The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Link to goodreads here

Summary: The Crouch family is quite well off and live in a beautiful house close to a park. But the longer Juno, a former therapist, gets to know them, they’re not so perfect after all. But neither is Juno…

Genre: thriller, mystery, fiction

Setting: Seattle

Writing, Plot: This story is told in 2 POVs, Winnie who is the lady of the house, and Juno. I’ve read concepts similar to this before and I think the author does a good job of slowly revealing what everyone’s relationship to each other is and unfolding their issues as the novel progresses…And it’s Tarryn Fisher, who I should have recognized as the author of The Wives! I knew her name sounded familiar but I didn’t connect the dots until a lot later on. So with this author I’m seeing a pattern of really broken characters who don’t make any effort to change and cause trouble for others because of them. I preferred this book a lot more to The Wives, it really had the creep factor down and while the characters were unlikeable and messy, in their own messed up way they had good intentions. So I could see people somewhat rooting for them, but well…I couldn’t because they were way too creepy! It didn’t just seem like a sad unfortunate mess like it did in The Wives. This one really seemed way more like the types of horrible people you could potentially run into in the real world.

The story was also a fairly fast and easy read.

Characters: The author seems to be a fan of more unique names…The other characters even poke fun at Winnie’s name and one of her nicknames is literally Pooh Bear! Juno is also a pretty unique name that I don’t see too often. These are the two main characters and they are both creepy in their own special ways. They’re both not likeable but I also feel that’s the point.

Overall: Unlikeable messy characters with creepy secrets…It was a decent read, way better than The Wives…I’d give it a 6/10. The Crouches weren’t incredibly interesting and neither was Juno, I don’t feel like my life is more fulfilled knowing about them or anything but I do admit that these are concepts that really creep me out so I gave it a bit higher rating.

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Link to goodreads here

So I don’t often read romances, but this one took me by surprise!! It was such a cute and fun read!

Summary: Meg is an artist who’s craft is hand-lettering and making custom planners. She briefly made wedding invitations as well, which is how she met Reid last year, an analytical math type. Now one year later he shows up at the shop she works at, not married, and about the code she secretly put into his wedding program…

Genre: Fiction, romance, chick lit

Setting: New York City

Characters: I really loved the characters! Meg is living in NYC with her roommate/best friend and she has an interesting job. I mean I never even knew that hand-lettering was a job in the first place, but as someone who loves journals and all things paper, I can definitely appreciate it! So her whole thing is the way a letter is written evokes different feelings, she’s the type of person who is fascinated looking at the lettering in different signs and other publications. I wish she could have met Brick from the tv show The Middle, he loves different types of fonts too! She would have definitely had a kindred soul there.

What I really love the most about Meg is that she is such a direct character, well besides the hiding a code in her work sort of way (I still don’t understand why she did that like if it was a slip up or if it was subconscious or deliberate. It didn’t seem like she did it to be nefarious since she’s not that type of person though. It was just odd.). She’s the type of person who calls the guy she likes and asks to hang out, says what she thinks if she doesn’t like your guy, doesn’t hide her feelings, and if a friend is giving her the silent treatment she will confront and try to resolve. She reminds me so much of one of my closest friends that I can’t help but have a soft spot for her. The side characters are great too, from Reid’s ex (she’s nice and not some evil petty villainess) to Lark, an actress client (loved her, she was very sweet). Reid was also an interesting male lead because he was so vintage in the way he spoke and dressed.

Writing, Plot: The writing was cute and flowed well, it also really is a ride. I didn’t expect the story to go in the directions that it did. It doesn’t seem too much of a romance in the beginning and then it kind of randomly heats up and then is a head over heels situation, but sometimes we all need a Meg-like story! It’s kind of like a New York City fairytale. And on top of it it’s so unique with the emphasis on signs, fonts, and letters. The only thing I wish that the book did was show us different fonts when Meg would think about certain letters or words, but even that wouldn’t do a real deal hand lettering by an artist justice so even that’s okay.

Overall: So I’m definitely going to create my own gift box with this book for my friend, thank goodness she doesn’t remember my blog. And I hope to read more books by this author. So cute & worth it and it really captures a more artsy side of looking at New York! I really hope for a spin-off with Lark, I would love to read more about her. But any of the side characters could pull off a spin-off, everybody was really likeable! As far as romances go since it was more like an over the top fairytale type of story and this isn’t a genre I like usually so I rate it a lot easier, this is a 10/10!

Book of the Month Subscription Box review!

I’ve been sitting on this review for a while! It’s been over a year that I tried this subscription box…I’m now officially a BFF and have my free tote to prove it! Here’s my review!

So what is book of the month?

Book of the month is a subscription box that you can sign up for here! It’s actually a pretty cool concept. You get to pick one of 5 books every month. There’s usually a different mix of genres so you may be introduced to something new. If you don’t like any of the books you can always skip the month/pause the subscription. You can also opt to choose a book from a different month, or add on books from other months as well.

Pros:

  • Choosing between 5 books: So this is actually a pretty cool concept because I don’t know about you but I’m a very picky reader…! I love the fact that I can choose between a few and sometimes branch out to other genres
  • It’s not too expensive. It’s about $15 per month including shipping for 1 book. So if you think about it it’s about the price of a physical book
  • You have the option of add-ons at an additional cost which is nice if other books look good to you
  • It’s pretty minimalistic. You’re not overloaded with a bunch of trinkets that you might not like from a book that you may not be crazy about.
  • The fact that they’re physical books. Sometimes it’s nice to have the feel of paper. For me that’s definitely my preference and a huge reason why I decided to look into book subscription boxes in the first place
  • Personal library. This is a great way to grow a collection of books that you love and add to your bookshelf at home! And unlike with rentals you can read it whenever you want and are in the mood without the rush to return
  • They’re all hardcover!
  • Fast shipping. It’s always cool to see that little blue box in the mail and immediately know your book is already here.

Cons:

  • I wish there was a bigger summary for each book because I tend to end up with a growing stack of books that I’m either lukewarm about or don’t like. The blurb isn’t always long enough for me to make my opinion on whether I’m excited to read it or not
  • I kind of want more rewards or interaction after being a part of something for a whole year. Don’t get me wrong, I really really wanted my BFF tote. It’d just be really cool to be actually part of something book-related that’s not just a tote and a free book on your birthday…Maybe even an exclusive book club/forum would have been nice to connect with fellow book lovers.
  • Not enough choices…I know 5 is already a lot to choose from so this is nitpicky like the rest of my cons but…I just need a bigger variety of books or I end up with so many I don’t want!
  • The genres don’t feel varied enough. I’m a little bit hesitant to recommend the subscription box to different audiences. From the five that I choose from, the common genres that I notice are thriller, literary fiction, romance, and non-fiction. I didn’t really notice a lot of sci-fi or fantasy and even within certain genres it didn’t seem varied. For example majority of the thrillers that I read were some kind of domestic thriller. I do tend to pick thrillers when given a choice between genre but my preference is more mystery, suspense, and supernatural types of thrillers…It feels like to me this subscription box is more for a female audience but I don’t see that anywhere on the website.

Recommend?

A lot of books are hit or miss and I feel this subscription box has a little ways to go to increase variety and reach more audience. But I do think it’s a cool gift to a friend or something cool to look forward to to spoil yourself. Picking the books is definitely a really nice perk. I recommend this if you’re more of a relaxed reader and not too picky!

Pieces of Victory by Jeneen Miller

So this is something a little bit different, I’ve actually read this one a while back. I have been really interested in reading about the troubled teen industry after coming across stories online from people who have gone to some of these behavior modification schools. I found Jeneen Miller’s youtube channel which is right here and decided to pick up her book after watching a few testimonials. I really loved how she listened to other people’s experiences in such a positive way, giving them a platform to tell their stories and being open to letting their parents be on her shows as well! She just has such a positive energy. But just as a warning the topics discussed in the book and on youtube has trigger warnings of abuse, rape, forcefeeding, and things of that nature…

So this isn’t exactly a “review” but more of a shout-out, since the book is a memoir and I don’t feel that I can really review or rate somebody’s life. It was a fast read and the author is a very strong person to persevere and overcome her past. It actually made me much sadder to read about her parents rather than the school itself…Ms. Miller also makes a powerful distinction between religion and people who use religion to justify hurting and oppressing others. Even after all of the pain and trauma she endured, the fact that she is reaching out and helping other people through their pain with her youtube channel and raising awareness is so uplifting and healing! Check out her website here.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

I’ve been enjoying the Libby app on my phone very much so for once this isn’t a book of the month (though I’m very behind on those). For anyone who doesn’t know, Libby is an app that you can connect your library card to and borrow ebooks from your local library! So funnily enough many book of the month thriller options seem to be domestic thrillers, so I’ve started to become quite drawn to the genre and when I saw the summary for Behind Closed Doors I couldn’t help myself.

Summary: (from Goodreads)

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.

You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Genre: fiction, domestic thriller

Setting: U.K., a little bit in Thailand also

Writing, Plot: So Grace is super thin, super pretty, and can cook some next level dishes for the absolute best dinner parties. After a whirlwind romance, she gets married to the perfect man who is a lawyer for domestic abuse cases.

I feel like the plot draws you in right away from even the summary blurb! You definitely know off the bat there’s something weird about Jack and Grace and of course from the summary “there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.” Something is definitely up!!!! So right away it’s like HMMM. And then that really perfect dinner party you’re just waiting to find out the cracks.

I couldn’t wait to find out what was actually going on, and the more details I found out, I had to know what happened next. Definitely a pageturner. At some points I was even wishing I could read through conversations faster because I was like come on!! What happens next! The story also has two perspectives and alternates between “past” and “present.” Normally I love past perspectives but I really needed to know what happened next and tried to speed through them as fast I could.

Characters: All the characters were pretty straightforward in characterization, maybe too much sometimes but I don’t feel like it takes away from the story at all. However… I have to say that Millie, Grace’s little sister who has Downs Syndrome, was an amazing character from start to finish and she easily stole the show for me. I also really enjoyed reading just how much Grace cared about her sister, and how much her sister cares for her. I actually wish there was more Millie at the end but I know we can’t have everything…!

Overall: This story could really turn into a movie, it was action packed enough and I could see it being thrown on Netflix one day. Because it’s such a pageturner and because of Millie I give it a 10/10.

People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd

Sooo I have a second book review right after the first one! So when this one came in the mail as my December Book of the Month (I’m so disappointed, I’m supposed to get my tote for being a 1 year survivor subscriber but due to covid it’s not coming any time soon) and I’ve been feeling the need to read a thriller so I started it immediately.

Summary: Emmy is a mommy blogger on instagram, @the_mamabare. Her whole thing is that shows honest parenting, how hard it is to deal with the messes and still get dressed and look put together and all that because being a mom is busy and tough, especially with her two adorable kids Coco and Bear! Only, she’s not that honest, being an influencer is hard work and requires a lot of making things look just the right amount of messy, or embellishing a story so it seems relatable… She has millions of adoring fans, but some not so great…

Genre: fiction, thriller. Trigger warning- miscarriage, infant death

Setting: U.K. (she’s an instamum)

Writing, Plot: So I love, love, love when books incorporate other mediums, so in this case instagram. It just is a cool concept that also makes things feel a lot more modern! I’m not too familiar with mommy bloggers, I do know they exist and I always thought their sense of community is really neat!

This story could be a bit slow at times. There are three perspectives. Emmy, or Mamabare, who is the face of her instagram account @the_Mamabare, Dan, or Papabare, her husband who hasn’t pushed out a book in years and is really salty about the whole influencer thing, and we have a mysterious POV who has it out for @the_Mamabare. So throughout the whole thing, Emmy and Dan are doing their thing and we see snippets of this other POV and the whole time I’m thinking…it’s gonna be something dumb that mystery person wants revenge for. It always is!!!! haha But trust me, the build-up and the end is worth it!

Characters: Oh my so these characters are VERY unlikeable. Probably the only character I liked is Polly. And maybe the kids but they were mostly props to Emmy. I just really love their names, Coco and Bear.

I personally think that Emmy does a very unforgivable thing during the story and Dan even thinks to himself what kind of person could do that kind of thing and maybe he didn’t know her very well after all but it kind of gets dropped and he doesn’t really elaborate on it. I just really think she’s a trash person for what she did. I wasn’t really rooting for any of the characters, not even Mystery Person. It’s all really what I would expect as behind the scenes of an instagram influencer. So while I don’t think Emmy’s a great person, I don’t think she necessarily deserves what happens in the book either. I do think she had lots of opportunity to redeem herself but never takes it.

Overall: Fun read, kind of cool to see the mommy side of instagram. Major points for the end. 8/10 from me!

Ties that Tether by Jane Igharo

Oh my so this one actually surprised me… I’m not one to read romance books so that is actually saying a lot! This is a story about an interracial couple, a Nigerian woman and a Spanish man (I can’t quite recall which country right now), their struggles with culture, family, and things in each of their past.

Summary: Azere is a Nigerian Canadian. When she was young, her father was on his deathbed and had her promise that she would never lose her culture and would marry a man from their culture. Since then her mother made sure she upheld it, and would constantly set her up on dates with Nigerian men. However after one date where the guy was very disrespectful… she meets another guy, they have a one night stand…who definitely starts becoming more than a one night stand…

Genre: Fiction, romance

Setting: Canada

Writing, Plot: This story is told in two different perspectives, Azere’s and Rafael’s. I really enjoyed reading about Nigerian culture and sometimes food and dress would be thrown in as well! Azere was not just Nigerian, but also Canadian, and the struggles of the two worlds mixing is very well done here. It’s hard being an immigrant, she’s almost a first gen Canadian since she came to Canada very young so she was basically mostly raised in Canada. I like that the author brings up how tough it is when parents try to hold on to their culture so tightly that they hold the same expectations over their children.

There’s also the fact that Azere, as a child, would not know the full weight of the promise that she made during her father’s dying wish… and that’s also painful because she wants to be a good daughter desperately, and has actual feelings for Rafael. It isn’t a rebellious phase. So it becomes holding on to your culture in exchange for your daughter’s happiness…but it wouldn’t be easy for an immigrant parent to understand because things are just different in the country they moved to as opposed to the old one. When things got really dramatic, I kept turning the pages wanting to know what happened next and how they resolved things, and I have to say the ending was really worth it.

There were also a few lines that made me laugh, so those are bonus points for me! I can be a hard sell sometimes.

Characters: All the characters were either likeable or very well done! From Azere’s protective cousin to her extremely intelligent law school-bound little sister who loves to surround herself with stuffed animals (I would adore a spin-off with Efe!), I really enjoyed reading about all of them. Even Azere’s mom, who despite everything, her dramatics don’t hold a candle to mine haha, so that just had me burst out laughing a few times. Also love, love, love Azere’s best friend Christina, she has to be one of the top female best friends in literature!

Overall: A great look into an interracial romance and the struggles that come with it, especially when it comes to culture! Loved it, for a romance I definitely give this a 10/10!

[Book Review] Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane

I just finished this book like twenty minutes ago and my mind is still reeling… So this book was my book of the month pick for November, I actually have quite a few other book of the months piled up but I was in a thriller type of mood and this was the only one so I thought it would have to do. But let me tell you this book definitely took me places.

Summary: Beautiful Lila Ridgefield’s husband is a beloved high school teacher. When he goes missing, the principal immediately alerts authorities and Lila.

Genre: domestic thriller, trigger warning: rape, pedophilia

Setting: Ithaca, NY

Writing, Plot: The first hundred or so pages of the book are quite slow, and then after that seems like reveal after reveal. This book definitely tries to do a lot and there are a lot of twists and turns. I really feel like it was a whole rollercoaster ride. At times I felt like if things were clarified more especially from the detective’s point of view, it would help because it just felt like the same like 3 people were questioned for majority of the book and there were only like 3 or 4 main characters anyway so it had to be one of them. So them getting endlessly questioned didn’t make too much sense for me all the time because yeah I knew there weren’t magically more characters but the detective didn’t necessarily know that so more reasoning would help! It’s kind of like Death Note in a way, L was laser focused on one suspect buut at the same time L was the top 3 detectives in the world sooo…

Anyway…I would love to talk more about the plot itself but don’t want to give anything away, if anyone does happen to come across this review and read it please comment on any thoughts and I will definitely respond!

Characters: I’m honestly not sure who I was supposed to be rooting for. All the characters were unlikeable to me so I didn’t care as much as I feel like I should have. Lila for instance, she’s one cool customer. Or more like total ice queen. But not in a cute or mysterious way. I feel like the book wanted me to feel bad for her but I just…don’t. She’s very negative and complains about everything and everyone, she comes off as pretty judgmental as well. I don’t agree with how she handles a lot of things as well, I feel like it would take me a lot of mental leaps to understand but I’ve come to the conclusion that she literally makes no sense whatsoever. Next is the detective Ginny, for some mindblowing reason she seems to be very intrigued and admires Lila. She’s decent, I liked reading about her dynamic at home and with her career. I hope that if there are other books she gets more interesting cases. The novel is really about these two.

Overall: In general this book did keep me reading and getting to the end. I didn’t feel that the plot was all that gripping, it did have its twists but the characters weren’t compelling or likeable enough to really get into it. Some things about the book just made me go ??????, definitely it had its plotholes but overall it’s a decent read. I would give it a 4/10, I don’t highly recommend it but it does give something to do.

[Book Review] The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

It’s actually been such a long time since I read a book I thoroughly enjoyed and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The last Book of the Month I could not get through. To be honest I would say this book blows the rest of the books out of the water from everything I reviewed on this site so far. It actually gave me Ace Attorney vibes, another series I absolutely adore. This one is a pageturner for sure.

Summary: Rachel is a podcaster who covers true crime. For her newest season, she chooses something controversial: a rape trial. She also gets a letter from one of her fans who is from the same town begging for help to find out what really happened to her dead sister twenty five years ago.

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, trigger warning: rape

Setting: A small town named Neapolis

Writing, Characters, Plot: This story is told in a few perspectives, Rachel, episodes of Rachel’s podcast, and the letters from her fan. The POV changes are written so well, making you really want to know what happens next.

The book does an amazing job of portraying different perspectives on rape, the struggles, and trauma of the survivors and also victim blaming. The podcast episodes are an excellent way of breaking up the chapters from the fan and the investigation/trial. There are two cases going on, the one from the past and the current one but they flow so well that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened with both. Rachel really came to Neapolis for the rape trial and was originally going to ignore the fan letters. I’m so glad that she decided to investigate those also!

The small town vibes and characters are so interesting. Rachel herself is definitely in my list of favorite main characters. She’s very strong and brave, laser focused, and extremely curious. I came to really love her by the end of the book. The lawyers were both described really well, and the witnesses all had their own tics and such. The book even explained the forensics side of things and the medical side. It definitely could have been something an Ace Attorney to me, all the characters really had their own flair and personality! I would also have wanted to know more about a certain character that really reminded me of Ace Attorney… this is one of the few books that I really would eat up a sequel for!

Overall: 10/10. Bonus points because I really love books that kind of integrate things like social medias or podcasts, it just makes the book seem more fresh and modern in my opinion. Rachel’s podcast even has a catchy slogan at the end. I would really enjoy more seasons of her podcast!

[Book Review] Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

It’s been a really long time since I read a book huh… This one came in my book of the month box for June, I actually haven’t read my last two book of the months haha. The path to the free tote after 12 book of the months sure is a long one…..

Anyway about this book… I’ve read Lock Every Door by this author and I know if I see her name on a book I’m going to enjoy it. This book has very Netflix’s “Haunting of Hill House” vibes in the beginning (family moves into huge fixer-upper house, flees the house one night, book is written about it being haunted which affects the children their whole lives). I really loved the atmosphere in the Netflix show and revisiting something similar in a book was really nice to see.

Summary: When Maggie was five years old, her parents purchase an old and beautiful house, but the family only stays in the house for 20 days before fleeing one night and ever turning back. Her father wrote a book about the house being haunted and this follows Maggie her whole entire life. Now as an adult, Maggie purchases fixer-uppers for a living and flips them. Her father passes away and she discovers he never sold the house they fled from and it is now hers. She lived her whole life thinking her father was a liar who wrote that book for a quick buck, but now she can’t help thinking….what if the book was true after all?

Genre: Thrillers, Paranormal thriller, Mystery

Setting: An old mansion in Vermont

Writing, Characters, Plot: This story switches between the present with adult Maggie, and excerpts of the book that her father wrote about their days in the house. The book was written really well and both present and past are really interesting to read. The atmosphere of an old haunted mansion is written really well and the father’s description of it and the hauntings are really interesting. The characters are also portrayed really well and I feel like when everything is revealed the pay off is really worth it. I think it also even fleshes out how Maggie feels really well, since she is very conflicted about her father who always spoiled her but then she also believes him to be a liar especially since she has no recollection of when she was five. She blames the book for tearing the family apart but as she experiences things in the house as an adult she wonders if maybe she was wrong the whole entire time about the book.

Overall: Love it, 10/10, highly recommend and hope to see this as a horror movie later!