Friday, February 28, 2020

Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

Holy flipping crap! This book is creeeeeptastic! I can't believe I waited this long to read this book. Sure it just came out but had I known what I know now I would've jumped on this ARC the second I got it. Okay, okay, you get it.....but I LOVED this book.

Part of the reason I loved this book so much was the author's style of writing. I love it when you crack open a book and you have never read the author before. I usually find myself either drawn to the writing style...or not. Well instantly I knew this would end up being a favorite author for me. See- I love dark, witty, gritty humor...and this book is riddled with that. I love it! Everyone who has read any of my reviews knows, I love, love, love me a Liz Nugent book. This reminded me of that kind of dark style. I am an ER nurse, we thrive on that.

Audrey Miller is an "it" girl or so she thinks. Audrey is all about Audrey. With all the Audrey's self love splashed all across Instagram, she has managed to get herself a million plus followers. Pretty impressive Audrey. She considers herself a celebrity and doesn't care if everyone knows her every move...well as long as it looks good. It is highly entertaining to think how true this "staging" is when you consider people on social media. So true to real life!

Things really take a turn as Audrey moves into a basement...with a complete weirdo living upstairs. With a broken lock...with someone watching her sleep....HELLLS to the no! Not this girl. I would be out of there in a flash. I dare you not to be creeped out!

Especially creepy was the author's note. I am just minding my own business reading it, not realizing at first that it was about her research for the book. OMG this research is insane. Note to self- sticky note over camera...check..

As for the ending, well that was very well played! EEKKK! Okay I am done being a drama queen but I blame Audrey! Her drama must have rubbed off on me for this review. Seriously though, I loved this book and hope you do too.

Thank you so much to Gallery Books for this fantastic ARC! 

Friday, February 21, 2020

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell- March 10th

I completely underestimated how dark this book was actually going to be. Clearly the title is an indicator. If you didn't catch on from the title well there is clearly a sensational book description that makes it clear what the subject matter was going to be. Yet....I was still deeply disturbed by what I was reading. I can't stress how dark, disturbing and difficult this was to read. That being said, I could not put this down. I am not even sure I can muster the words to give this book the review that it deserves. It was just that powerful.

After reading this I can see why the author specifically stated that this is not a story about herself, or anyone that she personally knows for that matter. It is just about all the girls like Vanessa in the world. I have decided the reason this book was so incredibly hard to read is because it is so real. Somehow this debut author has managed to make Vanessa so damn real that you would swear she was writing her own story. You would swear Vanessa was typing her story furiously onto the pages, perhaps in a diary.

With the whole "me too" movement we have heard many different voices. Yet this story managed to floor me. It was from Vanessa's point of view, that she was not a victim. That she had chosen to get into a relationship with her English instructor Jacob Strane. I had never given this consideration that the victim would not realize they were the victim. She was clearly the victim of this vile, disgusting man that used his power and position to lure Vanessa in. What if the victim doesn't realize it? She sees it as a "love story". She thinks he is kind and caring, impressed that he would take the time to notice her- that she is special.

My emotions were all over the place reading this. This stirred such an array of feelings in me. I was distraught, disgusted, angry and sad. Being a 15 year girl many years ago, I can see how Vanessa was realizing that she had a power over men. How she was just discovering that she could make them look her way. Some of the details are so graphic I considered putting down the book and taking a break from it as I felt I really couldn't endure any more of it. Except I couldn't put it down. I had to know how this ended for Vanessa.

I very rarely get this emotionally involved in a book, but this one destroyed me. That being said- it is a must read! It will be hard to read the graphic details, but it is hard because you know this is the truth. This is what is happening to girls like Vanessa every day. The author spun a story that so uniquely shows a glimpse into the victim's mind. A victim that doesn't even realize she is a victim or is she just telling herself that to protect herself?

Saturday, February 15, 2020

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

You had me at.... it starts out like The Breakfast Club...I mean yes! Bring it on. Now I am left wondering what took me so long to pick up this book. I loved it. I think I was hesitate to read it due to it being classified as YA and I really have not read many YA. That might have to change!

Bayview there! The Breakfast Club vibe is strong when we start out with a rather unlikely group of kids meeting for detention. This is not your typical bunch of kids that frequent such punishments, in fact I think only one of them has had this joyful experience and that is Nate. I loved how the students were classified into their "groups" they associated with. The beauty, the brain, the criminal and the athlete...I mean we all know these groups really do exist in high school.

What did I love most? As a thriller genre reader, this book was a breath of fresh air. It had such a unique storyline and honestly I did not guess the ending. I had no idea who was to blame for only 4 students making it out alive! Everyone had a reason to want Simon silenced, but who actually silenced him forever?!!

I never thought I was a YA kind of girl but I guess I am 🤷‍♀️I really enjoyed this book ❤️Looking forward to One Of Us Is Next !

Monday, February 10, 2020

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

You know that book that you put up on a pedestal and you compare others too? Yep this is one of those for me. First off, I don't read fantasy. I can count the number of "fantasy" books I have read on one hand. Yet I was only half way done with this baby and I was hitting up everyone I know that has read it to ask, what even compares to this book...because I did not want it to end!!!

So why am I literally obsessed with this book???? Look nobody is more shocked than me. First off...when I think fantasy, I think another world, some make believe place. This took place at Yale University....YALE...a real live place that we have all heard of. So bonus points right there. I could relate to it. Then it is filled with secret societies...which we all know exist. Including the very exclusive and infamous Skull and Bones.  Extra bonus points in my book for that. I mean who isn't interested in what would go on there? Then ghosts.....everywhere....I LOVE it! I love a story with a ghost and when there is more than one...well...I just can't resist.

Alex Stern got a full ride to Yale and is just starting her freshman semester. Yet a couple of months prior, Alex was found overdosed in a house full of known drug addicts that had been murdered...yet she survived. No money, no family support, a complete mess- how is it that this girl got into Yale? Completely paid ride and accepted into a secret society into a position within it that many yearn for. Something sketchy is going on here!

Many reviewers have stated this was a slow read for them. I personally did not feel that. In fact I wanted more!! I think for me, I got so into this book because I don't skim at all. I read every single word and held onto to. I will admit in the first couple of chapters, I had to google a couple of words that just aren't in my vocabulary...prognostication, name a few. It was so worth it because my careful reading really drew me into the story. So if you are a skimmer you may miss some vital information. Must like ghosts....because there are lots, and lots and lots of ghosts.

I can't tell you how excited I am for the next book in this series. Meanwhile I will be reading everything I can find by this author. Apparently reading outside your genre sometimes works out so well that you may add it to your all time favorites.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Wow! What do I even say about a book that has rendered me speechless? This book is a thriller lovers dream come true. First of all, Peter Swanson won me over with The Kind Worth Killing and has never let me down since. I find him and Liz Nugent to be the masters of the dark, twisted thrillers. I often wonder how they come up with this stuff! Can you imagine their computer search history? The stuff that murders are made of!!!

Sooo with that being said listen to this premise...absolute genius...Malcolm Kershaw owns a specialty bookstore- he carries mystery, thriller books that may be hard to come by. He is an expert in classic mystery books and he knows them in and out. People travel from all over the country to visit his little store. When Malcolm publishes an interesting blog post on the bookstore's site about how to commit the perfect murder, he uses 8 different books with plots that in his opinion would be the perfect crime. Not much came of that at the time but years later someone is murdering people and following this list too the tee. Now the FBI is interested...very interested in what Malcolm has to say.

OMG this was a thrill ride from the word go. I devoured and I mean devoured this book in one single day. My internal voice kept saying, this book is so good you should slow down and savor it. Yet I couldn't flip these pages fast enough as I had to know what happened. This book had so much appeal because not only it was a very unique plot, it also had a ring of truth to much of it. My google fingers were going at warp speed as I researched if any of this has really happened. The answer is YES. This was like a history lesson for me of author's gone fascinating. I also discovered many books that were on the "list" that I want to read!

Add in a fantastic bookstore cat named Nero that has his own Instagram page and what more can you ask for?!! I love a gorgeous cat with a oh my if this cat could talk.

Huge shoutout to William Morrow for providing me this ARC via Edelweiss! Honestly I will be buying a hardback when this comes out! I loved it that much!

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Dreaming of Verona by T.A. Williams

Dreaming of Verona
Verona is the City of Love. But will Suzie find romance there or, like Romeo and Juliet, will it all end in tears?
When Suzie is hired to accompany spoiled, abrasive Lady Alexandra Tedburn on an all-expenses paid holiday to Italy, she fears the trip will be a disaster.
But she soon discovers there’s more to Alex than shopping and tantrums, and she’s determined to help her realise her potential – against Alex’s authoritarian father’s wishes.
As they settle in Verona, Suzie can’t stop thinking about local artist Michael, who is still mourning the tragic death of his wife. With Suzie’s future uncertain, and Michael’s past
holding him back, it seems there’s no hope for romance in the city of
star-crossed lovers… or is there?
A gorgeously uplifting and moving story, Dreaming of Verona is the perfect read for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver.

Purchase Links


My Thoughts

Oh my gosh, I just loved this book so much. It was witty, fun and just plain wonderful. It made me feel all warm inside and happy. How is that for a recap? Really it did though.

Suzie Cartwright has a PhD in English and is in between jobs. So what harm would it be to help Lord Tedburn out and travel with his daughter to Verona for a couple of months? She understood that she would be keeping Alexandra out of trouble and reporting back to her father. Earning herself a cushy free place to stay and a generous salary why not? Then he drops the bomb that his daughter is 26. Whattttt????! Instantly Suzie wants to back out from this deal. Why on earth would a 26 year old need a babysitter? Nothing good could come of this.....yet she agrees to do it. You may be surprised at what happens next.

Whisked away to Verona, Italy was a dream come true for Suzie and I can see why. Home to the timeless love story of Romeo and Juliet, she loved the history of Verona. The beautiful setting and the wonderful people. Would she find her true love there too?

Ohhhh I could just gush talking about this book...I guess I am...there was nothing NOT to absolutely love.  I won't reveal much more because there are so many surprises in this book that need to reveal themselves to you, instead of me stealing that away. Suzie met so many wonderful people, that I was truly kept in the dark the entire time as to if she was going to find her Romeo in one of them or not. It kept me hanging on until the end and I must admit I did get a bit emotional at the very ending. Yes I may have teared up a bit.

Let's talk about the dog...OMG the dog is awesome. I did not know this until recently, but the author always includes a Black Labrador in all of his books as a tribute to his late dog. As a fellow dog lover this just stole my heart. I love that he does this and even though I loved all the characters in this book, Dogberry made my heart happy.

This was in fact my first T.A. Williams book and I can't recommend it enough. I loved the easy writing style, the witty humor and just everything about it!

Thank you so much to Rachel from Rachel's Random Resources for having me along on this blog tour!!

Author Bio – I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.
The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations and, as a writer, I obviously have to go there in person and check them out first. I love my job… 

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