3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Christian fiction · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance

One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac | ARC #BookReview

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One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac

Published: February 12, 2019

Publisher: Howard Books

Pages: 384

Genres: contemporary fiction, contemporary romance, Christian fiction 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: sweet but realistic romances, Christian fiction that isn’t religion heavy books about the bookish wolrd

Foodie Vibes: a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant – business networking 

 

Synopsis: 

A fresh, heartfelt romance involving a case of mistaken identity when a ghostwriter masquerades as a relationship expert and the man who is determined to expose her holds not only the key to her success, but also her heart…

Rachel Somers is America’s #1 relationship coach—America just doesn’t know it. Rachel writes the books, but her Aunt Donna plays the face of the operation. Afraid of their secret being exposed, Rachel has no choice but to keep up the charade or lose the big money required to care for her father.

Lucas Grant is a star of late night radio and set on achieving his dream of syndication. When a big-time producer calls, it looks like his hard work is about to pay off. But the offer comes with a catch—the producer is convinced Dr. Donna is not what she seems and he wants Lucas to discover her secret. To do that, he needs to win over her tight-lipped assistant who holds the key to his success and—he begins to suspect—his heart. Can love find a way through the lies that force them apart?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Howard Books and Kara Isaac for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like: 

  • The sweet and realistic romance 
  • Romance in a casual work setting 
  • The main characters: relatable with good intentions 
  • Dr. Donna: I wasn’t a fan at the beginning, but came around to understand and like her. 
  • Easy fun read
  • The romance parts aren’t too overly descriptive that it would be inappropriate/uncomfortable to listen out loud, as an audiobook 

Love: 

  • Set in the book and publishing world – always a fun bonus!
  • Reminds me of an episode of Law and Order SVU (but without the sexual assault part) 

Dislike: 

  • The spicy food scene in the restaurant: Didn’t achieve the goal of bringing them together and just seemed weird/unnecessary 
  • I didn’t mind, but others might, that it didn’t mention religion until 80% of the way through. Not an intense Christian fiction book

Wish that: 

  • Some of the reasons for the deception didn’t fall together quite as easily 
  • Felt less disjointed: the first 2/3 and the last 1/3 of the story seemed different in tone and writing 

Overall, a fun sweet romance that I enjoyed. Nothing too intense, but perfect if you’re looking for a realistic happily ever after. Bonus points for being set in the bookish world!

 

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

Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser | New Release #BookReview

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Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genres: thriller, mystery 

Rating: 3.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: characters with a chronic illness/chronic pain, secrets to try to protect others and yourself

Foodie Vibes: an anti inflammatory diet in attempts to minimize your chronic pain 

 

Synopsis: 

When a video call between friends captures a shocking incident no one was supposed to see, the secrets it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.

Molly and Liza have always been enviably close. Even after Molly married Daniel, the couple considered Liza an honorary family member. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage.

When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat after the kids are in bed. But then Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child.

What Liza sees next will change everything.

Only one thing is certain: Molly needs her. Liza drives all night to be at Molly’s side—but when she arrives, the reception is icy, leaving Liza baffled and hurt. She knows there’s no denying what she saw.

Or is there?

In disbelief that their friendship could really be over, Liza is unaware she’s about to have a near miss of her own.

And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either.

But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.

Jessica Strawser’s Forget You Know Me is a “twisty, emotionally complex, powder keg of a tale” (bestselling author Emily Carpenter) about the wounds of people who’ve grown apart. Best, friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain.

One moment will change things for them all.

 

Review:

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

Like:

  • The mystery, the secrets
  • The evolution of Molly’s relationship with her husband 
  • The premise reminds me of an episode of Law and Order SVU

Love: 

  • Good representation of chronic illness/chronic pain including the lack of energy, daily pain, frustration due to inability to complete all activities, loved ones not really getting it
  • Molly trying to be the best mom for her son despite her challenges and limitations 

Dislike: 

  • The lying, deception, and almost tricking of the other people – done for a reason but sometimes it crosses the line from good intentions to protecting only yourself

Wish that: 

  • Some parts made more sense

 

Overall, a good book. I especially loved that the main character deals with chronic pain. Well, I don’t love that she’s in pain, but I like the representation. We need more books like this. However, the weird secret keeping took away from my enjoyment at times. 

 

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

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel |Release Day #BookReview

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A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Pages: 352

Genres: contemporary fiction, young adult, mental health 

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about mental health, unreliable narrators 

Foodie Vibes: room temperature, soft food that can’t be a danger to yourself or others in the hospital mental health facility 

 

Synopsis: 

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcefire Books, and Alyssa Sheinmel for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Unreliable narrator: Normally, I’m not a fan of unreliable narrators, but in this book I enjoyed it.
  • Your opinion of the main character’s situation changes as you get more information.
  • Shows a fairly realistic portrayal of forced inpatient psychiatric stay

Love:

  • Can really feel her feelings through the writing: the panic, confusion, and desperation is evident
  • Quick read
  • Had to keep reading to find out what happens
  • Book about mental health diagnosis that’s rarely written about
  • The little clues that are left along the way for the reader and Hannah to figure out 

Dislike: 

  • That the staff could be manipulated/bribed by the patients 
  • Her family wasn’t that supportive
  • The circumstances that sent Hannah to the facility 

Wish that: 

  • There’s another book to show how Hannah copes with the real world 
  • Could see the circumstances from Hannah’s doctor’s point of view occasionally 

Overall, a great book about mental health and all the challenges that can come with first being diagnosed. An interesting story that I absolutely flew through. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

Lately there have been lots of books about mental health. 

Do you think the genre/market is saturated yet?

 

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

What We Did by Christobel Kent | ARC #BookReview

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What We Did by Christobel Kent

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books

Pages: 320

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense

Rating: 2.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: revenge books

Foodie Vibes: very little food because after you do what these women did, who can eat?

 

Synopsis: 

He stole her childhood . . . she’ll take his future

Something happened, she didn’t know what, something spun, the world turning, back, back, too fast. She would be sick. Bridget put out a hand to steady herself against the wall.

Bridget has a secret–one she keeps from everyone, even her husband. One that threatens to explode when her childhood music teacher, Carmichael, walks into her dress shop. With him is a young girl on the cusp of adulthood, fresh-faced and pretty. She reminds Bridget of herself at that age, na�ve and vulnerable.

Bridget wants him away–away from her, away from that girl. But Carmichael won’t leave her alone, won’t stop stalking her. And Bridget’s not a little girl anymore. When he pushes her too far, she snaps. But what she thought was a decisive act only unravels more insidious threats–more than she could have ever imagined–and from which no one is safe, not even her family.

The bestselling British author Christobel Kent has written yet another thrilling page-turner with a twisted, riveting conclusion. What We Did is a nightmarish, impossible-to-put-down tale of the secrets we keep from our families, of chilling childhood abuse, and of long-awaited retribution.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Sarah Crichton Books, and Christobel Kent for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • The relationship between the sisters
  • The mystery of what will happen next throughout the whole story
  • The day to day life working in a clothing store

Love: – 

Dislike: 

  • The flippancy the sisters have over serious topics
  • Despite all the drama and action, most of the time I was bored
  • All the triggers

Wish that:

-I related to the main character more, but then again based on some of her actions maybe it’s better that I don’t relate

Overall, not the book for me due to multiple reasons. Despite the promising plot, the story lacked much. 

 

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Have you read What We Did?

What did you think?

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological thriller · Supernatural · thriller

The Burning Island by Hester Young | New Release

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The Burning Island by Hester Young 

Published: January 22, 2019

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 416

Genres: thriller, mystery, psychological thriller, supernatural

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: heartfelt psychological thrillers, twin stories, family drama, multi layered stories, mysteries with a bit of supernatural elements 

Foodie Vibes: local food for your Hawaiian vacation 

 

Synopsis: 

When her work on a high-profile missing child case exposes her fragile secret to the world, Charlie Cates is forced to flee the spotlight.

On Hawai’i’s Big Island, Charlie can escape the past whilst gazing out at breath-taking sunsets and sparkling sea.

But in spite of its beauty the island is harbouring a dark secret of its own, and people who will do anything to protect it.

The more enchanted Charlie becomes by the island’s mysteries, the bigger the theat she poses to its tranquillity. And the closer Charlie gets to uncovering the truth, the less likely it seems that she will ever leave the island alive…

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Hester Young for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • The premise: woman who dreams about/get vibes from people who are in danger, missing or dead
  • The supernatural/psychic elements are just enough to allow the story to happen, while still keeping the genre as mystery/psychological thriller
  • Find my Phone App playing a vital role in the investigation 

Love:

  • Slow burn mystery that ramps up at the perfect time 
  • The main character’s friend, Rae: bold, supportive, kind, encouraging
  • The setting of Hawaii … need I say more? But it’s obvious the author is familiar with the area
  • The mystery, search for a missing girl, ends up being so much better than I thought
  • The revelations at the last 1/3 of the story … OMG!

Dislike:

  • Seriously messed up families —> But that’s also what makes the book great in a messed up kind of way

Wish that:

  • There’s another book in the series, preferably a sequel to this story 
  • Learned more about the owners of the B&B
  • We could learn what happens to the cultish family’s kids in the future 

 

Overall, a wonderful mystery that’s written perfectly. A slow burn suspense that packs a big punch at the end. Definitely worth the read!

 

Bookish Question:

Is that book on your TBR list?

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

 

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · LGBTQIA+ Books · memoir

The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation by Jodie Patterson | ARC #BookReview

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The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation by Jodie Patterson

Published: January 29, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 352

Genres: memoir, LGBTQIA+, feminism,

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: learning about a family’s journey through learning from and educating for their trans kid, the LGBTQIA+ community, brave powerful women 

Foodie Vibes: Southern cooking

 

Synopsis: 

As an African American growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1970s, when neighborhoods defined people, Jodie Patterson learned early on to engage with her community for strength and comfort. But then in 2009 this mother of five had her world turned upside down. Realizing that her definition of community wasn’t wide enough for her own child’s needs, Patterson forced the world wide open.

In The Bold World, we witness a mother reshaping her attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of her community, to meet the needs of her transgender son, Penelope– and opening the minds of everyone in her family who absolutely, unequivocally refused to conform.

As we walk alongside Patterson on her journey, we meet the Southern women who came before her–the mother, grandmothers, and aunts who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. She shares her family’s history–particularly incidents within the Black community around sexism, racism, and civil rights. We learn about her children, who act as a vehicle for Jodie Patterson’s own growth and acceptance of her diverse family, and her experiences as a wife, mother, and, eventually, activist. The result is an intimate portrait and an exquisite study in identity, courage, and love. Patterson’s relentless drive to change the world will resonate with and inspire us all, reflecting our own individual strength and tenacity, our very real fears, and, most of all, our singular ability to transform despite the odds.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Jodie Patterson for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like: 

  • Hearing all of the author’s life lessons learned through there personal experiences, from friends and family, and through parenting
  • The power of the Black Panther Movement for her
  • Discussions of power 
  • Representation: trans boy in a black family
  • The overall journey of her son and learning to be a part of the trans community

Love:

  • The life lesson: to define yourself or the world will; distance yourself from anyone who said you need to be anyone other than yourself
  • Her overall continual journey of personal growth 
  • The message that trans people don’t need to change their names, bodies, clothes, hormones, etc. to be considered a certain gender, or even need to identify with a gender, but they may choose to do so if it feels right to them

Dislike:

  • Once someone refers to Penelope as not a real boy, if I remember correctly. I’m not sure who said it or what their intentions were, but still … 
  • Her father’s harsh way of parenting

Wish that:

  • There was a little less about her childhood. While there were lots of great life lessons, it became a little long winded at times.

 

Overall, a good comprehensive memoir about the author’s life, journey through personal growth, advocacy and learning bout her son’s life as a trans boy. 

 

Bookish Question: 

Have you read this book?

What did you think?

 

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5 Star Books · Book Reviews · fantasy · historical fiction · Science Fiction · thriller

I read my FIRST Stephen King Book! 11/22/63

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11/22/63

Published: November 8, 2011

Publisher: Scribner

Pages: 849

Genres: historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, thriller

Rating: 5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: JFK conspiracy theories, history buffs, alternate history novels, long well written books

Foodie Vibes: diner food but made the right way — from scratch, high fat and without preservatives

 

Synopsis: 

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

 

Review:

Like: 

  • The main character and narrator
  • Discussions of time travel repercussions – while not real, it’s fun to think about
  • The mix of historical fiction, suspense, and science fiction
  • A blast from the past: all the vintage brands, companies, music and fun anecdotes

Love: 

  • The audiobook version: I highly recommend listening to it! You will not be disappointed. 
  • The main topic: trying to go back in time and stop the JFK assassination 
  • The world building: the 1950s and 60s world the author creates feels extremely immersive

Dislike: 

  • All the talk about food poisoning, illnesses, etc. seems to be discussed more than most books

Wish that:

  • everything could be happily ever after by going back in time to change bad events 

Overall, I am so glad that I finally read a Stephen King book. I know, I know, how could I not have read one of his books before? I loved 11/22/63 and am looking forward to reading more of the author’s work in the future. 

 

Bookish Question:

How many Stephen King books have you read?

Which ones do you recommend?

 

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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?

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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!

———————————————————————-

 

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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?

___________________________

Come say hi!

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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!

———————————————————————-

 

38495401

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

 

29429247

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

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