3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, U-V-W

Review: The Sixes by Kate White

The Sixes
by Kate White

The Sixes

 

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 376

Read: Aug 18 – 20, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap
Blurb: Phoebe Hall’s Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.

But behind the campus’s quiet cafes and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes. To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues – a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.

As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school’s handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she’s in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.

Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she’s close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered … and starting over may be a crime punishable by death.


Review: I excitedly ordered this one off of Paperbackswap a few years ago after reading some blog reviews of it. It sounded so creepy and enjoyable, and the reviews were all pretty positive. And then I let it sit on my shelves.

I decided that it was finally time to get it off my shelf, so I picked this one up hoping for a deliciously creepy read. However, this book fell slightly short of that for me. I found this one to be extremely readable and enjoyable, but the ending was a disappointment. Throughout the entire book I was running through different scenarios, imagining certain characters as the bad guy … and when the end was finally revealed, the bad guy was someone who was not only not even on my radar, but someone who I felt was a bit of a stretch to make the bad guy. It just didn’t fit with the vibe of the entire book. It didn’t work for me.

So overall a decent book with a let down of an ending … an “eh” read for sure.

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3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Promised Land by Robert B. Parker

Promised Land
by Robert B. Parker

Promised Land

 

Copyright: 1976

Pages: 218

Read: August 12 – 17, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: The man wore a leisure suit. His daughter wore a lime-green bikini.

And the woman was gone: a wife and mother who had suddenly left everything behind.

Spenser’s job was to find her. But chasing a runaway Hyannis housewife takes Spenser straight up against the most dangerous man he’s ever met: an enforcer who calls himself Hawk …


Review: This is the fourth book in the Spenser series. I read books 2 and 3 last year and had ordered this one after liking those two. And then I let it sit on my shelf. So I was excited to get around to it again.

For the most part, this was a good book. There were times that I wasn’t really all that interested in the storyline, but that was mainly the last half of the book. It was after Spenser found the wife and she managed to get herself into trouble of her own. Spenser took the lead to get her out of it, but I just didn’t care for the direction it went. I found it to be a little unbelievable if you want the truth.

But it was still an ok book. Okay enough for me to order the next two books in the series. So far these books have been quick little reads that keep my attention well enough. Just some escapism reading with this book … but sometimes that’s just what I need.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, August 27, 2018

Mailbox Mondays

This week I received two books that I ordered from Paperbackswap:

The Judas Goat
Spenser is heading for London – to track down a bunch of bombers who’d blown his client’s wife and kids away.

The plan: get one of the terrorists to play Judas Goat – to lead him to the others. Trouble is, he hadn’t counted on her being very blond, very beautiful, and very, very dangerous.

 

 

Looking for Rachel Wallace
Rachel Wallace was a woman who wrote and spoke her mind. She made a lot of enemies – enemies who threatened her life.

Spenser was a tough guy with a macho code of honor, hired to protect a woman who thought that code was obsolete.

Privately, they would never see eye to eye. That’s why she fired him. But when Rachel vanished, Spenser would rattle skeletons in blue-blooded family closets, tangle with the Klan, and fight for her right to be exactly what she was. He was ready to lay his life on the line to find Rachel Wallace.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 306

Read: Aug 8 – 11, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young business executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are suddenly ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined when, while visiting Roy’s parents in their small Louisiana town, Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years in prison for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.

Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend and Roy’s best man at her wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. When, after five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together, Celestial is faced with a soul-wrenching decision: whether to let go or to try to rebuild a marriage that has lost its underpinnings.

This stirring love story is an insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward – with hope and pain – into the future.


Review: Ok, so this book originally caught my attention when it was a Book of the Month Club selection back in February. I was a little hesitant on it simply because it’s outside my wheelhouse, but it sounded super interesting. I ultimately passed on it. But it kept creeping up everywhere! And it still sounded interesting. And then Modern Mrs. Darcy chose it as a book for her 2018 Summer Reading Guide. I couldn’t escape it … I knew I was going to have to read it. I just lucked out that my library had a copy of it!

And I’m really glad that my library had a copy of it. Because I would have been disappointed to spend my money on a hardcover copy of this. It wasn’t that it was necessarily a bad book … it just wasn’t what I was expecting at all.

I really detested Celestial’s character. I did not like who she was as a person or a wife. It just wasn’t becoming of her to behave in the manner she did. She was a married woman basically trying to pretend she wasn’t.

I’ve re-written my thoughts a million times and I still can’t get them right. It was definitely written differently than I had anticipated. I think I was expecting it to be more about Roy’s trial whereas it’s more about relationships between people. So while not bad, just not what I was looking for. It was easily readable, but I never liked the characters, other than Big Roy and Olive.

Just an ok book for me … but I can see why it’s made such a splash since its release.

 

 

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, S

Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Last Time I Lied
by Riley Sager

The Last Time I Lied

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 370

Read: Aug 4 – 6, 2018

Rating: 5/5

Source: Book of the Month Club

 

 

 
Blurb: Two truths and a lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she – or anyone – saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips. 

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings – massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees.

Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager but soon discovers a security camera – the only one on the property – pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to her friends, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.


Review: So earlier this year I read and absolutely LOVED Riley Sager’s first book, Final Girls. So when I saw he had another book coming out this year I immediately put it on my radar. I was over the moon when I saw that Book of the Month Club had chosen it for a July selection. I can’t tell you how fast I clicked that “select” button on it! I knew I didn’t want it to linger for too long … but I was also a little nervous about the sophomore slump happening. So I decided I would take it with me on our quick trip out to Vegas. I read the first 80 pages on the plane ride before I had even blinked. It immediately caught and kept my attention!

I honestly have not been this excited for a new book release in a very long time. And I’m ecstatic to say that it definitely did not disappoint! I believe my exact words when I finally finished this book (after staying up entirely too late to finish those last 75 pages because I simply could not put it down until the next day…) was “Holy. Shit.” I mean there’s a twist in those last few pages that I never in my wildest dreams could have ever dreamed up!

I loved the setting of this book – Camp Nightingale. It reminded me of my own memories of a week at Girl Scout Camp. I LOVED how Emma was actually a “final girl” (if you read Final Girls, you’ll understand this!) The pacing was great. The characters were all well-developed and interesting in their own right. It was just a super thrilling, wonderful book! A roller coaster ride that never seemed to let up! I LOVED IT.

I have to say that Mr. Sager may only be two books in, but he has officially topped my “auto-buy, no questions asked” list.

Don’t wait … read this book!

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, August 21, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I have had my eye on since it was featured as a BOTM selection back in February. I was hesitant to pick it as my selection so I ultimately passed on it, but I kept it in the back of my mind. Over the months I kept seeing it and was still interested – but not enough to want to purchase it. So when I saw it available at my library I figured it was as good a time as any to give it a shot.

An American Marriage.jpg

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who leave home, and those who don’t. I’m a proud member of the first category. My wife, Celestial, used to say that I’m a country boy at the core, but I never cared for that designation. For one, I’m not from the country per se. Eloe, Louisiana, is a small town. When you hear “country,” you think raising crops, baling hay, and milking cows. Never in my life have I picked a single cotton ball, although my daddy did. I have never touched a horse, goat, or pig, nor have I any desire to. Celestial used to laugh, clarifying that she’s not saying I’m a farmer, just country. She is from Atlanta, and there was a case to be made that she is country, too. But let her tell it, she’s a “southern woman,” not to be confused with a “southern belle.” For some reason”Georgia peach” is all right with her, and it’s all right with me, so there you have it.

For me the intro was wordy, but interesting. I sure do hope you come back next week to see my review on this one!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, August 20, 2018

Mailbox Mondays

This week I received a book I’ve accepted for a book tour in October:

The Stranger GameRebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the stranger game, a viral sensation in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. Curious about this popular new obsession and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may lead her further and further from the life she once lived.

A thought-provoking, haunting novel, The Stranger Game unearths the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us in the physical and digital world, and where the boundaries blur between them.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evenlyn Hugo

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 388

Read: July 30 – August 3, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Book of the Month Club

 

Blurb: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? 

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump-start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious Manhattan apartment, Monique listens in fascination as Evelyn tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s – and, of course, the seven husbands along the way – Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear there her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.


Review: What. A. Book. And not necessarily something that is my normal reading, but wow … was it a fun, juicy read! I’m definitely kicking myself for letting it sit on my shelf for the past year!

I found this book to be intriguing from the beginning. We see Monique meet Evelyn and it’s painfully obvious that something big is going to eventually be revealed. And it’s not going to be something easy to accept, either.

I have no idea that in less than a week, Evelyn Hugo will finish her story, and I’ll find out what this has all been about, and I will hate her so much that I’ll be truly afraid I might kill her.” pg. 224

I had a lot of fun reading this one. Throughout reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the marriages and various relationships mentioned didn’t have some bit of historical truth to them. It was interesting to imagine comparing Evelyn to some of the most famous actresses of the 1950-1960s. I can’t help but think there was some serious inspiration there!

Overall, a good book. I think a lot of different readers will find this one appealing. It’s a historical fiction with a little chick-lit/romance flair. As primarily a thriller/mystery reader, I was quite intrigued throughout the entire book and couldn’t wait to see how Evelyn would wrap this all up. It was a good fun romp through some of Hollywood’s golden years!

Definitely recommended!

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, August 14, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I was really looking forward to! It was one of my July BOTM selections. I had read and LOVED Final Girls earlier this year and was eagerly anticipating this one coming out, so I was absolutely thrilled to see that it was a BOTM selection!

The Last Time I Lied

This is how it begins.

You wake to sunlight whispering through the trees just outside the window. It’s a faint light, weak and gray at the edges. Dawn still shedding the skin of night. Yet it’s bright enough to make you roll over and face the wall, the mattress creaking beneath you. Within that roll is a moment of disorientation, a split second when you don’t know where you are. It happens sometimes after a deep, dreamless slumber. A temporary amnesia. You see the fine grains of the pine-plank wall, smell the traces of campfire smoke in your hair, and know exactly where you are.

Camp Nightingale.

I took this book on my plane ride to Vegas and I was immediately hooked! I’m now about 3/4 of the way through and I can’t wait to get to the ending to see what happened! Look for my review of this one next week!

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, S

Review: I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky
by Marisa de los Santos

I'll Be Your Blue Sky

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 309

Read: July 19 – 24, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: Clare Hobbes is tying the knot with a bona fide catch: a handsome, smart, hardworking lawyer who adores her. Zach makes a perfect egg over easy, refuses to go anywhere without her, reads the same books she does, and tells her he will never have a happy day for the rest of his life if they aren’t together. So why is she so jittery? Is it just prewedding nerves? She and Zach met a year ago, and since the moment he popped the question, her life has been like one long, breathless fall. How, Clare wonders, did she get here?

On the morning of the ceremony, the bride-to-be meets a woman named Edith Herron. During the course of their spontaneous yet profound conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she longs to do: follow her heart. Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died, and that the elderly woman has given her another unexpected gift – the space to discover what she truly wants – an old house along the Delaware shore.

Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay, Blue Sky House once opened its doors to seaside vacationers. Though the rambling home has been empty for years, Clare instantly feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by her and her long-dead husband, Joseph. While exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman – and Blue Sky House no ordinary place.

With the help of her mother, Viviana; her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown; and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House – a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she gradually peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare uncovers a tale of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, what she wants, and who she truly loves.

Shifting between the 1950s and the present day and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos – an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and reminds us that in our darkest times, the people dearest to us are the light that illuminates our lives.


Review: This is the August selection in the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. Once again this is a book that I would never have picked up on my own. In fact, I had never even heard of Marisa de los Santos before this book was announced as August’s read. However, I was willing to give it a go (MMD hasn’t let me down yet…) and was thrilled to be able to get it through my local library.

I was not expecting to be so swept up in this story! It was the perfect blend of present day and flashbacks – a structure that doesn’t always work for me. I do want to say that this is technically the conclusion of a trilogy. That being said, I found it to read quite well as a standalone. I had no trouble at all falling in with all of the characters, and if I had to guess the only thing that I would have “missed” is how Clare and Zach got together to begin with. But the way this book is set up, it worked well enough to already be at the wedding without much background of the courtship.

I feel like Marisa de los Santos is an extremely gifted author. She definitely has a beautiful way of words. That said, I will say that the only thing keeping this book from having a 5 star rating from me was the stretch that it sometimes took. It’s hard to explain this without giving away the whole book, but basically the way the characters were all connected in the end was a little far-fetched to me. It was almost too cookie cutter, happily ever after for my tastes. I had to really push down the “yeah, right ::eyeroll::” feelings at the very end. I guess I just prefer things to be a little messier than this one ended up being. That one little criticism is really all I have for the entire book though.

If you want a happy, feel-good story this will definitely fit the bill for you. It was fun to work out all the questions that Clare was left with in the Blue Sky House. I definitely enjoyed it and will be looking forward to exploring more of Marisa de los Santos’ works in the future!