// Book Spotlight //

TOMORROW! Grady Hendrix’s new book “The Final Girl Support Group,” will be out in the world! I had the amazing opportunity to read this book early and finished about a week ago. The book kept me on my toes and I didn’t even realize the twist until the very end. If you enjoyed “Final Girls” by Riley Sager, this one has very similar vibes.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

You Lucky Dog // Book Review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

An accidental dog swap unleashes an unexpected love match in this new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Julia London. Carly Kennedy’s life is in a spiral. She is drowning in work, her divorced parents are going through their midlife crises, and somehow Carly’s sister convinces her to foster Baxter–a basset hound rescue with a bad case of the blues. When Carly comes home late from work one day to discover that the dog walker has accidentally switched out Baxter for another perkier, friendlier basset hound, she has reached the end of her leash. When Max Sheffington finds a depressed male basset hound in place of his cheerful Hazel, he is bewildered. But when cute, fiery Carly arrives on his doorstep, he is intrigued. He was expecting the dog walker, not a pretty woman with firm ideas about dog discipline. And Carly was not expecting a handsome, bespectacled man to be feeding her dog mac and cheese. Baxter is besotted with Hazel, and Carly realizes she may have found the key to her puppy’s happiness. For his sake, she starts to spend more time with Hazel and Max, until she begins to understand the appeal of falling for your polar opposite.

My Thoughts:

Overall, You Lucky Dog was a good book. I loved the idea of the meet cute that happened to Max and Carly. They were super cool about having the wrong person’s dog. I would be having a major freak out if someone returned the wrong pet to me!
I felt like the timeline and the narration to the book were a little confusing. At some points I wasn’t sure whose perspective we were reading from and when. This caused my interest in the book to wane a little bit toward the middle.

I think Jamie was my favorite character. He was such a strong person despite his disability. I would have loved to see his paintings. I think I would have even hired him to try and paid my two cats! They probably wouldn’t sit very still for him though.

The storyline of the book was definitely unique and a little unconventional. It threw me off for a little bit but unfortunately I can’t get too deep into that without giving away some spoilers. Luckily it did get back on track and felt okay again.

The end of the book had me soaring just like it seemed the characters were too. I love a happy ending!

Thank you Julia London, Berkley Romance and NetGalley for a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

About the author:

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of more than two dozen romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. To keep up with all the Julia London news, please visit http://www.julialondon.com.

Entwined // Book Tour

Synopsis:

Avery Montgomery doesn’t even know if she wants a soul mate. As a member of the Hellenicus—a race founded in antiquity and descended directly from the Greek gods—Avery’s attending her first Gathering where she’ll gain the ability to entwine her thoughts with her destined soul mate and be tied to them forever.

But all is not as it seems at the Royal Court. There are severe and strange looks from the elders, whisperings from the ancient Dodona tree, and encounters with spirits who seem to know Avery better than she knows herself.

Throughout these whirlwind events at Court, Avery finds herself torn between her feelings for the wise and protective Vladimir and the passionate, fun-loving Adrian. Unwilling to surrender her independence or to betray her heart, Avery must decide once and for all if she’ll give in to her desires and risk the wrath of the Gods.

Because who are you if your destiny lies with another person?

My Thoughts:

I have always been interested in Greek mythology so Entwined was right up my alley. I almost got some Percy Jackson vibes, which I LOVED when I was in high school. I loved the different “castes” of the descendants of the Greek Gods. I feel like they are synonymous with the castes we have in the real world. I would have loved to visit their town that only descendants from the gods are allowed to visit/live in. I am planning a way to break in as I type this.

The author did a great job with the world building. It was contained to the prologue and I felt like it was just the right amount of information so as to get the idea of the world but not be entirely overwhelmed with backstory.

I have to agree with Avery on not wanting to be essentially stuck with someone and knowing their thoughts ALL the time. Can you imagine? Relationships need some mystery sometimes too!

I am not afraid to admit that I am a big fan of love triangle situations in books! So the interactions between Avery, Vlad and Adrian are muah (chef’s kiss.) I am surprised that there was not more jealousy displayed between Adrian and Vlad because they are both competing for the same girl. Waiting for Avery to try and decide between her feelings for Vlad and her feelings for Adrian really pushed me to read faster and faster.

I loved this book so much, I finished it in one day. I haven’t done that for a long time. I started it early in the week to have it done by Saturday but little did I know that I would be so hooked I couldn’t put it down.

See the other stops on the tour: https://favouritepagesbookclub.blogspot.com/2020/08/tour-schedule-entwined-by-aj-rosen.html

Author information: • undying love for pizza and desserts #dontjudge • love everything Greek Myths • I read ALL Wattpad message I receive • basically all around noob author who wants to inspire and help new writers, and dreams to get her books published • writing is my way of escaping & coping with reality • spending most of my free time sitting on my bed wearing XL T-shirt + pyjama pants and crafting fantasy + mystery stories while fantasising about Christian Bale saving me instead of Gotham ✌🏻• I love playing games (esp. those that have dragons in it) • I’m not gay/bisexual/straight. I am human. Most of the time. • Jungkook is my undone

Loathe At First Sight: Suzanne Park // Book Review

I did not know about my love of video games until my college boyfriend passed down a xbox 360 to me. It was like a whole new world was opened up for me. I loved solving the puzzles in Lara Croft, loved exploring the depths of the sea in BioShock and so many other wonderful places through video games. I was lucky that I was never criticized or talked down to about my love of video games. Some females are not so lucky. In Suzanne Park’s Loathe at First Sight, readers get a first hand look at the prejudice a lot of women face in their careers and even in their choice of hobbies.

Melody Choo is so frustrated with her company and other video game producers for primarily making video games for men with big boobed, scantily-clad women. Out of her frustration comes a video game pitch for male strippers surviving in the apocalypse with the help of fully dressed, ninja like women. Melody’s boss takes this idea and runs with it when he realizes he has nothing else to pitch to the higher ups. Melody is made one of the lead producers of the game only out of necessity since there was no one else to do it. On top of that, she has to deal with Nolan Fucking MacKenzie, who is only at the job because his uncle is the boss. However, as time goes on, Melody starts to realize that the loathe she is feeling for Nolan may be turning into something else.

My thoughts:
This book felt like a slow burn to me. However, it was still enough to keep readers engaged. The book is not necessarily a romance, which I thought going into it. It was more about women empowerment, which is great too, don’t get me wrong. A lot of great points were brought up throughout the book about prejudice, racism and sexism.

The real slow burn is the relationship between Nolan and Melody. The fire was there but it was like it was barely being stoked. I would definitely rate it as only about a PG relationship. Once again, maybe this was intentional to keep the point on the women empowerment issue.

My favorite characters in this book were probably Melody’s parents! They were hilarious with the way they spoke to Melody and their interactions at the all you can eat seafood buffet.

Thank you Suzanne Park, Avon and NetGalley for the DRC in exchange for an honest review.

Eighty Days to Elsewhere // Blog Tour

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Born and raised in New York City, Ramona Keene dreams of attending photography school and traveling to Paris, but her reality never quite catches up with her imagination. Instead, she works at her uncles’ quaint bookstore, where the tea is plentiful and all the adventures are between the covers of secondhand books. But when the new landlord arrives with his Evil Nephew in tow, Romy’s quiet life comes crashing down. He plans to triple the rent, something her uncles can’t afford.

In order to earn the money to help save the bookstore, Romy applies for a job at ExLibris Expeditions, a company that re-creates literary journeys. Romy snags the oddest internship ever: retrace Phileas Fogg’s journey from Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days and plan a suitable, contemporary adventure for a client. The task is close to impossible; sticking to the original route means no commercial aircraft permitted, and she’s got a lot less than eighty days to work with. Shaking off her fear of leaving home, Romy takes on the challenge, only to discover she’s got competition. Worse, Dominic Madison turns out to be the – unfortunately hot – nephew of her family’s worst enemy. Can Romy win the race and circle the globe in time to save the bookstore? And what happens when she starts to fall for the very person who may just be the death of her dreams?

My thoughts:

K.C. Dyer takes us on the adventure we are all wishing we could take but can’t due to COVID-19 in her newest novel, Eighty Days to Elsewhere. 

I love everything about the plot and setting of this novel. While I was reading through this book, I felt like I was rocking on the seas, flying through the air, stuck on trains and smelling all the delicious foods described throughout. This book seriously made me so hungry for so many different types of foods! No wonder I couldn’t stop snacking during the few days I read this book…

Romy’s uncles’ bookshop, The Two Queens sounds wonderful. Romy even lives above the bookstore in a small apartment. I’ll have to admit, I think I would be pretty content living above a bookstore where I work! Searching for jobs like this now… 😀 

The relationship between Dom, Romy and Sumaya was probably my favorite. They felt like such a beautiful family. I felt like Dyer did such a good job describing how tough it can be for a teenager but Sumaya has it even more difficult, she lost her parents and everything else on top of being an average teenager. Both Romy and Dom can connect with Sumaya in this aspect as they both lost a parent/parents. 

This book really shows us how a stranger’s help/love can go a long way. Imagine all the times Romy was in a bind throughout her journey and if she wouldn’t have had those strangers to help her, she may have given up. 

The book also shows how much a person can grow when they put themselves out of their comfort zone. In the beginning, Romy was very set in her ways, didn’t want to leave the bookstore and was even going to settle working for a call center, for goodness sakes. Once Romy took the opportunity to have that adventure of a lifetime, she grew so much and learned a lot about herself that she wouldn’t have if she just stayed with her uncles to watch their bookstore close. 

Thank you to Berkley Books, K.C. Dyer and NetGalley for this DRC in exchange for an honest review. 

About the author:

kc dyer loves to travel. When she’s not on the road, she resides in the wilds of British Columbia, where she likes to walk in the woods and write books. Her most recent novel, published by Berkley Books, is arriving in 2020. A romantic comedy, EIGHTY DAYS TO ELSEWHERE is the madcap story of a young woman so desperate to save her family’s bookstore that she undertakes a race around the world, but ends up falling for her competition.

She is the author of FINDING FRASER, an international bestseller in romantic comedy, and published by Berkley Books. US Weekly called FINDING FRASER a “humorous but relateable self-discovery tale”, and Bustle named it a ‘Must-Read for OUTLANDER fans”.

For teens, kc’s most recent work is FACING FIRE, a sequel to the acclaimed novel, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, published by Doubleday/Random House. kc is represented by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency.

Behind the Red Door // Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I think of Collins’ Behind the Red Door, the word horror comes to mind. This isn’t a horror book, don’t get me wrong. It is because of the horror I felt when reading about the main character’s relationship with her father and the way she grew up.

Fern would never say that she had an abusive father growing up. He just ran what he called “experiments” on her. Things like leaving her at home alone when they said they would be gone only an hour or taking her into the woods and telling her gruesomely scary stories. Fern has been living apart from her family for years and years with her husband when her father calls her and tells her that he needs her to come home. Right before leaving, Fern sees on the news that Astrid, a woman who was kidnapped when she was a young girl, has disappeared again. Fern thinks that she knows Astrid, but she has no idea why…

I absolutely loved this book, in all its twisted ways. I don’t know if that makes me a little twisted too? What is it about the truly strange/bizzare books being some of the most exciting/thrilling? Throughout the novel I just kept thinking how messed up it was for Fern to still be staying with Ted given all the things he put her through in her childhood. The “experiments” he did on her essentially conditioned her to be scared of everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Poor thing was basically scared of her own shadow.

My favorite relationship in this book was Fern with her husband Eric. I am so glad she was able to find someone to be her steady rock and take care of her. Eric was always there when Fern needed him, whether she knew it at the time or not.

A lot of books nowadays are adding in a “second book” or excerpts of books. However, Collins did something different and showed us a glimpse of what Fern felt while she was reading Astrid’s book “Behind the Red Door” and then gave readers the actual excerpt to read and think about themselves. I thought that was very clever.

Collins really tricked me throughout the book with all the red herrings used. Several times I thought “I got it! I know who it is!” and then found out I was very much wrong. However, when I finally discovered who the real villain was, it was all worth it.

Thank you to Megan Collins, Atria Books and NetGalley for the DRC in exchange for an honest review.

More Than Just a Pretty Face // Book Review

Synopsis:

Danyal Jilani has no lack of confidence. He may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he’s funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day. His father doesn’t approve of his career choice, but that hardly matters. What does matter is the opinion of Danyal’s longtime crush, the perfect-in-all-ways Kaval, and her family, who consider him a less than ideal arranged-marriage prospect.

Then Danyal gets selected for the Renaissance Man, a school-wide academic championship and the perfect opportunity to show everyone he’s smarter than they think. He recruits the brilliant, totally-uninterested-in-him Bisma to help with the competition, but the more time Danyal spends with her…the more he learns from her…the more he cooks for her…the more he realizes that happiness may be staring him right in his pretty face.

My thoughts:

Danyal Jilani’s new goal in life is to show people that he is more than just a pretty face. Yes, he is a 19 year old senior and yes, he did get held back, but there is more to him than just his pretty looks.

Danyal is not very good at school and everybody knows it. Everyone except Danyal’s teacher, who chose him to be in the Renaissance Man–a school-wide academic championship. Danyal’s long time crush, Kaval offers to help Danyal with his thesis, stating that if he does a good job with the Renaissance Man, maybe he could ask for her hand in marriage. Another unlikely companion comes along in Danyal’s life with a completely opposing view to Kaval’s. As Danyal gets closer and closer to the Renaissance Man competition, he realizes he has a lot of important decisions to make about his future.

I found this book to be a really cute YA novel about finding yourself and love. However, there were also deeper issues intertwined throughout the book such as race, religion, family, history, and so on.

This book constantly made me hungry. Since Danyal is working toward being a chef, there was constant mention of food. Yummy food. I loved the way the dishes were described, almost if I was watching Danyal make them myself.

I did feel a little sorry for Danyal who was constantly getting talked down to throughout the book. Imagine having that many people not have faith in you. Including your mother and father. I am surprised he was so happy.

I can’t personally say anything about the Muslim aspect of the book as I do not know much about the religion. However, I have seen many other reviewers give opinions based on their own knowledge.

Thank you Syed M. Masood Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the ARC and DRC in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the author:

Syed M. Masood grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, and now lives with his wife and children in Sacramento, California, where he is a practicing attorney. He wrote a few couplets in Urdu when he was a teenager, and his family still tells everyone he is an Urdu poet. He is not. More Than Just a Pretty Face is his young-adult debut.

He Started It: Samantha Downing // Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Samantha Downing takes us along on an adventure we will never forget in her book, He Started it.“Anyone who ends up in jail, who does not complete the trip or who deviates from the trip in any way, will get nothing.” Those were the conditions of the family trip Beth’s grandfather designed for Beth and her siblings, Portia and Eddie and was instructed to them in his will. This was the only way they would get the money he left for them. The trip follows the exact path their grandfather took them on when they were children. Along the way, crazy things start happening. They keep getting flats and they feel like someone is following them. Once, their grandfather’s ashes even disappear. 

Downing really knows how to get into her character’s heads and shape them to be anything but average. Typically, there is a good and a bad (or more than one) character in a story. In Downing’s books, it is difficult to tell if a character is a hero or a villain. These siblings are not your typical “good characters.” We do not often get to see a book’s perspective from a bad character. 

Throughout the book, readers get a look into someone’s journal. It is not entirely clear who is writing the journal and when. This just adds to the mystery of the book, keeping the readers engaged. 

Each stop on their road trip seemed to get stranger and stranger. It made me wonder how Downing was able to think up some of these ideas. Through each state the family went through, the beginning of the chapter had the State Motto. This was such a unique touch on her part. You can really tell the amount of time spent researching this book. 

I don’t know about you, but I would not want to be on this roadtrip!

Thank you NetGalley, Samantha Downing and Berkley for the DRC in exchange for an honest review. 

The Safe Place – Anna Downes

This book was definitely a slow burn for me. I felt like it was dragging until about 50% into the book. I knew things were going to get good but I just felt like I was screaming in my head “Get on with it!” for the first half of the book. Once things started picking up though, I really enjoyed it.

I enjoyed the flashbacks of Nina’s past, as it really solidified the reader seeing what all Nina had endured. It definitely does not explain her actions, but it does make them a little more understandable.

This is definitely a domestic thriller, which are okay for me but I am just not a huge fan. I want thrillers that are pretty much completely action packed/thrill packed (If that’s a thing) and keeps me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Not something that makes me think “Maybe I’ll get to the good part eventually.”

I felt like I could relate to the main character as I am adopted myself and have previously worked in foster care. I can really sympathize with the trauma that she had experienced in her past.

I read this one over a few days last week as I had thought it was being published 6/30/2020 but it looks like they moved the release date back to 7/14/2020. I guess I was over-prepared this time. That doesn’t happen often!

The New Husband: D.J. Palmer // Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This review is going to be a little different than most. I recently read D.J. Palmer’s new book, The New Husband and through the use of his thriller, he brings to light deeply important issues. There are some major Trigger Warnings for this book and this post (Domestic Violence, Gaslighting, Blood, Death).

Synopsis: Nina’s husband has gone missing, presumed dead. After his disappearance, Nina is finding out horrible things about her husband. In swoops Simon Fitch, a teacher she has known for 7 years. Simon checks all the boxes and makes Nina feel loved and toung again. Simon and Nina move in together and Nina soon finds out Simon may not be what he seems. Simon begins to become controlling in very subtle ways, not wanting her to go out with her friends, constantly asking her to quit her job and other things she doesn’t think much of at the time.

Now, I am definitely not an expert on Domestic Violence, but working in the Child Welfare field, I have learned a lot and I think everyone should have some knowledge about DV. Below I have gathered some resources about DV.

Domestic Violence is not just physical abuse. As seen in The New Husband, Simon isn’t physically abusive toward Nina. He uses more subtle, emotional abuse to bring her down. DV includes Physcial, Emotional, Sexual, Reproductive, Financial and Digital. https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/

I almost felt guilty enjoying this book (some points I was literally on the edge of my seat) so much because I know people go through this in real life. However, just by writing a book using this subject, D.J. Palmer is bringing awareness to it. Simon’s creepiness really drew me into the story. I couldn’t understand how he could be so evil but nobody notice. Well nobody but Maggie. Maggie was a bad ass little 13 year old. This shows us that we need to pay attention to the little ones in our lives! They can sometimes be better judges of character than us adults.

Resources:

Thehotline.org / 1-800-799-7233 / https://www.thehotline.org/resources/victims-and-survivors/

Find my review on Goodreads:

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