The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires Review

July 15th, 2020

Title: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
Author: Grady Hendrix
Type: Horror, Paranormal
Pages: 404
Rating: 4/5

This is my first book by Grady Hendrix and it won’t be my last. I absolutely loved the writing style and development of both the story and the characters. I felt entertained the entire time. There were definitely had some pretty gruesome parts that made my stomach turn.

It’s the 90’s and several housewives decide to start a book club and love reading/discussing true crime books. After several kids go missing on the other side of town, Patricia become suspicious of a new guy in town and she convinces the others in the book club that he’s bad news. Patrica thinks something isn’t quite right about James Harris. James can pretty convincing and seems to have the whole town wrapped around his finger. Over the course of 3 years he inserts himself into Patricia and her family’s life but she won’t give up without a fight. What is James doing to the children and can Patricia convince her book club that he needs to be stopped?

As mentioned, the book is well written but I want to give a fair warning that there are some really cringe worthy parts. Some of the themes may make the reader feel uncomfortable. There was some strong female characters which is always a plus for me. Overall I am glad I read this and look forward to more of Hendrix’s work.

QOTD: What was the last book you finished?

The Beauty in Breaking Review

July 13th, 2020

Title: The Beauty in Breaking
Author: Michele Harper
Type: Memoir
Pages: 304
Rating: 4/5

This review will be short and sweet. The Beauty in Breaking is a memoir that follows Dr Michele Harper in her journey of self discovery and self-healing. She is an ER doctor and each chapter is a new patient who taught her to find meaning in her own life. It’s beautiful how Dr Harper connects the lives of her patients with her own and how she can use these experiences to guide her in her own life. I’ll end with some of my favorite quotes. If you find meaning in these, then I highly recommend this book.

“If I can find stillness in this chaos, if I could find love beyond this violence, if I could heal these layers of wounds, then I would be the doctor in my own emergency room”

“Forgiveness condones nothing, but it does cast off the chains of anger, judgement, resentment, denial, and pain that choke growth. In this way, it allows for life, for freedom. So that’s what’s at stake when it comes to forgiveness: freedom. With this freedom we can feel better, be better and choose better next time.”

“As long as we’re willing to move forward, to nourish our body and spirit and allow for the disintegration of any attachments to the patterns that do not serve us, without our understanding exactly how the next bits will fall into place, beautiful outcomes do unfold.”

Fireborne Review

July 8th, 2020

Title: Fireborne
Author: Rosaria Munda
Type: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 2/5

This book as been on my tbr since October. I had gotten it as an add on from Book of the Month. I finally decided to read it because I kept getting emails from BOTM asking me what I thought. Haha

Let’s first take a minute to talk about the beautiful cover. It screams “READ ME” I love the bold red color and the dragon right in the center. That’s about where it stops for me, unfortunately. I finished this book and found dread when I thought about having to write a review.

I didn’t really care for this book. Part of me wonders if I wasn’t in the mood for a young adult fantasy and had I put it down and picked it up later that maybe I would have enjoyed it more. The author did a pretty good job of building the world these characters lived in. The problem is, that I wanted more dragons. I mean there’s a dragon on the cover and I felt like the dragons were not central to the story. I also didn’t connect to any of the characters.

Annie and Lee are orphans after a revolution where their families were brutally killed. They somehow end up in some type of military training where they get to ride dragons and eventually… maybe in future books they go to war. Maybe there will be more dragons in future books too?

Honestly, I don’t really want to spend anymore time on this book. I didn’t like it but I definitely think I am in the minority because it’s highly rated on Goodreads and Amazon. Just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean you won’t love it.

QOTD: What was the last book you read that disappointed you?

The Vanishing Half Review

July 3rd, 2020

Title: The Vanishing Half
Author: Brit Bennett
Type: Literary, Historical, Contemporary  
Pages: 343
Rating: 5/5

Whoa! Words can not describe how amazing this book is! This is my first book by Brit Bennett and it won’t be my last! First of all, look at this gorgeous cover!

Desiree and Stella Vines are idential twin sisters, born from a black mother and white father live in Mallard, Louisanna, a town where you are judged based on how dark your skin is. At 16, they decide they want a better life and head to New Orleans. Soon after, Stella disappears, deciding to live her life as a white woman. After 10 years, Desiree returns to Mallard to live with her mother. The book goes between past and present as well as points of view from the twins’ daughters. During this beautifully woven story we learn about the lives each sister and their families. Stella pretending to be something she’s not, afraid the past will catch up with her. Desiree accepting true self wondering what happened to her lost sister.

The author touches on some really tough topics like, racism, gender identity, privilege, colorism, family relationships and coming to terms with who you are. The chapters were long but I found myself being unable to put the book down.

Add this to your to-be-read list now. You will not regret it!

Beach Read Review

June 29th, 2020

Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Type: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 361
Rating: 5/5

Oh what a cute, quick and fun read this was! I loved all the characters in this book so much. January Andrews is a writer of romance and happily ever after endings. Augustus ‘Gus’ Everett is a write of literary fiction. The only thing they have in common is that they are both suffering from writer’s block. Oh and they happen to be living next door to each other for the next three months. They strike a bet. During those three months, Gus will write a rom-com book and January will write the novel of a lifetime. They spend weekends doing research trips together. The research will help them on their novels. Whoever writes and sells their book first, wins. The only rule they have, do not fall in love.

This book was fun, sexy, and so cute! I couldn’t put it down and found myself wishing I could continue to follow these characters and their life after I finished. I loved how these characters brought out the best qualities in each other. I loved that the author took time to develop the romance. The building of the relationship is my favorite part of any romance. I have nothing but good to say about this book! It’s perfect for summer!

After Elias Review

June 28th, 2020

Title: After Elias
Author: Eddy Boudel Tan
Type: LGBT, Contemporary
Pages: 296
Rating: 4/5

Thank you NetGalley and Dundurn Press for the opportunity to read this book early in exchange for my honest review. After Elias releases October 6th.

Both heartbreaking and beautiful, this story lets us into the life of Coen who travels to Mexico ahead of his partner Elias. They are to be married when tragedy occurs. The plane that Elias is piloting crashes killing everyone on board. He has one final message that leaves everyone, including Coen confused and looking for answers. Coen must confront his past, as well as Elias’ to move forward.

For the most part I enjoyed this story. It took me longer to read it than normal but I did love all the characters and the detail of the Mexican landscape and buildings were vivid in my mind. I felt as if I was there within the story looking at the same trees and flowers. I felt so much heartache as Coen moved though his grief and leaned on his friends and family for support. I loved how the author took the time to develop each character and relationships between these characters as well. Lastly, I love how this author ended this story and I feel like this story touched on so many difficult topics that can be hard to write about. I look forward to more novels by this author.

And Now She’s Gone Review

June 22nd, 2020

Title: And Now She’s Gone
Author: Rachel Howzell Hall
Type: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 384
Rating: 4/5

***Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Twists, turns and big surprises oh my! I really enjoyed this book. It kept me guessing the entire time! I found the storyline and plot to be clever and well thought out. It’s the kind of story that truly played out like a movie in my head.

I would love to see this story on the big screen! Isabel Lincoln is missing and Grayson Skyes is private investigator hired by Ian, Isabel’s boyfriend, to find her. As Gray investigates she starts to question why Isabel is missing in the first place and what she might be hiding. The story goes between present day, and Gray’s past. Grays story involves a troubled past with an abusive partner and a name change to escape. Isabel’s story is complex and will keep you guessing.

My only complaint is that there were a lot of characters to keep track of and I struggled a bit with that but the story was really good and I hope this isn’t the last of Grayson Skyes. I would love to read more stories with her in it. I loved loved loved her character. Please please please give me more of Grayson Skyes!

If You Tell Review

June 18th, 2020

Title: If You Tell
Author: Gregg Olsen
Type: True Crime, Non-Fiction
Pages: 428
Rating: 4/5

**Trigger Warning
This story contains emotional, physical, verbal abuse as well as murder.

This was a pretty fast read for me. I can’t remember the last non-fiction book I read and I found this one to be hard to put down. The chapters were super short which is always a plus for me. The delivery of the story was pretty good, considering the content. The story is a collection of memories involving Shelly and her daughters Nikki, Sami and Tori. Shelly is sadistic and abusive. She pretty much abuses anyone she comes into contact with. She is a master manipulator and gas-lighter. Often times, Nikki, Sami and Tori struggled with what they were experiencing and seeing and what to do about it. If you can not stomach emotional, physical and verbal abuse then this probably isn’t the story for you. She got away with a lot and it’s sickening. At times, I wondered how something like this could happen and go on for as long as it did.

While the story is sad, it’s also about survival and sisterhood bonds. It is a heartbreaking read that shows how easy an abuser can manipulate, gaslight and abuse its victims. Shelly’s children were not the only victims of abuse. A few adults suffered abuse at the hands of Shelly too. I think that showcases how real Stockholm Syndrome is. I had never heard about this story and I found myself wanting to look more into the case when I finished the book.

Everything Here is Under Control Review

June 17th, 2020

Title: Everything Here is Under Control
Author: Emily Adrian
Pages: 272
Rating: 4/5

**Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing the opportunity to read this book early in exchange for an honest review.

Beautifully written story about motherhood, friendship and family dynamics. Everything Here is Under Control tells the story of Amanda, a new mother who has a fight with her partner and decides to jump in the car. She shows up at the home of her childhood best friend, Carrie, who she has barely seen or talked to in over 10 years. Their lives were so different that last summer after high school. Carrie had a baby and Amanda moved to New York with her partner. The birth of her son compels Amanda to face the reasons she left Carrie behind and the trauma of childbirth makes her want to repair the damaged friendship. The story is raw, complex and relatable.

The writing style of this is a little different than I am used to but I also feel that it was beautiful. The story feels as if it’s written inside the head of Amanda. I felt like I was listening to her inner dialogue. I fell in love with Amanda’s character because she was relatable in the beginning. As a mother myself, the experiences Amanda had took me right back to those first few months as a new mom myself. The death stares to my partner as they snoozed at 3am. The constant worry that something bad was going to happen. The constant fear you are doing something wrong. Covered in baby spit up, no shower and lounging in sweats while completely exhausted due to sleep deprivation. I think many new mothers can relate. I didn’t really see the main plot twist that happens about halfway through the book but I feel like each character and the experiences they had were beautifully woven together. I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone but I highly recommend this book. I would also love to see the same story but written from Carrie’s point of view.

Well Met Review

June 12th, 2020

Title: Well Met
Author: Jen DeLuca
Type: Romance, Chick Lit, Romantic Comedy
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5

What a fun read this was! Emily moves to the town of Willow Creek to help out her sister, a single mom who was in a terrible car accident. April needs help taking care her daughter Caitlin for the summer. Emily drives Caitlin to sign up to be part of the Renaissance Faire. A six week fundraiser for the community. Emily is roped into volunteering and meets Simon, who runs the Faire and is a closed off dude who seems to hate her. Emily has planned to just stay for the summer but soon finds herself possibly looking to put down roots in the town of Willow Creek.

Theres so many good things about this book. Such a sweet story about someone finding themselves and moving though heartache. I found these characters to be super cute. I love that the romance was a slow build. There were so many times I was grinning from the cheesy cute relationship. I also laughed a lot. I loved the Renaissance aspect of this story too. I found it to be extremely detailed and felt like I was amongst the faire. I grew up with my mom working for a small business that sold items at Renaissance Festivals throughout the country. She made tiaras, princess hats and wands. It took me back to the times I’d help her out. Such a cute read! Highly recommend!