When the Lights Go Out (Mary Kubica)

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Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?


“What makes not sleeping even worse than the crippling fatigue is the boredom that infiltrates those nighttime hours. The misery. The morbid thoughts that keep me company all night long.”

SO GOOD. Just so good. I know now after finishing When the Lights Go Out that Mary Kubica is an author that I will consistently read now. The books that I have read of hers have been great, thrilling and twisty reads and this one was no different.

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I wanted to start with her writing first. In this book, Mary’s writing was compelling and eerie (and we all know I have a thing for eerie writing). So when I was reading, I couldn’t quit turning the pages because I was mesmerized by the way she was explaining the things that were taking place. The details and intricate placing of the events taking place were woven together in a way that would throw most authors off. That most authors wouldn’t even be able to execute so, props to her there.

Now, to stem off of what I said above, the book is told in two different POV’s and a past and present. Both story lines taking place were equally great. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to stay in the present tense or the past tense and I know that is a huge thanks to the author’s writing. The past POV was just as thrilling to me as the present one was. To me, that is a cool problem to have.

At times the book was so haunting. Not only because of the setting but because of Eden’s POV. How she transforms into this person that no one knows. How she is just taken over and entranced with what she wants. I loved the feel of not ever knowing what she was going to do and when she was going to stop. And then when you get to Jessie you hold her hand the entire way through and try to understand the things that she is trying to understand in the process that she is using. It’s hard to jump on board with at first but once I got the hang of being inside Jessie’s head I understood it more and more.

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Another favorite thing of mine was going back and piecing all of her puzzle pieces together. Mary Kubica made it so easy to do, too! I finished the book and then thought back at all of the wild things that kept taking place and it all made sense to me. The bread crumbs that this author always leaves behind is so cool to experience.

The ending was bizarre (hence my four star rating). I was really confused for a second because there is another chapter in the book that makes us think one thing but I think it was just a sloppy sleight of hand that the author tried to pull over on us. So with all of my positivity I had to just point out how disappointed the ending made me.

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I was so sure I knew what the ending would be but to my dismay, it wasn’t what I thought. Although I didn’t agree with it and it didn’t play out how I wanted it to, I absolutely love that! How fun to read a book and get so lost in it’s words that we come up with all of these possibilities and they don’t turn out accurate? I feel as if this would be a great novel for a book club to read and pick apart and a discussion that I would LOVE to be a part of .

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Synthetic Love (Christina Hart)

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Pre-order link:
https://amzn.to/2nBZSsD

Alan Shaden may look like your average Tinder crush – 6’2”, dark hair, dark eyes, dimples – but with his rugged exterior comes a soft and battered heart, and his biggest secret (literally), which he keeps hidden in the back of his closet. 

Alan doesn’t stop to think he’s a sex addict until a therapist deems him one, but that’s right before they have sex in her office. Alan isn’t the best man. He’s the first to admit it, but he’s trying to be better. It’s not easy having good intentions and compulsive desires at the same time. 

As Alan’s layers peel away, you come to know the worn soul beneath the man. The traumatic childhood tragedies that have made him this way. A troubled past can shape you, or break you, and Alan is teetering somewhere in between. But he’s a gentleman at heart, hiding a dark past, and a life-size, synthetic secret. 

Sabrina is a doll. She can’t move. She can’t talk. She can’t kiss Alan back like a real woman can. She can’t even tell him she loves him. But what she can do for him is something no woman has ever done before: she can stay. Who said love had to be with a real person for it to be real?


“I never realized how hollow she was. Sabrina, the silicone sex doll. Her eyes, they look empty. Lifeless. Worn. And it’s only in that moment that I wonder if she sees the same thing in mine.”

Oddly enough, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am not quite sure what that says about me but it really worked for me. When I finished the book I felt so…empty. A good type of empty. An empathetic one. An empty like Alan felt, and emptiness that I wanted so bad to be full but I just knew it wouldn’t be. A yearning and wanting mixed into one. Like, I wanted to hold Alan and give him the coddling that he craved from a woman so bad.

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A lot of things happen to Alan throughout the entire book and we experience every single one of them with him. It was repulsing, my stomach would churn, and it was masochistic of me to keep plowing through the book. But I understood what the author was doing. She was explaining to us why Alan was the way he was. She didn’t do it for shock factor or dramatics and I can always appreciate that. Understanding the tics and the ins and outs of a character is one of my most favorite things about a book and Christina took a character driven story and gave us his life on his own term and in his own words.

“I am still 18 years old and still nursing a broken heart when it breaks all over again, in a different way. In a way I’m afraid I will never recover from.”

The writing was quick paced and packed a huge punch. It reminded me a lot of Joe in Caroline Kepnes’ book, YOU. The way she wrote out his thought processing was the similar to the way Alan’s thoughts come across the page. Not to mention the way the writing was punctuated and all laid out for you made for a smooth and enjoyable reading experience. I don’t think I have ever read anything like this before. It’s unconventional, uncomfortable, and uneasy. But it’s so full of empathy and love. Christina does a fantastic job at pulling the feelings from you that you don’t quite expect to feel.

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Synthetic Love is the type of book that will be hit or miss with people. I don’t see how there is an in-between. PLEASE heed those trigger warnings at the beginning of the book. Don’t take them lightly. I normally pay no mind to them, but this one is braving you for what is to come in this book. But don’t let it scare you away from the story itself. I am more than happy to let you know what to bypass so you don’t have to read it, but I hope that you read this book as a whole. It’s such a cool and original story that hasn’t been done before.

How to Save a Life (Emma Scott)

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https://amzn.to/2B4zG3K

Josephine Clark is trapped. A harrowing past haunts her every time she looks in the mirror, and she can’t escape the violence of her everyday life. More and more, her thoughts turn to Evan Salinger, the boy she knew in high school. The boy they called a mental case. A loner. A freak. The boy who seemed to know things no one could know. For a few short weeks, Jo had found perfect solace in Evan’s company, sneaking every night to meet him at the local pool. In the cool of the water and the warmth of Evan’s arms around her, Jo had tasted something close to happiness. 

Cruel circumstances tore them apart, and four years later, the sweet memory of their time together is dissolving under the punishing reality of Jo’s life now. Evan seems like a fading dream…until he reappears at the moment she needs him most. Guided by Evan’s strange intuition, they flee her small Louisiana town, and Jo begins to suspect there is something more to his sudden return than he admits.

Over twelve days across America’s heartland, deep secrets come to light, buried pasts are unearthed, and the line between dreams and reality is blurred as Evan and Jo fight to hold on to their soul-deep love, and discover that there is more than one way to save a life.


“In sleep we dreamed. And in our dreams, we were together, still.”

I have owned this book since early 2016 and I am so mad at myself for just now experiencing it. I love the type of books that allow us to experience a long relationship of characters. Starting from their teenage years, to the years that follow. How to Save a Life followed Jo and Evan at the perfect amount of time for me. I grew so attached to these characters that I couldn’t even see straight. Had Emma Scott not won my heart over with Rush, she would have won it in no time with this story.

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The characters were my favorite part of the book. The distinctions of their characteristics and their dynamic together brought a perma-smile to my face. The fact that we get dual POVs with this book, makes it even better. Being inside Evan’s head, knowing that these things are happening for a reason (but not knowing said reason yet) was so much fun. I couldn’t stop guessing what was going to happen with these two characters. And the more things that kept happening to them, the more I was gasping.

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“I’ll always come back to you.”

Evan’s devotion to Jo was life for me. The way he not only told Jo he would always come back but actually DID come back, stole my heart. I think that’s all that I can say without giving too much away. His dedication to her alone was so empowering.

The writing was perfect to me. Despite a few editing errors, Emma Scott has a voice that stays with me long after I finish her stories. How to Save a Life surprised me completely. What I thought was just going to be another story like all of the other ones that are out there, turned out to be a very deep and moving book. For that, I’m eternally grateful for Emma Scott and her way of creating such incredible stories.

The Simple Wild (K.A. Tucker)

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https://amzn.to/2KKD0k4

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.


I didn’t love this book, but I also didn’t hate it. If the entire book would have been like the first half I wouldn’t have even finished it. But luckily the last part picks up. It picks up so much it’s all so rushed. The entire last four or five chapters felt like it went by in a blink of an eye. I was internally struggling with if I actually liked that or if I didn’t like it. I still couldn’t tell you if I did or not.


I really enjoyed what KA Tucker did with the family aspect of this story. It was heartwarming and not forced in the least bit. Coming from a girl who has severe daddy issues- the author executed Calla’s struggle with Wren immaculately. The secondary characters added a kind of family feel that Calla really needed to grow and for that I was appreciative.

Jonah and Calla’s relationship (the hate and love aspect) seemed too forced for me. I just wasn’t invested in their relationship. I had zero urge for them to be together. And when they did get together, I wasn’t satisfied. I just wasn’t anxious for anything to form between them and I think it was Calla’s personality that made me feel that way.

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Calla. Dear God. She was awful. Every time she would say or do something I would roll my eyes. She was entitled and spoiled. I couldn’t handle it. But her character growth was fantastic, I will tell that to you all day long. The Calla at the end of the book was a complete 180 from the Calla we met at the beginning and I can always appreciate that in a book.

I three starred this because despite the rushed ending, I was satisfied as a reader. I really enjoyed watching Calla grow into a completely different person but the lack of feelings these two character evoked from me just wasn’t there. Not what I was expecting anyways. But I can appreciate a good story all day long, and this story was good.

Pretty Venom (Ella Fields)

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Callum Welsh perfected the art of hating me when we were two kids who believed we’d be forced into marriage.
He thought I wanted it, but my only wish had been for him to leave me alone.
Then one afternoon, he stole my first kiss.
Despite all he’d done, everything changed after that. 

As the years passed, our hearts thawed, and he no longer hated me. 
In fact, he loved me enough to make me his wife.
Until I ruined everything with one stupid mistake. 

That hatred returned in the form of cruel words and even crueler deeds. 
But we weren’t kids anymore. 
I could handle his brand of venom. 
He would be mine again, even if it cost me the remains of my heart.

Warning: contains cheating and an anti-hero who might make you throw your kindle.


“My enemy, my ally, my best friend. She was love in its rawest form. Everything I needed wrapped in one multilayered bow. One that I refused to let unravel ever again.” 

Ella Fields’ Gray Springs University novels have been hit or miss with me. I loved the first one, Suddenly Forbidden and I didn’t care much for the second, Bittersweet Always, but I think she scored some redemption with me with Pretty Venom. Despite the three star rating, I thoroughly enjoyed this story (as a whole) of Callum and Renee.

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Moment of truth here: I didn’t like Callum in any of the other books, but reading Pretty Venom, knowing his story and what happened with him and Renee, really made my soft spot grow for him. I understood his attitude and demeanor and I understood the way he acted the way that he did. I’ve seen it with so many guys in real life, especially when I was in school. Ella did a fantastic job at writing him and portraying him the way that most guys that age truly are. My gut clenched each time I saw him with another female or even every time he would act out of spite. We have all been there, done that..

Renee was not my favorite. She just wasn’t. This is because she never developed as a character nor did she ever develop a back bone. She stayed the same the entire book and it just didn’t sit well with me. A little bit of growth would have went a long way, my dear. Plus, no surprise here but, cheating is just not for me. All the way around.

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I three starred this for a few more reasons. One of the reasons being how repetitive the storyline got after about halfway. It seemed like it was just at a stand still until the last 15%. Another reason was because Renee’s reason to “stray” was unjustified for me. Not called for, inexcusable. Especially because she didn’t even try to communicate with Callum first. Lastly, the end of the story and all of that garbage with Mike was just too much. Too forced. It could have been left out of the story completely and I would have been just as happy.

”If you make someone your world, do not complain when the ground crumbles beneath your feet.”

Ella has done a great job tying all of these stories together but still allowing them to be stand-alones and for that I truly admire her. I loved the additions of all of the past characters that we have read about so far and especially the inclusion of Pippa that Ella has given us.

Second chances, forgiveness, lust, love, and spite are some of the things that made this book great for me. I hope this isn’t it for the Gray Springs University series but if it is, I think I would be happy and content with that decision.

Bound (Stephie Walls)

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I want to prove my worth, show them what I have. 
I may be flawed; we all are.
But I’m smart, driven, and ready to take on the world. 
No one needs to know the rest.

I wasn’t counting on him, couldn’t imagine someone like him coming into my life.
The blue eyes, the chiseled body, the man I can’t resist.
Truthfully, I have no plans of ever resisting him. 

He has the carefree, playboy life he wants, 
The one he created and refuses to give up.
But he didn’t count on me waltzing in and changing everything.

Gray can’t deny his passion for me—all parts of me, 
Even the truth I try to bury—the flaws he knows I’m hiding.
And trust me, he’s imperfect too.

But sometimes, we need more than love—more than we can give.


“But sometimes, we cling to toxic relationships, and they derail an otherwise successful life. And even the smartest of women can be the most foolish in love.”

This book was a mess. Not even a good type of mess, but the type of mess that is similar to a train-wreck in which you slow down in your car to watch. Bound was just that. A train-wreck. There was WAY too much going on and it wasn’t even organized or purposeful to the story. With the combination of drugs, lying, indecisiveness, sex, and infidelity, it was truly all over the place while never actually executing the actual plot at hand.

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Which brings me to my next point: there was no plot. You could dig out your magnifying glass and you wouldn’t even find an underlying or hidden one. Annie’s drug use was inexcusable. Gray’s obsession with having his cake and eating it too was exhausting and ridiculous and beyond all of that, it was all just a mess. One big hot mess with no actual direction or meaning.

“We were bound by a love I’d never known before and doubted would ever exist for me again.”

Another thing that really drove me crazy was the fact that the author romanticized the abuse. Physical, emotional, mental, all of it. When a story does that, I lose all type of interest in it. It’s not romantic in any way and when an author tries to force that on me it’s a waste of time. You can’t make me like the guy or the girl who is doing the abusing, it won’t happen. I’m not sorry. The heroine (and author) kept giving excuses to Gray but he was a piece of shit. Bottom line. There was no excuse any of these people could have given me to make it all okay to me and to make me like him. No redemption, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00. BYE.

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I didn’t feel any sort of connection with these characters nor did I feel any empathy or sympathy. At times I felt like Annie really created a lot of her problems and it could have easily been solved with some communication. Or by simple walking away. The push and pull between the two characters wasn’t “angsty” or “fun” in my honest opinion. It was annoying and over-done.

I didn’t think the book would ever end, but I couldn’t stop reading it (hence the two stars). With it’s inconsistent story line, random time jumps, depressing tone (and not in a good way), I lost a day of my life that I won’t ever get back.

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I Do Not Trust You (Laura J Burns & Melinda Metz)

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Buy link:
https://amzn.to/2LGdWQr

Memphis “M” Engle is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.

Ashwin Sood is a little too posh for her tastes, a member of an ancient cult (which she’s pretty sure counts for more than one strike against him), and has just informed Memphis that her father who she thought was dead isn’t and needs her help. 

From the catacombs of Paris to lost temples in the sacred forests, together they crisscross the globe, searching for the pieces of the one thing that might save her father. But the closer they come to saving him—and the more they fall for one another—the closer they get to destroying the world.


I feel as if I should have liked this book more than I actually did. Not to mention that this book was not what I thought it would be (that is of course my fault), but then I think about the books that are similar to this one that I did like (like Six of Crows, The Wrath and the Dawn, etc.) and realized that I Do Not Trust You just fell short for me in the long run. It wasn’t me, it was the book.

Memphis, or “M” as her friends and family call her, was like a modern day (and female) Indiana Jones. The concept of the story was fascinating and overall creative in many ways but the book got really repetitive and monotonous. By the halfway mark I was tired of reading the same thing over and over by the half-way point but still kept pushing on. Some of the dialogue even seemed repetitive to me.

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One thing I was not happy with was the many plot holes. This seems to be a peeve of mine in a lot of books because I find myself unhappy and dissatisfied whenever I read a book and I’m left hanging with lots of scenarios that never even get touched on. I can keep up with a lot of stuff, I promise! so please don’t ever be afraid to answer the many burning questions that arise throughout your book! I can’t really say what they were without spoiling, so if you read this book, PLEASE let me know your thoughts on this!

Memphis was a fun character. She was witty and driven and knew just what she wanted and what she needed to get it done. But that was about it. She stayed the same the entire way through. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it was just kind of on the flat side to me. I think the book would have had some added excitement had the author put more into the character development side of this story.

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Maybe this book just wasn’t a very character driven book and there is nothing wrong with that. I just tend to enjoy those type of books more. There was no character growth and a lot of the things between the characters felt forced which in return led to no connection to me as a reader and them as a character.

I Do Not Trust You was a fun read and unlike anything that I have read in a while, but while it was fun it lacked in many departments such as plot holes, character development, and repetitive plots. The writing was good and the concept of the story was better, the execution just wasn’t there for me.