monthly TBR

September and October TBR

I realized the other day that I never put together a TBR for August. So, with August almost over, I thought it would be a good time to put together one for the next couple of months.

First, I would like to finish the books I am already reading: He Said/She Said,  I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Interview with the Vampire.


ARCs I would like to read are:  The Ballet Lover, Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit, The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, LiesStolen BeautyPretty Ugly Lies


Some physical books I’d like to read: The Perfect MotherStill LivesBefore I Let You GoKillers of the Flower Moon.


I think that is a good variety! I have been getting back into audiobooks, so some may sneak in over the next little bit. But I am excited to get this chunk of books off my TBR!

Have you read any of these? What books do you plan to read over the next few months?

Four Stars

Review: The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis



Book: The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis [goodreads | amazon]
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction, art historical fiction
Format: eBook, provided by NetGalley free for review
Rating: 4 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public’s disdain for a “woman artist.” Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded–even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter–Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they’ll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay’s life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece–an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.


Cover Review
As with her other books, Davis has another winner in the cover department. All of her covers have the same vibe and are immediately attractive to the eye. The coloring of this one, with the golden background and lovely pop of blue just make this an outstanding cover for me.

Book Review
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I am in love with Fiona Davis. She is one of the Must Buy authors for me. She is able to spin a tale so glorious that you never want it to end. I tend to leave her books, missing the characters as they have become my new best friends.

The Masterpiece does not disappoint. Written in similar fashion to The Dollhouse and The Address, this wonderful historical fiction piece is told in two perspectives. We have Clara — an illustrator in the 1920s trying to catch a break in the art world — to weave the backdrop for Virginia in the 1970s, recently divorced and trying to find her new place in the world. Both women are equally interesting, with their plots both being equally fascinating to read. However, Clara was someone who I just adored. This entire book could have been about Clara’s life and I would have been just as happy. However, Virginia’s spunk and tenacity is something that cannot be overlooked.

I loved the small mystery part of this story. I love how Davis is able to give you hints to what’s to come in Virginia’s story when you’re reading about Clara, all while discovering more about Clara’s story when Virginia is center stage.

The characters, of course, are just wonderful, as is the plot. There is never a slow part in this story. Davis breaks up the sections and switches perspectives so beautifully, just like the pro she is. And the writing! I cannot get enough of her.

I give this book a very happy 4 stars. Beautiful cover, story and characters. This is definitely a story I can see myself jumping into again.

Book Talk

WWW Wednesday: August 22, 2018


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, I am reading The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis. I am loving this book. I was a huge fan of her other books (The Dollhouse and The Address) and this one may actually be my favorite from her. I cannot wait to see what happens! If you are a fan of historical fiction, Davis is a must read author for you!


Recently, I finished listening to The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. I am not sure what I think about this one. The narrator was amazing; I will definitely check out other books that she has read.

I also finished the second Kopp Sisters book,  Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart. I liked it but not as much as the first book, Girl Waits With Gun. Another good historical fiction series with an amazing narrator. I would definitely recommend the audiobook version of this one.


Next, I will be reading the third book in the Kopp Sisters series, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions and I think I’ll pick up Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent. And I still want to start Pretty Ugly Lies, as well as  Still Lives.

Have you read any of these? What did you finish recently?

Book Talk

WWW Wednesday: August 8, 2018


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, I am still reading The Child and started listening to Lady Cop Makes Trouble. I am really enjoying both and am excited to get back into my audiobooks. I have some sewing I need to get done and I think it will be perfect to have on in the background while I’m working.

No finished books since the last post.

Next, I plan to start Pretty Ugly Lies, as well as Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions on audiobook. I also really want to start Still Lives.

Have you read any of these? Any on your radar?

monthly TBR

June and July 2018 TBR Overview

I greatly enjoy making TBR posts but oh so rarely stick to them. I think making them for more than one month may be what I need to do in the future. I think the reason I don’t “succeed” at completing TBRs is that I write about the books I need to read and am excited about reading at the beginning of the month, but partway through, my excitement has switched to different books. Or my mojo has lessened. Or my want to read a certain genre is no more. Making a TBR list is still tricky…. Maybe I’ll get it right one day.

Now, reading that, I’m sure you think I must have failed my June and July plan. No…not completely. I did read a few books on the list and even more that never graced the list. First, let’s talk about the ones I did read.



The only other book I made some progress on was I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. Others on the list I intended to read, but I was distracted by other books. I’m sure you understand how that can occur.


Aside from those books, I also finished some not on the list:


Out of the 14 books originally on my list, I completed 5, as well as 3 others. I’m not upset at all at 8 finished books over the past two months.

I will continue to group months together in the future. I am going to do some thinking on what I want to read over the next two months, as well as what books I really need to read. I’m going to push for 10 books by end of September. We’ll see how it goes!


How are you about sticking to monthly/semi-monthly TBR lists? Do you make them at all?

Monthly Recap

Monthly Recap: July 2018


How in the world is it August already? I feel like this year is just…flying by. This has been a tough year for me with lots of down parts, though just even more up parts, and I hope the rest of the year is just a continuation of going up-up-up!


Finished Books
I feel like I really got a good groove for reading in July. I finished A Stranger in the HouseThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoHer Pretty Face, Bring Me Back, and Harmless Like You. Reviews for these will be up in the next couple of weeks. For the most part, they were all fantastic books! Bring Me Back was pretty disappointing, as was A Stranger in the House — not necessarily bad books, just not what I was expecting. [Her Pretty FaceBring Me Back, and Harmless Like You were all ARCs provided to me from NetGalley for review.]


In Progress Books
Still making my way through I’ll Be Gone in the Dark — I don’t have anything negative to say about this book. I just need something that flows better and nonfiction books (even ones that are as well written as this) don’t have the flow that I’m currently wanting. Also started and am working through The Child. Interesting book so far, though I’m not super far into it. Will be curious to see if I end up liking it more than The Widow or not.


Purchased Books
I actually didn’t buy too many books this month! I grabbed a physical copy of The Dollhouse (which was one of my favorite reads of 2017) because I couldn’t pass up the $6 deal. I know I will be reading it again. My husband also found this book called The Nest. It was on sale for $5 so I thought I’d grab it. It sounds interesting!


Kindle deals didn’t even get me that hard this month! I only picked up The Marriage Pact and In The Vines, which I CANNOT wait to start! I remember reading reviews for that one and being so excited to read it.


I was approved for some great sounding books on NetGalley, though!

Hmm. There’s an interesting theme there….

Goodreads Challenge
As of now, I have completed 20 out of 40 books. I am 50% to my goal. I am 3 books behind schedule.


Blog Posts


Book Talk

WWW Wednesday: August 1, 2018


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, I am reading The Child. I really enjoyed The Widow and was excited to read another book by Fiona Barton. I do find The Child to be a bit of a slow burn, but I found the same with The Widow, really. I enjoy the progression Barton included of Kate Waters from the first book to the second; completely believable without seeming too much.



Recently, I finished Harmless Like You which was a beautiful piece of literary fiction. I am so happy I completed this one and I really do recommend it!



Next, I plan to start Pretty Ugly Lies. Hoping this one will be a quick read!

What are you currently reading? Any opinions on these books I’ve mentioned?

Book Talk

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2018

I have not been present enough in the blogging world to keep up with various tags. However, when I saw that nickimages @ The Secret Library Book Blog did this post earlier, it seemed too fun to pass up! If you are reading this and want to participate, consider yourself tagged! Comment below with a link to your post so I can read about your mid year freak out, too!

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2018?

Oh man. This is a tough one, as I have read so many good books. And it is easy to default to my most recent favorite. Looking back at my completed books, though, I am going to go ahead and, with the first question, cheat and pick two.

Social Creature was a whirlwind of a book! It took me on a journey that I can’t quite get out of, even all these weeks after completing the book. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo as well enraptured me in a way no other book has this year. These are two vastly different books, but both are my current favorite reads of the year. Both are books that I look forward to re-reading and I can honestly say, I would be surprised if I did re-read one if not both before the year is out.

2. Best Sequel of 2018 so far?

I mostly read stand alone books. While I have some sequels on my TBR, I have not currently read one.



3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

So. Many. Books! I am most excited to read The Perfect Mother. I should probably start it soon. There have been so many good releases — and so many more to come out!



4. Most anticipated release of the second half of 2018?

Easy. The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis. I loved her first two books, The Dollhouse and The Address so much. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!



5. Biggest Disappointment?

That would have to be Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris. This was my first book by Paris and there is so much hype around her other books. I do plan to read her first two, but this one really made me sad that I didn’t like it more. It had lots of promise. Just didn’t deliver for me.



6. Biggest surprise?

Honestly, I know I used it for an answer already, but I’m still surprised by how much I greatly enjoyed The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. The story, the writing, the pacing — such an amazing novel!



7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)?

Tara Isabella Burton. I loved her writing style with Social Creature and her twist on the thriller genre; I look forward to reading new pieces by her in the future.

8. Newest fictional crush?

I always sees this questions, or similar questions, on these tags, and these questions aren’t for me. So I’m just gonna skip it.


9. Newest favorite character?

Uh…oh man that’s difficult. I loved Simon from The Immortalists. Evelyn from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a fascinating character. But if I had to pick a character who I wanted more of a story from, I would choose Lavinia from Social Creature. 

10. A book that made you cry?

The ImmortalistsHarmless Like You, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo all made me cry. And I don’t feel like I cry that often in books. These all made me ugly cry in parts, though.


11. A book that made you happy?

Oddly enough, I’m going to pick a book that also made me cry. The Immortalists made me feel an array of emotions from cover to cover. There were parts that I wept, parts that I laughed, parts that brought me joy. A wonderful, wonderful read.

12. Favorite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year?

Hmm. I don’t think I’ve seen any movie adaptations this year. I’m currently watching Sharp Objects. I’m not super into it yet but I’ve only watched the first episode.


13. Favorite review you’ve written this year?

I am never pleased with my reviews. I always struggle on what to include and what to keep a secret. I was pretty pleased with my review for Social Creature, though.



14. Most beautiful book you bought or received so far this year?

Oh, this is a tough one, as I have purchased tons of beautiful books. One of my favorite covers would have to be Still Lives, though. But it’s hard to choose just one!

15. Books you need to read by the end of the year?

I do have a few books from my 18 in 2018 list I need to finish. My goal is 40 books, so I need to finish 20 more. Aside from those, I have a bunch from NetGalley I would like to get done. And of course tons and tons and tons of new releases…. So. Many. Books.


Book Talk

WWW Wednesday: July 25, 2018


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, I am finishing up Harmless Like You (finally), then switching my focus to I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I have also started The Child for a buddy read, when I need to get away from the nonfiction.


Since my last WWW Wednesday, I have finished quite a bit!

Reviews will be popping up over the next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout!


Up next, I would really like to read Unraveling Oliver, Our House and Still Lives. I’m not 100% sure which one I will pick first, though I’m leaning toward Our House.

What are you currently reading? Any of these catching your fancy?

Four Stars

Review: Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent


Book: Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent [goodreads | amazon]
Genre: Fiction, mystery, thriller
Format: eBook, provided by NetGalley free for review
Rating: 4 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars


My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.

Cover Review
That! Cover!! I cannot deny that, even though I of course have heard of Liz Nugent, that what really got my interest piqued in this novel was that cover. The macabre sense it completely conveyed, the grungy yet completely saturated colors just really spoke to me. This is a book that would definitely stop my browsing while looking on the shelves and make me pick it up.

Can I confess something to start off with? I have not read any Liz Nugent before this. Before you click the X up in the corner, do know that I bought Unraveling Oliver on Kindle when it first came out. I just never got around to reading it, even after reading tons (and tons and tons) of amazing reviews for it. Believe me now, though; after reading this one, I cannot wait to actually check her debut novel out.

This book completely brought me in. Those first lines…. Nugent does not waste any time making sure the reader is completely enthralled with this story. The writing is superb, the plot line moves smoothly, and there are enough twists and turns to make any psychological thriller contented.

This story is told from three perspectives. First, we have Lydia, the matriarch. We follow her as she deals with the death of Annie Doyle and can of worms that opens. She is a fascinatingly horrid woman with a dark past that she has made sure to keep secret.

Second, we have Laurence, Lydia’s son. We watch him grow from a chubby teen to an adult. He’s trying to figure out the secrets to Annie Doyle’s death and how his family is somehow involved. Watching him figure things out (whether correct or not) was incredibly interesting. Though I loved Lydia (horrible of a person as she may be), I think Laurence’s parts were my favorites to read.

Third, we have Karen, the sister to Annie Doyle. Karen’s story takes brings in a whole new perspective. While Lydia and her family are rich, Annie’s family is poor. Karen shows us what happens to their family after the disappearance of her sister. Karen was a very strong character, though it took me a few chapters of her story to really get into her part.

Nugent does an amazing job about blending in these characters together. The way she has the different story lines cross over and meld into one is an amazing art. It may be premature to say this, having only read one book from her, but if her others are anything similar to this, I know that Nugent is a mastermind of the thriller genre. The mixture of loveable to love-to-hate characters, the multiple plot lines, the pacing — everything about this mixes together form a solid story.

Go buy this. Right now. You will not regret it.


This eBook was given to me for free for review purposes. All thoughts are my own. Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery/Scout Press, and Liz Nugent for the chance to read and review this book.