Review: The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

The WivesThe Wives by Tarryn Fisher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Confession: I didn’t realize the protagonist’s real name was Thursday until the very end of the book.

How did I miss that?

I just thought that was the day her husband slept with her…

Moving along, this story was something else. I have to give it points for being unique.

Thursday is married to Seth. Seth has two other spouses. None of them know one another, but as far as Thursday is concerned they are all living in this arrangement by mutual agreement.

As Thursday grows less and less enamored with her situation, she becomes curious about who she is sharing her husband with.

Upon doing some online research, as you do, she manages to track down his third wife, the youngest and the one currently carrying his baby.

Befriending this young woman, Hannah, she begins to suspect that Seth may be physically abusive to her. This leads Thursday to take off her rose colored glasses.

There’s some fighting, a lot of drama, a stay at a mental institution, it’s a lot. Ultimately, even though I love an unreliable narrator, the ending of this didn’t sit right with me.

There were a lot of twists and turns along the way, but still something about that ending…

Certainly twisted, so if that is what you love in a thriller, this one could be right up your alley. Check it out, you never know until you try.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Graydon House Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and this one was definitely a ride!

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Review: Blood Countess by Lana Popovic

Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1)Blood Countess by Lana Popović
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Anna Darvulia, daughter of a peasant midwife, gets summoned in the night to attend to the Countess Elizabeth Bathory, she learns a secret that she promises to keep.

In turn, she earns the favor of the Countess, a woman she greatly admires. Although Countess Bathory seems a tad dangerous, she is also glamorous and powerful. A combination young Anna is in awe of.

Before too long, due to her strong first impression, Anna is summoned by the Countess again. This time to go and live in the castle as one of her scullery maids.

Once there, Anna’s relationship with Elizabeth continues to grow. Ultimately, she is selected to be her chambermaid, a huge step up in position and responsibility.

As the relationship turns romantic in nature, Anna begins to be swayed to do things for Elizabeth that she would have never guessed herself capable of.

Elizabeth is cruel and hot headed, but Anna sometimes has a hard time recognizing those flaws within her. In her search for the key to vitality however, she goes too far, and Anna finally sees her for who, or what, she truly is.

This book was good, but it was not what I expected it to be. While I feel I was pitched an historical YA horror novel, what I actually got was straight YA historical fiction with a hint of romance.

I definitely would not classify this as a horror story, so if that is what you are looking for you may want to look elsewhere.

The writing was pleasing, but it was very, very slow. I kept waiting for something big to happen and it just never did. There was nothing mysterious, suspenseful or haunting about this.

It felt like a love story gone wrong. Anna fell in love with the wrong person, end of story. Of course we all know Elizabeth Bathory was insane, so really nothing surprising there.

I don’t know. I think if I had gone into this, thinking gothic historical fiction, as opposed to horror , I may have been less disappointed.

It’s not a bad book. It’s a good story, it just read slow for me and I sort of lost interest. I think this would be a great place for younger readers to start who are looking to get into darker works of fiction however.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Amulet Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler

The Look-AlikeThe Look-Alike by Erica Spindler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars rounded up**

Ten years ago, Sienna Scott, stumbled across a murdered girl in the snow. Sienna was leaving the library and she recognized the girl as one of her classmates.

Understandably traumatized by this event, Sienna has a hard time forgetting the incident.

In fact, she has thought about it so much, she thinks she was the actual target that night, not the poor dead girl.

This coupled with some family issues, leads to Sienna getting shipped off to live with her Grandmother in London, where she becomes a professional chef.

Now upon returning to Tranquility Bluffs, a decade later, Sienna immediately begins to fixate again on the murder. They never caught the real killer after all. He could still be out there and still be after her.

Sienna’s mentally unstable mother is a huge part of this narrative. Her delusional disorder makes it close to impossible for her to be around Sienna, as Sienna’s safety is one of her biggest triggers.

I have to be honest and say, this whole dynamic made me super uncomfortable. Something about it just did not work for me.

I would actually say, overall, the author’s writing didn’t work for me. There were entire aspects to the plot that drove me crazy. Number one being the relationship with the neighbor.

There were a lot of red herrings and plot twists. At times, I felt myself sort of getting into it. Then something wonky would come up and it would kick me right out of the story again.

I would put this in a middling to average category for Adult Thrillers. Although with this being said, there is a reader for every book and just because this didn’t work for me personally, doesn’t mean you won’t love it!

If the premise sounds interesting to you, give it a try. Don’t let me sway you!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

Even though this one wasn’t necessarily for me, I still appreciate the opportunity so much!

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Review: The Janes (Alice Vega #2) by Louisa Luna

The Janes (Alice Vega #2)The Janes by Louisa Luna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the successful conclusion to the missing Brandt girls case, Alice Vega, reputable ‘people-finder’, returns home to California, leaving Max Caplan behind.

They both return to their regular lives, Alice being Alice, and Cap being lovable father to teenager, Nell.

Soon enough, a new case falls in Alice’s lap and it’s no surprise, she calls on dear old Caplan to help her out.

This time, he joins her on the West Coast to investigate the death of two Jane Does and their possible connection to a human trafficking ring.

With their street smarts and unending energy, Vega and Cap have quickly become one of my favorite investigative pairs. The underlying sexual tension is a bonus that is hard to resist.

Although a slow burn, for crime thriller classicists, this story packs a solid punch.

The steadfastness with which Vega tackles each investigation is oddly inspiring and Cap’s dedication to her is lovely to read.

This case, set in San Diego, tackles real life issue of human trafficking, as well as sexual slavery and abused minors. If these are topics that will be sensitive for you, tread cautiously.

The good news is, Vega and Cap are on the case and they never let up.

I’m not sure how much longer Luna plans to write this dynamic duo together, but I hope it is for a long, long time.

I know I will continue to pick them up. As a matter of fact, I am ready for the next one already!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Doubleday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and really look forward to solving another case with Vega and Cap!

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Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Tweet CuteTweet Cute by Emma Lord
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My heart just exploded over the cheesiest (grilled-cheesiest, that is) romance I have ever read!!!

Love, love, love this with my whole body and soul!

When fast food behemoth, Big League Burger, announces a new line of grilled cheese sandwiches, no one is more surprised than twins, Jack and Ethan Campbell.

Their surprise comes from the fact that one of the specialty sandwiches has the exact same ingredients, and name, as a grill cheese they know very well.

It was created by their Grandma and has been on their family’s New York City deli menu for decades.

Shocked and chagrined by the announcement, Jack turns to Twitter to call BLB out. That one tweet sparks an epic Twitter battle that takes not just NYC, but the world by storm!

Little does he know, at the other end of the Big League Burger Twitter account, is an overachieving classmate of his, Pepper.

Pepper is not native to NYC, having moved there at the start of high school, leaving her hometown of Nashville behind.

Feeling lost and alone in the big city, Pepper throws herself into her studies with an intensity unmatched by most of her peers at the super competitive private school in which she is enrolled.

Unfortunately, neither teen is prepared for the physical and emotional toll the social media battle will have on them.

Over time, neither Jake, nor Pepper feels good about the whole thing and both wish they weren’t involved. They’re losing sleep and other more wholesome activities begin to take a backseat to the nonstop drama fest.

At school, Pepper and Jake begin to see more and more of each other and a precious friendship develops.

Little do they know, they have also been corresponding for months on an anonymous direct messaging app created by Jake and used by everyone in their school.

Assigned the pseudonyms, Wolf and Bluebird, their flirty banter is a ray of light in both their lives. But when Jack inadvertently figures out who Bluebird is, how will he navigate transitioning their relationship from the screen to real life.

Full of heart, humor and delicious food, Tweet Cute is sure to delight readers of all ages. I absolutely ate up this story from beginning to end.

There is so much more to this than I have words to describe here. Great friendships, fantastic character growth, witty banter, this book truly brought it all!

Pepper and Jack were both so well developed. The challenges they faced as they completed high school, trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives, were really well handled.

Family is a big influence on this story as well and I thought those elements were so relatable and well written.

I am really impressed with this as a debut novel. The pacing and plot twists were expertly crafted to keep the reader engaged throughout.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review, as well as including me in the blog tour.

It has been so much fun and I wish Emma Lord the best with this release.

If this book is any indication, she is poised to have one heck of a career. I cannot wait to see what sort of story she comes up with next!

Tweet Cute releases on Tuesday, January 21st and will be available at your favorite book sellers and via online retailers. Be sure to pick up your copy. You don’t want to miss out on this adorable story!

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Review: Coral by Sara Ella

CoralCoral by Sara Ella
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Coral, through the platform of a Little Mermaid reimagining, follows three perspectives through their struggles with mental illness.

Coral: A little mermaid who lost her oldest sister to Red Tide, a condition that mirrors depression.

Estranged and misunderstood by the rest of her family, Coral sets out to find the Prince she blames for her older sister’s demise.

Merrick: A young man whose controlling father is definitely the villain of his story.

After his little sister attempts suicide, and their mother runs off, unable to cope, he blames his father for the entire situation.

When his father announces that he is planning to send his sister, Amaya, to a residential treatment program, Merrick disagrees. He thinks she should be with family and essentially kidnaps her to avoid her going into treatment.

Brooke: The most mysterious of the perspectives, Brooke is struggling with depression and anxiety and currently residing in a treatment center. She is the most challenging to decipher.

As a reader, you can tell all three perspectives are related somehow, as the storylines begin to run parallel but you don’t know exactly how.

Once all is revealed, it makes sense and is a very heavy story to take in.

While I understand how important the topics tackled in this book are, I personally had a hard time connecting with the story.

The writing is strong and I know for the right person, read at the right time, this book could mean so, so much.

For me, the perspectives began to run into one another and I just never felt fully engrossed in the story. With this being said, I am still glad that I read this.

I think it is a completely unique way of exploring very serious mental health issues.

I urge you to read the author, Sara Ella‘s, review for this book as she includes a full list of trigger warnings. I definitely think that is important for this one.

Tread cautiously if you are at all worried that something may be harmful to your mental state.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I do consider this a heartbreakingly beautiful tale and appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion.

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Review: Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Jane AnonymousJane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jane Anonymous is your run of the mill, 17-year old girl, living in a suburban town, New England state.

That is until she gets abducted while out running an early morning errand. She remains in captivity for 7-months. Locked in a room. Alone.

This is her story, following ‘then’ and ‘now’ timelines until ‘then’ and ‘now’ merge. The narrative itself is more ‘stream of consciousness’ then I tend to enjoy but I’ll tell you what, in this case, it didn’t bother me at all.

I actually feel that it was a really smart choice by the author, as it made the conveyance of this wild tale seem more real. Like a friend was recounting a horrific thing that had happened to them.

When I say ‘horrific thing’, I mean it. This book is not for the sensitive. The violence perpetrated against Jane, being stripped of her freedom and her sense of safety, amongst other traumas, was hard to read.

Her efforts toward recovery were equally heavy and disturbing. In some ways, I think that was even more difficult to read, her struggles to try to adapt back to the life she had before.

Severe trauma, feeling broken and the pathways to recovery are all covered within these pages. I think if this book is read at the right time, by the right person, it could really mean a lot to them and become a favorite.

Hard-hitting the entire way through, if you can stomach it, I think the message of hope that ultimately shines through is worth the effort.

It was that way for me, at least. Although my heart was a little battered and bruised at the end, it was worth it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it!

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Review: Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars, #1)Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

…no one left in the world to love her…only the promise of retribution.

On the debtor’s ship, The Brackish, young Silverfish, once known as Amaya, spends her days diving for pearls and counting down the moments until she can regain her freedom.

Things aboard the ship are far from smooth sailing. The Captain is cruel and treats his young prisoners with an iron fist.

When Amaya rescues a man from drowning, she fears she may be punished by further time added to her sentence.

And although that may be true, she’s taken with this mysterious stranger wrangled from the depths. When she begins to interact with him, Boon promises her unimaginable riches and the possibility of returning to the city of her birth.

With his help, she’ll be able to find out the truth about the cause of the downfall of her family, and in turn, seek revenge of her own.

Through an exciting series of events, Amaya is able to flee the ship and does indeed return to her hometown of Moray, a port-city with an even mix of old-world opulence and new-world problems.

Set up by Boon, she poses as a wealthy Countess in order to infiltrate polite society and bring down the man Boon feels responsible for his problems.

The man he seeks is Kamon Mercado, a high-society businessman, who has secretly fallen into hard times of his own.

His son, Cayo, once involved heavily in the Vice Sector, gambling, drinking and carousing, is trying to stay clean but definitely played his part in dragging the family name through the mud.

Amaya is directed to befriend Cayo and use him to get access to his father. Once she does however, she finds all may not be as easy as it once seemed.

This story is a gender-flipped retelling of the adventure classic, The Count of Monte Cristo, and I definitely felt the themes of that woven throughout.

I loved the back and forth between Amaya’s and Cayo’s perspectives, as they both pieced together the darkness and mysteries surrounding their lives.

I enjoyed so much watching their relationship grow and am definitely interested to see where it will go in the second book.

The setting of Moray reminded me quite a bit of New Reynes, from Amanda Foody’s, Ace of Shades. So, if you enjoyed those books, you should definitely pick this one up.

The Vice Sector, with it’s gambling dens and ruling Slum King, was steeped in danger and underhand dealings. Corruption is a major theme in this book, as is deception and individuals being used as pawns for other’s gains.

Additionally, I enjoyed the pacing and felt it was cleverly plotted, although some of the reveals felt a tad convenient. I did ultimately like the way it all came together. The conclusion was an nice set up going into the final portion of this duology.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this and look forward to continuing with the story!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to get my hands on it early!

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Review: All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Joline Courtney

All-American Muslim GirlAll-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Allie Abraham is a regular girl. Living in the South with her close-knit family, she excels in school and participates in the general activities that most kids her age take part in.

The thing is, Allie is keeping a secret from the outside world. Her family is Muslim and she’s not sharing that fact with anyone.

This book opens up with a blatant display of discrimination against her father and it really never lets up from there.

Although this story may make some people uncomfortable, I think it is an important story and a powerful examination of identity and societal prejudices.

While it is true that this is a story that needs to be written, and more importantly read, it wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting which decreased my enjoyment level just a smidge.

I was sold on this book as a sweet romance between a Muslim girl and a boy whose father is one of America’s most notorious shock jocks. It is true that this exists in this story, however, I wanted more of Allie and Wells.

For me, the focus of the book was obviously Allie’s own exploration of her identity and owning and embracing her faith. A lot of the time we follow her with a new group of friends she discovers over the course of the book and their discussions of Islam as it relates to their lives and the larger world around them.

I did appreciate those discussions but as mentioned earlier, I picked this up with romance in mind and really wanted more of that.

As a Contemporary exploring self-identity and the Muslim faith in general, this was really well done. Courtney has a smooth and easy writing style and I would definitely pick up more books from her.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate the opportunity and am so happy this book is out in the world!

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Review: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

Tuesday Mooney Talks to GhostsTuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tuesday Mooney, a 30-something researcher, living in Boston is about to have the adventure of a lifetime following the clues on a dead billionaire’s treasure hunt.

She is just the sort of character I love, independent, funny, smart, quirky and a bit of a loner; I was happy to go along for the ride.

Full of hilarious hijinks and engrossing twists and turns, this story grabbed me by the heart and never let up. I was a big fan of Racculia’s work going in and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

Every page is full of intelligent writing and witty banter, I am seriously addicted to her style. I could absolutely see myself reading this story again. There was a great cast of side characters that brought humor and depth.

The setting of the city of Boston, a place where I have lived, made it even more exciting. Tie in the fact that she kept mentioning my hometown of Nantucket, felt like I was reading about a friend or neighbor!

As always, Racculia weaves some fairly serious topics into her otherwise humorous narrative. There is an examination of grief, guilt, the loss of a friend, loss of a family member, loss of a job, questioning of self-worth, intimacy, adult friendships and the presence of an afterlife, to name a few.

I think she always handles such topics with grace. It was all really well done here.

If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced, fantastical adult novel, you should definitely give this one a try. If you do and you enjoy it, be sure to check out Bellweather Rhapsody as well!

Finally, thank you to my friend, Tucker, for sending me his copy. I will cherish it forever!!

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