The Push by Ashley Audrain of

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 stars)

Even with the trigger warnings, I still wasn’t prepared for this journey. I purposely avoided reading reviews, because I think going into this particular story, less is more. The less you know, the better the enjoyment and reading experience you’ll get from the book.

I’m going to be completely honest, I initially had no intention of reading this one. I didn’t think it’d be my kinda read, but I kept seeing it pop up on my Instagram feed and it was selected in my buddy read group. So of course, I had the FOMO and decided, hey why not?! How bad can it be? While it wasn’t perfect, I’m glad I decided to pick it up, cause I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

I will say however, I wouldn’t have pegged this as a thriller or even really suspense.

This was a very raw, emotional and dark portrayal of motherhood. We have 3 separate timelines and POV’s (Blythe, Cecilia & Etta). There were a couple of times I was a bit confused as to who’s story we were reading and what timeline were in, because it bounces back and forth between the present and Blythe’s childhood memories. I caught on quickly though and enjoyed it regardless. There were definitely times I found it hard to read since it dealt with child abuse, mental illness and loss of a child. It was a lot to digest and process.

I had so many things running through my head when it came to Blythe’s story, but I found myself rooting for her and believing her. Her experience as a new mom, really hit home for me. My first born was colic, cried 6 hours a day, hardly slept and wanted to be held ALL the time! It was incredibly exhausting and not what I envisioned motherhood to be back then. Having gone through PPD myself, I understood Blythe in those moments. However, I never neglected my child or went through a lot of the other things she was going through, so I couldn’t relate to it. But I definitely felt her emotions!

THE CHARACTERS

FOX- He was such a dick! It was heartbreaking to watch Fox be as dismissive as he was, and to do what he did!

MRS. ELLINGTON -I loved her and loved that she took on the motherly role that Blythe so badly needed. I wish we got to see more of what happened in her relationship with Blythe in the 2nd half of the book.

CECILIA & ETTA – I couldn’t stand these two women. They were just awful!

I was a little disappointed with Gemma & Blythe’s relationship. I was hoping for some drama in that department. I was surprised and irritated that Blythe never confronted her about the affair. Then what was the point of going through all that trouble?!!

THE ENDING..

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna spoil it. But you’ll either feel satisfied, or you won’t. In this case, it worked well enough for me.

I did think the 2nd half of the book stretched a little longer in some areas than it really needed to, making the ending seem a tad rushed. There were some missed opportunities that I would have preferred and love to have seen instead.

Overall, it was still a good read and one I’d say, is worth picking up.

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born—and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

Book Vs Show: A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (for the book)

After watching the first season and loving it, I decided to give this book a second go. I had DNF’d it the first time, which was back in my Twilight loving days.

BOOK VERSUS THE SHOW

As with any book to film adaptation, the book is always more detailed and obviously different than the show. Personally, I’m glad I watched the show first! It was SO good!!

Book

– It started off strong with the mention of witches, vampires, daemons and a mysterious manuscript (Ashmole 782).

– I loved the setting and all the magic that Diana possessed. I just wish we got to see more of that, rather than spend the entire time with Diana reading textbooks, drinking tea, eating, drinking wine, drinking more tea, sleeping and other useless activities that had no relevance.

Show

– I really enjoyed the chemistry between Matthew & Diana on screen. Unfortunately, the book was too PG for my liking, and I wasn’t as invested in their relationship as I was with the show.

– The characters are a little different in the show than in the book, which was totally fine by me. Some of the ones that took a back seat or were merely mentioned, played a much larger role in the show, which I really liked. I loved how the power of witches and vampires were shown in the show. It’s only in the book that we learn what daemons are capable of.

-There was definitely waay more action in the show versus the book. I found the book slow, making it hard for me to want to binge read. Hardly anything happens in the majority of the book.

I did however, enjoy the background history on the Bishops, Matthew & Ysabeau de Claremont that we get to see in the book, that was missed on screen.

OVERALL VERDICT

It’s a very rare occurence when I like a show or movie adaption better than the book.

While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t love it like I did the show. It had the potential to be an amazing read, but got caught up in too many mundane details.

To be honest, if I hadn’t watched the first season and loved it, 1) I would have never picked up the book again and 2) I would have DNF’D it..AGAIN.

My advice: WATCH THE SHOW!! (Whether you’ve read the book or not).

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 (3.5 stars)

“Yeah. I’m pretty sure ‘trophy wife’ is a top-five fetish for underemployed artist types.” -Crumb Cake (Artemis)

It wasn’t perfect, but I had a blast reading this one. Roxy is like the friend you live vicariously through, who has all the crazy adventures and messed up stories to tell.

I read this book in short doses, which is probably the way to go, since the entire book is written in the form of letters to Everett (the ex-boyfriend turned roommate). This will either work for you or it won’t.

For me, it was lacking some pizzazz. It would have been a knockout had the book included Everett’s response to some of the letters, with perhaps a mix of text messages between some of the characters.

Unfortunately, I did not see the connection between this story and Where’d You Go Burnadette, other than the topic of mental illness. So I have no idea why that was even a comparison.

While I enjoyed the happy ending, I also thought it was rushed and wrapped up too neatly.

Don’t get me wrong. This was an overall fun read, and exactly the break I needed from my usual reads.

If you:

✔ enjoyed Bridget Jones

✔ like happy endings

✔ aren’t a prude

✔ enjoy epistolary format

Then I think you’ll wanna read this one. 🙂

Have you read it? What did you think?

Bridget Jones penned a diary; Roxy writes letters. Specifically: she writes letters to her hapless, rent-avoidant ex-boyfriend—and current roommate—Everett. This charming and funny twenty-something is under-employed (and under-romanced), and she’s decidedly fed up with the indignities she endures as a deli maid at Whole Foods (the original), and the dismaying speed at which her beloved Austin is becoming corporatized. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.

As her letters to Everett become less about overdue rent and more about the state of her life, Roxy realizes she’s ready to be the heroine of her own story. She decides to team up with her two best friends to save Austin—and rescue Roxy’s love life—in whatever way they can. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and find romance—and even creative inspiration—in the process?

Beach Read By Emily Henry @PenguinRandomCA

** Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion **

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Pub Date: 05. 19. 20

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Here’s the thing about writing Happily Ever Afters: it helps if you believe them.

Here’s the thing about me: I did until the day of my father’s funeral.”

I’ve been on this horror, zombie, thriller sorta binge lately.
Lovey dovey reads was so not what I was in the mood for, but this. This ladies & gents was worth the read!

For those who haven’t read it yet, I suggest stopping right here and going in knowing as little as possible!

I buddy read this one with Norma @readinginthecountry and so glad I did!
I loved that we both had very similar thoughts and feelings about the story and the characters and their relationships.

I was definitely caught off guard by how hot and heavy this book got! 🔥🔥
It was blue ball territory.

“I dreamed about Gus Everett and woke up needing a shower.”

*gush* I really liked Gus! January was frustrating at times, but I loved watching her and Gus’ relationship develop.

Both Norma and I felt the last 25% of the book lost a bit of steam. Although loose ends were tied, I wanted more from the Sonya storyline. I just felt the whole point of January going to the beach house was to get answers and closure about her dad’s other relationship. Instead, that part was short and still left me unsatisfied. I would have also liked to hear her mother’s side of that story.

Overall, it was a wonderful story. One that would make an excellent book club selection.

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton @BlackstoneAudio @PenguinRandomCa

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

My Rating:

Narration: 4.5 ⭐
Story: 4 ⭐

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Audio: Blackstone Audio

🎶 Havana, oh na-na. Half of my heart is in Havana, oh na-na. 🎶

I did it! I completed a whole book on audio! It might sound stupid, but I’m quite proud of myself right now. I don’t typically do audio cause I zone out after a while, but I think I learned the trick to staying focused!! 😜

Cleeton paints such a vivid picture of both past and present day Cuba, I could literally imagine myself being there.

Marisol’s chapters were a bit slow and dull at times, but I liked the alternating time periods and really enjoyed Elisa’s POV.

To be honest, I normally hate insta love, but the story was beautifully written that I was able to look past it.

I haven’t agreed with majority of the books I chose to read which were Reese’s picks, but I actually enjoyed this one! I’m looking forward to reading the next 2 books!

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

**Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for my gifted copy **

Genre: Women’s Fiction

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you like:

✔ Multiple POV’s
✔ Newfound friendships, enemies to lovers
✔ Stories of personal growth

✔ Flawed characters

Yay! I did it! I finished the last book on my list for February! 🥳

This was a cute and charming read. The kind of book you can enjoy at a coffee shop. At one point, I actually felt like going to Monica’s Cafe, but had to remind myself that it was a fictitious place! Bummer!

I do have to be honest though..about a quarter way through the book was a bit slow and I started skimming a large chunk of it. However, the last 30-40% definitely pulled through for me and I loved the ending! Fair warning, it was a bit sad, but completely satisfying. You’d have to read it to know what I mean! 😜

MONICA

I swear I kept picturing Kate Beckinsale for some reason. I couldn’t help but want a happy ending for her. I also kept hoping she’d end up with Hazard.

HAZARD

Sure he was arrogant and an ass, but somehow I was still rootin for this guy to turn his life around.

JULIAN

Ahh..the ever eccentric Julian. I loved this old man! I feel like he’d be such a hoot to have at the dinner table.

RILEY

The Aussie with a beautiful soul! He WAS such a sweet boy ❤ Good man this one was.

ALICE

I think we could all relate to her on some level, whether you’re a mom or obsessing over your Instagram account.

LIZZIE

The nosy neighbour who wasn’t afraid to admit it either! I think we all have one of those! 😜

Overall, I enjoyed the concept of this story. I loved the six degrees of separation and idea of these characters being brought together by a journal called: The Authenticity Project.

Have you read it? Plan to read it?

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.

One Day In December by Josie Silver #BOTM

** Spoiler Alert **

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

His real downfall came at the end of the date; he escorted me home to Delancey Street and then kissed me in the style of someone trying to administer CPR. CPR with an entirely inappropriate amount of saliva. I made a dash for the bathroom as soon as I got inside, and my reflection confirmed that I looked as if I’d been kissed by a Great Dane. In the rain.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I don’t, but I do believe in finding “The One”. When it comes to storytelling, if it’s done well, it can be a great story.

I’m gonna be totally honest, I had to cast my cynicism aside for this one. To be fair, it wasn’t a bad read, but I didn’t love it like everyone else. Trust me. I really wanted to! I’ve read SO many rave reviews and I was in the mood for a chick flick type of read.

What I enjoyed..

– The characters. They were both loveable and infuriating, which makes for good writing.

– The love triangle. I thought the author did a really good job with this one.

– I loved the alternating POV’s between Louise & Jack.

What didn’t work for me..

– I found myself skimming..A LOT. Like through the entire book. There were many times I considered DNF-ing, but I wanted to see how Jack and Lousie would finally end up together (which is pretty obvious. No surprise there.)

Overall, it was entertaining with some laugh out loud moments.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

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