Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! For the first time ever, I didn't have a books lately draft post ready - I spent a stupid amount of time searching through my drafts because I always have a draft post ready for the next SUYB. I have 15 drafts, so I really shouldn't have spent as much time looking as I did, but I thought maybe if I checked one more time it will show up? My head isn't screwed on lately. Anywho. Books! I read 'em.

Truly Devious Series - Maureen Johnson
ya murder mysteries at a school
Even though I know these aren't fantasy in any way, shape or form, something about the titles and covers makes me think they are? I couldn't shake that feeling for some reason. I thoroughly enjoyed them and read all 3 in 3 days. I liked the dual timelines, I liked the characters, I wanted to see how everything would fit together. I totally called one of the mysteries but I was still shocked when I was right. Didn't call the other one though. The first does end on a cliffhanger and things do drag on a bit, but that didn't bother me at all, perhaps because I read them back to back and so quickly.
The Wives - Tarryn Fisher
woman tracks down her husband's other wives
holy bonkers book batman. I could not put this down and I still don't know what the hell happened. It's really hard to talk about without spoiling. I sat there when I finished like.... wtf.
Long Bright River - Liz Moore
bond between two sisters, addiction
This is one of those books that I really struggle to talk about why I liked it. It was quite slow and my expectations were so high because I'd heard nothing but good things. I certainly wasn't disliking it, just kind of plodding along like this is fine but what's going to happen? Then all of a sudden I realise I've missed dinner because I am so invested in these characters and their stories. I think I was expecting more of a fast paced mystery and that's definitely not the case, but my heart was certainly beating a little faster at certain places, so it still got under my skin!  It stayed with me a long, long time after I finished.
Still Life - Louise Penny
murder mystery in a small town
I think Heather might have disowned me if I didn't like this one! Luckily I did! I really liked the characters and thought the murder mystery was done really well - I had no idea until right before it was revealed. I can see why other people think it's slow, but I don't mind a subtle mystery in between the edge-of-your-seat-thriller type books. I laughed out loud a couple of times which surprised me a bit, and made me enjoy it even more. I'll for sure be continuing the series.
Beach Read - Emily Henry
two rival writers, next door neighbours, family drama
I really didn't know where to put this one (up here vs romance below). It is definitely a romance, but it's one that I think will cross over into more mainstream fiction, so up here it goes. Definitely not as light as the cover or title suggest, but the perfect mix of light and dark. It has one of my all time favourite tropes, so honestly, add that to a book and it gets a star just for that. I just felt like these characters were super realistic, I loved their relationship and banter, I loved all the side characters, I loved the different relationships with family and friends, the tenderness in which  some seriously heavy topics are dealt with, the growth the characters go through... I just really, really liked this one. It was paced really well and stalled just a wee bit towards the end for me, but overall, very enjoyable.
Little Secrets - Jennifer Hillier
after their child is abducted, woman finds out husband is having an affair
Jar of Hearts was so freaking good that I pounced on this one as soon as I saw it. It wasn't as wtf as Jar of Hearts, but it was still a page turner. It was twisty and dark and captivating. It was fast paced and I didn't guess a thing.
Received from Netgalley.
Scythe - Neal Shusterman
dystopian world with no death, scythes end life so the population doesn't go out of control
This book was bonkers! Unlike anything I've ever read before. Probably not the best choice during a pandemic, ha. I listened to this (got it for free a couple of years ago, doubt I ever would have picked it up if audible hadn't sent me that email) and at one point I just stood there with my jaw on the floor. It really held my attention and wouldn't let go. Entertaining and thought provoking too. Need the next one.

Atomic Habits - James Clear
non fiction about habits
I've been more and more into non-fiction lately. I really enjoyed this one, it builds on that other Power of Habit book I read last time (different author). This one offers lots of tips and systems to build successful habits, plus stuff about breaking bad habits. It was super quick, straightforward and practical. Definitely recommend if these kinds of books interest you or if you're trying to work on your own habits.
The Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides
woman kills her husband and then doesn't talk for years
Sometimes my favourite book club books aren't necessarily the ones that we all enjoyed, but the ones that spark the most discussion. This was one of those - we were still talking about it days after book club. I liked it, there were definitely a few jaw dropping moments and it kept me thinking... but, like, besides finding out what happened, I didn't think the book had much else going for it - everything but the 'twist' is just explanation leading up to the twist. I didn't hate it, I just didn't love it. 
A Bad Day for Sunshine - Darynda Jones
part mystery, part family drama, part silly darynda jones humour
I am working my way through this author's Charley Davidson series and absolutely loving it. I thought this one would be paranormal too, but it's not. It was good, just not as instantly good as Charley. I really struggled with it and almost DNF'd. I saw a few other reviews mentioning it picked up around halfway so I kept going. Once it picked up, I couldn't put it down. I got super invested and ended up loving the second half. I just hate when I have to slog through half of a book to get to the better half. It's silly and makes me cranky. But really the second half was so good I *need* the second one.
Received from Netgalley.
Castle of Water - Dane Huckelbridge
standard stranded on an island after a plane crash
I don't know why I love books like this. Kinda weird that I do, actually. This was written really beautifully and straight up broke my heart. You know when characters feel so real that you think about them for days afterwards, or weeks later think 'oh I know someone who was in a plane crash' but then you realise that that person is fictional, but they felt so real to you? This is one of those books. Though, warning, it's not a light fluffy book. So. Keep in mind.
Rules of Engagement - JT Geissinger
This was super cute. I really enjoyed the characters and thought they were adorable together. I love a good 'opposites attract'. I liked that it wasn't predictable with certain things, but of course it does have the overall predictability being a romance. Which I'm obviously totally okay with. Could have done without the extra POVs from other characters when I could have figured out their motives on my own and it just seemed like filler, could have done with a bit more to the plot instead. Overall this was a solid, sweet read. It was silly and fun and full of harry potter references.
The Summer Deal - Jill Shalvis
I know I say this every time I read a Jill Shalvis book, but honestly, from literally the first page it is like being hugged. It's so comfy and wonderful when I pick up a book by an author I know so well and love so much. I just loved the characters, loved the writing, loved the relationships between family and friends. Loved the cat that licks and then bites - that made me laugh. I related to the heroine of this one so much, I just wanted to hug her. I wanted to put the hero in my pocket. Loved him. As always, a solid Jill Shalvis. If you like romance and you haven't read one of hers, you're missing out.
Received from Netgalley.
Dreaming of You - Lisa Kleypas
To say this book comes highly recommended would be an understatement. So maybe my expectations were too high, who knows. It was first published in 1994 so there are definitely parts I wouldn't love if I saw them in a newer book, but nothing crazy... I saw a few reviews of people who hated it because they think something happened with OW but I read it completely different, so I guess it depends on how you interpret that scene (IMO if it didn't say it, it didn't happen). Anywho. I liked this. Tortured hero, spunky heroine. It was a typical historical. The ending was 100% the best part, totes adorbs.
Girl Gone Viral - Alisha Rai
Hmm, for some reason this one doesn't seem to be as well liked as other books by this author... I loved it. It grabbed me instantly. It was very very very sweet, slow, and low angst. Because of that, the romance takes a bit of a backseat to other stuff, but that didn't bother me since I felt like everything else helped develop/strengthen their relationship. It's not firey or explosive, it's sugary sweet and adorable and has one of my all time favourite tropes. If you're looking for something light and sweet, I recommend.
Received from Netgalley.
Nothing to Fear - Juno Rushdan
I don't normally talk about other books in series after I've mentioned the first one, but this one was so good I couldn't help myself. It's romantic suspense and though I definitely liked the first one, I loved this one. It was so unputdownable. One of the best romantic suspense books I've ever read - I feel like it's so hard to hit all the nails on all the heads with romantic suspense, most of the time one part is stronger than the other. Not so in this one, the romance was realistic and the suspense was intense but believable. Highly recommend.
The Happy Ever After Playlist - Abby Jimenez
There are a lot of reasons I didn't love this book. It started out super cute - the first half was *so* good - but fizzled out real quick. There were some good parts, but it was no The Friend Zone. Perhaps it was the over hyping of the ARC, the way the grief was not handled well at all, the rockstar element, the tone of the book couldn't really decide what it wanted to be - romantic comedy? romantic drama? Not to mention it was way too instalovey for me. All in all, disappointed after TFZ. I was also kind of turned off by the way ARCs were handled, but that's just me. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it like I expected - middle of the road, it was fine. 

Untamed - Just started this morning so have no feelings yet.

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

I also re-read The Help so I could more effectively peer pressure Heather into reading it.

TL;DR - I recommend.... anything that catches your eye, but blanket recommendations would be The Wives, Beach Read, Still Life, Long Bright River & the Truly Devious books if you like YA.

Read anything decent lately?

Thursday, May 7, 2020

April 2020 Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Hello all, time for another what's new with you link up! Thanks again if you join me, I always appreciate it. You don't have to display the button if you don't want to, but don't forget to mention it somewhere in your post and check out some of the other posts! I'll be doing a monthly recap... you know, because I did *so* much in April.

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So. April. Went by pretty quickly actually. Not very eventful, but that's to be expected.

Mostly full of books and cats, as per usual. The cats are loving me being home, they'll be so confused when I go back to the office. 

April included a vet visit for miss Millie, she's fine-ish. She's fine but been having some issues and she was on medication for 2 weeks but it didn't seem to fix it. We've been trying other things, but we'll be going back if she doesn't improve. I've loved being home so I could be a helicopter cat parent and monitor her constantly.

Lots of good books in April - Show Us Your Books on Tuesday! Book club was virtual and The Silent Patient - pretty well liked!

Other than that, Squishy came back and brought a friend, Penny was not impressed.

Drive by birthday parade, virtual coffee chats with coworkers, lots of cookies and lots of TV shows/movies. I absolutely love Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist (and that blanket the girls in my book club gifted me).

Most exciting (and also frustrating) thing - my new patio furniture finally arrived... missing the armrests, but whatever. I also got a rug, a little storage chest thingy and some throw pillows but they didn't arrive until May. I love love love hanging outside - thankfully we had a couple of good weather days before the rain came. I'm super excited to hang out there all day in the summer.

And yep, that's about it. The most exciting April that ever April-ed. May should be interesting with things opening back up, but it'll likely be just as quiet. I had a Europe trip planned in June with friends, unfortunately that is officially cancelled but it is what it is and I'm not complaining. It sucks, but it's definitely the best decision.

If you'd like to link up, please do so below:

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So, what's new with you? Anything?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Link Up Reminder

Hello all! Just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - tomorrow is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me! 

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