monthly TBR

June and July 2018 TBR

I had considered skipping making a TBR but I enjoy these posts, even if I end up not picking up any of these. I mentioned in my last overview how I want to continue with my ARC readings, but I’m going to throw in some non-ARCs as well.

First, I know I want to finish my current reads: Harmless Like You, The Widow and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.

ARCs I know I want to read are: The Ballet Lover, Lying In Wait, Her Pretty Face, Bring Me Back.

Some physical books I’d like to read: The Perfect Mother, Still Lives, Before I Let You Go, Killers of the Flower Moon.

Some eBook’s I’d like to read are: Tangerine, Luckiest Girl Alive , Idaho.

 

Now, I don’t expect to actually read 14 books in the next two months. I do like my variety of options, though.

Have you read any of these? What are you planning to read over the next couple of months?

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Book Talk

WWW Wednesday: June 06, 2018

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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, I am still reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and have picked back up Harmless Like You. I am also completely entranced by The Widow, a book I’m super behind on checking out.

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Recently, I finished Her Name Was Rose, a real captivating thriller from a new-to-me author. Review will be up very soon!

Soon, I hope to start reading some other ARCs. In my last WWW Wednesday, I mentioned how I wanted to start Her Pretty Face and Lying in Wait. Those are still on the top of my next to read books, as well as Bring Me Back by BA Paris.


 

Any of these books catching your eye?

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Five Stars

Review: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

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Book: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton [ goodreads | amazon ]
Genre: Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Format: eBook, ARC from Penguin’s First to Read program
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis
They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them… They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste…

Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon. 

Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship.

Cover
The cover is perfection. It was what made me click on this book. I had yet to hear anything, the author was new to me. The cover was everything. Then that synopsis. Oh that synopsis! This book immediately buried itself into my mind before I was ever given the chance to look at the first page. The cover is perfect. Note: The UK cover is also fabulous; I’ll include it down below!

Review
I have been putting off writing this review. Not because this book was bad, no — because this book is that good.

This is a debut piece from Burton and it has cemented her name into my list of Must Buys when new releases come out. Incredibly well written, thought-provoking, spooky, creepy, captivating. I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to think of the right descriptions for this book. I need to do this book justice.

Our main characters, Louise and Lavinia, are both millennials but from opposite ends: Lavinia is in her early 20s, a rich socialite who parties like there is no tomorrow, keeps up with the “right” crowd, and is off from school to write her book; Louise is pushing 30, working three part-time jobs just to kind of make it; she has no real friends, no real life — until her chance meeting with Lavinia, who takes Louise into her life.

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This is a story that will give the reader anxiety in parts (and I mean that as a huge compliment to the writing). This is a story that will stay with you. If you are anything like me, you’ll start to believe Lavinia is living in your closet and be worried to open the door.

This book won’t be for everyone, though I think everyone should give it a chance. The writing is beautiful. The characters are fascinating. The plot is twisty, turny goodness. You’ll be so caught up you won’t know what day it is in your world; you’re too busy in their world to remember what is actually going on in reality.

I’m wanting to tell more and wanting to not share. I want to keep this to myself, while also making sure everyone picks up a copy and dives right in. I have only bought the physical copy of one book so far that I received for free as an ARC; I will be buying this one when it comes out June 5, 2018.

Burton shows an amazing commentary on the lives we live in this modern world – the ones we choose to share and the parts we keep to ourselves. This book hands over the ability to have amazing discussions on the toxicity found in certain relationships, social media. A cool, modern take on the psychological thriller genre that I cannot wait to read again.

 

Huge thanks to Penguin via the First to Read program and the fabulous author for an advanced copy of this beautiful, creepy novel.

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Monthly Recap

April and May 2018: Bookly Overview

Since I have only posted three blogs since March, I decided to just combine my bookish overview of the past two months together.

First, before the book talk, I’ll do some life talk! In April, I applied and got hired to do an online teaching gig for VIPKid, teaching English to children in China (if you’re interested in learning more, just comment! It can be a great work for home gig.) I spent most of April getting stuff ready, applying, making demos, etc. Then, in May, I had a work conference and really started pushing toward getting bookings for VIPKid. It took some of my free time away, but I did still get some reading done during those months!

 

Finished Books
In April, I finished reading The Bookshop on the Corner, Then She Was Gone, Believe Me (review here!), I also decided to DNF Lola as it became a chore to even pick it up.

 

In May, I finished Social Creature (a review will be up in the next couple of days!) and The Last Equation of Isaac SeveryI made progress on Her Name Was Rose and started The Widow. Still working my way through I’ll Be Gone in the Dark; this book is really well written but I am not completely enthralled in the story just yet.

 

ARC April
I enjoyed participating in ARC April. During that time, I DNF-ed Lola, which was an ARC from LibraryThing. I completed Believe Me (from Netgalley) in April, then decided to continue with my ARC challenge, completing Social Creature (from First to Read) and starting Her Name Was Rose (Netgalley). I have decided I want to make sure I am always reading an ARC, and I will talk more about that plan shortly.

Purchased Books
I thought I had done okay with this…until I went to where I put my newly purchased books and realized I had quite a few…. Maybe it’s not so bad since it’s over the past two months right?

 

First, I purchased some true crime books. One of my favorite podcasts is Crime Writers On… and for their Patreon they have a true crime book club. The first book was I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and I don’t want to start any others until I finish that. But I did go ahead and buy the next two: Killers of the Flower Moon and In Cold Blood.

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As far as I can tell, I only had one random purchase, Before I Let You Go. I saw this while grabbing some stuff for work at Wal-Mart. It was near Then She Was Gone and had a matching cover. Having just finished Then She Was Gone, I felt like it was a sign.

 

The rest of the (physical books) purchased came from Book of the Month. I am choosing to skip June’s box (none of the books really spoke to me), but I feel like I have more than enough BOTM books to keep me company. For April, I chose Then She Was Gone while also adding Our Kind of Cruelty. April had lots of good selections; it was hard to pick just two! For May, I knew I was going to pick up The Perfect Mother (and the fact I haven’t started it yet shows I have SOME form of self-control) because I have been wanting this book since I first heard about it. I couldn’t pass on another book, Still Lives, so I went ahead and grabbed it, as well.

 

I picked up a few Kindle deals:

Goodreads Goal
As of writing this, I have finished 13 books out of 40, making me at 32% of my goal. I am 3 books behind schedule.

My plan is to continue with my ARC April throughout the rest of the year. I want to constantly have an ARC going on my Kindle that I read at home. I have started carrying a physical book with me to work in case I have some down time or actually get a lunch break and can spend part of it reading. I would like to really work through my Book of the Month collection (future blog post!) but I’m not planning on ignoring my non BOTM books. I also have a great Kindle collection I need to start reading (or stop adding to…but those deals!), so I may do a “for every 3 ARCs finished, read a non-ARC eBook” kinda deal. I’ve already finished another ARC for June and will be starting another one today, so I’m hopefully going to stay on track with this one!

Blog Posts
In case you missed my sporadic posting, here are my blog posts from the last two months.

 

I wrote out a blog post plan for June/July. I found when I first started and did that, my posting was able to be more consistent. So maybe I’ll have better luck the next few months.


 

So tell me: Have you read any of these books? Are any on your TBR list?

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Book Talk

WWW Wednesday: May 16, 2018

Hello, fellow book fans! I took an unannounced break while I was working on getting started with a new part-time job. Then, I had a work conference for my full-time job. And then…I just got behind. But I’m happy to be back (once again) and I have lots of books I cannot wait to talk about!

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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, I am reading The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. I am enjoying both very much. I really thought I would be done with I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by now, however, I have such a hard time getting into nonfiction…even with it being a true crime piece that has had a lot of interesting changes over the past month. I am also really enjoying The Last Equation of Isaac Severy; my only complaint currently is that the synopsis did not mention anything about there being multiple perspectives and it just isn’t working for me with this book. I want to stick with the main plot line and it keeps hopping around. I’m sure it will all come together nicely, though.

Recently, I finished reading (and reviewed) Believe Me by JP Delaney. I also finished Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell and Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton. Both books were very good and I will have reviews up soon. I cannot stop thinking about Social Creature…that was such an interesting read.

Soon, I will be reading Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding and Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent, both of which I was approved for this week on NetGalley. (Speaking of NetGalley, I’ll be getting a post up about my April ARC progress soon!)

I finally feel like I’m back in my reading groove. I’m reading (almost) daily again and the books I have been choosing have just been wonderful overall.

Four Stars

Review: Believe Me by JP Delaney

 

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Cover Verdict: Not a fan. Red and black are so garish to me now, reminding me of my preteen Hot Topic days. The broken up picture of the woman conveys nothing to me. Even after reading the book, I am uncertain as to why they went with this cover. 

 

Last year, I had the pleasure of receiving an ARC for JP Delaney’s debut, The Girl Before. I loved that book and was incredibly excited when I learned that Delaney had a new book out called Believe Me. I was able to get an ARC of it through NetGalley and started reading it immediately.

In this story, we follow Claire, a British lady living in America without a green card. She is trying to get her name out there in the acting world, after messing up her chances of fame back in Britain. Without the green card, though, it is hard for her to find work. She does some under the table jobs, working as a decoy for divorce lawyers, trying to catch cheating husbands on tape for wives to use during their divorce proceedings. When one of the clients ends up dead, Claire is thrown in for the ride of her life. She works with the cops to help them discover if the now deceased lady’s husband, the person they assume to be the killer, is who they truly think he is. Claire begins a relationship with him and we follow along, trying to separate the real life from the scripted life.

Believe Me is a thriller of a different sort. Incredibly well written, with some fun parts written as if for a script, it immediately drew me in. I was captivated by Claire — who is this woman? What is her history? Something about her just grabbed me and held onto me throughout the entire ride. Completely character driven, this story is one that has lots of up, as well as some downs. As always, there are some twists and turns, my favorite being one that showed up just over halfway through the book. The ending twist left a slight sour taste in my mouth, though didn’t ruin the book for me competely.

Believe Me is set to be published in July; however, there is another version of this already out, called The Decoy, that was published in 2002 by Tony Strong (whose pen name is JP Delaney). From my understanding, the book wasn’t originally received as well as he believed it should have been, so he took the opportunity to re-work it and publish it again this year. I’m curious about the similarities between the two.

Book rating: 4 stars
Cover rating: 2 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the opporutnity to read and review this book. I look forward to future selections from JP Delaney. 

Book Talk

Bookly, a Bookish App Review

Do any of you use apps to go along with your reading? I assume most of us use Goodreads, and others Litsy (I’m bookcoverjudge there). But what about an app that takes into consideration the time you actually put into your reading?

While reading Let Me Lie, I tried out a new-to-me app called Bookly, formerly Bookout.* This app (only for IOS as of this writing) allows you to keep track of statistics for your book.

How I used it:
Since I was reading Let Me Lie on my phone, I would open up the my reading application for the book. Then I would go to the Bookly app and click the stopwatch, immediately switching back to my book. Any time I needed to stop reading for a period, I would go back to Bookly and pause. When I was finished for that time, I would stop the timer completely. There was a place for quotes (did not use) and notes (made a couple of immediate thoughts about the characters, nothing fancy). Once I finshed my book, I was rewarded with this infographic.

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Easy peasy! Now, with my current book, it is a physical copy and sometimes I forget to start the timer. With that, I just add the time that I spent reading (it’s usually a rough estimate but it’s close enough). This is a litte bit more of a hassle, but I do love me a good infographic, so I think I will continue to use it for now.

Bookly is free to download with the option to pay. I am choosing to stick with the free option for now. I know that I am limited in the number of books I can keep track of while doing this, so once I run out of room, I will decide if I want to fork over the cash for the full app.

Have you used this app, or any apps like it? What are your favorite bookish apps?

*I hope this information is correct. When I first downloaded it, it was called Bookout, but I noticed it updated and changed to Bookly a couple of days before I finished this book.

Monthly Recap

March 2018: Book Haul and TBR Overview

So far this year, March has been the best month for me. This has been a month based on reflection, growth, and pushing myself. There are lots of things I could say about this month, but let’s just focus on the books, shall we?

In regards to physical books, I only added four to my colletion. The first two, The Glass Forest and  Two Girls Down, came with my first Page Habit subscription box. I also got a copy of The Last Equation of Isaac Severy for my Book of the Month selection for the month. I also grabbed a copy of Practical Magic, even though I have a eBook copy of it, because I have been wanting a copy of this for YEARS and it was the first time I ever came across one in person.

Kindle selections this month were:

And I grabbed two Audible books:

 

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I received an ARC through NetGalley for Believe Me by JP Delaney.


 

In regards to my TBR plans for March, I did better than previous months. I finished reading Bite, The Woman in the Window, and Let Me Lie. I made some progress on Interview With The Vampire. Though I didn’t pick up any of the other books on my list, I did make some progress on The Bookshop on the Corner. I needed a lighter read than what was on my TBR plans.

As of now, I am 2 books behind on my Goodreads goal, 18% completed.


 

Did you miss any of my March posts?

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Three Stars

Review: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

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Book: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh [goodreads| amazon]
Genre:
Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Format:
eBook via Penguin’s First to Read program
Rating:
3.5 stars
Cover Rating:
3 stars

Clare Mackintosh is a must read for me. I don’t even need to read what the book is about — if she writes it, I’m reading it. [You can read my review of her second book, I See You.] When I learned that her newest novel was an option in the First to Read program, I used my points I had saved up to get a guareented copy.

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

With that on the cover, how could you not want to read this??

This novel follows two separate narratives. We are first introduced to Anna Johnson on the anniversary of her mom’s suicide. In the year since her mother took her life (just a few months after Anna’s father’s suicide), Anna has started a relationship and had a child. She has had a hard time coming to terms to her parent’s taking their lives — I cannot imagine what going through that would be like.

What gets the plot going, though, is a small note that Anna receives in the mail. A note that said, very simply: Suicide? Think again. 

Anna takes the note to the police station where she talks to Murray Mackenzie, a retired detective who still works at the station as a desk clerk. Once Anna tells Murray her story and concerns about the death of her parents, Murray decides to look into the case before handing it off to detectives.

As the story unfolds, we hear from both Anna and Murray. But there is also this third, unknown narrator. The unknown person parts are dark and, in ways, confusing. As the reader, you have ideas on who this person is. But if you’re anything like me, your guess will change after every section.

As with her other novels, Mackintosh is amazing at her writing. The story is well written and the progression is good. However, it took about 100 pages for me to get into the story.  Anna, who I feel like I should have a lot of emtions for and should be in support of, I found flat and uninteresting. Murray, on the other hand, was my favorite character and I would greatly appreciate more stories involving Mr. Murray Mackenzie.

Although I never found myself rooting for her, necessarily, I did want Anna to find closure and to find out the truth of her family. I beceame invested in the story more so than the character. With any mystery, there are lots of twists and turns. To be as vague as possible, the first twist brought into the story at part two was rather meh for me; however, the twist at the end of part two was so fantastic! I was feeling overall not into this story until that twist and I couldn’t wait to find out the rest of the story.

  • Pros:
    Well written
    Good plot twist
    Murray Mackenzie — his entire part of the story could be its own book and I would have been happy
  • Cons:
    Anna was unlikeable (actually, now that I think more about it, I disliked most characters in this book….)
    Slow start

 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I give it 3.5 stars overall. Not my favorite of Clare Mackintosh’s, but I appreciate her taking this genre and adding her own twist to it. I would also give the cover a 3 star rating; it’s nothing spectacular but goes along with the aesthetic Mackintosh has used with the other books I mentioned above.


 

Many, many thanks to the First to Read program for sending me a copy of this book to review! I am a huge fan of this program and if you are interested in reading advanced copies of books for review, you should check it out!

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Monthly Goals, monthly TBR

April 2018 TBR: ARC April

When thinking about what books I wanted to focus on in April, I reflected on a conversation I had with Tiana on her blog not too long ago about how behind I got on ARCs and how I didn’t know what to do to go forward. I’ve decided to spend all of April working through ARCs to get as many off my list as I can. As of writing this, I have 16 books on NetGalley awaiting to be read/reviewed; 1 book from First to Read that needs to be reviewed; 2 books from LibraryThing that needs to be read/reviewed (and one other that I won in November that I still haven’t received); 1 book I received from an author.

So, in total: 19 books to read with 1 that I recently finished that needs a review written. 

Now, I don’t expect to read 19 books in April (though wouldn’t that be just wonderful!). However, I would like to switch my focus just to knock some of those off. I have a good backlog of books, most of which I am still incredibly excited to read. I think this will be a good focus for me. So far in 2018, I have been bamboozled by all the new releases. I’ve definitely jumped off my “minimal book buying” plan (I am a little nervous about writing up my March overview) and would like to move into April with a different mindset.

My husband and I have gone-gone-gone so much this past February and March that we’ve ultimately decided to do as little as possible during April. More time at home, more time together. And luckily for me, a lot of our time together is spent reading books. I’m hoping for April to be very productive in that sense.

I’m not sure which ARCs I will read. I have a few that I’ve started that I know I want to push to the top, but aside from that, I don’t really want to make a list. I want to pick them at random. However, I will share the ones that I know I will be reading.

 

 

I know that I really want to finish Lola, which I am about halfway through with, as well as Harmless Like You, which I’m a little over a quarter through with. I really want to pick back up Revenants; I’m not even sure why I put that one down, since I was at a really good part with it. I think I’m about a quarter of the way through with that one, as well.

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From LibraryThing, I have Lola as well as The Ballet Lover. I think that one will be a Must Read, just so I can check off LibraryThing completely from my list. From NetGalley, I think I’ll just pick and choose as I finish these. I’m in desparate need of a thriller, so I know I will choose one of those. And maybe a nonfiction piece?

Again, not wanting to overshoot. Just wanting to get better with my timelines. And I think moving forward, every month will have a Must Read ARC selection, until I’m able to get my list back to 0.

How is your ARC backlog? Are you better about keeping up with getting books read and reviewed? I know I sure was when I first started! It’s just so easy to click that REQUEST button!

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