REVIEW: SCYTHE by NEAL SCHUSTERMAN

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FINALLY a 5 star read in 2020! The idea of this book was so unique. It was interesting, tastefully executed, and a great story. This is NOT my normal genre at all but I LOVED it.

Since I don’t give out 5 stars very often, this review will be a quick list of what made this book enjoyable for me.
• A unique but not totally unbelievable storyline. Dystopian fiction can sometimes feel super far fetched, and while this one definitely won’t be happening in the near future, I can see how it happening in the distant future.
• Engaging characters – both lead and minor ones. I took an interest in more than just the protagonist of this book and found myself connecting with multiple characters for different reasons.
• A well paced story – I never felt like this book lagged.
• Easily digestible – while it was set in the future with elements that were created in the Schusterman’s mind, I was never confused.

All in all, one of the best books I read in 2020 and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

Content warnings:

Gore
Burning
Parental death
Hospitalization
Drowning

REVIEW: A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by SARAH J. MAAS

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This book is beautiful, captivating, and long. Overall, I really enjoyed it!

PROS:

EXQUISITE character development. It was hard to not fall in love with these characters and to hate the ones you’re supposed to hate.

A very unique storyline. I don’t read fantasy ever, but I thought that the overall concept of this book was really original.

The imagery was out of this world without being over the top.

CONS:

The pacing was a bit off for me. I felt like the beginning was paced  perfectly, the middle drug out a bit, and the end was SO fast that my head was spinning.

This one was not quite as digestible as the first book was for me. I was a little confused with the world building at times and had to consult a friend who had recently read the book with my questions.

Content warnings:

Graphic sexual scenes -steam level 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥/5 in my book.

Confinement

Emotional abuse

Sexual abuse and trauma

REVIEW: A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by SARAH J. MAAS

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A five point review:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.💫/5
• This book has a very slow, steady world building. As a non fantasy reader, I appreciated that I never felt confused.
• The characters were multi dimensional and their storylines were intricate.
• The writing was descriptive with excellent imagery but not so over the top that I was rolling my eyes.
• I was rooting for the main characters love story.
• I felt sad every time I had to put the book down and go to bed.

REVIEW: BEACH READ by EMILY HENRY

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A PRO/CON REVIEW
⭐️⭐️⭐️.💫/5
📖 
What I liked:
➡️ The male lead -Gus was charming, funny, and relatable.
➡️ The banter between the two leads. I wish I could be that witty!
➡️ The fact that there were real life problems in this book. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies and I appreciated that!
📖
What I didn’t like:
➡️ The female lead, January. I can’t put my finger on what exactly I didn’t like about her, I just found her irritating at times.
➡️ The steam. I know this is controversial since a lot of readers love steam, but I can do without it. I prefer a more closed door romance, however, this one was definitely one of the milder open door ones that I’ve read!
➡️ One other part I will keep vague because I don’t want to spoil anything, but an ex shows up at some point and it BOTHERED ME.

Content warnings:
Loss of a parent
Moderately graphic sexual content
Moderate foul language
Loss of life to cancer

REVIEW: A GOOD GIRLS GUIDE TO MURDER by HOLLY JACKSON

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⭐️⭐️⭐️.💫/5
📖 
What I liked:
➡️ The pacing of the story and the story itself. I was never bored!
➡️ Pippa, the main character, was likable, tenacious, brave, and kind. I wish I could be more like her.
➡️ The way it all wrapped up. The ending was great and I was even surprised by it!
📖
What I didn’t like:
➡️ The number of characters. It was too many for my old, tired mom brain to keep up with, even though I binged this book in 2.5 days.
➡️ Not knowing who to trust. I felt like I had severe trust issues by the end because EVERYONE SEEMED SHADY.
➡️ There’s a death that seemed unnecessary to me and I was not okay with it. I don’t want to give it away though so no details!
📖
Overall, this was a solid, bingeable read! Great for fans of Truly Devious, fast paced mysteries, and generally rooting for the underdog.

Content warnings:
Death of an animal
Drowning
Racism
Confinement
Murder
Mild gore

REVIEW: #IMOMSOHARD by KRISTIN HENSLEY AND JEN SMEDLEY

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⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

“If there is one word that captures motherhood, it’s not “exalting.” It’s “exhaustion.” Being this tired all the time is torture. Men have confessed to crimes that they did not commit because they were kept awake for twenty-four hours. If you put a mom in an interrogation room, she’ll last four and a half years.” – #IMomSoHard

When I was gifted this book by TLC Book Tours and the publisher, I had no idea who Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley were. And, if I’m being honest, I still don’t really know who they are, but I do know that they are funny and have a friendship that I hope to have with another girlfriend someday. Written in the authors alternating perspectives, #IMomSoHard is designed to make you laugh, ~maybe~ cry, and, most of all, to feel understood. I felt all of those things (sometimes simultaneously) as I read, creating a mostly enjoyable reading experience for me.

The section I enjoyed the most by far was “I Lose My Mind So Hard”, where the authors talk very pointedly about the effects of having a baby on a mamas body and mind. As someone who struggled very deeply with postpartum depression with a lack of support in the place I was living at the time, it was nice to read of someone else’s experience with their mental health after having a kid. It made me feel seen, and for that section of the book alone, I will be keeping my copy.

There were some sections that I found to not really add much to the book, hence the reason I didn’t give it the full 5 stars possible. The sections that I enjoyed, I really, really enjoyed, and the sections that I didn’t enjoy, I found myself skimming. It was one of the first “mom” books that I’ve ever read, and overall, I’m glad that I read (most) of it.

Click here to get the book on Amazon.

Click here to get the book from your favorite local bookstore!

REVIEW: THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU by LIV CONSTANTINE

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2.5/5 stars

Thank you to Harper books for sending an advanced copy of this book so I could review it!

For starters, I want to say that I LOVED Liv Constantine’s “The Last Mrs. Parrish”. It was in my top 10 favorite books that I read in 2018, so this one was a highly anticipated release for me. I am a serious FAN and will read anything they write. That being said, I came into this book expecting mind boggling twists, broody characters, and a jaw dropping ending. Unfortunately for me, I got a predictable story, surface level characters, and an underwhelming ending.

This story felt scattered and slow. I felt like as soon as something interesting would start to happen with a section of the storyline, we would jump back to some characters that I wasn’t as interested in. I wanted to really be rooting for someone or to really be suspicious of someone, but that didn’t happen for me – the whole time I kept thinking, “Surely one of these main characters isn’t the murderer!”

SPOILERS BELOW – PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

And that’s exactly what happened. They chose a character that had almost no place in the book to be the ~accidental~ murderer. And while her motive made sense, it was so dissatisfying that it wasn’t a character that we knew anything about. She legitimately had just a few lines throughout the book. She wasn’t important, she wasn’t noteworthy, and when I found out who it was, I was like, “Well that’s dumb.”

The ending also felt super rushed to me. I wanted more information on Blaire’s psychotic break and wanted to know if she and Kate really made up, but at the same time, I didn’t want Kate to forgive her because Blaire was one of the most manipulating characters I have ever read. Forgiving her made Kate seem weak and frankly, kind of dumb, but the authors wrote it off as the result of serious therapy – except therapy doesn’t work that way, a good therapist won’t encourage someone to invite someone like Blaire back into their life.

This book may work for some – but it just didn’t for me. I will still read their next novel and hope that it is more satisfying!

REVIEW: TROPHY LIFE by LEA GELLER

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When I try to think of how to write a review for this book, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Oh, it was cute.” That’s about how I would sum up this story. As I was reading it, it gave me a lot of warm feelings, a little bit of rage, and a handful of laughs. I didn’t hate my reading experience, but I also am not going to be forcing this one into anyone’s hands to try to get them to read it.

As a mom, I really enjoyed the parts of the story where Agnes, the main character, struggled with motherhood, but alas, those parts were few and far in between. Agnes spent most of the book living as a single mom, but the story focused more on her job and her endless pursuit of getting her husband back. The frustrating part of this narrative was that every single character in the book could see how bad her husband was except for Agnes herself, and I just wanted to reach into the book and shake her – WAKE UP WOMAN, YOU ARE NO MORE TO HIM THAN A HOT BOD AND A BABY MAMA! Instead of investing in her daughter and loving watching her grow up, she sits around agonizing about the man who left her alone after one too many shady business deals. And even though I wasn’t a big fan of Agnes, I like any book thatch evoke any emotion in me, even if it is slight rage.

Trophy Life was filled with quirky characters and had a lot of wit and charm. It was a great palate cleanser after a few heavier reads, so I appreciated that about it. I will read Geller’s next book just to see how she grows as an author – this was a solid debut.

REVIEW: COLUMBINE by DAVE CULLEN

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Click here to read the book synopsis on Goodreads.

This may be the hardest review that I write all year, so here goes…something. I know I am definitely going to struggle to get the words out.

“…kids felt as if their identities had been stolen. ‘Columbine’ was the name of a tragedy now. Their school was a symbol of mass murder.”

As I read this book, I realized that over the last 20 years, I’ve done exactly that. I’ve referred to Columbine as a tragedy, a massacre, a horrible day in our nations history. How unfair of me. 

This book so eloquently explained the months leading up to an event that rocked the world of so many people. The Columbine high school massacre was all over the news, but despite constant media coverage, a lot of the important facts were left out and a lot of theories materialized that had no substance to them. It also broke down the events that happened in months and years afterward. Dave Cullen researched and meticulously reported back details of the assailants, the victims, the survivors, and the community. This book chilled me to my core, broke my heart, and also gave me clarity on just what happened that day.

I think this book should be required reading – for parents in particular. And I don’t say that because we need to scare ourselves, but because we need to educate ourselves. And we also need to never stop talking about what happened, because when we stop talking is when we become complacent…and when we become complacent, we will never spark change.