Insolent (Cynthia A Rodriguez)

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There’s a girl screaming at the top of a hill,
Burdened by a duty she was born to fulfill.
There’s a quiet killer lurking nearby,
Watching as she wishes only to die.
She’s tasked by her mother to marry a man,
Until the demon from hell puts a wrench in the plan.
Their fates will twine in inconceivable ways.
But where one goes, the other cannot stay.
How could she fall for such a man, you ask?
For the girl with no heart, it was the easiest task.

“I was not stolen. 
I was saved.”

I don’t even have to hesitate for one second when I say this: Insolent is Cynthia’s best writing to date. I don’t know if it’s because of the genre or if it’s because of the POV that it’s written in, but the writing flowed so poetically and sharply I couldn’t help but love it. With good writing comes vivid settings. And with vivid settings comes characters with depth. Check, check, and check!

This isn’t a book that I would typically read but when it was all said and done, I was so glad I took the time to read it in all of it’s beauty. The characters were vigilant and strong but also heartbreaking. You couldn’t help but to FEEL them and feel for them. I think that speaks volumes about an authors writing.

If you’re a fan of incredibly haunting third person writing (seriously, I am so impressed by this), vivid and poignant characters, and falling in love when you least expect it (swoon!), then you need to pick up Insolent. Whether you know story the retelling is of, I can promise that you will have a great experience reading this one and it will be different from anything you have read before.

Landon & Shay: Part II (Brittainy Cherry)

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Once upon a time, I fell in love with a boy.
A beautiful, broken boy who had his own world of struggles.

People warned me against our love, but I didn’t listen.
We looked weak, young, and foolish.
Dangerously in love.
We didn’t care.

In order to keep our hearts protected from the opinions of others, we became each other’s secret.
We shared stolen moments. Tender touches. Secretive embraces.

It was our twisted love story, and it worked for us up until our lives changed forever.

The boy I loved became Hollywood’s newest golden boy.
His career blossomed as mine stalled.
He found massive success as I discovered multiple failures.
He made something of himself, while my dreams never came true.

We moved into different realms where our pieces no longer fit together.

In the fairy tales, love conquered all.
In reality, love was the main reason empires began to fall.

I always knew Landon belonged in my story.
He was my beginning, middle, and end.
The only problem? I wasn’t certain I still belonged in his.

Our love wasn’t traditional, but it was ours. And I’d vowed to do whatever it took to keep our story alive forever.

I think the first thing that I want to touch on is how much I really, really loved how Brittainy tied in the characters from Eleanor & Greyson’s story into part two of this story. I think it really made it that much more special for me. I won’t spoil anything, I wont mention any names or incidents but I really appreciated how she blended the two different stories together in a way that you could still understand and follow. Especially in a way that helped Landon and Shay both grow as characters.

But!! I do have something that I want to touch on. I do think there were a lot of slow parts that could have been filtered out and even some unnecessary characters in part two. A lot of new characters were added but none of the older ones were mentioned. I think that is the only thing that didn’t mesh well with me on this one.

I’m so glad Landon and Shay turned out the way they did and experienced the things that they did. It was quite the ride that I wasn’t expecting to go on but in the end– I am glad that I did. With that being said, I don’t think that this was Brittainy’s strongest love story (not the second part anyways) but I do know that it’s some of her strongest character development that I have read in a long time. These two characters experience some great growth, separately. Not together. And it was beautiful.

The Silent Patient (Alex Michaelides)

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Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

As you will see, it’s an incredible story—of that there is no doubt.
Whether you believe it or not is up to you.

My absolute most favorite thing in this entire world is when you read a book, enjoy it, and then discover that this book that just readis the author’s DEBUT BOOK OMG. That feeling of awe is indescribable. And this author wrote a kick-ass debut novel. I bet they are so proud of this one, as they should be.

I did three-star this book but that doesn’t mean that I hated it. I overall really enjoyed it actually. But, it took me quite a few days to read and that is not because I was busy doing other things. It was simply because in parts it was really rather slow.

This is a character driven novel and I think that is very obvious. If you know me, you know I love those types of books. However, I felt like these characters were great for the story but just weren’t great for me. They were written well, but they weren’t very three dimensional nor were they very interesting to me. I was hoping with a “silent patient” she would be more interesting to me but she wasn’t. I think had this been written in third person POV, that would have helped it A LOT. But I can also understand why it’s not written in that POV. So, ultimately I am torn on the characters and their development.

Did I see the twist coming? NO I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT. So, 5 stars for that part alone. It grabbed me by complete surprise and I was even more surprised (again) that a debut author created this ending. I read A LOT of thrillers. And a lot of those authors have multiple books out and create very lackluster endings but Alex Michaelides straight up KILLED this one!

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stuart Turton)


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Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

“So many memories and secrets, so many burdens. Every life has such weight. I don’t know how anybody carries even one.”

I didn’t expect to love this one. I opened it up and purely thought I was just going to be reading another book for my Popsugar Challenge but I was completely shocked at how much I actually enjoyed it. The entire concept of this story was different and chilling. The writing was sharp, the setting was electrifying and vivid, and the characters were so fascinating.

I haven’t read a mystery like this one in quite some time. It was refreshing and new to me and I just know it has something to do with the writing from this author. He diligently took his time with a risky plot / story-line and absolutely killed it in my opinion! The writing was well thought out and well planned and I think that was a huge help to creating a world that was nice to escape to for a while.

The format and the timeline of this story is what makes the book what it was. I can’t imagine sitting down to write this story and putting together the puzzle pieces the way that the author did. I see the entire book so perfectly in my head. I loved that. I have a huge amount of respect for that.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was intriguing, thought provoking, and 100% original from the get go. I can’t think of another book that is even remotely similar to this one.

Jane Anonymous (Laurie Faria Stolarz )

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Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

The book as a whole was solid read, but I don’t feel like the book itself did what the author had intended it to do. Not for me anyways. But first lets start with this:


And honestly– I don’t mind when sentences are structured like that 80% of the time  (Marni Mann executes this type of sharp writing perfectly) but it was really repetitive throughout the entire book. Not just in important or meaningful parts. I just don’t think the writing Jane Anonymous was strong enough. Not only that, but the alternating timeline at times got confusing, and no real plot direction. All from the writing I think. So it was definitely a snowball effect on this one.

This was a quick read that had some really great parts in it. I enjoyed it for the most part and really found the small twists and turns and psychological aspects very interesting. I just didn’t love it.

Ghosted (Rosie Walsh)


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When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.

Listen. First and foremost, my real big issue with this entire book will probably seem so small and immature to you. But to me, I was just let down. And that was the fact that I was promised (by the blurb on the front and the back, by other readers, friends, etc.) that this was a love story and you know what– IT WASN’T. I was in the mood for something to hit me in the feels and this was recommended to me. But I do not think this should  be classified as a love story. So please do not pick this book up when you’re wanting to finally sit down and indulge yourself in a nice romance novel because this is not it.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the writing of this author. And then to go on and find out that this was her debut novel, I was even more impressed. Her writing was excellent, which to me shows that she knows exactly was she is doing. The characters could have been better. But I feel like with how strong this author’s writing is she will have no problem in the future creating dynamic and three dimensional characters rather than flat and dull ones such as Sarah and Eddie.

I also did not love the plot of this story. I have read the concept of this type of story a million different times. Only this time, the roles were reversed. (if you read this book, you’ll know what I’m talking about) And honestly, I didn’t love it any more because of that. It was just sort of underwhelming plot wise. Just because it was switched around, I didn’t find it any more appealing or impressive. But that is on me.

The story as a whole was good. I read the entire book in one sitting. The writing was great but I just wanted to read a good love story, guys! That’s what I was in the mood for. That’s what I was wanting! When I had finished the book I felt conflicted. Because as much as I am NOT a fan of these types of tropes, I found the book impossible to put down. SO…. I will chalk this one up to me just not being in the right mood for it.

The Giver of Stars (Jojo Moyes)

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Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

I will admit, I was a little weary and intimidated by this one. Very much so, actually.

When I first read the blurb and saw the stunning cover, I was 100% skeptical on whether I should try it or not. Then I saw it as a BOTM selection and I didn’t hesitate to grab it. But I do have to admit: I am a historical fiction snob. These types of stories have to be written absolutely brilliantly for me to love it. I need to feel like I am IN the story to fully concentrate on these stories. (some good examples of this is any book by Paullina Simons, Amy Harmon). But now I guess I can add Jojo Moyes to that list of favorites for historical fictions.

The Giver of Stars was absolutely beautiful the whole way through. The imagery, the character’s depth, the setting and the time-frame— I loved it. I thought she did a fantastic job at writing this type of story and the female leads. I felt like I was riding along side of these strong, beautiful women the entire time.

Although the story itself was very slow in some parts, it was completely worth it. I felt like The Giver of Stars really showed just how much powerful women and books can change lives.