Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May Reading: The Best Love Story Ever

Wow, I have somehow read 12 books since the last linkup and that time has included my birthday, barre instructor training and a housewarming party. I am shocked. If you get nothing from these reviews today except read Red, White and Royal Blue immediately, I'll be happy.

Also, feel free to follow along on Bookstagram where I post everything I'm reading in real-ish time with reviews :) All links are to Goodreads so you can read others' reviews and add to that ever growing TBR pile!

Verity // Colleen Hoover
Amazon Ebook 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller 
Challenge: N/A

I kept hearing about how twisted this book was and I just really needed to read it. I had a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and since this book is self published, you can only get it through Amazon but it was totally worth the read! Definitely dark and twisted and I stayed up way too late reading it! Highly recommend if you like thrillers.
The Evidence of the Affair // Taylor Jenkins Reid
Amazon Ebook
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Short Story 
Challenge: Popsugar - a book with no chapters/ unusual chapter headings/ unconventionally numbered chapters

I also kept hearing about this one and I just wasn't blown away? It's told solely as letters between two individuals who find out their significant others are having an affair with each other. It just didn't end up going the way I thought and we spent a lot of time in the weeds. That's the best way to put it so as not to spoil it! It's a super quick read, though, since it's a short story and is also on Kindle Unlimited!
The Proposal // Jasmine Guillory
Library Ebook 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Romance
Challenge: Popsugar - book with a two-word title (I had another book here that I'm still planning to read but it fit, so why not check it off?) 

I loved The Wedding Date so I had high hopes for this one, too! If you've read The Wedding Date, you'll definitely recognize Carlos in this book. I loved Carlos so I was happy to join him on his love journey, too. If you want to be totally surprised when reading The Wedding Date, read that one first, because this one isn't a sequel, but you do find out how the other ends. Her next book, The Wedding Party, comes out this summer and I'm sure it'll be great, too. These are such feel good books! 
Book of the Month Club 
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Thriller
Challenge: N/A

Not really my cup of tea. I waffled between a 2 and a 3 and ended up with a 3 star because there were some twists right at the end but overall, the book was slow. It's told in alternating points of view - which I do really enjoy, especially in thrillers - but you find out the "truth" pretty early in the book and the twist didn't do enough to save that, in my opinion.
Scribd Ebook and Library Book 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Nonfiction
Challenge: Erin's - book that was a Newberry Award winner (medal winner or honor book)

I ended up listening to most of this book via audiobook because I was short on time so maybe that was the reason I got a little lost on the names, but overall the story was heartbreaking. I am fascinated by WWII and Nazi Germany (I also HIGHLY recommend the Holocaust museum in DC) so this was heartbreaking to read about children who were used to carry out awful things for Hitler. 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Literary Fiction
Challenge: N/A

All of the cry face emojis for this book. I just cannot explain how great this book was. It tells the story of Annika and Jonathon who meet in college and then again 10 years later. The story alternates between them now in Chicago and meeting in college. Annika is on the spectrum but doesn't know or understand that so it's a brilliant story of her learning to thrive in life and also have this beautiful relationship with Jonathon. I cried a couple of times. Read it!
Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA
Challenge: N/A

I read To All the Boys I've Loved Before after watching the Netflix movie (twice...) and finally got to finish these because the hold was so long at the library! They're just so dang cute and I relate to Lara Jean a lot. I was very over the top romantic and day dreamy in high school. But, I didn't get the hot guy until college LOL.
Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA
Challenge: N/A

Again, so cute and adorable. I read the last one in less than two days. They're easy to read! They're also set in Charlottesville. And though they talked a lot about a SoulCycle that we for sure do not have, they did talk about my favorite bagel spot, Bodos so all is forgiven.
Book of the Month Club 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller(ish)
Challenge: N/A

I put thriller(ish) because I thought it was a full blown thriller, but it also ended up being a story of growing up after trauma, rebuilding relationships and moving on. Yes, there's the whodunnit aspect of the murder but I was surprised by how much I liked this book even though it didn't focus on the twisty, gory aspects!
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller
Challenge: N/A

I have read a few Karin Slaughter books (and I googled her and it seems like this really is her name?!) and enjoyed them. They are GORY though, so you've been warned. This one wasn't the worst of hers I've read but the serial killer's signature is rough. I really enjoyed this kick off to her Will Trent series and while reading it, I even went to a used book store and bought the next two in the series. I'm not sure if they need to be read in order, but I'm doing it. I'm also from Georgia and all her stories so far have been set there, so it's kind of cool.
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Mystery?

People on the internet love this book. I am on the fence. While I, again, thought it was more of a thriller, it was not. It's a story about a family and how they grow and relate to each other told in alternating perspectives and times. It switches between the daughter in law and mother in law from the moment they met, until the mother in law was possibly murdered. So yes, there's a mystery, but it focuses much more on relationships. Which is totally fine but I feel like there were so many "things" in this book (highlight if you don't care about seeing what they were) - ALS, infertility, refugees, money troubles, suicide, murder, infidelity and more. It was just a lot of "hot topic" issues thrown at one family that just seemed too far fetched for this type of story. 
NetGalley eARC 
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Romance 
Challenge: Booksparks SRC 2019

YAY FOR THIS BOOK! It's being published today and you absolutely must read it! I can't believe I'm rating a romance book 5 stars but here. we. are. This book has it all - politics, scandal, and most of all, a beautiful love story between the First Son of the United States (his mom is the president) and the Prince of England.

I have never read an LGBTQIA love story and I regret that choice immensely but I am trying hard to read more books and not just thrillers so this was high on my list and I'm so glad I was able to get it early! This book warmed my soul, made me laugh, cry and get chill bumps in the final chapters. I just... I want this to be the real America (it's set in the 2019/2020 election cycle) - so warm, welcoming, diverse and a freaking badass woman president who still has the same challenges of a mom! 

Ugh, just read this. Please. 

Currently Reading: 

Find Her // Lisa Gardner
The Women // S.E. Lynes (eARC) 

Currently Checked Out from the Library: 

Find Her // Lisa Gardner
The Other Woman // Sandie Jones 

May's Book Club: 

Educated // Tara Westover

As always, linking up with Jana and Steph!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

April Showers Bring May Birthdays

My fourth favorite month is here! I say fourth because I love October - December the most but May is my birthday month so I LOVE MAY! Maybe it's tied for favorite month?

Before I recap my April goals and share some for May, I wanted to share a few April highlights!

My mom visited Cville for the first time! Sadly the weather wasn't the best but she got to see a little bit of town and we took her to our favorite brewery.
Ellie turned 4! How is this real life?
My SIL came to visit and we had a nice Easter brunch at a new spot downtown. 
Christian's best friend visited from DC and we got to have lunch with his mom. 
Lots of trips to the Farmer's Market! 
I started a Bookstagram
Avengers: Endgame! And then I was even on my friend Maggie's podcast to talk about it. Check that out here.

So how did I do with my goals with everything going on and having ALL the visitors?

Read 6 books. Yes! I finished the tenth one last night before bed :)

Book my trip to Chicago. DONE! I am headed back to the Windy City on May 18 to see Katherine and I cannot wait. It will be my first trip not in the winter.
Image may contain: Leslie Dice and Katherine Meade Stephens, people smiling

Complete Erin's book challenge. DONE! Wow, I really squeaked by on this one and finished the last book via audiobook while working yesterday. 

No boxes left in the house. Hahahahaha. I crack me up. But we are hosting a housewarming in 11 days, so they have to be out/moved by then! Our basement is a disaster. 

Pick (and hopefully buy) outside furniture. Yes! Well, we have our rooftop furniture purchased and it has arrived! We can't decide exactly what we want on the deck off the kitchen. Probably something picnic table sized? Anyways, pictures to come on the rooftop very soon! 

Go to the Farmer's Market! Yes! I went 2 official times but strolled through another time. The market is right beside my barre studio, so it's easy to wind through. Unforunately, there isn't a lot of produce yet since it's still chilly but hopefully soon! 

3 new recipes. Maybe? I felt like I did, but I didn't keep track so I'm not sure. I know that I made a new banana bread recipe and a new gnocchi recipe but that's all I remember!

What's on the docket for May?

My birthday!!! I mean, of course I have to be excited about that - it's this Saturday :)
Barre teacher training. Yes, I'm just sneakily sliding this in here but I'm training to be a barre instructor this weekend! Happy birthday to me!
Housewarming party. 
Trip to Chicago! 
And some sort of plans that are still being determined for Memorial Day!

My goals this month are little smaller because I will be spending A LOT of time traveling, making plans and at the studio so wish me luck!

Read 6 books. 

Read all current ARCs on NetGalley. 

Host housewarming party. We are doing this the second weekend of May - I've already got a menu idea in my head, but we've got a few house things to do before then (boxes, hang pictures,  lay rugs, set up my office, etc.) so this is probably the biggest one to knock out.

Gain 75 more #bookstagram followers. There seems to be a certain number that gets you more ARCs and there's one book I'm really wanting early so I'd like to increase my followers in time for that!

Complete barre teacher training. 

What does your May look like? Lots of stuff or taking it easy?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April Reads

Somehow, even though we moved mid March, I still knocked out a slew of books. I didn't used to enjoy audiobooks, but the library here seems to have a longer waitlist on many of the books I want AND I drive a lot around central VA for work, so I have the time to mix in. I'm still really into my podcasts, but it's nice to have a good book, too. Since I'm doing audiobooks, I think that's why I've been able to keep my count up through the move!
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Adult Fiction 
Challenge: Erin's - Freebie and Popsugar - book author from Asia, Africa, or South America

This series was recommended so much over the last few years, that of course I caved last year and read the first two, but it took longer for the third to be available at the library and I ended up reading it as an ebook. Honestly, this was my least favorite of the three and I felt that there didn't need to be 3 books. They're meant to be "fluffy" but you just spend so much time dragging through designer labels that I skimmed a lot! 

Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: I thought it was a thriller but... nah. 
Challenge: Popsugar - book  with a plant in the title or on the cover

I mean... what was this book, even? I thought it was some sort of thriller but it was really just a really terrible, snooty narrator whining and then you're supposed to feel bad for her at a certain point, but I just couldn't. And there wasn't a "secret" or "reveal" like the synopsis made it sound like.

On The Come Up // Angie Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Genre: YA
Challenge: Popsugar - book published in 2019

Angie Thomas can do no wrong in my eyes. She's working on her 3rd and 4th books and I already can't wait. I read this and THUG from the library, but am considering buying because they're that good and I want to support Angie Thomas. This is not a sequel to THUG, but it does also take place in Garden Heights (as will her next book) so there are references to the story but you wouldn't have needed to read that first.

Beyond the Pill // Dr. Jolene Brighten
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Wellness
Challenge: None

Surprise! I'm officially off birth control. I've been really open about this in real life so why not on the internet, too? And no, we are not trying for kids, either. We are still rocking that 3-5 year plan. But, there are some things I've been dealing with that I think could be tied to hormonal birth control and I've been on it for a decade which is a really long time to be pumping synthetic shit into your body.

I don't even like to take Advil when I can stand it, so why have I been taking BC for so long? I may find that this doesn't work for me, but I want to at least try going off it so wish me luck as my body tries to figure out WTF is going on.

I picked up this book for some guidance and I will say she is BIG on supplements and I know I won't be doing that much. But, she has some great information around what BC does to our bodies (she is not anti birth control, though, she does give advice on  how to safely stay on it if that's what works for you!) and how to combat the side effects coming off and how to balance out the issues that so many people take it for (acne, cramps, irregularity, etc.).

An Anonymous Girl // Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Challenge: Popsugar - book by two female authors 

You know, I had really high hopes for this book, but it didn't quite live up to them. Maybe it was because the book was so hyped and I should have managed expectations, but it just wasn't as "thriller-y" as I thought it was. Maybe I need to manage expectations about all thrillers? Worth the read, but it won't blow you away with twists.

The Sun is Also a Star // Nicola Yoon
Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA
Challenge: Popsugar - book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in title

I listened to this on audiobook and it was SO GOOD. I mean, what a story. If you haven't heard of this book, it takes place all in one day. Daniel is headed to Yale for his admission interview and Natasha's family is being deported that night at 8 pm. They meet and have a very special day and it just gave me all the chills, cries, laughs, and just all the emotions.

Where the Crawdads Sing // Delia Owens 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Challenge: Popsugar - book recommended by a celebrity you admire; March Book Club 

Okay, I did give this four stars upon finishing, but I keep waffling on maybe its 3 or 3.5? Maybe I let the opinions of my book club sway me a bit. I thought the story was so powerful and I definitely felt for the main character in this book so I understand why it is hyped so much. But, my one issue (and the book club's too) is that it gets really bogged down in descriptions of things that aren't fully relevant. It's a slow start but definitely worth the read, too!

The Silent Patient // Alex Michaelides
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Challenge: None

I learned about this book through Book of the Month Club (aff) and though I'm glad I didn't buy it, I am glad I got it through the library but it was good!  I saw some reviews saying the twist was obvious, but not for this girl. I reread it like 3 times and said "WHAT" out loud much to my sleeping husband's dismay. The only reason it didn't have a 4 star from me is that it was a little slow to get going in my opinion.

Rating: 4/5
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Challenge: None - it fits a few, but I've already read books for those categories!

I just finished this Sunday night and oh my gosh, it's so good. If you've read American Marriage, you may spot some similarities, but this one does have a little bit better ending. It's focused on a family and the challenges they go through when both parents are put in jail. I can't say much more because it will spoil it. But, please read this! Also another find from Book of the Month (aff).

Currently Reading: 
The Killer in Me // Olivia Kiernan (ARC from FirsttoRead)
My Ex-Best Friend's Wedding // Wendy Wax (ARC from FirsttoRead)
Queenie // Candice Carty-Williams

Currently Checked Out from the Library: 
Queenie // Candice Carty-Williams
Hitler Youth // Susan Campbell Bartolli

April's Book Club: 
One Day in December // Josie Silver
* Yes, I've already read this but I wanted them to read it so badly and my TBR list is long enough!

As always, linking up with Jana and Steph!

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