4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · romance · suspense

The Light to My Darkness by Ivy Smoak

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The Light to My Darkness by Ivy Smoak

Published: September 19, 2017

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Pages: 358

Genres: romance, contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, suspense 

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: romance novels with a mix of suspense, realistic fiction, adorable family life, couples that are #relationshipgoals 

Foodie Vibes: bananas and ice cream ~ for all those pregnancy cravings 

 

Synopsis: 

My relationship with my husband has been splashed all over the tabloids ever since we first started dating. What should I have expected when I took New York City’s most eligible bachelor off the market?

But no matter how long I’m with my husband, I can’t shake the feeling that a stroke of luck brought me here. That I don’t deserve the life around me. And I swear, if one more paparazzi takes a picture of me I’m going to freaking lose my mind.

I needed to prove to myself that I’m not worthless. So I wrote a novel under a pen name, but I’ve been rejected by so many literary agents I’ve lost count. And I’m so consumed with this idea that I need more out of life that I never had a chance to see the real story unfolding around me. The story that would threaten the life I took for granted.

 

Review:

I won this ebook for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads and Ivy Smoak for the copy. As always, an honest review from me.

The Light to My Darkness is wonderful, heartfelt, passionate, and has just enough suspense. Penny is pregnant with her second child. She craves bananas and ice cream. She looks after her adorable 3 year old, Scarlett. And her husband absolutely worships her. The only difference this time around is that she has a moderate to severe heart murmur, and the pregnancy is putting added stress on her heart. 

I really liked that this romance novel features a pregnant and married woman as the main character. Not many authors do this. Their relationship is very steamy. The stress that her health condition puts on their day to day lives is also explored. The representation is great. Scarlett is also such a smart adorable kid. The suspense of Penny’s health condition and later darker elements kept me turning the pages quickly. 

However, there are a few aspects that I’m not a huge fan of. One is the manner that the couple met. Some people don’t have a problem with it, but I did. Also the last 20% of the book had a lot of information thrown in quickly. I wish that it was further explored. And the ending … let’s just say you’ll either love it or hate it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this contemporary romance featuring a strong smart woman who is pregnant. The suspense made it even better. I definitely recommend giving The Light to My Darkness a read. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

If you’ve been pregnant before, what’s the weirdest food craving that you experienced?

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Bookish Posts

My Top 20 Books of 2018

Because there are waaaaay too many AMAZING BOOKS to limit the list to only 10 

 

Click on the title link to go to my review of each book to hear all the reasons why it’s an awesome book!

In no particular order . . . my favorite books I read this year 

 

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  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele  |  Add to Goodreads

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  • Well That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesca Ramsey  |  Add to Goodreads

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How many of these books have you read?

Which did your add to your TBR?

What are your favorite books that you’ve read in 2018?

Bookish Posts · Police Procedural · What You Missed Wednesdays

What You Missed Wednesdays – Police Procedural Edition

adult beautiful blue eyes book
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

What You Missed Wednesdays is exactly as it sounds!

Book reviews of each week’s genre of choice that you might have missed, and I think you should really hear about.

3 Books a Week with 3 Words/Phrases to Describe Them 

Click on the title of each book to be taken to my full review.

I hope you find new books that you’re excited to add to your TBR!

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A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris

3.5 stars

Conspiracy theories, PTSD, hackers and power grids

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell 

4 stars

Engrossing quick paced read, serial killer family member, reminds me of the TV show Criminal Minds

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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Triple Threat by Camryn King

3 stars

Behind the scenes look at the professional basketball world, romantic drama, professional journalism skills used for sleuthing 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

___________________________

Well there you have it!

Another edition of What You Missed Wednesdays.

Keep coming back each Wednesday for more Can’t Miss Books!

Which book(s) are you now adding to your TBR?

___________________________

Come say hi!

Twitter: Follow @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: Follow @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Follow Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: Follow @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mental health · non fiction · psychology · Self Help

ARC Review | Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health by Kati Morton 

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Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health by Kati Morton

Published: December 11, 2018

Publisher: De Capo Lifelong Books 

Pages: 256

Genres: non fiction, mental health, psychology, self help

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: improving yourself. greater access to mental health services, compassionate professionals

Foodie Vibes: healthy foods, for your specific health needs, that fuels your mind and body 

 

Synopsis:

A licensed marriage and family therapist and You Tube personality, Kati Morton answers the most commonly asked questions about mental health, including when to get help and where to find it.

Everyone struggles with mental health issues from time to time, but the greatest level of misunderstanding comes from knowing the difference between mental health and mental illness, figuring out whether we need professional help and, if so, how to find it. Are u ok? walks readers through the most commonly asked questions about mental health and the process of getting help. From finding the best therapist to navigating harmful and toxic relationships and everything in between, licensed marriage and family therapist and YouTube sensation Kati Morton clarifies and de-stigmatizes the struggles so many of us go through, and encourages readers to reach out for help. What are the red flags of a mental health issue? How do you go about making a first therapy appointment? How do you know if your therapist is a good fit for you? What are the best ways of talking about mental health with your family, friends and colleagues? There are so many questions and concerns, and in the down-to-earth, friendly tone that makes Kati Morton so popular on YouTube, Are u ok? informs and reminds us that we can get through the difficult times and we are never alone.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, De Capo Lifelong Books, and Kati Morton for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Are u okay? is a comprehensive easy to understand book about the therapy process. The text includes information about what it is, explanations of acronyms, types of therapy, different professionals, what to expect with the actual therapy session, navigating insurance & payment, advocating for yourself and more. There’s even a quick bullet point summary of the vital information in the appendix. It’s a very approachable read. It’s great for someone who doesn’t know much about the therapy process or those looking to learn more about mental health. People who are familiar with therapy can still learn from the book, but some topics will already be known to them. 

I liked the writing style. It’s factual but informal to make those unsure about the therapy process feel comfortable. Also if you’ve watched Kati Morton’s videos on YouTube, her unique voice definitely carries over into her book. However, I can see where some people, possibly the older generation, might not be as comfortable with this more casual tone. 

Overall, I think there’s a lot of great information that can help a lot of people. Everyone can learn something from her book. A wonderful resource for people who are considering therapy or know someone considering therapy. 

Also definitely check out her YouTube channel for all things mental health. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

Kati Morton’s YouTube Channel 

 

 

 

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · fiction · mystery · Police Procedural · psychological thriller · suspense · thriller · Uncategorized

Perfect Girls by Alison James

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Perfect Girls by Alison James

Published: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 333

Genres: thriller, mystery, psychological thriller, suspense, crime

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: twisted psychological thrillers, can’t get enough of them books, the horrors of modern day techonlogy

Foodie Vibes: tea and biscuits but beware …

 

Synopsis:

Phoebe. Tiffany. Melissa. They all made one little mistake…

When twenty-five-year-old Phoebe Stiles opens the door to her perfect apartment she doesn’t realise it’s the mistake that will kill her…

The body of the beautiful English girl is discovered months later – dumped behind the back of a department store. But who was the stranger she let into the safety of her home?

As Detective Rachel Prince pieces together the mystery surrounding Phoebe’s death, another young, blonde girl is found brutally murdered and abandoned in the grounds of an old theatre.

In the most dangerous case of her career, Rachel must track down the faceless individual to stop the body count rising. But to uncover the shocking truth, Rachel has to put herself at risk… can she catch the twisted killer, before they catch her?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Alison James for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Perfect Girls is a perfectly addictive novel. A psychological thriller that uses all of the modern day technology and social media advances to truly scare you. The author didn’t resort of cliches to make the book work. Definitely a unique and chilling novel. Perfect for a creepy Halloween read!

The detective from England ends up going to Hollywood to investigate the death of a young woman, who previously lived in her country. The local police wrap up the case quickly, but Rachel has some lingering doubts. Following her hunches, she crosses the country to investigate until she can figure out the truth. 

The book pulled me right in and captivated me throughout the whole read. I thought the premise and little details made for a unique, complex and intriguing story. The author was great at making me feel as if I was right there, especially with her descriptions of scent. Such little details, but they make the book that much better. 

The mystery was great. However the romance, which didn’t play much of a role, was kind of annoying. I could have done without it completely. Since it wasn’t featured much, it didn’t really bother me though. 

Overall, a phenomenal mystery that uses technology and social media to keep you guessing until the very end. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

Have you read this book yet? What did you think? 

3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Sports · Uncategorized

ARC Review | Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

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Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

Published: November 13, 2018

Publisher: Little A 

Pages: 316

Genres: contemporary fiction, sports

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: college athletics, the toll life can take on a person, relatable characters 

Foodie Vibes: egg white omelets, dry toast, black coffee — perfectly measured out and calorie counted 

 

Synopsis:

Breadloaf and New York Public Library fellow, Jaclyn Gilbert’s LATE AIR, a tale of a fanatical Yale cross country coach sent reeling into the ghosts of his past after an early morning practice run on the golf course goes horrifically wrong, injuring his star runner and churning up all that has lain dormant around the coach’s fragmented life and marriage.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a free ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Late Air can best be described as an odd book in a mainstream way. The coach shows he cares about his athletes, himself, his wife and their child through actions. He obsesses about counting things, keeping in control, and producing results. By staying regimented he can achieve what he wants for himself and others. Much of the book is about his goals and coaching his Division 1 athletes. It’s fascinating, sad and a bit horrifying to read about the inner workings of his brain. The book can be seen as a warning against a singular focus mindset. 

Despite the catch being so focused, the story was a bit all over the place. At times I got lost and other times I didn’t really care. There are many life lessons to be learned, but I didn’t really care about the characters. 

All in all, a cautionary tale against obsession, but not as amazing as I had hoped.

 

Answer me this:

What’s your favorite sport?

Let’s get to 5 comments, and I’ll share my favorite sport!

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Medical · mental health · non fiction · Self Help

When Life Hits the Fan: A Mindful Guide to Caring for Yourself While Caring For Others by Janet Fouts

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When Life Hits the Fan: A Mindful Guide to Caring for Yourself While Caring For Others by Janet Fouts

Published: August 15, 2018

Publisher: Tatu Digital Media

Pages: 162

Genres: non fiction, self help, mental health, medical

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: resources to help with caregiving, all types of caregivers, learning to cope with the demands of caregiving – sanely

Foodie Vibes: quick nutritious cheap meals to fuel you for all the demands of the day

 

Synopsis:

More than 44 million Americans provide care for family members and friends with chronic illness or conditions that require day to day assistance.

In general, caregivers do this out of real compassion and love, or a sense of duty for the person they are caring for.

Often they find themselves thrown into roles that are unfamiliar and sometimes scary; like managing through the medical and insurance system to gain the best possible care for their loved one or understanding the options in the middle of a medical emergency. Stress levels can go through the roof, and over time stress wreaks havoc on the caregiver as well as their loved one.

If the caregiver also has a family, a job, and other responsibilities and caring for their loved one is added to their current roles. While it is a labor of love, it can be exhausting over time, and things start to fall through the cracks, including caring for their own health.

When Life Hits the Fan shares the experiences of a number of caregivers and activities that they can do to take care of themselves, body and soul. The practices in the book come from the author’s training in mindfulness, emotional intelligence and positive psychology as well as her own caregiving journey.

With a practical approach to stress reduction and easy to follow exercises, When Life Hits the Fan helps us understand what’s going on inside our minds and our bodies and ways to create resilience and care for ourselves.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Tatu Digital Media and Janet Fouts for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The book is exactly what I needed to read, as a caregiver. Seriously, if you’re a caregiver in any form, then you need to read the book. The information was so relatable, honest and helpful that I’m going to check out the author’s website for even more caregiving resources.

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “care for the caregiver.” It is absolutely true. We can’t take care of everyone else without first taking care of ourselves. It’s simply not sustainable in the long run. And most of us are caregivers, in some capacity, for the long term. The author teaches that your compassion needs to extend to yourself or it’s incomplete. So true!

The book is short but packed with helpful information and compassion. The author truly gets what it’s like to be a caregiver. The self care suggested is practical, affordable, generally short in duration, and can be done almost anywhere. I’ve heard some of these suggestions before, but it’s nice to have it all in one book.

When Life Hits the Fan would be great for reading while waiting for your loved one’s appointments, during a few minutes of downtime, etc. The book is accessible, helpful and comes from a compassionate place. I highly highly recommend it if you’re a caregiver in any capacity. 

 

How many of you are caregivers?

What do you do for self care?

 

————————————

 

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · fiction · POC · romance · Women's Fiction

Busted in Bollywood by Nicola Marsh

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Busted in Bollywood by Nicola Marsh

Published: July 3, 2012

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Pages: 302

Genres: chick lit, romance, contemporary romance, fiction, POC

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: fun books that make you happy, Bollywood movies, great friends, cross continental romance

Foodie Vibes: authentic Indian treats made and enjoyed with loved ones

 

Synopsis:

Shari Jones needs to get a life. Preferably someone else’s.
Single, homeless and jobless, Indo-American Shari agrees to her best friend’s whacky scheme: travel to Mumbai, pose as Amrita, and ditch the fiancé her traditional Indian parents have chosen. Simple. Until she’s mistaken for a famous Bollywood actress, stalked by a Lone Ranger wannabe, courted by an English lord, and busted by the blackmailing fiancé.
Life is less complicated in New York.
Or so she thinks, until the entourage of crazies follows her to the Big Apple and that’s when the fun really begins. Shari deals with a blossoming romance, an addiction to Indian food and her first movie role, while secretly craving another trip to the mystical land responsible for sparking her new lease on life. Returning to her Indian birthplace, she has an epiphany. Maybe the happily-ever-after of her dreams isn’t so far away?

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Entangled Publishing, and Nicola Marsh for an ebook copy. As always, an honest review from me. 

One word to describe this book: FUN! It’s a feel good book filled with great Indian food, romance-love and arranged, wonderful friendships, fun cultural adventures, and just enough family drama to keep things interesting. When I think about Busted in Bollywood, I am filled with images of color, Indian delicacies, and pure joy. The book version of a Bollywood movie, that I can’t get enough of.

The story is set in New York City and India, both bustling vibrant cities, perfect for this whirlwind of a story. I loved the underlying focus on true relationships – family, friendships, and romantic. It’s not just a silly book, but is filled with great depth. 

Occasionally I wasn’t sure about the main character’s relationship. And I wanted to hear more about her friend’s relationship. 

But overall a fun joyful book that I highly recommend, to put you in a good mood.

 

Have you watched a Bollywood movie before? What did you think?

3 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

Lighting Fire by Leslie North

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Lighting Fire by Leslie North

Published: August 14, 2018

Publisher: ?

Pages: 170

Genres: romance, contemporary romance

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: firefighter romance, adrenaline filled books

Foodie Vibes: small town diner food complete with the latest town gossip

 

Synopsis:

Sookie Logan is interested in one thing and Chase Kingston is not it. A fiercely independent helicopter pilot for the National Guard, Sookie is back in her hometown to fly her copter and help fight a fire, not to hook up with some junior firefighter from Alaska. Especially when this particular firefighter works for her brother, the one person in the world who’s let her down the most. The hunk in yellow & tan is off limits.

But when a date intended to just make her brother’s blood boil turns into much more, Sookie and Chase give in to their raging attraction. Both agree it’s a quick fling—something that will last only as long as it takes to knock down the flames threatening her town. Leaving Chase behind will be as easy as leaving her hometown was the first time. No attachments.

No regrets.

Chase wasn’t looking for a hook-up and definitely not with his boss’s little sister. Besides, Chase isn’t about to fall for Sookie. Their “relationship” is all about the great sex, thank you very much—he’s been burned in the past and there’s no chance of a repeat. No way. Not even if Sookie is starting to get under his skin and he can’t seem to get that little firecracker of his head.

Just when Chase is beginning to believe they may have something real, the demons he’s been fighting for years come back with a vengeance, making a future between the two as unpredictable as the fire they’re fighting. As the fire rages on, will Sookie and Chase douse their own flame? Or realize they’re meant to face any inferno together?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Leslie North and the publisher for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Lighting Fire is a quick intense steamy read. Sookie and Chase meet while fighting an intense wildfire. Sparks fly but they are determined to not get involved for a multitude of reasons. 

The setup is fairly typical not that it’s a bad thing, but I was hoping for a bit more depth and less cliches. I think my main critique is that Chase is such an arrogant player. And the male ego between him and his boss, also Sookie’s brother, is ridiculous. Let women make their own choices without men being possessive and judge about it. Even though Chase has another side to him, it’s still not enough to make me fully enjoy the story. 

The romance is almost as hot as the forest fire burning outside though. Chase is a very attractive firefighter. Need I say more? Sexy times are also very intense and well. done. But they’re broken up by a lot of drama, brooding and male possessiveness. 

A book with mixed elements for me. Some good, some okay and some problematic. If you want a quick steamy read, then Lighting Fire is for you. If you’re looking for a bit more depth and in line with feminist ideals, then maybe consider something else. 

 

What are your hard stops when reading a romance novel?

3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · non fiction

New Release | Talk on the Wild Side: Why Language Can’t Be Tamed by Lane Greene

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Talk on the Wild Side: Why Language Can’t Be Tamed by Lane Greene

Published: November 6, 2018

Publisher: The Economist

Pages: 240 

Genres: non fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: language, learning new info, fun facts, English majors, grammar 

Foodie Vibes: afternoon tea served exactly the correct way

 

Synopsis:

Language is the most human invention. Spontaneous, unruly, passionate, and erratic it resists every attempt to discipline or regularize it–a history celebrated here in all its irreverent glory.

Language is a wild thing. It is vague and anarchic. Style, meaning, and usage are continually on the move. Throughout history, for every mutation, idiosyncrasy, and ubiquitous mistake, there have been countervailing rules, pronouncements and systems making some attempt to bring language to heel.

From the utopian language-builder to the stereotypical grammatical stickler to the programmer trying to teach a computer to translate, Lane Greene takes the reader through a multi-disciplinary survey of the many different ways in which we attempt to control language, exploring the philosophies, motivations, and complications of each. The result is a highly readable caper that covers history, linguistics, politics, and grammar with the ease and humor of a dinner party anecdote.

Talk on the Wild Side is both a guide to the great debates and controversies of usage, and a love letter to language itself. Holding it together is Greene’s infectious enthusiasm for his subject. While you can walk away with the finer points of who says “whom” and the strange history of “buxom” schoolboys, most of all, it inspires awe in language itself: for its elegance, resourcefulness, and power.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the Economist, and Lane Green for an ARC copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Talk on the Wild Side is an interesting foray into the world of ever evolving languages. Yes, languages are evolving. And no, that’s not a bad thing. I learned that language changes to better suit the needs of the speakers. Formal language is not necessarily better than informal, but more about the context. Formal language is more appropriate when writing an essay for English class. Informal is appropriate for family gatherings. 

While these seem like such basic concepts, the book explains them in a more in depth manner. Teaching me new things throughout. Some of the concepts presented require an English major background, in theory, but the author explains it so well that most people will understand the nuances concepts. I also found it interesting to see the change of language over time in relation to historical, cultural and political influences. Speaking of politics, the section on language and political campaigns was fascinating and a bit terrifying. 

However, as interesting as many parts were, other sections still went over my head and also bored me. The chapters about tech and language, and creating brand new languages didn’t intrigue me. Personal preference though. 

All in all, an intriguing foray into the world of language. How we use it, why it changes and people’s thoughts about it. 

 

Which languages do you speak?

I’m fluent in English, my first language.

I learned French in high school and can remember some, but am no where near fluent.

How about you?