Verity by Colleen Hoover: Book Review

Verity  By Colleen Hoover
Publication: Dec 7, 2018
250 Pages
Affiliate Link Buy On Amazon

Short Summary : Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. However, it’s not long before Lowen realizes things with the Crawfords aren’t as they seem…in more ways than one.

My Thoughts: You may remember that this year I’ve jumped on the CoHo fan train (better late than never, right?) and have loved many of her books….Ugly Love, It Ends with Us, and All Your Perfects being my favorites. Verity is a totally different type of read and I’m so impressed with Hoover for taking a leap outside of her normal genre and writing something so psychologically dark and suspenseful. And bravo for such an impactful opening scene. Try putting the book down after that harrowing, slightly gruesome opening scene…I know I couldn’t.

We are first introduced to Lowen, getting a feel for her and her life which includes a recently deceased mother, an upcoming eviction, and a loss for where to go next in her writing career. Enter handsome, somewhat sorrowful Jeremy Crawford who, along with his wife’s publishing team, gives Lowen an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up – finish writing his wife’s (the bestselling novelist Verity Crawford) remaining books in her popular series. She accepts and when she begins researching the series and getting to know the family better, things begin to feel off kilter and just wrong in so many ways. Cue the tension and suspense that Hoover manifests throughout the story.

That’s all I want to say on the plot because I loved not knowing anything about it. The tension in the Crawford house felt palpable to me and when Hoover introduced a book within a book subplot I knew I was in for a late night of reading. It’s not often that plot device works for me but in this story it was brilliant. I zoomed through this book, all the while not really sure I knew who to trust, who was mentally off, or who was just outright lying.  I thought I did, but my feelings changed throughout which I loved. My only critique is that I felt the ending was too abrupt. It felt very rushed to me. Overall, I really enjoyed this and hope this isn’t the last we see of Colleen Hoover’s foray into romantic suspense.

Have you read this or plan to? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October Reading Update: My Hits, Misses & In-betweens

Hi Everyone, I hope you all had a good weekend! Life is a little hectic for me right now so I wanted to do a quick reading update in case I don’t get any reviews up this week, although I hope to. Looking back over the last few weeks, I noticed I’ve been reviewing mostly 5 star reads, however, my reading hasn’t been all 5 star books, not by a long shot. I’ve had a couple average reads and I’ve DNFed many. I’m not afraid to put books down if I’m not in the mood or the writing or story isn’t working for me. Anyone else out there a serious mood reader?

Recent Hits

    

Both One Day in December  and The Craftsman will be published tomorrow, Oct 16th, and both are fantastic! (I hope to have mini reviews up soon) I’m so glad I gave One Day in December a try, you might think this is just another run of the mill instant love story/missed connection BUT I promise you it’s not. I loved the unexpected paths the author ventured down with respect to love and female friendship. Set over a decade, this had shades of One Day by David Nichols but also reminded me a little of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s type of writing style. I laughed, cried and just loved this book.  The Craftsman is another hit by Sharon Bolton…seriously, the lady can’t write a bad book! This story, filled with graveyards, coffins, an undertaker, murder and a feisty female detective named Florence Lovelady (best name!) checks all my boxes for a must read mystery. If you enjoy puzzling mysteries with perfectly spooky settings this book is for you.

 

The In-betweens

    

I call the in-betweens those books I didn’t love but didn’t hate. They fall in a shaded gray category and are my hardest ones to review. I’ve loved Lisa Genova’s Still Alice and Inside the O’Brian’s but Every Note Played was just ok. I found the main characters really hard to like and the story seemed to lack the emotional connection I felt with her others. There was an abundance of medical data and details, at the expense of the story, in my opinion. Night Film is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time so I’m really glad I did. I had this in print and audio and chose to go with the audio because the narrator was amazing. I’d give him 5 stars and without him I wouldn’t have stuck this LONG book out in print. While I really enjoyed the creep factor of the overall story, I found it to be very dense and repetitive and the ending was, for me, anticlimactic and disappointing. I’m bummed about this one, I’d hoped to like it more.

 

The DNFs (Did Not Finish)

    

The Royal Runaway DNF 40%….I gave this a good chance to turn around but even with skimming this wasn’t for me. I felt no chemistry between Thea and Nick and expected more romance and less running around trying to be spies. Maybe if they were actual spies or even good ones this would’ve worked better but I found too many plot and character inconsistencies to keep going with this one. The Clockmaker’s Daughter DNF 10%…I know I’m in the minority for this but I couldn’t get into it. This is the second Kate Morton book I’ve tried and DNFed (also The Secret Keeper) so I’m thinking I might not be the reader for her type of writing style. I found the beginning of this too descriptive and the language flow and writing style wasn’t for me. By 10% I found myself confused rather than intrigued.

 

What I’m Reading Now

I thought I could wait until winter for this March release but I can’t! I need a surefire winner to read right now and Taylor Jenkins Reid never disappoints. I’ve only read 15 pages and I’m already interested in the story and characters.

 

Likely to Read Next

I’m in the mood for another missing person (not child) story after reading Night Film and I love Alafair Burke plus I own this one so it seems like a good bet.

Hope you have a good week, let me know what you’ve been reading and loving…or not loving! 

5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

 

Article from Bustle.com
13 Haunted House Stories that Will Make You Scared to Ever Go Home .
 I’ve been in the mood for creepy stories this month but I was surprised that I haven’t heard of most of these books on this list. I thought 2 sounded really good ( The Haunting of Hill House & The Little Stranger) so I grabbed them at the library yesterday. Let me know if you’ve read and loved any of these

Audiobook I’m Enjoying
Night Film  by Marissa Pessl, narrated by Jake Weber. It’s not often I prefer the audio to print but I have this book in both versions and I’m loving the audio so much better thanks to this narrator. He does voices so well, I had to keep double checking that there wasn’t actually more narrators. He really brings this creepy story to life. I’ll warn you though, this book is longgggg, 23 hours on audio! I’m almost done and can’t wait to find out what’s going on.

Quote I like from Katie Couric’s Instagram Account
Be Careful Who You Vent to: a Listening Ear Could Also Be a Running Mouth Good words of wisdom!

TV Show I Love is Finally Back!
Will and Grace. Anyone else love this show? I watched all the seasons religiously when it was on years ago as well as last year, so I’m thrilled it finally came back on last week. Jack and Karen are the best!  Who’s your favorite character?

New Favorite Lip Conditioner 
Milk and Honey Lip Butter  I”m always on the hunt for a good organic lip moisturizer that actually stays on and so far I really like this one. It also smells really good. If you have any other suggestions for me, leave them in the comments! I’m not an affiliate for this, just want to share the find:)

Have a Great Weekend! 

 

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: Book Review

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven  By Mitch Albom
Publication: October 9th by Harper
224 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon 

From Publisher: In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

My Thoughts: I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since Mitch Albom published The Five People You Meet in Heaven ! That book has always stuck with me so I wouldn’t have guessed it’s been that long. In The Next Person You Meet in Heaven , Albom tells Annie’s story, the little girl Eddie (who was killed) saved one day at an amusement park. If you haven’t read the first book I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary as Albom does a really good job of providing some backstory in this one but I do think my reading enjoyment was greater having read the first one. I actually realized I remembered more about the first book than I thought.

Obviously, if we’re getting Annie’s story you know something has happened to her for her to end up in heaven. I loved that Album starts the story with Annie’s story while she’s still alive, it allowed me to get to know her as she was but also created suspense because I knew what was going to eventually happen but Annie didn’t…and I really liked her! Albom structures the story alternating brief glimpses of Annie’s childhood with her journey in heaven and I LOVED this! I was equally invested in both parts of the story because of how Albom created interconnections. That may seem like a vague reason but you’ll understand when you read the story.

A couple other things really stood out to me: Albom’s creative vision of heaven and the fact that he can sneak a twist into a story when I least expected it. Well done. This book is the perfect length for a one sit read but, honestly, I would’ve loved for it to be longer and I don’t often say that about a book. I’m still thinking about parts of this story days later, especially Albom’s take on fate in our lives

Had he taken the truck, this story would be different. Had the limousine driver remembered to bring a bag that was sitting by his apartment door, this story would be different. The tale of your life is written second by second, as shifting as the flip of a pencil to an eraser

If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, bittersweet story that just might give you much to contemplate, give this a try. My last advice: have tissues handy!

Many thanks to HarperCollins via Netgalley for my copy

 

5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

 

Instagram #Bookstagram Account I Love Following
Dennis at Scaredstraightreads Not only does Dennis review books, he has some very funny Instagram stories. I always look forward to his posts

Book Review That Has Me Wanting to Read a Book That Wasn’t on My Radar
Susie at NovelVisits Review of Waiting for Eden  I challenge you to read Susie’s review of this book and not add it to your tbr as well. This sounds like such a unique story

This Gem of Advice (from Bookrioter Abby Hargreaves) is Going to Change My Reading Life! 
How to Keep Library Ebooks Longer (and the drawbacks)  I had no idea there was a library hack that enables us to keep our ebooks longer. I needed this info! I read almost exclusively on my kindle and I’ve scrambled one too many times to finish a book at the last minute before it vanishes into Overdrive

Article I Enjoyed from NBCNews.com (and a term I’d never heard of but practice regularly) 
How the Simple Act of Nature Helps You Destress I walk in the woods just about everyday, year round, so I can relate to this article. I think walking in the woods is one of the most relaxing things I do. I’ll take nature, even in freezing cold whether, over the gym any day.

Movie That Will Be My Favorite of the Year
A Star is Born  I can’t say enough about how fantastic this movie was! You guys, LADY GAGA, wow. That’s all I’ll say and Bradley Cooper was amazing. Go see it. Bring Tissues.

Have A Great Weekend!

5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

Article fromFastCompany.com
How Writing to Do Lists Helps Your Brain
 I’m a list maker of all types. I have a bullet journal for longer lists including books I want to read and I have post it notes on my counter for daily things I need to do or pick up. I can’t live without post its! I’ve tried using my notes app but it doesn’t work for me, I need to be able to actually cross things off, that’s the best part of list making in my opinion. 

TV Show I Love 
Younger  starring Hilary Duff, Sutton Foster, Debi Mazar, Peter Hermann is a show by Darren Star (hello Sex & the City) on TV Land and just finished it’s 5th season. It’ll be back for a 6th so you have time to binge before next summer! It’s set in the world of publishing in Manhattan and there’s drama, love, books, authors, scandal, friendship…basically everything. I highly recommend starting at the beginning or you’ll miss a lot.

Podcast I’m Enjoying 
Currently Reading  with Meredith Monday Schwartz and Kaytee Cobb. I recently discovered this podcast and I’ve already listened to all their episodes (except middle school reads). I’ve gotten some new to me book recommendations and I like that their excitement for books comes through. The format is great as well!

My Must Have for Sore Neck/Shoulders
Neck and Shoulder Heated Pain Relief Wrap
I use this neck wrap daily. It gets heated in the microwave and does wonders for tight or stiff neck and shoulder muscles. I have a lavender one which smells great

Book I Recently Read in One Sitting
One Day in December 
by Josie Silver. I wasn’t too crazy about this cover but the premise drew me in and I read it in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down! I’ll review it closer to pub day but if you like romances and love stories set over years (think One Day and that type of structure) I think you’ll enjoy this. And it’s set in London…bonus! 

Have a Great Weekend!

 

 

Us by David Nicholls: Throwback Thursday Book of the Week

Throwback Thursday is 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 backlist books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere!

MY PICK THIS WEEK IS: 

Us  by David Nicholls
Publication: October 28, 2014 by Harper
400 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy On Amazon
 

From PublisherUs is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger.

My Thoughts:
The short of it…I loved this book!  Douglas Petersen, a 54-year-old biochemist, is awoken in the middle of the night by his wife of 24 years, Connie, a 52-year-old former artist turned art gallery employee. Douglas assumes Connie is worried about burglars again and sets off to check  the house. But it’s not burglars she’s concerned about — it’s their marriage. Connie believes their marriage has “run its course” and tells Douglas (who’s madly in love with his wife) she wants a divorce after their son, Albie, leaves for college in October. And just like that, the story is off and running.

Douglas convinces his wife not to cancel their Grand Tour of Europe with their son (one last family vacation before college) in the hopes that he’ll be able to make his wife fall back in love with him.  The narrative flows with 180 short chapters that have catchy titles like “On Practical Ethics in the Breakfast Buffet System” (this one is hysterical). The chapters alternate between the present-day Grand Tour and flashbacks of Douglas and Connie’s early days. Can you say opposites attract? Douglas is a type A, by-the-book type of guy. Connie has always been a free spirit who feels she has lost herself over the years.  As a result, she seems to have a case of “I love you; I’m just not IN love with you anymore.”

I enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this story but it’s Douglas I was rooting for. Through his triumphs and missteps with his wife and son throughout the Grand Tour, you will laugh and sometimes cringe, but you will always be entertained. Nicholls cleverly puts him through some tricky situations that beg the question: Is Douglas going to bend or break?

This ended up being a one-sit read for me. Once you get to know these characters, you’ll have to learn how it all turns out for them. Will it ultimately be a story of the inevitable failure of an opposites-attract marriage to go the distance? Or will it be a tale of – that which doesn’t kill us (i.e. marriage, children, family vacations) makes us stronger and keeps us together? You’ll have to read Us  to find out.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

6 Popular Novels I Still Haven’t Read

Last week I posted my most anticipated fall reads but lingering in the background are still some popular novels I’ve been meaning to read. The following 6 novels are ones that SO many people have recommended to me over the years but for some reason I still haven’t read them. I DO want to read them but the question is, where to start? I’d love to hear if any of the following books are on YOUR favorites list.

Cutting for Stone
An unforgettable journey into one man’s remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others set in 1960s & 1970s Ethiopia and 1980s America.
Buy on Amazon

**

The Goldfinch
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
Buy on Amazon

**

Pillars of the Earth
The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king.
Buy on Amazon

**

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle
Buy on Amazon

**

The Poisonwood Bible
A story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.
Buy on Amazon

**

Station Eleven
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
Buy on Amazon

Let me know if you’ve read and loved any of these! Right now I’m leaning toward starting with The Poisonwood Bible but that could change. 

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: A Must Read Summer Debut

Where The Crawdads Sing  by Delia Owens
Published August 14, 2018 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons
384 Pages
Buy From Amazon

From the Publisher: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, aka the “Marsh Girl”

*******

My Overall ThoughtsWhere the Crawdads Sing is a book you’ve probably been seeing everywhere lately whether it’s been blowing up your Instagram feed, hitting some of the late summer must read lists and recently making People Magazine’s Best Book Of the Week pick! If you’ve wondered if it’s possibly as good as everyone is making it out to be I’m here to give my two cents worth and say yes it is, so run, don’t walk, to buy or borrow it now.

What Initially Drew Me In
I was intrigued by the fact that the storyline involved a possible murder, an isolated “marsh girl” and the two men who get wrapped up in her world. Could this also be a love story? (hint: yes!) Funny thing was, when I really got into the story which alternates between 1969 and the 1950s, I almost forgot about the murder mystery part as I was so invested in Kya’s story.

Atmospheric Writing
Owen’s writing created a feeling of actually being in the marsh which truly became its own character . I felt the suspense of wondering how this little girl, abandoned by her entire family, was going to survive on her own. The townspeople saw her as “white trash” and, not surprisingly, did little to help her. There was, however, bright spots amongst the cruelty, one of them being a local man named Jumpin who was my favorite character after Kya. Speaking of Kya, if you’re at all worried that she’s a “weird” character who doesn’t want to connect with others, don’t be as her desire for companionship and to be cared about by others came through so clearly.

“The lonely became larger than she could hold. She wished for someone’s voice, presence, touch, but wished more to protect her heart.”

And possibly my favorite passage in the book…

“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”

This is debut writing! Amazing!

A Flawless Second Half
I loved how Owens clearly combined her love of nature writing with her exploration of a little girl coming-of-age within the natural world. As for the mystery, I found it to be perfectly paced. The author hands us bits and pieces slowly, allowing this storyline to eventually merge with the past one and then really pick up speed. I found the last third of the book especially riveting as I couldn’t wait to find out if my theories were correct. They weren’t which I loved. As for the ending, I can honestly say I didn’t see one part coming and it left me a little stunned. 

You’ll be seeing this one on my top 10 reads of the year list, it’s just that good. I can’t wait for Delia Owen’s next book, I hope she writes fast! 

Thanks to G. P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy

 

 

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger: book review

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger
Published July 3, 2018 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons
341 Pages
Affiliate Link : Buy From Amazon

From PublisherOn an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar. Among the disappeared is Matthew Lerner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind. Ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau is engaged to Grant Ellis whose father is set to run for President of the US. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including some who are too close to home…

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I’ll admit, when I first came across this title I assumed it was another domestic psychological “wife” thriller (although one with a great cover). The Banker’s Wife , however, was not at all what I expected. I knew from the opening scene in the London airport that this financial thriller was not only going to keep me on my toes, but it had such an international flair and hint of conspiracy and secrets to come that I couldn’t wait to find out more. 

We first meet Marina, an investigative journalist for Press magazine, whose fiancé’s father is close to securing the bid for the next US Presidential election. Although she’s been contemplating quitting the further immersed she gets in the upper echelon of New York society, she’s enticed by her editor to help gather secret evidence from a source in Paris. What follows propels Marina into an investigation of a top Swiss Bank, Swiss United, which may or may not have close US ties. From there we get to be flies on the wall, immersed in the secrets and scandals that cross the globe.

The story alternates perspectives between Marina and Annabel, whose husband Matthew is missing after his plane goes down in the Swiss Alps. Matthew is a banking executive with Swiss United (can you start to see the threads?) and it’s not long before Annabel is questioning not only what happened to her husband’s plane but also if she really knew her husband. 

I was equally invested in both these smart, sophisticated, take control women and the way Alger structured the novel, with lightening paced chapters that combined phenomenal dialogue with increasing tension, was just brilliant. Seriously, I felt like I was watching a movie while reading this book, if that makes sense? It is one of the most cinematic, globe trotting novels I’ve ever read, taking us to Switzerland, Paris, London, and New York.  I could picture each place and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out how all the little threads were connected…or not. Some advice though, this is a close reading type of story where details can be missed, especially in the second half where a few more characters were introduced. I had to really pay attention so as to not feel confused. I highly recommend this intelligent, tightly plotted thriller if you’re looking for something original and fast paced. 

Many thanks to G. P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy