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Category Archives: books

The Boy from the Woods Review

Title: The Boy from the Woods
Author: Harlan Coben
Type: Mystery
Pages: 371
Rating: 3/5

“Extremists are relentless. They don’t see right or wrong. They see us and them”

In the story a girl named Naomi goes missing but nobody seems to care much except a boy named Matthew from her school. She comes back, saying it was all a joke. Then a week later it seems like she is missing for real this time but maybe she just ran away or maybe she’s just joking around again. Of course when a rich privileged dude named Crash goes missing it gets more attention. There’s a ransom note with his disappearance. They are demanding tapes be released from a political candidate that would show some damaging things in order for Crash to be released. The boy from the woods, named Wilde, seems to want to solve this big mystery. In the end he figures it all out pretty easily.

This story was just ok for me. I feel like the first 1/3 was really fast paced, the next 1/3 was slow and then the last 1/3 was fast. There were a lot of characters that were introduced and they were hard to keep track of. I feel like there was so much going on in this story too, lots of different subplots. The idea of this mystery boy appearing from the woods was neat but that storyline didn’t really go anywhere and honestly could have been left out. The author also obviously got some of his ideas from our current political climate which was a little amusing. At the end of the story I found myself saying ‘that’s it?’ Overall this was just meh.

Category Archives: books

Notes on a Silencing Review

Title: Note on a Silencing
Author: Lacy Crawford
Type: Memoir
Pages: 391
Rating: 5/5

“That’s why I didn’t scream, see? That’s why I didn’t claw their eyeballs out, or bite. I was trying to find my place in that moment, and I could not admit to myself that the moment was violent”

“There is a contemporary inquiry into shame that suggests that shame is not as deeply rooted in guilt as power. In my experience, shame is not the wholehearted burn that follows a realization of guilt, which we consider to be shame’s obvious antecedent, but rather a surplus of displeasure that adheres to one party– and always the less powerful one.”

**This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve written thus far. I feel this review does not do this author justice**

While the quotes above are from Lacy Crawford’s memoir, I am reminded of another quote by Brene Brown when she talks about vulnerability, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Lacy Crawford is not weak. Lacy Crawford’s vulnerability in telling her story is truly breathtaking and brave.

I finished this book three days ago and it’s taken me this long to sit down and get my thoughts out. This is a story about a young girl, who was silenced, repeatedly, after experiencing assault by two of her classmates at a boarding school when she was 15. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the writing style. It does jump around a bit as she shares her experiences and memories but once I got used to it, I loved it.

This story is raw, emotional and heartbreaking. Lacy becomes vulnerable and shares her experience with being assaulted and what she felt both physically and emotionally, as well as the challenges she faced as a survivor. You can see and feel the trauma she has as result of her experience.

Her story shows readers what lengths those in power will go to silence those impacted by this kind of assault. It shows how broken our system is. I feel fortunate to have read this story. I feel at a loss with words and I am not doing this review justice. I will say her story made me angry and it made me sad and when I finished I immediately wrote the author and thanked them for sharing her story. While this is a difficult read, I do think it’s a necessary one for many. When individuals are vulnerable and open up their hearts to us, we need to listen, even when it’s hard.

Category Archives: books

With the Fire on High

Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Type: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary
Pages: 388
Rating: 5/5

“Trust. Yourself, mainly, but the world too. There is magic working in your favor”

I was immediately drawn in by this gorgeous cover. It’s absolutely stunning! The story did not disappoint either. With the Fire on High is a coming of age story about Emoni Santiago who became pregnant as a freshman in high school. She always makes the best decisions for her daughter and her abuela who raised her. The one place she can break free and let loose is the kitchen where she makes elaborate meals for friends and family. When she is a senior in high school a new culinary arts elective because available and she feels like it’s a great opportunity. Emoni wants to work in a kitchen when she graduates high school but with a daughter she feels that dream might be impossible. It’s a story about growth, love and cooking!

This story is a masterpiece and I highly recommend you read it. There was not a single character I didn’t like, they were all well developed. I loved the descriptions of the food, it made my mouth water. I also loved how when people ate Emoni’s meals they connected the flavors to a memory or emotion. I also feel like Emoni is a powerful role model for readers who are just like her, single young moms trying to navigate the world. This is probably one of my favorite reads this year and my review isn’t doing it any justice. Check it out!

Category Archives: books

The Last Flight Review

Title: The Last Flight
Author: Julie Clark
Type: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 288
Rating: 4/5

“Are we who we say we are, or do we become the person others see? Do they define us by what we choose to show them, or what they see despite our best attempts to conceal it?”

Gripping read that a times, will keep you on the edge of your seat. The reader is pulled into the story right away. The story has complex and strong female characters which is always a huge huge huge plus for me. The Last Flight follows Eva and Claire both with secrets to hide and both desperate to escape the lives in which they live. They meet at an airport and decide to switch tickets. The storyline goes from past to present while also switching point of views. It was easy to follow and the story flowed nicely. At times it was a little slow but overall, I really enjoyed the story and look forward to reading Julie’s other novel as well as future novels.

Category Archives: books

Behind the Red Door Review

Title: Behind the Red Door
Author: Megan Collons
Type: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5

**Thank you NetGalley and Atria for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Behind the Red Door is out August 4th!

What a great, gripping and fast read. I could not put it down! Fern suffers from an anxiety disorder and when she’s on the way to see her father she sees news of a missing woman named Astrid Sullivan. Fern swears she knows her but Fern’s husband believes its because the kidnapping was well known but Fern has no memory of the famous kidnapping. Astrid wrote a memoir about her experience being kidnapped then returned unharmed and it appears she has been kidnapped again. Fern purchases the memoir and as she begins to read she feels a disturbing connection to Astrid. Fern must confront these memories in order to survive and save Astrid.

Behind the Red Door was so well planned and detailed. It kept me guessing the entire time. The characters were complex and compelling too. Part of me wanted a different ending, which I wish I could share but it would spoil things. Overall this book was fantastic. It was dark, disturbing and everything you want a thriller to be.

Category Archives: books

Alex Six Review

Title: Alex Six
Author: Vince Taplin
Type: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 283
Rating: 4/5

This debut novel by Vince Taplin was a page turner and difficult to put down. It was thrilling, suspenseful and quite creepy. Alex is grieving the loss of her husband when she meets Victor who appears to be an identical twin of her late husband. She approaches Victor with a proposition, to help her have a baby that would look like her dead husband. What we find as we read is that she’s obsessive and a little (ok a lot) crazy.

There was a lot I loved about this book. It was a fast read, the chapters were short, the way the author choose to distinguish between points of view was clever. Overall the plot was well thought out and kept the reader engaged. I did not see the ending coming either which is a huge plus. There were times I set the novel down and found myself thinking about the story and what I thought would happen next. I would have liked to see more character development in some of the characters. Certain parts of the story weren’t necessary in my opinion and the jump in the timeline throughout the book could be confusing at times. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and look forward to more books by this author in the future.

Category Archives: books

The Storyteller Review

Title: The Storyteller
Author: Jodi Picoult
Type: Historical Fiction, Holocaust
Pages: 461
Rating: 5/5

“When she gardens, she never sees the seed. She is already picturing the plant it will become”

A beautiful story about love, forgiveness and the Holocaust. Sage, heartbroken after the loss of both her mother and father meets a man named Josef in her grief group. A meeting that will forever change the course of her life. He is looking for forgiveness for the terrible acts he committed during WWII. Though this heartbreaking story, Sage finds the meaning of her life and begins to find herself again.

This story is a masterpiece and beautifully written. It’s told from several points of view and Jodi Picoult does an amazing job connecting these characters together. The plot was well thought out and the story made you feel so many emotions at the same time. The final twist was pretty predictable but overall I still really loved the story. The characters felt like people I knew and had met in real life. If you enjoy historical books about the Holocaust then this story is for you.

QOTD: What was your last emotional read?

Category Archives: books

The Beauty in Breaking Review

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.”

Category Archives: books

Fireborne Review

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?

Category Archives: books

The Vanishing Half Review

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!

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