Book Review

Book Review: The Lies We Told by Camilla Way- 5 Stars

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This novel follows two stories, one present day and one set in the 80’s that eventually collide and at the root of it all is a girl named Hannah.

In the late 80’s a couple desperately wants to have a baby. So when their dream finally comes true, they don’t want to believe that something is wrong with Hannah. Even as a little girl, she found joy in hurting people. Her parents want to get her help but it might be too late…

In present day, a man named Luke is missing. His girlfriend Clara can’t help but think something terrible has happened. Everyone else seems to think he’s just off drunk somewhere and will show up sooner or later, but Clara knows Luke, and this isn’t right. So when Clara begins to talk to people from Luke’s past she realizes she might not have known her boyfriend that well after all…

These two stories are told in alternating chapters but once it becomes clear how they are connected my jaw dropped! This book is FULL of twists and surprises. Many of the characters are unreliable and dysfunctional so it’s hard to distinguish what might really be going on and who is being honest.

The Lies We Told is chilling and fast paced making for a quick read! Definitely pick this one up if you’re a lover of thrillers!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick- 4 Stars

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Martha Storm grew up reading mostly encyclopedias at her father’s insistence, even though her mom and grandma would sneak and tell her the occasional fairy tale. Martha loved listening, reading, and writing her own fairy tales, but unfortunately her life has turned out to be the complete opposite of one. She’s always taking care of others and never does anything for her own enjoyment until she is mysteriously gifted a book of fairy tales that read suspiciously like ones from her childhood…

Soon Martha connects with Owen, the bookseller who sent her the fairy tales, and sets out on a journey to uncover some family secrets and find her love for creating stories once more. I enjoyed this story so much but found myself getting irritated with Martha at times for being such a doormat to others!

I love books about books. They are just so charming! I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for my copy of this book.

Book Review

Book Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier- 4 Stars

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Trigger warning: rape, abuse

 

Wow, this was a really twisted and depraved story.

Sixteen year old Angela Wong and Georgina (Geo) Shaw are best friends, attached at the hip, until a man five years their senior comes in between them. Geo and Calvin are inseparable, but it’s a tumultuous relationship. Calvin is abusive and controlling, but Geo can’t let him go, until one night when everything changes and Angela goes missing.

For fourteen years, Angela’s family wondered what happened to her, and only two people know the truth, so when it’s brought to light that Calvin is the Sweetbay Strangler and Geo was a witness the night Angela died, Geo is sent to prison for five years. But, is what’s revealed the full story, or is Calvin and Angela still harboring chilling secrets?

When more bodies are found murdered and dismembered just like Angela’s, police are convinced the Sweetbay Strangler has struck again after escaping prison, and only one person can help solve this case, and she’s not telling the whole story.

This story was definitely sick and twisted, and begs the question, are addictions and behaviors hereditary or learned? There is so many shocking moments in this story you won’t be able to put it down! This novel isn’t for the squeamish as it’s pretty dark and graphic, and I found myself at times wanting to stop reading because of that fact, but the story-line was so compelling I made myself keep reading as I just HAD to know the ending!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, the author, and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Order your copy from //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wordswisdomwh-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1250154197&asins=1250154197&linkId=d63d317c44d74653182be5f6467fff75&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF“>Amazon!

 

 

Book Review

Book Review: Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer- 4 Stars

Can you love someone to death? 

Some would say Becky Gerard is a devoted mother and would do anything for her only child. Others claim she’s obsessed and can’t stop the vicious circle of finding a cure at her daughter’s expense. 

Fifteen-year-old Meghan has been in and out of hospitals with a plague of unexplained illnesses. But when the ailments take a sharp turn, doctors intervene and immediately suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare behavioral disorder where the primary caretaker, typically the mother, seeks medical help for made-up symptoms of a child. Is this what’s going on? Or is there something even more sinister at hand?

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Saving Meghan is a medical courtroom thriller chronicling the hunt for diagnosis explaining Meghan’s illnesses. Her mom Becky is completely devoted to finding out what has plagued her daughter for the past few years, but her dad, Carl, doesn’t really believe Meghan is sick. Becky’s mom used her and her sister Sabrina to lie for her, enabling her to receive disability for made up symptoms all throughout their childhood, so it just seems likely that all those years of abuse and trauma are affecting Becky now in adulthood and it’s manifesting illnesses in her daughter.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy stories have always intrigued me, and this novel takes readers on a wild ride through the lives of Becky, Carl, and Meghan. Although a psychiatrist and a gastroenterologist strongly believe this is what is wrong with Meghan, another doctor  suspects a rare disease he has seen first hand with his own child. What follows is a fight to save Meghan’s life and her health. Told in multiple POV’s, each chapter will have you questioning what you really think it wrong with Meghan. It’s fast paced, full of suspense and family drama, and is so thrilling you won’t be able to put it down!

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for my advance copy of this book.

Saving Meghan will release April 9th!

 

Book Review

Book Review: 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan-4 Stars

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If someone told you they could make a person just disappear and all you had to do was give them one name, would you? Sarah has to ask herself this very question after saving a young girl from being kidnapped, causing the girl’s father to feel he is indebted to Sarah.

Sarah instantly knows whose name she would give- her boss. He’s a condescending sexual predator who will only promote Sarah if she sleeps with him. But could she really control someone’s fate so easily? She is raising two kids on her own while her husband is off with another woman and she really needs her job, but at what price? Could she handle the repercussions from the aftermath of giving up the name of her boss to be rid of him?

This was such a unique and thought out story that kept me on the edge of my seat. I really appreciated how the author chose to end the book in a way that highlighted how strong and brave of a woman Sarah is!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for my copy of this book!

Book Review

Book Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides- 5 Stars

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Alicia has been in a mental health facility for six years after shooting her husband in the face and refusing to speak since that fateful night. Theo, a psychotherapist, is enamored with her case, and convinced he can get her to talk. Told in chapters that alternate from past to present, with Alicia’s diary entries sprinkled throughout, readers are swept up in a story that is so shocking, confusing, and twisty, you will be at a loss of who to root for and who to hate. What happened to Alicia that has caused her to choose to be mute? Does Theo have ulterior motives or does he really just want to help her?

I love thrillers with unreliable narrators and this one doesn’t disappoint in that aspect. I didn’t have the twist figured out until it smacked me in the face and my jaw DROPPED! This book really puts you right into the mindset of the mentally ill and it’s quite frightening to experience what they are dealing with. This was a fantastic debut from the author and I highly recommend.

Do you like psychological thrillers? If you’ve read this one, what did you think?

Book Review

{Children’s} Book Review: Put On Your PJ’s, Piggies! by Sydney Hanson-3 Stars

Put on Your PJ’s, Piggies! is a sturdy board book perfect for reading to toddlers at bedtime. My son loved touching the glitter accented illustrations and kept saying “piggie!” while we read! My son definitely loves to play all day so he needs a nighttime routine to wind down just like the piggies do. The phrase “put on your pj’s, piggies” was repeated on every page even after they had their pj’s on which I found odd. Overall this was a cute book that my son enjoyed!

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and the Harper Collins Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for my review.

Book Review

Book Review: The Summer of Chasing Dreams by Holly Martin-4 Stars

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After her mom Juliette dies and Eva is clearing out her house, she finds a trunk full of slips of paper containing dreams her mom had but didn’t get to achieve. Using money left to her from the will, Eva makes it her mission to reach all the dreams her mom had, traveling the world and checking them off one by one on postcards she addresses to her mom. She finds a travel agency that includes agents who will escort travelers to their various destinations, and an unfortunate incident leaves Eva stuck with Thor- a Dane whose good looks match up to his godly name, but he is rude and arrogant, at least to Eva’s first impression!

Eva is rather reserved and prefers to stay at home in her pj’s, so this round-the-world trip is a huge change for her. In order to attain some of her mom’s dreams, such as singing on top of the Eiffel Tower and skydiving, Eva has to be brave and live life like her mom did, without fear. I loved visiting all of the different locations Eva and Thor traveled to on this journey. Each location and dream Juliette had is described in such a way you honestly feel you are right there with them. I especially loved their visit in Amsterdam with the tulips, flower parade, and the fact they got to sleep in a windmill-I didn’t even know you could do that! It was so fun and memorable following Eva around as she made her mom’s dreams come true, and along the way Eva realizes some dreams of her own.

While reading this I was rooting not only for Eva as she lived out her mom’s dreams, but for her and Thor as well. The chemistry was obvious between the two of them, but they are both so stubborn and afraid of getting hurt. This book had me laughing and crying all the way to the end. The travelling aspect was really neat, but I also loved the romance of course as well. It was both sweet and a little steamy! I really enjoyed the epilogue but hope to see more of these characters in upcoming books!

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens- 5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

At its essence, this book is about an abandoned girl who must figure out life by herself. But it’s so much more than that. Part mystery, part coming-of-age, and wholly engrossing, you will not be able to put this one down.

When Kya is young, her mom walks out of the house and never looks back. Shortly after, all her siblings leave, and she’s left to fend for herself and deal with an abusive father. She doesn’t know how to read, count, or cook, and has to figure it all out alone, until a nearby boy named Tate starts helping her read. Along with Tate, Jumpin’, who works at the local store, and his wife Mabel, show Kya she is valued and loved even through all of the abandonment and discrimination she’s endured.

I could not stop cheering for Kya. She is the epitome of feminine strength and determination, and the definition of “picking yourself up by your bootstraps!” Living alone in the marsh, isolation and abandonment  shaped Kya into someone very different than the girls in town, but she is clever and intuitive, taking cues from the wildlife and Mother Nature in order to survive.

The imagery of all the marsh life was so descriptive. I learned a lot about birds and marsh beings from this book, but in a way that didn’t just read like a text book. I also really liked the use of local dialect throughout the story. The chapters span back and forth from Kya’s childhood in the 1950’s to 1969 when the town’s favorite boy Chase Andrews is found possibly murdered and the Marsh Girl Kya is a prime suspect.

This is a book that sticks with you long after you turn the last page. It’s one of my favorites I’ve read so far this year, if not of all time. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and captivating. I recommend everyone read it.

Book Review

Book Review: The 7 & 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton- 2.5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

The Rules of Blackheath:

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. 
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit. 
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer. 
Understood? Then let’s begin…

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

This novel has a creative premise. I mean, it’s like Clue or Groundhog Day in book form!

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11 pm and Aiden must reveal the killer to escape Blackheath. The only problem is, Aiden wakes up in a different body every day for eight days, leaving his memory in fragments, making it hard to piece together what he knows and what else he needs to discover. The first day of the eight days Aiden is given to solve Evelyn’s murder was interesting. After that, I became bored and extremely confused. There were SO many characters and different subplots happening it was very hard to stay focused. I felt the whole book was disjointed and so many things didn’t seem to make sense. I especially thought Daniel was a confusing character that didn’t quite seem to be explained, as well as why Aiden could remember some events that took place, whether it be ones to come in another body, or those he’s already lived out in the past through another host.

It was long and slow moving so unfortunately this book ended up not being for me and I can’t recommend.