Saturday, May 2, 2020

Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2020

Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2020

What I Read….
·         The Other Woman: This was my book clubs April pick as I had heard so many good things about it. However, this book was infuriating. It reminded me of a poorly executed reality TV show, and it was utterly boring. I didn’t like Emily one bit. I thought she was needy, weak and mute. She just needed to shut it, it was quite annoying and having to read so many pages were she just didn’t stop was a waste of time. I wish I would’ve read more reviews on this book prior to making it a book selection for our book club. Giving it 3 stars was generous. I gave The Other Woman 3 stars
·         You Were There Too:  I feel torn. I enjoyed you were there too with the emotional connection of vivid dreams of miscarriage and Colleen did a wonderful job at describing this for one who hasn’t experienced it. However, I felt that constantly talking about the clothing and other personal items of herself and her friends was a little much. We get it, you have a lot of money. Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I gave You Were There Too 4 Stars
·         I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter:   Let me just say right away that I cried while reading this one. It was engaging and the characters were brought to life throughout the book. I felt that Erika did a wonderful job at immersing you in the Mexican culture and I really loved that the Spanish words were used as well. It made the book even better. I gave I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter 4 Stars

·         Midwives:  Bohjalian is such an amazing writer and Midwives is one magnificent piece of work. For being a male that was able to capture an excellent part of femininity. I always enjoy a medical fiction book, and this didn’t disappointment in that part either. However, questions have been raised on the training of midwives and whether one should receive care from one or a doctor in a hospital setting. That is a whole other discussion for another day though. Midwives will be a re-read for me. I gave Midwives 4 stars
·         The Little Paris Bookshop:  I’m sad about this one. Books, food, another country – I mean it’s France! Plus, a bookstore and a book club. Everything that I love and the reason I selected this book. The writing felt forced and it needed some editing in my opinion. The book was quite predictable, and I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I was going too. I gave The Little Paris Bookshop 2 stars
·         Beneath the Sugar Sky:  Breathtaking. I loved how McGuire can bring in all different backgrounds and make it work. I liked that serious topics were touched on and McGuire did it in a respectable way. Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third book in the Wayward Children Series. However, you can read this as a stand-alone or read them in any order. I gave Beneath the Sugar Sky 4 stars

·         Sunset Beach: MKA has done it again with this entertaining beach read! This one has a little bit of mystery with some family drama and of course the beach. This helped me get over my reading slump. I gave Sunset Beach 4 stars
·         The Ruby of the Sea: THIS BOOK HAD IT ALL!!! Romance, family, drama and it even happened to touch on mental illness. The story is told from the point of view of three sisters in a gorgeous Key West, Florida. It’s a beautifully written story that had my full attention from the very beginning. I loved how vibrant the descriptions of the settings and characters were and it felt like I was transported there. I felt every painfully happy moment as if I was there. I gave The Ruby of the Sea 4 Stars
·         UNTAMED: I felt that there was a lot of overcompensation like the author brags about having to figure out how hard life really can be and how to overcome it. It would’ve been nice to hear how she felt while going through these life experiences instead of judging others along the way. I gave UNTAMED 2 Stars

·         The Sun Down Motel: I didn’t find this creepy or supernatural. I felt that the characters bounced back and forth and just didn’t make a whole lot of sense. There were two different endings given for the one main character. Yes, there were several unexpected plot “twists”, but it wasn’t “spine chilling” or “spooky”. I gave Sun Down 2 stars
·         That birthday in Barbados: I LOVED this book! This was probably my favorite read for April. I’ve visited Barbados once and I fell in love with the very short time that I was there, and I do need to go back. I needed a light romance beach read and this didn’t disappointment. I gave that birthday in Barbados 5 stars
·         The Guest List:   I heard a lot of good things about this one as well. The first chapter or two was good but after that each chapter was written from a different guest’s point of view. It jumped all over the place and I felt like chapters were forgotten or just dropped. There was way too many points of views and it was just messy and definitely a wedding from hell. I gave The Guest List 3 stars


·         More than Bones: I loved this book! I had a feeling that it was going to be sort of a dark read going into it and I was right. It had personal growth, faith, friendship, belief and overall it had everything that I felt it was going to have. It was an easy read that had me from beginning to end. Plus, they did an amazing job designing that cover! I gave More Than Bones 4 stars
·         Prognosis: I really enjoy memoirs and the brain and when I saw this one and that it was a woman recovering from a TBI, I knew I had to grab it from Kindle Unlimited. I enjoyed this book, but there were some points that really bothered me. She loved her animals very much and they helped her through the most difficult part of her recovery. Yet, she put the one animal down because she wasn’t home, and her girlfriend was tired of it making a mess. Which then said girlfriend left her 6 months later. She was rude to her mother, very rude. I felt like some of the time she was just playing a game. I gave Prognosis 4 stars
·         Valentine: First off, I heard amazing things about this one and the synopsis sounded good, so I had to have it as one of my BOTM picks. I wish I would’ve selected a different book. There was just too much back and forth between the characters. It was supposed to be about Gloria, and it ends up being about these other women. There were times I had to go back and re-read chapters because its parts didn’t make sense. The writing was flat and boring. I really had to push myself to finish this one. I gave Valentine 2 stars



       The Rest of the Story: Sarah Dessen, where do I even start. I’ve always loved her work and The Rest of the Story was simply a wonderful family story. It was emotional right from the beginning but was beautifully written, and I was constantly wanting more. I finished Sarah’s book in one day! Check this one out. I gave The Rest of the Story 4 stars
·         Kill Tide: Timothy Fagan didn’t a phenomenal job with this suspenseful Cape Cod mystery. I was on the edge of my seat the from beginning to end and finished this one in one sitting. The character development along with the plot were put to paper in such a way that had you wanting to know more. I gave Kill Tide 4 stars
·         Mission Tango: I love a story about an international terrorism thriller (and no don’t take that the wrong way). The fast-paced nature, microorganisms, villains, government conspiracies and it all just makes for an exciting story. That’s what Mission Tango felt like for me and it had me right from the very first sentence to the last. I couldn’t put it down. I will be reading the rest of the series! I gave Mission Tango 4 stars

What I listened to…


·         Deadly Enterprise: Chapman did an awesome job an capturing my attention right from the beginning and pulling me in. He made me feel like I was a part of the team/squad by giving us a feel for the life of a policeman. I extremely enjoyed that he narrated his own work. I’ve listened to other author’s who’ve narrated their own work and I haven’t found to many that I’ve really enjoyed. Chapman did an excellent job! I gave Deadly Enterprise 4 stars
·         Flights: I was excited going into this one, but it was extremely hard to follow, and I think it would be better off as a read than audiobook. It was intriguing, but I felt that it wasn’t clear enough on the story line and it’s ending points. Maybe if I’d been reading it instead. I gave Flights 3 stars

Book Haul


·         What You Wish For: (July 14, 2020; St. Martin’s Press; Women’s Fiction)
"The story’s message, that people should choose joy even (and especially) in difficult and painful times, seems tailor-made for this moment. A timely, uplifting read about finding joy in the midst of tragedy, filled with quirky characters and comforting warmth."—Kirkus (starred review)

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

·         The Safe Place: (July 14, 2020; Minotaur Books, St. Martin’s Press; General Adult Fiction & Mystery & Thrillers)
Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downes's debut, The Safe Place, is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.

Welcome to paradise...will you ever be able to leave?

Emily is a mess.

Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.

Emily is desperate.

Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.

Emily is perfect.

Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn't play along, the consequences could be deadly.

·         The Vacation: (July 21, 2020; St. Martin’s Press; General Adult Fiction & Mystery & thrillers)
In The Vacation, a captivating thriller from T. M. Logan, the bestselling author of Lies and 29 Seconds, four best friends on a dream vacation come face-to-face with an explosive secret.

It was supposed to be the perfect getaway: Kate and her three best friends, spending a week with their families in a luxurious villa in the south of France. Through the decades, they’ve stayed closer than ever, and seven days of drinking crisp French wine and laying out under the dazzling Mediterranean sun is the perfect celebration of their friendship. But soon after arriving, Kate discovers an incriminating text on her husband’s cell phone.

A text revealing that he’s having an affair.

And that the other woman is one of her best friends.

But which one?

Trapped in paradise with no one to trust, Kate is determined to find out who has put her marriage—and a lifelong friendship—in jeopardy. But as she closes in on the truth, she realizes that the stakes are higher than she ever imagined. Everyone on the trip has secrets…and someone may be prepared to kill to keep theirs hidden.

·         The Center of Everything: (January 12, 2021; Ingram Publisher; Lit-Fiction, Contemporary Women, Family Life)
In this compelling family drama set against the dangerous beauty of the Yellowstone, Polly is still trying to get her life back on track after a recent accident, not always trusting reality.
For Polly, the town of Livingston, Montana, is a land charmed by natural beauty and a close network of family extending back generations. But a recent head injury has scattered her perception of the present, surfacing events from thirty years ago and half a country away. As Polly’s relatives arrive for a family reunion during the Fourth of July holiday, a beloved friend goes missing on the Yellowstone River, dredging up difficult memories for a family well acquainted with tragedy.
A generational saga from the award-winning author of The Widow Nash, The Center of Everything offers a stunning and heartfelt examination of the deep bonds of family and how the ones we love (and the secrets we keep) echo throughout our lives.

·         The Lost and Found Bookshop: (July 7, 2020; William Morrow, HarperCollins; Fiction, Contemporary Women).
In this thought-provoking, wise and emotionally rich novel, New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs explores the meaning of happiness, trust, and faith in oneself as she asks the question, "If you had to start over, what would you do and who would you be?"
“The great Susan Wiggs writes with grace, insight and wisdom about the things that matter.”—Adriana Trigiani bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife

There is a book for everything . . .

Somewhere in the vast Library of the Universe, as Natalie thought of it, there was a book that embodied exactly the things she was worrying about.

In the wake of a shocking tragedy, Natalie Harper inherits her mother’s charming but financially strapped bookshop in San Francisco. She also becomes caretaker for her ailing grandfather Andrew, her only living relative—not counting her scoundrel father.

But the gruff, deeply kind Andrew has begun displaying signs of decline. Natalie thinks it’s best to move him to an assisted living facility to ensure the care he needs. To pay for it, she plans to close the bookstore and sell the derelict but valuable building on historic Perdita Street, which is in need of constant fixing. There’s only one problem–Grandpa Andrew owns the building and refuses to sell. Natalie adores her grandfather; she’ll do whatever it takes to make his final years happy. Besides, she loves the store and its books provide welcome solace for her overwhelming grief.

After she moves into the small studio apartment above the shop, Natalie carries out her grandfather’s request and hires contractor Peach Gallagher to do the necessary and ongoing repairs. His young daughter, Dorothy, also becomes a regular at the store, and she and Natalie begin reading together while Peach works.

To Natalie’s surprise, her sorrow begins to dissipate as her life becomes an unexpected journey of new connections, discoveries and revelations, from unearthing artifacts hidden in the bookshop’s walls, to discovering the truth about her family, her future, and her own heart.

·         Off the Grid: (August 25, 2020; Oceanview Publishing; Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural)
A scrap of cloth fluttering in the wind leads Hilo police Chief Detective Koa Kane to the tortured remains of an unfortunate soul left to burn in the path of an advancing lava flow. For Koa, it’s the second gruesome homicide of the day, and he soon discovers the murders are linked. These grisly crimes on Hawaii’s Big Island could rewrite history—or cost Chief Detective Koa Kane his career. The dead, a reclusive couple living off the grid, turn out to be mysterious fugitives. The CIA, the Chinese government, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, attempt to thwart Koa’s investigation and obscure the victims’ true identities. Undeterred by mounting political pressure, Koa pursues the truth only to find himself drawn into a web of international intrigue. While Koa investigates, the Big Island scrambles to prepare for the biggest and most explosive political rally in its history. Despite police resources stretched to the breaking point, Koa uncovers a government conspiracy so shocking its exposure topples senior officials far beyond Hawaii’s shores.

Overall, this month was pretty good. I felt that there were several books that I wish would’ve been better, but I think my expectations of them were higher as the reviews were so good. My favorite was that birthday in Barbados as always because I love cruising and Barbados was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! I love my beach reads as it takes me back to my cruises. There’s quite a list here so check them out. Have you read any of them? Let me know your thoughts below!

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