2.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · thriller

The Moroccan Girls by Charles Cummings | ARC #BookReview

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The Moroccan Girls by Charles Cummings 

Published: February 12, 2019 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 368 

Genres: mystery, thriller 

Rating: 2.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: spy novels set in Europe

Foodie Vibes: coffee at an outdoor cafe and people watching 

 

Synopsis: 

Kit Carradine is the successful author of several best-selling novels. When he is approached by MI6 and asked to carry out a simple task on behalf of his country while attending a literary festival in Morocco, he jumps at the chance.

But all is not as it seems. Carradine soon finds himself on the trail of Lara Bartok, a leading figure in Resurrection, a violent revolutionary movement targeting prominent right-wing political figures around the world. Caught between competing intelligence services who want Bartok dead, Carradine faces a choice: to abandon Bartok to her fate or to risk everything trying to save her.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Charles Cummings for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

I needed up DNFing this book about halfway through, because honestly I was bored …. Which is not something you want in a spy thriller. 

Like: 

  • The premise of using a novelist who writes thrillers, as a spy 
  • The overall atmosphere of sitting outside in a European country waiting for the action to happen

Love:

  • The cover – GORGEOUS!

Dislike:

  • Boring! For a spy thriller, there wasn’t much action happening. Granted, I ended up DNFing it at 50% of the way through, but this genre should capture my attention way before that. 

Wish that: 

  • I had more to say about the book. Nothing was bad per say, but nothing was great either. 

Overall, not the book for me. Maybe I’m the only one that feels this way, but these are my thoughts on the book. I did learn that I’m not as big of a spy thriller fan as I originally thought. So maybe that had something to do with my opinions on the book. Who knows? 

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · Young Adult

ARC Review | Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell

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Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell 

Published: February 19, 2019

Publisher: Amberjack

Pages: 337

Genres: young adult, contemporary fiction, contemporary romance

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: books about bloggers and the internet life, fun but serious young adult novels, mother daughter dynamics

Foodie Vibes: candy corn and a Halloween movie to watch with your not yet boyfriend 

 

Synopsis: 

Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they’re expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as “just Claire”? And what should Claire do about Mom’s old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don’t sound like Mom’s perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Amberjack, and Kara McDowell for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Just for Clicks centers around Claire, Poppy – her twin sister, and their mother. Since they were little girls Claire and Poppy have been vlogging, blogging and doing all sorts of paid sponsorships for their mom’s online brand. The blog started as a way for their mom to share their family moments with friends and also allowed her to support herself and her family after her husband passed away. 

I like that the book explores how a well intentioned start can spiral a bit out of control if one doesn’t stop to reevaluate their life choices every so often. Also the contrast between Claire not enjoying the Internet fandom and Poppy loving it, allows for an interesting multifaceted look at the internet life a s career. Neither twin is wrong, just different. It’s nice to see that there’s not the good twin, bad twin dynamic going on. I also appreciated that communication played a big role in the story. Watching the characters learn how to communicate their needs to others was wonderful. And some of the revelations … let’s just say, it keeps things interesting!

There were very few moments that I didn’t enjoy. If I’m being very critical, then some of the miscommunications or non communications became almost annoying after awhile. 

But overall, I really enjoyed this fun upbeat look into the behind the scenes world of internet fame as a career. Complex relationships, relatable struggles and a whole lot of fun. Definitely recommend!

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · mental health · Young Adult

Roam by C.H. Armstrong | ARC Book Review

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Roam by C.H. Armstrong

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing

Pages: 320 

Genres: young adult, contemporary fiction, mental health 

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: realistic issues facing teens today, likable main characters, feel good books about difficult issues

Foodie Vibes: free breakfast and lunch served by the high school, so you don’t go hungry 

 

Synopsis: 

Seventeen year-old Abby Lunde and her family are living on the streets. They had a normal life back in Omaha, but thanks to her mother’s awful mistake, they had to leave what little they had behind for a new start in Rochester. Abby tries to be an average teenager—fitting into school, buoyed by dreams of a boyfriend, college, and a career in music. But Minnesota winters are unforgiving, and so are many teenagers.

Her stepdad promises to put a roof over their heads, but times are tough for everyone and Abby is doing everything she can to keep her shameful secret from her new friends. The divide between rich and poor in high school is painfully obvious, and the stress of never knowing where they’re sleeping or where they’ll find their next meal is taking its toll on the whole family.

As secrets are exposed and the hope for a home fades, Abby knows she must trust those around her to help. But will her friends let her down the same way they did back home, or will they rise to the challenge to help them find a normal life?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Central Avenue Publishing, and C.H. Armstrong for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • The family relationships: meaningful, realistic, but tense at times
  • Abby is a great character: kind, relatable, hard working

Love: 

  • Highlights the resources available to people struggling with lack of housing, food, money, clothing, etc. 
  • The overall concept: a homeless teenager navigating life, high school, family, friends and her future as normally as possible
  • Great representation of an underrepresented population
  • Abby’s relationship with her friends and boyfriend
  • The teachers and other adults looking out for her in a non judgmental, discrete manner #TeacherGoals
  • A realistic look at the day in the life of a person dealing with the struggles of being homeless

Dislike:

  • The character of Trish: mean girl/bully to many people

Wish that:

  • The premise of them becoming homeless made more sense. It’s sort of explained at the end, but there were still a few loose ends. 
  • The ending was done better- wrapped up the story a little too quickly and neatly

 

Overall, an absolutely captivating read about an under discussed topic. A book that should be in the curriculum of many high school English and humanity classes. 

 

Bookish Question: 

How can you help those in need in your community? 

Is there a place to donate food, clothes or other necessary supplies? 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · historical fiction

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner | ARC Book Review

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The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

Published: March 19, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 400 

Genres: historical fiction

Rating: 5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: WWII, historical fiction, reading about history from an alternate person’s point of view 

Foodie Vibes: a meager meal of stale bread, soup and coffee as food is scarce during the war 

 

Synopsis: 

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943–aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Berkley, and Susan Meissner for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • Alternates between present day and WWII featuring the same characters helps to enhance the story
  • The shared friendship between Elise and Mariko – seamlessly ties the whole story together, even when they’re living on different continents
  • The parents caring for their children during very difficult times

Love:

  • The realism and beauty of the writing
  • We get a more personal complete perspective of the war from the view of a teenager
  • The main characters: Elise, her family, Mariko, and the Dove family
  • Even though it’s fiction I learned more about WWII, especially the experiences of average citizens in the U.S. and Germany 
  • Completely transports me to a different time and place

Dislike: 

  • The sadness, violence and mistreatment of people, even though its realistic to the events in history

Wish that:

  • The character of Max was mentioned more and also more likable 

 

Overall, a wonderful historical fiction novel that tells the tale of two American teenagers who met due to fear an assumptions from the government and changed each others’ lives forever. Definitely, definitely recommend!

 

Bookish Question:

What’s your favorite time period/country to read about in historical fiction novels?

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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3 Star Books · Book Reviews · Medical · non fiction · psychology

Conquering Stress and Fears: A Treatment Guide for Anxiety and Trauma-Related Disorders by Gustavo Kinrys M.D. 

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Conquering Stress and Fears: A Treatment Guide for Anxiety and Trauma-Related Disorders by Gustavo Kinrys M.D. 

Published: August 10, 2018

Publisher: Boston Press Group

Pages: 240

Genres: non fiction, psychology, medicine

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: natural and alternative methods to cope with stress and anxiety, learning to better cope with life

Foodie Vibes: healthy foods and chamomile tea to relax

 

Synopsis: 

When you realize that anxiety, stress and even fear permeate every aspect of your life, you begin to wonder how you can eliminate these all-encompassing feelings. How can you reclaim those precious minutes of your life and become truly at peace with your mind? Conquering Your Stress and Fears by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, M.D. quickly and easily guides you through the various options for tackling these feelings naturally, before you turn to conventional medications and treatments. From the nuances of supplemental approaches such as herbs or vitamins, mindfulness meditation and even emergent technologies, Dr. Kinrys

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Boston Press Group and Gustavo Kinrys M.D. for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • Comprehensive overview of the topics discussed with more details for each
  • Easy to read and access the information: broken down into small segments with the chapters and a summary chart at the end of each chapter as well
  • Herbal remedies to help reduce anxiety – common, generally safe herbs to try such as chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, lavender
  • Easy to go back and review information at a later date
  • Meditation and mindfulness: different types of each are introduced and discussed

Love:

Dislike: 

  • Chamomile is suggested to help with IBS — Not really true. Only if it’s in an oil form, because chamomile tea is high FODMAP which is know to trigger symptoms in many people with IBS 

Wish that:

  • The information is more well rounded, not mainly focused on more medical based options for anxiety
  • More focus on therapy and behavioral techniques to first treat anxiety
  • Some of the wording was changed, as it read strangely. 

 

Overall, the book is a good comprehensive overview of many topics. It’s great for learning but you will probably need more information and research before implementing some of the techniques. If you’re looking for more food and herbal remedy based solutions for stress and anxiety, the book will be helpful. 

 

Question:

What types of alternative remedies have you used to deal with stress? I.e.: essential oils, mediation, herbal supplements, etc. 

 

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ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · non fiction · psychology · Self Help

The Handbook for Highly Sensitive People by Mel Collins | ARC Book Review

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The Handbook for Highly Sensitive People by Mel Collins

Published: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Watkins Publishing

Pages: 208

Genres: self help, psychology

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to: highly sensitive people, learning more about yourself 

Foodie Vibes: chamomile tea to calm yourself among a world of chaos 

 

Synopsis: 

Are you often told to stop taking things to heart or to toughen up? Do you have a lot of empathy for others? Overanalyze things and get ‘stuck in your own head’? Or become easily overwhelmed and frequently need to withdraw? If the answer is YES, you are probably a Highly Sensitive Person and this Handbook will be your survival guide!

One in five people are born with the trait of high sensitivity. Yet, there is a general lack of awareness of the trait in our society, which leaves many people struggling physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually with being highly sensitive in a non-sensitive world. More often than not, HSPs are yearning for acceptance of their trait, not just from other people but also for themselves. When they realize their sensitivity is ‘normal’ and it’s acknowledged in a positive way, a deep sense of relief arises and they can begin to flourish – feeling empowered to bring their unique abilities of empathy, compassion, creativity, healing and much more into the world. Presented in four sections that lead the reader on a journey of true holistic self-understanding, the book starts with a section exploring the main qualities and challenges of the trait, and how it can be a real gift in life; not a flaw. The second section then delves into impacts of living as an HSP, such as the many masks that they tend to wear (people-pleasing and so on), the relationships they attract, and how they can start on the journey to feeling more valued. The third section provides a wide range of practical strategies to manage the trait more effectively, from more self-love, coping with over-arousal, tapping for emotional freedom, energy protection, dealing with loss and bereavement, and tuning into the healing power of animals. And the final section touches on the more spiritual aspect of life that many HSPs are searching for, whether knowingly or not – from past-life themes to the unseen world, such as angels – in their quest to fully accept themselves, and to live the authentic, fulfilling lives they deserve.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Watkins Publishing and Mel Collins for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Have you ever wondered if you’re a highly sensitive person? Or even what that means? I certainly have. This book is helpful in determining if you’re a highly sensitive person with checklists, quizzes, and more detailed information. Also there’s practical steps to help you live in a world not meant for HSPs. I really enjoyed the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the book, as the information was comprehensive, practical and found myself relating to a lot of it. 

However, the last third of the book focused more on the spiritual aspects of being a HSP, with a focus on some of the more out there topics. These include past lives, chakras and energies, crystals, earthbound souls, and tapping.  Not judging these beliefs and practices, but they’re not for me. I do appreciate that the author does state that these are not for all people and keeps them in the last section of the book. It’s really easy to read the sections that pertain to you. 

Overall an interesting informative book about a topic that not many people talk about. Certain sections are not for me, but maybe it will be for you. It gets my recommendation for the knowledge and care the author puts into the book. 

 

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Bookish Question:

Are you a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)? 

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Domestic Fiction · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense

Her One Mistakes by Heidi Perks | New Release

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Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks

Published: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 320

Genres: mystery, suspense, psychological thriller, domestic fiction

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: great psychological thrillers, characters that you root for

Foodie Vibes: ice cream that your husband tricks your daughter into believing that she doesn’t want 

 

Synopsis: 

It all started at the school fair…

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter….

This breathless and fast-paced debut—perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door—takes you on a chilling journey that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books, and Heidi Perks for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review. Sorry about the late review on this ARC. A migraine prevented me from getting the reading done.

Lately the thrillers I’ve been reading have been exceptional. Her One Mistake can be added to that list. The book takes us through the horror of losing a child. The palpable fear is so intense, it’s almost indescribable. The author crafted a complex mystery that’s slowly revealed in perfect timing. The mysteries upon mysteries make for a book that I absolutely couldn’t put down. I think I read it in less than 2 days. 

I also like that the concept of gaslighting is featured. It’s not called as such, but it’s well done. The tension and suspense is perfect. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy a book about a child being kidnapped, or if it would be too typical. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the complexity, surprise and characters. A wonderful psychological thriller that I highly recommend. 

 

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Bookish Question:

What makes a psychological thriller great, for you?

 

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3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · coming of age · contemporary fiction · Literary Fiction

Chemistry by Weike Wang

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Chemistry by Weike Wang 

Published: May 23, 2017

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group

Pages: 224

Genres: literary fiction, contemporary fiction, coming of age

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: young adults who don’t have it all figured it out, overbearing (to the Western culture) Chinese parents, parent – adult children relationships 

Foodie Vibes: leftover pizza #GradSchoolLife

 

Synopsis: 

Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She’s tormented by her failed research–and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. But there’s another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can’t make a life before finding success on her own.

Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she’s confronted with a question she won’t find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want?Over the next two years, this winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas and equations for a different kind of chemistry–one in which the reactions can’t be quantified, measured, and analyzed; one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart. Taking us deep inside her scattered, searching mind, here is a brilliant new literary voice that astutely juxtaposes the elegance of science, the anxieties of finding a place in the world, and the sacrifices made for love and family.

 

Review:

Chemistry is many different things. A grad student unsure about her academic future. A daughter feeling pressure from her Chinese parents. A girlfriend trying to figure out her relationship. And a friend asking for support. The book is essentially a coming of age story for someone in their mid 20s. I like that it’s funny, relatable and shows a woman in science. 

While the story is about a woman who doesn’t know where she’s going, the book doesn’t really go anywhere. The cultural explorations are great, but the rest is mediocre.

Overall, I can see why this book is popular and recommend it, but don’t expect it to be things its not. 

 

 

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Bookish Posts · politics · What You Missed Wednesdays

What You Missed Wednesdays – Books about Politics Edition

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!

———————————————————————-

 

38531686

Justice in Plain Sight: A Small Town Newspaper and Its Unlikely Lawyer Opened America’s Courtroom by Dan Bernstein

4 stars

Journalistic rights, First Amendment, tenacity

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

38908049

Yallah Bye by Joseph Safieddine, illustrated by Kyungeun Park

3.5 stars

Political graphic novel, famine, fear

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

38532207

Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly 

5 stars

Justifiable rage, systemic inequalities, feminism 

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?

___________________________

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5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Bookish Posts · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · mental health · Women's Fiction

The Best Book! | ARC Review | The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

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The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Published: April 2, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 304

Genres: contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, mental health

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: books with all the feels, good representation of people on the autism spectrum

Foodie Vibes: cherry wine coolers 

 

Synopsis:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads, Tracey Garvis Graves and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me. 

The book is absolutely amazing! There are not enough words to accurately describe how wonderful the read was, so I’m not even going to try. I will just say this: I’ve never done this before — not given a full in depth review of a book. That’s how special I found The Girl He Used to Know. But take my word for it, read this book! 

 

Do you ever feel like you don’t have the words to explain how amazing a book, movie, feeling is?