June 27, 2018

Vacation!

Hey loyal readers! Just wanted to pop in and say that there will be no new posts for the next week and a half, as I'M GOING ON VACATION! I'm leaving tomorrow for a 10 day trip to England! My hubby and I are going to a wedding, then spending the rest of the week touring and exploring. My dad is from England so I'm really excited to see where he grew up. Plus we're going to the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour!

I'll be back on the 7th, so head back here in the days following for some new reviews! I'm hoping to get a lot of reading done while on my flights so I'll be sure to share my thoughts with you when I get home. Maybe I'll even do a trip recap for you all if that's something you would be interested in.

Until then, enjoy your reads, and we'll chat when I get back! <3





June 25, 2018

Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
When you think summer, don't you typically think of road trips? I know I do! Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller follows Dessa Rhodes, a teenage girl who travels the country with her family in an RV. Her family is part of a caravan of three families who do everything together, even voting on the future of its members. But Dessa wants more from life, specifically to be an artist. 

After getting rejected from all the art schools she applies to, she is unsure what direction her life will take. Just when she thinks all hope is lost, she gets an internship with an artist in Santa Fe, and it's during this time that Dessa learns more than she ever thought possible, not only about art, but also about herself and what she really wants out of life.

I thought this was a super cute summer read! Dessa was easy to identify with, and I loved seeing her get stronger and more self-aware as the story progressed. I really enjoyed the side characters in this book, especially Taryn and Fiona! I thought they were great motivators for Dessa and helped her articulate her true thoughts and wants versus just going along with everyone else's plans. Cyrus was a cute love interest, but I really appreciated that this was not the primary focus of the story, and that Dessa was strong enough to put her own dreams before romance.

One thing I really disliked in this book though was Dessa's family, especially her mom. I thought the whole aspect of voting as a caravan (like really, someone ELSE'S family can determine whether or not you get to go do your internship??) was insane and almost cult-like. I also thought that her mom was incredibly selfish in the way she did things, like asking Dessa to immediately take time off her internship and not caring that it put Dessa's future in jeopardy.

Overall this is a perfect fast and fun summer read to take on a trip or lounge with by the pool! It has a powerful message of going for your dreams, no matter what the people around you say, and staying strong in your convictions.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster for an advanced copy of this great summer read! Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller is out TOMORROW, June 26th, so be sure to pick up a copy!

June 21, 2018

Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I read so many thrillers that for the most part, they don't freak me out anymore. This one did. This freaked me out so badly that when my husband went away for the weekend, I made him take this book with him so I couldn't read it while home alone. Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley is about a man fascinated with murders, and what happens when he gets in too deep.

Martin Reese is obsessed with murders. So obsessed, in fact, that his hobby is digging up the bodies of missing murder victims. Think of a Murderino on steriods. Using police files from a friend on the inside, he prides himself on being able to find the missing bodies that the cops could not, and after finding them he calls them in anonymously, simultaneously taunting the police and giving the families of the victims some closure. But one day Martin finds a recently deceased body in one of the graves he digs up, and he realizes that someone is onto him.

This book really gets you deep into the mind of a serial killer. It's almost a psychological profile of a killer in itself, mixed in with a mystery. All throughout the story I kept asking myself, "Could someone really be this twisted?" and the answer was always yes. Personally I've always been interested in the minds of serial killers and fascinated by murders, but I know many people are (otherwise the My Favorite Murder podcast wouldn't be so successful!). But this really does take it into uncharted territory.

The story is told from multiple points of view, but doesn't ever get confusing. Each of the characters is strongly developed and you really learn what makes them tick. The picture painted here is so clear that you can easily see yourself in the Reese residence, in Ellen's store, and in Keith's apartment. The overall ominous and creepy tone of the book was right up my alley and I was left with a very unsettling feeling. 

This book has been compared to Dexter (which I loved) and I definitely agree! It was a very slow burn book, though, which I'm never a huge fan of. There was also a little sexism in my opinion, and there were a few loose ends I would have liked to have seen tied up better.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Atria Mystery Bus for an advanced copy of this read! Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley was released this week, so be sure to pick up a copy!

June 13, 2018

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

"You have to be careful of girls that are too pretty, though. 
They hold a power that they never had to earn."

-Carola Lovering, Tell Me Lies


Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
With every great reading streak, you're bound to encounter a dud sooner rather than later, and this book was unfortunately that dud for me. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering had so much promise, but just fell flat. This story follows two main characters, Lucy and Stephen. Lucy is perpetually stuck in Stephen's charismatic trap, even though he treats her terribly. Each of them have their own individual issues going on outside of each other, which makes the toxic relationship even worse, but the only real growth that happened in the book happened so late in the game that everything up to that point was like watching paint dry.

Normally I really enjoy character-driven stories, even if there isn't much plot, but this was such a drag! The story just chronicled their college years in dual narrative format, and all the story really focused on was each time Stephen ensnared Lucy only to begin treating her like crap fairly soon after.

I've been Lucy myself-the girl fully absorbed in a guy and completely ignoring how badly he treats her, listening to lie after lie, and believing that he will change. Observing this from the outside though, all I wanted to do was scream at Lucy to get a grip and leave the loser, even though personally I know it's not that easy.

The book also kept referencing one specific incident in the past that Lucy and Stephen both have ties to, but neither knows it. I honestly didn't see the point of this addition whatsoever. This could have been done so much better to turn this story into a somewhat-mystery. I liked all the side characters a lot, and I think stories about them would have been much more interesting than this. I especially loved Pippa, and was absolutely fascinated by CJ.

The only other redeeming quality I could find in this book was the abundance of Fleetwood Mac references. Lucy sure did have good taste in music. That and the fact that I really like the book cover.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Thanks to Atria Books for an advanced e-copy of this book! Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering is out now, so if this sounds up your alley be sure to pick up a copy!

June 11, 2018

Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
Not only did this book have a gorgeous cover, but this "CinderFella Story" has an outstanding plot as well. Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips follows two gay teens on a journey of love, loss, and beautiful music.

When Nate and Cameron meet at a club, it's practically love at first sight. Cameron's singing voice matches Nate's guitar style perfectly, and the vibe is instant. But then Nate finds out who Cameron actually is: the son of a famous record mogul, the same record mogul who might have been responsible for Nate's father's suicide. Nate runs for the hills and never wants to look back. But Cameron can't stop thinking about him, and wants to do everything he can to convince Nate that he isn't his father. 

When Nate shows up for a mysterious audition for a new up and coming singer (who just so happens to be Cameron), they are once again thrust together. Nate has to decide if he wants to follow his heart and his talent, or keep his distance and possibly miss out on the opportunity, and love, of a lifetime.

This book was so wonderful! From all the musical references to the adorable yet cautiously real love story, it was everything I want in a contemporary. But what I loved the most about this book was that it didn't make a big deal out of the fact that the two main characters were gay. There was no pandering or playing it up, it was just normal, which is how our society should view gay relationships. This was so much more than a love story as well, and dealt with some tough topics and difficult family dynamics, making it all around a fantastic read.

My biggest complaint was that I thought it ended rather abruptly. I wanted to know more about what happened!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thank you so much to Viking for an advanced copy of this adorable read! Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips releases TOMORROW, June 12th, so be sure to pick up a copy!

June 7, 2018

Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
In the aftermath of the Royal Wedding, I was looking to bridge the gap between that and my visit to England in a few weeks. Enter Royals by Rachel Hawkins. I figured this would be the perfect title to feed my royal need, and I was right.

Royals follows Daisy, whose sister Ellie just got engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Suddenly Daisy is thrust into the world of the royals, from going shooting to fancy balls, and she doesn't know what to do. Miles, a friend and steward of the royals, is assigned to help Daisy learn the ropes. There is drama, and plenty of it, as Daisy tries to figure out who she wants to be in this new world, and what rules she must follow versus which ones she is happy to break.

Daisy was feisty and sarcastic and I just loved her! Her jokes and comebacks are something to aspire to. As much as it was easy to dislike Ellie, I fully understood her struggle to fit into her new family and be the perfect princess that everyone expects. I would have liked to have seen more of Alex, but I just adored the "Royal Wreckers!" The romance aspect of this book was cute, although not the main focus which I really appreciated. Just looking at the tagline on the cover, you think this book will primarily be about a love interest, but it was so much more than that. I also loved that there were some LGBT+ aspects in this story as well, and the descriptive scenes of the Scottish countryside were beautiful. 

Ignoring things like the fact that there is no Crown Prince of Scotland/separate Scottish monarchy, this book was adorable. It was fluffy and light, and I think this could be a great book to get someone out of a reading slump! It definitely wasn't life changing, or something I would probably even pick up again, but for what it was I enjoyed the few hours I spent reading it. A solid, decent, 3 star read.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

June 5, 2018

The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
When I saw this book takes place on a cruise ship, I knew it would make for a fantastic summer read. The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando follows Natalie, who has embarked on a cruise with some close friends and family for her seventeenth birthday "Sail-A-Bration".

Natalie has been having a hard time, as her boyfriend has recently passed away, and her friends and family hope that this cruise is just the thing she needs to let loose. On the first day of the cruise, Natalie meets a charismatic boy who might be just the person to help her move on. But when he mysteriously disappears and there are rumors of someone going overboard, Natalie becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to him.

This book was quite the ride! There were so many twists along the way, and it was virtually impossible to predict anything. Even when there were reveals, they were so outlandish it was hard to get on board (get it...cruise story-on board??) with them even though they were true. The best word to describe this book would definitely be surprising. It's definitely not a scary thriller, more of a psychological, twisty one.

I loved Natalie as a character, but really disliked her friends. They were rude, judgmental, and really pushy, not seeming to care that Natalie was still deeply impacted by the tragedy she experienced. There are a ton of Hitchcock references, which I quite enjoyed, especially as they paralleled the story itself so well. This story is also interspersed with cruise newsletters and documents to let the reader know what is happening on board each day. While not really necessary, I thought it was a nice touch that made you feel more immersed in the atmosphere of the book. Having been on multiple cruises myself, I can say that the overall cruise setting was very authentically written.

As much as I really enjoyed this read, and do appreciate its entertainment value, I have to take a star off for being extremely unrealistic in the plot department.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Bloomsbury for an advanced copy of this mysterious summer read! The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando releases TODAY, June 7th, so be sure to pick up a copy!