Uncategorized

Some Changes Are Coming

After much thought and consideration, I am planning on upgrading and rebranding my blog. After years of being The Book Cover Judge, I feel like (though I still judge books by their covers), it just no longer encompasses my reading life and blogging style. I am in the process of working on a new brand currently and will be updating the blog very soon (probably later this week).

Just wanted to give a Heads Up that there will be some changes coming soon! I cannot wait to share these with you.

Monthly Recap

April 2019 Overview + May 2019 TBR

Oh April! What a busy, busy time but it brought back my reading mojo, so I’m just too too thankful for this month.

Throughout April, I was able to complete two books, both books I enjoyed.

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Apple of my Eye was my second read from author, Claire Allan. I loved, loved, loved Her Name Was Rose when I read it last year and was super pumped to read another thriller from her. I didn’t love this one as much but Allan is a Must Read thriller author for me now.

 

 

 

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The second book I finished was The Cabin at the End of the World. This was a book I had heard a lot about and I was thrilled when I was able to grab it as a Kindle deal last year. This was my first time reading Paul Tremblay, though I don’t think it will be my last.  I’m working on a review for this but I will say I did enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the month, I am currently listening to Becoming and finishing up Unraveling OliverBecoming is just delightful and I highly recommend listening to the audiobook if this is a book you have been interested in checking out. While I love the writing in Unraveling Oliver, I am sad to report that I am not enthralled with this story just yet. This was one I assumed I was going to love so I’m sad that it’s really kinda meh for me right now.

 

 

 

In regards to adding to my collection, I didn’t really add too much. I decided to put my Audible account on hiatus while I continue to listen to my back catalogue. To use up the credits I still had, I decided to pick up two books on my wish list, Educated and The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

No Kindle books this month! I’m actually surprised by that….

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I didn’t buy any physical books BUT I did participate in my first book swap and my partner picked two books for me that I cannot wait to read! I have heard such great things about both The Goldfinch and If We Were Villains and  was thrilled that those were the ones she chose from my wishlist!

In regards to blog posts, I only had a few:

 


 

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Now, as for my May TBR…. I am not 100% sure what I want to read. I know that I will be starting Daisy Jones and the Six soon, as well The Last Time I Lied for a buddy read with Jessica from Where The Bookends. Other than that, I’m not sure! I know my next few books will be picked from this stack as the rest of my books are still packed up.

I feel like my May is going to be full of great, great reads. What are your plans for May?

Book Talk

5 for Friday: 5 books I think will be 5-star reads

The other day, I was watching Booktube, something that I have been getting more into, and I was inspired to do this post. Sarah’s Nightstand did a video about 5 books on her TBR that she thinks will be 5-star reads. It got me thinking about my TBR and how there are some books that I do think I am going to give 5 stars…and those are the ones I tend to put off reading, even though I truly believe I will love it!

While driving the other day, I was thinking about that video and wondering what books on my TBR that I believe will be 5-star reads. I decided to do my version of it! This has also inspired me to do some more lists posts. My hope will be to tell you my 5 books that go with various different topics on Fridays. We’ll see how this goes.

But for now…let’s look at my TBR and see which ones I truly believe will be a 5-star read.


 

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Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

First up is a book that I have been looking forward to for months, was my Book of the Month pick the month it came out, and a book that I am just nervous to start. I fell in love, as did manyin the book world, with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo when I read it last year. I was so thrilled when I heard TJR was going to have a new book out this year. It sits on my shelf…but I can’t start it. I’ve heard mostly good things from it. My mom listened to it recently and loved it. I highly doubt I won’t like it…but I am nervous to start it! It will be my next read, though, so I’ll be curious to see what I think once it is over.

 

 

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The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
This one isn’t even out yet but I know I will love it. I was a huge fan of The Party and also enjoyed Her Pretty Face a lot. This once sounds…so good! I love Harding’s writing style and she can turn a thriller like no other. This one cannot come out soon enough for me!

 

 

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The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton 
This is another example of a book I was so excited about but once I got it, I no longer wanted to read it. It sounds so good and I am so worried that it will let me down! This is another one that has received mostly good feedback, so I am not sure what my hangup is! I need to pick it up very soon, though.

 

 

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt 
I feel like this one could just be Donna Tartt in general. I have this one, as well as The Goldfinch on my shelves. Both have received so much praise that it leaves me uncertain what to think of them! What if I don’t like them?? I am sure I will. The Secret History is part of my 19 in 2019, so I know I will get to it at some point this year.

 

 

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 
Another one on my 19 in 2019 list, this book already gives me a hopeful feeling, even without reading it. When I see it on my shelves, it makes my heart feel light. I am not even sure why, but this is for certain one I think will be a 5-star read for me.

 


 

Now, you’ve seen my list. You see books that I still haven’t read that have been loved so deeply in the bookworld. I do plan to read these all this year, so once I do, I will make sure to do an updated post on this.

Let’s pass it on to you: What are some books that are currently on your TBR lists that you think will end up being 5-star reads?

Three Stars

Review: Apple of my Eye by Claire Allan

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Book: Apple of My Eye by Claire Allan [goodreads | amazon]
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Format: eBook, free copy from NetGalley for review
Rating: 3 stars
Cover Rating: 3 stars

Just how far is a mother willing to go?

When a mysterious note arrives for six months pregnant Dr Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

Cover Review
I’m giving it three stars because there’s nothing that is really awful about this cover. However, I just don’t like it. The colors are nice, I like the deeper tones, and it would make me at least stop and read the title. I just…don’t like it.

 

Book Review
I was introduced to Claire Allan last year with her debut thriller book, Her Name Was Rose. Even though I decided to no longer ask for Netgalley books until I was finally caught up on my backlog, when I saw the email for her most recent thriller, Apple of my Eye, I knew I needed to read it. I requested it, got it, then…February and March happened, so I wasn’t able to get in the correct mindset to dive right in. So while the book has been out for a couple of months now, I am still happy to give you my thoughts on it.

What I liked so much about Her Name Was Rose was Allan’s ability to take a good thriller storyline but not write it like a generic thriller. Allan’s other pieces of work tend to be more chick lit-like, a genre I don’t jive with. I think her work in that genre, though, has given her the ability to take a different spin on the thriller genre. I would not say her books are chick lit-meets-thriller, but there’s just a slightly different…feel to her version of a thriller novel.

Apple of My Eye sucked me in almost immediately. I was intrigued by these characters, wanted to know what was happening, wanted to know more about them. Having finished the book, however, I can say that I felt nothing for these characters. This book, for me, was purely plot-driven: I loved the storyline and was excited to see what developed. The characters never felt completely fleshed out, though I 100% say that was me not connecting to them for some reason or another, because I can think even know of many examples for Allan attempting to give these characters a breath of life.

Like Her Name Was Rose, this book is told from multiple perspectives. Allan does a great job with this and is able to switch perspectives in a way that isn’t jarring but that gives you a cliffhanger, gotta keep reading to see what’s going on feeling. The plot goes at a good pace, doesn’t feel rushed in any parts. The story progression makes sense, isn’t completely out of the left field. I wasn’t trying to figure it out but around the 50% mark, it really popped out at me what was happening and I had a good guess at the ending. Finishing the book and realizing I was mostly right did not take one bit of my enjoyment away. I don’t feel like guessing the ending meant the book was predictable in this instance. There were only so many possible ways it could have gone and the ending been so completely out of nowhere, it would have left me as a reader more frustrated and honestly let down.

I give it three stars. It’s not great. I definitely preferred Her Name Was Rose to this one, though I don’t really want to compare them. I think this one is a good read and definitely worth the time put into it. Claire Allan has become a Must Buy author for me and I look forward to her next book, Forget Me Not, coming out next month.


 

This eBook was given to me for free for review purposes. All thoughts are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and Claire Allan for the chance to read and review this book. 

Book Talk

WWW Wednesday: April 17, 2019

Life has been hectic, once again! We spent most of March in a house that was turned upside down. We had a bad flood in our basement. They supposedly fixed it, yet they were back a week later to fix it again. Then, we had to wait until insurance did their thing so we could look into getting new flooring. Needless to say, it took a lot longer than it should have and took even more of my reading energy away. While they were finishing up our floor, I, unfortunately, fell down my stairs and sprained my ankle. We’re two weeks out from that and I am doing much better, but that first week was tough!

Me being less mobile did respark my reading interest, though! Now that I’m reading again, I do want to start blogging again. I miss the community. I’ve been trying to be more active on Instagram, while also trying to be less active on social media in general — that’s an interesting task, hah!

But now that I’ve jabbered on, let’s get to the actual point of this post!


 

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What are you reading? Wednesday: This tag asks us to post about three books:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

 

Currently Reading
Oh, it is nice to be able to say I am currently reading, even actively reading something! Oh books, I love that you are always there for me, even when I take a break from you.

First, on my Kindle, I am reading The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. I really wanted to start a new book, however, all my physical books are (still) packed up, so I grabbed my Kindle and ran through my library. This was the first one that stood out to me and I am LOVING it. I am around 50% done and I hope to finish it maybe later today/definitely later this week.

I also needed a new audiobook, and I am in a memoir mindset. I have a few in my Audible library but one of my most recent purchases was Becoming by Michelle Obama. I am not too far into it but it is delightful so far!

And my third book, which I really need to pick back up soon, is I.M.: A Memoir by Isaac Mizrahi. I am not too far into this but it is very well written and so far, a very good celebrity memoir. I won this book from Goodreads, which is always exciting!

 

Recently Finished
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I haven’t been reading much, not really since the beginning of February. But, I did recently finish reading Apple of my Eye by Claire Allan. I will have a review up for that later this week. [Spoiler: I gave it 4 stars :)]

 

Reading Next


I’m going to be honest…I am not sure what I want to read next! I know that my next audiobook will be Storm Front by Jim Butcher, as my husband has been wanting me to check the series out, and while I don’t think I’d enjoy reading it, I think I’ll enjoy listening to it more. For my next Netgalley book, I think I want to read The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager.  [I am so behind on Netgalley books, so I’m trying to focus on these a little more.] But I do know that I want to start either Daisy Jones and the Six or The Goldfinch very, very soon.

 

So tell me, friend: What are you currently reading?

Monthly Recap

February 2019 Overview

I gave up blogging in February because I barely read anything. The only book I finished was an audiobook, Love Lucy, an autobiography about Lucille Ball. I will say, if you are a Lucy fan, I highly recommend the audiobook. Having her story told by her daughter is a lovely experience.

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But, anyway, back to giving up on reading/blogging during February.

I had plans to do more. I just didn’t make time for it. During February, my husband and I started playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends of ours and, even though we only meet once a week, D&D took over our lives for a while! We have started watching Critical Role on YouTube, we’re reading and researching our characters. It’s nice to have a hobby we can actively do together. We read together a lot, of course, but it’s a passive hobby to do together.

We’re both still really enjoying it, but we’re (err..I am) getting into a less obsessive groove with it. I am able to divide my time up more throughout the day to watch Critical Role, read about my character (if necessary; not as much research is needed weekly now), and play. I am able to get my two jobs done during the day, come home and get some reading in before our nightly TV watching.

I’m still not reading a lot, but I’m back to reading at least a little a day. Goodreads reports I’m 4 books behind schedule. I know I’ll get caught up soon.

Currently, I am reading:

I’m currently concentrating on Apple of my Eye, which I should have finished this week. Then, I really want to start another fiction piece to read while reading the memoir. Hoping I can get back on track this month!

Do your hobbies every get pushed to the side when you start a new one?

Three Stars

Review: Lies by T.M. Logan

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Book: Lies by T.M. Logan [goodreads | amazon]
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Format: eBook, free copy from NetGalley for review
Rating: 3.5 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?
When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

What an interesting premise for a thriller! I don’t know about you guys, but as someone who almost solely reads thrillers, I sometimes get meh about them. This one stood out to me. The synopsis drew me in immediately. And it promised lots of twists and turns AND family drama! LOOOOVE!

When I started the book, though, it took a few chapters for me to get into it. I never found myself wanting to sneak in more reading time throughout my day, but I also was not making myself read it. It took about 15% of the book to start to really get my groove with it and about 40% of the book before I was completely hooked. After that, though, it was an incredibly quick read.

What I liked about the way Logan wrote this book was that I couldn’t tell WHO I could trust. Was the son, William, even trustworthy? Sometimes I wasn’t sure if we were dealing with a naive narrator, an unreliable one, or a combination of the two. I do know that no matter what you think is happening, give it a few more pages, and you’ll start to second guess yourself. This is a good combination of predictable thriller story with some nice twists and turns to take you out of the element.

Logan has a good writing style and I look forward to checking out more from him in the future. HIs characters were well written, overall, but I never found myself rooting for someone. However, there’s no reason I need to root for someone in every book I read. It can help with keeping me wanting to read, though.

The cover really drew me in. The blue with the yellow font is really eye-catching and having the father/son at the top of stairs really makes you start to wonder what the “lies” are about. Definitely a great cover for a decent thriller.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


 

Thank you, NetGalley, for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monthly Recap

January 2019 Overview

I spent a decent amount of time in January reading, not as much time blogging. But I’m tired of making excuses for not blogging. Let’s just keep doing our best this year, shall we?

In the month of January, I read 4 books:

  1. Lies She Told :: Audiobook from Audible (the last one I purchased in March 2018, actually, before canceling my subscription as I wasn’t listening to audiobooks as much)
  2. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark :: Phyiscal nonfiction that I had started in 2018
  3. The Third Wife :: Audiobook from Audible my mom had purchased
  4. Cross Her Heart :: Physical BOTM book

I ended the month of January being on task to finish 50 books for the year. I gave the first three books of the year 4 stars and the last book of January 3 stars. I am pleased with the amount read and I hope to stay on this same path.

Let’s do an overview of my 2019 goals:

  1. Read 50 books :: 4/50 and on track according to Goodreads
  2. Purchase new shelves :: Not yet! It will probably happen later in the year. We want to do some reorganizing in our den area first.
  3. No new Netgalley books until at 80% :: Uh…fail. Claire Allan has a new book and I had to have it! It’s technically already out (I read the publishing date wrong or I would have waited) but I’ll have a review up ASAP! It will be my next read.
  4. 3 blog posts a week :: Yeah, nah. I think I should have initially made this goal “blog more often”. I’ll probably make that change.
  5. Read 5 new to me authors: 3/4 I read were authors I’ve never read before. 2/3 I had heard of before. I’m not sure what I meant by this goal initially but it will probably be met this month.
  6. Read 5 nonfiction books :: 1/4 was a nonfiction book.

Overall, I’m happy with my progress!

 

I didn’t have a goal for not buying books in January. I really didn’t think I would want to buy many. However…I surprised myself when I looked at my list!

  1. The Silent Patient :: BOTM choice
  2. Silent Child :: Audible (techincally free as I got a free month for starting my subscription back up)
  3. The Haunting of Hill House :: Kindle deal
  4. The Library Book :: Amazon
  5. Apple of my Eye :: Netgalley
  6. Lies She Told :: The Bookceller (semi-local used book store) – I couldn’t pass up the physical version even though I just listened to the audio.
  7. Out of Oz :: The Bookcellar (semi-local used book store)
  8. Behind Her Eyes :: Books-a-Million (on sale)
  9. The Mars Room :: Books-a-Million (on sale)

Now, I’m going to put the books I read in order from favorite to least favorite:

  1. The Third Wife
  2. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
  3. Lies She Told 
  4. Cross Her Heart

What was your favorite book you read in January? Least favorite?

Book Talk

Unread Books: Book of the Month Edition

When I decided to use The Bookworm Life planner for 2019, I saw some others using the dot grid pages to keep an updated list of the books they own that they have not read. I did this myself and it was incredibly eye-opening. I have a list of all the books I own — physical, Kindle, Audible — in my planner and I am highlighting them as I read them throughout the year. I am not adding books to the list; this was just for my pre-2019 collection.

One of the sections I made was my Book of the Month books. BOTM is currently my only book subscription, though I’m toying adding another soon. I love BOTM. I love the set up of it and the choices. There are occasionally months where there isn’t a book I want, but for the most part, they throw a book at me that I may have skipped over initially but by them highlighting it, I was able to find a new book/sometimes author for me to check out.

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I currently have 13 unread Book of the Month books. They are:

  1. The Secret History
  2. Still Lives
  3. The Chalk Man
  4. Sweet Little Lies
  5. Cross Her Heart
  6. No Exit
  7. The Music Shop
  8. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
  9. The Clockmaker’s Daughter
  10. Missing, Presumed
  11. Our Kind of Cruelty
  12. The Broken Girls
  13. The Silent Patient (my first 2019 BOTM selection)

My plan is to read at least one of these each month throughout the year. I am contemplating pausing my subscription until I get more of these read. However, I really enjoy that book mail, so as long as I am reading one a month, I am okay with another coming in.

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First up, I am reading Cross Her Heart. This was the bookclub selection for the mother/daughter book club I’ve started with my mom and sister.

Also to assist me in getting my BOTM books read, I have joined the #unreadbotmchallenge on Instagram, hosted by Novel Gossip and Reading Between  The Wines. It’s nice to see everyone’s backlog of BOTM books and to have people to cheer you on as you tackle through this list.

Are you part of the Book of the Month club? How many books are on your unread BOTM shelf?

Two Stars

Review: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

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Book: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris [goodreads | amazon]
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Format: eBook, free copy from NetGalley for review
Rating: 2 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

 

This was my first time reading a B.A. Paris book. I have her other books on my Kindle to read. I was so excited to check this one out! It has a great synopsis, a great beginning, and I love me some Russian Nesting Dolls. However…this book did not deliver for me. And it made me want to get rid of any of the Rusian Nesting Dolls I have in my collection.

This had a great start. Good character development, beautifully written, and an interesting plot. I was completely 100% enthralled for the first 50%, still going strong for the next 30% or so, but those last few chapters just lost it for me. The ending is just ridiculous and honestly knocked a star off my final rating.

I like a book where the characters stick with me. And while I did take a few months to finally write this after reading the book, the names trigger not one memory. The only thing I remember is the ending and how frustrating it was.

This book had great potential. And I see a lot of hope in B. A. Paris’s writing so I will read her previous two books. I will have to decide after I read those if she will be an author worth checking out again in the future.

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The cover, however, is spectacular! Both of the covers I have seen are very interesting and appeal to me. I just wish what was between the covers had fulfilled the promise the cover + synopsis gave me.

 

Thank you, NetGalley, for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.