Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve added to my TBR and forgotten about

QOTD: Do you have any books on your TBR you’ve forgotten about? Or keep pushing away?

This is my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday which is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

The original topic was Books I’ve added to my TBR and forgotten why. Since I’m a bit OCD, I actually go and clean up my TBR on Goodreads by removing books I’m no longer interested in reading..(the life of a mood reader!)

So.. I’ve decided to list my top 10 that I’ve forgotten about, and still need to get to instead!

1. A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E Schwab

– I keep saying I’m gonna get to it, but keep pushing it aside. 🙈

2. Scythe by Neil Schusterman

3. Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

4. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

5. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

6. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

7. Verity by Colleen Hoover

8. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

10. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Have you read any of these?

[#Excerpt] More Than Neighbours by Shannon Stacey @HarlequinBooks

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

The only thing they have in common is a property line! Cam Maguire is in Blackberry Bay to unravel a family secret. Meredith Price has moved next door with her daughter. He’s unattached. She’s a widowed single mom. He’s owned by a cat. She’s definitely team canine. All these neighbors have in common is a property line. One they cross…over and over. And Cam thought he knew what he wanted—until his family’s secret changes everything.

“So you’re staying for the summer, you said? Where do you usually live?”

“New York City, actually.”

Her hazel eyes widened. “Wow. That’s quite a change in pace.”

“It is, but I was ready to get away for a while.” “What do you do in the city?”

“I work for my dad,” he said, which wasn’t technically a lie, but wasn’t entirely accurate, either. “A lot of accounting and paperwork and boring stuff like that.”

She was cute when she wrinkled her nose. “I’m not a fan of boring math-related paperwork.”

A yelp from across the yard caught her attention and she turned to see Elinor swipe at the white puff-ball. Sophie was frowning and picked the dog up, turning her body so the cat couldn’t see him any-more.

“Your cat appears to be bullying my dog.”

“She’s not my cat. And you’re embarrassing your dog by even making that claim right now.”

She arched an eyebrow at him. “If you don’t think cats can bully dogs, you don’t spend a lot of time on the internet.”

“She just wants the dog to know who’s boss, I guess.”

“It’s his yard,” she pointed out.

“She’s a cat.”

“Point taken.” A genuine smile lit up her face and made her eyes crinkle. “They’ll get used to each other. And speaking of that, now that I know you’re going to be my neighbor for a while, I should prob-ably introduce myself properly. I’m Meredith Price, and that’s Sophie and Oscar.”

“Calvin Maguire,” he said, extending his hand. “But everybody calls me Cam.”

As she shook his hand, he noted how soft the skin was and had to resist rubbing his thumb over it.

She tilted her head as she smoothly pulled her hand away from his. “How do you get Cam from Calvin?”

“My initials. Calvin Anthony Maguire.” His mouth twisted in a wry smile. “The fourth.”

“Interesting.”

“It was a better alternative than being Little Cal for my entire life.” He didn’t really want to open him-self up to more questions about his family, since they were the last thing he wanted to talk about. “Since Oscar’s from California, let me guess. Oscar de la Renta?”

She laughed. “Oscar the Grouch.”

“You’re kidding.” He looked at the dog again, who looked like the kind they put on the packaging of fancy dog food. “I don’t really see the resemblance, but maybe it’s a personality thing.”

“He’s actually named after Sophie’s favorite book at the time, and trust me, we spent days explaining to her why we couldn’t make his hair green.”

“He doesn’t bark a lot, does he?”

“I wouldn’t say he barks a lot.” She glanced at the dog before giving him a sheepish look. “It’s more like a really high-pitched yip.”

“That’ll be fun while I’m reading over spread-sheets,” he said, picturing spending his summer being harassed by a stubborn cat and a high-strung dog. “Maybe I should have packed my noise- canceling headphones.”

She looked startled for a second and then her eyes narrowed. “I have a child and a dog, so I guess you’ll just have to figure out how to make it work.”

“Maybe a muzzle?” he asked, but he wasn’t re-ally serious. Yipping dogs weren’t his favorite, but he wasn’t a total jerk.

She stared at him for a long moment before giving him an arch look. “I don’t know if I can find one in your size, but I can try.”

Cam chuckled, appreciating her comeback, but she didn’t even crack a smile. Maybe she hadn’t been joking. And maybe she’d thought he wasn’t, either.

“If you’ll excuse me, we just arrived and I have a lot to do.”

“Nice to meet you,” he said as she walked, and she held up her hand in what looked more like a dis-missive gesture than a wave.

That was fine. If she wanted to play that game, she’d find out he didn’t really care that much. She and her yipping dog could stay in her yard and he’d stay in his.

He had better things to do, anyway. Like learning more about Carolina Archambault, and figuring out how to convince her cat he was the boss.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

** Thank you Netgalley & Berkley Publishing for my eARC in exchange for an honest review **

Genre: Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers

My Rating: DNF – ⭐⭐⭐

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year!!

It’s like Haunting of hill house meets The Shining.

Had I not read or watched The Haunting Of House, I would have loved this more than I did, and possibly deemed it a favourite. However, this felt like a rewrite and just too similar for me to truly enjoy it the way it should be.

I hate it when books have the same storyline cause it literally feels like I’ve already read it.

Don’t get me wrong. This was not horrible by any means. It was a simple case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

Having said that, if you:

1) Haven’t read The Haunting of Hill House

2) love a good ghost/haunted house story and

3) enjoy Riley Sager’s books like I do, you will definitely like this one.

What did you think? Have you read it yet? What’s your favourite Riley Sager book?

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley @HarperCollinsCa

** Thank you Harper Collins Canada for gifting me and ARC in exchange for my honest opinion **

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

If you like:

✔ Agatha Christie-like murder mysteries
✔multiple POV’s
✔ slow burn build ups

✔ multiple twists

I’ve been very picky with my thrillers lately, and slow burn build ups aren’t my thing to begin with. Intially it actually worked for me, but then it started to lose steam, making it easy for me to put down and get distracted by another book.

What I enjoyed..

– I loved the opening scene! It felt very Agatha Christie like and had me hooked!

– I’m a fan of multiple POV’s. Each character had some sort of secret, making each one look guilty.

My Issues with it..

– It was a bit too coincidental that the groom was somehow connected to each MC.

– Because the pacing started slowing down around 80 pages or so, I almost lost interest in finishing it and came close to DNF-ing it.

Overall, some of it you could see it a mile away, but I didn’t see the final twist coming. I actually thought it was gonna be someone else!

Have you read it? Did you love it? Have you read The Hunting Party?

Set on a remote island off the Irish coast, this is one guest list no one would want to be on, just as no one would have wanted an invitation to the New Year’s Eve party in Foley’s previous novel, The Hunting Party . Lives unravel amid the revelry on an eerie and remote island as family and friends assemble for a glam wedding in an updated Murder on the Orient Express. Each of the principal characters has a reason to want one of their number dead, there are old secrets, and one of them is murdered.

[Blog Tour & #Excerpt] Stranger In the Lake by Kimberly Belle

Genre:

Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological

352 pages

On Sale Date: June 9, 2020

9780778309819, 0778309819

Trade Paperback

$17.99 USD, $22.99 CAD

About the Book

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

About the Author

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including the forthcoming Stranger in the Lake (June 2020). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.kimberlybellebooks.com/

Facebook: @KimberlyBelleBooks

Twitter: @KimberlySBelle

Instagram: @kimberlysbelle

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimberlybelle

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WNX6ZZS

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stranger-in-the-lake-kimberly-belle/1133065677

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/stranger-in-the-lake-original/9780778309819?aid=0

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309819

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Stranger-Lake/Kimberly-Belle/9780778309819

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stranger-in-the-lake

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/stranger-in-the-lake/id1477319023

Google Play: https://books.google.com/books?q=editions%3AISBN0008907390

The town of Lake Crosby isn’t much, just three square blocks and some change, but it’s the only town in the southern Appalachians perched at the edge of the water, which makes it a popular tourist spot. Paul’s office is at the far end of the first block, tucked between a fudge shop and Stuart’s Craft Cocktails, which, as far as I can tell, is just another way to say “pretentious bar.” Most of the businesses here are pretentious, farm-to-table restaurants and specialty boutiques selling all things overpriced and unnecessary.

For people like Paul, town is a place to socialize and make money—in his case, by selling custom house designs for the million-dollar lots that sit high on the hills or line the lakeshores. My old friends serve his drinks and wait his tables—but only the lucky ones. There are ten times more locals than there are jobs.

The covered terrace for the cocktail lounge is quiet, a result of the off-season and the incoming weather, the sign on the door still flipped to Closed. I’m passing the empty hostess stand when I notice movement at the very back, a tattered shadow peeling away from the wall. Jax—the town loon, the crazy old man who lives in the woods. Most people turn away from him, either out of pity or fear, but not me. For some reason I can’t put into words, I’ve never been afraid to look him straight on.

He takes a couple of halting steps, like he doesn’t want to be seen—and he probably doesn’t. Jax is like a deer you come up on in a meadow, one blink and he’s gone. But this time he doesn’t run.

His gaze flicks around, searching the street behind me. “Where’s Paul.” A statement, not a question.

Slowly, so not to spook him, I point to the sleek double doors on the next building, golden light spilling out the windows of Keller Architecture. “Did you check inside?”

Jax shakes his head. “I need to talk to him. It’s important.”

Like every time he emerges from out of the woods, curiosity bubbles in my chest. Once upon a time, Jax had everything going for him. High school prom king and star quarterback, the golden boy with a golden future, and one of Paul’s two best friends. Their picture still sits atop his desk in the study, Paul and Jax and Micah, all tanned chests and straightened smiles, three teenage boys with the world at their feet.

Now he’s Batty Jax, the raggedy, bearded boogeyman parents use as a warning. Do your homework, stay out of trouble, and don’t end up like Jax.

He clings to the murky back of the terrace, sticking to the shaded spots where it’s too dark for me to make out much more than a halo of matted hair, the jutting edges of an oversized jacket, long, lean thighs. His face is dark, too, the combination of a life outdoors and dirt.

“Do you want me to give Paul a message? Or if you stay right there, I can send him out. I know he’ll want to see you.”

Actually, I don’t know; I only assume. Jax is the source of a slew of rumors and petty gossip, but for Paul, he’s a painful subject, one he doesn’t like to talk about. As far as I know, the two haven’t spoken since high school graduation—not an easy thing to do in a town where everybody knows everybody.

Jax glances up the street, in the direction of far-off voices floating on the icy wind. I don’t follow his gaze, but I can tell from the way his body turns skittish that someone is coming this way, moving closer.

“Do you need anything? Some money, maybe?”

Good thing those people aren’t within earshot, because they would laugh at the absurdity of the trailer-park girl turned married-up wifey offering the son of an insurance tycoon some cash. Not that Jax’s father didn’t disown him ages ago or that I have more than a couple of bucks in my pocket, but still.

Jax shakes his head again. “Tell Paul I need to talk to him. Tell him to hurry.”

Before I can ask what for, he’s off, planting a palm on the railing and springing over in one easy leap, his body light as a pole vaulter. He hits the cement and takes off up the alley. I dash forward until I’m flush with the railing, peering down the long passage between Paul’s building and the cocktail lounge, but it’s empty. Jax is already gone.

I push through the doors of Keller Architecture, an open space with cleared desks and darkened computer screens. The whiteboard on the back wall has already been wiped clean, too, one of the many tasks Paul requires his staff to do daily. It’s nearing five, and other than his lead designer, Gwen, hunched over a drawing at her drafting table, the office is empty.

She nods at my desk. “Perfect timing. I just finished the Curtis Cottage drawings.”

Calling a seven-thousand-square-foot house a “cottage” is ridiculous, as are whatever reasons Tom Curtis and his wife, a couple well into their seventies, gave Paul for wanting six bedrooms and two kitchens in what is essentially a weekend home. But the Curtises are typical Keller Architecture clients—privileged, demanding and more than a little entitled. They like Paul because he’s one of them. Having a desk is probably ridiculous, too, since I only work twenty hours a week, and for most of them I’m anywhere but here. My role is client relations, which consists mainly of hauling my ass to wherever the clients are so I can put out fires and talk them off the latest ledge. The job and the desk are one of the many perks of being married to a Keller.

“Thanks.” I tuck the Curtis designs under an arm and move toward the hallway to my left, a sleek tunnel of wood and steel that ends in Paul’s glass-walled office. “I’m here to pick up Paul. There’s something wrong with his car.”

When he called earlier to tell me his car was dead in the lot, I thought he was joking. Engine trouble is what happens to my ancient Civic, not Paul’s fancy Range Rover, a brand-new supercharged machine with a dashboard that belongs in a cockpit. More money than sense, my mother would say about Paul if she were here, and now, I guess, about me.

Gwen leans back in her chair, wagging a mechanical pencil between two slim fingers. “Yeah, the dealer is sending a tow truck and a replacement car, but they just called to say they’re delayed. He said he had a couple of errands to run.”

I frown. “Who, the tow truck driver?”

“No, Paul.” She swivels in her chair, reaching across the desk behind her for a straightedge. “He should be back any sec.”

I thank her and head for the door.

On the sidewalk, I fire off a quick text to Paul. I’m here, where are you?

I wait for a reply that doesn’t come. The screen goes dark, then black. I slip the phone into my jacket pocket and start walking.

In a town like Lake Crosby, there are only so many places Paul could be. The market, the pharmacy, the shop where he buys his ties and socks. I pop into all of them, but no one’s seen him since this morning. Back on the sidewalk, I pull out my phone and give him a call. It rings once, then shoots me to voice mail. I hit End and look up and down the mostly deserted street.

“Hey, Charlie,” somebody calls from across the road, two single lanes separated by a parking strip, and I whirl around, spotting Wade’s familiar face over the cars and SUVs. One of my brother’s former classmates, a known troublemaker who dropped out sophomore year because he was too busy cooking meth and raising hell. He leans against the ivory siding of the bed-and-breakfast, holding what I sincerely hope is a hand-rolled cigarette.

“It’s Charlotte,” I say, but I don’t know why I bother.

On my sixteenth birthday, I plunked down more than a hundred hard-earned dollars at the courthouse to change my name. But no matter how many times I correct the people who knew me back when—people who populate the trailer parks and shacks along the mountain range, people like Wade and me—no matter how many times I tell them I’m not that person anymore, to them I’ll always be Charlie.

He flicks the cigarette butt into the gutter and tilts his head up the street. “I just saw your old man coming out of the coffee shop.” Emphasis on the old man. “If you hurry, you can probably catch him.”

I mumble a thanks, then head in that direction.

Just past the market, I spot Paul at the far end of a side street, a paper cup clutched in his hand. He’s wearing the clothes I watched him pull on this morning—a North Face fleece, a navy cashmere sweater, dark jeans, leather lace-up boots, but no coat. No hat or scarf or gloves. Paul always dresses like this, without a second thought as to the elements. That fleece might be fine for the quick jogs from the house to his car to the office door, but with the wind skimming up the lake, he must be freezing.

The woman he’s talking to is more properly dressed. Boots and a black wool coat, the big buttons fastened all the way to a neck cloaked in a double-wrapped scarf. A knitted hat is pulled low over her ears and hair, leaving only a slice of her face—from this angle, her profile—exposed.

“There you are,” I say, and they both turn.

A short but awkward silence. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he looks surprised to see me.

“Charlotte, hi. I was just…” He glances at the woman, then back to me. “What are you doing here?”

“You asked me to pick you up. Didn’t you get my text?”

With his free hand, he wriggles his cell from his pocket and checks the screen. “Oh. Sorry, I must have had it on Silent. I was on my way back to the office, but then I got to talking and…well, you know how that goes.” He gives me a sheepish smile. It’s a known fact that Paul is a talker, and like in most small towns, there’s always someone to talk to.

But I don’t know this woman.

I take in her milky skin and sky blue eyes, the light smattering of freckles across her nose and high cheekbones, and I’m positive I’ve never seen her before. She’s the kind of pretty a person would remember, almost beautiful even, though she’s nothing like his type. Paul likes his women curvy and exotic, with dark hair and ambiguous coloring. This woman is bony, her skin so pale it’s almost translucent.

I step closer, holding up my hand in a wave. “Hi, I’m Charlotte Keller. Paul’s wife.”

The woman gives me a polite smile, but her gaze flits to Paul. She murmurs something, and I’m pretty sure it’s “Keller.”

The hairs soldier on the back of my neck, even though I’ve never been the jealous type. It’s always seemed like such a waste of energy to me, being possessive and suspicious of a man who claims to love you. Either you believe him or you don’t—or so I’ve always thought. Paul tells me he loves me all the time, and I believe him.

But this woman wouldn’t be the first around these parts to try to snag herself a Keller.

“Are you ready?” I say, looking at Paul. “Because I came in the boat, and we need to get home before this weather blows in.”

The talk of rain does the trick, and Paul snaps out of whatever I walked into here. He gives me that smile he saves only for me, and a rush of something warm hits me hard, right behind the knees.

People who say Paul and I are wrong together don’t get that we’ve been waiting for each other all our lives. His first wife’s death, my convict father and meth-head mother, they broke us for a reason, so all these years later our jagged edges would fit together perfectly, like two pieces of the same fractured puzzle. The first time Paul took my hand, the world just…started making sense.

And now there’s a baby, a perfect little piece of Paul and me, an accidental miracle that somehow busted through the birth control. Maybe it’s not a fluke but a sign, the universe’s way of telling me something good is coming. A new life. A new chance to get things right.

All of a sudden and out of nowhere I feel it, this burning in my chest, an overwhelming, desperate fire for this baby that’s taken root in my belly. I want it to grow and kick and thrive. I want it with everything inside me.

“Let’s go home.” Without so much as a backward glance at the woman, Paul takes my hand and leads me to the boat.

Excerpted from Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle, Copyright © 2020 by Kimberle S. Belle Books, LLC. Published by Park Row Books.

You Can’t Catch Me by Catherine McKenzie @SimonSchusterCa @CEMcKenzie1

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Pub Date: June 9, 2020.

QOTD: Do you ever find the title while reading the book?

Jessica Two has texted me back.

You can’t catch me, her text says.

There’s no more sleep after that.

This was my first time reading about identity theft and cults, and it didn’t disappoint.

I literally yelled out “A-HA! I knew it!!”, when I got to part 3, while my 6 year old looked at me like I’d gone coo coo. 🤪
But of course, I was only half right!

Jessica Two’s twenty questions were kinda creepy, and really makes you think just how easy it is for someone to catfish you.

I really enjoyed the alternating timelines between Jess’ past and what was happening in the present. And the final twist..this will either work for some of you, or it won’t. But I loved it.

If anything, I kinda wanted more action. It’s hard for me to explain this part without giving anything away. But I would have liked to see this story go a little darker. But that’s just me.

Overall, it’s an A+ from me and would recommend it to anyone wanting to dip their toes into mystery & thrillers.

Trigger warnings: suicide, cult

** Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada for my advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest opinion. **

Do you want to play a game?

Twelve years ago Jessica Williams escaped a cult. Thanks to the private detective who rescued her, she reintegrated into society, endured an uncomfortable notoriety, and tried to put it all behind her. Then, at an airport bar, Jessica meets a woman with an identical name and birth date. It appears to be just an odd coincidence—until a week later, when Jessica finds her bank account drained and her personal information stolen.

Following a trail of the grifter’s victims, each with the same name, Jessica gathers players—one by one—for her own game. According to her plan, they’ll set a trap and wait for the impostor to strike again. But plans can go awry, and trust can fray, and as Jessica tries to escape the shadows of her childhood, the risks are greater than she imagined. Now, confronting the casualties of her past, Jessica can’t help but wonder…

Who will pay the price?

Shadow & Bone By Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I finally got around to reading this one! It’s been sitting on my shelf for over 2 years!! 🙈

I was definitely hooked in from the beginning and even thought I might like it more than Six Of Crows. However, I’m not obsessed. I can’t put my finger on it, but it feels like something is missing. Is it crazy that I wanted the heat turned up on some of the romance? It was actually a little too PG for me, to be honest. I also thought the book lost a bit of traction between chapter 9-13.

I do however, think Leigh Bardugo does a fantastic job when it comes to character and world building. I loved the Darkling & Genya. I didn’t care too much for Mal if you ask me. He could have been eaten by the volcra and I would’ve been ok with it. 😜 Now that..would have been a great revenge story!

Overall, it was a great story and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Have you read it? Which did you like more? The Shadow & Bone series? Or Six of Crows?

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Genre: Horror

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

** Unpopular Opinion & Spoiler Alert **

Have you ever watched a movie trailer thinking it was gonna be epic, but then you watch the movie and think the trailer pretty much showed all the good parts? And the movie kinda sucked?? (Hello, The Last Jedi! I’m talking about you!)

Yeah..that was this book for me. There were sooo many times I wanted to chuck this book at the wall, but couldn’t cause I was reading it on my phone! Not to mention..I nearly DNF’d it twice!

I don’t know who’s head I wanted to drown in Miss Mary’s barrel of rabbit spit more! Carter or Patricia! I think maybe Carter! There wasn’t one character who didn’t annoy the crap outta me. Okay, maybe Mrs. Greene. But that wasn’t why I didn’t enjoy this book.

I expected more vampire than book club banter. Instead, this read more like women’s fiction than it did horror in my opinion.

For me, it was a slow and rocky start. But it picked up at chapter 4, where I found myself saying: “Now this is the shit I’m here for!” Unfortunately, that high didn’t last long, and fizzled out again soon afterward.

There were some really great moments in this story like: Ann Savage going all Mike Tyson on Patricia, the story of Hoyt Pickens, the rats and last 30% of the book (surprisingly).

But overall, it didn’t live up to hype for me.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

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.

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