Book Reviews · The Classics Club

Classics Club Challenge: Persuasion by Jane Austen

31298657Summary: Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.


I loved this book.  I am a converted Austen fan and I think Persuasion is one of my favorites.  Anne is such a great character.  She is sweet, smart, and reasonable, and she deals with her crazy family with grace.  Her family is hilariously vain and annoying and I couldn’t help but laugh with them.  Austen is unparalleled for me in her sarcastic observations about society, and this book showcases them greatly in its supporting characters.  Anne’s relationship with Captain Wentworth is slow-burning and I loved their interactions and the build-up of their romance.  The story was short and sweet but so fully fleshed out and I was deeply invested in the characters.  The more Austen I read, the more I can’t decide which is my favorite.  I think this one is up there.

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Tags

Identity Crisis Tag

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I am obsessed with taking quizzes.  My roommates and I sit in our living room and take quizzes together almost every day– they’re very important to us.  When I saw the Identity Crisis Tag over at one of my favorite book bloggers, The Orangutan Librarian, I knew I had to do it.


THE RULES ARE:

  1. Take all the quizzes down below and record your answers.
  2. NO CHEATING. You get one shot to take each quiz.
  3. Give credit to the creator Loretta @ The Laughing Listener or tag her on twitter @LaughnListener so she can see everyone’s answers!!
  4. Tag some friends to spread the fun!

*I only did the quizzes for the series that I’ve read just in case the others came with spoilers 🙂 The links to the quizzes are on the book titles.*


Red Queen

I GOT: Killorn

Did you forget about Kilorn? Well you shouldn’t have! He may not be the center of attention but he has stuck by Mare since day one and didn’t even hesitate to join the Scarlet Guard. Just like Kilorn, your loyalty and bravery are your most admirable qualities. Rise, Red as the Dawn!

This one surprised me!  I always liked Killorn though so I’m not mad about this one.  Loyal and brave? Not bad things to be at all.


Throne of Glass

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I GOT: Rowan and Asterin

You may come off as stand-offish at first, but once a new friend earns your loyalty, they have it for life. Not without good reason. You’ve been through your fair share of struggles and are careful to protect yourself from more.

I love both of these characters so I’m not mad about this one either.  I don’t necessarily agree with the result’s description though.


Hunger Games

I GOT: Katniss

You’re smart, talented, and fiercely independent. You may not mean to but everyone looks up to you. Not only have you got a fiery spirit but you have a big heart — your friends and family mean the world to you. Keep on being you.

Um. Yeah, I’ll take it.


Harry Potter

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I GOT: Fred Weasley

You’re the life of the party! You never take things too seriously and can diffuse tense situations with your sense of humor. You might not be top of your class, but your creativity and wit are the reasons for your success.

MY FAVORITE CHARACTER!! I wish I was as funny as the Weasley twins!


A Court of Thorns and Roses

I GOT: Feyre

A badass huntress in a small, grumpy package, you’re navigating your swift change from weak mortal to powerful High Fae. You’re slow to trust and even slower to forgive, but could your soulmate be waiting in the shadows if you’d risk letting your guard down?

Hmmm… I don’t really agree with this one at all for myself, but I’ll take it.


Twilight

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I GOT: Jessica Stanley

The friend that everyone needs in their life, you must be Jessica! Sure, humans might not get to have as much fun as vampires, but you’ll show ’em how it’s done. You’re ever so curious, ever so friendly, and a little bit crazy — who wouldn’t want you as a BFF?

Ok, this one is a little boring but I guess it could be worse?


The Cruel Prince

I GOT: Taryn

People may think you’re shy but you have secrets of your own. You have your own desires and will go after them, no matter what it takes.

I would agree with this one for sure.  She’s one of my favorite characters and I feel like I related to her while reading.


This was so much fun and I tag Flavia the Bibliophile, The Coycaterpiller Reads, and anyone who loves quizzes and books as much as I do!

Book Reviews

BOOK HANGOVER: American Royals by Katharine McGee

40102928Summary: What if America had a royal family?

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.



I am a HUGE Katharine McGee fan, and American Royals has been my most anticipated release of the year.  Boy, it did NOT disappoint.  This book was amazing.  The concept was so genius and the execution was superb.  The setting was beautifully created with a great mix of familiar and brand new aspects of our modern world.  I loved how America having a monarchy instead of a democracy affected the rest of the world’s history as well as its own.  There were so many clever bits here to show us the development of the world and I was sincerely impressed by the thought and detail of this reimagining.  As we’ve come to expect from Katharine McGee, the story is told from multiple POV’s and they work together seamlessly to create a deliciously dramatic plot that I could not get enough of.  I loved every single one of these characters, from the prim and perfect future Queen Beatrice to the conniving social climber Daphne.  They were all so well crafted and real and I am dying to find out what is going to happen to them.  This book has easily been one of my favorite reads of the year and I very eagerly and anxiously await book two!

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Book Hangover (1)

Monthly Wrap-Ups

September 2019 Wrap-Up

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September was a wacky month for me.  Since I finished Cats, I have spent this month readjusting to life in NYC and taking the time to recuperate from my injury.  I started getting back to auditioning, taking dance class, and catching up with all the friends that I have missed so much since I’ve been away.  I have also been able to read a ton (thank you subway) which has been really great!  I have a lot of fun things planned in the next coming months and I am so excited to see where life is going in this new chapter! 🙂

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Books Read:

The Exchange by M.F. Lorson ★★

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy ★★★

Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake ★★★★★

American Royals ★★★★★– BOOK HANGOVER

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston ★★★★★

Persuasion by Jane Austen ★★★★★

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

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Currently Reading:


Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 48 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 7 of 50 (YAY!! I FINALLY DID ONE!!!)


September Reviews

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams • The Exchange by M.F. Lorson • The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy •

September Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Liked That Are Outside My Comfort Zone • Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #15 • Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’m Avoiding On My TBR • The I Dare You Tag • Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR •


Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

42613944._SY475_Summary: In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  Thank you to Blink for giving me the opportunity!* 

Release Date: October 1st, 2019


I cannot get over how cool and unique the concept for this book was.  The power to see, take and transport someone else’s memories, an ability which only some people have, was fascinating.  What was even more fascinating was the use of those memories after they were taken from their owners, like the rich taking happy memories to feel those good emotions, absorbing the skills someone spent years perfecting or using painful memories as a means of torture.  The whole idea really brings to mind how important our memories are to who we become as people.  The system of magic was handled so well and played a huge part in the world-building.  I loved Etta, and the more we learned about her backstory the more I loved her.  We meet her at such an interesting point in her life, and it was interesting to watch her try to pick up the pieces of her mistakes and deal with her grief.  The plot in the first half of the book was entirely gripping and I couldn’t put it down.  The pacing of all the little reveals about the past and its ripples were incredibly well done.  There was a great and unexpected twist in the middle of the book but after that the action kind of lost its luster.  It felt rushed through and they had very little obstacles until the ending.  Her relationship with her love interest was sweet and a bit of a slow burn, but I wish they would have had more heat and tension between them so we could really feel the build-up.  The ending was was smart, but I wish it would have been a tad bit clearer so I could have fully embraced the effects of its cleverness.  I’m torn with what to rate this book because I am still completely awed by the concept and the exciting plot of the first half, but in the end, I was left a bit underwhelmed.  Because of that, I have to give it a high 3 stars.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

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Hi everyone! I’m back from a brief and unplanned hiatus as I had some technical difficulties with my computer last week.  Here we are with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl, Books On My Fall TBRI have a good mix of new releases and backlist books that I want to get through this fall, and I am so excited for the weather to cool down so I can snuggle in a big cozy sweater with my fall reads! 

New Releases

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

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The Wickerlight by Mary Watson

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The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

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The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

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Backlist Books

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

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Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Insatiable by Meg Cabot

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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Tags

The I Dare You Tag

a baby shower for amelia

Hi fellow bookworms! I found this tag over at Howling Libraries.  Destiny tagged everyone, so I considered myself tagged because this looked like a fun one!

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Probably one of my Harry Potter books- I’m not entirely positive though.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

My current read is The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy, my last read was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, and my next read will be Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake!

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

I wouldn’t say hated, but I guess A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.  On paper I should have loved it, but it just didn’t hit the mark for me.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  I read about a quarter of it and keep telling myself I’ll go back, but in all honesty, I probably won’t.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

Whatever I have left unread.

6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?

Wait till the end!!

7. Acknowledgments: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

I’ve actually gotten really into reading the acknowledgments lately.  I almost never finish a book without reading them now.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

A random Hogwarts student.  For sure.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (place, time, person?)

The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen brings back extremely vivid memories of not being able to put it down, and literally bringing it with me backstage at my dance recital to continue reading until the last possible moment before I had to go onstage.  Probably my first serious time “reading in the wings.”

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Ummmm.. I can’t really think of any that interesting.  I did find a bunch of vintage Nancy Drew books at an antique store while doing a show in Maine!

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

I love giving book presents!

12. Which book has been with you most places?

Harry Potter for sure.  Especially now that I have the whole series on my Kindle.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Nope. To be fair, I didn’t re-read any of them so who’s to say?

14. Used or brand new?

Both.  I love both for different reasons.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

All of them.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Yes! I liked The Help better as a film.  The acting is just so spectacular and I thought the adaptation was so well done.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I have a couple friends who are usually pretty spot on with what I’ll like.  I’m looking at you Kaley, Joey, and Allison!

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.  Stunning book.

I am going to follow in Destiny’s footsteps and tag everyone! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Liked That Are Outside My Comfort Zone

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Happy Tuesday everybody! This week’s theme, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl, is Books I Liked That Are Outside My Comfort Zone.  This one was hard for me because I am really bad at staying in my comfort bubble and really don’t branch out much- but I think I managed to find some good ones for today.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

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This book is incredible and one of the most beautifully written stories I have ever read, but it is DEFINITELY outside my bookish comfort zone.  I read very little of this genre and the location and plot are not something I would usually gravitate to.


The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

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While the genre of this book is right up my alley, the setting and atmosphere is not something I am usually drawn to, and now that I’ve read this book, I think I will be.


Dancer by Colum McCann

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I had never read a fictionalized biography before, and this one about Rudolph Nureyev was absolutely fascinating and like nothing I had ever read stylistically.


The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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I don’t usually love reading about World War II.  It makes me depressed and anxious so I generally am not drawn to them.  However; since The Nightingale was written by one of my favorite authors, I picked it up and loved it.  It wrecked me, but I loved it.


Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kafuman

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I don’t love Sci-Fi as a genre in general, but THIS SERIES.  I was completely captivated and enthralled and could not stop reading from the minute I opened the first book.  Not to mention the formatting is also different from anything I normally read.


Starswept by Mary Fan

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Another Sci-Fi book that defied my expectations.  I really loved the way the world worked in this book.


Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

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I VERY rarely read any non-fiction, but I gave this book a go on a recommendation from a friend and it is shamelessly one of my favorite books of all time.


The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

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Mysteries are not something I gravitate towards, but this one captured me with its setting (Hello, Wisconsin!) and a mix of family dysfunction.  I could not stop turning the pages at the end to find out the whole story.


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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For some reason, I never want to read from the “Women’s Fiction” genre, but this story was really beautifully done and explored some really tough subjects.


Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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Classics used to be (and still are sometimes) intimidating to me, but this book made me realize that I could enjoy them and now I can say that classics are no longer completely out of my comfort zone.


What books were out of your comfort zone that you ended up loving? Do you think it is important to break from our habits and try new books and styles? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Tags

The Anticipated Releases Book Tag

a baby shower for amelia

Hey lovely readers! I’m coming at you today from the lovely Hershey, Pensylvania and bringing you a fun book tag that I found over at My World of Books by Sahi and it looked like a lot of fun- especially since September is bringing some of my most anticipated releases of the year!

RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer all the questions down below
  • Pingback to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  • Nominate 5+ bloggers to do this tag

1. YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE OF THE YEAR

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I am dying for this series finale.  I have been obsessed with this series since the beginning and I cannot wait to see how it all ends!

2. A BOOK YOU’RE NOT ANTICIPATING

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I loved The Handmaid’s Tale, but I don’t know if I need the sequel right now.  I’m still watching the TV show, and for now, that is enough for me.

3. MOST UNDERHYPED ANTICIPATED RELEASE

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This book sounds so cool, and I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen many people talking about it.

4. A BOOK YOU’VE BEEN WAITING ON FOREVER!

DOORS OF STONE BY PATRICK ROTHFUSS.  IT’S NEVER HAPPENING.

5. A BOOK YOU’RE ANTICIPATING THAT’S OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

…. I don’t really have any. I usually tend to stay inside my comfort zone with books because I don’t want to waste time with something I won’t love.  I should try to do it more often though.

6. YOUR TOP 3 “CAN’T-WAIT” BOOKS OF THE YEAR

AND THEY’RE ALL COMING OUT SO SOON!!!

7. TOP 5 MOST ANTICIPATED BACKLIST BOOKS ON YOUR TBR

I tag DMCIREADS, The Anatomy of a Bookworm, Pam Who Cried Books, Amy’s Bookish Life,  and Book Bosomed Blonde.

 

Discussion Posts

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #14

I joined Goodreads a few years ago, way before I started blogging, so my profile is kind of a mess.  I really want to clean it up so I can make better use of it.  I thought what a better way to do that than to join the Down the TBR Hole meme started by Lia @Lost In a Story! I am going to do it once a month instead of weekly, and hopefully make my Goodreads a pleasant place to be again.

Here is how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books

Decide: keep it or should it go?


The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

11784464In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.

But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weekly trips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.

My Thoughts: This book has some major cred, but for some reason, the premise just doesn’t call to me.  VERDICT: TOSS


Loser/Queen by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Cammy Hall is what anyone would describe as a loser. She lives with her grandparents 7539827and has adopted their way of life right down to the comfortable shoes and early bedtime. And can she help it that she actually likes to knit?

At school, her skills with knitting needles and some yarn go completely unappreciated: people like Bekka Bell reign while Cammy and her best friend, the fearless Danish exchange student Gerdi, watch from the sidelines. Cammy’s used to being an outsider; after years of humiliating moments, her goal is simply to fly under the radar. Then she suddenly starts receiving mysterious text messages that lead her right to all the embarrassing secrets about the most popular kids in school. Cammy never expected to be able to climb up the high school food chain, and the agenda of the texter may be questionable but how can she possibly give up the chance to be Queen?

My Thoughts:  This book just seems kinda meh to me.  VERDICT: TOSS


666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce

8479792._SY475_What if your mother-in-law turned out to be an evil, cold-blooded witch . . . literally?

Ever since fabulously wealthy Malcolm Doran walked into her life and swept her off her feet, fledgling architect Jane Boyle has been living a fairy tale. When he proposes with a stunning diamond to seal the deal, Jane can’t believe her incredible luck and decides to leave her Paris-based job to make a new start with Malcolm in New York.

But when Malcolm introduces Jane to the esteemed Doran clan, one of Manhattan’s most feared and revered families, Jane’s fairy tale takes a darker turn. Soon everything she thought she knew about the world—and herself—is upended. Now Jane must struggle with newfound magical abilities and the threat of those who will stop at nothing to get them.

My Thoughts: This one is tricky.  On the one hand, it sounds like it should be everything I could want in a novel, but on the other hand, it has a TON of mixed reviews- a lot of them skewing to the negative… It definitely won’t be high up on my list but maybe if I randomly come across it at the library…. VERDICT: KEEP (for now)


From High Heels to Handcuffs by Helen Goltz10463489

What makes a girl throw away a six-figure salary and a marketing career to enter thePolice Service? A) A mid-life crisis? B) Trying to escape a failing marriage? C) The search to reignite her passion for life? D) All of the above?For the author, it was ‘D’, all of the above. Nearing forty, childless, tired of her career and with the new-found discovery that her husband was cheating, the time had come to make some tough decisions. The author begins a journey to reignite her passion for life.From High Heels to Handcuffs is for anybody who has ever lost their footing in this world and wondered, ‘can I start again?’

My Thoughts: Honestly not quite sure how this made it onto my TBR in the first place…. VERDICT: TOSS


These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

9166559When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn–shy, quiet Brynn–who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her. But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister. Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

My Thoughts: I’m not the biggest thriller fan in general, and this one has really mixed and polarizing reviews.  I think I have more important books to get to, and if I’m going to read a thriller I think there are better options. VERDICT: TOSS


Let me know what you think of my decisions in the comments! If you have read any of these, I’d love to hear your opinions on them! ❤ Happy reading friends!