Review: The Girlfriend by Sarah Naughton

Publication Date: March 6, 2018   |   Star Rating: 4 stars

Wow. Okay, let me catch my breath. I just finished this book moments ago and I have a lot of thoughts but I can’t seem to wrangle them. The Girlfriend, by Sarah Naughton, is a very unique thriller told from multiple perspectives. I transitioned between a 3.5-star and a 4-star rating throughout the book and ultimately decided to go with a 4-star.

The writing style was likable for the most part; nice short chapters, mystery and fluid prose. I liked one of the main characters, Mags, a lot and found I related to her the most. The other main character, Jody, was less likable and less relatable to me personally but I think she was developed well by the author.  Jody was an unreliable narrator (VERY) with a traumatic past who clearly struggles with mental illness throughout the course of the book. Having never experienced the types of mental struggles and stressors that Jody was experiencing personally, it is hard for me to judge whether the mental illness rep was a proper characterization or not; I will leave that for others who know more about that topic to debate.  In regards to Jody however, I was pleasantly surprised with the position she found herself in at the end of the story. I think as a story arc, hers was the most satisfying, definitely leaving off at a more promising place than she started in.

As far as negatives go, I only have a couple items: I was a little taken aback by a few sentences describing the size of side characters which after first noticing, then seemed to just pop up everywhere for me like a beacon. I am sure that the author was maybe just trying to show some sort of attitude of the characters thinking these things but it happened with multiple characters – for example, Mags thinking, “I never thought a fat woman could be so beautiful,” (ugh) and later Jody thinking, “…panting, perhaps with the adrenaline rush of a narrow escape, or maybe just because he’s fat.” (ughh) This being said, if you are someone who may be sensitive to this type of sentiment being batted about in a story, you may want to stay clear. Furthermore, I would say trigger warnings for child abuse, sibling abuse, rape and sexual assault. My only other slight critique would be that personally I do not enjoy second person narratives.

Overall, I found this book to be exciting and engaging. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves thrillers and is looking for something with exciting twists and unpredictable turns. Thank you so much to the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, for providing me with a copy to review – I enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to hearing what other readers think a well!




Review: Endurance by Scott Kelly

Publication Date: October 19, 2017

Subtitle: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery

All the stars in the universe! As memoirs go, this is top-notch! If you like science, you need to read this book. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Scott Kelly himself, and was hooked from start to finish. For me personally, I find it very hard to critique a memoir. I mean, it is that person’s story, it is up to them how they choose to tell it. This being said, even if I was a better reviewer I would have a hard time finding anything to critique within this book. Detailing everything from his childhood, his navy pilot training and career, astronaut training and numerous space missions, this book is replete with interesting facts and stories. I didn’t want it to end – I flew through it and recommend it for everyone. Scott Kelly has lived one hell of a life and you should learn about it!

Do you enjoy reading memoirs? If you do, what is one you would recommend to everyone? I want to know – comment here or send me a message – I would love to hear from you!


Book Review: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

I really enjoyed this and would give it between a 4 and 4.5 ☆s. I was introduced to this book through Book of the Month Club (which, if you aren’t a member of, you should be) – although I didn’t select it in the month it was first offered, I ultimately got it in a later box after seeing it everywhere!

This is the debut novel for Krysten Ritter, most well known as Jessica Jones in the Netflix original series of the same name. I was skeptical going in, I will admit – that whole singers becoming actors, actors becoming writers thing…but was so pleasantly surprised with how engaging this book was. The story follows our MC, Abigail Williams, who is an environmental attorney in Chicago. Having ‘escaped’, quite literally it seems, her small hometown in a very rural area, she gets the chance to return in order to investigate Optimal Plastics, the largest employer in town. Once there, Abby is thrown back into her old life and memories arrive that lead her to start questioning events that occurred when she was still in high school. Through memories of the past and current events a vicious tale of corruption and betrayal is told. The pace of this book is excellent and I just flew through it. Due to the short length of the chapters it is definitely a book that has that, ‘just one more chapter…just one more chapter…’ way about it!

The format of the book itself is pretty standard mystery/thriller which reminded me a bit of John Grisham’s, The Rainmaker. There is nothing really groundbreaking or out of the ordinary about this book but it is very fun and overall, very strong storytelling IMO. I think this would be a great book to bring on vacation or to the beach. I hope Ms. Ritter keeps writing because I have a feeling her writing will mature and her books will continue to get stronger and stronger.

My only issue with the book, and it is a slight one, was that the ending felt a bit rushed. Personally, I think this could have been 20 to 40 pages longer in order to better explore the outcome of events that Abby reveals – both past and present. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys legal thrillers, particularly with an evil corporation twist!  What was the last book you read that pleasantly surprised you with how good it ended up being? Leave a comment below!

Series I need to read!!!

A bit about me: For many years I was reading strictly nonfiction, classics and Stephen King. I only recently got back into fiction – I would say within the past couple of years and even more recently got back into YA fiction. Lately, it seems, all I want to read is fiction! This being said I have realized how many incredible series I have missed out and need to get caught up on! Today I decided I would memorialize a few of my most anticipated series to read:

1. Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab – This is a fantasy trilogy that receives a lot, a lot of love in social media channels. I really have not heard much negativity in regards to this one which makes me really want to check it out and see for myself. I actually just bought this trilogy and received it via bookmail yesterday so I am thinking a summer binge read! This series involves dark magic and a number of parallels Londons – both of these are concepts I have enjoyed in the past (magic & parallel worlds) so I think this will be right up my alley.  I am very eager to get into this one!

2. Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan – Confession: I have never ever read a Rick Riordan book. SHOCK. GASP. TEARS. I know! This seems insane but I haven’t. I have watched the Percy Jackson movies and really enjoyed them. I love the concept of basing stories off of mythology. Ultimately, I would love to read all of Rick Riordan’s series and I think Percy would be a solid foundation and a great place to start. I should probably just buy the box set and be done with it – I absolutely know that I will love them!

3. A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas – Let’s start this off by saying that this series is basically a Beauty & the Beast retelling. The fact that I haven’t read this yet should be shocking to anyone who knows me, as Beauty & the Beast is my ALL TIME FAVORITE fairytale. That story gives me life. It breaths energy and grace into my cold dark heart and love it! I have owned the first book in this series for over a year yet still…have not started it! I am kind of planning a Fall read for this one – I feel October vibes for some reason. I am sure once I start, I won’t be able to put them down.

4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – This is a YA fantasy series with phenomenal covers. I will admit, I have the first two books in this series, which I bought solely based upon how freaking beautiful the covers were! All I really know about this series is that it follows a girl name Mare who lives in a world where the people are separated into red bloods and silver bloods. Red bloods are the poor, regular people and silver bloods are the people who rule them all. Well, Mare, a red blood, ends up working in the silver castle and has some sort of special power that may upset the social order. It sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to check it out!

5. The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman – This is a YA science-fiction trilogy of which I own all three books. In hardback. Have I started a one? NO! I haven’t and I am not sure why. This is a really cool concept book where the entire story is presented as a dossier of hacked documents including emails, medical reports, military files, etc., – it sounds incredible! I know once I begin this one, it will rank pretty high for me. I am really really looking forward to starting this one!

6. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – These books are fantasy / science-fiction retellings for the characters Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. Basically, I am all about fairy tale retellings. I am a big fan of fairytales – particularly the villains – I know I will enjoy these and I actually own every book in the series. I have no excuses at all as to why I haven’t begun this  – just so many books so little time, I guess!


So, those are my top 6 series that are on my radar that I absolutely need to get too! My goal is to complete all of these series over the next two years. I mean seriously, this is a lot of books and I will be reading other things at the same time so it is going to take some time! Always happy to be setting book goals though!

Have you read any of these series? What is your favorite series, YA or otherwise? Are there any on this list that you think I should read? I want to know – leave me a comment or contact me through social media or the contact me link!

Enjoy the weekend and happy reading!

Status Update: The Passage by Justin Cronin

This morning I reached the 50% mark on my reading of The Passage by Justin Cronin. I am reading this book along with my book buds, The Floatin’ Troopers group, from Bookstagram (the bookish subculture within Instagram). This is a long novel which had been recommended to me by a number of different book people whose opinions I respect. The paperback copy I am reading is 784 pages of fairly small font; quite an undertaking. We slated this book as our May/June read as we figured it would probably take a while for everyone to get through.

Up until this morning I have been listening to the audiobook version along with reading a hard copy. This has allowed me to progress fairly quickly so far through it. Unfortunately, my 2-week library loan expired this morning and someone else had a hold on it so now I am down to just my paperback copy.

The Passage is a post-apocalyptic survival story of epic proportions. It is actually a trilogy – I am little surprised by that, as I feel like the story could be wrapped up concisely in this one book…where is this story going to go? I am so curious. I am not sure I will end up reading them back-to-back as I may need a break after this one.

It reminds me very much of The Stand by Stephen King, which if you have been following me at all, you may know is my all time favorite book which I recommend to everyone! The ultimate good versus evil tale. This story, The Passage, starts off in a fairly similar vein – we all know the story – government experiment gone awry and the rest of mankind pays the price. Similar to The Stand, this story follows the survivors tales in the aftermath of the big event – in this case the time is called ‘AV’ which I am assuming means ‘after virus’. There is a lot of character development in this story and I love to see the converging story lines.

As luck with have it, news just dropped this week that FOX has greenlighted a television series adaptation of this story. However, I have heard that one of my favorite characters from the book, Alicia, is not going to be in the series. I don’t really understand how that is possible since she is one of the main characters in the story who affects a lot of other storylines…seems strange but I will definitely give the show a shot when it is released.

Do you enjoy reading post-apocalyptic fiction? If so, what are some books you would recommend in the genre? Have you read this series? What did you think of it? I would love to hear!  Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! Cheers~

New Challenge

I joined Goodreads in 2015. For those of you who do not know, Goodreads is a social cataloging website that allows users to search databases of books, reviews, interact with other readers, track your own reading progress and that of others…basically, it is the best website ever created. It’s free to join and fairly addictive. I am on GR multiple times a day and use it to track not only the books I am currently reading or have read but books I want to read.

Books I want to read. This is what brings us to the purpose of this post. So, as I mention above, I joined GR in 2015 (in October) and immediately started adding books to a ‘to be read’ list. At this point, May 2018, I currently have a total of 1,670 books on that list. SIXTEEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY!!! ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY books. Ridiculous, I know, but so is life.

I have decided that a new challenge for myself is to look at books that I had added to my tbr list each month, beginning in October of 2015, and select one of those books to read for my current month tbr. My hope is that this will help to clear some old ones off the list. I know I am not doing a grand job of describing this, so I am just going to select my May 2018 ‘unreadshelf book’ now for an example.  Below are a list of the books that I added in October of 2015:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (YA Fantasy)
  • The Professor & The Madman by Simon Winchester (Non-Fiction)
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner (YA Dystopian)
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Classic Literature)
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (Epic Fantasy/Classic)
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Literary Fiction/World Literature)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (Children’s Literature/Classic)
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (True Crime)
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Literary Fiction/Word Literature)

^^^I need to complete one of these book this month, May 2018. I am going to choose, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I am going to start reading it tonight and am looking forward to it as obviously I have been meaning to read it forever!

For June 2018’s tbr I will add one book that I shelved on GR in November 2015. Hopefully this makes some sort of sense. I am excited for this challenge and really looking forward to knocking some old books off my list. I plan to run this challenge for as long as I am interested in doing so. Obviously it is just for fun, nobody is holding my feet to the fire, but as a booknerd, reading challenges are something I live for!

Cheers to the weekend and happy reading worms!

Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Publication Date: February 6, 2018   |    Rating: 3.5-stars

Dark and lyrical, Shadowsong, brings to a conclusion the story of Liesl and her Goblin King. This second book in the Wintersong duology picks up a few months after the conclusion of Wintersong. Although I selected 3-stars, I would actually give this a 3.5-star rating if given the option. This is a tough book to describe and I definitely don’t feel it is for everyone. For me, it works; I love S. Jae-Jones writing style. She has a way of weaving together an eerie tale where you struggle to piece together reality and unreality.

Our MC, Liesl, is not really a likable character but somehow I still found myself caring about her. I wanted to shake her out of her funk multiple times but I know, with depression and other mental health issues, it is not that easy. She really struggles in this one, more so than the first, with her decisions, her past, her family relations. She is moody and brooding and honestly, kind of a dark cloud over the whole story, but in a way that contributes to the overall story line, in my opinion. I would say trigger warning for suicidal thoughts and ideation.

I love the atmosphere of this book. In Wintersong, we were pretty sedentary in our action; you were either at the Inn owned by Liesl’s family, or in the Underground. Here, our characters travel from home to find their brother Josef, who resides in Vienna. The city life is quite a change for Liesl and being far from the Goblin Grove certainly doesn’t enhance her mood any. After a swift turn of events at a masked ball, Liesl and Josef, are swept away to Snovin Hall. Their relationship has been under extreme duress and they do begin to form a reconnection of a sort whilst at Snovin.

I loved Snovin Hall – the gothic vibes were a plenty and some of the scenes written while our characters were there gave me chills. Joseph playing in the mirrored ballroom…it still gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it! However, this aspect of the story did get a little confusing in places. There is a fine line between being intriguing and being confusing and this one swayed into the confusion zone more than once. That being said, the overall feel of the book was dark and creepy enough for me to enjoy and keep me invested. The last 15 or 20 pages were excellent – I enjoyed the ending and felt that S. Jae-Jones wrapped up a complicated story quite fluidly.

Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this book for review. It is greatly appreciated!

Tag Tuesday: Bookish Questions

I was tagged on bookstagram (the bookie subculture of Instagram) by one of my best book buds for the Bookish Questions tag the other day and figured it may be fun to implement a new ‘Tag Tuesday’ element to my blog. I don’t finish books every day so need to start blogging more than just reviews and hey, I’m just not that creative, so require a little help coming up with ideas. Tags are great because they make you think about the books you have read, want to read, bookish habits, likes/dislikes, etc. So, without further ado, here we go:

1. Do you read one book at a time?  Absolutely not! I generally read six to ten books at a time. If I read just one at a time, I feel like I would get bored too easily and end up in a slump – every bookworms worst nightmare. I try not to read multiples of the same genre though, particularly true for fantasy, as I find that can get confusing. Below is a photo of the current books I am reading from my Goodreads bookshelf:

As you can see, if you can read the above, I have the following genres: nonfiction, high adult fantasy, post-apocalyptic, horror, ya fantasy and then three adult thrillers. I find thrillers the least complicated to read multiples of – the plots are generally pretty easy to follow.

2. Where do you read?   I have three prime reading spots in my house depending on the time of day. At night, I read in bed for at least an hour prior to going to sleep. During other times of the day I can most often be found on my couch in the living room or sitting up at the bar in the kitchen. In reality though, I always have a book with me so will read essentially anywhere!

3. Do you read the book or watch the movie first?  I am actually one of those super rare birds who prefers to watch the movie or television show prior to reading the book (if possible). That way I know how to pronounce all the names correctly and I am not often disappointed. I think it is generally understood that the books are pretty much always better. If I read the book first, I feel like I would never enjoy a movie or television show based on them (exceptions being Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings) – but if you watch first, the books are always an added bonus! Honestly, I don’t know why more people don’t do it this way!

4. Do you have a reading habit?  I have a couple I would call habits. One is that I always remove the dust jacket of my hard covers while reading and then put it back on when I put the book back on my ‘current reads’ pile. Secondly, I always update Goodreads ever single day with my reading progress/page locations, etc. My last ‘habit’, or what is becoming a habit, is my bullet journal which I just bought a couple of months ago. I keep track each month of my tbr list, book haul, read-alongs/buddy reads and wrap-up.

5. Do you stop reading mid-chapter?  Yes, I do this very frequently. Oftentimes, I will read the very first page of a chapter and then stop. Those pages are usually half pages so add more pages read per day on my Goodreads count if I just get them in…and that my friends, is the true sign of a nerd!

What would be your answers to these questions! Let me know with a comment or message – Cheers!

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Rating: 3-stars!!

What that means in my parlance for rating is, this was a good book. I enjoyed it but wasn’t blown away by it and didn’t have too many strong feelings on it once it was over. This book was released in 2015 and is pretty popular in the YA-contemporary genre. They even turned it into a movie! (which I have not seen). I really did not know too much about it going in besides that fact that it was ‘boy-meets-girl’ where one of the characters was sick. I figured it would be short and sweet and I would cry. It did give me two of those things: it was short, it was sweet but I did not cry. In fact, my feelings upon the ending were more of anger and frustration for the MCs than anything else, but I am getting ahead of myself…
If you haven’t heard much about this story, like I hadn’t, it follows our MC, Madeline Whittier, who is a teenager with a compromised immune system. Due to this, she has been unable to leave her house her entire life and isn’t allowed visitors without very strict protocols being followed prior to letting them in their house. Mainly, her entire life revolves around her Mother (who coincidentally is a doctor) and her nurse, Carla. One day, a new family moves in next door, who have a son, Olly, about Maddy’s age. Well, you will have to read it to find out what happens after that but keep in mind this is a love story. The romance was super cute. Olly is as sugary sweet as teenage boys can be in this type of book and their interactions were fun and witty. The nurse, Carla, was my favorite character – a real gem and a very important part of Maddy’s life.
I was quite impressed with Nicola Yoon’s writing style and definitely plan to read more of her work. The dialogue was clever and I felt the format was really unique and fun as well. So, yeah, overall a good book. It did not go where I thought it was going to go. I can say by the time that I got to the conclusion, I wasn’t surprised, but I was certainly super frustrated for Maddy. I’m glad I read this, now I know what the hype is all about as far as Nicola Yoon goes and I plan to pick up, The Sun is Also a Star very soon!

Leave a comment below if you have read this book, what were your thoughts? Do you like Nicola Yoon’s writing? Who are some of your favorite YA-contemporary authors? Leave them some love below!

Review: Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Publication Date: May 8, 2018


I finished ‘Our Kind of Cruelty’ last night right before bed so figured I would take the night to consider what I had read before formulating my review. Here I am, the next morning, still trying to wrap my head around this book. Firstly, what a unique way of telling this story. Unique and impactful. Mike Hayes, our MC, and narrator of this story is unhinged and you get a front row seat to obsession. Verity, the object of focus, is a young lady you struggle throughout the book to understand; at least I did. Mike and V were involved in a long-term relationship which began while they were in college and eventually ended. This story follows that break-up and relives pieces of it through the mind of Mike.

How much of his thoughts are reality and how much are fantasy. The author did a phenomenal job of keeping you guessing. Is Mike as crazy as he seems? Is he creating a fantasy or she is feeding into his behaviors somehow. I absolutely loved the format of this book and how the author never let Mike slip from character. You are full force in this ‘love story’ from start to finish gaining insight into his infatuation with this young lady.

The culmination of the tale takes place in a courtroom where we see side characters, as well as both Verity and Mike, be questioned by attorneys regarding the exact nature and events of their relationship. I will admit even I was questioning Verity and her honesty at that point – which to me is humorous – an extension of how women can be blamed or treated with suspicion when it comes to a man’s behaviors in regards to her. Questioning the victim, blaming the victim, shaming the victim – these are all prevalent occurrences in our society – and I myself was guilty of it. I didn’t trust V, the whole way, even though I was witness to Mike’s mental fixation with her. I questioned what she was doing to fuel that fire. I continually questioned her choices: why didn’t she tell someone, her husband, the police? Why did she continue to correspond with him?

This was an incredibly intricate, mind-shaking story that gave me chills on the regular. I applaud the author for this effort – it is a truly distinct book for the thriller genre. I would highly recommend it. I hope my thoughts on this make some sort of sense – I am still boggled by this one. Thank you so much to Farrar, Straus & Giroux for providing me with the opportunity to read this book early and to provide my opinion. I cannot wait to see what other readers take from this one! What was the last book you read that really got under your skin? I want to know!  Leave a comment below!