Normal (Graeme Cameron)


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He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him.

What you don’t know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will—one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal… and it works. Perfectly.

Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room… the others. He doesn’t need any of them anymore. He needs only her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem—he still has someone trapped in his garage.

Discovering his humanity couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“The truth is I hurt people. It’s what I do. It’s all I do. It’s all I’ve ever done.”

I liked the concept of this book. Normal was some what similar to Caroline Kepnes’ YOU. The only difference is, Caroline’s book had a plot and a specific story line. Normal, did not.

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This book started out strong but as you progress it gets choppy and all over the place. There is just way too much going on. I didn’t understand the whys of what he was doing and the book didn’t provide us any reasons and hardly any past flashbacks either. We also are not given a backstory as to how or why he has become this way, leaving all the interpretations to our own. Am I just supposed to assume this is who he is? Now, I am not against that in any way but the author made it extremely hard to grow to love this character without any empathy, back story, or even flashbacks as to why he was the way that he was.

Being inside the thought process and the brain of a psychopath is always fun for me when well executed. I really enjoyed this author’s writing and it worked super well with the story taking place but I didn’t love it. It wasn’t sensational or memorable but it worked well enough for the story.

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The characters relationship with Rachel and even Erica really baffled me. I have so many questions. So many. And they were all left unanswered. Which in turn left me with eye rolls.

“Right now universes are being created, thrown together and destroyed the world over. Seven billion souls, each pre-occupied with their own unique reality, each with a head full of memories, plans, learned knowledge and accumulated trivia; birthdays, telephone numbers, bus routes, passwords. Each one with somewhere to go, something they need to get done. They all have birth certificates and shoe sizes. Every single one has a story.”

And seriously: did this guy have a job? He buys all of this stuff, goes to all of these places, takes care of Erica and even Rachel and where is his income from? Maybe I missed it but this was something I could not stop thinking about!

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Normal is the type of book you’d just have to pick up for yourself and see how well you like it. I feel like it could work for a lot of people and then for others and it just wouldn’t. A complete hit or miss for sure.


The Roots of Us (Candace Knoebel)


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The first time I saw Hudson Jameson, he was saving someone’s life. 

The second time, he was ruining mine. 

It was only supposed to be a vacation. A chance to let the Florida sun burn away the residue left behind from my failed relationships. I wasn’t searching for love. I was on a hiatus from men, especially ones with secrets.

Except Hudson had the gaze of a man drowning in his own miseries, and I was a sucker for the damaged souls. How could I deny him? How could I resist when his lips claimed mine? 

I knew I couldn’t stay. 
He told me he couldn’t bear to leave.

But some roots intertwine and refuse to let go, no matter how far you run.

“But don’t we all have something festering beneath the surface? We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t.”

The Roots of Us was your typical cliché book. Lost and sad girl meets boy. They touch on accident. They feel a shock, a connection. They look at each other in the eyes and all of the sudden their universes align. They fall in love. Some one has secrets. They fight. And so on and so on. Insta-love in a sort, but not the best in my opinion.

I thoroughly enjoyed this author’s writing though. It was absolutely mesmerizing, I think I even had quite a few highlights. It was flowy and straight to the point and hardly lulled (except for in the second part but I’ll get to that).

But no communication between two people in a book can drive me batty, especially when it’s for selfish reasons and Hartley drove me crazy with all of the information she was withholding for so long from Hudson. Mainly because it was small and I had complete confidence with Hudson’s character type that it would have went a whole lot smoother had she just been honest with him.

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Hudson was a great, complex character. I loved that despite him being flawed, he was open to changing and embracing it. He was sensitive yet firm, the best of both worlds. He was my favorite part of this entire story. Hartley never really grew on me. I couldn’t get on the “Hartley bandwagon” mainly because being in her POV really ruined that for me. She was flighty, hypocritical, and not likeable to me.

Also, I feel the need to add that for as little sex as this author had in her book- I had to skim what she did have in there and I think I physically cringed. I don’t know if it’s just out growing my tastes or what but it was more detailed than I needed for this type of story. It just didn’t fit to me.

“Pain isn’t loud. It doesn’t barge into the room. It’s sneaky. A criminal, hoarding all your happiness. It’s like our shadow, silently following us wherever we go. Jealous of the light we stand in. So maybe… maybe every once in a while, we should try to stop and acknowledge it.”

The second part was the downfall of the book for me. I bypassed a lot of the story then, I was ready to see Hudson and Hartley reunite again. I didn’t like the world that the author was building without Hudson in it, I couldn’t get myself to like James, or Hartley’s occupation and I just didn’t much care for the entire second part of the book until the twist was revealed. It had me shook. Other than that, I feel like I could have skipped that whole section.

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The Roots of Us was a great book, it truly was. I was immensely impressed with the author and her writing but after the situations that occurred and the way they were handled, especially by Hartley all throughout the book, I had a really hard time loving this book.

Ashes of the Sun (A. Meredith Walters)


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I was raised to believe in things you can’t see.

It is the foundation of everything. I am taught to accept the unacceptable. To embrace the terrifying.

To give everything to my family.
To my church.
To my god.

Because I have a purpose. I have been trained for my calling for as long as I can remember. As an acolyte for the Gathering of the Sun, I am taught that my life isn’t my own. I worship. I serve. And when the time comes, I will greet my fate with open arms and a sin free heart.

People call us a cult.

We are judged. We are ridiculed and reviled. Pastor Carter tells me they will be lost when the end comes. So we hide ourselves away from their sick and dangerous world. And my soul is safe because I follow the path.

I am the perfect disciple. I am confident in my devotion.

Until doubt arrives wearing the face of a boy I never expected to love.

Bastian doesn’t follow the path. His destiny is his own. He paints me a picture of a beautiful world. His words contradict everything I have been told.

He invites me to live when I have been prepared to die.
He gives me something new to believe in.

Love becomes the ultimate crisis of faith and now I am torn between two futures. 
One that saves my soul.
And one that saves my heart.

“Bastian Scott had become my favorite sin.”

I want to start out this review with me saying these things:

  • Meredith Walters’ writing is one of my most favorite things on this planet. It soothes my soul.
  • Bastian Scott is the most defiant male I have met this year and he completely stole my heart.
  • Even though I gave this story three stars- I absolutely cannot wait to see where Bastian and Sara go next. I WILL be snatching up the second book ASAP.

Now, with me saying that, this wasn’t my most favorite A. Meredith Walters book. Simply because the first 40% of the book I had a very difficult time keeping up with the plot and story line within the book. Not to mention it was super slow. But once Sara and Bastian really started interacting more, it was smooth sailing for me. The two of them together was the perfect type of balance for me, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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I love how A. Meredith Walters tackles subjects that most wouldn’t in a meaningful and impactful way. I think I’ve read almost everything from her now and not one of her books are ever the same. I respect that about her and as a reader I love that. Getting something different every time is a fun surprise for me. With this type of “following” or “cult” I had zero knowledge and no idea what to expect. I’m going to go out on a limb though and say she nailed this trope perfectly though. The grooming, the following- it all made me so sad for Sara. If an author can drag empathy out of me, I call it a good day for them.

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“And when he kissed me it was everything all at once. It was joy and passion. It was fear and devastation. It was the pulling apart of my entire existence. It mended parts of me I hadn’t realized were broken.”

I can’t wait to see where these characters ventures lead to next. Despite the slow pacing and the dragging in the first half of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed Ashes of the Sun.

Jackal (Fisher +Aster)


Jackal Emerson has never taken himself seriously. Dubbed the “orgy king,” he’s renowned for his reputation as the wild End Man. But with the uprising on the horizon and his best friend missing, Jackal is having a hard time living the same carefree existence. 

And then he meets a thief and everything changes.

Phoenix Moyo, principal dancer of a notorious ballet company, lives a life of rigidity. When her world collides with Jackal’s, their chemistry is evident to everyone except her. Forced to work with him to steal the most precious commodity of the Regions, she realizes too late that there is no escaping Jackal’s charisma. 

When unimaginable crimes come to light, the Regions begin to crumble. No one is safe. Families divide and secrets are exposed, danger running rampant on every side. For some, sacrifice costs everything.

“It starts with one look. I’m sure many things start that way: fights, affairs, lies… With Jackal…with me…us—that look changes everything.”

Just color me surprised…again. Because honestly- I was afraid with such a long series like this one, the books would be dragged out. I feared they would be redundant and slow instead of straight to the point and action packed but with Jackal I was wrong. The story line never once felt jumbled or slowed down in any way. In fact- I couldn’t put the book down. I was still finding myself impressed with this world these two authors had built and the characters within them.

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I actually really enjoyed the fact that we didn’t jump right into the ending of Folsom at the beginning of Jackal. I’m probably the minority, but it really worked for the story. Setting us up with Phoenix and Jackal first was just what I needed. It was a super exciting build up that led us to the answers we wanted to know about Gwen and Folsom. I looked at it as a healthy distraction from Folsom and Gwen followed by lots of little treats and teases of them. I was really into that.

PHOENIX, YALL! Phoenix is fierce and 10x more defiant than Gwen and I love it. I am here for it. I am here for HER. Her character involvement in this story was the cherry on my End Man cake. And I love cherries.

I’ll admit that I didn’t feel the emotional connection that Phoenix and Jackal had quite like I did with Gwen and Folsom but what I felt for them was something different. It was more an adventitious connection for me. I really craved them being together and scheming together. The two best schemers around.

“I want something just for me. I don’t want to share you with anyone else.”

I loved seeing more interactions between the End Men as the series progressed. It got me way more excited to meet who is next and see where this crazy story will take us next.

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Jackal was a more compelling read for me. I found myself on many parts holding my breath and gasping because my anxiety was peaked or I just couldn’t believe what was happening with Phoenix or even Jackal.

I’m here for the End Men! And I’m so here for Fisher + Aster! Keep it up, girls.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway (Ruth Ware)


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(I would definitely check your library for this one, my local one actually had two copies!)

In a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.

This book didn’t really knock my socks off. For someone who really enjoyed the tone and writing in In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Death of Mrs. Westaway just didn’t blow me away in the same sense.

By the time I got half-way through the book, the realization came to me that I am just not that interested or invested in the story. When that happened, it got harder and harder for to keep everything and everyone in line. With this story line, there are so many people involved that the minute you get off track or lose focus- you’re lost.

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I did really enjoy the scenery of this story. The dark and Gothic feel the author portrayed fit the story line perfectly and I can’t get over how well Ruth wrote this incredible setting and all of the quirks that go with it. I think that’s why I wasn’t afraid to dive right into this novel by her. I knew already that her distinctive writing gives the readers the right kind of visuals but in the end, it wasn’t enough to help the overall feel of this book.

Like I said in the beginning of my review, I had an extremely hard time trying to keep all of the characters in this story separated. By the middle of the story, they had all ran together and I couldn’t tell one from the other. With this story line, it’s very crucial to know who is who, so I was ultimately left behind in that department.

Ultimately- the cover drew me in but the story was bland and misleading. If you are a fan of the book that claim to be “dark” reads but aren’t really dark reads with creepy houses and not so secret secrets (eye roll), this might be a great read for you.

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Disgrace (Brittainy Cherry)


Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again.

After seventeen years together, he walked away from me, and into the arms of another.

I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know my worth. I didn’t know how to exist without him by my side.

All I wanted was for him to come back to me.

Then, Jackson Emery appeared.

He was supposed to be a distraction for my mind. A summer fling. A confidence boost to my bruised heart.

We were perfect for one another, because we both knew we wouldn’t last. Jackson didn’t believe in commitment, and I no longer believed in love. He was too young for me, and I was too damaged for him.

Everything was fine, until one night my heart skipped a beat.

I didn’t expect him to make me laugh. To make me think. To make my sadness somewhat disappear.

When our time was up, my heart didn’t know how to walk away.

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again, yet slowly my prayers began to shift toward the man who wasn’t right for me. 

I prayed for one more smile, one more kiss, one more laugh, one more touch… 

I prayed for him to be mine.

Even though I knew his heart wasn’t destined to love.

“Do you think broken hearts can be fixed?
“Yes,” I said, matter-of-factly.
“They just beat a little different, is all.”

Yadda, yadda, yadda, this review is going to be short and sweet because I need to just face it: Brittainy Cherry never writes a bad book. There is nothing that can be said, that hasn’t been said about Brittainy thus far, especially by me. She has a gift that not a lot of people have.

*scrolls through all past reviews*
*nods head in agreement at all of the good things I have ever said about B. Cherry*
*writes another review talking about emotional she makes you feel*

Yes, that sums it all up. And Disgrace is no different in the emotional department. In fact- the first half had me all kinds of heavy in the chest.

“A halfway smile from Jackson Emery felt like so much more than the average person’s full blown grin.”

The character growth in both Jackson AND Grace was phenomenal. They found their growth together but also separate and that is so satisfying to me. Not fully depending on someone but still needing that push and that help from someone you want it from- I totally get that. I love that. To me, finding yourself in someone else is okay so long as the author writes it in a way that still leaves the character independent and Brittainy did just that.

I also love how Brittainy always adds in cute, small stuff. The cute quirks that the characters share together. Like with Jackson and Grace telling each other facts about themselves to make the other more comfortable and less of a stranger.

I just love Brittainy. I love her books, her words, her impact she leaves on readers. I just love her. If you pick up any of her books, you’ll love it. Disgrace is no different.

Folsom (Fisher + Aster)


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The nation as we know it is a thing of the past.

With the male species on the verge of extinction, a society called the End Men is formed to save the world. Folsom Donahue is one of twelve men whose sole purpose is to repopulate the Regions. The endless days spent having sex with strangers leaves Folsom with an emptiness no amount of women, money, or status can fill.

Until Gwen.

Gwen has wanted a child for as long as she can remember, but when she finally gets a chance to have her own, she uncovers a long hidden truth. The injustice she sees moves her to help save the men whom no one else believes need saving.

A forbidden love, grown in a time of despair, ignites a revolution.

Folsom and Gwen, torn between their love for each other and their sense of duty, must make a choice. But some will stop at nothing to destroy them.

“Autopilot was comfortable and you’ve made me uncomfortable. I’d been living without feeling anything and now I feel everything. Even if nothing externally changes in my life, the way you make me feel…I’m changed.”

Tarryn and Willow writing together might just be my new favorite thing. Folsom was so good and not in the least bit what I expected. It exceeded my expectations, actually. Completely blindsided me. I thought it was going to be a book full of 12 guys having random sex with all of these women but alas! It’s way more than that. Duh, Talon! Since when do you judge a book by it’s cover?

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The pacing of the story was fast and the momentum picks up right at the get go. I don’t read much Dystopian so I really went into this book hoping it had something to grab me from the beginning and it did, thankfully. The way things kick off and the way that the book progresses made everything come together nicely and left me interested in what was going on in the story.

It’s no surprise to me really when I think about it. Tarryn’s writing always has an emotional pull on me. My connection to her words is beautiful beyond belief. And every time I pick up one of Willow’s books my heart aches so much I can hardly stand it. I shouldn’t be surprised about the effect these two had on me once combined.

“You can be like this with me,” she says. “You don’t have to be an End Man when we’re together. Because no matter how many women you’re with, or where they send you, I will always be right here belonging to you. I promise.”

I really enjoyed the alternating POV’s because it made me connect not just to Gwen but to Folsom also. He wasn’t just an End Man and I think as a reader I really needed to be inside of his head to understand that. The REAL Folsom. And knowing that Gwen accepted him as more than just an End Man and what they stood for, made me love her that much more too. Kudos on the character development. Seeing Gwen in all of her fierce glory when all of the other surrounding women were just…there, was a breath of fresh air.

I have to know something though. Out of all the things that happened in this book and the scenarios that are being played out, this was the one thing that stuck in my mind and drove me mad. HAVE THESE PEOPLE NEVER HEARD OF STDs? I feel as if this is a legitimate question. Where were the tests? They can’t have protection so what gives? Do the diseases not exist? Inquiring minds need to know!

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I knew the ending was going to happen. It was going to come to that, but I still can’t help but wonder what is going to happen next Gwen, Folsom, Kasper, Jackal, and even Sophia.

I am surprised. I am very, genuinely surprised. I will tell anyone that all day long. I was terrified to read this book. Terrified that it wouldn’t be what I love most from Tarryn and Willow. I had absolutely no idea what to expect with this and I’m glad that I took the dive and read it. I haven’t read anything like this before and it wasn’t done in a dramatic way, not like you might think it would be. It was strategic, vivid, imaginative, and the images portrayed by the authors felt so real. I have to give all of my love to both Fisher and Aster. You got me, girls!