Tag: #newreads

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Review

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I can’t believe I hadn’t wanted to read this. For some reason, Where the Crawdads Sing wasn’t on my radar. My husband was shopping one day and he picked it up for me because it sounded like something I would like. I am so glad that he did.

Everyone in Barkley Cove, North Carolina has heard about the “Marsh Girl.” In 1969 when Chase Andrews is found dead everyone suspects Kya, the Marsh Girl. Misunderstood Kya is intelligent and strong. She has survived for years in the marsh alone. Then two young men become interested in her and it changes her world forever.

Thoughts on Where the Crawdads Sing

For some reason when the book was first published I read the synopsis and assumed it was a romance. It shocked me when I read the synopsis again. I can’t believe how much I missed. It is part murder mystery, part coming of age story, all wrapped up in a book dedicated to the love of nature.

I have to say this came very close to beating My Dark Vanessa out of my favorite of the year spot. The writing was stunning. I felt like I was in the marsh with Kya.

The depictions of Kya’s early years were absolutely heartbreaking. I can’t ever imagine a child going through what she lived through. We watch her grow from a frightened child to a strong adult who makes a life for herself in her beloved marsh.

The murder mystery is told in snippets throughout the book. It is woven into the parts about Kya’s childhood. When Kya finally reaches the age that the murder took place the two timelines blend and goes from there. To watch the town’s prejudice against Kya is sickening. The people judged her just because she lived differently.

I so loved the way Owen’s ended the book. The plot twist didn’t shock me, but I adored it nonetheless. I am so glad my husband picked up this book for me.

My Rating: 5/5

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Whammy by Ted Akin Review

Whammy was an interesting adventure. It was part mystery, part comic book. It was a lot of fun.

In Lily Grove, Texas two things keep the town moving, farming and the oil field. When an accidental death happens, Klive Anderson tries to find out why it happened. Stacey Karlise owns a coffee shop by day as a front for her other, less legal, business. She has lived in Lily Grove her whole life and small town life is wearing her down. But something is about to shake up her small town.

My Thoughts on Whammy

The story starts out by alternating between real life and the comic inspired book that Klive is writing. Klive started writing it to help relieve the pressures of his job at the oil field. When a death occurs that seems a bit suspicious, Klive’s book begins to turn into a mystery.

While Klive is researching a real life mystery, Stacey begins to read Klive’s journal. She starts giving him feedback and encouragement. When Stacey begins to get involved with the real life mystery it triggers the events that happen in the next part of the book. That’s really all I can tell you without spoiling the rest.

This book is a lot of fun. It is a quick read that I flew through. Klive is a likable character, but Stacey was hilarious. I loved her.

About halfway through the book there is a major shift in the events. Stacey becomes the main character. My only complaint is that there is no closure at the end. When Stacey becomes the main focus that is the last we hear of Klive. I wish he was included in the end to make it all come together. It made it feel a bit disjointed.

My Rating: 4/5

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Disclaimers: Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review. I am a Books a Million affiliate. If you purchase from my link I will get a small commission at no extra cost from you. Thanks for supporting the blog.


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Questions of Perspective by Daniel Maunz Review

I didn’t know I needed this book. It is so different from what I usually read. Peaches the cat was probably my favorite part of this whole story. I have a soft spot in my heart for little gray cats. Keep reading for my review of Questions of Perspective.

April 19, 2011, was the most important day in the world and only Dave Randall knows why. His friend John Manta disappears without a word. Without his friend there to distract him, Dave throws himself into his unfulfilling law career. Once Dave really understands what happened to his friend he set off with Peaches the cat to find more meaning to life. Soon Dave discovers that his journey to learn more about his existence will change more than his own life.

I wasn’t sure that reading about a man going through an existential crisis would be a good idea right now. Surprisingly, it brought peace to my heart. When Dave was working at the law firm I could feel the boredom and discontent that he was experiencing.

When Dave left the law firm I was so excited. Then he moved to a little cottage in upstate New York, where he hiked daily with Peaches. His life became more centered during his time in the woods. He started to figure out part of his purpose in life. It made me want to take my cat on a hike. Somehow though I believe that would bring more unnecessary stress to my life. My cat is not as mild mannered as Peaches.

I am not going to give anymore details because I want to keep this spoiler free. Questions of Perspective gave great life lessons that can be applied daily. The best lesson I came away with was at the end. The actions at the end of the book made me realize that people who are going through hard times need encouragement. It can literally change their life and the lives around them. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and reach out to people.

I think this is a book everyone should read. There are so many great lessons to take away from this. The authors writing and descriptions are great. I plan to read anything else that he writes.

My Rating: 5/5

*I was given an arc in exchange for my honest review.*

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My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows Review

My Lady Jane is unlike anything I have ever read before. It had been awhile since I read the synopsis so the inclusion of animal shifters took me by surprise. I have mixed thoughts on this read, so let’s discuss.

King Edward is dying at sixteen. He needs an heir to take his throne. Through the advise of his council he decides to have his cousin, Jane, marry Gifford Dudley to secure the throne. Unfortunately, no one told Jane that Gifford is a horse. As if marrying a horse isn’t enough to deal with they uncover a conspiracy that has left Jane the title of Queen of England. Little do they know that is just the beginning of their problems.

My thoughts on My Lady Jane

The thing that hooked me into reading this is the fact that it was a retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey. However, it is very loosely based. It is meant to be a satire so there is no historical merit to it at all. If that is what you are looking for this one isn’t for you.

The narrators are hilarious. That is the best part of the story. It is an easy read and perfect if you need a laugh.

My major complaint is that it seemed entirely too long. When I had about a hundred pages to go I just wanted it to end. It just felt like too much time was spent on unnecessary parts. I think if the story had have been a bit more concise I would have enjoyed it more.

My Rating: 3/5

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Mountain Climbing with Dinosaurs by Doug Goodman

I was given a chance to read Mountain Climbing with Dinosaurs in exchange for my honest review. As soon as I saw the word dinosaur in the title I was hooked. I read Jurassic Park several years ago and really like it. I wanted to give another dinosaur book a try. Don’t compare this to Jurassic Park. The only similarity is the dinosaurs. I actually liked this better than Jurassic Park.

Twin brothers, Brady and Travis, are known world wide for their mountain climbing skills. Their world is shattered when they survive a mass shoot that took the lives of thirteen of their classmates. After that day, they set a goal to climb thirteen mountains to honor their friends. New Profanity Peak is next. It is their most dangerous climb. Not only is it a restricted area, it is a dinosaur preserve. This climb will change their lives forever.

My Thoughts on Mountain Climbing with Dinosaurs

I loved the motivation behind climbing the mountains. Adding the mass shooting in was an interesting twist to the story. To see the impact of that through the view of a teenager is horrifying. I knew going into this that it is a horror story, but I still got attached to the characters, against my better judgement.

This is a fast moving story that flashes from past to present. It fully develops the story within a short space of time. It helps to understand the characters motivations and mindsets during the climb. The dinosaurs are always in the background of the climb, but then they come in and attack full force. I think I would have liked to seen them included just a bit more.

My Review: 4/5

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House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas Review

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It’s no secret that I love Sarah J Maas. I was so excited to finally get my hands on House of Earth and Blood, but I was also nervous that I wouldn’t love it. Luckily, I did but it did have a rough start so lets discuss.

Bryce Quinlan had no worries in the world. She worked during the day and partied at night. Tragedy struck when a demon murdered a her best friend. A couple of years later the murders start up again leaving her in the middle of the investigation. Her partner, Hunt Athalar, is not the easiest person to work with. He is a fallen angel who has to deal with his boss’s enemies. During the investigation they grow closer and become great friends. Life is looking up until they discover a dark secret that threatens to put the entire city at risk.

My Thoughts on House of Earth and Blood

The beginning of House of Earth and Blood is so painfully slow. I considered dnfing it, but I was afraid I would miss a great read. There is a lot of info dumping about the hierarchy and frankly it was confusing. About 100 pages in the story started picking up and I was hooked.

The slow beginning is my only true complaint. When I was going back through my notes I wrote down that I thought Bryce and Hunt’s partnership was contrived. That thought became void because Maas tied up her loose ends later in the book. I have learned to trust her process.

The rest of this review is just going to be a gush. Hunt and Bryce are perfect. I love their character development as individuals as well as partners. They have so much chemistry. Bryce is just the perfect character. She is strong willed and determined.

Toward the end of the book there was a plot twist that destroyed my heart. I was skeptical as to how Maas was going to repair the situation. She really went above and beyond. Again, trust the process.

As I have said countless times I have been in a fantasy slump. The inclusion of a murder mystery in this fantasy was a great way to pull me out of that. I would love to see her write a thriller because the plot and mystery were so thought out. I think I am ready to jump back into fantasy after reading this.

My Rating: 5/5

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My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

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Sometimes you just know a book is going to stick with you long after you read it. My Dark Vanessa sticks in your mind. I found myself thinking about it several days after reading it. If this isn’t my favorite book of the year, I will be shocked. Grab a cup of coffee. This is going to be a long one.

2000. Fifteen year old Vanessa Wye longs for adulthood. She feels that she can’t relate to the kids her age. Then Vanessa finds herself attracting the attention of her charming forty-two year old English teacher, Jacob Strane.

2017. During the wave of sexual allegations brought on by the Me Too movement Strane is accused of sexual assault by another student. She also reaches out and wants Vanessa to share her story. Vanessa is faced with a hard choice. Should she confess or should she stay silent? She strongly believes that she was not sexually abused. She believes that Strane was her first love. Why would she rat out a man who transformed her life and worshiped her? Could the man that she loved be different from what she believed?

My Thoughts on My Dark Vanessa

Since I’m not sure where to begin, lets jump in. Firstly, we start out in 2017 right after the article about Strane is released. The thing the shocked me is that Vanessa is still in contact with Strane. That’s not a spoiler I promise. It is on the first page. They discuss how he is handling the allegations. He asks if she plans to tell and she says no.

Then it jumps back to 2000. We see Vanessa on her first day at Browick Boarding School where she meets Strane for the first time. He is a Harvard graduate and an English teacher. He grabs the attention of Vanessa, who loves to write.

The book continues to alternate between timelines. We see the aftermath first and then we get the story build up. Strane starts to flirt with Vanessa. However, he is subtle enough that she begins to wonder about his intentions. She begins to crave and seek out his attention. As time goes on and a relationship develops we see how manipulative Strane is. At one point, he tells Vanessa he doesn’t want to ruin her. He convinced her that if they got caught she would be expelled and that Child Protective Services would take her from her parents.

His manipulation is disgusting. I wanted to scream. From my perspective it was easy to see what he was doing, but Vanessa thought he worshiped her. He preyed on a lonely self-conscious girl. He told her so many times how he tried not to love her. Strane had her convinced that he was brave for loving her. She felt honored that he put his trust in her.

Eventually, the giddy excitement of the new relationship turns negative. Vanessa starts getting jealous of a female teacher. She is jealous to the point that she reads Strane’s e-mails. Even if you take away the underage aspect their relationship is still toxic and unhealthy. The manipulation and lying continues to show up even in 2017.

Final Thoughts

My Dark Vanessa is a dark read. It deals with topics that are hard to talk about. This could be triggering to certain people so please read triggering warnings before picking it up. This book is haunting and thought-provoking. I have never been more impressed by a debut novel. Kate Elizabeth Russell’s talent is astounding. I can’t wait to watch her career grow.

My Rating: 5/5

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Spring 2020 Anticipated Releases

Happy Spring! I am ready to get outside and see some sunshine. Here are my most anticipated spring releases.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

most anticipated spring releases

Synopsis:

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish–to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age–her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true–but his help may cost her everything.

Release Date: March 3

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House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

House of Earth and Blood|Sarah J. Maas most anticipated spring releases

Synopsis:

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life-working hard all day and partying all night-until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose-to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion-one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom-and the power of love.

Release Date: March 3

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Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis

most anticipated spring releases

Synopsis:

The world is not tame. Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof.

So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine.

Morning brings the realization that she’s alone–and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive with the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.

Release Date: March 3

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The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

The Boy from the Woods|Harlan Coben Most anticipated spring releases

Synopsis:

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

Release Date: March 17

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The Sisters Grimm by Menna Van Praag

The Sisters Grimm|Menna Van Praag
most anticipated spring releases

Synopsis:

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

Release Date: March 31

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The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni

The Ancestor|Danielle Trussoni
Most anticipated spring releases

Synopsis:

It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta “Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco” at her Hudson Valley, New York, home that claims she’s inherited a noble title, money, and a castle in Italy. While Bert is more than a little skeptical, the mystery of her aristocratic family’s past, and the chance to escape her stressful life for a luxury holiday in Italy, is too good to pass up.

At first, her inheritance seems like a dream come true: a champagne-drenched trip on a private jet to Turin, Italy; lawyers with lists of artwork and jewels bequeathed to Bert; a helicopter ride to an ancestral castle nestled in the Italian Alps below Mont Blanc; a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never knew existed; and a cellar of expensive vintage wine for Bert to drink.

But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.

Release Date: April 7

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The Only Good Indians by Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians|Stephen Graham Jones most anticipated spring releases

Synopsis:

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

Release Date: May 19

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) | Suzanne Collins most anticipated spring releases

Synopsis:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.

Release Date: May 2019

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That wraps up my most anticipate spring releases. What are you looking forward to this spring? Stay happy and safe! List your most anticipated spring releases in the comments!


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