either. The main character, Aidan, was one of the most well developed, flawed characters I’ve read in a long time. I read this last Jan and I still think about it…and impatiently wait for the sequel!!

 

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A Brilliant Death knocked me off my feet in so many ways. I loved the layers of the characters, the storytelling, and the fact that it was so unexpected in terms of plot and emotion. Another mystery that was so much more!

 

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The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley was such an intricate read. It was literary yet a thriller yet also a coming of age. I thought the author pulled all together brilliantly with characters that I grew attached to and an ending that made me think which I always appreciate.

 

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Dead Woman Walking may just be my favorite Sharon Bolton book ever! This story hit the ground running with one of the best opening murder/witness scenes I’ve read in years. Every time I see a hot air balloon now I think of this story…and I’m thankful I’m not in it! I especially loved the nuns and of course the puzzle of a mystery that only Sharon Bolton can write.

 

AND DRUM ROLL PLEASE FOR MY TOP BOOK OF THE YEAR……

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies  is perfection for me! I loved the fact that this is a pull at your heartstrings saga, yet it’s also funny, witty, dramatic, and sad…in a nutshell, it’s everything and I don’t usually reread books but I can’t wait to open this one up again and revisit with Cyril!

I hope some of these have made your top reads of 2017 lists also or maybe your tbr’s for 2018! I’d love to hear what book tops your list this year so feel free to leave me a comment…

 

 

5 UNDERRATED BOOKS I LOVED

My friend Annie at The Misstery recently wrote about her favorite underrated books and it got me thinking about my own.  I was curious to see what favorites of mine had only 500 or less ratings on Goodreads…surely there couldn’t be that many, right? I have to say I’m pretty shocked that the following books I loved have all received (as of today) only around 500 or less ratings on Goodreads. I know there’s still time for word of mouth to spread on these awesome reads but…just to put things into perspective, The Help by Kathryn Stockett currently has 1,645,869 ratings so these have some catching up to do. I thought all of these were SO good for different reasons so I hope they’ll catch your eye as  you’re finishing up your 2017 reads!

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Castle of Water was one of my favorite books this summer. I thought the writing was outstanding and the story grabbed me from beginning to end. At less than 300 pages this is an easy one sit read

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Trophy Son might be my surprise hit of the year because I almost passed it by but something made me take a closer look and I’m so glad I did. This was such a unique coming of age story with a very likable main character. You don’t have to love tennis to appreciate this story either, it just happens to be the backdrop just as hockey was in Beartown. Such a fast, easy read!

 

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Favorite Sons is such a wonderful mystery that takes place around 4 childhood friends involved in a death and a coverup which alternates between 1974 and 2004. This actually worked SO much better for me than the very similar storyline of The Chalk Man

A Brilliant Death  ….hmmm, I’m seeing a theme I really can’t believe! Robin Yocum is a fantastic writer and is clearly underrated on Goodreads imo. If you like atmospheric, well plotted mysteries with outstanding characterization you really should pick up A Brilliant Death 

 

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Tall Oaks is one of those quietly amazing books that had mystery, suspense, humor, and lots of drama. I hope Chris’s books gain a huge following in the US soon because he’s an author to watch out for. I’ve read and loved both his books and forced, hounded nicely encouraged most of my book club to read this one and everyone has really liked it!

 What are YOUR underrated favorites? 

 

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ON THIS THROWBACK THURSDAY

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My regular Throwback Thursday will return next week but today I’d like to say Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating in the US. There are many things I’m thankful for but in the book world I’d like to really say thanks today to all the authors out there who’ve taken so much time, effort and creativity to create stories and worlds that I get to visit. I’ve traveled, literarily speaking, to so many wonderful places this year and laughed and cried over so many amazing characters who I’ll never forget and it’s all thanks to authors.  Life gets crazy sometimes and books are a refuge for so many of us and I’m so thankful for them.

Since this IS a book blog, with Thanksgiving thoughts and Throwback Thursday in mind I’d like to toss out 2 books that I’m thankful for that I read during trying times in my life and that I STILL think about today, years later…..

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I have no words for how much I loved this book yet also found it to be the saddest story I’ve ever read. For the 5 days it took me to read it, I was consumed with these characters and their stories took me out of my own life which at the time was very stressful…parents of teenagers you know there are those times that try you in every way!   This story still haunts me and this is easily one of my top 5 books EVER!

***

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I am seriously considering re-reading this book soon to see if it still holds up all these years later. I read this book about 7 years ago while on vacation in Mexico. Oh, not just any vacation mind you but one in which I was so sick with the Swine flu that I couldn’t leave the hotel bed to fly home. It was awful and I don’t think I’ve ever been that sick in my life but…while in bed coughing, coughing and more coughing I read this book and for a short time I forgot about being sick in another country. I loved the wittiness of the writing and the characters of Dex and Emma and to this day I still think about how the author shocked me in such an unexpected way that I loved him/hated him for quite awhile after I finished reading.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

 

 

 

MINI REVIEWS: A SPELLBINDING FICTION & A FASCINATING NONFICTION

MINI REVIEWS

During my recent blogging break I decided that when I returned I’d incorporate more mini reviews into the blog in an effort to ward off further review writing burnout. As all book bloggers know, it’s a lot of work to write reviews for everything we read and sometimes it’s just as easy and convenient to write (and read) mini reviews. So, I’ll be trying out some new ideas here and there in terms of my review writing formats….

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Published June 2017 By Atria Books

Short Summary: Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

 

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I’m the first to admit that sometimes, ok many times, I’ve let books pass me by because of assumptions I make about them or as in the case of Evelyn, I read about 10 pages of it earlier this summer and thought nope, I’m not in the mood for a woman’s story about her 7 husbands. What a HUGE mistake that was and I’m so glad I came around to giving this another try. Being a mood reader is so bizarre sometimes and it took a complete reading slump and Sarah’s Alcohol and Advil post last week to bring this one back into my orbit.

Here’s what I found to be important about this book…I went into it not reading any recent reviews so the entire storyline was a surprise to me and there were SO many unexpected twists along the way. Legendary movie star Evelyn tells her story to young and inexperienced Monique and while you’ll wonder what she’s got up her sleeve for choosing Monique of all people, that will take a backseat as you’re swept into the 1950s glitz, glamour, and excitement of Old Hollywood. As we get to know Evelyn though, we come to find that her life wasn’t all glamour, there was plenty of heartache, drama, betrayals, and secrets to last a lifetime. And that’s what kept me completely captivated and made this a book I spent my entire Saturday reading. I was unprepared for the respect I felt for Evelyn despite not agreeing with so much of what she did; I really did like her…in the end I think she was her own worst enemy most of the time. I can’t forget to mention the supporting characters…sheer perfection! Get your tissues ready for this addictive, gorgeously written novel that’s earned a place on my 5 star bookshelf.

******

 

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Published March 2017 by Knopf; narrated by Mark Bramhall

Short Summary: In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later

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Believe me when I say this was the perfect audiobook for not only long dog walks but also cleaning the house, running errands etc. I listened to it nonstop. I was immediately drawn into the story which really starts at the end in terms of when Chris Knight, not of his own volition, ended his 27 years of solitude in the Maine forest. As a lover of psychology, I really wanted to know what made someone choose to leave society behind and basically spend 27 years camping. How did he survive? What did he do for all those years? The awesome thing about listening to this was that Mark Bramhall made Chris Knight come alive, so during the many long interviews it felt like we were hearing from Chris himself and I was beyond intrigued.

I still think about this story for many reasons but mainly for the ways it made me think about it from so many different sides. Chris Knight was a complicated individual and in no uncertain terms broke the law…over and over and over again. I loved hearing from the citizens whose lives he affected, some were forever (negatively) changed and some who brushed him off and even tried to help him. As I said, fascinating! If you’re looking for an engaging story for nonfiction November, I highly recommend this audiobook.

HAPPY READING!

 

MY MOST ANTICIPATED SEQUELS OF 2018

2018 sequels

My ongoing reading slump got me thinking about and researching whether there would be any 2018 sequels to some of my favorite books from the past. I found so many that I want to share today and while I’m positive there will be more, I’m so excited about these…2018 can’t come soon enough for me in terms of anticipated reads!!  I’ve included the preceding book’s title (with my review if available)  before the 2018 sequel in case you missed it…

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Publication date: January 23, 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

This is book 3 after Me Before You (book 1) and After You (book 2), both of which I read before blogging. I absolutely loved Me Before You but I wasn’t at all crazy about the path the author made for Louisa in After You. I’m really hoping she brings back the Louisa we loved from Me Before You…after all she is calling it Still Me so I’m super hopeful

 

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Publication date: Feb 6th, 2018 by Flatiron Books

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – in just a matter of days she was to provide the documents that will bring down the company she works for.

Falk discovers that far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. But does it include murder?

Book 1 was The Dry and was one of my favorite debuts of 2017. Jane Harper can weave a fantastic puzzle and her setting details make you feel like you’re THERE!

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This seemingly anonymous book is Hangman by Daniel Cole! I couldn’t find a pic of this cover anywhere but I HAD to include this gem in my lineup

Publication Date: Feb 8th (I believe this is the UK pub date, I couldn’t find one for US so if anyone knows it let me know) 

Eighteen months have passed, but the scars the Ragdoll murders left behind remain.

DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting with US Special Agents Elliot Curtis of the FBI and Damien Rouche of the CIA. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up impossibly on the other side of the world, the word BAIT carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder to discover the same word scrawled across the victim, carved across the corpse of the killer – PUPPET.

As the murders continue to grow in both spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, the team helplessly play catch up. Their only hope: to work out who the ‘BAIT’ is intended for, how the ‘PUPPETS’ are chosen but, most importantly of all, who is holding the strings

Book 1 is Ragdoll and was such a creative take on the serial killer novel. If you think (like me) you’re not in the mood for a serial killer book but you like intriguing puzzles, give this a try. It was one of the most entertaining books I’ve read all year!

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Publication date February 20th by Scribner

A high-speed train from Milan draws into the station in Rome, and an horrific discovery in one carriage rocks the city. Preliminary investigations are put in the hands of Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli.
     
The police receive a message claiming responsibility for the act and announcing more murders to come, and they duly turn their attention to a small terrorist group of Islamic extremists. But investigator Dante Torre does not believe this angle. For him, this feels like a smokescreen concealing the actions of a killer who has a far more terrible motivation to continue.
     
The trail leads to Berlin and Venice, where the waters of the Venetian Lagoon will turn blood red …

Book 1 was Kill the Father which had an intriguing Italian setting and such an intricate puzzle, along with 2 of the most likable detectives I’ve come across in recent crime fiction. I really can’t wait for this one!

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Publication date: Feb 27, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

It’s been ten years since the events that changed Johnny Merrimon’s life and rocked his hometown to the core. Since then, Johnny has fought to maintain his privacy, but books have been written of his exploits; he has fans, groupies. Living alone in the wilderness beyond town, Johnny’s only connection to normal life is his old friend, Jack. They’re not boys anymore, but the bonds remain. What they shared. What they lost.

But Jack sees danger in the wild places Johnny calls home; he senses darkness and hunger, an intractable intent. Johnny will discuss none of it, but there are the things he knows, the things he can do. A lesser friend might accept such abilities as a gift, but Jack has felt what moves in the swamp: the cold of it, the unspeakable fear.

I can’t recommend John Hart enough! Book 1 is The Last Child, one of my all-time favorite books and if you enjoy your mysteries with gorgeous literary writing you MUST read that one.

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Publication date: March 8 by Transworld

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. An endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling.
The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…
But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, someone is sifting through the shards of his own.
When the mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move.
And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.

Ok, I have a little explaining to do for this one:) Book 1 is Sirens and is so fantastic that I find myself still thinking about the main character,  Aidan, and the jaw dropping mysteries of this one 8 months after reading it! Sirens  will likely have a place on my top 10 reads of 2017 and will actually be published in the US for the first time on Feb 20, 2018. However, if you just can’t wait that long (and why should you:) you can get your copy from Book Depository (free international shipping) right now and then you’ll be ready for the sequel The Smiling Man in March. I’m going to be pre-ordering that one from Book Depository myself because there’s no way I can wait for the US publication to find out what’s in store for Aidan Waits. This one is worth it guys, it’s just that good!

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Publication Date: June 2018 by Orenda 

Henning Juul sits in a boat on a dark lake. A man with a gun sits opposite him. At the man’s feet is a body that will be soon be dumped into the water. Henning knows that the same fate awaits him. And he knows that it’s his own fault. Who started the fire that killed Henning’s young son? How is his sister, Trine, involved? Most importantly, who can be trusted? Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-waited finale of the internationally renowned series featuring conflicted, disillusioned but always dogged crime reporter Henning Juul, and one of the most chilling, dark and moving crime thrillers you may ever read.

This is book 5 in the Henning Juul series but WAIT, the absolute best part about this series is you don’t have to read every title to catch up with the series. In fact, I’ve only read 2…Pierced and Cursed which are both amazing Nordic crime fiction books. Now, I also have book 3 Scarred which I will go back and read soon. What’s so great about this series aside from brilliant writing and a main character you will root for is that each book has a different mystery to solve while at the same time having the common mystery thread of who started the fire that killed Henning’s son. I’m so glad I discovered this author in 2017, I highly recommend this series if you enjoy crime fiction.

***I tried so hard to find out if Jane Casey has another Maeve Kerrigan book coming out next year but I couldn’t find anything…I hope that doesn’t mean she’s skipping a year:( This is an outstanding detective series and currently my very favorite so if anyone knows if she has a sequel coming out in 2018 please let me know!

Are you looking forward to any of these sequels? What am I missing? Feel free to let me know in the comments. 

HAPPY READING!